Weekend Small Talk: The Decade's Guiltiest
Every decade has it's guilty pleasures; films that you know you shouldn't like but watch anyway. Often times, they are films that are in a genre you usually don't enjoy or are just films that are so bad that you feel ashamed and hate admiting that you like them. Often times, people overextend the definition to include films that most people enjoy. A film like "The Devil Wears Prada" doesn't fit because it's a quality film and has basically transcended its chick-flick pedigree. On the other hand, "Just My Luck" starring Lindsay Lohan transcends nothing, doesn't even devolve into camp, and is a film that relies on pure cutesiness to get by. It's not one of my top 10 guilty pleasures but it and "The Big Bounce" get honorable mentions because of the fact that I've actually tried to watch them on multiple occassions.
So what are the top ten films from the Aughts that I probably aught not admit to enjoying as much as I do?
10. Live Free or Die Hard: I was really torn about putting this on the list because I think it was one of the better films of 2007. But then I realized that I just wrote that one of the top films of 2007 featured: Bruce Willis walking on a jet wing, shooting a helicopter down with a car, and running a car through multiple walls and then into 90 pound Maggie Q... and she shrugs it off. The movie takes the ridiculousness of past Die Hard films and then multiplies them by a logic usually saved for "Heroes" or "Cannonball Run". I've also watched the film entirely too many times so I had to give it a spot on the list.
This film also features the Y2K Guilty Pleasure President, Justin Long. He's had an amazing run of films that are enjoyable but extremely flawed/just not that good: Dodgeball, Waiting..., Accepted, Idiocracy, Strange Wilderness, etc.
9. Gossip: This isn't a good movie yet I always find myself stopping to watch whenever it's on cable. I really can't explain why. Part of me tries to figure out where the film went wrong or if it ever went right. It does feature three of the more magnetic actors: James Marsden, Josh Jackson, and Norman Reedus (three guys who'll almost always get me to stop and see what movie they're in) but it also features their polar opposite, Kate Hudson, whom I usually can't turn the channel away from fast enough. Another part of me tries to remember how the film ends, then thinks "No, I must be remembering it wrong, it can't end like that." only to find that it does indeed end in an unbelievably ridiculous, cliched fashion. It's a stretch to call this a guilty "pleasure" but even though I know it's terrible, I still watch. It's also the epitome of a movie you'll watch until the commercial, then turn away at the break and completely forget that you were ever watching it.
8. The Covenant: I'll admit to having a bit of a crush on Laura Ramsey (and have had one since "The Real Cancun") so that's one thing it's got going for it. The next is that a few of the actors hang out at the local watering hole that I frequent so that adds an odd familiarity to it. I could come up with other reasons but what they all add up to is the fact that there's really no reason to watch this film and absolutely no legitimate rationale behind watching it more than once, as I have. I was surprised to find that the film was directed by Renny Harlin but it makes sense. With this and "Mindhunters", he has two of the more stupid yet watchable films of the decade.
On a side note, how the hell did Renny Harlin get to be so big? He did two sequels (Nightmare on Elm Street 4 and Die Hard 2), the bomb that is Adventures of Ford Fairlane, and the surprise success Cliffhanger. Who thought after those four movies that they should give him a hundred million dollars to make Cutthroat Island?
7. Jackass - The Movie: I'm sorry but I probably laughed more in this film than any movie I've seen this decade. I'm not sure what that says about me but I really think it's impossible to watch the doctor react to the X-Ray of a matchbox car in Steve-O's ass and not laugh out loud.
6. John Tucker Must Die: How can you not love a film with a guy named Fatso-Fasano in it? And no, that's not a character name, that's the actor's name. The film also features Gossip Girl's Penn Badgley as a kind of alt-nice guy which is interesting because he's a whiny brat in Gossip Girl (which would probably be #1 in my TV guilty pleasures list). Part of me wonders why John Tucker would ever stray from a slutty Sophia Bush, especially for Ashanti, Brittany Snow, and the girl that looks like my buddy's ex-girlfriend, but that's beside the point I guess. The point is... well, I'm not sure. Maybe that's why I keep checking it out when it's on.5. The Wicker Man: I had no interest in watching this film until I watched this bit on Youtube.
Needless to say, after that I HAD to watch it. And you know what, it wasn't THAT bad. OK, I used the fast forward button liberally and wasn't really paying attention but the moments of sheer lunacy almost make up for the long stretches of boredom.
SPOILER WARNING: I also like director Neil LaBute's take on it: "People seemed to think that we didn't get it when Nicolas Cage was running around in a bear suit--I know when something is funny. The great thing is that no matter how many women he hits and kicks, how silly it is that he disguises himself as a bear, we still put the guy inside the Wicker Man and burn him to death. The movie takes a pretty sober turn and that was half the fun of it for me. Always stay a step ahead of the audience and whack them across the knuckles whenever possible." Once you realize that was the illogical approach they took when making the film, it is fun to watch.
4. Sky High: This is a fun teen movie but it's gets the #5 slot because it brings out the creepy uncle in me. I'm sorry but if you say a high school movie with Mary Elizabeth Winstead, a redhead, and an Asian-looking chick, I say SOLD! On top of that, it features Michael Angarano (aka the Fake Shia LeBeouf), Linda Carter, Dave Foley, and Bruce Campbell, Kelly Preston, and Kurt Russell. Whatever, I like it, deal with it.
3. Failure to Launch: It's almost like someone said, let's take "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days", make the plot even more implausible and then cast the only woman in America whom the male species finds more annoying than Kate Hudson, and fuck it, let's put Terry Bradshaw in there as well. And we'll give it to the director of "Showtime", the movie nobody remembers Eddie Murphy and Robert DeNiro ever made. Yet it works. Zooey Deschanel is great, Bradley Cooper does his Bradley Cooper thing, and somehow I snap out of a 90 minute trance wondering why I just watched the movie again.
2. Stick It: It should comes as a shock to nobody that this film was written and directed by the same person who wrote "Bring It On". This self-rip-off might only have been rivaled by the "Legally Blonde" writers churning out "The House Bunny". And while I'll defend "Bring It On" as an interesting tween flick, "Stick It" is just too ridiculous. Yeah, I still defend it but I don't feel good about myself when I do. Yet just as I still get a smirk out of "This isn't a cheerocracy!", I'll admit that "They don't call it gymNICEtics" still gets one of those half-groan/half-giggles out of me.
1. 2001 Maniacs: This campy horror film stars Robert Englund ("Nightmare on Elm Street") and boobs (wet dream from childhood). If you don't have time or the desire to watch the film, you basically get the whole thing in the trailer.
I realy thought twice about posting this film which is why it had to be #1 on the list.
So what are your guilty pleasure of the Aughts?