Sometimes it’s way too easy to judge a movie by its cover. Or its lead actor. Or the market for the film or any other preconceived notion. But often, a movie that you’ve avoided like the plague for a number of reasons will actually surprise you and be a hell of a lot better than you thought.
Based on a discussion from February, here are 26 movies that you thought would be total crap, but once you were coerced to give them a try, they turned out to be surprisingly good.
About a Boy
Why you thought it would suck: Hugh Grant
Why you were wrong: Sure, Hugh Grant’s been in some real stinkers over the years, and has become synonymous with sappy chick flicks, but this one, with an Academy Award nominated screenplay by Peter Hedges, is a fantastic film about single parenthood.
Why you thought it would suck: Ballet. It’s a movie about ballet.
Why you were wrong: Because it’s ballet horror movie. It’s gorgeous and terrifying, with great writing, special effects and plenty of creepy lesbian power games between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.
Bring It On
Why you thought it would suck: It’s a movie about high school cheerleaders, followed by four awful direct-to-video sequels.
Why you were wrong: Because Kirsten Dunst is awesome and the film is really funny and well done.
Can’t Hardly Wait
Why you thought it would suck: A bunch of teenagers at a huge party with lots of underage drinking. Yeah, that’s never been done before.
Why you were wrong: Because it’s pretty hilarious, especially Seth Greene.
Why you thought it would suck: The entire premise sounds like completely retarded Hollywood garbage.
Why you were wrong: Because it is completely retarded, but it has absolutely no shame in its stupidity and that’s what makes it so much fucking fun.
Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
Why you thought it would suck: Rob Schneider
Why you were wrong: Normally, hating a movie simply because Rob Schneider is top billing is a perfectly valid reason to hate a movie on sight. But for every rule, there is an exception, and this is that exception.
Why you thought it would suck: Oh look, another teen high school comedy.
Why you were wrong: Emma Stone really makes this movie, and what she makes it is hilarious and sexy.
Why you thought it would suck: Too many shitty teen road trip movies have sucked. Hard.
Why you were wrong: It is still a shitty teen road trip movie, and it can be pretty uneven at times, but somehow it all seems to hold together. Not the best movie you’ll ever see, but it’s not nearly as bad as you might think.
Why you thought it would suck: Poor reviews, poor box office numbers.
Why you were wrong: Event Horizon is one of those movies that suffered from the studio not really knowing how to market it. It’s horror, it’s sci-fi and it wasn’t really sold as groundbreaking in either. But it’s probably both one of the best horror and best sci-fi films you’ll ever see.
Why you thought it would suck: All muscle, no brain.
Why you were wrong: Yeah, the script is a cliched mess, but watching some of the best action heroes from the past 20 years together in one brutal, bloody, bone-breaking film is pretty awesome.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Why you thought it would suck: It looks like a total feel-good weepy chick flick
Why you were wrong: While it is a total feel-good chick flick, it’s a damn good one, full of great acting, fantastic writing and cannibalism. Yes, it’s the only chick flick I can think of that has cannibalism in it.
The House Bunny
Why you thought it would suck: It just looks like a vapid turd in pink bunny ears.
Why you were wrong: Because Anna Faris is totally not a vapid turd in pink bunny ears. Her character, a former Playboy Bunny, evicted from the Playboy mansion because she’s not 18 anymore, is vapid, and is wearing pink bunny ears, and the script sometimes writes checks it can’t cash, but it’s still worth it.
Why you thought it would suck: Will Smith and a bunch of sentient iMacs raping Asimov
Why you were wrong: If you can forget that you’re watching something that would probably have made Asimov go into hiding for the rest of his life, it’s actually a pretty decent action film with a lot to say.
Josie and the Pussycats
Why you thought it would suck: Another shitty live action cartoon movie made for 10 year old girls
Why you were wrong: It’s actually much funnier and better constructed than you would think at first. Plus, you can never ever go wrong with Rosario Dawson.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Why you thought it would suck: It looks like 80s straight-to-VHS B-movie schlock
Why you were wrong: Because it is 80s cheap horror movie schlock, but it’s just so fucking entertaining in its exaggeration and idiocy, you won’t want to stop.
Why you thought it might suck: The name. The posters. Everything about it.
Why you were wrong: It’s got a great cast, a decent enough storyline, plenty of really funny dialogue and Reese Witherspoon nails it.
Why you thought it would suck: Just look at that photo above. That alone should be enough to make you think you should get shots to avoid it.
Why you were wrong: Despite the fact that it is about pretty rich girls picking on a pretty rich girl that’s outside of their clique because she had previously been homeschooled by nerdy parents, and despite Lindsay Lohan, it’s surprisingly funny as hell.
Why you thought it would suck: You saw the above promo image, which was also on the poster and everything else about the movie and it looked like something that required an estrogen blood level test just to get in the door.
Why you were wrong: It still is a weepy romance that you probably wouldn’t discuss with your guy friends, but the movie, based on a best-selling novel by Nicolas Sparks, is well written, well-constructed and features some fantastic visuals and good acting.
Repo! The Genetic Opera
Why you thought it would suck: It’s a post-apocalyptic musical starring Paris Hilton about a company that repos your organs if you don’t make payments on them.
Why you were wrong: It’s a post-apocalyptic musical starring Paris Hilton about a company that repos your organs if you don’t make payments on them.
Why you thought it would suck: Stories about punk are hit or miss. Either it’s an inspring journey about young people on the edge of society fighting against the Man, or it’s about a bunch of rich kids who just dye their hair and pierce their faces to piss off their parents.
Why you were wrong: Because SLC is all of the above, and really damn funny to boot.
Why you thought it would suck: Adam Sandler
Why you were wrong: Despite having Adam Sandler, it’s not a raucous slapstick, slapped-together comedy. It’s a really well done family drama about immigration and adjustment over generations, put together with groundbreaking visual storytelling.
The Sweetest Thing
Why you thought it would suck: Romantic comedy, Cameron Diaz, wedding crap.
Why you were wrong: While the film has gotten generally negative reviews, it still has plenty of funny moments to keep it going.
There’s Something About Mary
Why you thought it would suck: Ben Stiller
Why you were wrong: It’s effing hilarious and raunchy and just a well-made comedy that’s just full of memorable moments and memorable lines. If you’ve never seen it by this point, what’s wrong with you?
The Tooth Fairy
Why you thought it would suck: Dwayne Johnson. As the Tooth Fairy. You do the math.
Why you were wrong: Oh sure, it’s gotten pretty universally terrible reviews and it’s incredibly formulaic, but it’s still surprisingly funny in parts, with a great supporting cast that includes Julie Andrews, Billy Crystal and Ashley Judd.
World’s Greatest Dad
Why you thought it would suck: It’s got generic a title that indicates a stupid family-friendly comedy, and Robin Williams has a track record of doing stupid family friendly comedies from time to time.
Why you were wrong: This one didn’t come up in the discussion thread, but I had to slip it in here as an extra, because this movie was a huge shock. I knew nothing about it going in, thinking it was going to be the above-mentioned goofy family film and it turned out to be one of the most fucked up movies I’ve ever seen, and I mean that in a good way.
Why you thought it would suck: Because you hate Ben Stiller. Plus, male models.
Why you were wrong: Because Zoolander turned out to be one of the funniest things Ben Stiller’s ever done, ever. And because you want to be really really good looking.
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