Back in the days when I had plenty more time on my hands, I was considered the ‘film connoisseur’ among the group. When in such an honoured position, you begin to learn that there are those films that it’s kinda not OK to admit that you love. Films that, on the scale of cinematic mastery, fall short, or that are deemed nonintellectual or childish. These are the wonderful gems known as guilty pleasures.
Expressing your appreciation for a guilty pleasure can seem a little daunting or embarrassing when everyone around you is telling you how awful it is. I, however, think that it’s time we started to embrace and appreciate guilty pleasure culture. Who says that a movie has to be a cinematic masterpiece to make you feel good, or want to watch it over and over again? There is a beauty to be found in guilty pleasures – they take us away from the mainstream and the social personas we create for ourselves. In the spirit of starting this revolutionary movement, I proudly present my topmost guilty pleasures:
The male version of 13 Going on 30/Freaky Friday, but much better! 12 year-old Josh makes a wish to a fortune-telling machine and wakes up as Tom Hanks. It’s done brilliantly, but what really nails it for me is Hanks and Robert Loggia playing “Heart and Soul” and “Chopsticks” on the giant piano. One of my favourite movie moments, ever.
I’m fairly certain this is actually acknowledged as a decent film. The reason it’s a guilty pleasure is that I’m not sure I should be quite such a fan at nearly 30 years old.
Miss Congeniality (2000)
One of the more embarrassing entries on this list, but how can you not love the premise of a slobbish, ‘one-of-lads’ FBI Agents going undercover at a beauty pageant!?
I’m sure that Sandra Bullock’s endearing nature has a part to play, but this also backed up by Michael Caine’s adorable despair and affection.
Final Destination (2000)
When a high school student has a premonition of his plane crashing, he saves several of his schoolmates from death. But death is foretold and escape is only temporary – when it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go.
This concept went down a blast when this film was released – enough to spawn a franchise of 4 further movies (none of which I am a fan). I think the follow-ons contributed to the perception of Final Destination as a joke, not that it was going to go down in history as a masterpiece anyway. Regardless, I still enjoy watching death chase its prey.
Practical Magic (1998)
Ok, so it’s been a few years since I’ve watched this one and I might feel differently about this tale of two sister witches who repress their powers and take very different paths in life, only to be drawn back together through tragedy and the bond of their magic.
Wait, now that I am writing this, I think that I’d still have some guilty pleasure watching this one.
Blade II (2002)
It’s accepted to say that you like Blade, the story of a human/vampire hero with a tragic past, but to say you like Blade II is probably frowned upon.My affection for Norman Reedus might have something to do with it, but I quite enjoy Blade II, as sequels go.
Bad Boys II (2003)
Bad Boys is a classic bro-mance cop-comedy. Bad Boys II is far more ‘Hollywood Blockbuster’, which is probably what put off die-hard fans of the original. It’s got a very different feel, but I appreciate it for what it is.
Rumour has it the Bad Boys franchise is due to become a trilogy soon! It could go either way, but I am eagerly awaiting what I hope will be a worthy addition.
I’m not sure I’m actually embarrassed about this one at all – I’ve talked about it plenty, though I don’t seem to be successful in persuading anyone to watch it!
As the name would suggest, it’s a movie centred around break-dancing. When Kelly, an upper-middle class jazz dancer, crosses paths with break-dancing street-kids Turbo and O-Zone, the three realise they cross the boundaries of class and help each-other with their various issues (Kelly needing inspiration for an important audition, Turbo and O-Zone needing a new flare to face their break-dancing gang rivals).
It’s so fabulously 80’s, over-acted and over-dramatic, but I can’t resist.
Breakin’ 2 : Electric Boogaloo (1984)
I can’t get enough of this fabulous threesome!
Idle Hands (1999)
When a lay-about stoner’s hand is possessed by an evil spirit, resulting in zombie-friends and a bloodied Halloween dance, it’s an unusual but enjoyable affair (for me).
I like the subtle, dark humour – the little actions/phrases/facial expressions that could almost go unnoticed but are actually a touch of comical genius.
Bring It On (2000)
American high school cheerleaders coming head-to-head should probably be as awful as it sounds. It’s passe and childish, but there is still a place in my heart for Bring it On. We still get stick this on for a sleepover.
Legally Blonde (2001)
Another of the ones I am genuinely embarrassed to admit that I like, but the story of ditzy Elle (Reese Witherspoon) taking Harvard Law School by the horns (and giving misogynists the finger while she’s at it), leaves me feeling good.
Scary Movie (2000)
I officially cannot watch Scream without envisioning each scene’s counterpart in Scary Movie, the King of horror spoofs.
Yes, it is ridiculously over-the-top and outrageous, but that’s kind of the point. I might roll my eyes at some if it, but the rest still cracks me up.
Mean Girls (2004)
High-school hierarchy and transition of self are explored through humour – what’s not to love?
It’s just so fetch.
White Chicks (2004)
Aside from the utterly unconvincing transition of Shawn and Marlon Wayans from muscly African-American males to blonde-haired, blue-eyed American women, this could also be controversial when considering the history of blackface minstrelsy.
Nonetheless, I can’t get over silly one-liners like “What a beautiful chocolate man!” or Terry Crews as Latrell, declaring his affection for Vanessa Carlton’s ‘A Thousand Miles’.
Get Over It (2001)
So, this movie has Sisqo in it!
Oh, ok, if you wanted to know more, it’s another high-school comedy-love-story. This one centrals around a bunch of students as they rehearse for a school play – meaning that love-lorn Berke Landers (Ben Foster) sometimes lets fantasy take over reality on his quest to win his best friend’s sister.
The best part for me, however, is Martin Short as the eccentric and bizarre play director – the humour lies in each inflection.
Probably the most embarrassing entry on this list.
Jonathon and Sara spend just one night together, seemingly falling for each-other instantly. They go their separate ways with the notion that if it is meant to be, fate will bring them together. Needless to say, it does – just as both are on the verge of marrying other people.
What I like most about this film is the name and concept. Watching this was the first time I heard the word ‘serendipity’ and it’s definition – which I fell in love with. It’s one of my favourite words.
On review, an impressive number of my selections are from the noughties – perhaps this was the decade in which guilty pleasures truly thrived.