Paul Verhoeven once again tops this list with an unabashedly sexual neo-noir classic. A lot of critics had a difficult time embracing Sharon Stone’s “serial killer of men, with a lesbian lover” image despite the infamous leg-crossing scene. The film garnered three Razzie awards, including “Worst Actor” (Michael Douglas), “Worst Supporting Actress” (Jeanne Tripplehorn) and “Worst New Star” (Sharon Stone). I appreciated the way Verhoeven doesn’t shy away from sex, sex-based crimes, or utilizing prominent actors in sexually explicit roles. Its just an added layer of realism that takes Hitchcock’s filmic world, underlined by so many of those vices, to the next visual level. The use of San Francisco is easily the best I have seen in any film featuring the Golden Gate capital. The sense of height from the San Francisco hills really gives Basic Instinct its own stamp as one of the best in the film-noir genre. Without question, this is a great film and a definite guilty pleasure of mine, and perhaps for many other moviegoers out there.
Perhaps no Adam Sandler film is as much beloved as it is reviled than Billy Madison. As a mentally-deficient adult being forced to enroll back in elementary school, the premise alone will draw an audience to see it. However, what you get is a film that rides more on fart jokes and Adam Sandler’s screeching signature voice than any kind of home-hitting message. The film really marked Adam Sandler’s comedic presence on-screen, where critics subsequently refused to stomach or praise anything Sandler put out there while your average moviegoer couldn’t get enough of Sandler’s simplistically immature humor. You can bet Adam is going to dominate this list, so I topped his guilty pleasure contributions with the one choice that paved the way for Sandler to make himself a legend for giving us truly horrible films we know are terrible while watching them yet find ourselves glued in by such rudimentary entertainment.
While Wild Things certainly wasn’t a complete critical bust, it’s over-the-top campy style that gives it a large polarizing effect is why I consider it a worthy candidate for “Top Guilty Pleasure.” In fact, Wild Things is my personal favorite film on this list, easily cracking my top fifty favorite films ever, but there are so many things about it that are shameful to admit to liking. The never-ending plot twists almost make you wonder how maddeningly fun the writing process was for screenwriter, Stephen Peters. Denise Richards and Neve Campbell both make career-defining roles as bad girl teens who provide a whole new meaning to the term “femme fatale.” Matt Dillon’s performance is also brilliant in its ability to surprise us, and Kevin Bacon is just there for the random ride. All in all, this film will suck you in with its outlandish plot, culminating in one of the best movie endings I have seen possibly ever. I dare anyone who hates campy films to watch this film and tell me its over-the-top aspirations didn’t win you over.
Ah yes, Tom Green’s contribution to cinema which received Roger Ebert’s rating of “zero stars,” and also was up for a Razzie for “Worst Film of the Decade” for the 2000s. It is constantly hailed as one of the worst films ever made, yet upon reflection many see its surrealist ambitions and performance art as something to be appreciated. Tom Green himself is ridiculous in the title role, but would we all be hating the movie as much if Tom Green were in fact Adam Sandler? All I’m saying is that the film’s humor isn’t something that has necessarily gone away. If people can laugh at “Tim and Eric, Awesome Show!” which gets great reviews and incorporates several well established actors with the same type of crass comedy, why does Freddy Got Fingered have to be so critically lambasted? I know many probably scoff at this choice, but I don’t believe a single person out there has not at one time heard of the now infamous line, “Daddy, would you like some sausage?”
The Village became the real turning point with critics on how bad of a director M. Night Shymalan was turning into. The oddly bizarre part was that of all the films Shymalan made, I actually had the most fun watching The Village. Not only was it the first major introduction of the underrated Bryce Dallas Howard, but the film had some genuine scares and thrills throughout. The main problem people seemed to have with the film was the halfhearted acting and the twist that didn’t pay off. Clearly, I was watching a different film than everyone else. Sure, there were moments where Shymalan exceeded his reach on rationality, but all in all it was a signature role for Howard, an eery turn for Adrien Brody, and one beautifully shot scene that will forever haunt me. It’s difficult for me to admit that I love The Village because so many people out there despise it, but I know there are a few select of us who appreciated what Shymalan was trying to do before he really made films people just plain hated like Lady in the Water and The Happening.
Ah yes, the crowning achievement in Ben Kingsley’s career! I kid, I kid! But seriously, this film is often considered the worst video game adaptation film, which is really bad considering most video game-based movies are known for being horrible. The film received six Razzie Award nominations the year of its release, including “Worst Picture” and “Worst Actress” (Kristanna Loken). Honestly, I am going out on a limb in saying this, but the film is probably the most entertaining video game film out there, and possibly one of Uwe Boll’s best. Uwe Boll has made a name for himself by making terrible films, but at least with BloodRayne it feels like Boll knows full well how terrible his film is but is just having a jolly-good time making it. The graphic sex scenes, the hardcore violence, and the abrupt ending make this film more heightened and self-aware than someone would normally be comfortable watching. It’s not a great film, but it’s entertaining enough to be mindless fun for a good two hours. Of all the video game films I have seen, at least this one doesn’t pretend to be anything better than its abysmal quality. BloodRayne knows it’s bad, but makes no apologies for it. That kind of leaves me impressed.
|9. The World is Not Enough
This Bond film gets a really bad rap in critic’s circles, proclaiming Denise Richard’s “Christmas Jones” as the worst Bond girl ever, complimented by a ridiculously overcomplicated plot. I have to disagree. Of Brosnan’s films, Die Another Day was the most preposterous and unnecessarily over-the-top. Critics loved it because of Halle Berry’s kick-ass Jynx. I actually really love The World is Not Enough and would go as far in saying its the most underrated Bond film ever. Sophie Marceau delivers a complex performance of villainy with some real depth. Her Elektra character is easily the strongest part of the film. I was so impressed with Marceau in the film that I studied her earlier filmography and found myself equally impressed by her chameleon acting. This Bond film has a great intro action scene, a relevant plot line that echoes pre-9/11 phobias, and incredibly villainous turns by Robert Carlyle and Sophie Marceau. It’s a definite guilty pleasure of mine, because I know full well it’s not a Bond film I can proclaim is one of the best for fear of backlash, but I have added it to this list to make a case for it. Say what you will, aside from Goldeneye, this is Brosnan’s finest Bond flick.
|10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Nope, I’m not referring to Joss Whedon’s infamous television series that captivated youth in the late 1990s, but its original source material instead. Scripted by Whedon in 1992, this film is filled with good-ol 90s cheese. Kristy Swanson never rises above gutsy teenage girl who knows how to kick butt and stake vampires. Luke Perry’s random role as the love interest is as laughably miscast as one could be. Still, the film’s charm derives from its nostalgia factor where the 90s never took itself too seriously, still experimenting in what could draw in young audiences, and was pretty inoffensive throughout. This film reminds me of cotton candy: sweet and yummy in a carnival-like affair. It settles well even though it never rises to a level of spectacular. It’s hard to imagine such quality story lines were to come from this original film as Emmy-worthy television programming, but I guess the charm of a stake-wielding teenage cheerleader really did make waves after all in the teen community. I can’t help but enjoy this film even full well knowing how cheesy and campy it is.
Here are the remaining “Guilty Pleasure” films that have made this list:
11. Deep Blue Sea
12. Mortal Kombat
13. The Flinstones
14. Death to Smoochy
15. Kung Pow: Enter the Fist
16. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
18. Snakes on a Plane
19. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
20. Saw II
21. Heavy Metal
23. Happy Gilmore
25. The Blob (1988)
26. The Human Centipede
27. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
28. Obsessed (2009)
31. Bicentennial Man
33. Hocus Pocus
34. Pearl Harbor
36. Reindeer Games
37. Little Nicky
38. Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
39. The Next Karate Kid
41. The Sphere
42. X-Men: Wolverine
45. Plan 9 From Outer Space
46. Batman Forever
47. Troll 2
48. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
49. Godzilla (1998)
And that is all for the list of “Top 50 Guiltiest Pleasures” in film. I know some may be wondering why The Rocky Horror Picture Show isn’t on this list, but its cult status has elevated it to mainstream success from its midnight showings that it’s lost the “guilt” quality to it, since everyone seems to admit to loving it. As for films like Battlefield Earth, well I’m not rewarding a film that is just plain bad. There has to be some aspect of it that is good and keeps people coming back. There you have it! Post below your thoughts and opinions, as well as your own list of the guiltiest pleasures in film!