Everyone has guilty pleasure movies. They are the movies we enjoy even though they are universally hated. We know they are bad but we appreciate them nonetheless. We can find simple joy in mocking these movies or even a sense of awe at how cheesy these films are. Here is my top ten list of movies that cross beyond the realm of “guilty pleasure” into “so bad they are good.”
10. 2012- Roland Emmerich is the director you call when you want to watch well-known monuments being destroyed. He perfected this art in movies like Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and Godzilla (1998). In 2012 the earth is devastated by the alignment of the planets in concordance with the Mayan calendar and the world begins to fall apart.
The dialogue is fairly laughable and like most of his past movies, 2012 features the heroes escaping otherwise inescapable situations. Despite the cookie cutter characters and ludicrous script, the movie is fun to watch. The effects are impressive and Oliver Platt is especially entertaining to watch.
9. Leprechaun- Gold is stolen from an evil Leprechaun and when he comes to America he goes on a killing spree to get it back. This movie is laughably dumb in certain respects such as a trike chase and thwarting the Leprechaun because he is compelled to shine shoes that are in his path. It does feature a young Jennifer Aniston and definitely has a certain tongue in cheek mood to it.
The kills are silly and it is clearly not trying to be very scary. At one point the Leprechaun kills a man with a pogo stick. The effects are pure 90’s cheese and you’ll wonder how a 4-foot nothing creature even poses a threat. At the very least it is a fun movie to catch on St. Patrick’s Day.
8. Flash Gordon- Flash Gordon is pure 100% camp. You have a wild mix of colorful and talented actors in the strangest sets and costumes and they act like they are in a Flash Gordon serial. What makes this movie bad ass is that it has a kicking soundtrack from Queen. Football player Flash Gordon is transported to planet Mongo with his friends and must save the universe from the dreaded Ming the Merciless.
The dialogue is like out of a comic book and the effects are silly even by 1980’s standards. Still, it’s a lot of fun. They clearly worked to make this film honor its original material. The people are pretty and the music is great. It gives life to the 1930 comic strip, which is fascinating and fun.
7. Plan 9 From Outer Space- An Ed Wood classic, this movie is sometimes regarded as one of the worst of all time. Aliens visit a small town and begin robbing graves in order to use the dead as their soldiers. This movie is really only funny to watch for how poorly it was made. The dialogue is awful, the acting is crazy, and the sets are incredibly shoddy and cheaply made.
You can often see the boom mic and even see that gravestones are cardboard. Stock footage is used often and the final film footage of Bela Lugosi is used in a very poor attempt to make this his last film. Watching movies like Ed Wood will make you appreciate the work that went into this film despite the many flaws.
6. Showgirls- Every time I watch this I am surprised Paul Verhoeven directed this. A bit odd since I am used to him directing movies like Total Recall, RoboCop, and Starship Troopers. A young woman makes her way to Las Vegas and becomes a showgirl. She then starts a feud with another dancer and finds that the rise to stardom is a rough one.
Whoever wrote this script must have no idea how humans speak to one another. The sex scene is comical and made even more hilarious by the performance by Elizabeth Berkley who will never live this performance down for the rest of her career. It is the sort of movie that everyone needs to see to believe.
5. The Wicker Man (2006)- The original Wicker Man is fairly eerie and ends in a very depressing manner. The remake makes a joke of the entire concept. Casting Nicholas Cage in the lead lets the audience watch him chew the scenery and rave like a mad man through most of the film. In the movie he plays a police officer investigating a missing child on an island run by pagan cultists.
Nicholas Cage makes any movie watchable in my opinion- The Wicker Man is no exception. I mean, come on; he beats up women while wearing a bear suit and takes a bicycle by force with a handgun. Why wouldn’t you want to see that? The script does him no favors and it seems he decided to go balls to the wall with what he had to work with.
4. Troll 2- Troll 2 is not really a Troll movie. Really, it’s a movie about goblins. A suburban family switches homes for a while with a family from a town called Nilbog (Goblin backwards). Soon the family is attacked by goblins that want to turn them into vegetable matter so they can be eaten.
There were a lot of problems with the Italian filmmakers and the actors who insisted the actors say the script word for word even though the translation was poor. The result is a hilarious mess of horrid dialogue, bad costumes, and wretched effects. It is funny at times to watch the results. If you have intention of watching this movie I recommend watching the great documentary Best Worst Movie as well. It will give you a lot of perspective of what went into making the movie and the phenomenon it has become since then.
3. Manos: The Hands of Fate- What do you get when a Texas fertilizer salesman decides to make a movie? You get Manos: The Hands of Fate. In it a family gets lost on their way to their vacation and end up at a lodge run by a group of cultists that worship a god called Manos. The quality of the movie is very poor. All the voices had to be re-dubbed and it shows with the incredibly crappy audio.
It is fun to watch because it is technically such a train wreck. Everything about it is bad. Yet, even though nothing seems to be working for the production of this film, a finished product was made. It is amusing to watch and wonder what it could have been had the director acquired more than an estimated budget of $19,000.
2. The Room- The Room just so damn bizarre. The movie is about a man whose fiancé is cheating on him with his best friend. Other things happen as filler but that is it in a nutshell. Meanwhile you are assaulted by stilted dialogue and behaviors that make me believe that his character was written to not be from this planet.
Still, it has gained a cult following. He has since claimed that he meant to make it as a joke the entire time. Whatever the case, he has made a movie that is entertaining in just how bizarre and awful it really is. Even that takes some degree of talent.
1. Birdemic: Shock and Terror- This movie is bad. On an artistic level it is abysmal and on a technical level it is probably one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. A man and a woman in Los Angeles find love when suddenly birds, that explode when hit and can spit acid, attack them. What is the cause of the destructive birds? Global warming.
The acting is piss poor, the script seems like a high school student wrote it, but is so much fun to watch. The technical issues are amazing. There are no actual BIRDS in this movie. They use the worst CGI birds I’ve ever seen and the actors are expected to react around these Photoshop rejects. It is comedy gold.
Even though many of these movies are bad we should respect the fact that they were made. It takes a lot of time, energy, and money to get a movie produced. Whatever the results, be they good or bad, they entertain people and that is what is important. So throw caution to the wind and enjoy a bad movie sometime soon.