Thursday, September 13, 2007

Guilty pleasure movies: Salve for the soul

The inspiration for this post comes from the news that the director of easily one of my favorite guilty pleasure flicks, Andy Fleming, is teaming up with the extremely funny Steve Coogan for a new flick about to start shooting.

The guilty pleasure movie: "Dick," which never gets much deeper than its title with Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams starring as two dippy teenagers in a surprisingly funny (at least to me) spoof of the Watergate scandal. And the new movie: "Hamlet 2" wills star Mr. Coogan as a high school drama teacher who cooks up a sequel to the bard's play to save his struggling department.

In trying to trim this post down to 10 movies, I found it's high on comedy, but that's just me. I'll never apologize for loving to laugh, no matter how silly the material I'm laughing at is (and be warned, some of these movies are indeed awfully damn silly.) I'll include an honorable mention of the flicks that didn't quite make the cut, and as usual, please feel free to add any movies that are your real guilty pleasures. Here goes:

1. Better off Dead
John Cusack's upcoming movies all look like dire fare in which he'll barely crack a smile, but I'll always take him from his '80s heyday. Besides, to break it down in terms meant for a list like this, he's very funny, the French chick is really cute and I still, from time to time, mimic that manic paperboy seeking his $2 when work just gets to be too much to stomach.

2. Rocky IV
I thought I had reached the breaking point with Rocky when he pulled the ultimate trick when you're losing the spotlight: Go jingo to the max. You get Rocky fighting a superhuman Russian named Draco, Brigitte Neilsen as his almost equally scary girlfriend and even James Brown. I say, and at least as partly as a crude segue, bring it on ...

3. Bring It On
On paper, this would have to be the ultimate guilty pleasure movie. Kirsten Dunst, Eliza Dushku and Gabrielle Union as rival cheerleaders? If you're in a silly enough mood, it works even better as an actual movie, even if, like me, you're way too old to confess to enjoying this one.

4. The Spongebob Squarepants Movie
This one probably doesn't quite fit the criteria because by any objective standard I consider it to be a good movie. The reason it's here is because I can remember going to see it by myself on a Saturday morning and getting more than a few quizzical looks from parents there with their kids. I have no interest in your children, people, I just happen to enjoy many of the same movies that make kids laugh.

5. Bound
If you can get past the novely of Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly as a lesbian couple who show more than a little skin, this Wachowski brothers flick still entertains as a lightweight con-game flick. Joey pants is very funny, and unless you count "V for Vendetta," which they wrote, I'd have to count this as my favorite Wachowski bros. flick.

6. Road Trip
I'm not sure exactly why I like this movie so much. The jokes, from DJ Qualls bedding a rather large black woman and then showing off her panties to Tom Green's epic battle to feed his friend's snake, are crude and familiar at best, but this is the only Todd Phillips movie that always leaves me with a smile on my face.

7. Reign of Fire
Any movie starring Matthew McConnaughey as a dragon-fighter named Denton Van Zan can never be much more than a guilty pleasure at best. As much as its possible, this is just a no-nonsense flick that also stars Christian Bale and Gerard Butler that just happens to be about a future world that has been ravaged by fire-breathing dragons.

8. Lost Boys
There have been tons of better vampire flicks of course, but this one still might be the most fun. Edward Herrmann, who played Max in this and can be seen this fall (though most likely not by me) on Grey's Anatomy, is easily one of my favorite actors. The Coreys are apparently working on some kind of straight-to-DVD sequel, but that would be too much even for me to take, I think.

9. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Sure, it's pretty much just a string of celebrity cameos to celebrate characters Kevin Smith should have given up on years ago, but when it's on this movie is very funny. Will Ferrell and Jon Stewart riffing on the dangers of the clit are worth the price of admission alone.

10. Bad Santa
If there's a more profane movie out there, I can't think of it, but in its own very warped way this one actually wraps up fairly sweetly. Besides, watching Lauren Graham chant "f*** me Santa" over and over as she rides a besotted Billy Bob Thornton in his car or listening to Thornton and Tony Cox do verbal battle with more and more extreme insults will always be funny to me.

Honorable mention: Johnny Dangerously, Bride of Chucky, Time Bandits, War Games, The American President, The Warriors, Labyrinth, Real Genius and Grease

So, there you have it. Please feel free to add any you think I've snubbed, and have an entirely bearable Thursday (and, remember, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" returns tonight at 10 on FX, so just make it through the day and get ready to laugh a lot.)


Divinity said...

Am I actually your first commenter today? Cool.
Off the top of my head, I'd add Adventures in Babysitting, The Big Hit, and Strictly Ballroom. I also enjoyed Spice World. There, I said it.

Marina said...

One of the best lists and one that I agree with almost completely. The only that I haven't seen are "Better Off Dead" and "Road Trip" so I don't know if I'd like them or not but the rest of the selections: brilliant. Especially "Sponge Bob". I'm amazed by how many people I recommend that too are so blown away by just how good and how much fun it is.

Jonathan said...

I've actually had debates with fellow film buffs about whether or not a "Guilty Pleasure" is something that really exists. I've always found that you either like a movie or you don't, but there are some ("Bring It On", which I love as well) that maybe you feel a little less comfortable admitting you like it hence the term I guess. But usually all it is, as in the case of "Bring It On" is a fairly intelligent film comes out of a fairly tired genre like teen comedies; I think "Can't Hardly Wait" and "Mean Girls" fall in this category as well. Love the list though.

I would have to add cheesy action films to mine like Brian Bosworth's ridiculously violent and entertaining "Stone Cold," or maybe some Van Damme flicks like "Hard Target" and "Sudden Death." These are films I feel like I have no business enjoying, but can't turn away from them when they're on the tube. Others in this category would have to be the "Child's Play" films ("Bride of Chucky" is a brilliant example and ends up being a better American J-Horror hybrid than all of the terrible remakes). "Accepted," "Interview With a Vampire," "Diggstown," and "Alligator" were a few more that popped in my head. I'm sure there are a ton of other ones. I'm suprised you consider "The American President" a guilty pleasure since a lot of people really do like that film quite a bit, including myself, but otherwise great post.

The Bloody Munchkin said...

"I want my Two Dollars" might be the best line ever. I love Better Off Dead. Eighties John Cusack is the best John Cusack of all me thinks.

Also in total agreement with Bring it On. I hope to one day use this line in a conversation: "You've just been touched by an angel girl." That is awesome.

I would've totally put Real Genius at the very top of the list, but that's me. I think it's a real travesty that Val Kilmer doesn't do funny roles anymore, because awesome.

Also on my guilty pleasures list, The Covenant, Sky High, which I can't not watch when it's on cable, Hackers, which yeah, I know, and uhm, erm (in tiniest voice possible) Willow. Look I know. Ron Howard by all accounts both sucks and blows, but this movie had me awestruck as a kid. Sure, it doesn't hold up on further inspection, but does that mean I won't watch my Special Edition DVD over and over again and repeat all my favorite lines. Of course not. Yes I had a thing for Val Kilmer, even after he dated Cher. Leave me alone.

Anonymous said...

My guilty pleasure movies are movies that are just really fun to watch:
1. The Blues Brothers - the music, the chase, dead-pan delivery, its all great.
2. Guys and Dolls - the dance/fight scene in Havana is a can't miss.
3. Rio Bravo - John Wayne shooting sticks of dynamite like clay pidgeons.
4. Road to Morocco - Rapid-fire wit at its best.
5. The Three Amigos - "It's a mail plane!"

Reel Fanatic said...

Great suggestions all ... Real Genius is one that, as you could see in the honorable mention, almost made the cut but just missed out, bloody munchkin ... I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who admits to liking "Bring It On" so much, and I must say Marina, if you can get your hands on "Better Off Dead" now I can't recommend it highly enough as a goofy but extremely entertaining '80s flick

Splotchy said...

Time Bandits, a *guilty* pleasure?


Reel Fanatic said...

You're probably right that I shouldn't have even put that in the honorable mention, splotchy, because you're right that that one is simply great with no conditions at all

Beth said...

Ohmygosh, LOVE Better Off Dead and WORSHIP Badder Santa. The latter is indeed as profane as they come, but it is bust-a-gut funny. Billy Bob Thornton is a god.

Bob said...

I for one have never believed in guilty pleasure movies. If you enjoy something then why feel bad about it? Having said that I see where you're coming from and I really enjoyed this list. For me though, there are movies that are far better than they have any right to be.
I of course have to bring up "Pootie Tang" when it comes to this. I actually recently put it on my list of all-time top 50 favorite movies (located on my blog- shameless plug). It never ceases to make me laugh no matter what kind of day I've had. Gotta also mention "UHF," "Dumb and Dumber," "Dodgeball," "Eurotrip," as someone else mentioned, "Can't Hardly Wait," and of course, I love "Bring It On" as well. Come on, Kirsten Dunst as a cheerleader! That's all it took to sell me on that movie :)

Fletch said...

I think there are guilty pleasures, for sure. True, no one should be ashamed to admit what they like, etc, but that's just not reality.

In any case, I don't see how Better Off Dead could fit into this category. It's legitimately brilliant, and one of the funnier comedies of the 80s no matter how you slice it. One Crazy Summer fits into this category as well.

Rocky IV is a perfect Guilty Pleasure movie. Goddamn, it's awful, and I love it.

HOWEVER - how not one single person has mentioned Road House is beyond me. Shame on you all. That is #1 on my list any day of the week.

Other contenders: Demolition Man (can't explain it), Bloodsport, and Top Gun.

Reel Fanatic said...

Top Gun is shamelessly entertaining, and therefore certainly worthy of the title for this post, fletch ... and I have to agree with you, Bob, that Pootie Tang is as fall-down funny as it is thoroughly silly

The Bloody Munchkin said...

O.k., I just thought of another one that no one has mentioned. Bare with me, but Bubble Boy.

Do you think Jake Gyllenhaal looks back at that one and just cringes? And yet, I still love it. It has another of one of the most memorable lines I want to use in everyday life ever: "Back off Bitch, He's the Messiah!" Also, Danny Trejo rocks more than he has a right to in that movie....

Mercurie said...

Better Off Dead, Reign of Fire, and Jay Silent Bob Strike Back, and The Warriors definitely rank high in my guilty pleasures list. Of course, my guilty pleasures include The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Mystery Men, and, my ultimate guilty pleasure, Phantom of the Paradise.

Reel Fanatic said...

I do have to admit, bloody munchkin, that I also a soft spot for Bubble Boy ... And you're right that it's a good Jake managed to star in so many more conventionally great movies since to live it down ... And, Mercurie, you get the prize for being the first one to mention a movie I hadn't seen yet, Phantom of the Paradise, which I will surely try to see soon

J.D. said...

Thank God there is someone else who is actually willing they like The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie!

Reel Fanatic said...

I think if all the people who got dragged to that movie by their kids, and those of us grown kids who went to see it, were really honest about the Spongebob movie it would have a whole lot more fans, jd

bill said...

Joe Vs. the Volcano. But since I consider it one of the greatest movies ever made, not really a guilty pleasure.

The Pope Must Die. Usually titled "The Pope Must Diet." Starring Robbie Coltrane as a kind-hearted priest overcoming corruption in the Vatican. Was royally panned, but I think it's actually a sweet movie.

A Knight's Tale. I have to watch this if it's on, I enjoy everything it does. I even bought the DVD.

Used Cars. Kurt Russell is a genius.

The Replacements. This is a true guilty pleasure. I don't even like football and I have to watch this. A hideously inept and insulting movie that Keanu Reeves is very good in. Brooke Langton is pleasant and Reeves nails the wounded ex-football star. Everyone else, including Gene Hackman, sucks.

comment: Watching "The Blues Brothers" can't be a guilty pleasure as it's a very good movie. However, watch "Blues Brothers 2" would mean you were guilty of something and undergoing extreme punishment.

bill said...

"Phantom of the Paradise" is something else. The words "written and directed by Brian De Palma" will never mean the same.

Kimberly Nichols said...

So many confessions!

You've Got Mail
Quick Change
Seems Like Old Times
The Ref

Scooter said...

That's an excellent list - I'd swap out Rocky IV for Prince of Darkness just to get a horror movie on the list, but truly inspired.

Chalupa said...

I was trying to think of movies to donate to the list and it was hard coming up with what's just awesome and what can be classified as a guilty pleasure. Some of the movies listed, any movie from the Jersey installment by Kevin Smith for example, is a high quality film in my opinion. I'm also a big fan of Hackers. Seeing Roadhouse mentioned, I couldn't help but think of Red Dawn.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm glad this has led so many of you to confess to loving movies that don't usually get the proper amount of respect .. And you're right, Chalupa, no list like this would ever be complete without a mention of Red Dawn!

Julia_Claudine_Deveraux said...

The Warriors is one my favorite all-time guilty pleasures. I'd also like to add:

1. The South Park Movie
2. Foxy Brown
3. Team America: World Police
4. Dolemite
5. Scary Movie 1 and 2 (the rest were crap)
6. Once Bitten
7. The Omega Man and Soylent Green (tie)

Reel Fanatic said...

Those are all worthy additions indeed, Julia, especially the South Park movie .. though I think it's a great movie by any possible measure, it is just so profane that I guess you have to feel at least a little guilty professing love for it

cm said...

War Games, Labyrinth and Real Genius need not be guilty pleasures. Those are just damned fine movies!

AB said...

Have to include Dirty Work