I think this is probably a common error since a couple of my friends have experienced this sometimes. For some reason, when I try to animate a simple rotation, the object does a whole bunch of weird turns before getting to the key, I was looking at the IPO curves and the rotations are being made towards the opposite direction of where I want them, or something like that. Can anyone help?
Most likely the automatic interpolation that Blender comes up with between one keyframe and the next isn’t turning out to be the interpolation you would like. Blender doesn’t pay attention to what you did when you were editing and positioning the objects, only to what their rotations are from one keyframe to the next, so sometimes the simplest interpolation is not the one you wanted. I would suggest you try using smaller increments between your keyframes, making sure that each one is getting the rotation you want, while keeping an eye on your IPO curves to make sure the values are going where they should. Keep in mind that you can also adjust the IPO curves directly, as curves, rather than keying the values.
When messing with rotations, I usually find it easier to create the IPOs manually, rather than keying in the 3D window.
As Bugman pointed out - what you see as a rotation is not necessarily what Blender sees. You might rotate something 270deg on the X axis with one key to start and another to finish but Blender will probably see it as 90deg in the other direction. The end result is that the object does start and end exactly where you keyed it - it just didn’t go the way you wanted it to because you can’t key the direction of rotation (unless you create or edit the IPOs).
You could probably use the “record” feature but I find it a bit wild!