Here is an example of a movie I imagined could not possibly be good. Tom Cruise doing the spy thing again. Cameron Diaz doing.. whatever it is she does. Possess breasts separated by about two yards, I guess. On the other hand, it’s directed by James Mangold, who did 3:10 to Yuma, Cop Land, and others, but still. I don’t give a damn about the Scientology and the couch-jumping, but Cruise does nothing for me. Except in Top Gun. Even then, I’m probably just transferring my unending love for Val Kilmer.

But Knight and Day is kind of awesome. It has some very, very funny scenes and some pretty good dialogue. Parts of it even satirize the “Tom Cruise kicks ass until no unbruised asses remain on planet Earth” thing. A couple moments are a little sitcommy, like when Diaz screeches around machinegunning the entire set, but the missteps are rare. Somehow, impossibly, this movie entertained me really hard.

About 3 times out of 4, my read on a movie (given its cast, crew, trailers, etc.) prior to seeing it is pretty much on the mark. Of the remaining quarter, I usually just have my doubts moderately overcome, or my expectations moderately dashed–what I thought would be at best a C movie ends up a B-, say, or something I thought would pull at least a B could only manage a C+.

Once in a while–somewhere between 5-10% of the time–my pre-judgment is just totally, totally wrong. Most of the time, something I thought would blow turns out to rock. Knight and Day is one of those times.

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