10 Terrible Ideas That Became Great Movies

A time travel comedy about incest became the highest-grossing movie of 1985.

Swiss Army Man Daniel Radcliffe

Movies are all about the execution, because no matter how good or bad a film might sound on paper, it's only an idea until it's actually gone before cameras and been edited into a releasable end product.

The gulf between a film's basic premise and the final result can be massive, and often the simple details just don't do justice to a movie's finer details.

Case in point, we have these 10 great movies, each of which nevertheless seemed like frankly terrible ideas at a superficial, conceptual level.

From the base setup alone, it was easy for studios and audiences alike to dismiss these films as cynical, lazy, stupid, unintentionally laughable, and otherwise just an awful waste of money.

But each of these films ended up proving the many doubters riotously wrong, turning in a terrifically entertaining final movie that soared far above and beyond what anyone could've expected pre-release.

There's probably a lesson in here about being open-minded when Hollywood announces a dubious new movie project, but at the same time examples like this are largely outliers in the overall scheme of things.

Still, they all prove how smart filmmakers can spin gold from even the most unlikely of ideas...

10. A Movie Based On... Lego - The Lego Movie

Swiss Army Man Daniel Radcliffe
Warner Bros.

The moment that a movie based on... Lego was announced, many rolled their eyes and immediately dismissed it as a project doomed to be nothing more than a soulless 90-minute commercial for the plastic toy bricks.

Despite appearing to epitomise Hollywood's creative bankruptcy on paper, The Lego Movie had a secret weapon in-hand: filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

Lord and Miller took an inherently cynical concept and produced something startlingly creative, hilarious, and beautifully animated.

Thoroughly self-aware of its own torrid potential while gamely poking fun at the state of modern blockbusters, The Lego Movie was teeming with invention in every single scene.

The biggest surprise, though, was the risky live-action divergence in the third act, which only deepened the movie's very earnest, genuine love for toys and play.

To that end, Lord and Miller were able to have their cake and eat it too, producing a subversive, tongue-in-cheek animated adventure film that still worked as a giddy endorsement for its titular product. Everybody won, basically.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.