A lot of people might call a list like this guilty pleasures. I don’t, because I have no shame when it comes to entertainment. None.
I like a lot of good movies, but I also like a lot of bad movies. Sometimes I love them. This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, but these are some of the movies any person with a sense of shame wouldn’t so readily admit to loving.
Disclaimer: Some of these are well made. Some are not. Some of these are worth watching (probably with your vice of choice if that’s your thing). Some are not.
Let’s get down to it:
I can’t even tell you how many times I watched 2012. It’s Roland Emmerich’s magnum opus—in the sense that it’s the most ridiculous, over the top, absurd disaster movie in his filmography. And isn’t that what we all want from Roland Emmerich?
The cast goes all in on this thing, too. And what a cast it is: John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Danny Glover, Oliver Platt, Woody Harrelson…
I might have to watch this again. Right now.
I saw John Carter in theaters, and I didn’t think it was bad then. I still don’t think it’s bad now. But I definitely don’t think it’s good, either. I do, however, unabashedly love this movie for everything it tries and fails to be.
It’s tonally inconsistent, veering wildly from broad comedy to sci-fi action but never successfully blending the two. It also bombed catastrophically at the box office (largely thanks to its absurd budget), making sure we’ll never see if Disney would be able to get things right with a sequel.
Are you bummed we won’t be getting more of this thing in our lives?
You should be.
Paul Bettany plays the archangel Michael, who finds himself in a diner as God’s wrath is unleashed upon the world to wipe out humanity.
Make no mistake: Legion is bad. Oh so bad. But it’s also stupid fun that I couldn’t take my eyes off of. Most of its scares are unintentionally hilarious, including this wonderful moment:
Leonard Part 6
I hesitated on this one. It’s an absurdly bad movie no matter how you look at it, but even that’s been tainted by the recent revelations of Bill Cosby’s scumbag nature. The enjoyment my friends and I got out of this one after randomly coming across it at Blockbuster (RIP) is undeniable, though.
Bill Cosby stars as a retired CIA agent pulled back into the fray when an evil vegetarian brainwashes animals in order to get them to kill people. I think. It’s a parody. I think.
There is one thing I know, though: it’s awful.
Although not as enjoyable as its predecessors, Madagascar 3 isn’t actually that bad. It’s really just here as an excuse to include this:
This one’s pure nostalgia. I haven’t seen The Pagemaster since my age was in the single digits, and I don’t plan to watch it again. But it, along with its SNES tie-in game, were responsible for many enjoyable afternoons and evenings when I was a kid spending way too much time inside.
Paranormal Activity 2-4
Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity was good. Great, even. Its sequels were not. Each new entry in the franchise took a step down in quality, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying these sequels (almost) as much as the original.
I haven’t seen The Marked Ones or The Ghost Dimension, but I have no doubts they would have made this list too.
Snakes on a Plane
Heads up: I saw this in theaters at its midnight opening. And again the next night. And again a couple weeks later. I bought the DVD when it came out and watched it more times than I can count. Then I bought the Blu-ray and did it again. Like I said, no shame.
Snakes on a Plane never tries to be good, which actually makes it so good that I wasn’t sure about including it on this list. It is, however, an undeniably bad movie. But it’s also a movie that wears its heart/concept on its sleeve and makes no effort to be anything other than what it is.
Not to mention they did reshoots to make it more profane and play into the growing expectations the internet (and myself) had built up for it. Reshoots that got us this gem:
There’s a lot wrong with Spider-Man 3. It arguably kicked off the still ongoing trend of overcrowding superhero movies with villains that have no business being there. It mangled the Venom/symbiote storyline to turn something that could have been awesome into basically nonsense. It featured a ridiculous dance sequence and introduced the world to My Chemical Romance’s Spider-Man.
I honestly can’t even tell you why I liked it the first time. Or why I watched it several more times.
But I did. And I will again.
Without a Paddle
Here’s another one I saw multiple times in theaters. And I almost feel a little shame about it. Almost.
Seth Green, Matthew Lillard, and Dax Shepard star as three childhood friends reunited by their friend’s death who set off in search of D.B. Cooper’s treasure. It has a few legitimately funny moments, but it’s mostly horrendous attempts at humor. I haven’t seen this one since I was 17, but there are so many fond memories attached to it that I just can’t turn that love off.
There it is. Some of these were obvious picks, but this is probably just the beginning. I love cinema—good, bad, and everything in between—so there are many more movies that could have made this list much longer. I’m sure I’ll follow up with another entry (or several) at some point.
Until then, which movies do you love despite everything telling you not to? What guilty pleasures are hiding in your collection? Let me know in the comments.