The Shortlist: 5 Greatest Guilty Pleasures

5.) Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (Jack Perez, 2009) [Main Picture]

I know a lot of people would probably have Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus at the tail-end of their guilty pleasures list, but honestly, that’s a comfy home for this schlocky Asylum flick, which rose to Internet fame in May 2009 and even got a brief theatrical release in August of that year. What’s your favourite scene? Maybe the moment where the shark leaps from the depths of the oceans to take a bite out of an airplane? Maybe it’s the way oceanologist Debbie Gibson and scientist Vic Chao form a plan for luring the beasts together by having sex in the utility cupboard (“Pheromones!”)? Or maybe it’s that classic finale, where the aquatic beasts smackdown in THE most disappointing vs match in cinema history. Why so disappointing? Because it just recycles the same shot about fifteen times. Crap it may be, but you can’t deny: it’s damn enjoyable crap.

4.) Howard The Duck (Willard Huyck, 1986)

First of all, let me make one thing clear: we’re talking about the Full Uncut version of Howard The Duck here, which is the version where the rockin’ waterbird gets off with Lea Thompson (“I just can’t resist your intense animal magnetism!”), my ultimate 80’s crush. And yes, maybe that’s why I love the film so much – because despite the terrible dialogue and, well, the fact that it’s a movie about a duck from Mars, she’s utterly adorable in every frame, and charms my socks off with every line delivery. I know, I know. There are better movies to meet my Lea Thompson fix, notably Back To The Future (1985), but then there’s also the cult appeal of this one – the oddness and inconsistency of it all. It’s like a car crash that you can’t look away from, and at its centre the most beautiful traffic warden in the world.

3.) Six Days Seven Nights (Ivan Reitman, 1998)

Honestly, I didn’t even realize this one was a guilty pleasure until I was once laughed out of a room for liking it. Literally. But hey, that’s what you get for a childhood raised on Channel 5 and the ‘Harrison Ford’ section at my local rental store. When all’s said and done Six Days Seven Nights is actually a really enjoyable flick. Ford channels his very best grumpy-old-man shtick, Jacqueline Obradors is adorable and David Schwimmer has a highly amusing cameo, playing at the peak of Friends’ success. It’s the last great film by legendary Ghostbusters (1984) helmer Ivan Reitman, and it balances humour, action and romance perfectly. You don’t believe any of it for a second, sure, but as fluffy Friday night escapism there’s really little else I’d recommend. I have cherished memories with this movie, and it’s actually pretty good! Laugh it off people, there’s more to come…

2.) Mannequin (Michael Gottlieb, 1987)

The 80’s were about three things: hair, music and cheese. Mannequin has plentiful servings of all three, serving up perms and Belinda Carlisle in the story of Jonathan Switcher (Andrew McCarthy; one-time dreamboat), a budding young artist whose prize shop mannequin comes to life in the form of Kim Cattrall, and they begin – alright, somewhat creepily – to fall in love. I don’t know what ever convinced me to watch this one, and I know even less why I like it so much, but I find frequent re-watches a more comforting answer than therapy. Lost in the canon of 80’s gorgonzola, Mannequin currently has an audience of lonely ITV nostalgics (oh, there’s the explanation!), but it deserves so much more – it’s bright, funny and oddly charming, in a way only The Decade That Style Forgot™ could produce. Love. It.

1.) Wild Things (John McNaughton, 1998)

Although infamous for its lesbian love triangles and Kevin Bacon’s disquieting enthusiasm for getting his dong out, Wild Things is actually something of a quasi-parodic essay on cinema sleaze, and a highly accomplished one at that. Indeed, it’s much smarter and more self-aware than many would have you believe, and academic essays will be written about McNaughton’s sexed-up thriller, but really none of us watch it for dissection; we watch it for Denise Richards’ tight-fitting bikini, and the utter sun-drenched absurdity of it all. Featuring an all-90’s soundtrack, Wild Things is wildly unpredictable, but it’s also rampantly stupid, piling on twist after twist and ending up the crowning achievement of Deus Ex Machina cinema. But hey, were you really expecting sense from a movie where Richards spouts the line: “Jesus! Where did she get those shoes? ‘Whores for less’?” Priceless.

One Response

  1. hemp
    7 August, 2011