Movies you have watched with low expectations only to be surprised by how much you like them.

I am just watching, for the second time, a movie that I only watched because the lead role is played by someone who rarely chooses a dud movie.

Flight with Denzel Washington. I saw the trailer at the movies and they made it seem like some formulaic poor victim of evil forces movie. But it is way way darker than that.

Second time round I am enjoying it even more.

Further suggestions invited.

Hot Tub Time Machine. Don’t eschew it based on the stupid name. Netflix kept recommending it and I just wanted something on in the background one day, as I tell people, I went in expecting Bill and Ted and got Back To The Future. It was funny basically from beginning to end. I think I’ve watched it two more times since then.

It’s called “The Catwoman Effect.” When you go to a movie with bottom of the barrel expectations, and of course the movie exceeds them.

I will often track down movies with good fight scenes, even if there’s only 1 minute of fighting in the entire film. Catwoman uses capoeira, which is one of 2 Hollywood films to have it.

Speaking of time travel, 12 Monkeys. The ads for it all looked extremely idiotic, but one evening I was visiting a friend and he was watching it, so I watched too to be polite. Best time travel movie I’ve ever seen.

I’ve never heard of capoeira, so I looked it up. Wiki lists several movies that have it.

I watched Babette’s Feast for the first time because it was on my Oscar nominees list. The description I had of it was basically, “Lady makes dinner for the town.” Sounded like nothing I really wanted to endure.

Boy, was I wrong. I wound up giving it a 9, and repeat viewings (thank you, Criterion Collection) will probably move it up.

The Hunger Games: Only watched this as “research” due to the popular style of PvP in Minecraft. Surprisingly entertaining, though the dialogue was flat and boring – I wouldn’t call it a “great” movie, but at least it did keep my interest.

Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones: After getting kicked in the teeth by the deplorable Phantom Menace, I probably enjoyed this one much more than it deserved.

Zathura: Wow, this movie caught me totally by surprise. Very entertaining, with engaging characters and a tightly-written plot (if a tad predictable – I figured out the ending “twist” almost immediately); and unlike Jumangi, where the dumb characters couldn’t figure out they should just stop playing the game, that wasn’t an option – the characters in Zathura must keep playing, in order to bring their house back from outer space. Definitely one of Jon Favreau’s best.

Pirates of the Caribbean. I mean, come on…a movie based on a theme park ride?

Also, Big Trouble in Little China…I was expecting some dumb kung-fu flick. Which, to some extent, it was. But that didn’t stop it from being great fun!

The Gate (1987) - I just knew this was going to stink on ice, but–BIG SURPRISE–I really enjoyed it. Went in expecting a 1 star film, came out feeling I’d seen a 6 to 7 (out of 10) star movie.

Borat. I walked into this pretty much convinced it was going to be unfunny, that it would just substitute filth and/or OMG can you believe he just… shock value for humor.

I laughed pretty much the entire way through.

Babe – yes, the pig movie. It was far more enjoyable than I expected. Though in a later viewing, it didn’t hold up particularly well. The cuteness was stale.

The Doberman Gang (1972). Don’t know why I went – maybe because my girlfriend liked dogs – but I expected it to be awful. Instead it was an entertaining caper flick; the dogs were fun to watch, and the ending was a hoot.

It also has pre-megastar Josh Hutcherson and Kristen Stewart!

I thought this was a movie with James Garner as the lead, but apparently not. Wasn’t there some movie with James Garner and a doberman?

“They Only Kill Their Masters,” with Katherine “Hubba-hubba, Ahh-ooooogah, Daddy Likee” Ross.

On Golden Pond. I expected to hate it just because of Jane Fonda’s participation. I ended up really liking it. Years later I got to see a stage production (starring Don Knotts) and liked it even more.

Hunger Games -

**BattleShip **(this was a real surprise)

??? In the Katharine Hepburn role? As an anthropomorphized fish in the lake?

Sorry for the cheap shots, but I just can’t picture it. Now you’re going to tell me he was surprisingly good in the role.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Rented it a few months back and enjoyed it. Sure it’s ridiculous, but that’s kind of the point.

Seriously - food porn! I adore the movie, and I love the way that the poor feckless General doesn’t realize that everybody is only supposed to barely tolerate that evil foreign food and subverts everything by reminiscing about the wonderful food in Paris. One of my absolute favorite movies, and I would love to see a well dubbed version made so it would be more widely accepted here. Americans and their dislike for subtitled foreign films sucks ass.