Do bad movies really exist? Yes and no. If you’re looking at film on a critical/artistic level, then you can certainly reason that some films are masterpieces while others are a hot mess. However, like all art forms, film is open to interpretation. We all react to films differently and here, at MoviePass, we try not to judge. So, here’s a list of our favorite “terrible” movies, we mean, guilty pleasures.
THE ROOM, Veronica (Blog Writer)
Being a film student for the past four years in college, it’s fun and sometimes necessary to take a break from the Citizen Kane’s and 400 Blow’s of cinema and enjoy bafflingly bad movies like The Room. Films like this one put things into perspective and regardless of the fact that Wiseau & co. were aware that they were in the process of making the worst movie ever made, The Room is also a lesson in time, as you’ll never know when you might find a devoted fanbase that keep movies like this in the spotlight and perpetuate its legendary status.
STREET FIGHTER, Michael (Blog Writer)
Street Fighter is cheesier than a pile of nachos from a North Jersey diner, but good Lord, I love it so. It’s bright and colorful and fun – the exact opposite of mirthless video game adaptations like Doom or the endless Resident Evil flicks – with enough of the story from the legendary kick-and-punch arcade series to pass the sniff test for slavish fans (like me). Oh, and let’s talk about that cast; Jean-Claude Van Damme trying to pass himself off as the American Colonel Guile. Raul Julia practically munching on the scenery as Bison. A pig-tailed Kylie Minogue as Cammi. Ming-Na Wen as Chun-Li. Even the 1990s-all-star bad guy Wes Studi pops up as Sagat! Of course, the movie is dumb as a box of spandex, but it’s absolutely the most fun kind of dumb – and the Van Damme pump-up speech before the climax is actually kind of rousing. A truly terrible movie, in the best way.
STANDING OVATION, Eli (Blog Writer)
Imagine a version of High School Musical with even worse music, even more of a made-for-TV aesthetic, then throw in some awful performances, and bizarre subplots (like one about gambling addiction) for good measure, and you’ll end up with something like Standing Ovation. But unlike the Disney Channel musical it was almost certainly trying to cash in on, Standing Ovation actually played in theaters, premiering with one of the worst opening weekends of any wide-release ever. This is a movie for nobody — the tweens it’s aimed at probably ended up hating it even more than the parents who brought them to the theater. It’s almost impossible to overstate just how unlistenable every single song is. And yet, a midnight screening of it back in 2013 is still one of my favorite bad movie experiences ever. I haven’t seen Standing Ovation since because the preview itself is so awful that I’ve been unsuccessful in my attempts to get anybody else to watch it with me.
JUMPER, Alex (Blog Writer)
Directed by Doug Liman (of Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Bourne Identity), Jumper is a film about a young man with the ability to teleport or “jump” to any place that he can imagine. Starring Hayden Christensen, Jumper was supposed to be Fox’s next big franchise and proof that Hayden was more than just the poor actor we saw throughout the Star Wars prequels. This obviously was not the case, as Jumper ended up being a commercial and critical failure, criticized mostly for its incoherent plot and poor acting. However, I have always loved this film. Despite its plot, or lack thereof, the action is just so cool. The ability to teleport is a power often explored but not fully utilized in science fiction action films, and I think Jumper perfectly captured the possibilities that the power presents. I also thought this was Hayden’s best role (which isn’t saying that much) and it’s hard not to love a film with Samuel L. Jackson as the lead villain. All I can do now is hope the movie gets the proper remake treatment it deserves.
ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, Alexandros (Blog Writer)
This is something of a cop-out because I actually genuinely believe this is a great film and has value even without all the midnight heckling that has made it famous. While most of its fans view the film ironically I contend that Rocky Horror Picture Show is a brilliant satirical look at “family values” in America. It manages to both parody 50s conservative ideals, pay tribute to genre b-movie schlock all while pushing cinematic boundaries and also giving a voice to on-screen sexual debauchery that was still somewhat new and terrifying, even in the midst of the 70s. Also, Tim Curry and the rest of the cast give absolutely fearless performances that should be praised more than they are ridiculed.
DEATH TO SMOOCHY, Cassie (Blog Writer)
One of the few films to have Jon Stewart in a sizable role, Death to Smoochy is an attempt at bringing a dark look at the seemingly pure children’s entertainment world. It takes a wonderfully naive Edward Norton as Sheldon, an entertainer who gets thrust into the shockingly dark world of KidNet, after Rainbow Randolph (Robin Williams) is forced into retirement for taking a bribe. As Randolph descends into insanity and failed attempts at regaining the spotlight, Sheldon battles success against sacrificing his morals. Death to Smoochy was a critical and commercial failure, grossing $8 million on a $50 million budget and essentially being shuffled off the extensive filmographies of stars Danny Devito, Edward Norton, Robin Williams and Catherine Keener. However, the film does have a lot of heart, and there is a lot of laughs and warmth underneath the roughness of the film. Take the introduction of the movie as a microcosm of the film’s problems; the performers are delivering solid material, the writing is trying too hard to be cheeky, it is hitting that sweet spot of both earnestness and falseness simultaneously, but it ends up leaving a smile on your face and an annoying song in your head.
BABES IN TOYLAND, Daniel (Blog Writer)
Favorite terrible movie: 1986’s Babes in Toyland (chosen slightly over Blue Crush, Joy Ride, and the J-Lo starring Enough). An oddly energizing melange of genres (action/adventure, fantasy, suspense, drama), and a bit too frightening to honestly be considered a family film, the world of the movie is both real and unreal to me. It’s very low budget, very 80s, and has inspired art direction and set design as well as a precocious Drew Barrymore and Keanu Reeves (!) and Pat Morita (The Karate Kid‘s Mr. Miyagi) as The Toymaster. Entertainment for days. Very, very campy. One day I will present this at a hip repertory cinema and everyone will love it as much as I do. Or not.
CATWOMAN, Frank (Member Experience Associate)
What might be one of the most misguided attempts at making a Superhero film, accidentally turned out to be one best comedies of 2004. It’s the film version of listening to a child explain a dream they had through The Telephone Game. Halle Berry will be forever remembered by me as the coolest woman in Hollywood for her Razzie award acceptance speech. Intentional or not, Catwoman is hilarious – I love it.
SUCKER PUNCH, Mads (Member Experience Associate)
Every instinct in my body told me I should hate the movie Sucker Punch when I first saw it in theaters. From the terrible reviews to the horrible box office reports to those ridiculous little anime outfits that all of the female characters wear throughout the movie, I thought I would hate it; yet somehow, I left the theater entranced, and have since watched it around 20 times. Despite the absurd, sexed up costumes, it’s still one of the only movies made up entirely of all female protagonists and no love interests. Can you even name the last movie you saw with only female leads where none of them gave a crap about meeting Mr. Right? Normally, romance is at least a motivation if not the only motivation that women get in film. But, in Sucker Punch, these women are on a mission to tear down the system that is ruining their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware there are tons of faults with this film, like TONS. But, against all of the odds, I still love this movie. Probably because these ladies kill dragons, zombies, and samurais. Oh, and because Oscar Isaac is in it.
MOMMIE DEAREST, Emmanuel (Member Experience Associate)
My favorite terrible movie is Mommie Dearest. I did not even know this film existed until I discovered it on HBO one day. The reason I like this film is the over-the-top cheesy performance that Faye Dunaway gives as Joan Crawford. Who actually chops down a tree in an evening gown? Well, actually, now that I mention it, this is probably how The Real Housewives franchise was born… And who could forget the showdown between Joan and Christina? Their relationship has more drama and storyline than Mawesther and Pacquio. Overall, Mommie Dearest is a terrible movie that I love to hate. For me, it’s sort of like watching a fight break out on the subway; you want to jump in and stop it, but you realize that if you leave it alone it makes for a much more interesting story to tell your friends over and over about.
I LOVE YOU TO DEATH, Alyssa (Member Experience Associate)
Black comedies hold a special place in my heart and I’ve probably seen this movie a dozen times since childhood. It’s a crude representation of stereotypical Italian-American men and the wives who want to kill them. Throw in the help of River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves, some drugged pasta sauce, a couple of bullets and a botched car bomb installed by grandma herself and you have yourself a classic.
NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, Sarah (Member Experience Associate)
When it first came out, I remember people describing the movie as being, “so bad you have to see it.” Ironically, it subsequently garnered such a huge cult following it might now be known more for being “overrated” than “terrible.” But once you tune out what the adults are saying, what the kids are saying, what the critics are saying, and just watch it with your weirdo friends in someone’s basement during adolescence, you are left with a movie of fascinating weirdness, excruciatingly dry humor, and bursts of nonsensical energy and song. Throw in a class presidential campaign featuring a piñata, a middle-school style dance where our nerd hero gets the sweet girl with the crimped hair, my favorite wedding couple in any motion picture, and there’s a movie you’ll remember probably a lot longer than you’ll remember the year’s prestigious Oscar winner. Vote for Pedro, everybody.
DIRTY DANCING: HAVANA NIGHTS, Faridah (Member Experience Associate)
My favorite “terrible” movie is probably Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights. It is cliché filled and cheesy. But I love every second of it. I’m a sucker for schmaltzy romances plus I love both of the stars of the film. Who can resist Romola Garai and Diego Luna? Add in the fact that the soundtrack for the film is fantastic. Pretty sure a good amount of my affection for the movie is the soundtrack. Related to the soundtrack “Dance Like This” is a much better song than “Hips Don’t Lie” and my love for this film has resulted in me kind of resenting “Hips Don’t Lie”. (If you listen to the soundtrack and/or watch the film this last bit will make more sense).
JERSEY GIRL, Maddie (Blog Intern)
True to my Jersey Girl style (okay, I’m a New Yorker, but I have deep Jersey girl roots), my favorite bad movie is Kevin Smith’s Jersey Girl. (Sorry Kevin, hope to see you at the Inkwell again soon). Going through film school, I always sort of resented Kevin Smith; he made films specifically about my hometown and where I grew up, how could I escape Ocean Township, New Jersey when every “artsy” kid from Boston, Massachusettes wanted to watch Clerks all the time? Despite what people say about Kevin Smith’s movies, if you can get over the Ben Affleck’s subpar acting, weak plot, watered down dialogue, and the fact that they don’t play Bruce Springsteen’s “Jersey Girl” until the credits, long enough to appreciate the beautiful simplicity of the film (and also Liv Tyler – love you girl), it really is a cute little film. It’s also the type of film that makes you yearn for the nostalgia of your summers on the shore.