Let’s be honest. We’ve all come across some pretty bad movies in our lives. Every now and again, however, we see a movie that we would normally classify as “bad”, but we just can’t help but watch it whenever it’s on. We touched on films like this a while back when we brought you a short list of “The Cheesiest Horror Movies That Ever Cheesed”, but this time, we wanted to branch out past just talking about horror movies, and give you a sense of some of the other “brain candy” movies that are out there, regardless of genre. I’ll be one of the first to tell you that I tend to gravitate towards these kinds of films – you know, the ones that have that fantastic Limburger quality. So naturally, I wanted to share these guilty pleasures with you lovely folks.
We recently asked a bunch of our followers on Facebook and Twitter for their thoughts on their favorite bad movies, and the answers we got were mostly expected. However, there were a few gems in there that even I, PCU’s resident “so-bad-its-good” movie fan, hadn’t thought of until very recently. We compiled a list of the top ones, and wanted to share that with you – along with why we think they’re so re-watchable.
First, there’s one that we all love to hate, and hate to love: Street Fighter. Yes, that gloriously awful attempt by Hollywood to bring video games to the big screen once again in 1994. The film should have been a summer hit (had it been handled properly), but suffered from bad casting, poor choice of (or complete lack of) special effects where they were called for, and truly terrible writing. The movie featured such names as Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kylie Minogue, Ming-Na Wen, and of course, the late Raul Julia in what would be his final on-screen role. That cast alone should have helped this film, but alas, it came across as if no one involved with the film even looked at the source material, or understood the characters that being portrayed. Still, while Street Fighter was pretty terrible, there’s something that draws a lot of us to it every time it comes on TV. We just can’t stay away.
It’s not often you hear about a movie being so bad that it makes a reviewer/critic physically ill, but that’s exactly what happened with 1997’s The Warriors of Virtue. For having been released relatively recently, this movie was still amazingly bad, but draws viewers in with its cheesy fight choreography, hackneyed writing, and over the top costuming & makeup.
For those who are unaware, The Warriors of Virtue is a story of a young boy who gets magically transported to a fantastical land of sword & sorcery, where a group of kangaroo warriors (the titular characters) fight to free their world from the evils of a psychotic warlord (played by Angus Macfadyen). Sounds like fun, right? Well, when it was originally released in theaters, it was supposed to be. However, it tanked at the box office, garnering only just over $6.5 million (USD) after having a budget of $35 million (USD).
Regardless of its critical theatrical failure, there was even a (direct-to-video) sequel to this movie released in 2002. It seems that whenever The Warriors of Virtue appears on our screens, we’re transfixed by how bad it is, and force ourselves to watch the whole thing. The entire movie is available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.
With a title like Samurai Cop, this 1989 schlock-fest probably wasn’t going to garner much success from the beginning. However, in the almost 30 years since its initial release, it’s attracted quite the following among fans of truly cheesy movies, and earned a spot on this list because so many of you mentioned it. Directed by Amir Shervan, Samurai Cop has been named one of the worst movies ever made, with one memorable review stating that “The subpar production and acting are a joy to behold”.
From scenes where the titular character faces down gun-toting thugs with his bare hands while his partner simply shoots them, to the redundant dialogue, to the campy homage to martial arts films of yesteryear, this one is really a popcorn-munching, laugh-out-loud piece of brain candy.
Next, let’s talk about a film that almost everyone we talked to said is a must-watch: 2003’s The Room. Widely hailed (and reviled) as “the worst movie ever made” (personally, I disagree), The Room was directed by, and stars Tommy Wiseau, who has also worked on such things as….well, nothing you’ve probably ever heard of. Aside from how poorly put-together this film is, it’s also said that Wiseau himself happens to be one of the reasons why it did so poorly. His acting in The Room has been described as “terrible”, “all grimaces, pauses, and random sniggers”, and “hypnotically hammy”, which of course makes movie fans like me nearly froth at the mouth to check this out. That could absolutely be the reason that this movie has garnered such a cult following, despite only receiving a 3.6 / 10 on IMDb, and a 32% on Rotten Tomatoes. Inexplicably, however, The Room also won ‘Best Feature Film’ at 2003’s New York International Independent Film & Video Festival.
The final movie on our list is one that we’ll call enjoyable simply because it is (supposed to be) the movie version of one of the most beloved video game franchises ever. That’s right, we’re talking about 1993’s fabled flop, Super Mario Bros. This film starred the late Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as the titular plumbers, and the late Dennis Hopper as the evil King Koopa.
Casting choices aside, if you’re a gamer, you can’t help but cringe at how poorly the characters themselves translated out of the games and onto the big screen. From having a humanoid King Koopa, to Toad looking like what amounted to a gigantic reptilian pinhead, to the Mario Bros. themselves not having their trademark high-pitched pseudo-Italian accents, this movie was clearly doomed at the box office from the start. However, it has still retained the ability to keep our rapt attention whenever it graces the small screen. It’s one of those movies you can’t help but hate to love, and love to hate, and there are those of us who are actually proud to say that we own DVD copies of this one.
There you have it, dear readers. An impromptu list of some of our favorite bad movies ever. Did we hit on any of your favorites? Did we miss any that you just can’t avoid watching? Let us know in the comments below!