The title of this article is a bit of a misnomer, because to many a perfect movie is the stuff of legend, appearing as scarcely as the Loch Ness Monster or a good Val Kilmer movie since 1998. Okay, I'm being a little melodramatic, but you get my point: perfect movies are hard to come by, and there are many, many flawed films out there. One might even say almost all films are flawed.
But have you ever seen a movie that you couldn't help but love, even though it had everything and a half wrong with it? A movie that makes a lot of missteps but somehow manages to win you over? Well that's what this list is about; five movies riddled with flaws that pushed through and still managed to be great.
Les Miserables (2012)
From shaky cinematography to almost zero spoken dialogue (a huge turnoff to general audiences), to the casting of Russell Crowe, to a couple of inevitably annoying characters, to removal or replacement of songs from the musical, Tom Hooper's epic rendition of the smash Broadway hit had a lot stacked against it. But through it all, the film managed to shine with epic visuals, soaring music, immense spiritual resonance, and powerful performances from Hugh Jackman, Samantha Barks and Anne Hathaway (who nabbed an Oscar for her turn as a down-on-her-luck prostitute). And to be fair, Russell Crowe's acting was up to par as always, but his singing left much to be desired. Yes, the live recording of the music and the casting of actors instead of singers meant a few hiccups along the way, but there was nary a dry eye in the audience for this one.
Source Code (2011)
Boy, is this movie a mess. Basically, it's Groundhog Day if Groundhog Day tried to explain what was happening to its character using scientific mumbo jumbo and if there was a bomb and a train and Jake Gyllenhaal. Let me say it again: Source Code is a mess. The method that director Duncan Jones (who penned and helmed the brilliant Moon) uses to explain the story makes very little sense to begin with, and by the end of the movie all logic has gone out the window. What makes this movie work is its focus on character. Gyllenhaal's Colter is a genuinely good man who's been dealt a bad hand, and he decides to use it to do what he does best: help people. The movie may not make sense, but the sweet romance and human stories shone through in the end.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Yes, I know Bane's voice was ridiculous (but I actually liked it). Yes, I know that the scene where they realign Bruce's spine is silly. Yes, I understand that the movie is full of plot holes. Yes! I know that the climactic battle at the film's finish makes zero tactical sense on either side! Trust me, I know. I know that Christopher Nolan's follow-up to his brilliant (and perfect) 2008 masterpiece The Dark Knight fell short of all its hype. But how could it not? It had The Dark Knight to live up to, for crying out loud! All things considered, I think it did a pretty good job. Christian Bale played Bruce Wayne better than ever, Tom Hardy gave a physically imposing performance as the villainous Bane, all the supporting players brought their A-game, and the tone and scope of the film was absolutely epic. It may not have been as good as either of its predecessors, but it was a powerful and thought-provoking conclusion to a masterful trilogy, and I think it deserves some credit for that.
Shanghai Knights (2003)
Rehashing your plot for a sequel isn't a good idea. It just isn't. Shanghai Knights does almost everything that the first movie, Shanghai Noon, did, only this time they do it in England. There are scenes that are basically copy-pasted from the first film: humorous fight sequences, a scene where a character yells at the guard in a jail, a sexual fantasy gone horribly wrong... it all has a "been there, done that" feel to it. But believe it or not, Shanghai Knights is actually better than Shanghai Noon, at least in my opinion. Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson are even funnier, the villain is more cartoonishly sinister, the fights are better-choreographed and the whole venture is just straight-up funnier, and even more packed with references than the first. Shanghai Noon was a delight, Shanghai Knights is a perfect buddy movie.
The Majestic (2001)
Here's a movie that almost no one seemed to see. It's a wonderful little Jim Carrey gem that elicits another serious performance from Carrey and also serves as a perfect throwback to the days of Capra and Stewart. The core concept is quite silly, the actions of the characters improbable, and the whole movie is just a little too cloyingly earnest. But I guess I have a weak spot for earnestness, because this movie got me. Carrey is sensitive and subtle in it, the tone is wonderfully classic and the ending is reminiscent of classics like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It's a Wonderful Life. It's not a perfect movie, but it doesn't try to be. It just tries to be a good movie, and it succeeds at the end of the day.
What do you guys think? Am I way off-base here? Or am I missing some? Let us know in the comments!