AfterElton’s Trending Topics: Guilty Pleasure Movies

Brent Hartinger

For some inexplicable reason, I’m a huge fan of movies that
involve journeys to the center of the earth, even though these movies are
almost always bad. I own The Core, Journey to the Center of the
[1959 — with Pat Boone!],
and Journey
to the Center of the Earth
[2008], which I actually think can’t really
be called “bad,” because it’s wholly aware of its fun, campy roots. I
think it’s a “perfect” popcorn movie!

Pat Boone and James Mason in Journey to the Center of the

I also own At the Earth’s Core and a couple of others, and I’ll stop to
watch films like The Cave and First Men in the Moon (which is
about journeying to the inside of the moon!), but I can’t call them guilty
pleasures, because they’re not pleasurable — they’re just really, really bad.

As for The Descent, it’s a good horror movie (the sequel is a mere
retread), but there aren’t enough stalactites for my taste. Or maybe it’s the
lack of giant mushrooms that leaves me unmoved … and no, I’m not making penis
references here.

Then again, maybe I am. It might explain a lot.



Chris O’Guinn

You people are wusses. You want guilty pleasure movies?

Oh yes, I went there. While the (*cough*) plot was something a third grader
would be embarrassed to turn in for homework and the acting was occasionally wince-worthy, I thought it did a good job of reflecting American Society at the
turn of the century and captured the poignancy of the tragedy. And Gloria Stuart was totally


I admit it, I’m a complete disaster-movie nut. Armageddon had everything I love — cheesy dialogue, impossible
science, high drama and sh*t blowing up. Plus, it was wonderfully blatant in its
emotional ploys and refreshingly honest about how bad it was.

— Okay, this movie was so nonsensical it’s hard to even criticize
the plot. In fact, it was so bad that it had me laughing out loud. And I am still
tempted to get a, “The Revolution is My Boyfriend” tee shirt. Plus,
uh, some of the sex was hot. *coughs*

And, just to make snicks choke on
his corn flakes, I have to mention Charlie’s Angels. I think Cameron Diaz is adorable and I’ve had a crush on Drew Barrymore for about 20 years now. I
thought the Angels were fun characters and the dialogue was perfect for the
subject matter.



Christie Keith

This is the reality: My cinematic guilty pleasure involves
two of the great passions of my life, beautiful women and awesome shoes. If it
had dogs in it, I’d probably have it playing 24/7 on gigantic screens in every
room in my house.

I’m speaking of The Devil Wears Prada. Now, this isn’t necessarily an
embarrassingly bad film. It stars Meryl
and anything she’s in has at least some credibility. But the real
reason I watch this movie all the time is that I am a hopeless sucker for a
makeover flick, and this is pretty much the only one in which the heroine
becomes totally stunning and dumps the hero and the soul-killing, shallow,
high-powered job and goes to work for a serious newspaper.

It’s like I get to eat my cake (shoes, hot clothes, beautiful women, and
glamorous locales — PARIS!)
and eat it, too. By which I mean I don’t have to see said beautiful woman end
up with the guy, as if that was the point of the whole amazing transformation,
nor trapped in some corporate hell as she sacrifices everything she believes in
for success. Excuse me — I think it’s time for my “Prada” fix.



Lyle Masaki

The deep dark secret of my DVD collection is a copy of Timecode
I’ve only watched a few times.

Chances are good you haven’t heard of Timecode,
so I’ll try to explain its premise. Timecode is a
movie that’s more concept than story. The screen is divided into four quadrants
where different yet simultaneous scenes are happening. Thus, on one screen you
might be watching Salma Hayek seduce
a movie producer to get a part while on another screen you’re watching Salma’s
girlfriend Jeanne Tripplehorn as she
spies on Salma and reacts to the realization that her girlfriend is cheating on

Sadly, there are only a few moments that are interesting in that way. For the
most part, Timecode is an exercise in
waiting for something interesting to happen.


Still, I can really get drawn into the storytelling concept and thinking about
how it might be used to tell a better story. You can always win me over by
trying to play with the rules of how you tell a story, even if you fail to tell
an engaging story. (Along those lines, I always like it when TV shows do their
version of Rashomon.) No matter how bad the story, I still walk away with
something interesting to consider and discuss.

I have proper guilty pleasure movies on my DVD shelf (the more I know about
Watergate the more I appreciate Dick; the shy boy who underestimates
himself and gets an incredibly hot boyfriend in Trick certainly pushed my
buttons; in many ways Xanadu was ahead of its time and I’m
inexplicably obsessed with Lilo & Stitch) but Timecode is the one that will leave me
momentarily speechless when you find that I own it.



JT Riley

This is super embarrassing, but I have a big soft
spot for the teen/high school movies from the late ’90s. I need to
qualify that by saying that I never watched these flicks when I was
actually in high school in the
late ’90s, because I thought I was too cool for school. But now, when I
look back at my ill-spent youth, I appreciate it anew through the movies
of that era. And oh, man, the cheesier and more ’90s the better. We’re
talking 10 Things I Hate About You, Cruel Intentions, American Pie, Varsity Blues, Empire Records, Can’t Hardly Wait, She’s All That.

10 Things I Hate About You

I’m also a fan of the disturbed,
unemployed older brother of the ’90s high school flick, the ’90s Teen Slasher Movie, which of course began, of course, with Scream, went straight through Disturbing Behavior, and died a sad, sad death with Teaching Mrs. Tingle.
But I’m less ashamed about admitting that than I am about loving the
films with no brutal slaughter and carnage. Which says something about
our collective societal value system, don’t you think?

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