Most Surprising Movies

Story posted February 28, 2023 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by Commradio Staff

Sometimes people go into a movie expecting one thing and getting something totally different. Members of our CommRadio arts and entertainment department wrote about movies that surprised them with how good it was, or specific aspects that they didn’t expect.

“Tick, tick… BOOM!”

For some reason, the beautiful creation that is Hamilton was not enough to convince me that “tick, tick… BOOM!” was going to be a good watch and it really took me by surprise.

Lin Manuel Miranda did an amazing job adapting Jonathan Larson’s work into film.

The direction for each of the numbers was intriguing and kept me glued to my screen.

With film, directors have the chance to use spaces in ways that are impossible in theater and Miranda was mindful of that advantage.

The song “No More” is a fairly creative example of creative directing. Although these shots are not the best example of directing that was appealing to me, Miranda uses a lot of fun techniques that mesh well with the number.

More than the directing from Miranda, Andrew Garfield was stellar in the role of Jon.

Singing, dancing and acting. The man did it all and he did it better than imagined.

It was a performance worthy of his Academy Award nomination. – Erell Williams

“Jungle Cruise”

I went to see “Jungle Cruise” in theaters because I wanted to see a movie with my sister before I left for college, and I love Emily Blunt.

When my friend got in the car with my sister and me, the three of us revealed we didn’t have any true drive to see this movie and only did to go to the theater.

We left the theater and sat in a T.G.I. Friday, and we couldn’t stop talking about how we couldn’t believe how much we enjoyed that movie.

It’s definitely Dwayne Johnson’s best performance; he plays off Blunt expertly, and the two have a fun and playful chemistry that makes this movie captivating from start to finish.

The storytelling is beautifully done, the score is riveting, the cinematography is phenomenal and the humor helps seal it all together.

This movie could’ve been just another Johnson action adventure, but it felt like it was actually taken seriously. Whether it was the stacked cast of critically-acclaimed actors or Disney wanting another franchise based on one of their park rides, they absolutely nailed it with “Jungle Cruise.”

“Jungle Cruise” has been an adventure upon every viewing, and that’s a lot coming from someone who saw this movie 5 times in theaters. -Sophia D’Ovidio

“American Psycho”

The cult classic film “American Psycho” is widely considered to be the number one “sigma male” movie of all time, mostly due to the fact that its main character is obsessed with two things– himself, and murdering women.

When I learned that this film, which includes lines like "There are no girls with good personalities," was co written and directed by Mary Harron, a woman, I was too stunned to speak. I thought for sure that a man had to be behind it since the book “American Psycho” was written by a man.

After pondering this for a while and filming an entire podcast episode dedicated to the film, I realized that “American Psycho” had to be directed by a woman for it to work. Harron adapted Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) for the screen by making him just horrible and satirical enough for female viewers to find him “relatable” instead of actually threatening.

Harron also added so many deeply humorous moments in the film that push it more into dark comedy territory instead of true horror, which is why it can be enjoyed by women (even though it technically shouldn’t be since Bateman openly hates women).

It’s honestly one of my favorite films of all time because the delicate subject matter was handled with satire and expert direction from Harron. -Kaitlyn Murphy

Erell Williams is a second-year majoring in broadcasting journalism. To contact her, email

Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email

Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email

About the Contributors

Erell Williams's photo

Erell Williams

First Year /

Erell Williams is a first-year student, and her intended majors are Broadcasting Journalism and Chinese. She grew up in Douglassville, Pennsylvania. She is a member of the CommRadio News and Arts department. To contact her, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Sophia D'Ovidio's photo

Sophia D'Ovidio

First-Year /

Sophia D’Ovidio is a first-year from Allentown, New Jersey. She is now a communications (undecided) major at Penn State University. Sophia intends on pursuing a career in journalism. Sophia writes for the CommRadio Arts department.

Kaitlyn Murphy's photo

Kaitlyn Murphy

Freshman /

Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year student at Penn State majoring in digital and print journalism. She is a member of the Arts and Entertainment Department of CommRadio and is passionate about reviewing films, television shows, and music. Follow her on twitter at @kaitlynmurph and email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with any inquiries.