Thursday, March 03, 2011

10 Movies I Enjoyed That Other People Hate

In honour of the new Defending the Indefensible series, which starts tomorrow night at the Toronto Underground Cinema, I decided to highlight some of the films that I enjoy that others consider awful.

The Fast and the Furious – I am not a car buff, nor do I claim that this is by any means an original tale. Yet The Fast and the Furious is one those films that I can watch over and over. The “we are not so different” bromance between Vin Diesel and Paul Walker coupled with the well done action sequences makes this flick a real treat for me. While the franchise has had its ups and downs, I still think the first film is the best one.

Road House – A film about a “world famous bouncer” ? This should be enough of a warning to let you know that this movie will be bad. My experiences with bouncers is that they are anything but famous. Usually they are big guys who a trying to make a little money on the side. Still, there is a cheap charm to the senselessness of this film. You cannot help but cheer on Patrick Swayze as he takes on the bad guys. Plus the addition of Canadian music icon Jeff Healey is a nice touch. Thanks to shows like The Family Guy, Road House is slowly beginning to garner the cult following that it rightfully deserves.

Serial Mom – This tale of a suburban housewife who strives a little too hard to be perfect never really got much love upon its release. I think this is a result of John Waters being ahead of his time with the film. Many of the satirical elements that people found shocking when the film was released, are now popping up on mainstream television, to rave reviews, in shows like Desperate Housewives.

Marked for Death – Why is this one of the best Steven Seagal films ever? Simply because it features some of the worst fake Jamaican accents ever captured on film. Plus Screwface is one of the most unintentionally funny villains to ever grace the big screen. Every line he utters is comedic gold.

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle – I hated Dude Where is My Car? but absolutely loved this multi-cultural take on the tradition stoner comedy. Unlike its sequel, one of the things that makes the first Harold and Kumar film so endearing is that they are actually portrayed fairly smart guys. They get good grades and have promising careers ahead of them. This only makes the comedy that much greater when they finally decide to let loose a little.

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls – This is nowhere near as good as Russ Meyer’s best works such Faster, Pussycat! Kill Kill, Lorna, Mudhoney, and Vixen!, yet Beyond the Valley of the Dolls does have its own twisted charm. It keeps all the moral subtext of Meyer’s other films while sprinkling elements that are just plain absurd. Roger Ebert’s script may not be great, but it does make for an oddly entertaining mess of a film.

Taken – Liam Neeson going to town on the sinister European sex trade...that pretty much sums it up. Similar to The Fast and the Furious, there is something about Taken that I just love. I think it has to do with Neeson playing against type. Normally roles like this are given to the likes of Steven Seagal, Billy Blanks, and Jean-Claude Van Damme. I also like the fact that the action is, for the most part, fairly realistic. The age of Neeson’s character is always kept in mind and we never see him do anything that a man his age would not be able to do.

The Secret of my Success – I was considering placing Doc Hollywood on the list but I enjoyed this Michael J. Fox film far more. Sure the whole rising up the corporate ladder so quickly based on mistaken identity plot line seemed dated even by 1980’s standards. Yet Fox is what sells this movie. His charisma in the film is what makes this film far more enjoyable than it really should be.

Blue Streak – Yes, this is a blatant rip-off of Beverly Hills Cop but I enjoyed it anyway. Martin Lawrence has been hit (Bad Boys, Do the Right Thing, Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins) or miss (Bad Boys 2, Black Knight, National Security) on the big screen but given the right roll he can really excel. While I will not claim this to be a must see film, I can admit that I enjoyed watching it.

Wild Things – As my wife often tells me, sometimes we all just need a good trashy novel. This is exactly what Wild Things feels like with it multiple twists and overtly sexual themes. Throw in a cast that features Matt Dillon, Bill Murray, Kevin Bacon, Theresa Russell, Neve Campbell and Denise Richards; and you have a recipe for a fun pulp movie. While the pool scene is the most talked about aspect, the film offers several other guilty pleasure moments.


  1. I love this idea! I'll second Wild Things and Harold & Kumar.

    A top five for you:

    5. It's Kind Of A Funny Story
    4. A Knight's Tale
    3. Road Trip
    2. Beerfest
    1. Dune

  2. The secret of my success was at one point my favorite film in the world. I was madly in love with Helen Slater for the vast majority of my teens.

  3. @multiplex – Road Trip is a film that could have made this list as well. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed that film. I have not seen It’s Kind of a Funny Story yet, but I have heard mixed things. I must disagree with you on Dune, Beerfest, and A Knight’s Tale though. I did not like any of those films.

    @Dan – Ah Helen Slater, she will always be Supergirl to me.

  4. I kind of liked Taken, nothing special but it would have been much worse if it wasn't for Neeson...
    I can't stand the whole Fast and Furious series though, especially the latest one.

    I'm shocked to see a Steven Seagal film on here, I've only seen two of his films (Half Past Dead and Tickers) but they ere some of the worst films I've ever seen in my life... He's my least favourite action hero ever.

    Nice list though and true to it's name!

  5. Dude, a lot of these movies are pretty good. Road House is a freakin' blast, Wild Things is unfortunately known only for the threesome (then again, how do you top that?), and Harold and Kumar was a riot. These mofos who are telling you otherwise are crazy. Stop listening to them immediately.

  6. I quite enjoyed "It's Kind Of A Funny Story" (mentioned it in my most recent post). Just don't expect a laugh riot comedy. I also liked A Knight's Tale - I thought they found the proper light mood for it and Ledger is just so watchable...

    I've only seen 4 of your 10 - 3 of which I agree with. Harold and Kumar's first movie is strangely charming and very silly (in a good way). Not so much with their 2nd though...Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls is too goofy to hate. And you're spot on about Secret Of My Success - no offence to Slater, but the movie succeeds due to Fox.

    Wild Things on the other hand...I don't get the fascination many have with that movie. I'm not a big Neve Campbell fan, so that may have something to do with it.

    My go-to film in cases like this is Ocean's Twelve. Many people hate it. They are wrong.

  7. Harold and Kumar go to White Castle is a classic! Still watch it from time to time even though it has its fair share of issues.

    Taken is definitely a solid action movie. Liam Neeson kicks ass! And damn, Maggie Grace has grown finely since lol ;)

  8. @Jack – I do believe a Steven Seagal night needs to be in your near future. He is near the bottom when ranking 80’s/90’s action stars, but he did have his moments. I would recommend Above the Law and Under Siege, as starting points. Also, the pool table scene from Hard to Kill and the pool hall scene from Out for Justice, which are both on YouTube, are fun as well. Unlike fine wine, the older Seagal got the less entertaining his films are.

    @Aiden – Road House so many cheesy moments but man is it great. A bouncer who is a pacifist…what more can you ask for?

    @Bob – I think all the over-the-top twists is what makes Wild Things so much fun. Every time you think the film is about to end a new ludicrous plot turn is thrown in.

    I was not a fan of Ocean’s Twelve the first time I saw it. I have been converted over the years though. I still think Ocean’s Thirteen is more proper sequel to Ocean’s Eleven; but you cannot beat Twelve’s heist which is executed in the first fifteen minutes without anyone knowing. Ballsy…just ballsy.

    @Castor – I am with you, Maggie Grace has grown quite nicely indeed.

  9. Hey!!!! With the exception of The Fast & the Furious (I liked the 2nd one, that's it) and Blue Streak (Martin Lawrence has not been funny since 1996).

    I liked these movies. Road House is a great guy movie.

    Serial Mom is fuckin' hilarious. Kathleen Turner was robbed of an Oscar nod.

    Secret of My Success, dude. Total nostalgic trip man though it was the first film that I saw where I noticed continuity issues with Michael J. Fox's hair.

    Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is an essential stoner film. Wild Things is a trashy film but goddamnit, it's fun as hell. Taken kicks ass as does a very hot Maggie Grace.

    I'm not a fan of Steven Seagal but I did like Marked for Death.

    @Multiplex Slut-I haven't seen It's Kind of a Funny Story while I also haven't seen the entirety of Dune. The rest of your picks however, I do love.

    There's no shame in these films. It's just good entertainment.

  10. @thevoid – I thought FF2, though I had fun watching it, was the worst of the entire series.

  11. "While the pool scene is the most talked about aspect..."

    I think I know what is talked about more. It involves three people.

    I always remember that you never saw enough of Neve Campbell.

    And I think ROAD HOUSE is liked by so many people, maybe its not a 'guilty' pleasure anymore.

  12. @Simon – I still think Road House falls under the guilty pleasure category because it is more cheesy fun than it is an actual good movie (story wise, etc.)


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