Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Great (film) Debates vol. 94

A guilty pleasure film is one you don't want to admit liking... but you do. You're addicted, baby!

What is your guiltiest guilty pleasure film?



Panelist: AndrewPrice

Predator 2. Talk about a bad film. Bad acting, bad writing, stupid characters, nonsense throughout. Still, very, very watchable.

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

I think I'll do a slight cop out and go with one "oldie" and one more recent. The "oldie" is Towering Inferno from the early 1970's. Made at the height of the disaster film genre, this one is as cheesy as they come. Actors do their part to camp it up (intentionally or not) with the cliche dialog coming thick and fast. I enjoyed it because it used state of the art effects at the time, and because I had just started my career in the insurance industry and was learning about life/ safety codes in modern skyscrapers at the time. As such, some of the bullshit they pulled was readily apparent to me, such as having Steve McQueen and O.J. Simpson set off C4 in a fire tower to blast open a stuck door. Hilarious!

Another guilty pleasure for my wife and I is Sweet Home Alabama. Incredibly cheesy to be sure, but it was a perfect vehicle for Reese (she had great chemistry with Josh Lucas), and captures just a little of how southerners often feel about New Yorkers.

Panelist: ScottDS

I've mentioned it before and I'll mention it again: Congo. Based on the Michael Crichton novel and starring Dylan Walsh, a then-unknown Laura Linney, and Ernie Hudson, this film tells the story of an expedition to the Virunga region of the Congo. Linney’s character works for a telecom company and has been sent by her boss to search for a rare diamond but she’s also on a mission to locate her missing fiancé. Meanwhile, Walsh’s character, a primatologist, is attempting to take his sign language protégé gorilla Amy back home. This movie never - and I mean NEVER! - takes itself too seriously, Tim Curry and Joe Don Baker chew the scenery - Curry plays a Romanian philanthropist, Baker plays Linney’s boss - and the gorilla effects, courtesy of the late Stan Winston, aren’t bad. There’s some downright ridiculous dialogue in the film along with some entertaining cameos from Joe Pantoliano, Delroy Lindo, and Bruce Campbell as the aforementioned fiancé. Whenever this film airs on TV, I know to clear my schedule for a couple of hours. “Stop eating my sesame cake!”

Panelist: Floyd

Pee Wee's Big Adventure. It wasn't such a guilty pleasure until his arrest for another big adventure in a Florida porno theater in the early 1990s, but dammit it is a funny movie... great script, great score by Danny Elfman and a great story (quest narrative). Second would be You've Got Mail. Rom-coms done well... what can I say? Guilty.

Panelist: BevfromNYC

I have three movies that I watch…no four movies that I must watch whenever they are on t.v. – National Treasure, Rudy, It’s A Wonderful Life... and okay, I have to admit it, and Fun With Dick & Jane.

Panelist: T-Rav

Er, Enchanted starring Amy Adams. Sure, I feel a little metrosexual when watching it, but it’s a fun story and it just works for me. And I swear to God, you people better not give me any crap about this, or I will shoot a kitten in the face.

Comments? Thoughts?

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

While I understand the concept I never feel guilty about liking movies, I don't really care about what some critic, film snob or even friend thinks of a movie, if I like it, to me then it is good.

Saying that I really like quite a few movies that would fall under this category. A lot of Adam Sandler movies would qualify and I love some of them (some the critics are right about), most Happy Madison movies he produces would be there too. I love Grandmas Boy and a few Rob Schneider movies, Deuce Bigilo and Big Stan (who knew you could make prison rape funny!).

I would also have to include quite a few martial arts movies that are largely looked down upon (if they are acknowledged at all).

I also love Predator 2 but cannot articulate why I do when so many don't.

Scott.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I don't actually buy into the idea of the "guilty pleasure" either. There is no shame in liking any movie, except Avatar or Twilight. ;)

Predator 2 is a funny movie to me. It truly stinks on every level -- horrible acting, horrible writing, bad editing, bad costumes, utter nonsense all around... but I enjoy it. I can't tell you why either.

On Sandler, I'm not a fan of Sandler, but I have been surprised to discover that I generally like Rob Schneider films. Can't explain that either, I just do.

K said...

Charlies Angels - 2000 movie. If looked at with the right frame of mind, a devastating satire of women's action film empowerment roles - which is just wrong wrong wrong!


Anonymous said...

Andrew, I've never seen Avatar or Twilight. :)

With Predator 2 it continues the series but is completely different but still similar. It is set in a city instead of a jungle, but it is the same in that it is really hot and dangerous, it has a Predator hunting good and bad guys, but in this movie you have the Gary Busey as a government agent hunting the Predator. We have Murtaugh as the hero who is physically a 180 to Arnie but is equally successful. Some of the things that really jumped out at me was the Predator sparing the pregnant cop, the other Predators sparing Murtaugh after he killed their buddy as a mark of respect and the foreshadowing of the Alien V Predator movie by showing an Alien skull in the trophy room. It still isn't a great movie, but I love it.

As to Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider and Happy Madison movies I love some of them as while they are rude and crude they also have a heart, people learn lessons and are part of families. It just isn't rude and crude and mean.

Scott.

BevfromNYC said...

Okay, Enchanted is great great movie and Amy Adams is perfect on the role! I literally was enchanted by the movie. [no kittens need to be harmed in making of that comment]

Outlaw13 said...

I think the only thing I like that I would be semi ashamed to admit would be the Melissa Joan Heart vehicle called "Drive Me Crazy" it's a typical cool kids against the outsider high school movie, but something about it works for me.

When I was in the Army there was a guy in our unit that watched "Bring It On" at least once a week for the entire 15 month deployment. But I think that's another kind of guilty pleasure.

ScottDS said...

Scott and Andrew -

I can't entirely disagree. That is to say that I don't really care what other people think either... but at the same time, I can enjoy a movie AND be conscious of the fact that it's not very good (despite the fact that I enjoy it). In the case of Congo, I know it's ridiculous and over the top and not a lot of people like it like I do.

Andrew, it seems Predator 2 applies as well. Maybe there's a difference between enjoying a movie that you think is good (and no one else does)... and enjoying a movie you know is bad (and everyone agrees).

Dave Olson said...

2 films that, perhaps not coincidentally, feature Bruce Willis:

1) Hudson Hawk. I stayed away from this one for several years because of its notorious reputation. Then I watched it for myself and actually enjoyed it. Let's be clear: Citizen Kane it ain't. The villains (one of whom actually describes himself as such) are preposterous. And Andie McDowell is woefully miscast. But I like it. It's a screwball comedy from the '30s in a modern setting.

2) Bonfire of the Vanities. In light of the recent (and shamefully ongoing) Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman fiasco, this is a film that needs a serious re-evaluation for its remarkable prescience. Opportunistic politicians, a corrupt media more focused on narrative than truth, and a showboating "preacher" using said media for his own gain.

I can understand why both movies get blasted by critics and audiences alike, but art is subjective and I thought enough of them to add both movies to my DVD library.

There's one more I could add to the list, but I've promised to not bring it up again until a future Bond-a-Rama. A certain movie will get an unforgivably high ranking, and I will be righteously indignant.

ScottDS said...

K -

I actually waited on line at the theater on a Friday night to see that movie. I would NEVER do that today, instead being content to wait for Redbox. :-)

ScottDS said...

Scott -

I haven't seen every Adam Sandler movie but, despite the (many) bad ones, we'll always have Happy Gilmore. And I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Grandma's Boy. That one seems to appeal to even non-Happy Madison fans.

ScottDS said...

Outlaw -

I haven't seen it in years but I remember Bring It On being a very good movie. Even critics liked that one. It was a little smarter than your average teen comedy.

ScottDS said...

Dave -

I need to see Bonfire of the Vanities. It came on TV once years ago when I was younger and I was entranced by that epic opening tracking shot. There's even a book written about the production titled The Devil's Candy.

As for Hudson Hawk, I finally watched it a few years ago. Big, dumb, stupid... but still enjoyable in its own weird way. I can understand why people would be turned off by it but I kinda liked it. (David Caruso's villain character who simply mimics everyone else still makes me laugh.)

The audio is bad in this clip but it's still funny.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Guilty pleasure... they really do say more about our expectations and snobberies (if I may coin or misappropriate that word for a minute).

As a professor I perceive that Pee Wee's Big Adventure (or hell -- any movie I've watched -- I'm a movie whore... even bad movies are interesting in a train wreck sort of way -- especially at home where I haven't shelled out $20 for me and my wife) would be sneered at (though my colleagues and especially the younger set are not near as snobby as one might think -- I credit the comic/sci-fi/nerd chic currently raging).

So while I really don't think there should be any guilty pleasure movies except for maybe Bring It On as onanistic inspiration :-)....

When I was in law school -- Saved By the Bell was required viewing. Anything to avoid reading Federal Jurisdiction

ScottDS said...

^I hate Saved by the Bell. I didn't watch it as a kid and I wouldn't watch it now. The one thing that always bothered me (aside from everything else) was that, for a kid's show where the characters presumably learn some kind of moral lesson each week, they sure treated smart kids like shit.

How could you have a message like "Stereotyping is bad" and then portray nerds in the most stereotypical fashion?

[rant over] :-D

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Scott, you obviously never took a semester long course on Federal Jurisdiction. LOL

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That is the surprising thing about all of Schnieder's films is that they ultimate have a heart and they feel like they impart good lessons. That's something I never get from someone like Apatow.

I'm with you on Predator 2, I just can't explain it.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, LOL! Who would hurt kittens?

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, I've seen some of those types of films -- star vehicles for teen stars looking to spark a career. Sometimes they are actually pretty entertaining.

AndrewPrice said...

K, LOL! I have very little memory of that film.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I think that's what it is -- enjoying a film you know to be bad.

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, You are of course free to be righteously indignant. LOL!

I liked Hudson Hawk as pure schlock. It was a fun way to pass some time.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I used to watch Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego to avoid thinking about my partnership tax class. LOL!

That's a very good point, by the way, that 'guilty pleasures' really just reveals our snobberies. Bravo! :)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That's called irony, and the movie world is full of it!

Anonymous said...

Dave Olson, I have to agree wiht you I love Hudson Hawk and watch it
whenever it is on. It isn't great or even good, but it doesn't stop me from enjoying that stupid movie.

ScottDS, I've seen most Adam Sandler movies and some a pretty dam bad, but just as many are classics. I'll watch Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, Airheads, The Wedding Singer or 50 First Dates (the closest I come to a chick flick) any time they come on TV. And Grandma's Boy is just an amazingly heartfelt stoner/gross out flick, I own the DVD and can quote large portions of its dialog.

Scott.

Kenn Christenson said...

There are 2 films I like, which weren't particularly well-received: "Flash Gordon" and "Journey to the Far Side of the Sun." I like Flash, because of the audacious design - the amount of color used and the retro spaceships. The music's not too bad, either. :) I think that film would be a prime candidate to be remade as a rock-opera.

"Journey to the far side of the Sun" doesn't have particularly good acting, but it does have an interesting story and an unusual ending. Plus, it has a lot of the 1960's-early 70's Gerry Anderson coolness with car designs and spacecraft.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Flash Gordon. Yes Kenn!

Dave Olson said...

Damn man, how could I forget Flash Gordon? I saw it three times in the theater as a kid, and a hundred times on tape and cable. The attack on War Rocket Ajax is a classic, made all the better by the Queen soundtrack. One of the cheesiest of guilty pleasures.

Dwizzum said...

I have no guilt whatsoever for liking Flash Gordon. It's great fun.

I'm finding myself re-watching movies I took my kids to. I was watching Hotel Transylvania the other day. It's not really a great movie, but I enjoyed it. Props to Genndy Tartakovsky

As far as chick flicks, I would say Four Wedding and Funeral, and Titanic.

I'm sure there are there many more.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I love Flash Gordon. :) I don't think I've seen Journey to the far side of the Sun.

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, I've probably seen that one a hundred times as well. I watch it whenever it's on. And I love the soundtrack!

AndrewPrice said...

Dwizzum, I've seen Hotel Transylvania a couple times now and it just didn't take with me. I do have a ton of respect for Tartakovsky.

There are some good chick flicks, though too many are also formulaic garbage.

Anonymous said...

No particular order, but when the questions comes up:

1) Looker-- another Crichton flick. Ahead of its time, re: computer animation.

2) Jaws 3D-- lame, but a few good character moments.

3) Jaws: The Revenge-- stupid off the visible spectrum in ways that only bees can see, but still, beautiful Bahaman setting and Michael Caine, who adds a touch of class to everything he's in. (He had to accept his Hannah and Her Sisters Oscar via satellite, as he was shooting this on location-- out of LA for the rainy season.)

PikeBishop said...

OK, serious guilty pleasure (accent on the pleasure) from the early 80s. I was 21 and first had Showtime in the mid-80s. Their "late night" (ahem) fare usually consisted of those awful dubbed European softcore films and American porn that had been edited down to an R.

One night I happened to catch Dan Wolman's "Nana" starring Katya Berger, loosely based on the Emile Zola novel of the same name. And it is quite a movie, with great sets, nice direction and the actors are all pretty decent. Katya Berger holds it together, whether dressed or undressed in her scenes. Its a wonderful depiction of that 19th Century Gay Paree of Zola and the Impressionists. The sex scenes are pleasant and genuinely sensual and erotic and yes,there is a plot! It's just a lot of fun, a great soft-core date movie.

Sad to say, the original is lost. There is an American version which is cut to ribbons and loses almost all of its sexy charm. I've been looking for it, for twenty years and cannot find it. :-(

Loyal Goatherd said...

I collect bad science fiction. Bad science fiction need not be bad when it came out but has dated poorly. H.G. Wells' "Things to come" 1936, "War of the Worlds" 1953, "Time After Time" 1979 (which is not H.G. Wells, but he's a charcter in it). "Looker" is in my collection, as is Creighton's "The Andromeda Strain". (Please do not mention remakes, you said guilty PLEASURE, not guilty pain.)
Not science fiction, but I do own "Bring it on" (Kirsten!!!). The Original "Battlestar Galactica" 1978, "The Postman" 1997, "Excalibur" 1981 (absolutely my favorite movie of all time). And the crown jewel of collection of BAD Science fiction is "Millenium" 1989. Cheryl Ladd was 39 when she made this stinker, God I love it. Or maybe it's just Cheryl Ladd!

Loyal Goatherd said...

Okay, now that I think about, "Bring it on" had two really hot cheerleaders on the same squad, definitely science fiction! And an honorable mention has got to go to "Airport: 1975". They could put that movie on a 24 loop on one cable channel and I would tune in everyday!

shawn said...

"Star Trek the motion picture". Sure it's slow, but it is the only one that feels big. The director's cut is better as it trims some of the fat.

"Priest" with Paul Betany and Karl Urban. It's a future Earth that has been devastated by war with vampires. Humans won, but they are all hidden in fortress cities run by the church. Out in the wastelands, the vampires have returned and are gathering strength. Betany is a Priest, a super powered warrior monk who ventures back out into the wasteland to prove that the vampires are back despite the denials by the head of the church. Super powered kung fu mayhem ensues.

ScottDS said...

shawn -

I love Star Trek: TMP... personally, I think it's aged like a fine wine. Even watching it as a kid, where the USA Network bloated it to 3.5 hours, I was never bored. It's just a grand spectacle. [insert obligatory Jerry Goldsmith reference here]

ScottDS said...

Re: Looker... a friend of mine laughed when I told him, "Yeah, the villain works for a company called Digital Matrix." How generic!

And you'd think they could find a less conspicuous way of getting rid of the models then by having them jump out of high-rise windows!

You want a Crichton guilty pleasure?! Watch Runaway with Tom Selleck and Gene Simmons (!) as the villain.

Backthrow said...

I enjoy a lot (and I mean a lot) of schlock and 'WTF?' movies, be they THE TWONKY, IT CONQUERED THE WORLD, BOP GIRL GOES CALYPSO, THE GIANT CLAW, HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL, THE TINGLER, -30-, THE ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER, KONGA, ZOTZ, DR. GOLDFOOT & THE BIKINI MACHINE, FASTER PUSSYCAT KILL KILL, VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS, OPERATION KID BROTHER, THE LOVE-INS, WILD WILD PLANET, KING KONG ESCAPES, GAMERA VS. GUIRON, LATITUDE ZERO, THE INCREDIBLE TWO-HEADED TRANSPLANT, THE DOLL SQUAD, INFRA-MAN, THE BATTLE WIZARD, THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN, THE LAST DINOSAUR, ESCAPE 2000 a.k.a. TURKEY SHOOT, FANTASY MISSION FORCE, HEAVENLY BODIES, THE WRAITH, HARD TICKET TO HAWAII, BLIND FURY, RIKKI-OH: THE STORY OF RICKY, or LADY TERMINATOR (and many, many more). But those are easy. I'm either laughing at them (for the most part), and/or just giddily dumbfounded at what I'm experiencing.

As far as reviled films that I enjoy without irony, some that spring to mind are:

CASINO ROYALE (1967). An overproduced mess, an overall failure as both a comedy spoof and as a Bond film, and goes off the rails early and often... but it has enough isolated amusing bits, cool set design/effects work, a killer soundtrack, and it seemingly stars or has cameos by just about everybody, that I still legitimately like it a lot.

LIFEFORCE (1985). Mathilda May, cool effects, Mathilda May, good score, Mathilda May, solid cast, Mathilda May, decent direction/cinematography, Mathilda May and... Mathilda May.

UNFORGETTABLE (1996), starring Ray Liotta, was a critical and financial failure for director John Dahl, after making a name for himself with KILL ME AGAIN, RED ROCK WEST and THE LAST SEDUCTION. Most people didn't like his mixture of noir mystery and medical sci-fi, but I've always thought it was pretty good, albeit with a somewhat weak ending.

I've also always had a soft spot for THE TEMP (1994); partly because I have a thing for Lara Flynn Boyle at that time, and I also like the cartoonish black comedy.

As has been said already, I feel guilty for nothing that I watch.

ScottDS said...

Backthrow -

I recommend Scream! Factory's recent Lifeforce Blu-Ray release. Mathilda May... HD... Mathilda May... neat extras, and... Mathilda May. :-)

Backthrow said...

Scott,

I would've gladly taken that recommendation... if I hadn't already pre-ordered the Blu-May, er, Blu-Ray when it was first announced. ;-)

Anonymous said...

At first I was going to pass this one up because I don't feel guilty about anything I watch. From Every Which Way But Loose to Hell Comes To Frogtown, I think of everything I like as a misunderstood classic. Buuuuuuut, images began to come out of my mental attic, and well, confession is good for the soul. Robert Redford is a liberal goof and Jane Fonda will go to Hell when she dies, but I can't resist Barefoot In The Park or The Electric Horseman. And I watch Love Story whenever it's on. Right now,in my mind I'm saying I'm sorry. :)
GypsyTyger

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, I enjoy the Jaws films, even the bad ones. They're fun.

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, I don't know that one.

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, I've really come around on Star Trek TMP, but I don't like Priest. I like the idea, but not the execution.

AndrewPrice said...

LG, I'm a big fan of off-the-beaten track science fiction. And I'm a big fan of the original Andromeda Strain... can't stand the remake.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, I love the Airport disaster films. Good stuff!

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, I enjoyed Lifeforce a lot. It's a very underrated 80's film.

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, I like some Redford films. I like Condor in particular. I finally saw Electric Horseman recently but it didn't really take with me.

Backthrow said...

Hanoi Jane was always a leftist twit (pardon the redundancy), but she was eye candy in CAT BALLOU (a good movie, thanks to Lee Marvin and Nat King Cole) and BARBARELLA, both of which I can still enjoy, knowing that she made them before her rancid visit to North Vietnam.

Tennessee Jed said...

My apologies to all for missing this weekend. Bad news is I was hospitalized with an infection. Good news is, it appears not to have spread to my new heart valve.

shawn said...

Oooo, here's a true "guilty" pleasure. "The Avengers". Yeah not the one directed by Joss Whedon and starring Iron Man . No, I'm talking about Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman. True it is an incoherent mess, but then that is my recollection of the 60's british tv show as well.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I'm glad you're ok! Sorry to hear about the infection. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, I come and go on Fonda. I like her in some things, but at other times, I just think of that picture of her and her actions.


Shawn, I liked the television series, but never could get into the movie.

tryanmax said...

Down With Love (2003) – I have no reason to like this. I'm too young to have nostalgia for the Doris Day/Rock Hudson type films it spoofs. I have no affinity for Renée Zellweger or Ewan McGregor—though his failing attempt at an American accent is sort of funny. The storyline is singular and predictable, even for a parody. All I can guess is that I am drawn to the vivid sets and costumes, the snappy banter, and the duet number at the end.

goldvermilion87 said...

Enchanted should NOT be a "guilty pleasure film." It's an excellent movie!!!!!

Also, mine is Young Sherlock Holmes.

Tohokari-Steel said...

My ultimate guilty pleasure film is, without a doubt, Stephen Sommers' "Van Helsing". It's stupid on so many levels with hammy or downright bad performances, but it's just a fun ride for me. Whenever I see a movie directed by Stephen Sommers (excluding "G-I: Joe Rise of Cobra"), I usually feel that he KNOWS the films he's making are bad, but tries to have some fun making it. And that kind of passion just seeps through to me and makes me enjoy it as well, making me go "Yeah, it sucks, but at least it's not boring".

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