The Vacation Read: What were your best and worst movie surprises?

At the start of this week, I mentioned the “Robocop” remake in passing as a way to get to a larger conversation about spoilers for things that are in production or in development.

One of the reasons I feel so protective of “Robocop” is because the original is one of the great movie memories of my life.  When the film came out in 1987, I was working at a theater, and the poster for the film was a source of constant amusement for us.  The tag line was “Part Man, Part Machine, All Cop,” and that plus the title was a recipe for cheese.  Or so it seemed.

A few days before the film was released, they screened it at midnight for the employees of the theater, and I was a believer by the time the closing credits rolled.  I was won over completely by the film, and I still think it’s a sort of a miracle.  The script, the cast, and Paul Verhoeven’s work as director… all of them came together in a way that was magic.  I look at it now, and I still can’t believe it exists.  It doesn’t feel like other films from the ’80s, it doesn’t really feel like anything else Verhoeven ever made, and looking at the sequels and the TV series that spun off from the film, it’s obvious that even the people who made it weren’t able to reproduce the film’s appeal.  Even if I didn’t hate the script for the new movie, I would still be skeptical just because I know how amazing it is that the film worked in the first place.

I live for those surprises, those films that work when you have no expectations at all.  Even better, when you walk in convinced that you’re going to see something terrible and the film just plain refuses to make it that simple.  Another great example from the ’80s for me was “Predator,” and in both cases, I feel like my low expectations may have actually helped.

My question for you today is what are the great movie surprises from your own experience?  And I’m curious about the inverse, of course, those movies that you were convinced were going to be great all the way up to the moment the closing credits rolled and you have to admit to yourself that it just plain didn’t work.  I know it took me several days after seeing the 1989 “Batman” to fully understand how much I disliked it because I was so completely onboard that it’s almost like I didn’t see the film the first time I sat through it.  I want to hear about the best surprises you’ve had and the worst, and I’m curious to see if there are titles that we all have in common or if there are titles you mention that I would have never expected.

I look forward to reading your responses to this and all the other topics this week, and I’m thanking you in advance for participating, even if you don’t normally participate.  If you guys don’t respond, this is going to be a very slow week here on the blog.  I’m counting on you, and I hope that by the time I return next Monday, I’ll know a lot more about you, and that I can use your answers to help make Motion/Captured even better.