A friend and ex-colleague was (and is) unusually obsessed with the 1989 Patrick Swayze work of art Road House. For the uninitiated, Road House is a movie about people punching each other. Swayze and Sam Elliott also take turns acting like hardasses. One of the best things on the internet is this 11 minute compilation of every fight scene from the movie.

It had been about 15 years since I saw this film when I discovered it on Hulu Plus last week. For shits and/or giggles I played it in the background while I did some grading and other mindless professorial tasks. Road House, ladies and gentlemen, is just terrible. Yet I can see how someone would get obsessed with it (and force repeated viewings upon his poor wife, which will almost certainly be a factor in the divorce proceedings). It is that lovable kind of terrible. It makes you want to like it by sheer force of its crapulence.

Alas, I don't think one can see a movie at the age of 34 and adopt it as a new Guilty Pleasure film; I am already set in my habits. Road House cannot be my Road House. In order to develop a lasting love affair with a movie that isn't even any good, one must be exposed to it as a child or adolescent (which I discovered when I watched The Princess Bride for the first time in my early thirties). One terrible movie I recall clearly from dozens of viewings as a child was Arnold Schwarzenegger's Commando. But it didn't age with me. I've tried to watch it maybe once in the last 20 years and holy balls it might be the worst movie ever made.

Also, adult viewings of Commando force me to confront the questionable parenting that resulted in me watching it a hundred times when I was like eight. My dad also took me to see RoboCop in the theater when I was nine. I'd buy that for a dollar.

So what is my Road House? The closest thing I can think of is Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls, which I have probably seen fifty times. It is terrible. It is terrible and I love it ("It's in the bone. It's in the bone!")
I have plenty of other go-to movies, but they're mostly Good. At least they are not obviously and aggressively bad and I love them in spite of that. For bad action movies I guess I don't mind throwing on Predator while I'm folding laundry although it doesn't arouse any strong feelings in me.

What are yours? The ones you know damn well are terrible yet you watch them repeatedly? It might be time for me to explore some other options in the universe of the charmingly crappy.

Oh, and I'm serious about Commando. Awful. Just awful. It's Bennett. Look at that fucking guy. Truman Capote would be a more menacing villain.

114 thoughts on “NPF: PAIN DON'T HURT”

  • A few weekends ago was the annual Milwaukee Noise Fest. After my friend Peter performed a bleak 15-minute performance art piece about the futility and repetitiveness of life, the transition music before the next act was the theme from Top Gun.

    IMMEDIATELY when we got home, i made Dixie watch Top Gun with me.

    If you saw how excited i was for the beach volleyball scene, you'd wonder if i was making the right choice by agreeing to marry a woman next year.

  • The closest experience was about 20 years ago in the Black Forest near Munich. In a cafe they dished out slices of creamy cakes that were disgustingly sweet and buttery. (And buckets of great German beer.) We finished a slice, proclaimed it utterly disgusting and immediately ordered another slice. The four of us must have inhaled that travesty may be 5-7 times each.

  • Red. Fucking. Dawn. Pissing in the radiator, Jennifer Grey shooting commies, "It's hard bein' brothers," all of it. Even the remake was tolerable, such is my love for Red Dawn.

  • Waterworld. I loved the concept when it came out and enjoyed seeing the movie in the theater as a young teenager. As an adult, I realized that it also included one of my favorite things in movies – Dennis Hopper being crazy. If it included lava, it would be my perfect movie.

  • Battlefield Earth. Truly jaw-dropping awful, this movie is a stench that stuns, rendering any viewer incapable of turning away.

  • I have watched "Bloodsport" roughly 200 times. That might be an exaggeration, but not by much. I'm not exactly proud of this fact, but I'm not ashamed of it either, it was JCVD at his finest. Whatever else you may think of him, the guy could kick like a total badass.

    There are a few other movies that I've seen way more times than necessary, but I think that's because back in the late 80's, I had a pretty limited set of VHS tapes that I could watch and rematch, most of which are at least pretty good (e.g. Platoon, Wall Street, Batman, Top Gun, Raiders of the Lost Ark, IJ& the Last Crusade) and more or less hold up to the test of time. So Bloodsport it is for guilty pleasures. It's a damn fine fightin' movie, but my god, all the stuff wrapped around the Kumite makes my head hurt. Thank Panasonic (or whoever) for fast forward . . .

    As far as Predator, I have to disagree with you. That's not a bad action movie, that's a fucking *great* action movie.

  • UHF. I still have my original VHS tape from 1989, plus a recent DVD copy. Both soon to be signed by Weird Al, as soon as I get to his next concert.

    Also, Army Of Darkness, but I'm a nerd in my mid-30s – I'm contractually obligated to love that movie. AoD is a fucking one-liner quote machine, greater than every Schwartzeneggar movie combined.

    Speaking of Ahnold, I still watch the original Conan movies (not including Red Sonja) occasionally.

  • No single movie… just segments of several. Does that make me a douche? Foremost is Gladiator… the opening battle is batshit insane and the gladiator-fight scenes are mucho cool. My favorite part is when the Praetorians take him out into the forest for his execution, and the blade sticks. And, of course, Maximus kills everybody. Then comes Roadhouse. "His name is Dalton", says the Blind Boy (of Alabama). And the throat-tearing-out-climax! Finally, it's First Blood. Rambo's escape from the basement jail is so, so exciting. And so it goes.

  • There's a direct-to-VHS movie I saw called "Laser Mission." It stars Brandon Lee and Ernest Borgnine. Came out in 92 or 93. Action movie, low-budget. It's absolutely incredible to watch. I was tearing up from laughing so hard.

  • Eddie Murphy's "The Golden Child" (racist as all-get-out and I love it anyway, don't ask me why). "Tremors" with Kevin Bacon, Michael Gross and Reba MacIntyre. There was a Cary Grant movie called "I was a Male War Bride" which might have been good in its own time and is now just clichéd misogyny, and I love it anyway. "Princess Bride," of course, which I did see before my teens.

  • Die Hard — the first one, obviously.

    Bruce Willis being Bruce, with a vest which mysteriously changes from white to green halfway through the movie. Alan Rickman's German accent is more than a little ropey, but every single one of his lines is pure gold.

    I think Gladiator may be a little too good to qualify as a guilty pleasure movie. It did win multiple Oscars, after all.

  • The first VHS movie I ever bought (for $75 in 1986) was 'Clockwork Orange', which is, of course, a great film, but I did watch it to death. I still watch it at least once a year.

  • Undesirable Element says:

    The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie…

    "Cricket? You gotta know what a crumpet is to understand cricket."

    "The class is Pain 101. Your instructor's Casey Jones."

    "You're a claustrophobic."
    "Hey I never even looked at another guy."

  • Big Trouble in Little China ("I was born ready!" )

    Streets of Fire ("What's the point of stealing a car if you 're not gonna wring it out?")

  • Any Jerry Lewis movie without Dean Martin – except for "The Nutty Professor."
    The rest of them are FSM-P-U-awful. And that one was so bad, it was actually great.

    Now, as far as music, as a huge fan of The British Invasion, then -70's anti-war/acid rock, then Punk and New Wave, my guilty pleasure is ABBA.
    In the 70's when I was a teenager, we could only afford cheap cars – and cars never had FM, so you were stuck with AM.
    And, while there were a lot of great tunes played on AM, there were some genuinely 'When I hear this song, I want to run head-on into a f*ckin'g bridge abutment" – like "The Night Chicago Died," or, "Seasons in the Sun." And, I had no choice but to switch to another station, turn the radio off, or look for the nearest bridge abutment.
    But when ABBA came on, I knew they were awful. But I found myself tapping my non-accelerator foot, and singing along.
    I have so far refrained from watching the movie "Mama Mia." But I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out.

  • @Gulag; my babysitter had the radio on *all the time* when I was in grade school, and I can't believe you didn't mention "Run Joey Run" or "Billy Don't be a Hero" or even "Kung Fu Fighting". Now, THOSE were songs so awful they were funny!

  • I find the entire concept of Road House to be hilarious.

    Plot summary: a small-town bar is so beset by violence that it hires a world-famous bouncer to clean the place up.


    OK. Can anyone name just ONE bouncer? I certainly can't.

  • Gotta love your comments on Commando, because that was one that I saw in the theater as a teenager. It really only makes sense if you're 15/16 years old and immersed in the Cold War. Since neither of those apply to me, I can see it for the crap-fest that it is.

    My go-to movie is "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai". It's another one that you have to either love or hate.

  • Like you, Ed, I loved a ton of movies that I now find to be if not total crap, then pretty crappy. I must have watched "The Golden Child" 25 times as a teenager, but it fell flat when I re-watched it. Same thing with "Weird Science", "K-9", and "The Principal." Even as a teenager I knew "Road House" could only be enjoyed with irony or not at all.

    There are only two that I enjoy with anywhere near the same intensity: "Real Genius", which I perhaps wrongly still think is good, and "Coming to America", which I know is all kinds of wrong but I pine for it anyway.

  • I have to disagree with your statement that, "I don't think one can see a movie at the age of 34 and adopt it as a new Guilty Pleasure film; I am already set in my habits." I'm well past 34, and I had never seen The Big Lebowski until recently (I always thought it was some strange bowling movie.) Turns out, it's awesome, and I have watched it multiple times just over the last several months. The only question is whether it's too good to be a "guilty" pleasure.

  • A thread that begins with "Road House" and there is no mention of "Point Break"?!

    You got Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, and Gary Busey with Flea and Anthony Kiedis doing beefed-up cameos. It is awesomely awful.

  • 'Point Break' was a classic. Watching Patrick jump out of a pilot-less plane with the only parachute, while Keanu acted his ass off for 2 long minutes before he decided to jump out after him, catch him, and then duke it out in mid-air, before they both landed safely, is hard to top.

  • Don't knock Predator — most important political movie of our generation. It features not one but two people who went on to be governor.
    Now stop banging your head on the desk and wondering where the country went wrong.
    For awful movies — how has no one delved into the Tom Cruise opus? Days of Thunder is the trifecta of awful. Guy inexplicably acting tough (little Tommy)? Check. Ridiculous over-the-top macho-off (the wheelchair race? oh it's awful)? Check. Pandering to rednecks (yeah the whole thing)? Check. And as a bonus the names double as awesome double entendres (Trickle and Burns. Last time I said that it was in order to get a shot of –).

  • Childhood faves – from the early days of cable where the same 2-3 movies would play in rotation 5-6 times every day:
    – Max Dugan Returns
    – North Avenue Irregulars
    – Gloria (the original, not the Sharon Stone remake)
    – The Nude Bomb
    – How to Beat the High Cost of Living

  • Back to the Future is a great movie but I feel somewhat guilty, since it is the only movie I have seen more times than Lebowski.

    Both Ace Venturas are huge guilty pleasures. Every time I come across it on TV, no matter how far along, I have to watch it.

    I think pretty much every Schwarzenegger movie ever made qualifies (well, Total Recall is good). I actually really like the Ahnuld-less Predator 2. That He-Man movie Masters of the Universe. As someone mentioned up thread, all live action Ninja Turtles.

  • It's too middle of the road to really be a guilty pleasure. It's not schlock. But it's a forgettable middlebrow movie from the mid 80s. 84 Charing Cross Road

  • "Clue"! Clue, Clue, Clue. I am constitutionally incapable of describing it as a "bad" movie, but I can certainly understand that not everyone holds it in the high regard I do. "Clue" (and to a lesser extent, "Ghostbusters") is the only movie from my youth in the '80s that I can still bear to watch. When my brother and I were kids, my dad had a bootleg copy of "Clue" which we watched almost every weekend; now, of course, I own it on DVD and watch it every month or so. If all extant copies disappeared from the Earth tomorrow, though, I could still go the rest of my life reciting lines from "Clue" without any problem. So many excellent comedy moments in that movie.

  • Dolemite, man! Dolemite, Dolemite 2: The Human Tornado, and Petie Wheatstraw the Devil's Son in Law. These are the greatest movies ever made terribly. You may never get the scene involving the House! On the Hill! In pasadena! out of your mind, but that isn't a bad thing. . .

  • Transformers: The Movie. The original 1986 animated version.

    Yes, I'm fully aware that it's an hour and a half long commercial for toys. Yes I'm aware that they traumatized an entire generation of kids (myself included!) by killing our hero in the first third of the movie — to say nothing of all the OTHER sub-heroes that got the axe as well. Yes, it's a cartoon movie where the physics don't make any goddamn sense (Seriously? The ENTIRE Decepticon invasion force INSIDE of Astro Train — including DEVASTATOR?)

    I love it anyway. An awesome synth-rock soundtrack by Vince motherfucking DiCola, even a Wierd Al song worked in there, robots blowing each other up in a giant rock-and-roll space opera, and Leonard Nimoy voicing Galvatron. To say nothing of Orson Welles, in his final performance, providing the most malevolent villain voice of all time for Unicron despite not giving one single shit about the movie.

    I make a point of watching it at least once a quarter, and I can recite pretty much the entire script from memory. That movie is awful and I love it.

  • Go ahead. Ask me if I'd rather watch The Hurt Locker or Point Break.

    I'm also deeply attached to the cinematic work of Rudy Ray Moore.

  • grumpygradstudent says:

    I will second: UHF, Die Hard, and I would probably feel that way about Bloodsport if I'd seen it in the last 20 years.

    I will add: Both Bill & Ted movies.
    Beverly Hills Cop

  • Has anyone watched the new-agey "documentary" What the Bleep Do We Know?

    It might be the so-bad-it's-awful guilty-pleasure-for-grown-ups that would negate Ed's theory.

  • Gunstar Green — I ADORE the 1986 Transformers movie to this day. It's not Shakespeare, but the soundtrack is fantastic and the animation has aged very well.

    Acer — I saw "What the Bleep Do We Know" and thought it was disjointed New Age garbage. It's got J.Z. Knight, for crying out loud.

    Several of the films I loved as a teenager — "The Golden Child", "The Blues Brothers", "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" — leave me cold as an adult, so I can't name one that's currently a guilty pleasure. A more recent film that serves as my guilty pleasure is "Valhalla Rising". The plot is nonsensical, characterization is nonexistent, and if there's some kind of theme, damned if I can figure out what it is. Still, I love the ambience and the soundtrack, and it was my introduction to Mads Mikkelsen.

  • Die Hard and Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971) would the movies I could watch several times in a single day with equal entertainment for each viewing. However, I don't consider either of those to be bad/painful movies by any stretch of the imagination.

    Robot Jox, Tremors and the Super Mario Bros would be painful movies I grew up with which I watch repeatedly.

    Honorable mentions:
    Kill Them All And Come Back Alone
    Streets Of Fire
    Deadly Prey

  • Having been around for the birth of cable–when even the pay stations were just barely able to make enough scratch to afford to exist, and as a result, showed the same 4 or 5 movies every single day–I have a number of stunningly bad movies memorized, because back then, you watched the hell out of cable, because you were PAYING FOR IT–the whole "relax, take it easy, it'll always be on" attitude wouldn't come in until the '90s. So, yes, I can recite BACK TO SCHOOL in its entirety, though I'm not offering that one, because it's the epitome of "a charming little film," and that lack of pretension gives it a pass.


    I am still convinced, to this day, that FOOTLOOSE is a good movie. (The original, obvious, because what the fuck was up with the mere IDEA of a remake? Assholes.) Because if FOOTLOOSE isn't a good movie (Superego: "It isn't." Id: "Shut up, ya sandpaper handjob."), I spent what I estimate would be a solid year of my life watching the HELL out of that movie, over and over, and getting very much into it each time.

    And I will do so to this day.

    I would feel like less of a person for having these feelings, except that every single woman of my age I've ever met has the exact same relationship to DIRTY DANCING. Or BEACHES.

  • Shit! Shit! Sorry to double-post, but I just realized another absolutely necessary answer to this one:


    Anyone who has seen it knows why I loved it then unironically, and can only love it now with enough irony to kill every hipster in America.

  • Yeah Die Hard is actually a good movie. Pretty much the pinnacle of the action genre-more movies should learn from it.

  • – The Ambulance (1990), starring the poster-boy of awful films, Eric Roberts;
    – Society (1989), featuring ex-Baywatch beefcake, Billy Warlock;
    – Conan the Destroyer (1984), which in school my friends and I found particularly awful simply for the cringeworthy performance of Stacey Walter ("they need me!');
    – The Star Wars prequels … but that's a bit obvious, no?

  • Sock or Muffin? says:

    Flash Gordon. The 1980 one was on cable constantly.

    And +1 for anyone who mentioned vintage Eddie Murphy films. "Thank you for correcting my English… WHICH STINKS!"

  • Johnny Mnemonic. It's objective awful, and transfixes me every time. Henry Rollins is a doctor! Ice-T! Keanu's self pity rant meltdown! Crazy violent Jesus figure! Chainmail shirts! A CYBORG DOLPHIN.

    I have watched it so many times. I've watched it in languages I don't understand. I love every awful second.

    Johnny Mnemonic.

  • Buckaroo Banzai number one. I love pretty much all the abovementioned others (although my personal favorite JCVD is Double Impact) but BB has magnificent 80s qualities, a cast of thousands, a million visual jokes. But I also adored Highlander. And Excalibur. And the oeuvre of Savage Steve Holland: Better Off Dead, How I Got Into College, One Crazy Summer.

    And just to get this off my chest, I'm the female of a certain age that has to keep my lip zipped when my peers are enthusing about Dirty Dancing and Beaches. Too many feels. Ellen Barkin in a flapper dress = hell yes; Barbara Hershey in a hospital bed = how can you enjoy this, you sickos?

  • Guilty pleasure would have to be "Flesh Gordon" or "Tarzoon, shame of the jungle". "Galaxy of Terror" was just bad. The part of "Commando" that amused me was the dubbed in large V-8 sounds to replace the sound of the wee 4.2 in the Sunbeam Tiger.

  • Ah, forgot, negative 1, there is, or was a race car driver named "Dick Trickle". Reality can be such a gift of sorely needed amusement.

  • I'm not sure how seriously to take anyone who regards Princess Bride as a bad movie, but there it is. Personally, I have no bad movie/guilty pleasure movies, since all the movies I love become good movies by definition. However, there are bad movies I don't love – among which would have to be (@Entomologista) Star Trek V:Spock Shoots God. This is far worse than Star Trek IV:Save The Whales, and even worse than Star Trek VI:Klingon Go Home. I won't even mention Star Trek II:Spock Dies! and Star Trek III:He Gets Better!, although they aren't all that bad, either (thanks largely to Rich Corinthian Leather in the former and some serious ludicrosity in the latter).

  • Before I go into guilty pleasure, allow me to introduce the worst movie ever made. Adam Sandler stars in 'Going Overboard'. It'sI found the VHS tape at a garage sale for 25 cents and picked it up. I got screwed. I have mentioned it to friends and they borrowed the tape thinking it would be "so bad it's good." It's not. I dare you to get through the entire thing. I dare you.

    Now, moving on. Some really great mentions here, including Point Break, Waterworld, Dirty Dancing and Top Gun. For my money, the best guilty pleasure is Back to School. You've got Rodney Dangerfield, Sam Kinison, Robert Downey Jr. and a cameo by Kurt Vonnegut. The house party scene is classic, as is the diving competition. Plus it was filmed at my alma mater and I love the campus scenes.

  • The Fifth Element. Milla Jovovich on the balcony wearing skinny bandages, all disoriented then leaping into mid-air only to land in Bruce Willis' flying taxi. Alien opera singer. Chris Tucker as some kind of space reporter. Bizarre religious characters, space travel in luxury liners and explosions–this movie just keeps on giving!

  • Does "The Breakfast Club" count as a guilty pleasure? I've watched that more times than I can count.
    But definitely some other things in the John Hughes oeuvre fit that description – e.g."Weird Science."

  • I have to say "Metallica: some mind of monster". it is one of the most unintentionally hilarious and quotable movies ever. when waxeater is on tour we try our hardest to watch this of "a league of their own" every night. sometimes both. though league is in no way crap

  • "COBRA" – Stallone cuts pizza with metal shears, Brigitte Nielson has an excruiatingly long photo shoot with robots. The antigonists are a cult of hatchet muderers led by the shapeshifting alien guy from "The X-Files". Stallone gives healthy eating tips. It's pretty much a "Dirty Harry" ripoff, right up to sharing like half the cast, but it's too strange to ignore.

  • I love love love the 5th Element. I know it's not a "good" movie, but I watch it every time I see it on TV. It's absurd, preachy and has some god-awful acting, but its a couple hours of escape.

  • It has been mentioned, but Point Break is the alpha and omega of repeat watching schlock, though I give a hat tip to Armageddon. I am incapable of passing by it, and F/X seems to show it every three weeks, so I get that itch scratched with regularity. Also, while certainly not complete crap, Blue Velvet can't be described as "good", and I will watch Frank Booth send someone s love letter any time it is on.

  • I am with the others on wondering what your problem with "The Princess Bride" is. Maybe your adolescent boy mind really couldn't put up with the fairy tale quality? Dunno.

    But one of my guilty pleasures is like Doctor Rock's: middle of the road, not terrible: "27 Dresses." Every time that stupid, predictable movie comes on I HAVE to watch it. Can't explain it at all. "Showgirls" is one I would watch if it came on, but it somehow has been banished forever from cable. Why oh why?

    Road House is the only movie in my life I have walked out on. A friend of mine and I went, knowing it would be bad, but thinking we could be entertained nonetheless. We were wrong.

  • Whoops, also missed one other guilty pleasure that just hardly ever appears on cable: "Valley of the Dolls." Mockably horrid.

  • Hmmm, where to begin. As a boomer, I grew up watching early Toho productions in B & W like Godzilla and Rodan. Yes, they are wonderfully abysmal. I lost interest in these once the motif changed to monster tag-team wrestling and giant moths summoned by tiny singing princesses. Oh, well.

    Also, just about any John Wayne WWII-era movie. For more recent movies, my pick is The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension. I'm still waiting for the release of BB Against the world Crime League.

  • Starship Troopers. It's awful, but great. It also pisses off people who are fans of the book, and I happen to think that's a good thing.

  • Schwarzenneger's aptly titled waste of 106 minutes "Raw Deal." Even the killing spree at the end is boring.

    Oh, and I'm serious about Commando. Awful. Just awful. It's Bennett. Look at that fucking guy. Truman Capote would be a more menacing villain.

    Same actor.

  • "In all fairness to Mr. Mellon here…. it was a really big check."

    Thanks to everyone for the childhood and teenage memory jolt.

  • In the comedy genre, I'm surprised no one's mentioned any of the Ben Stiller films. Zoolander and Dodgeball are two that for whatever reason, I MUST watch even though I barely laugh at anything in them.

    And to date myself, when I was growing up in the "advent of cable age" (as described above) my brother and I loved, loved, LOVED "Over the Edge". A young Matt Dillon starring in a 70's commentary film about kids growing up on their own because the parents are workaholics and/or too drunk and drugged up to raise them. It culminates in the kids locking all the parents in the school auditorium and then torching the place. The final scene is most of them on the bus to prison. AWESOME!!!

  • Excellent calling out of Bennet! Even as a kid I thought that dude was a joke and didn't have a prayer against Arnold.

    That stupid roller blading movie "Airborne" costarring a very young Seth Green and Jack Black has been watched more times than I'm comfortable admitting. I still watch the majority of it when it comes up as the Sunday afternoon feature on TBS.

    Props to all the Dolemite fans. The Disco Godfather is a revelation. Somewhere in there is a strong message against angel dust but it's easy to get distracted by Rudy's mind blowing kung fu. Also Joe Blow the Loverman will change your life.

  • purpleplatypus says:

    The ones I might, in some moods, have regarded as guilty pleasures are actually viewed as minor classics in some circles. Heathers. Ferris Bueler's Day Off. The Blues Brothers. Big Trouble in Little China. Johnny Dangerously.

    I guess Hudson Hawk sort of counts, but it's actually much better than its reputation. The main problem with that movie is that it was marketed as a serious action film whereas it's actually a comedy. Somewhat similar problems happened with the Stallone version of Oscar – no-one knew what to make of it, but it's actually pretty good.

    I don't understand why one would feel guilty about taking pleasure in The Princess Bride. Anyone who *doesn't* has no soul.

  • I would feel like less of a person for having these feelings, except that every single woman of my age I've ever met has the exact same relationship to DIRTY DANCING. Or BEACHES.

    I have not sat all the way through "Dirty Dancing." But. Nothing wrong with "Beaches."

  • Haven't seen it in years and years, but think there may be something enduring/endearing about PeeWee's Big Adventure. As a kid, I really liked the Lost Boys, but I'm certain that one wouldn't stand the test of time. Princess Bride was and is objectively good. The Breakfast Club is still good, but not as good as it was in the eighties. I would watch Goonies again, but imagine that it hasn't aged well.

  • Army of Darkness, and Evil Dead 2 (its prequel). But I'm an early-forty-something IT guy, so I'm also contractually obligated.

    And Princess Bride was greatness. I don't know what's wrong with the minds of those who think otherwise.

  • Xecky Gilchrist says:

    I really want to disagree with the assertion that you can't acquire new guilty pleasures at 34 (or older), but I can't think of any I've picked up since then.

    …Maybe Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

    Then again, I also agree with JohnR that things I like become good by definition.

    …but films I am sheepish to admit I enjoy:

    Tron (original AND Legacy… and Legacy is well-post-34 for me)
    Buckaroo Banzai
    Pretty much any John Hughes 80s teen flick
    Ditto Savage Steve Holland
    Any Arnold Schwarzenegger flick (second the Commando enthusiasm)
    Fifth Element
    Any Star Trek flick other than Wrath of Khan, that one I'll own proudly
    They Live

  • (i>For the uninitiated, Road House is a movie about people punching each other.

    In fairness, it's also about general bullying, the general shittiness of small town life, generally shooting people and property mayhem – with just a soupcon of sex. And that on the roof, for god's sake.

    And I've only seen it once.

    I don't watch enough movies to get hooked on bad ones. But I will eagerly watch any of the gratuitous nude scenes in Game of Thrones, and episode, any season.

    The Daenerys funeral pyre dragon mother scene is just all kinds of awesome.


  • Back in the 50's, local TV stations would show grade B or lower movies on Saturday afternoon. My absolute favorite was the 1951 classic, "Lost Continent"

    It had fucking dinosaurs and a volcano, honest to god 20 minutes of rock climbing, and a guy named Mudd ("with 2 D's") who gets (IIRC) gored by a stegosaurus. I was like 8 years old. Or maybe 13. It's been a while.

    It was so bad it became an MST3K episode.

    In my defense, Godzilla movies had not yet made to to TV.


  • Bad Boys, the one with Sean Penn and The Kurgen…
    The one with the Kurgen and THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE…
    Conan the Destroyer certainly counts…

    but for me, it has to be Sixteen Candles. The movie has everything wrong about rape, race, sex, nerds, high school, and more all summed up easily. I can't figure out why The Breakfast Club (the treacly piece of shit) is more popular, but it probably has something to do with the fact that so much is wrong about that movie.

    (And the best John Hughes movie is Scottish and called Gregory's Girl.)

  • Hard Target. It's the best/worst ever. John Woo's first American movie – no gun runs out of bullets, all doves fly in slow-motion. Van Damme (with a glorious ramen-hair weave) and Wilford Brimley are Cajun, I guess. Lance Henriksen plays piano, might also be Cajun, and hunts homeless vets for sport.

  • Two faves that I watched over and over when my dad got a new VHS player in the 1980's. First was The Devil's Rain, a cheesy horror flick starring Ernest Borgnine, William Shatner and a young John Travolta as a posessed zombie. The other is a post apocolyptic Cold War flick, Damnation Alley. Jan Micheal Vincent and his crew head across the nuclear wasteland of the US towards a survivalist camp in Albany NY. My favorite line is a scene where they are siphoning gas for their vehicles in what remains of Salt Lake City; "We got to get out of here! This place is infested with … killer cockroaches!"

  • Anaconda. Ice Cube, J-Lo, a not-famous-or-funny Owen Wilson, JON VOIGHT DOING A PARAGUAYAN ACCENT. Total insanity. I would be completely unable to watch Sharknado or any of its ilk if I hadn't seen Anaconda at 14.

    From Dusk Till Dawn. "I'm a bad _____ servant of God." Danny Trejo and Cheech as the most cliche Mexican vampires you'd ever want to see, and Salma Hayek as the only stripper in the club who doesn't take her top off.

    Mallrats, the oft-forgotten Kevin Smith movie. I watched it daily when I was 15, but I'm under no illusions that it's any good. Stan Lee baring his soul to Brodie without being asked is not even in the ten most ridiculous things in the movie. The triple nippled fortune teller probably is.

    Road Trip, starring Brecken Meyer and Tom Green. Watching Meyer or Amy Smart try to act is funny to me. I enjoy Rat Race for the same reason.

    Dude, Where's My Car? speaks for itself.

  • There is a classic Family Guy episode about Peter's insane affection for Road House. And didn't Swayze's bouncer character have a PhD or something like that? Yes, the world-famous doctor bouncer.

    Evil Dead, the original first movie. Cheap and scary, the way Jebus intended it.
    Stone Cold. Brian Bosworth infiltrates a biker gang run by Lance Henriksen. I shit you not, people.
    Happy Gilmore. There, I said it. "The price is wrong, bitch!"
    They Live. The endless alley fight between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David is just icing on the cake.
    Raw Deal. Just for the scene early in the movie where Ahnuld's wife (who was Molly Ringwald's spoiled older sister in Sixteen Candles) gets drunk and bakes a cake that says "Fuck You," to which Ahnuld pithily observes, "You shouldn't drink and bake."

  • I think a lot of people are confused by the term "guilty pleasure." Gladiator, Valhalla Rising, Over the Edge, Bad Boys (1983)…even The Fifth Element…these are all largely respected and objectively good movies. They aren't bad movies that people secretly enjoy; they're good movies that people openly enjoy.

  • "A Boy and His Dog." I love it so much that when I taught Intro to Science, Technology, and Society I even forced my undergraduate students to watch it. I loved hearing their jaws hit the desks when they realized what Don Johnson just fed the dog.

    Also love the first "Resident Evil" movie. Zombie Dobermans. It doesn't get better than that.

    A fellow grad student and I saw "Roadhouse" when it first came out. She had been given free passes by someone. I still say we paid too much because we actually sat through the entire thing.

  • @Leon: my local cable channel played The Goonies just last week. It wasn't bad. I also loved The Lost Boys when it came out, and it's still watchable. I also enjoyed The Breakfast Club when it aired on the same cable channel a few weeks ago, along with ET. The biggest take-away from movies in the 1980s is that kids went out and did things–rode bicycles, had adventures. As I remember from growing up in the 1980s, our Boomer parents really didn't care what we did, as long as we weren't bothering them.

  • So many of my favorites already mentioned, like Buckaroo Banzai. The sequel got made, rumor has it that it morphed into Big Trouble in Little China, which was almost as good.

    Road House exists on a plane of its own, as though from an alternate Universe where action movies are taken very very seriously as forms of art. I love it; try to explain the plot to someone without cracking up.

    There's also Mommie Dearest which should have gotten some credit to Faye Dunaway for her eerie, dead-on Joan Crawford portrayal (woman was the scariest actor ever. Really)

    Tango and Cash because it's like every action movie cliche blendered up and poured over freakin' Jack Palance. NO complaints.

    His Kind of Woman which is a Robert Mitchum masterpiece well worth tracking down. Raymond Burr as the bad guy, and he's gone to the trouble of hiring a Nazi scientist to kill in a most interesting way, and Vincent Price as an action movie star who leaps at the chance to do it for real… only as a Shakespearean ham. And the crackling banter!

    Jayne Russel: They tell me you killed Ferraro. How did it feel?
    Robert Mitchum: He didn't say.

  • I've always been fond of "Buckaroo Banzai." Ditto "Ice Pirates" – although I haven't seen that one for the last 8 – 9 months, so thanks for the reminder, Major Kong… gonna have to watch that one again, soon.

    Other guilty pleasures include "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves" (Alan Rickman is totally over-the-top) and "Beastmaster" (I could look at Marc Singer's body all day; plus the ferrets were adorable).

    And then, there's Kirk Douglas' Ulysses – it became a fave when I was a little kid enraptured by Greek mythology, and I still enjoy it. It's corny as hell, but Douglas chews the scenery like no one else can.

  • Ill be completely honest…
    I frequently bounce violently in my car seat as I drive down paved roads.

    "If I could juuuuuuust find a parking spot."

  • Decisions, decisions….
    1. "Pulp Fiction" So bad it's classic!
    2. "South Park: The Movie" Blame Canada!
    3. "Little Shop of Horrors" The one with Steve Martin. "Feed me, Seymour!"

  • Oh goodness, where to start.

    Mine would be Valley Girl.
    Primarily for the sound track—second best after Heavy Metal—it was one of my main motivators to go to uni in LA.

    Heavy Metal one of the last full length cell animations, but I don't think that one counts.

  • Die Hard is not a guilty pleasure: it is the most appallingly cynical aggregation of every blubbering American icon of redneck sentimentality ever concocted. All Americans should be killed for allowing this schlock to have been made and hence soil their culture.

    Sky fall is the British equivalent, pressing every single British sentimentality button, and yet I loved it – despite it containing more plot holes than a 3000 year old pair of underpants. I will watch it again. It has become a guilty pleasure.

  • And there's nothing to be guilty about for loving A boy And His Dog, either. I was unaware of its existence until just this year. A minor masterpiece of black comedy.

  • Armageddon. Objectively terrible by practically any measure, but I find it ridiculously entertaining. I think it might have something to do with the fact that it came out around the same time as the vastly over-rated Deep Impact. Given the choice between "asteroid gonna destroy the Earth" movies, I'll take the one that wears its stupidity like a badge of honor over fake Hollywood profundity any day.

    Also, like others have said, how do you not think The Princess Bride is a genuinely excellent movie?

  • Mine are really awful, but if either are on, I'm physically incapable of turning them off. The first is Overboard with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, total crap by any measure, but I love it. The second is Look Whose Talking with Kirstie Alley and John Tavolta (though It Takes Two with Alley and Guttenberg could have also easily taken it's place. )

  • First one that leaped to mind was "Better Off Dead". I could see how someone could dislike that movie, but I love it still. Must have seen it 50+ times. Also "Highlander". It's just great. Plus it has Queen music. Which is automatically cool. I am not, however, confident that anyone seeing it today would like it. At all.

    Hmm. Most of my other beloved "saw it 50 times" movies are actually good.

  • I can't recall the title, but watching Sly Stallone climb the Alps, in a blizzard, in a tight white tee shirt, while being hounded by all manner of villian, was some mighty fine cheese. I haven't seen the since it came out, but you don't forget the classics.

  • "OK. Can anyone name just ONE bouncer? I certainly can't."

    I can. Mr. T. He started his career as a bouncer and went straight from that to movies and TV.

    Slim Shady: You're thinking of "Cliffhanger." And it wasn't just a T-shirt. At one point the villains made him climb shirtless, for no reason except he was Stallone and it was the only way he was going to get to show off his pecs.

  • Do LIfetime movies count? Because there's this one called "Student Seduction" where a post-Showgirls Elizabeth Berkley stars as a sexy high-school chemistry teacher who's horndogged by a student, only when he breaks into her house and not-quite-rapes her, the cops arrest her because they're authority figures in a Lifetime movie and thus never believe the victim. But then she finds another student who got raped by the kid, which vindicates her because…oh who knows. Just watch it.

  • Red Dawn, which was one of the first movies I ever taped off TV (along with the extended version of Dune, something like 3:40)… and later, AlienS, the complete ruination of the franchise by who else but James "dive from the fireball" Cameron. At the stupid age of 12 or whatever I was too idiot to realize that even though I loved the original to pieces, this completely ruined it. In fact it wasn't until just a few years ago that I realized David Fincher's and Jean Genet's remakes weren't half-bad by comparison. Of cours they still had some pretty braindead action, but at least the machinations of the terrifying space mining corporation were a little thought-provoking. Sadly, without Vasquez's Last Stand, my feeble testostobrain couldn't see their relative merits. Oh well. These days I don't really hang onto that one. Red Dawn, and ocassionally, Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, which is actually so bad it actually is good, not sarcatically good or accidentally funny, just shockingly low budget. XD

  • Not sure I qualify for the "guilty pleasure" definition, since I haven't watched any movie a second time since probably I hit 30 (which was too long ago for comfort now), except maybe the Matrix movies. But the worst bad movie I remember from my childhood is Kentucky Fried Movie. It is total crap. All through and through. It sucks so bad they use it to make high-grade vacuum. But I could watch it ten or twelve times in a single week, and would probably still watch it every few months or so if I had a copy.
    Honorable mention: Total Recall. Forget the fact that it's a crap script fleeced off an average-plus story. Forget the "unexpected" twists and the "round, developing" characters. The accent tops it all. And if it was on TV right now I'd watch it, and wouldn't be able to turn the damn thing off.

  • The Last Starfighter. We had a neighbor that looked like the alien guy! I think of that Bat Shit Crazy old lady every time I think of that movie. I also enjoyed some horrible Japanese movies way too much, like
    Son Of Godzilla, and Godzilla vs. Gigan. There's a scene in Gigan where the alien species is talking about their planet, and they are showing footage from the alien world. In that scene, you can see a truck with a Coca-Cola logo on it. even as a preteen, I thought that was a pretty crucial mistake. If I saw Godzilla vs Gigan in a used media store, I'd certainly buy that for a dollar. I also own the Robocop trilogy.

  • Late to the party, but speaking of Vincent Price, I can't believe no one has mentioned "Theater of Blood" or the two "Dr. Phibes" movies. All three are schlocky, gruesome and highly entertaining. I'd watch them anytime they were on TV, if I still owned a TV…

  • Townsend Harris says:

    Death Race 2000, with Jan Michael Vincent, George Peppard, and the smokin' Dominique Sanda. Saw it as a teenager when it first came out in the 1970s. My buddy and I said hello to the Catholic priest we'd known in high school, and he introduced us to his "nephew". Still don't know if the nephew was real or his unwilling chickenhawk or both.

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