Some movies are award winners, critically acclaimed juggernauts that are almost universally respected and loved. Some movies are so terrible that people watch them once and then toss them in the trash can, pour kerosene all over them and then light them on fire. And then there are those weird movies that sort of straddle the line between awesome and terrible. Critically scorned, they are not what you would describe as “respectable” or even “good” and people will make fun of you for liking them, but to hell with those people because we’re here to celebrate those terrible movies that you can’t help watching every time they’re on TV. Indeed, grab your popcorn, get comfortable and prepare to veg out as we celebrate nine of the most re-watchable bad movies ever made. I love every damn one of them.
Ah yes, Jason Statham’s magnum opus, a ridiculous celebration of utter degeneracy and kicking ass in every absurd and obscene way you could possibly imagine, all rolled up into the idiotic story of a hitman who has to keep his heart-rate up by any means possible to avoid dying of some mystery poison. And when I say “any means possible” I mean any means possible. There are people who will look at you like you should be chemically castrated if you say that you love this movie, but those people are just enemies of fun. This is Jason Statham at his disposable best and anyone who can’t enjoy his hedonistic hell-ride as he rampages through the streets of L.A. is not someone I think I can be friends with.
8 ‘The Rock’
This movie combines so many terrible yet awesome things that I’m sort of surprised it didn’t cause a black hole or something to open up and swallow us all because really, after a masterpiece like this, why even bother to keep trying? Not only do you have Michael Bay at his Michael Bayiest, you have Nicolas Cage at the height of his considerable powers, hamming it up, and Sean Connery playing a bitter old badass while Ed Harris digs into the role of a broken military man gone over the deep end with grief and rage. Oh and there are chemical weapons flying around San Francisco, Ferraris getting smashed and gay hairdressers mincing about in such horribly stereotypical fashion that the gay rights movement was probably set back at least five years. I mean, there is a lot going on. A LOT.
I have probably seen this movie over 100 times in my life. I have no idea why. I fully recognize that such an admission probably could be used to have me declared mentally incompetent, but I can’t help it. Just check out the plot: Woody Harrelson plays a hotshot bowler who falls in with a corrupt bowling vet played by Bill Murray sporting a ridiculous toupee. After a con-game gone bad some seedy locals ruin Woody’s bowling hand while Murray flees the scene. Years later, Woody is a loser with a hook for a hand who desperately mentors an Amish bowling idiot-savant played by Randy Quaid and with the help of a spectacularly boobed Vanessa Angel, the duo make their way to a bowling tournament in Reno where they wage war with the degenerate Murray in an effort to settle the score. Completely ridiculous and absurdly terrible, right? Yes. And yet, it is one of the most re-watchable comedies ever made.
6 ‘The Mummy’
The Mummy is cheesier than cheese itself and it stars Brendan Fraser. Basically, it’s indefensible. And yet, there was a time in my life when my friends and I would come home, bombed out of our minds and pop this in the DVD player. It was our ritual, and that’s because after you’ve killed off enough brain cells, this movie becomes incredibly entertaining. You don’t have to think at all, a bunch of wild shit happens and if you pass out halfway through and wake up a half hour later you don’t really need to know too much in order to catch back up. I mean, what’s to know? They disturb a mummy, the mummy goes apeshit and chaos ensues. I can still taste the cut-up hot-dogs and macaroni and cheese that my friends and I would scarf down while we watched this stupid movie like zombies.
5 ‘The Devil’s Advocate’
This movie doesn’t even try to pretend it’s anything other than a ridiculous romp that tears through good taste and revels in its own insanity. Al Pacino somehow manages to overact more in this movie in his role as the devil – that’s right, the goddamn devil – than he does in all his other roles combined. Just think about THAT. And if that’s not enough, you have Keanu “Whoa” Reeves stumbling around as a country lawyer with a ridiculously awful Southern accent. And yet, somehow his terrible accent manages to be better than Charlize Theron’s, who sounds more like she’s mentally disabled or drunk than she does Southern. It shouldn’t work and yet somehow it does. This movie manages to ride the line between compulsively watchable and “what the hell is this shit?” perhaps better than any movie I have ever seen. Goats get slaughtered, a man gets killed by demons while jogging and Craig T. “Coach” Nelson plays a perverted old rich dude who bangs his stepdaughter. It’s so horrible that you just can’t look away.
I’m guessing the script for this movie read something like this: “We’ll just have John Travolta and Nicholas Cage overact their asses off and chew up scenery and then John Woo will release some doves and explode a bunch of shit. It will be cool.” And guess what? It totally is. It’s totally terrible too, but that’s beside the point. Nicolas Cage gallivanting around, pretending to be a horny priest, feeling up choir girls and acting all Nicolas Cagey is perhaps the pinnacle of his sterling career and yet it’s not even the most over-the-top, ridiculous performance in the movie. That honor belongs to Travolta who basically takes the opportunity to act insane and runs his ass off with it. Oh, and the plot involves Cage and Travolta SWITCHING FACES. It’s ridiculous. And yet, tell me that you wouldn’t drop everything you were doing right this second to watch that. You can’t and that’s why it’s on this list.
3 ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’
This is the movie that everyone quotes when they’re trying to do a Keanu Reeves impression and that’s because it’s both ridiculous and ridiculously awesome at the same time. For once, being an idiot actually helped Keanu out. Everyone loves this movie and if they don’t then they are terrible human beings and you should shun them like lepers. Still, this is a movie about two dudes traveling through time in a frickin’ phone booth so they can kidnap historical figures and pass their History final. It’s completely idiotic. But that’s the fun of it. Hell, I’ll take this movie’s depiction of Abe Lincoln over Daniel Day Lewis’ all day long. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to play air guitar for the next twenty minutes.
2 ‘Point Break’
I’m not going to lie to you – Point Break is my favorite movie of all time. If movies were people and I could only save this one or Casablanca from falling over the edge of a cliff, I’d grab Point Break with both hands and let Casablanca plummet to its death. I love it with all my heart. And yet even I can admit that it is completely ridiculous and completely terrible. I mean, Patrick Swayze somehow manages to talk about living to get radical with a straight face and at one point utters the line “Back off, Warchild. Seriously.” Seriously! Just look at the film’s holy trinity of stars: Swayze, Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey. I mean… holy shit! That’s like Jordan, Bird and Magic all playing on the same team.
1 ‘Road House’
As much as I love Point Break, even I have to admit that when it comes to endlessly re-watchable bad movies, Road House is the undisputed king of the mountain. If nothing else, the top two choices on this list explain why I have a shrine to Patrick Swayze set up in my bedroom, one that I pray to for guidance every night before drifting off to sweet dreams of roundhouse kicking sleazy degenerates and banging Kelly Lynch in a barn. Road House is one of the most indefensibly idiotic movies ever made and yet for dudes of a certain age, it was basically our favorite childhood babysitter. It was on TBS almost every damn day and its combination of Swayze ass-kicking and sleazy degeneracy made it the perfect way to spend an afternoon. It’s a completely irredeemable flick that offers nothing but sex, violence and some half-assed, lazy philosophical mumbo-jumbo about pacifism that gets tossed out the window anytime Swayze gets the opportunity to rip some asshole’s throat out. In short, it is the perfect American movie and that’s why nothing else could possibly be number one on this list.
(Previously published on December 11, 2012.)