There is something peculiarly delightful about watching a film, of which you have decidedly low expectations, and finding it to be pleasantly, surprisingly enjoyable. This post is about two films I expected nothing from but which surprised me with family-friendly, gentle, funny, sensitive stories. Both films deal with joy and love, loss and sadness.
The first movie is one I watched while I was sick with the flu. The advertising had led me to believe that Marley and Me would be a slapstick comedy about the antics of a crazy dog, but I rented the film because there wasn’t a lot else that I hadn’t seen and at least it would have (a) puppies and (b) Owen Wilson.
Don’t believe the advertising: it’s actually an intelligently humorous exploration of married life, the decision to have kids and the compromises that involves. The dog (Marley) is simultaneously pivotal and incidental; pivotal in that the film follows the timeline of his life, but incidental in that the film is really more about the human relationships that happen around him.
The second film I re-watched this weekend — In Good Company. The first time I watched it, I was a bit dubious. I hadn’t heard much about it, and although I loved Dennis Quaid in The Big Easy, he’s tended to make some spectacularly bad decisions about films in the last few years (Welcome to Sarajevo being a notable exception). So, I was worried. But this film is a lovely satire of the business world, and while the characters are stereotyped they’re also very real. I happily watched it a second time. The ‘synergy’ scene is absolutely priceless.
You won’t enjoy either of these films as much as I did because, by the very act of making the recommendation, I will have led you to expect more of these films than I did. But you might find them mildly enjoyable.