It took me a while to commit to this post. I go back and forth with guilty pleasures. I will admit I can be very opinionated about films and I do usually judge a person by their taste in cinema. However, everyone is entitled to enjoy whatever films they choose. There is no write or wrong opinion. I don’t think anyone should really feel guilty or embarrassed for genuinely enjoying a film, unless of course it’s the nü STAR WARS trilogy. By “guilty pleasure” standards, there are a few films I like that could fall into that category. As hard as it is to believe, I don’t always watch Palme D’ Or winners or Academy nominated features. Let me share a few of my guilty pleasures. Maybe it will inspire you to share yours and we can do away with this negative connotation assigned to “guilty pleasure” films. In no particular order:
HOTEL FOR DOGS
What can I say; I am a crazy dog lady. You know how some people will stop a mother with a stroller on the street to coo & ahh at their baby? I am just like that with dogs. As a result, I’m a sucker for any movie with a dog in it. I suffered through DUE DATE simply because I loved the adorable Frenchie in it. I actually really enjoyed SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, but the cute Pomeranian made it all the more enjoyable. HOTEL FOR DOGS really got me. It’s a heartwarming story about a few kids who create a home for stray dogs. How can you not love that? And it has a pug! By the way, I own this film on Blu Ray.
HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL
I generally despise remakes, but I’m guilty of enjoying this one. I actually really like the original Vincent Price film. It was spooky and suspenseful without ever showing any gore as opposed to most horror films that are made today. I admit this is not a very good film and the ending leaves something to be desired. Nonetheless, my favorite aspect about it is the cast. There’s a cameo by the RE-ANIMATOR himself, Jeffrey Combs and everyone’s favorite vampire, James Marsters. The script is pretty weak, but the visual effects are really entertaining. I have resisted purchasing this film because I’m afraid to own up to it. I guess I just did.
I watched this film in the theater when I was just a kid with my sister. I thought it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. You must admit it is a pretty good cast with Eddie Murphy, David Allen Grier, and Martin Lawrence. I guess it reminds me of the days of In Living Color. I have liked Robin Givens since her Head of the Class days. Also, coming of age at this time granted me an affinity for early 90s R&B which this soundtrack is riddled with. I’m really dating myself simply by the inclusion of this film.
GOOD WILL HUNTING
It took me a couple years to watch this film. It’s not necessarily the type of film that peaks my interest, although I do have a great amount of respect for Gus Van Sant. It came to me highly recommended from someone who knows my taste. I hated to admit that I actually enjoyed it. Again, this is a pretty brilliant cast even despite Minnie Driver. It was also one of the first dramatic roles I ever saw Robin Williams in. He did a fantastic job and his Oscar was well deserved. GOOD WILL HUNTING also shows what great writers Damon & Affleck are. This film also taught me not to always make assumptions about a film.
HOT TUB TIME MACHINE
I’m not crazy about comedies, but when they parody my favorite decade (1980s) I’m in. Like every other girl my age, I fell in love with John Cusack long ago, or should I say I fell in love with Lloyd Dobler. I was shocked that he even agreed to appear in a film like this. He seems a little embittered by his former heartthrob status. I love every reference and every single song from this film. I loved this film so much I saw it twice in the theater. Both times I was in tears laughing at Rob Corddry’s epic version of “Home Sweet Home.” This film is so much fun and I couldn’t be more excited for the sequel.
BREAKIN 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO
Lots of people reference this film and have never even seen it. It’s become a thing to cite “Electric Boogaloo.” I was completely mesmerized by this film as a child. I wanted to know exactly how the hell Turbo could dance on the ceiling. Turns out they used the same rotating room from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. They just don’t make films like this anymore. The type of feel good, community coming together, everyone wins in the end, type of film. BREAKIN 2 was way ahead of its time by showcasing interracial dating. It also highlighted a young edgy rapper long before he became Detective Fin Tutuola. BREAKIN 2 has a great soundtrack, awesome dance sequences, and incredible montages. How can you not love this film?
For the most part, I despise animated feature films (with the exception of certain Japanese films). It used to make me feel really uneasy. Disney movies were the worst. Those early Disney films were pretty disturbing for a kid to watch. I have no problem with children’s cartoons, but I can’t bear to watch the films. I think the last Disney film I saw was THE LION KING. I happen to be at a friend’s house when his Disney obsessed little sister was watching RATATOUILLE. It caught my attention because I think rats are kind of cute (I slept with a Chuck E Cheese doll longer than I wish to admit). I found myself actually enjoying it. No one’s parents die, no animals die a horrible death, and there are no dancing hippos in tutus. If all Disney films were like this, I might actually give them a chance.
I’m conflicted over whether or not this is actually a guilty pleasure because it’s such a fantastic film. It made my “All Time Favorite Comedies” list. It has Academy nominated actor, John C. Reilly and the adorable Adam Scott. I am willing to debate anyone who disapproves of this film!
THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN
This film holds a lot of sentimental value for me. It was actually filmed in the quaint coastal town I lived in when I was a kid. It’s great to watch it now and see all the things I loved about Corpus Christi like Padre Staples Mall and Ocean Drive. The film itself is pretty corny, but endearing. However, I applaud anything that promotes strong women. Although, it does come off very “Afterschool Special,” THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN’s moral is to stand up for yourself. There are lots of interesting casting choices too like Lisa Simpson and Supergirl. This was also the film debut of Christian Slater who went on to become the bane of existence for every Jack Nicholson fan.
Yes, I actually enjoy CALIGULA and not in an ironic way. I’m incredibly fascinated by ancient Roman history. Granted CALIGULA is not necessarily historically accurate, but it’s still a fun movie to watch. This film is a no holds barred depiction of one (perverted) man’s vision. Of course it’s filled with misogynistic tones, but the Roman Empire kind of invented misogyny. This is also an amazing cast of legendary actors like Peter O’Toole, Dame Helen Mirren, and the incomparable Malcolm McDowell. It’s ironic that the no name, Penthouse Pet turned actress was the one who sued Bob Guccione because the film’s hardcore sex scenes “tarnished her career/reputation.” You don’t see Dame Helen bitching about it; in fact she appears in interviews for the special edition DVD set (which I own). I think CALIGULA was ahead of it’s time. Nowadays it’s compared to films like SHOWGIRLS. It takes a certain personality to appreciate the tongue in check concept this film exudes. You either love it or you hate it.
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE)
I’m not guilty or embarrassed for enjoying HUMAN CENTIPEDE because it’s an awesome film. Again, it’s not the type of film that is for everyone. Director, Tom Six has a great appreciation for horror films and I really admire his “no rules” approach to filmmaking. He actually makes it fun. I’m also glad that we can make films like this today and that there’s an audience for it. Roger Ebert refused to assign a star rating for CENTIPEDE. He simply stated,
"[The film] is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don't shine."I think that review is 100% medically accurate.
I felt it unnecessary to include John Hughes or Cameron Crowe films simply because everyone who grew up in that era loves those films and they should not be considered guilty pleasures. They’re just rite of passage films for a certain age group. Now you guys know all my secrets. Care to share any of yours?