Ever watched a good movie by accident?

The storyline for Carried Away sounded pretty good so I thought I’d watch it on Netflix. I searched for it and clicked on ‘watch now’ without really paying attention to what I was doing. What I actually clicked on was a different Carried Away which turned out to be quite good. I later watched the one I intended to watch. It sucked.

Has anyone else somehow came across a surprisingly good movie other than the way you intended?


Well, last evening I stopped by my friend’s house to pick up some stuff, and she had just started watching a film called “In The Loop”. After hearing a moment’s dialog, I sat down and blew off my other plans to watch it all the way through. It was very good.

I once went to a screening of The Harder They Fall, but somehow we went to the wrong theater and saw Fade To Black. Enjoyed it actually.

This happens on a regular basis with me, while channelhopping I stop somewhere and watch the thing till the end. The best movie I ended up watching in this fashion was Dial M for Murder, which I and a friend happened upon one night at 2 am (while having some beers) and then watxh for the next two hours.

I stumbled across this one day and thought it was very entertaining.

My mom and I were like a 1/2 hour late to see Star Trek V (or was it VI?), and so opted to just see something else, which turned out to be In The Name of the Father, which is a phenomenal movie.

Certainly. I’ve tumbled upon many unexpected movies (and TV shows) on the TV that I didn’t expect to find.
Manhunter – Michael Mann’s original adaptation of Red Dragon blew me away. Unfortunately, I had to leave before it finished, but I hunted down a copy to see the rest.

Dr. Strangelove – i came across on late night TV. I’d heard of it, but nothing prepared me for how gripping it was.

Tales of the Darkside – they weren’t all winners, but the first time I stumbled across this show on a black and white TV, I had to check that I wasn’t watching an old Twilight Zone episode I hadn’t seen, or had forgotten about. It was The Odds, with Danny Aiello and Tom Noonan (who played the Tooth Fairy in Manhunter!), and it was very well written and performed.

The Terminator – from the TV ads, I thought it’d be some cheap SF flick with people in rubber masks running around LA shooting each other up. I was not at all prepared for the absolutely wonderful piece it was. Much as I like a lot of Mr. Cameron’s stuff, he never hit it out of the park like this one again.

I was standing a lonely and boring night watch in the military in about 1978, and flipping through TV channels looking for anything of interest. I came upon a B&W movie that had already started, so stopped to check it out. A couple of people were visiting a gravesite and chatting and being somewhat assholish with each other, and the woman went to talk with another person in the cemetery. I was just about to change the channel, when the guy attacks and tries to bite her. It was my first encounter with Night of the Living Dead, a movie I had never even heard of. Within a very short time, I was walking through the building turning lights on. I had to find the TV Guide the following day to find out what the name of the film was.

White Heat. 1949, starring James Cagney. I just had the TV on as background noise while reading (I don’t like being alone in a silent house), and I had to put the book away. It was absolutely mesmerizing! Car phones! And a device to track Cagney’s car through the L.A. streets, put on underneath the car by an undercover cop - I tell you, my palms were sweating. “Made it, Ma! Top of the World!”

I was just reciting the opening of this show to a friend the other day. After all these years I still (almost) remember it!

Another one – I stumbled across Jess Franco’s 1970 Count Dracula on TV, and was entranced.

Christopher Lee! Playing Dracula as written by Bram Stoker, with the moustache and all, in an Old Castle that didn’t look like a Hollywood set! Absolutely faithful to the book! What the heck was it? It clearly wasn’t a Hammer film. It took me a while to find out.

Unfortunately, it fell apart in the second half, with some embarrassingly bad effects and bad choices. But if you only catch the first half, this is excellent.

Was flipping through the onscreen guide once, and saw Forbidden Planet listed on TCM and thought, “oh, some cheesy sci-fi from the fifties, should be good for a few laughs”. I’m still blown away at how good that movie is.

A friend and I had pre-ordered tickets to see some forgettable (as I have forgotten what it was) action flick and when we got to the theater the projector was broken and they were comping people with free tickets to “Quiz Show”, a Robert Redford movie about a 1950’s game show fixing scandal.

I wouldn’t have gone to see that movie in a million years. It was great.

Two surprisingly entertaining and pleasant movies – Movie Hero with Jeremy Sisto, and Lars and the Real Girl, about a shy man who sends away for an inflatable woman.

I don’t know if I’d call it a good movie but… I was with a group of people and we were scheduled to watch a particular video tape. Various trailers… then a trailer for the film Boris & Natasha, complete with the usual trailer narrator voice and other trailer-like editing…and the trailer kept going… and going… until I realized the movie I thought we were going to watch was never going to come on, and this wasn’t a trailer, it was the actual movie Boris & Natasha.

You’ll either be very happy or very frustrated by this, but In The Loop is based on a British TV series called The Thick of It, which is also fabulous. The frustrating part is that it’s not available on DVD in the US. I was able to find the first episode on YouTube, though, and presumably they’re mostly there.

They aired,“Missiles of October” instead. GREAT movie!

Not movies, but still a serendipitous entertainment experience: In the early 1960s my mother and I took a trip to New York City. We wanted to see A Man for All Seasons, but it was sold out. Right across the street was a new musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Our feet were tired from walking all over town and we didn’t feel like going back to the hotel, so we took a chance on the musical. It was wonderful, and I became a lifelong fan of Stephen Sondheim.

Rarely now, but I used to do this all the time when I rented a lot of videos from Blockbuster or small video stores.

Usually, I would do a ton of research and figure out well in advance what I want to watch. However, when I go there, the movie I want is usually gone. So, I browse around and pick things with interesting boxes.

More often than not, what I get is crap. However, I have seen, through this method:

  1. Equilibrium: great film, first one I saw with Christian Bale. The main story is just a remake of Fahrenheit 451, but the fight scenes are amazing. The martial arts used was invented for this film (“gun kata,” which was also later used shittily in Ultraviolet.)

  2. Jet Li: I “discovered” him in the pre-Internet days through this method when I had watched all the Jackie Chan movies.

The first vcr tape I bought was because it was 5 bucks and that was just what I happened to have. I had never heard of it, knew nothing about it, but hey, it’s got Richard Dreyfus in there somewhere, and I like him.

Turned into one of my favorite movies of all time: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

An additional factoid is that this tape was not in the best of conditions, and there was a spot, where they show up at the castle under a bedsheet, where the video blurs for about 10 seconds. Over time, I have watched the tape so often that, apparantly, it’s stretched and ‘fixed’ itself, and is now perfect. O.o