Small things you like in stuff you otherwise hate

I usually try to find something I like in movies, books, etc., even when I don’t like the work overall. Liking things is more enjoyable than disliking things. For me, this is especially the case with movies. I don’t get to go to the movies very often anymore, so when I do, I try to enjoy something even if the movie is crap overall. I’m getting away for a rare trip to the cinema, I’m paying a babysitter, by God I’m going to find something to enjoy!

For example:

I really didn’t like Eddie the Eagle. I found it hokey and predictable, and it strayed so far from the facts as to invent a major American character out of whole cloth. And I thought the portrayal of Eddie was simplistic verging on patronizing. Just not a very good movie at all. But… the ski jumping scenes were damned awesome. They were beautifully shot and really exciting. They should have just put 90 minutes of ski jumps to film and had the real Eddie the Eagle provide color commentary.

I hated Avatar. I thought the story was cliched and obvious, and the animation/effects were distracting and overdone rather than engaging. The dialogue was forgettable at best, and the acting didn’t grab me. But…I thought Giovanni Ribisi did a great job with his character. He nailed the banality of evil. And I liked the one Sam Worthington monologue where he asks something like, “what do we have that they [the Na’avi] want? Blue jeans?” I thought that was an interesting commentary on the US’ interactions with countries that don’t share the desires and assumptions that motivate us.

The movie version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was awful. Boring, cloying, and heavy handed. I’m not all that enamored of the source material, and I disliked almost everything about this movie. But… I got through it by watching Tilda Swinton. Great casting. And I really liked her costuming and makeup. I think the makeup people even put icicles in her eyelashes. That was a nice touch. She was a very good Winter Witch.

This thread isn’t meant to be limited to movies. Those are just the examples I could come up with at the moment.

Have at it.

I hated Avatar but I thought it was kind of pretty.

Avatar would make a great desktop background almost regardless of which scene you screencapped.

I’ll nominate the new The Time Machine, with Guy Pearce. Overall, an immensely forgettable movie. But Jeremy Irons don’t care. Jeremy Irons is going to chew scenery and sell his part if he has to haul a dead elephant up a steep, slippery slope to do it.

I’ll also nominate Jeremy Irons in Dungeons & Dragons, for the exact same reason. Not sure why I watched that film, and I certainly don’t recommend it, but some great scenery chewing.

I think I’ve mentioned this one before, but Kurt Russell really goes a long way towards making The Soldier a halfway decent film. He has basically no dialogue and yet you can tell every single thing that he’s thinking and feeling through the whole thing. It’s really a shame that you can’t win a Best Actor award in a crappy film. How good the rest of the film was should have no bearing on how people are judged for their discrete part. (Granted, the only way to accomplish that would be to make everyone who is voting watch literally every film that came out that year, which would be quite impractical.)

I’ve also mentioned before that the opening credits to The Watchmen is entrancing. The rest of the film…eh.

ETA: Technically, none of these are films that I hate, but I probably only hate 3 or so films, out of thousands that I have watched. Most are merely forgettable.

I recently mentioned John Carpenter’s “Ghosts of Mars” in another thread, so that comes to mind. It’s a bad movie, but it had two scenes that really stood out to me. In one scene, the characters have to retreat from being overrun by Martian ghost zombie cannibals, and do so by engaging in a two-by-two bounding overwatch maneuver. It’s really well executed cinematically, and it was cool to see actual tactical maneuvers used in a movie. There’s also a scene where they characters are rigging up makeshift weapons. They find demolition charges in mining supplies, and one of the characters points out that just chucking explosives isn’t actually that useful, so they use cans and nails to jury-rig fragmentation grenades. Of course, when they actually use them, the FX is just Hollywood fireball explosions :smack:.

I semi-agree about “Watchmen”. The opening credits are amazing. I actually liked the rest of the movie, but it isn’t nearly as good as those credits.

I thought the opening scenes of the attack on the White House in “Olympus Has Fallen” were thrilling (as long as you can keep your mind off of the various implausibilities), but after that…not even very good as a pure action movie.

The two Matrix sequels had some stand-out action set-pieces, but otherwise took themselves and their “philosophy” way too seriously. (The original had the same issues, but the jaw-dropping-action-set-piece to nonsensical-pseudo-philosophical-musing ratio was much better).

I think “The Orville” is just not a very good show. It’s part sit-com that isn’t actually funny, part drama that isn’t actually dramatic, and sci-fi that’s written by people that vaguely remember liking Star Trek when they were growing up but don’t actually know much of anything about it. On the other hand, it is unironically optimistic sci-fi, which I really miss. It seems like a legal mandate nowadays that all sci-fi in movies and TV must be grim, dark, gritty, and edgy, and include sinister government conspiracies. Also, the show can’t seem to decide if its characters are supposed to be bumbling idiots or hyper-competent Star Trek-eque Big Damn Science Heroes, but it did seem pretty consistent that they are all basically decent people trying to do the right thing, which is also something that’s vanishingly rare in modern movie and TV sci-fi. I didn’t like much of anything about the show - the dialogue, the acting, the plots, the “sci-fi” elements - but I still looked forward to it and watched it every week, just for that hit of optimism and simple niceness in sci-fi.

That moment where the connected “DD” lights on fire in the Daredevil movie was pretty cool, even if kind of stupid.

There was a really bad 3 Musketeers movie a few years ago that was boring…but had an amazing final fight that everyone should see.

The Invisible Agent was probably intended to be a screwball comedy. Unfortunately, nobody involved in the film had any talent for humor. However, Peter Lorre is an awesome villain, and his final scene is magnificent.

Young Guns allegedly tells the story of Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War. Like most of Hollywood’s attempts at history, it gets most of the important things completely wrong. But it gets a lot of small details right. In some early draft of the script, someone did some serious research.

Starcrash is a cheesy, low-budget attempt to cash in on the popularity of Star Wars. Christopher Plummer has a small role as the Emperor of the First Circle of the Universe. He is obviously just phoning it in for a quick paycheck. And yet, he still gives a better performance than the rest of the cast combined.

Riddles in the Dark was a really well done section of the Hobbit movies.

I despised “Birdman,” but it seemed like something I should have liked. So I tried it again, realized my hate was for the druggie, entitled daughter character, and fast forwarded over scenes in which she was heavily featured. Then I really liked the film.

I don’t vehemently hate the Star Wars prequels as much as some people, but I really do enjoy watching Ian McDiarmid hamming it up as Palpatine/Darth Sidious. Frankly I think his acting performance in the prequels carries the films more than anyone elses.

The original Casino Royale is a hot mess of a movie, but I do admire two things about it. The theme song is great (as long as it’s the instrumental version). And there’s just something so quintessentially '60s about it. I have a certain admiration for people who can create a style that’s recognizable and memorable, even if I don’t care for the style, itself. There was a sort of psychedelia/pop art mashup that’s just iconic. It hasn’t aged particularly well, but few movies embraced it so completely.

I haven’t seen The Orville but I like your description of it. I agree that sort of optimism would be refreshing, and quite astonishing that it’s from Seth MacFarlane.

I hate flying, but if I have to, when the attendant pushes that cart down the isle, you better believe I’m getting a Snappy Tom.

My favorite moment in *Apprentice in Death * by J. D. Robb is when Hillary Clinton High School is mentioned.

The book itself isn’t horrid, but it isn’t one of my favorites from the series, because it’s a little too ripped from the headlines. I like the ones that are more futuristic or more personal better.

Queen of the Damned is not a good adaptation, and it’s not a good movie. But the final few seconds as the main characters walk away while the Kidneythieves sing “Before I’m Dead” in the background - that I like.

That was cool. Wouldn’t have been out of place in a Jackie Chan movie.

I can’t say I HATED it exactly, but I didn’t care for ‘Minority Report’ and don’t remember much of it. I do, however, recall admiring the ‘umbrella scene’ in the mall. I just watched it again on youtube, still admiring!

Ladder fu! Made me smile.

I abhor flying too. But for some reason I can’t put my finger on, I kind of enjoy airport bars. They’re uninteresting chain places with mediocre food and drinks. But I kind of like sidling up to the bar for a big draft beer during a layover.

Tom Waits’ soundtrack to One From The Heart.

Krull was a largely forgettable entry in the mid 80’s minor boom in fantasy-lite: not the worst movie ever made, but pretty cheesy. James Horner’s soundtrack, however, was utterly magnificent, and deserved a much, much better movie: 35 years on and I can still whistle from memory the horn theme from Ride of the Firemares.

More like a Jet Li movie. Specifically, Once Upon a Time in China (1991):

Note that Jet Li's stunt double for this movie, Mr. Xin-Xin Xiong, was the stunt choreographer on *The Muskateer* (2001), as well as serving as Tim Roth's stunt double.

The 1978 TV movie Dr Strange was godawful and a travesty of an adaptation. The lead (and his porn 'stache) is terrible, the Ancient One is played by a white guy and Wong is played by a Hawaiian. Jessica Walter is surprisingly good as Morgan Le Fay, but the one thing I really liked was the (stop motion) Dormammu. Sure, he’s kinda off-model and cheesy (and unnamed), but he’s indisputably weird and cool.