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I like it when a movie turns out to be much better than I expected.  In the last year, two in particular surpassed my, albeit limited, expectations in a big way.

First off, there's Get Smart (Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson)  
 

 
I know this was released in the summer of 2008, but I didn’t see it until a couple of months ago when I stumbled across it on cable. The original TV series was okay at the time, but most of the humor seems dated now, which is why I wasn’t in a rush to see it.   

I came across it by accident when I channel-hopped into the latest version at around the point where Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) and Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) had gone undercover to crash a party of a KAOS agent. When I was still watching it twenty minutes later, I decided to DVR the whole movie the next time it was on. 

I’ve seen it several times since then. There’s something about Steve Carell’s Walter-Matthau-like sourpuss expression which works perfectly in this role. Get Smart is one of those films, like Mystery Men or Dodgeball, which I’ll watch again and again. 

The second nice surprise was Paul Blart: Mall Cop.   


Kevin James stars as Paul Blart, a mild-mannered mall cop in an entertaining, loser-turns-hero then gets the girl of his dreams, movie, which spoofs Die Hard in the same reverend manner that Hot Fuzz spoofed Point Break and Bad Boys II.  

This one didn’t make me L.O.L. out loud as much as the Get Smart remake, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.   

So there you have it, Get Smart and Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Two films which went from my ‘Meh’ list to my ‘Must have on DVD’ list. If you’re looking for a couple of ‘much better than you might expect’ movies to watch over the holiday period, I thoroughly recommend them both.

How about you?

Which movies are on your ‘Turned out much better than I expected’ list?

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Comments

( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
dferguson
Dec. 19th, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC)
Agree with you 100% on GET SMART. A movie that's much smarter, funnier and imaginative than I expected a remake of a TV show to be. And this is coming from somebody who's not a Steve Carell fan as I can't stand "The Office"

Don't agree on PAUL BLART, MALL COP. Kevin James is one of those people who just isn't funny to me and the movie was more like a pilot for a TV series on steroids than a real feature film.
jongibbs
Dec. 19th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
What about your own list? Aside from Get Smart, have any movies surprised you by being much better than you'd though?
(no subject) - dferguson - Dec. 19th, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Dec. 19th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
bondo_ba
Dec. 19th, 2009 03:02 pm (UTC)
Totally agree with you regarding Get Smart. I even watched the spinoff about his tech people, and enjoyed that as well!!

Is there a sequel in the works?
jongibbs
Dec. 19th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if a sequel's planned (or if it would work). Much as I enjoyed the movie, I don't think I'd want to see a second one.
bogwitch64
Dec. 19th, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if I can trust you on this one, Jon. I saw Get Smart and walked off after about 15 minutes. My husband, on the other hand, loved it! He also REALLY wants to see Mall Cop, so if your opinion and his match on Get Smart, I am certain he will love it.

:)
jongibbs
Dec. 19th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
If he liked Die Hard, he'll definietely love Mall Cop :)

by the way, I'm still not getting notified when you (or a bunch of other folks) comment :(

It's not so bad when they're made on my journal, but LJ doesn't add 'off-blog comments to the message box, so I don't know when people reply to comments I make on their journals.
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Dec. 19th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Dec. 19th, 2009 03:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
karen_w_newton
Dec. 19th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
X-Men-- the first movie. I was amazed at the depth of characterization in that movie, and the overall level of writing. It had some cool visual effects but it was the writing that made it a really good movie.

I will have to rent GET SMART. I wanted to see it but never got around to it.
jongibbs
Dec. 19th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
I really liked that first X-Men. Like you, I thought it had a lot more depth to it than expected.

Thanks for sharing :)
(Deleted comment)
mtlawson
Dec. 19th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
Doesn't he keep dying through the credits?
(no subject) - jongibbs - Dec. 19th, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
tracy_d74
Dec. 19th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
I can't think of a recent movie. I tend to find things go the other way, I am excited about a movie and it falls flat. Time Travelers Wife was one in this category . . .kinda. After I read the book, I knew the movie would suck. The book is too internally complex . . .IMHO this does not translate well to the screen.

An older movie that does fit this category. I am still to this day amazed at how much I loved this movie. The Matrix. I do not like Keanu Reeves. I always see him as one of the MC's from Bill and Teds Excellent Adventures or in Dracula (time of my life I will never get back . . . dear God! Why did I watch that movie?). But I LOVED (LOVE) The Matrix. Then again, Keanu doesn't talk too much. He is just one of those people who I have to say, "Wait, stop. I thought you were great until you started talking. Don't ruin this for me. Shhhh."
jongibbs
Dec. 19th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
I quite liked the matrix, but the two sequels didn't do it for me :(
(no subject) - tracy_d74 - Dec. 19th, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Dec. 19th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tracy_d74 - Dec. 19th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Dec. 19th, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tracy_d74 - Dec. 19th, 2009 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dferguson - Dec. 20th, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Dec. 20th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
pen37
Dec. 19th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
I was also pleasantly surprised by Get Smart. I wouldn't have seen it by choice, but it was the second part of a double feature. It was much better than I expected.
jongibbs
Dec. 19th, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
I thought Dwayne Johnson was pretty good in it too :)

Thanks for sharing :)
(no subject) - dferguson - Dec. 20th, 2009 08:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Dec. 20th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
raecarson
Dec. 19th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
The House Bunny was ten times better than I expected, though, in the interests of full disclosure, my expectations were LOW.
jongibbs
Dec. 19th, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen that. It looks like a sort of Legally Blonde movie. Is that right?
(no subject) - raecarson - Dec. 19th, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Dec. 19th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
ajjones
Dec. 19th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
You bringing up Kevin James brought to mind that movie 'Hitch' with Will Smith. I watched it while my nephew was visiting, and was expecting to merely tolerate a slapstick, cliche misogynistic dumb person movie. But it was actually just the opposite, sort of shining a spotlight on that very cliche, with a lot of smart humor that strayed from the normal 'men are like this and women are like this' type slop.
jongibbs
Dec. 19th, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC)
I really liked Hitch. I thought it was great that all his slick techniques, which seemed to work so well for other people, went horribly wrong when he tried them for himself.

The opening five minutes, where we see him getting all those couples together put me in a great mood for the rest of the movie.

Thanks for sharing :)

PS: Great icon :)
incandragon
Dec. 20th, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC)
Groundhog Day is the king of the movies that turned out MUCH better than I expected.

French Kiss is another one.

And in the realm of documentaries -- Hands on a Hardbody is described as "a bunch of people put their hands on a car and stand there for three days" and it's FABULOUS.
jongibbs
Dec. 20th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
I've always loved Groundhog Day. Especially the last fifteen minutes when he finally gets the day right :)
(no subject) - incandragon - Dec. 20th, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 36 comments — Leave a comment )

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