Films that exceeded your expectations

Last Saturday night I was feeling under the weather and chose to stay in. I saw that “Pitch Perfect” was the movie of the week on HBO and figured what the heck, I need something mindless for background noise while I browse the net.

I ended up closing my laptop and watching the whole thing. It was funny and quirky and winning, with a great soundtrack. When Fat Amy revealed her deep secret I lost it.

Frailty. I got it from the bargain bin at Wal-Mart and popped it in on a lazy weekend with nothing else to do. It wound up being one of my favorite movies. What a cool mind-fuck of an ending.

Casablanca. High expectations handily exceeded.
Wasabi. Jean Reno in Japan. Seems like standard B-movie fare but it has a charm about it.

Yeah, I also didn’t expect much from that one and ended up really being impressed by it.

Kodachrome 200

I wasn’t expecting a very fine grain, as I had been using Ektachrome 400 and FujiChrome 400, which were fine films, but nothing to write home about with regards to grain. (As least the earlier version)

When PKL came out, I was pleasantly blown away. Fine grain, excellent sharpness and color. Expensive, but it was worth it. I pushed it a few times, but didn’t like the results, esp since it was so expensive to do that. I don’t remember if it was Kodak doing it or Qualex.

Many, but I’ll mention The Doberman Gang. It sounds like it’d be really awful (people training Dobermans to rob banks), but the movie has a goofy charm, and the ending is a delight.

Spring Breakers. From the trailers and posters, it looked like a terrible teen film, but I read a couple of reviews that suggested otherwise. It turned out to be an incredible (though flawed) art film deconstructing the whole idea of teen exploitation/“Gone Wild” type films, with an astonishing, hypnotic structure and pace. Also, James Franco’s performance is one of the greatest I’ve ever seen.

There’s another poster here who will say it’s their favourite film of the year (Equipoise maybe). I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s certainly the most unexpected.

I got talked into going, so my expectations weren’t high at all, but I didn’t think The Hangover III sucked. Definitely had its moments. Far better than the 20% it got on Rotten Tomatoes, IMHO.

It’s my favorite so far, but there’s a lot of year and many movies to go. It’ll almost certainly be in my Top 5. Then again, I could be disappointed with the upcoming movies. Last year, my two favorite films of the year (Moonrise Kingdom and Bernie) were released in June. I expected them to be knocked off of the top spots, but they weren’t.

I agree with everything you said about it, er, except for the flawed part. But yeah, I didn’t expect much either, though I knew that the combo of Harmony Korine and James Franco would be interesting, and that’s why I wanted to see it. I didn’t know anything about the plot and hadn’t seen any trailers. Blown. Away.

Speaking of Bernie, I was a bit surprised at how good it was. I don’t remember hearing much, or anything, about it when it was released. I got it out of Redbox one night and really enjoyed it.

House of Games with Joe Mantegna.

I had nothing to do one afternoon and thought I’d kill time by watching this movie I had never heard of but, hey, what else did I have to do?

Turns out that it was a terrific flick. Extremely clever and sucks you right in. A hugely unappreciated film that FAR exceeded my expectations.

Jack Black totally should have been nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for that role. I’m completely serious.

My wife and I totally agree with you. It was another blow to my tenuous faith in “the system” when he got passed over for even a nomination.

I was surprised by Bernie, and this weekend, I was surprised by Goon. It’s a lot better than most sports movies, to say the least. The characters are pretty 3 dimensional, and I actually cared about them by the end of it.

Heh, I saw this the other day. Not sure I’d call it “good”, but it was different. Like Terrance Malick directed a “Girls Gone Wild” video.

Good call on Franco’s performance though. I didn’t realize it was him till I read your post.

The Terminator

24-Hour Party People: the story of Tony Wilson and Factory Records (well, sort of).

Surprisingly engaging and outright funny in places. Don’t believe a word of it but enjoy the trip.

I agree.

Yes, I really enjoyed 24-Hour Party People, too.
The Guard was another movie that was better than I had expected. Very entertaining. There was a thread about it a while back.

Galaxy Quest. Took my young daughter to see it on the hottest day of the year (we’d already seen whatever other ‘family films’ were showing at the time), knew nothing about it, just wanted to spend an afternoon in a cool space. We were both blown away and went home and told my husband, "I think, today, we saw a movie we would all give a “10”. " And so it was! One of our very favorites, watched over and over.

Some years later we took grandma to see “Chicago” and the opening number was SO good! The three of us sat there saying, “this is so good, this is so good”. We really enjoyed “Chicago”, not knowing anything about it or having heard most of the songs. Grandma loved Richard Gere, too. (ok, I can hear the derisive laughter right over the internet, but it won Oscars.)

Fantasia. Went to see it in college after having seen clips of it on Disney’s show on Sunday nights throughout my childhood, so I figured it wouldn’t be that surprising. Blew me away. I went back every night for the two weeks it played.

I had pretty low expectations for The Matrix when I got dragged to the theater by some friends to see it. The trailers for it just hadn’t impressed me all that much. I ended up being blown away by it.

Cabin in the Woods and Tucker & Dale Vs Evil are both horror movies with an intelligent fresh spin on the genre. Liked them way more than I thought I would.