• Thu, Jan 30 - 3:09 pm ET

14 Movies That Look Crappy But Are Actually Really Great, According To Our Commenters

Little kid in a hood excited in a carseat(via)

So yesterday we did an open thread to find out from you guys if there were any amazing movies out there that we were missing out on because they looked kind of crappy. You know, the kind of movies where you saw the trailer, whispered, “Um, no thank you,” to the person next to you at the theater, and never thought about again a day in your life?

Turns out some of those movies are actually good, because you can’t always judge a book by its cover and nobody’s perfect or whatever. But luckily we all have each other’s backs, and we’re here to lift each up when we stumble…or have a particularly judge-y reaction to a perfectly wonderful movie.

So here they are, friends, the unsung heroes of the Netflix queue. You oughta be ashamed of yourself for writing them off in the first place.

1. Penelope

This was my choice, but one echoed by many of our commenters. It’s a movie starring Christina Ricci as a young girl cursed with the nose of a pig. Only watch if you’re completely at peace with developing a crippling, lifelong crush on James McAvoy.

2. Young Adult

If you’re in the mood for a dark, depressing comedy, reader lizinthelibrary recommends Young Adult, which isn’t the fluff piece you might be imagining.

“Somehow I had written this off as a stupid comedy, but netflix kept recommending it on my streaming selections. So I watched it eventually. It’s dark and depressing and the main two characters are basically awful people and I love it. Because it is trying to be cynical and depressing and realistic.”

3. About Time

If anyone was gonna be cynical about a Rachel McAdams time-traveling movie, it was gonna be my editor, Jenni, but she said she was shocked by how much she loved this movie when she saw a screener last year:

“It was one of my most favoritest movies this year. And I went into it completely prepared to hate it and call it a sequel to The Time Traveler’s Wife.”

4. Be Kind Rewind

Perhaps you, like our writer Jill, were skeptical of this film when it came out, but I’m gonna let her talk you right out of it:

“I heard so many people make fun of it when it came out, but I loved it. It’s so sweet and charming. I’m such a Michel Gondry fan because he has such a homemade style. So it’s appropriate that he made a whole movie ABOUT making homemade movies.”

5. Brazil

Everything so far has been fairly modern, but now we get a little blast into the past with a movie from 1985, recommended by reader Sara, and seconded by MCR:

“Brazil. Netflix recommended it to me like crazy for the longest time, so I broke down and watched it. I hadn’t realized it was by Terry Gilliam, and it just looked like some crappy 80s movie about South America. It ended up being a really creative futuristic satire about bureaucracy. It’s beautifully shot, too. Never would have guessed!”

6. Stardust

I’ll admit that I had no interest in seeing this movie when it came out, but I’m reconsidering now based on this review from Christina Kwan:

“It’s got a Princess Bride feel and is just so funny and sweet. I love it!”

7. TiMer

I don’t even need Reese to encourage me to watch this one, because I caught it on Netflix about a year ago, and I was so pleasantly surprised. Super cute movie, clever rom-com structure.

“Much better than I expected and John Patrick Amedori is just really sweet.”

8. Strictly Ballroom

It could probably look outdated given that it came out in 1992, but Abby k. wants you to check out Strictly Ballroom anyway:

“Great soundtrack and fantastic characters.”

9. Evolution

And then our same friend Abby jumps into the future nine years to 2001, to recommend the sci-fi comedy Evolution that came out then, saying it’s “just ridiculously funny!”

10. Love And Other Disasters

It always looked like kind of a jokey cheese-fest to me, and even the reader who recommended it admits that it shouldn’t be good:

“I have no idea why I love it—it should be mind numbingly awful. But I love it more every time I watch it. It really highlights how charming Brittany Murphy was. I’m also an incurable romantic.”

11. In Bruges

I remember seeing the preview for this with a group of college friends, and it looked so dumb that it became almost a joke between us. But elle says it wasn’t, and that anyone who hasn’t seen it is missing out!

“Right after I saw it (by myself, nobody would go with me) I kept telling everyone to see it but they kept telling me it looked so stupid. It isn’t, and it proved what I had been saying ever since Collin Farrell came on my radar-he can act he just chooses terrible movies to be in.”

12. Georgia Rule

It’s gonna take some real convincing to get me to believe a Lindsay Lohan movie is good for anything other than schadenfreude, but a recommendation from our coworker Caitlin is a step in the right direction:

“I freaking love Georgia Rule. It’s a lot better than people give it credit for.”

13. It’s Complicated

You don’t have to convince me of the merits of It’s Complicated, because I saw it myself and enjoyed it. But I know there are people out there who turned up their nose at it, so take it from Julia:

The team of Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, and Meryl Streep is unbeatable. Everyone is beautiful and despite the family dysfunction they love each other and communicate well. There’s just the right number of Krasinski hijinks. Meryl owns a bakery that only exists in my dream future. I also like literally any movie that features this song:

14. The Runaways

And finally, from my coworker Meg comes an almost-recommendation for a movie she vaguely remembers seeing. But we like Meg, so we’ll trust her judgement, OKAY GUYS?!?

“In fairness, I don’t remember a whole lot about the movie besides really liking their covers of the Runaways’ songs and also Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett which confirmed my belief that she doesn’t get enough acting credit. I checked on Rotten Tomatoes and this movie has barely fresh rating so I feel like this kind of fits the bill – not so bad it’s embarrassing, but not really beloved.”

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  • http://maitribathbody.com/ Maitri

    I already have a mad crush on James McAvoy from XMen.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      It’s gonna get worse before it gets better, I promise you.

    • Eimear

      Watch Atonement and your crush will be sealed for llife

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Oh my god, I was over and done with before that even came around, but YES.

  • Stevious

    Stardust is based on a Neil Gaiman novel and has a stellar cast. I highly recommend. Also, The Runaways was surprisingly good. I’m not a big K-stew fan, but I thought the role was well suited for her.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Meg will be so pleased!

  • Amanda Lee

    No… just no for Young Adult. It was a horrible movie. I wanted to leave while watching it because I wanted to punch Charlize Theron’s character in the face. While I understand that the main character does not have to be the protagonist, there was not one single redeeming quality about her character. She wasn’t even funny (and I get wit/sarcasm humor). Just scene after scene of awkward moments.

    Basic premise: Charlize Theron gets a mass email from her ex announcing that his wife and him just had a baby. She deems this as the sign that her and her ex were meant to be together because he reached out to her (setting aside the fact that it was a birth announcement and mass email). So she goes back to her home states, acts like an asshole to people she grew up with and family, proceeds to insert herself in her exes life while shoving new wife and baby out of the way every time. Not funny, not even cringeworthy. More along the lines of “how is no one beating the crap out of her for her behavior?” rage inducing. Turns out that the wife sent the email. Hah!

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I think he probably meant for her to be a deplorable person, though. I saw the movie, and I felt like that character choice was intentional. Do you disagree?

    • Amanda Lee

      I know she is meant to be a deplorable person, but I still couldn’t stomach the movie. I don’t know what it is about the movie, but keeping that in mind didn’t help. I guess I didn’t like how the other characters reacted to her. I just have an inexplicable hatred for this movie.

      Same with There Will Be Blood.. The screechy violins in the intro got on my nerves so much that I got mad at the person who took me because I wanted to leave and they didn’t.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Oooh, I haven’t seen There Will Be Blood.

  • carrie thompson

    In Bruges is really, really good.
    Stardust is charming and much better than I expected.

    I own Penelope- James McAvoy is my (imaginary) wee Scottish lover.

  • Guest

    I absolutely LOVE Stardust! Definitely has the Princess Bride humor, cheesiness (in just the right amount that it is lovable), and fantastic cast. I have convinced many a skeptical friend to watch this with me and most come out singing its praises.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I’m gonna have to take a look!

  • jenni268

    Strictly Ballroom is one of my favorites. It took a minute for me to get into it, but then I watched it a couples times more! It’s cheesy and different and perky and funny-in-a-weird-way and DIFFERENT :) It’s one of my newest favorites.