Guilty Pleasures

  • The Beastmaster (1982) ... Loved it when I was 12. I bet it's awful.
  • Blade (1998) ... Wesley Snipes plays a half-vampire vampire-ass-kicker. That should be all you have to know to decide if you'll hate it or not. Oh, you also might need to know that it has Kris Kristofferson in it to fully inform your decision.
  • Blade II (2002) ... See above.
  • Charlie's Angels (2000) ... It would be a complete waste of time if it weren't so splashy and exuberant. I need a food metaphor: cotton candy almost works for it's garish pink color, its speedly dissolution from substance to nothingness, and its circus-imagery invocation - only the overpowering sweetness keeps it from being the perfect metaphor for this movie.
  • Darkman (1994) ... Not one of Liam Neeson's prouder moments, but actually has a great comic book feel about it. Saw this with some college buddies when it first came out, and we thought it was good sick fun.
  • Flash Gordon (1980) ... I used to watch this on HBO every time we'd visit my relatives when I was a kid. But I just had a chance to rewatch this, and it was AWFUL! I'm going to leave it on here for nostalia's sake, but OOF. The pinnacle of MST3K fodder. I don't know how Timothy Dalton and Brian Blessed survived (and went on to do Shakespeare with Branagh!). You know you're in trouble when your hero has his name emblazoned across the front of his shirt. Even Superman has enough taste to only use a single initial.
  • Godzilla (1998) ... Shameless Jurassic Park one-upmanship. But I liked Broderick's meek worm-scientist action hero, and I'll enjoy Jean Reno in just about anything.
  • The Highlander (1986) ... Any movie with Christopher Lambert has to induce guilt. But this is a pretty good modern fantasy, and my best friend and I watched and quoted extensively as kids. I can't help but notice the correlation between guilt-inducing movies and Queen soundtracks.
  • Hudson Hawk (1991) ... EVERYBODY I went with hated this movie. I kinda liked it. I have no excuse.
  • The Hunted (2003) ... Although I'm sure Friedkin had higher aspirations for this movie, let's tell it like it is: this is a Rambo remake. You can dress it up with better actors, more sweeping vistas, and fewer baby-oiled muscles, but it's still Rambo. Here the damaged-goods unstoppable killing machine is not Stallone, but Benicio Del Toro, and his mentor is Tommy Lee Jones rather than Richard Crenna. A step up in both spots, although one step is significantly higher than the other. The script tries to give us some method to Del Toro's madness--to make him a tortured figure--but ultimately it doesn't work. His various screeds against hunters, the goverment, and the horrors he's seen seem forced. So what we really have is the hunt, and watching our killing machine kill efficiently, and somehow rooting for him AND his mentorly pursuer (Jones in slightly softer Fugitive mode). Why oh why do I get pleasure out of such a movie? It disturbs me that I do, but there ya go; I enjoyed it, I wanted to see how it turned out, and I liked watching Del Toro be an efficient killer.
  • Major League (1989) ... I dunno. Maybe I don't feel guilty about this one. I'll have to see it again.
  • Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985) ... Liked it when I was 15. I bet it's awful.
  • Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines (2003) ... Much better than the godawful trailers suggested, but still easily the weakest of the Terminator movies. Still, it's all here: the spectacular action, the cheesy lines, the portentous voiceover, the Governor himself, some fun little references back to the earlier chapters, etc. And yet it's all just a little too familiar and thus, sadly, lacking a bit in tension. You'd think I'd care that they prevent Judgement Day of all things, but where that worked in T2, I didn't really care here. I was just along to watch the fireworks. Maybe it was the brand new T-X Terminatrix that didn't cut it for me. Not to take anything away from Kristanna Loken who did a fine job, but Robert Patrick was simply perfect as the T-1000 and conveyed such a wonderful sense of *relentlessness* that is missing here. I blame the writer and the director and/or fight choreographer. The T-X is supposed to be an upgrade, and yet the T-1000 was nigh invulnerable being composed entirely of that nifty liquid metal stuff. Shatter him into a million pieces, and he's good as new 30 seconds later. The T-X has all these tiny moving parts! So for an upgrade you're taking something unbreakable and making it breakable? That's a mere quibble, but add to that all those moments when she just stands there and takes lots of "best shots", and then *finally* retaliates, and you just don't get a sense that she's bringing her best game. Why would an invulnerable killing machine ever pause? For the most part they let Patrick nail this relentlessness, but Loken isn't given the same chance. Too bad. Then again, maybe there's just something fundamentally terrifying about a pissed off traffic cop.
    Spoiler: Highlight to view
    Oh, and don't get me started on Arnie taking out his LAST battery to blow her up. How does he keep moving when the battery is disconnected? Would it have been so hard, when he's telling us how many batteries he contains, to add one to the tally?
    Still, good action, some laughs, and it was kinda nice to re-visit the world I so enjoyed as an adolescent.

what's to be guilty about Fifth Element when there's so much to love?

you see luke perry get killed in the first ten minutes;
gary oldman playing the wackiest villain since his spot in the professional;
milla jovavich with orange hair sporting all kinds of gualtier outfits...

sounds good to me!

oh, ok thinking bruce willis looks good as a blonde--that's *kind of* a guilt thing. =]

You caught me on the Bruce Willis blonde thing.

Actually, I'm thinking about scrapping the "guilty pleasures" list entirely and moving these movies off to less apologetic lists.

But I probably won't. Some movies I feel guilty about because they are socially unredeeming (most gun movies, for example), some because they are just plain bad, and some because they are all flash-and-candy, no substance.

For me, The 5th Element was the latter. Mostly because of the thin plot, one-dimensional characters, and the fact that the threat to the earth is just a big ball of evil. But I loved every minute of it.

Which of course raises the issue: "why feel guilty about a movie that is just plain fun? aren't they supposed to be fun?" Not gonna touch that one. :) Maybe on the next round of comments.

Fifth Element is also a favorite of mine: to me, it's far better than The Matrix, which had much of the same boffo special effects, but none of the humor or interesting dialog that made 5E such a treat. One of the interesting things about it for me was the fact that it integrated three or four different "worlds": Bruce Willis's low-rent future, the 19th century-like world of the monks, a clone of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and of course Lilu's far-far-out-of-town viewpoint. Some things were just too overdone: I wish that Ruby Rodd had something else to do but act fruity, and the gag about Lilu posing as a clueless tourist should have been either played through completely once and then dropped, or been repeated enough to be funny. Doing it twice doesn't do it at all. But all in all, I liked it. (My favorite shots are those of 3-D much is said in so little....)

Your mention of your favorite shot (3-D traffic) reminded me of one of mine . . . I loved the flying noodle stands that would hover outside your apartment window while you ate.

Quite a few of these I haven't seen, but a number of them I have to say I wouldn't consider "Guilty" pleasures.

Die Hard was actually pretty good, with a good story. (That was before Bruce Willis lost all ability to pick a decent script.)

Lethal Weapon had an excellent story, and the characters and relationship of Riggs and Murtaugh was fantastic. Gibson and Glover seem to really work well together -- they made it work. Okay, guilty pleasure: I love to watch Mel Gibson hit/shoot people. (And if I were into guys, Gibson would definitely do it for me!)

Hudson Hawk had some delightfully bizarre moments -- it tickled my funny bone. Of course, most of it was pretty bad.

Air Force One -- this is another action movie that I thought was excellent. Even putting aside Harrison Ford (who is always great), the rest of the cast and they story were pretty solid, and it moved well, with plenty of edge-of-your-seat action.

I would definitely add Under Siege (Steven Seagal) and Murder at 1600 (Wesley Snipes), both of which I enjoyed in much the same way I use to enjoy the A-team.

Yeah, I actually thought Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, and Air Force One were all excellent (I'd put The Negociator in the same class). But comic-book-violence-based movies always make me feel a bit guilty, even though I usually enjoy the heck out of them. There's the whole violence-desensitizing aspect, and then there's the fact that you usually have to suspend your disbelief roughly three miles high.

I'm glad you mentioned Murder at 1600. While I did like it, I didn't like it quite enough to add it to this list. However, being reminded of Wesley Snipes reminded me of Demolition Man, a guilty pleasure if ever there was one! I will add it now.

Jim, I don't think "The Mummy" will make your Guilty Pleasures list.

Basically, the movie just blows. It has one of the worst screenplays I've seen in a long time.

[the above relates to a post of mine.]

Yeah, I tried to rent it twice this weekend but I physically couldn't make myself bring it to the counter. A nagging fear that I was being sucked in by a well-done preview scared me off. Of course, now I don't know if I'll ever see it, but it doesn't sound like I'm missing anything. Thanks for the warning.

I think this site would be more fun if we could all nominate/add items to the list.

I'd suggest the move The Hunger for this particular list. I've never seen any review of the movie that wasn't completely negative, beginning to end ... and yet it's a very emotionally compelling, evocative film. It's viewed as a complete shlock by the critics ... just a collection of gratuitous scenes of sex and violence.

One (among many) interesting aspects of the film -- the song they play in the opening scene is Bella Lugosi's Dead, by the 80's alternative band Bauhaus. The rest of the soundtrack is all classical music ... and yet, the music all seems to fit together seemlessly.

Interesting idea (allowing users to add/edit items)! However, one of the things I like about the current scheme is that you get a sense of the individual by viewing their list, and you'd lose that if lists were built by committee. And since you can make suggestions via comments that the list author can decide whether or not to incorporate, users can work around the lack of formal support for this option. Which brings me to your suggested addition to this list . . .

I haven't seen The Hunger, but I'll try to check it out, thanks!

Hmm. Another thought . . . Based on your idea, maybe I'll add a feature, "Create Your Own Version of This List.", which would basically be a shortcut to creating your own "Guilty Pleasures" list (in this case).

Also, you might want to check out Wanderlist, which does pretty much exactly what you described.

I rented Mystery Men last night, and it didn't seem like a guilty pleasure to me. When I first saw Calvin and Hobbes, I thought it was extremely stupid. Then I realized that Hobbes was a Stuffed tiger, and it all made sense, and it's one of my favorites.

Similarly, once I realized that it's a child's view superimposed on an adult world, it made sense.

Yeah, I debated about where to put Mystery Men. While I don't feel particulary guilty about having enjoyed it, it did seem like one of those movies where viewers could be evenly divided between "stupid" and "funny" (much like Hudson Hawk, but with a much more balanced split). So there was that, combined with it seeming like this was the list where it fit in best relative to the other content. But y'know what? Or further reflection, it's fits in better on my "offbeat" list. So I'll move it. Thanks!

I agree on the Starship Troopers. Be careful who you tell, though! Heinlein lovers despise this movie. I just couldn't stop laughing at certain parts.

You might be interested in the budding conversation here.

I've never read the Heinlein book, and I haven't been able to quite tell from the conversations - was the book a satire? And was the movie a parody of the satire? Those are my best guesses from the comments I've had to work with. :)

So I could use some enlightenment . . . why do Heinlein lovers despise the movie?

I love Heinlein and I didn't despise Starship Troopers.

Jim, go to this page, click on the "Starship Troopers" link at the top of the list, and read the review. It had me crying with laughter. I laughed, even though the reviewer naysays my opinion that the movie is a satire.

Ha! Fantastic! I don't know if I've ever read a funnier review. I'll have to link to it from the home page.

you know, some of those movies are great little films Mr. Bangs.You have a type-o(like I don't or something)on THE NEGOTIATOR

Well, thanks, but these aren't my movies! This is actually Jim's list.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Yeah, sometimes I feel guilty about my guilt. :-) Which ones in particular did you like?

I just have to comment on Remo Williams. I thought it was a good movie (probably a guilty pleasure), but the books are just so much better.

Cool. Y'know, I had no idea it was based on a book series.

I have a tendency to be overly-nostalgic when it comes to things I enjoyed as a kid. For instance, sold all my He-Man toys at a yard sale to get enough money to buy ice-cream or who knows what. Now that I'm older I regret it, so what do I do? I go to Value City and buy a few new He-Man toys to make up for that. The same thing works with the movies. There is only ONE drawback to this, however. Let me use "The Last Starfighter" as my prime example. LOVED the movie as a kid, DREAMED about seeing it again for years and finally was loaned the DVD about a month ago. It was really sweet watching it again, and brought back great memories, but the movie is not as good to me as an adult as it was as a kid. Well, I'd probably watch it again anyway since I'm so sentimental, but I'd have to try not to fall asleep! The special FX in that movie are not nearly as cool as they used to seem.

So, this brings me to your list. "The Beastmaster" was one of my favorites. I'd love to see it again but I don't want to ruin my feelings for this movie. Who knows, I might think it's a great movie still, but then again I might not!

"Darkman" is another one I enjoyed. It's more recent to memory than "The Beastmaster" so I probably still would feel the same about it after watching it again. Might do that. :)

celtchic, you're 25, correct? Take it easy on the nostalgia. You'll want some when you're 90, yes? Don't use it all up now. :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Ha! Yeah, I've been told I should probably slow down or else I'll be nostalgic about EVERYTHING by the time I'm really old! I'll have to re-purchase everything I ever loved or owned in my childhood and adult life. HELP!

My advice? Stop selling stuff for ice cream and invest in storage space! (Although, if it was Ben & Jerry's, I understand).


Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Especially the limited edition Cherry Garcia flavor! Wish it wasn't limited!

Is that a variation of the regular Cherry Garcia? The original has been around for at least a decade.

My favorite flavors always disappear. Shalom, Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz... =sniff=

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Hey, maybe it's not limited edition. I thought it was. I haven't seen it in the stores anywhere, though. I sure could use a little container of it right now. I'm craving that stuff!

:-) Nostalgia's tricky. Heck, even Star Wars is not the movie it once was in my mind, and that's without even considering the godawful prequels.

I too loved The Last Starfighter, but haven't seen it since I was a kid. I don't remember it well enough to list it here, but I do remember the special effects were VERY early CGI, right? I bet they look very dated indeed.

Beastmaster made the list, but I had to leave Krull off, a similar movie I loved through the same time period. But even with my prodigious capacity for shouldering embarrassement, couldn't bring myself to add it. :-)

Darkman I saw in college, so I'm a bit more comfortable standing by that one, but some friends of ours rented it based on this list (why they are renting from this *particular* list of mine, I have no idea) and HATED it. So my confidence in that one is shaken, but not stirred. Besides, it has Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand in it, how bad could it be?

I know what you mean. I suspect there are several films I liked as a youngster I am now intentionally not watching again because I fear I will hate them. The Last Starfighter is one of them; The Boy Who Could Fly is another. Perhaps The Dark Crystal is another, though I have somewhat higher hopes for that one.

Oh, and trust me, Jim, you really don't want to see Krull again. Just remember it as the cool, awesome film you loved as a child. :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Oo yes, The Dark Crystal, I'm thinking that would hold up pretty well. As for Krull, fear not, I'll keep that one intact in my mental vault, uncorrupted by a repeat viewing. But can you believe the DVD treatment they gave that movie? Check out these specs:

* Cast and Crew Audio Commentary by Director Peter Yates, Editor Ray Lovejoy, Actor Ken Marshall and Actress Lysette Anthony
* Behind-the-Scenes Audio Commentary (Cinefantastique Article)
* Original Featurette: "Journey to Krull" Narrated by Tom Bosley
* Marvel Comics Video Adaptation
* Photo Gallery (247 Photos)
* Cast Portraits
* Behind-the-Scenes
* Design and Concept
* Vintage Advertising
* Filmographies (Peter Yates, Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony and Freddie Jones)
* Widescreen anamorphic format

They must really be banking on nostalgia purchases!

Well, even a 17-year-old can get nostalgic. I remember in 6th grade thinking that "Spaceballs" was the funniest movie ever. When I later made the mistake of buying the VHS and watched it (maybe in 9th grade or so), I found it occasionally amusing, but mostly dull and stupid. I currently have it ranked in the third tier of my Movies I've Seen list, but if I watched it today, it would probably fall to the fourth. I doubt I'll rewatch it though.

You're way ahead of me. It wasn't until I went to college that I began to suspect some of the things I loved when I was younger were crap. Now, I'm suspicious of pretty much everything that I liked when I was 19 and under (and lots of things from my early 20s as well). I've comfirmed that some of it was good, but mostly revisiting those has been an exercise in humility.