7/20/2011

"Guilty Pleasure" Movies


It's easy to pick awful movies; much more difficult to fess up to those "guilty pleasure" movies.  You know - the ones you hide under your coat at the video store so that no one sees you check them out.  The ones you quickly click away from when someone walks into the room.  The ones you lie about when friends call: "Oh, I'm just watching a movie.  Yeah - um - Private Ryan."   The ones that you love, but that you're not willing to publicly admit you love.

Here are some of my guilty pleasures; feel free to snigger.
  1. The 10 Commandments.  It's epic-ly cheesy, but there's something about the combination of over-the-top costuming, shameless overacting, and goofy special effects that keeps me coming back every Easter for more. 
  2. St. Elmo's Fire.  Actually, pretty much any of those movies staring the "brat pack":  16 Candles, Pretty in Pink ....  They were all so painfully '80s and yet I can't help watching them everytime they come on television.  Maybe it's the music? the fashion? the 80s angst? the really big hair?
  3. Planet of the Apes.  I don't even listen to the dialog anymore - I just enjoy the monkey makeup and the many fabulous quotes, to include a favorite of mine: "Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!"
  4. Army of Darkness.  Not sure I'm allowed to include this on the list, since - unlike the other movies on this list - it was made with the intention of being bad.  But something funny happened along the way: they made a movie so goofily hilarious that it's practically irresistable.
  5. Starship Troopers.  Recently named one of the worst movies ever made, yet there's something captivating about the timeless "man vs. bugs from outer space" theme that keeps sucking me in.
  6. 9 to 5.  It's everything that's wrong/right about movies made during the 70s* - socially preachy conflict (sexual harassment) + questionable 70s icons in starring roles (Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton) + the same incredibly juvenile slapstick sense of humor that brought us movies like Every Which Way But Loose, pairing Clint Eastwood with a monkey. And yet, I never tire of watching the gals avenge themselves on their sexist rat of a boss, played by ubiquitous '70s baddie Dabney Coleman.  (*Okay, technically the movie was released in 1980, but that means it was written/filmed in the '70s.)
  7. Three Muskateers + cheesy pirate/swordfighting movies.  The acting is extraneous, the time period is inconsequential, the plot is immaterial; they have me at "swordfight."  Honorable mentions in this category include Highlander, Conan the Barbarian, and the truly terrible Cutthroat Island. 
  8. Dirty Dancing + all cheesy dance/cheerleading/band/music movies.  You know, those movies where the plucky young lead has to conquer obstacles in order to achieve thier dream of becoming a successful dancer/singer/musician/cheerleader.  (And, along the way, win the heart of their "other side of the tracks" love interest.)  Think Fame, Flashdance, Center Stage, Drum Line, etc.  People knock this genre for being so predictable, but that's what I love about it: a little music, a bit of a love interest, and a happy ending.  All that's missing is a bit with a dog.
  9. Muppet movies. I never specified that "guilty pleasures" have to be bad movies, just embarassing!  One way or another I've managed to furtively enjoy many of these - The Mupppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, Muppet Treasure Island, A Muppet Christmas Carol - and foudn them to be uniformly entertaining and charming.  I'm just not necessarily ready to share this with others.
  10. Anything starring Goldie Hawn.  You know what I'm talking about.  Overboard.  Wildcats.  Swing Shift.  Private Benjamin.  They're preposterous, they're formulaic, and they're almost always insulting to women. (The ditzy character GH inevitably plays was, I think, meant to be a throwback to The Honeymooners and All In the Family, a period when Hollywood considered ditzy female characters to be entertaining rather than condescending and insulting).   And yet, everytime they pop up on one of the cable channels, I find myself watching ... while simultaneously keeping one finger poised on the "back" button so that, at any time, I can quickly return to The History Channel should someone unexpectedly enter the room. 
So, what are your "guilty pleasures"?

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