It’s easy to like movies that everyone else loves and sometimes even easier to dislike movies critics love (see Spielberg’s Lincoln), but what about liking films that are not well-loved by the majority? It’s not easy to put yourself out there, just try being the one person that likes From Justin to Kelly. But there are bad films that for some inexplicable reason we love. It could be from experience as a kid or a beloved date movie, or maybe there’s just no real rationale. So here are some films we like no matter what anyone else says.
My list has a mix made up mostly of comedies and musicals. I like to laugh and hear great music and sometimes both of those are in not-great films. I like bad action films too but for some reason, time has made some of them loved (see early Schwarzenegger). Here is mine with double-bonus westerns.
- Streets of Fire (1984) – Michael Pare should have been a star, Diane Lane looks fantastic, Wilem Dafoe is a badass and the music kicks ass. A rock and roll fable.
- Kindergarten Cop (1991) – Arnold Schwarzenegger’s preschool comedy is better than Twins and introduced the world to “It’s not a tumor!”
- The Burbs (1989) – Tom Hanks and Carrie Fisher married – yes, please! I miss early Hanks comedy. Could be traded out for many other Hank’s early comedies.
- Rocky IV (1985) – I know, total Cold War cheese, but the training and fight scenes are awesome – Creed II is out.
- Vanilla Sky (2001) – An underrated gem, Tom Cruise out of his element, and the use of The Monkees’ “Porpoise Song” is effective.
- Tommy Boy (1995) – The funniest of the Chris Farley films although I also find myself laughing at Beverly Hills Ninja.
- We’re No Angels (1989) – Robert DeNiro and Sean Penn, in a remake, play criminals who pose as priests to avoid capture – like a tough guys “Nuns on the Run”.
- Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) – I’m a sucker for sixties Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon beach movies and this one is my favorite, title song will stick in your head for a while.
- Flash Gordon (1980) – A ridiculous cheesy mess of a film that I saw in the theater and for some reason still have a spot for. The effects are nonsensical but the Queen soundtrack is killer.
- Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) – Ridiculous concept, thin as paper plot, but the jokes crack me up every time. Rob Corddry is comedy gold in this one, too bad he couldn’t save part 2.
Bonus: Young Guns I & II (1988 & 1990) – I’m a sucker for westerns especially about real-life characters and these two are fun. Propagates the theory Billy the Kid lived to old age. The only Brat Pack Westerns.
MG: It’s unlikely any two movie-enthusiasts would share the same guilty pleasures, but there are some that I enjoy on your list. I have found myself watching Kindergarten Cop on cable in recent years – Arnold playing at comedy is one of those things you can’t look away from. I recently watched Rocky IV with my son, in preparation for seeing Creed II, and it was a supremely cheesy meatball of a movie – but certainly still fun to watch. Hot Tub Time Machine is great for the 80’s setting/music and Corddry’s antics. The cast of the Young Guns films make them a spectacle to check out in small doses.
For my guilty pleasures, I won’t consciously seek out most of these films and dedicate a two-hour block to watch them, but if they are on cable/streaming when I’m surfing for something to watch I will stop and check them out. Certain films regularly show up on cable channels, so that may earn them a spot on my list, vs. others that I just never see anywhere. Action films make for easy guilty-pleasure watching because you can check out 15-20 minutes and not have to get invested in the story. I’m not sure I even like all of these films, but they somehow hook me into watching them.
- Commando (1985) – You can drop in on any point in this film and see a funny scene – from “This is my weak arm Sully!” to the toolshed attack on generic Central American mercenaries. “Let off a little steam, Bennett!”
- Top Secret! (1984) – A World War II comedy/musical featuring a young Val Kilmer. This bombed at the box office, but it is still my favorite of the old spoof movies (where have they gone?).
- Predator 2 (1990) – No Arnie here, but the supporting cast – Gary Busey, Bill Paxton, Maria Conchita Alonso, Robert Davi is a late 80’s/early 90’s time capsule. (and Morton Downey Jr.!)
- The Money Pit (1986) – The scene where Hanks is trapped in a rug stuck in a hole in the floor kills me every time.
- Starship Troopers (1997) – Plenty of gratuitous violence, gore, and nudity in Paul Verhoeven’s futuristic war film. Yet, it’s one of the better movie depictions of men and women fighting alongside one another in combat.
- Waterworld (1995) – “Road Warrior on water”. For a movie notorious for being bad, it brought in almost $270 million.
- Alien: Resurrection (1997) – Completely over-the-top and gonzo. Regarded as the clear worst of the original four Alien films, but I still enjoy the craziness of it.
- Pet Semetary (1989) – I’m not a horror guy, but I have found myself getting sucked into watching this on TV several times in recent years. Now it’s being remade.
- Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) – Jim Carrey’s raw nonsense in this gets me every time.
- Suicide Squad (2016) – This film had some really good characters, but a bad story. People hated Jared Leto as The Joker, but I liked his bold take. That’s why I enjoy watching this for short segments but I won’t sit down and watch the whole thing.
Bonus: Terminator: Salvation (2009) – I don’t know anyone else that likes this film, and it got torn up at the box office and by critics. I appreciated this stab at telling the post-apocalypse side of the story, despite a few flaws. I’ve always been a fan of the Terminator world/storyline (although even I couldn’t get behind the dreadful Genisys). I’m wary of whatever new iteration is coming later this year, but I still hold out hope that someone can make another good Terminator film someday.
DJ: Yeah I don’t like most of these films. Commando is great, one of my favorite of the nonsense Arnold films. I have mentioned previously that I like all of the Alien films, which includes Resurrection. Ron Perlman makes it shine. I do have a soft spot for early Jim Carrey, Dumb and Dumber or Ace Ventura could have made my list. I said it early Tom Hanks films. Terminator: Salvation is not terrible, I like it better than T3 for what that’s worth.