Some of my favorite movies are the favorites of many other people as well and are very well-known: The Empire Strikes Back, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, Men in Black, Fletch, Sherlock Holmes, Groundhog Day, Uncle Buck, Ocean's Eleven (2001), The Italian Job (2003), Toy Story, The Sixth Sense, North by Northwest, Batman Begins, Ironman, The Princess Bride, The Shawshank Redemption, and so on. However, every once in a while I enjoy that rare pleasure of seeing a movie that I've never heard of that takes me by surprise and becomes one of my favorites despite it's not being well known. Such was the case when I took a chance on The Dish on NetFlix (NetFlix currently streams it as well). I ended up purchasing it on DVD immediately afterward because I liked it so much.
There are many things to like about The Dish. It provides that rare mix of "effortless" humor (Amazon.com editorial review), inspiration, interesting story, historical interest, and is just plain entertaining. It's one of those movies I like to watch when nothing else sounds good. It's not as fast-paced as movies like Ironman nor as humor-laden as Fletch, Men in Black, or Uncle Buck, but it is really faster-paced than one might expect when hearing about the story and has enough humor to make one smile and even laugh throughout. In fact, I had to watch it two or three times to catch all the humor. It is not really a suspenseful movie, but it does have its moments of suspense.
The current Internet Movie Database rating for The Dish (7.1/10 on 8528 votes) describes my experience with this movie. A relatively small number of people have seen it, but it is widely popular among those who have. For comparison, Avatar currently has an 8.4/10 rating on nearly 242 thousand votes and The Empire Strikes Back has a rating of 8.8/10 on nearly 270 thousand votes.
This Australian-produced movie had a U.S. box office gross of a little over $2 million. Contrast this with The Empire Strikes Back's nearly $300 million U.S. take and Avatar's $700 million+ take. Even The Princess Bride, which seemed to take on a cult following after its run in the theaters, pulled in nearly $27 million in the U.S.
Even the critics like The Dish, which earned a relatively rare 96% rating on the Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer. I sometimes like movies the critics generally pan and sometimes dislike movies that critics all rave about, but I am in agreement with the consensus of the critics on the Tomatometer about "The Dish." Only 126 reviewers have currently rated The Dish on Amazon.com, but the cumulative rating is well above 4 stars out of five.
"The Dish" is one of those movies that puts me in a better mood after I have finished watching it than I was in when I started watching it.