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March 28, 2010

The Best Worst Movies

By Sarah

So, this weekend I did it. I finally bought Big Trouble in Little China. And, as I predicted, Charlie was smitten.

Big Trouble in Little China has to be the Best Worst Movie ever full of cheesy dialogue and a cliche heroBig trouble   played by Kurt Russell. When I accidentally saw it in the theater decades ago, after another movie was sold out, I left an hour in. Of course, I didn't get it then. I thought it was real when, actually, it was a clever spoof of the kung fu, John Wayne-ish action flicks so popular in the 70s. Having never seen a kung fu, John Wayne-is flick so popular in the 70s, the art was lost on me.

Supposedly, it's one of those movies that grows on you.

Like The Big Lebowski, fast becoming one of my favorite movies of all time and most oft quoted by our 14-year-old son. The first time I saw The Big Lebowski, I fell asleep. Second time, too. Maybe even the third. I love the beginning of Cohen brothers' movies - the first half hour of Raising Arizona is priceless - but I don't think I've ever lasted through one of their classics to the end.

Now, after close to ten viewings, I can recite Big Lebowski lines by heart. ("A toe? I can get you a toe.") The Lebowski  Vietnam War addled Walter with his adherence to Jewish law and eagerness to pick a fight is a fantastic character. Then there's "The Dude," amiably played by Jeff Bridges and none other. Ferrets in a bath, Philip Seymour Hoffman rubbing his hands gleefully and a bunch of erroneous bowlers. One question: just how much dope do the Cohen brothers smoke?

Love, Actually? Not one of my favorites, either. It was panned by the reviewers asLove actually   trite, manipulative (a prime minister falls in love with the household help?), and sexist (Colin Firth prefers the woman who can't talk). But that opening scene in the airport got me and now it's a Christmas gem, along with A Christmas Story, Elf and the Alistair Sims version of A Christmas Carol.

Other movies I thought were stupid - Idiocracy, which I now consider to be so prophetic, it's no longer funny. The stupidest man in the military is leaps ahead five hundred years to find every item of clothing is polyester and marked by a brand, that televisions are omnipresent and people live on trash, literally. As for literacy, forget it. Even moderately intelligent dialogue is considered "pompous and faggy." Another quoted one at the dinner table.

Bill and Ted. Forget it. Nearly threw the VCR tape across the room. But what a brilliant piece of comedy!

Spinal tap  Other movies that had to grow on me: This is Spinal Tap, The Meaning of Life (I know, a Monty Python film I didn't care for! Love it, now), Stranger than Paradise. (Set in Cleveland. "Wanna go look at the big lake?"), and, finally, despite my Jersey years, Clerks.

So, what's on your list of Best Worst Movies that, now, you wouldn't live without?



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I'm a harsh critic where bad movies are concerned. The only example of one growing on me over time would be the 1998 version of "Godzilla" with Matthew Broderick. It's still a giant pile of radioactive crap, but it amuses me.

I'm much more likely to start disliking movies after the initial viewing. Much of this is due to my teeth going on edge when writers screw around with science. "Star Trek" style technobabble (such as Heisenberg Compensators or Inertial Dampeners) is ok, but don't tell me the 50 mile wide spaceships in "Independence Day" can crash to earth and not wreck massive havoc, because you'll lose me.

Ditto any movie that talks about black holes on earth, aliens needing to mate with our women, asteroids the size of Texas being blown up by a nuke or 10.5 earthquakes.

Oddly, I am very forgiving of giant monster movies, despite the fact that they ignore the square/cube law.

"Big Trouble In Little China" is one of my favorite Kurt Russell flicks. His riff on Duke Wayne always cracks me up. I also love all those Chinese Hells.

Ok, more confession time. When I was in high school, I was an usher at the Varsity Theater and since that was the early '80's, that meant that I watched "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" every Friday and Saturday night for two straight years. As a movie,terrible, bad, and a waste of good film. As an event. Something to see. Maybe Bubbles from yesterday's discussion should take it in, it fits the timeline.

Molly, loves disaster movies. If the Poseidon Adventure is on, we will end up watching it until way to late in the evening. Ditto for "Twister". For her birthday one year, I got her the anniversary edition of Jaws, she loved it.

She loves "Grease" as well. What can I say, we are children of the eighties. One night VH1 played "Grease 2" right after "Grease". Somehow we were trapped. I can't explain it. It is a bad, bad, bad, movie. Michelle Pfeiffer looks like she is about to fall asleep in the middle of filming. It was like watching a train wreck from inside the train. You want to look away, but can't. We watched to the end, and I can't tell you why.

Doc, my favorite worst part, although there are many worst parts of "Independence Day", is firing sidewinder missiles at a 15 mile wide space ship. Did anyone think that a missile designed to blow up an airplane was going to do anything to something the size of a city? But it worked out in the end, I used my Mac to save the world.

Well I have a house to clean. Have a good day everybody.

I loved “Big Trouble” but in MHO Kurt Russell’s “Escape from NYC” was his classic. Snake Plissken. Lee “Angel Eyes” Van Cleff as the hard ass military type. Ernest Borgnine as the show tune cabbie and, of course, Isaac “Chef” Hays as the Duke. The sequel – Escape from LA -- didn’t have the artistic integrity and directorial vision of the original which explains why it was overlooked in the Oscars.

My passion for movies both good and bad is infamous, so I'll keep this short:

MOONRAKER is at the top of my "So bad it's good" list.

I loved INDEPENDENCE DAY; I loved it when it was EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS back in the 1960's on WGN in Chicago.

The 'Drive-In' section of the movie collection is rather extensive. Christopher Lee, Ingrid Pitt, Vincent Price, Caroline Munro, Peter Cushing, et al. Not to mention the Universal Monsters, the Sci-Fi Epics (invariably filmed with a budget of $1.98 and an Instamatic) is growing.

As I write all this, Showtime is running the independent made-for-The-Sci-Fi Channel KOMMODO VS. COBRA. As a good and dear friend once pointed out, "[I] do like my cheese."

Heck I still have three books of movie reviews from Joe-Bob Briggs, of Dallas, Texas, in the library....

Yellow Beard. Stagger stagger crawl crawl hop.

From the land of the 57 varieties of palm trees...have a blessed Palm Sunday.

I love bad movies, but the ones you list don't really count as bad movies to me for the most part. I'm with Rod on Escape From NY.

Love it. Another bad movie I leave on whenever there's nothing else on TV even though I've seen it a million times in Die Hard. Yippe-kay-ay...

And then there's The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai. A little known classic. Seriously, everyone should see this movie.

I love bad bad movies ( bad used in the not so good sense here) You have mentioned most of my favorite bad ones so far, but there is one that I go back to over and over again. It is one that is a spoof on all the old 40s,50s sci fi movies made called THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA. The bad plot, horrible dialogue, and the bad effects, just like the old sci fi movies. PRICELESS!!! Once you see it we can do, Science

Doc, I am SO with you on the science. Either make up something completely so I can suspend my disbelief ("We need to reconfigure the deflector array!"), or get it right. We had to stop watching the recent remake of The Andromeda Strain because I was yelling so loudly at the TV. It wasn't just that they got the science incredibly wrong, it was that the science they got wrong was so basic any kid who passed AP Biology in high school could have fixed it. Grrrr!

Favorite bad movies? Well, I think I've probably seen just about every dance movie ever made, and I love all of them. Figure at least half are really bad, but I love them anyway. Except for the movie version of "A Chorus Line", which I really can't stand.

Believe or not (and I blush to admit this), I didn't like "The Holy Grail" the first time I saw it. I don't know what was wrong with me. I do love Big Trouble, but am with Rod on the superiority of Escape from New York. Funny, no one has mentioned "Roadhouse" . . .

Steve's favorite (mine are all girly, fluffy bad movies: Come September, Rome Adventure, Three Coins in a Fountain, etc) is Waterhole #3.

It's bad. Really bad. It's Blake Edwards and James Coburn and a pneumatic blonde. However there is a narrative ballad sung by Roger Miller that ALMOST makes worth the time.

Kerry, I was thinking of Roadhouse! We have a movie-only channel on the digital local stations that plays it over and over again. In fact, it was on again last night. But I can't watch it more than once every ten years.

They also air Beach Party at least once a week.

What can I say? It's the poor man's version of cable.

Here is a movie that is an all-time BOMB at the theaters, yet my family LOVES this movie: "Ishtar". Wait a minute - I loved it from the first time I saw it - "Bea" and I were two of the few in the theater and we laughed so hard, I missed half the good lyric lines.

You have to know Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman going in - in the movie, Hoffman is the hearthrob chick magnet and Beatty is the goofus. They are struggling songwriters. I have heard real songwriters say that the bits behind the opening credits are the most accurate depiction of the craft they've ever seen.

I dare you to watch it. If only they had released the soundtrack!

"Speed 2: Cruise Control" with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves is one bad movie that I cannot resist every time it turns up on movie channels. Destined to become a classic clunker would be "All About Steve", another Sandra Bullock movie.
What matters is won an Oscar so she probably redeemed her movie career.
"Romancing the Stone" with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner" is a must see because it is SO good. It has everything a movie should including the all important chemistry. Ms Turner was great in "Body Heat" also.
And I agree "Grease 2" had to be one of the biggest diappointments of movie history.

Yes, yes, I own and LOVE "Buckaroo Banzai" -- Laura, you are so right. Very dated. Still fabulous. I'm also fond of THE HOT ROCK just for the phrase "afghanistan banana stand"

Alan, that you could diss the esteemed ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW gravely disappoints me.

I was in high school when my best friend Dan and I saw CHINATOWN in the theatre. We practically played cards through the first third, but then it snuck up on us and we were smitten. We went back and saw it several more times, using our hard-earned McJob money. What is it about high school kids that makes them see a movie over and over and over, even when it costs money to do it? I used to do it all the time. Maybe it's because, back in the day, there was no "it will be out on DVD in 3 months."

Roadhouse! Yes, Yes! How could I have missed that. Patrick Swazey as the brooding, built bouncer. As though being a bouncer was a noble calling, a messenger of God. But the blind blues singer? Awesome. (I think he just died.)

I think that this comes under the heading of "Gather 'round kiddies"..
Last evening while flipping through TV channels I stumbled upon beloved Dick Clark promoting the Sandra Dee movie "Gidget".
He was so earnest in his presentation telling the audience that he had never endorsed a movie before and that he strongly recommended "Gidget". The kudos then proceeded to highlight the stars like Cliff Robertson who was The Big Kahuna, James Darren, Moondoggie and Gidget who was screaming at her parents that she did not care what thought and that she was going to spend the night with The Big Kahuna.
Thankfully, Cliff got his wits together and sent her home.
I will never be able to watch this movie again without thinking that the announcer told us that we would indeed be learning about the BEACH people.
What an innoncent time that seemingly was.

Definitely with Rod on "Escape From New York." I don't think it IS a bad movie, however. It's damn good. And the soundtrack (also composed by John Carpenter the director) is genuinely haunting.

Carpenter is often written off a hack slasher director ("Halloween"). But he did some really good stuff, including one of my favorite under-appreciated movies, "Starman." I think Jeff Bridges got an Oscar nom for it. And I think Carpenter also directed "Big Trouble in Little China."

To William: Never saw the parallel before in "Earth Vs the Flying Saucers" to "Independence Day" before you mentioned it! One reason I love "IDay" is because it pays homage to so many sci-fi classics.

But my own all-time fave cheesy movie is "The Vikings" with Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh (who plays the Saxon princess with Frederick of Hollywood pointed-bra boobs!)

Laura! Buckaroo Banzai! Thank you so much for reminding me-I love that movie! (What's the great line again?)

Mamma Mia--how about that for a terrible but wonderful movie? I mean, it's embarrassing, right? What incredibly poor performances! And yet, I cried for about three hours.

What's the movie with I think, Kevin Bacon, about the big worms? That's pretty hilarious.

Oh, PJ, I liked Starman, too. And the Last Starfighter. But no one thinks that's a bad movie, right?

Night of the Comet. A comet turns most of the population to dust, most of the non-dusted people are zombies, and what's left of the non-zombie population must be saved by 2 SoCal cheerleader types. It's a fun movie. I think the best line may be "daddy would have gotten us Ouzis."

Marie, Speed 2--that was terrible! I mean, terrible! What is it--the whole ship runs into a... what? Oh, I couldn't believe it. I was glued. (Especially since Speed is one of my guilty pleasure movies..)

ROADHOUSE! "That woman's got too many brains to have an ass like that..." One of the BEST movie quotes of all time. Don't know why it's not on any of the AFI lists.

HEAT, with Burt Reynolds as a burned-out bodyguard in Las Vegas. "You're a violent man, Mr. Escalante." 'No, I'm just good at it.' Novel and screenplay by William Goldman of BUTCH CASSIDY and MARATHON MAN fame, it should have been legendary. Instead, it's.... well, you need to see it to believe it.

Hank, the movie with Giant Worms and Kevin Bacon is TREMORS. What surprised me is how good the first one was, how bad the sequels were, and how it spawned (sorry) a TV series....

Hank, you're right about Mama Mia. I bet Pierce Brosnan is going to be on his deathbed, reviewing his life and thinking about having to sing in the that movie. But we own it, and we watch it, and we love it.

Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves in THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE is a movie I am drawn to every time it's on TV, like a moth to a flame. Yes, I can quote from it. Al Pacino as the devil in a performance that makes you forget Michael Corleone. And not in a good way.

I brought Jeff home from the hospital this morning, and he's settled in bed watching---wait for it, TLC friends---a James Bond fest! What better recovery movies for a guy?

So this blog is very timely. I'm thinking Big Lebowski should be at the top of our recovery movie liest.

Can I just say that I loved the Beach Blanket movies? They played on TV every afternoon, it seemed, when I was in junior high. Back then, there was a movie called Terror of the Tong, which became our family's ultimate bad movie. I haven't seen it in years.

I'm thinking, though, that there are movies that are intended to be bad and others that are accidentally, howlingly terrible. Ex: That one where Kevin Costner plays the bodyguard of Whitney Houston. That was hilariously bad, but we were supposed to take it seriously.

Boy do I remember seeing Ishtar with Kathy. I remember reading reviews afterwards and wondering why everyone hated it. We laughed like goofs. (And I think that was the night I dropped my car keys in a sewer grate).

My usual preference is to watch something new. I confess that I don't understand the concept of purchasing videos or DVDs. I have done it, mind you, but if I have a choice between something new and something I have seen, I definitely go with the new.

That said, I have seen Steel Magnolias more times than I can count. If I flip through the stations and come upon it, I almost invariably watch. I don't think it qualifies as a "bad" movie, but it's close. The sappiness and sentimentality are not my thing, and I absolutely hate feeling manipulated by movie-makers (Quentin Tarantino is a master manipulator rather than a director, in my opinion--I almost hate myself after watching one of his films). And yet, despite the manipulation of Steel Magnolias, I find myself watching again and again. The only other movie I have watched over and over is It's A Wonderful Life. Interestingly, I also purchased this one, and have never opened the package.

I can understand laughing at a movie no one else seems to find funny. The Bridges of Madison County was like that for me. I saw it with a friend, and we were hysterical for almost the entire thing, causing the few people in the theater (matinee) no end of trouble. For some reason everything just struck as so, so silly.

Here are 4 midlist movies that would make my “10 to watch over and over again and NEVER get tired of”

“Snatch” Brad Pitt is wet your pants funny and is the only movie I have to watch with the closed captions on. Even with CC there is one bit that say, “unintelligible.”

BP’s significant other in “Life or Something Like It.” When Jolie does the live TV spot drunk with the strikers…

‘Boondock Saints” Willem Dafoe is priceless.

Benny & Joon. Johnny Depp’s best performance EVER. The Charlie Chaplin scene with his dinner rolls…

Rod, did Holly get you into Snatch? We rented it once and had to watch it one time just to count the number of times they said the "F" word (180, if I remember correctly). Brad Pitt is sheer genius with his Gypsy accent.

Uh, that first sentence sounded really strange. You know what I meant, though!

Nancy, a 007-fest is something I do at least every other year. The whole collection. I'm not kidding.

And if there's a choice between any Bond movie (even one of the Timothy Dalton ones) and nearly anything else on TV, Bond wins.

Does this predilection mean that I am actually a man in a woman's body?

Kevin Costner deserves a category of his own. I mean, has he even considered actually ACTING!

I wish I could stay in bed and watch007 nonstop. And, to answer your question, Harley, yes.

Speaking of movies, how is this for exuding confidence and positive marketing:
The film is about a stressed mom—Thurman—and features Minnie Driver as well as Jodie Foster. A producer blamed advertising. "Think how much crap succeeds at the cinema," she told The Guardian. "Motherhood is not bad. It's a very decent movie. I've seen movies that are not half as good."

from the Daily Mail via the Daily Beast

Karen: I was a Snatch fan long before your youngest daughter wandered into my life. Humm, this thread is going downhill fast.

Come to think of it you are right about Kevin Costner...he deserves a Bad Move category all by himself, starting with "

Maybe this is why all his scenes in "The Big Chill" were deleted. His acting (he played the dead guy) was redundant!

But then the guy goes and makes "Bull Durham" one of my faves of all time!


Picked it up in the leftover doorprizes, and laughed myself silly!

007 Marathons are mandatory upon occassion. From DR. NO to QUANTUM OF SOLACE. An entire three day weekend can be shot that way.

Brosnan in MAMMA MIA. He was interviewed at the time QoS was being filmed at the same studio. The question was posed if he had run into Daniel Craig. Brosnan said no, but he really had hoped to; that was the week they were filming the end credits, Brosnan in a spangly glittery jumpsuit dancing disco, and he had wanted to say "Danny! Take a good look, in ten years, this is YOU!"

I loved Bull Durham but he played himself. A monotonal player following the rules. He needed Susan Sarandon to eek out any sexuality lurking in his bones.

Field of Dreams? Dances with Wolves....Come on!

I didn't see "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" until much later, but in Minneapolis in the '70's I loved to see the lines of people waiting for the show, many dressed in garter belts and not much else, in sub-zero temps. That's dedication . . .or something!

I watch Roadhouse naytime I ccome across it on TV. While Swayze is nice eye candy I am there for Jeff Healey. His music sucks me every time. Sadly he died in 2008.

An unredeemably bad but still very funny (in a sort of 'gee, I don't think they meant that to be funny' way) is "The Yin and the Yang of Mr. Go"--Burgess Meredith as an acupuncturist in Shanghai in 1966-ish, and Jeff Bridges in his first film appearance as a young draft dodger. There's a lot of confusing business about CIA plots or other international stuff, but it generally is unforgettably bad. It has stuck in my mind because of my career (acupuncture then WAAAAYY different than now) but also because Jeff Bridges was showing signs of being a talented actor despite the awful script.

I liked "All About Steve"--but I didn't see it in the theater, but on DVD--I thought it was quirky and original. So did Sandra, I guess.

As life would have it, I am friends with one of the creators of Tremors (the original), and he is one of the funniest and most decent human beings I know. I've never seen Tremors, but I'm thinking I should, and maybe give Buckaroo Bonsai another try . . . maybe the third time will be the charm.

Hey, TRON 3D is coming . . . maybe we'll have a new 'worst' to add to the list soon.

William, I haven't thought of Joe-Bob Briggs in years. He always made me laugh and his take on the movies - Priceless. Thanks for the memory.

You're welcome, Jodi! Do you remember Joe-Bob on The Movie Channel? "Joe Bob's Drive-In Theatre", some of the worst of the worst, Saturdays at midnight.. Then, he moved to Showtime (I think) when they started gearing up original productions like BLACK SCORPION or Roger Corman's Remakes of his own films? I know Joe-Bob was on TBS for a few months after that, then he faded away. Which is a shame.

I loved Mama Mia! Singing and all. Colin Firth was hilarious. "I'm spontaneous" and "You have to catch me" . . . heeheeheeheehee. I even liked Pierce Brosnan, if only for his willingness to play along.

Sarah, I love Field of Dreams, but mostly because of whats-her-name who played the wife. She had some of the best lines in the movie "No, you had two fifties and moved straight on to the seventies."

OK, if we're going Kevin Bacon -- "Footloose", anyone?

A movie that got bad and so-so reviews, but which I thought was very campy and enjoyed is "The Avengers".

It is a remake of the British spy TV series, which had the characters John Steed and Mrs. Emma Peel.
The film version had Ralph Fiennnes (Steed), Uma Thurman(Peel), and Sean Connery(nefarious villain). I thought this film had get retro costumes, great mod-ish set design - and the actors were all so droll and campy. If you get to watch this on DVD, I'd recommend it. Fun!

A movie that I wanted to love so badly was "Russia House" with Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer.
The scenery, Sean Connery and all made me want to love it but I could not find it engrossing and I tried to watch it a couple of times.
Karen, I had high hope for "The Bridges Of Madison County" with Clint Eastwood but was a little disappointed.

I also love Big Trouble in Little China, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, the original Tremors, and The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (I know one of the people who worked on that film). Another old favorite in that same vein is Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.

I also liked Gidget, because I had a major heart-throb for James Darren, from the TV show The Time Tunnel.

I watched Dirty Dancing for Patrick Swazey, and Roadhouse, also for Jeff Healey, Sam Elliot, and Kelly Lynch.

Which brings me to another favorite, Kelly Lynch in Three of Hearts - a not-very-highly rated film also starring William Baldwin and Sherilyn Fenn, theme song which I love by Sting (Shape of my Heart).

Other silly favorites:
You've Got Mail (Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks)
Earth Girls are Easy (Geena Davis, Jeff Goldbloom)
The Wedding Date (Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney)

Ok, this post made me go hunt down a movie I watched about 6 months ago on satellite. I couldn't stop watching it was so cheesy and just god-awful. It was "Out There," a movie starring Billy Campbell. He was a down on his luck photographer, who bought an old brownie camera at a garage sale and discovered it had exposed film. He developed the pictures, and there were your usual family pictures, and then a few pictures of ALIENS! From there it just got silly. It was like watching a train wreck, I couldn't look away! I have never been so enthralled by such a bad movie in my life. I'm just glad I didn't have to pay for the privilege of this movie.

A couple more bad but fun movies are "Ice Pirates" and "The Pirate Movie." Just spoofs and so campy!

I have a love of so bad they are good movies ... and some of those mentioned are on that list. I love Speed 2 but must correct Marie on who was in it .. Sandra Bullock and Jason Patrick were in Speed 2 .. Keanu Reeves was only in Speed. I Love Grease 2 .. for the music (sadly) because the acting definitely sucks.

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