"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Million Dollar Movie

Next week’s theme is a good one: Guilty Pleasure Movies. We had some internal discussion about the definition of a guilty pleasure movie, and as usual in such cases, Emma hit the nail on the head:

“To me, they are movies that you enjoy but CAN’T really defend. A guilty pleasure is a movie that you would NOT have in your DVD collection. I don’t own Deep Blue Sea and wouldn’t buy it. But whenever it’s on TV, I watch-even though I must’ve seen it about four times by now, which is three and a half more viewings than it deserves.”

The general consensus was that the movie has to be bad in order to qualify, but that doesn’t really matter to me. A movie can be well-made and still be a guilty pleasure for me. Like Boogie Nights or Rushmore or True Romance, Sleepless in Seattle, even, those are guilty pleasures for me because overall I really don’t like the filmmakers and enjoy not liking them. So to admit that I can actually watch something by them and even enjoy it, that’s guilt, Dog.

Or self-loathing, or something warped like that. And has nothing to do with the artistic quality of the filmmaking, because like them or not, PT Anderson, Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, are skilled and talented guys.

But if I had to pick a scrubby movie as a guilty pleasure–resisting like all hell not to choose something starring Chris Makepeace–I think this one will do just fine.

Should be a fun week. Let’s all have a laugh, shall we?


1 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 29, 2010 2:01 pm

four words:

Bonfire of the Vanities

2 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 29, 2010 2:18 pm

I really liked Ishtar. Not kidding. So cuff me, and lock me away if you must, but I'll scratch with my fingernails into the concret-block walls of my cell: "Ishtar is funny."

3 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 29, 2010 2:18 pm

Both good ones!

4 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 29, 2010 2:21 pm

Just to clarify ... we're not aiming for a "so bad its great", Mystery Science Theater 3000 vibe here. That may be saved for another week.

5 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 29, 2010 2:24 pm

[2] I always thought Ishtar got a bad rap. I think its just that the production itself was such an unmitigated disaster, the actual finished product isn't the worst thing ever.

6 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 29, 2010 2:36 pm

[4] my defense of Ishtar isn't that it's so bad it's great, I think Beatty and Hoffman turned in fine comedic performances. The screwball plot isn't so bad either. Not a lot of memorable lines in the movie, but the bad songwriting scenes were flatout great.

[5] yeah, Elaine May went way over budget, and it turned out far too expensive for what it was, but what it was was pretty good, right?

7 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 29, 2010 2:49 pm

That Ishtar was Hoffman's long-awaiting return to the screen after Tootsie (I saw him do Death Of A Salesman on Broadway in between, which was great) didn't help the film's reputation either.

He was on such a great roll leading up to Tootsie, then killed it as Willy Loman, so Ishtar fairly could have been received as a letdown for his fans. Not me. He could do no wrong at that point. Not everything he's done is great, but he's probably my all-time favorite leading guy.

8 The Hawk   ~  Jul 29, 2010 3:06 pm

I don't feel like I have any guilty pleasures, mainly because I don't subscribe to the "guilt" part. If I like something that is badly made, or corny, or stupid or whatever, I certainly don't feel guilty at all. And I will buy them and own them ... Or I would have anyway.

I own Point Break, on DVD and Blu Ray!

Anyway I think I just call them "good bad movies". Usually, like in the case of Point Break, it's something that's unbelievable and corny but has a lot of vim and vigor. The Swaze has a lot to do with it I think, since Road House is kind of similar.

Recently I watched parts of Punisher: War Zone again and that is a truly glorious good bad movie.

9 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 29, 2010 3:08 pm


10 Matt Blankman   ~  Jul 29, 2010 3:12 pm

Critic and blogger Kim Morgan has written some spirited defenses of Ishtar.

Here's one:

[4] DIane, I should say that I think my guilty pleasure pick falls in the "so bad its great" category too, but for a lot of people, I think it would just be bad.

11 Matt Blankman   ~  Jul 29, 2010 3:13 pm

[8] Point Break is a movie I always use as a description of a good bad movie. Road House is another "good bad" classic.

12 The Hawk   ~  Jul 29, 2010 3:16 pm

There are also levels to it. Some movies I really like that are kind of terrible; some are just mediocre. Explaining the latter is hard to do sometimes, harder than when you like a real stinker.

For instance, Punisher War Zone is so lurid, outrageous and over-the-top violent, and also strangely, deadly dull at times, it's like a cinematic speedball. But, for instance, Constantine - it's not good, not godawful, and I still enjoyed the crap out of it.

13 Just Fair   ~  Jul 29, 2010 3:56 pm

My wife kills me for readily admitting I enjoy Deep Blue Sea. "As a result, the sharks got smarter." lol....... I have also watched Waterworld and The Beach about 3 times a piece. All movies involve water. Hmmmmmmmm.....

14 rob_smith_51   ~  Jul 29, 2010 4:16 pm

Varsity Blues

I also love Weird Science and Can't Buy Me Love, but I don't feel guilty about those.

15 cult of basebaal   ~  Jul 29, 2010 4:20 pm

Love Deep Blue Sea, but love Anaconda even more.

16 Chyll Will   ~  Jul 29, 2010 4:57 pm

*ahem*, The Dark Crystal is mine, but only because I haven't seen Xanadu since I was a child and I intend to keep that memory there...

And I admit to having been emotionally manipulated by the big dance climax of Dirty Dancing, but in my defense I was a hormonally-enraged teenager at the time...

17 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 29, 2010 5:57 pm

2 words:
Death Becomes Her.

18 The Hawk   ~  Jul 29, 2010 6:03 pm

[17] Which two?

19 The Hawk   ~  Jul 29, 2010 6:06 pm

Though as I've already pointed out, I would never feel guilty about this sort of thing, if I did I wouldn't about Dark Crystal or Anaconda. Nothing wrong with those movies! One is a quality kids fantasy movie, the latter a winking B movie. I don't think that should count. It's like Snakes on a Plane or something.

20 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jul 29, 2010 6:55 pm

[16] "When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong.." Damn, Jerry Orbach was great...

"Secret Admirer" with C. Thomas Howell..gosh, that's pretty embarrassing to see on the screen..

21 Kered Retej   ~  Jul 29, 2010 7:25 pm

I don't know if these are true guilty pleasures, but there are any number of "bad" movies I enjoyed more than I should:

Adventures in Babysitting
Waterworld/Postman double feature
Nowhere to Run

and probably dozens more...

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver