You even notice how much your expectations of a film effect how much you enjoy it when you finally see it? You know what I mean. You think a movie that your girlfriend is dragging you to will totally suck, and then because it was “ok”, you actually walked out thinking “that was pretty good”, not that it was “ok”.

Or, look at it from the other point of view. You think a film will just rock. It will be a 9 out of 10 AT LEAST. But then is only ends up being a 7 out of 10 (still pretty good), but because your expectations were so high you walked out of the theater thinking “That sucked”.

So this is the dilemma that I’m facing today. I’m heading into Toronto to see a special screening of Revenge of the Sith today, and my expectations couldn’t be higher. I think this film has the potential to be the best of all the Star Wars films. But that worries me. What if the film is just an 8 out of 10…. will I NOT enjoy myself? Are my own expectations going to ruin what could otherwise be a really fun movie for me?

So I was wondering… have you ever had a movie that really stands out to you that your expectations either ruined for you (because your expectations were so high that you didn’t enjoy what was otherwise a pretty good film) or made for you (because your expectations were so low you ended up enjoying it even though it really wasn’t that good)? Let me know your thoughts.

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31 thoughts on “Expectations

  1. Yes, definitely.

    When I saw Saw, I just wanted to see it. My friend and I went together and it just blew our minds, we though it was great. It screwed with me just enough for me to love it for all that it was worth. I walked in expectin something iffy, came out lovin it.

  2. The seminal expectations vs. reality movie for me was Batman 3 (whatever it was called).

    I was SO stoked to see it and it was so amazingly terrible. That was the beginning of my cynicism towards movies that suck.

    Of course the other biggie for me was Star Wars Episode I.


  3. Matrix 2 was the biggest letdown for me. The best example I have for what went wrong with that one was what my 9th grade English teacher always beat into my head for writing stories and essays: Don’t tell me, show me. The Matrix was a “show me” movie and the next two were “tell me” movies, if that makes any sense. Against any other standard than the first movie, the second and third would’ve been pretty good.

    Having completely lowered my expectations for Matrix 3, I found the third to be more enjoyable.

    Phantom Menace was another that didn’t meet expectations so where otherwise I might judge it as ok, it sunk down to the label of sucky.

    I had no expectations really for Pirates or Sin City, and I enjoyed those a lot.

  4. Yeah, my expectations often affect how much I enjoy a movie. I expected “Finding Neverland” to be something spectacular, based on the reviews, but was left feeling “eh” when it was over. Conversely, I looked at the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes for another Depp movie “The Ninth Gate” and expected an utter pile of crap, but ended up buying it because I thought the film had a really cool vibe. I think I’d make a lousy film critic.

  5. Im the exact opposite of you Kevin. I’d heard all kinds of praise for Pirates and found it to be a HUGE let down.

    And Sin City more then met the hype for me.

  6. I expected nothing from the disney movie, Pirates of the Carribean. The million tv spots that were airing solidified my lack of desire to watch it (you wanna feel pain? try wearing a courset!). However, it was a really fun movie with some great acting (johnny depp).

    High expectations ruined sin city for me. so sad.

  7. Luke you’re looking for a fight aren’t ya?

    I admit I too am a Batman fiend, & since hearing the news of Bateman {Bale} becoming Batman I have been in anticipation for this one. I was discussing this very idea of hype with my movie mad friends though & we came to the conclusion that it does vary per person & film but it was safe to say even if the film is a total letdown we’l love it quote & watch it repeatedly until we die .. or they make another sequel’

    We still haven’t stopped watching American Psycho on a bi-weekly basis.

    As for Episode III in the past I have felt that the trailers give away too much & for this reason this time round I have watched none. I am going to watch the film before reading any reviews or watching any trailers. I’ve taken this point so seriously that I made a point of walking into cinemas 12 minutes after showtime so i miss the ad’s! Almost missed the orange advert yesterday … which kicks ass by the way! :)

  8. Gangs of New York… I felt SO disappointed at that film that ir took me almost four months to be sure enough to go to a cinema theater. That also happens to me when I see a masterpiece (which so rarely happens).

    (Listening to the final cue of Sith soundtrack right now “A new hope and End Credits”)

  9. ….where’s the love for Batman Begins?….. Star Wars is one of the most overrated series,All most as much as the Bond Series(ALL MOST!!)…I know that will upset a lot of you WOOKIE lovers but deep down you know its true..

    A movie I had zero expectation for and I found good was BoonDock Saints.. good stuff..
    Also Rush Hour 2 WHICH I LOVE NOW!!

  10. Because I’m expecting Episode III to suck donkey balls like the other prequels, I’ll probably enjoy it. Because I expect Batman Begins to be the GREATEST SUPERHERO MOVIE OF ALL TIME (dueling with The Incredibles), I’ll probably be disappointed, even though Batman Begins will undoubtedly be a far better movie than Episode III.

  11. “Apart from Simone’s choice (where have you been Simone? No comments for an age!)”


    Rich, that comment about “The Phantom Menace” couldnt have come from me, it was from Simon. And you should have known by now that I will never say that about any of the prequels. ‘Cause I actually liked TPM! I feel touched though that you’ve missed my posts! *winks* I have been offline for a while as I am on annual leave (YEHEY!) and have not got access to the Internet as I am also in between flats. Anyway, after reading your comment I thought I had to post, missed you all over here! Enough about my sad life now then. *winks*

    I think one of the movies I had quite high expectations of and didnt deliver the goods shall we say was “Signs”, well at least on first viewing. You can call me daft but I thought it really was about aliens! I left the film feeling really duped and when I told my sister who loved it she was laughing at me. She asked me to watch it again and gave me the warning not to look for anything in the film and just enjoy it. On second viewing, it did deliver, I love that film now. Since then I have learned not to believe in all the drumbeating and the hype and just enjoy a film.

    I suppose another reason that can contribute to our having high expectations is if there will be a film adaptation of really good novels. A case in point is my disappointment with “Bourne Identity”, which was later on redeemed by “Bourne Supremacy”. Remakes can also make you feel shortchanged, so when I do go and see this films, I just take it for what they are and try not to expect so much.

    As for Episode III, I have very HIGH expectations for it and for some reason, I am just positive it will deliver, if not, I’ll shut up for a while. If I can help it! :-)

  12. As many are saying – SW:TPM was the ultimate in ruined expectations. Personally, as someone who was fairly apathetic to the idea of prequels in the first place, it didn’t crush me, but you could see huge chunks of online fandom burst into chaos. Expectations were much, much too high there. And I saw it on a smaller, more personal scale with AOTC when an entire mailing list was in danger of imploding because of strong feelings on both sides.

    Generally though, I try not to expect too much of movies, and thus am pleasantly surprised if things do work out.

  13. G.I. Jane

    My girlfriend at the time drug me to that film, and I ended up really liking it. To this day it is one of my top 100 films.

    There was no way any film in the world would live up to my excitement for Phantom Menace.

    Also, the recent Hitchhikers Guide was horrible, and I was very excited to see that too.

  14. Shrek actually made me keep my expectations low for every movie thereafter. The trailers looked so great and the actual movie was a huge letdown. The Smashmouth pop songs, mediocre jokes, so-so writing all detracted from a pretty good story idea and great art direction.

    Nowadays, I try not to get so excited about movies based on trailers. The unfortunate exception is EpIII. Damn, I’m getting excited for this. I hope it’s good.

  15. In days gone by, I watched movies regularly and didn’t get bent out of shape when disappointed, regardless of the hype. On the other hand, I took good movies for granted. Examples of each case are: “The Hunt for Red October” and “Forrest Gump,” respectively. “Easy come, easy go,” was how I rolled. If most moviegoers didn’t share that attitude, filmmakers would be forced to separate the dastardly duo: Bad Movies and Bogus Hype. Heck if they did that, they’d probably shoot more good productions.

    Lately, I have little free time and am more selective about what I’ll watch. The result: I downright resent mediocre movies, much less bad ones, and I’m delighted by unexpected gems like National Treasure.

  16. In days gone by, I watched movies regularly and didn’t get bent out of shape when disappointed, regardless of the hype. An example: “The Hunt for Red October.” “Easy come, easy go,” was how I rolled. Most moviegoers must share that attitude, otherwise filmmakers would be forced to separate the dastardly duo: Bad Movies and Big Hype.

    Lately, I have little free time and am more selective about what I’ll watch. The result: I downright resent mediocre movies, much less bad ones, and I’m delighted by unexpected gems like National Treasure.

  17. Interesting, my take on Blade 2 is opposite to Trysops…I thought the first one was gawd-awful (with the exception of the Blood-Rave at the beginning), so I thought the second film was waaaay better (not perfect mind you) then the first one.

    In fact, I have never understood the love for the original blade and the Ire directed at the second one…

  18. It’s all about the hype…I managed to see Lost in Translation, Sideways, Blair Witch Project and Cabin Fever at film festivals, so there was nearly ZERO hype (only the expectations based on quality of directors previous films). Because of this, I enjoyed all of these films.

    I also agree, I was let down by MiB2 (and I wasn’t even a big fan of the first one) as well as Spidey 2 (and even…gasp…X-men 2 which couldn’t possibly live up to the quality of it’s opening sequence).

    On the other hand, I had gigantic expectations for Sin City and the film met the in spades. Ditto on Shaun of the Dead.

    I went in with low expectations for The Frighteners and probably praise that film more than it deserves.

    I’ve seen Infernal Affairs suffer due to over-hyping, and I’m sure that this problem will plague the upcoming Scorcese Remake.

    /end ramble

  19. I’ve had a few were my wacked out expectations made for a good/bad experience…In the high expectation-crappy movie category the one that comes to mind is Balistic: Ecks vs Sever (what can i say, i’m a Lucy Liu fan…but even a total nude scene wouldn’t have saved it). Another added to that is Meet the Fockers, shameful shameful.

    And in the low-expectation-great movie I would say (unlike Ray) that Sideways was a great movie…

  20. Here are a few of mine:

    Blade 2 – tons of anticipation, cool first film, yet extremely sucky sequel. A let down on so many levels. What is odd, however is that it’s better on TV. Rating: Still sucks.

    Lost in Space – cool-looking design, neat trailer, however I’ve never been this close to falling asleep in the theater. Rating: Snorefest.

    Saw – tons of press, etc. and I spent the last 10 minutes rolling on the floor laughing. Rating: Great Comedy.

    Cabin Fever – great press, tons of reviews so I was ready of some serious horror. All of that came undone before my eyes. One of the worst films I’ve seen and a terrible horror movie. The kid that flipped out and yelled ‘PANCAKES’ while doing drop kicks was the best part of the movie. And that was a pretty stupid scene. Rating: 2 Pancakes.

    Men in Black 2 – I was really, really excited about this one. Went opening night. Wished I hadn’t. Probably the most dissappointing film I’ve ever seen. What a waste. Rating: Sucked.

    Well that’s all I can think of. Hope I haven’t stomped all over anyone’s favorite movies too badly. Hopefully Revenge of the Sith won’t dissapoint. Have a great time today at the screening, John!

  21. 13 Going On 30. I thought it would be another boreing crap fest for teen girls to gaga over , and it turned out suprisngly well. Nothing superb or anything , but a good flick I’d watch again if it came on.

  22. Sin City
    House of D
    Hitchhiker’s Guide

    My expectations have made it a crappy month for me.

    Ir Revenge of the Sith lets my down my head will explode.

  23. I agree with dRob. Spider-Man 2, although better than the original was not the greatest comic book movie of all time (that goes to X2).

    Last movie I had high expectations was Kill Bill Vol. 2. Although more of a character peice, I still felt it lacked the energy of the first one.

  24. Good post.

    Apart from Simone’s choice (where have you been Simone? No comments for an age!) I’d definitely say Blair Witch.

    I got the hype, the websites, documentaries, everything that makes it look real, that really got me excited about it. Then the movie was premiered and I started hearing the real story and that it was a cleverly orchestrated hype to build up the tension outside of the cinema.

    When I finally went to see it I had to really concentrate and try to forget what I had heard. I tried to put myself in the place of one of those audience members in one of the first ever screenings, someone who either didn’t know or wasn’t sure about the faked hype.

    Once I did that I really did appreciate it for what it was trying to do.

    You really need to try and do that John. Forget the hype, try and forget your expectations, or at least lower them. Concentrate a bit more on the quality of the first two and don’t expect too much. Then if it’s a superb movie you’ll be much more appreciative.

    Difficult to do though, really difficult.

  25. Reign of fire – dragons in the future should make a damn fine film and yet it was mediocre, i guess it isnt that bad but it is still listed as one of the worst films i have ever seen

  26. Sideways I expected a lot out of… BUT NO!,I guess everyone finds a movie better then it is when they expect it to be crap…. XXX2 THO it was bad, I didn’t think it was as bad as people where saying…Now… hopefully this law that movies are worse if you have high expectations for them is false, because I hope Batman begins is a 20 out of 10… OR at least as good as the first movie in the series.

  27. Happens to me all the time. I had zero expectations for the first Spider-man movie, and I thought the previews at the time made it look like a kids flick. Some friends dragged me to see it opening day and I absolutely loved it.

    Sadly, the exact opposite happened with Spider-man 2. I remember first seeing the teaser trailer for the first time in front of Return of the King and I wasn’t breathing the whole 3 minutes. When I finally saw the movie it felt like a 7/10 despite how great everyone says it is.

    Anyway, good luck with RotS. Looking forward to the audio edition.

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