clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bad movies that we love

Don’t judge. You know you like some terrible movies too.

It’s the off-season, which means it’s time for an ELITE off-topic post. Today’s discussion was inspired by the tepid horribleness that is the latest remake of The Mummy. No one on the staff wasted money on this swill (don’t worry) but the group consensus that we never wanted to see it led to a long discussion of bad movies that each of us actually love.

So without further delay, here is a breakdown of some of our favorite horrifically terribad movies, with each film’s short review written by the poor soul who loves it. We’re not saying these are our favorite movies of all time. We’re just saying these are some of our favorite not great movies of all time. We know we’re not alone, so make sure to share your favorite bad movies in the comments.

Dragnet - IowaGopher

Long before Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum’s 21 Jump Street popularized the comedic remake of a “serious” television show — and led us down a dark road that has opened the floodgates for clunkers like CHiPs and Baywatch — there was 1987’s Dragnet starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks. Loosely based on the long-running crime drama of the same name, Dragnet bore little no resemblance to its source material, aside from lead detective Joe Friday and his unflinching commitment to the facts.

The plot is nonsensical and involves a stand-in for Hugh Hefner being targeted by a cult-like group called P.A.G.A.N. (People Against Goodness and Normalcy). There’s even an attempted virgin sacrifice (and a large snake being subdued by LSD) for good measure. But I maintain that Tom Hanks’ Detective Pep Streebeck is one of his most underrated performances. I mean, in terms of scenes that have stood the test of time, look no further than Tom Hanks comforting a group of children at the zoo after thieves have absconded with a lion’s mane.

I could also be compelled to make a case for Jim Carrey’s under-appreciated dark comedy The Cable Guy, but I refuse to consider it a “bad” movie. Don’t @ me.

Cool As Ice - dvits14

Cool as Ice, starring Vanilla Ice, is one of those movies that is so horrifically bad that it is awesome. I tend to describe this movie as horrifically awesome. The plot line involves your classic good girl with a boyfriend falls for the new bad boy in town who has his eyes on her. Oh and that bad boy happens to be an up-and-coming rapper. Yes, Vanilla Ice is the bad boy rapper, like I said; it is so bad it is great. Turns out the good girls’ father is in witness protection only to be discovered by the people hunting him and all heck breaks loose. Thankfully Vanilla Ice is there to save the day and win the heart of the girl.

I really can’t defend this movie, so you can save the comments. I know this is a really, really bad movie but that’s what makes it so much fun. Well, that and any movie that can use the line “drop that zero and get with the hero” with a straight-face is good in my book. I think the reason I still love this movie is because my friends and I used to watch it religiously when it first came out in 1991. Even then we knew it was a bad movie. But it is such a fun movie to quote and laugh at because it takes itself so serious but it so comically bad. So “let’s get out of here and G-O”.

The Octagon - UStreet

Following the success of the “Way of the Dragon” Hollywood made a concerted decision to make Chuck Norris a star, and what better way to do that than make a film where Chuck Norris fights ninja-terrorists? If the goal was to create a good movie, almost any other way would have been better. If the goal was to create one of the worst movies ever made, welcome to The Octagon.

Arguably, the plot of The Octagon is Chuck Norris has to fight ninja-terrorists who base out of a camp in an unnamed Central American country and are trying to murder diplomats. One of the ninjas is his long lost half brother. I say arguably because the movie has a non-linear plot structure that seems to leave out every crucial connecting scene on the cutting room floor. Yes, someone wrote a film starring Chuck Norris like an avant garde art house film, and multiple other people said “Yeah, let’s go with that.”

Here are some things that happen during the movie.

  • The opening scene features terrorists in a training camp flanked by ninjas wearing all black in trees. In the middle of the day. Somewhere in Central America.
  • Chuck Norris has multiple love interests. He refuses to go to bed with any of them, turning one away with the immortal line “It’s an insult to both of us. It makes me stupid and you a whore.”
  • Chuck Norris fights two characters both played by the same actor. No one comments on this.
  • The director made a deliberate choice to put echoplex on Chuck Norris’s voiceovers that make them incomprehensible.
  • Chuck Norris does not know any of his lines and is almost certainly reading off cue cards for 80% of the film.
  • There is a ninja pillow fight. It’s less cool than it sounds.

Why do I love this movie then? Partly because the movie predates the ninja boom in 80s action movies. Watching this movie if you like action films is a historical curiosity. Another aspect is the mental endurance test of watching a movie so bad. I imagine that it is a similar feeling that people running ultramarathons get about halfway through. Mostly though, I watched this movie for the first time in college over beers with two of my good friends. Like music, sometimes you love a film because of where and who you watched it with and not so much its innate quality.

Also Lee Van Cleef is in this film and I laugh every time he shows up on screen because he is equally as confused as I am as to why he’s there.

Days of Thunder - gopherguy05

I like sports. Well most sports. I’m not a big soccer guy, and frankly I really only watch auto racing for the crashes. But for some reason my favorite bad movie is a Nascar movie. Sorry Ricky Bobby...we aren’t shaking and baking. We are rubbin....cause rubbin is racing. Days of Thunder is a movie that takes two rivals in Tom Cruise’s Cole Trickle and Micheal Rooker’s Rowdy Burns and takes them from hating one another to begrudging respect. The of course you have Cary Elwes coming in at the end to play the villain role. The plot isn’t important...and even the ending isn’t important— Tom Cruse wins(there’s a shocker). Its the hilarious battles between the rivals in Trickle and Burns before they finally find common respect. Whether its the wheelchair races in the hospital, or the infamous rental car demolition derby on their way to a forced meal, the two rivals just do such immature stupid stuff and that makes it worth while. Of course Tom Cruise uses his older mentor in Robert Duval and falls for the older wiser woman in Nicole Kidman in a perfect example of as Roger Ebert called it, “The Tom Cruise Picture” Seriously...the exact same basic plot structure occurs in The Color of Money, Cocktail, and Top Gun....think about it.

Its an obvious plot, and you can tell from the very beginning what the ending will be, but its one of those movies I just can’t turn off when I see it on tv.

Airborne - wildcat00

Wildcat00: I’ll concede right away that Airborne (1998) is one of the worst action films ever made. It has an incomprehensible plot revolving around a group of terrorists stealing a lethal biological weapon aboard an airplane. It has Steve Guttenberg trying—and failing miserably—to be Bruce Willis in Die Hard, and worst of all, the movie takes itself way too seriously. It might have worked as a send-up of the genre, but alas.

So why did I watch, and why do I sort of like it? Two words: Sean Bean.

Long before he was the noble but conflicted Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, or the slightly less noble but much more conflicted Boromir in Lord of the Rings, Sean Bean was every Hollywood casting director’s dream villain. Whether it was a Bond movie (Goldeneye) or a Jack Ryan thriller (Patriot Games), Bean would show up, give the part his classically-trained best, and take his lumps like the proper Yorkshire lad he were.

In this film, he is mostly wasted, and doesn’t have nearly enough screen time. But whenever he’s on screen, he gives the film an instant spark. He’s just the right combination of suave and menacing, and for a few minutes, you can forget what a terrible film this is. Luckily, pretty much all of Bean’s screen time also makes it into the trailer, so watch the trailer and skip the rest of the movie.

And yes, Sean Bean dies at the end. Because of course he does.

The Notebook - mowe0018

mowe0018: It’s hard to believe that a movie , the cast of which contains six Academy Award nominees, one of whom took home an Honorary Oscar in 2015, could be considered “bad.” Alas, such is the case with The Notebook.

Look, I know it’s just an adaptation of another pile of s**** Nicholas Sparks book but this ain’t no Dear John or Safe Haven. This movie, as hinted at above, contains quality acting from a large majority of its cast, Kevin Connolly excluded. (Sorry E, you didn’t make the cut, go cry to Vinny about it). It has iconic scenes that have endured in the always-undulating landscape of 21st century pop-culture. It’s actually well-shot from a cinematographic point of view. And it strangely yet successfully invokes strong nostalgia for two classic tropes that, while over done in the romance genre, still ring true for a large majority of the population: young love and unrequited love.

I could go on and on about film nuance and defend it using a lot of serious points but I’ll just leave these two things here:

  1. Any movie with Ryan Gosling moodily redoing a beautiful house set next to water is dope.
  2. If you don’t melt when Noah tells Allie, “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird,” well, I just don’t know what to tell you.

Point Break - GoAUpher

Point Break is the best worst movie ever. Full stop. No, not that shitty remake that should never have happened. The REAL Point Break.

Never seen it? Watch the trailer. I think it gives you a pretty good feel for what you’re working with:

Let me recount the ways this movie is amazing garbage that you should immediately watch and enjoy:

  • “Are you trying to tell me the FBI is going to pay me to learn to surf?” Yes former college football star quarterback Johnny Utah, that is exactly what psycho person Gary Busey is trying to tell you.
  • This is a movie which forces you to believe a world where someone like Gary Busey could be an FBI agent.
  • Red Hot Chili Pepper frontman Anthony Kiedis is a member of the surfer gang. His name is Tone (yes, for real).
  • It was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the woman behind actually legit great movies like The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty.

Go. Watch it. Thank me later.

What’s your favorite bad movie?