I saw a bunch of new films during the last couple of months and there were a lot of pleasent surprises. I had no real interest in most of these and only watched them when there was nothing else on. I was certain these movies below were going to suck serious ass. I was wrong. Crazy/Beautiful Kirsten Dunst and Jay Hernandez give great performances to this well made romantic drama about a mixed-up bad girl from a rich family who falls in love with a poor latino boy with a bright future ahead of him. Will she destroy his chance at success or will she overcome her problems with her family and become part of that success? This movie choked me up a few times which is very hard to do. It also realistically portrays high school teens which is very rare in most movies today. A Knight's Tale This movie simply had THE WORST marketing campaign ever. The commercials had me not wanting to go near this one when it came out. When all was said and done I had just watched a witty, intelligently written and well-paced medieval film that was lightyears beyond it's awful marketing. Even the modern music (which featured one of my favorite Bowie songs) worked well and gave it a very different feel from your standard movie fare. Searching For Bobby Fischer Simply put, this movie blew me away. When I saw the preview I thought, "Wow, a kid's film about chess. What could be more boring." Man, was I wrong. This film is not just about chess. It's about doing the right thing for your child and not letting competitiveness get in the way of loving or being decent to others. The atmosphere is also pitch perfect. This film is one of the best dramas I have ever seen and would easily place it among the best the genre has to offer. Josie & The Pussycats Anything with any connection to MTV I immediately run away from, but this movie had a great take on how fake and manufactured pop music is today. Being yourself was the definite theme of this movie and I can't really think of a better film for teens in that regard. Most of the humor works really well and Parker Posey is great as the movie's ego driven, commercialist villian. Also, Rachel Leigh Cook is about as hot as you can get in this and sweet to boot. Donnie Darko I didn't know a thing about this when I rented it. It looked intriguing but I had never heard anything about it so I figured maybe it wasn't that good and was forgotten. I'm glad I took a chance, this movie was fabulous. After finding out when it was released (just before Sept. 11) it was obvious this movie didn't get the release it deserved, since it involved a piece of an aircraft falling on a home. This movie is about second chances. Oh, and something about time travel. It has great performances across the board, a great soundtrack and looks incredible for the small budget it had. I liked that it kept you guessing until the very end when it all comes together perfectly, but leaves a couple of things open for you to interpret yourself. Bring it On Beyond teenage cheerleaders and Kirsten Dunst, I figured this would offer me nothing, but it was in fact really funny and interesting. I like good sight gags and this had those in plenty as well. There was a scene where Kirsten's little brother goes up to her and farts at her while she's on the phone. This, I believe, was the first fart joke to ever ring completely true in a movie and was totally appropriate. Even though it involved some race issues, it never took itself seriously. Is it just me, or does Eliza Dukshu need a ton of make-up to look decent? Anyway... So what movies surprised you?