These are films that have gaping plot holes, Pierce Brosnan attempting to sing, illogical endings, terrible acting and dialogue, Pierce Brosnan attempting to sing, and sometimes not even a particularly good story but yet still we cannot help but love them and find them immensely enjoyable as they must have some undeniable redeeming feature. This is my personal top ten of films I love to hate. If anyone has their own personal suggestions then please suggest away as I may not have seen them.
1. Independence Day (Roland Emmerich, 1996)
No list like this would be complete without a Roland Emmerich film and Independence Day is surely his 9th symphony! This has all the Emmerich trademarks: The illogical and incredibly cheesy ending, the casual racism of anyone who is not American, the dog survives (yes, you remember the scene!), clunky and clichéd dialogue, clichéd characters and the fact that America always saves the day. However it is over two hours of outrageous popcorn pleasure and of course who can forget that speech…
2. Face/Off (John Woo, 1997)
The most outrageously audacious plot imaginable complete with flaws and gaping holes galore. However it is delivered in such a stoic, fast paced bonkers way complete with trademark John Woo over the top violence, along with Cage and Travolta having a scenery chewing competition that it somehow really works!
3. The Expendables 2 (Simon West, 2012)
Number one was itself a guilty pleasure, but number two flexes its huge greasy muscles and raises the bar so much higher with an I-do-not-give-a-shit growl! As much fun as number one was, it did feel a little too serious in intention though if not so much in execution. There were lame attempts at character development and making serious points. However, number two knows its place and capitalises on that. The plot is beyond basic and there are no attempts at any character development, but when all these aging action heroes are quoting each other’s films, overacting, delivering cheesy one liners and more than happy to mock themselves it is impossible not to have a smile on your face.
4. Con Air (Simon West, 1997)
So what would the US authorities do? Shoot down a plane filled with convicted criminals above the desert or let it crash land in Las Vegas and completely destroy the strip, probably killing and injuring a huge number of innocent people? Well, (spoiler alert) as the plane has Nic Cage, his huge mullet and a toy bunny on board then of course they will choose not to shoot it down! This testosterone fest has no concern for logic or pretty much anything but is so much fun with Malkovich, Cusack and Cage all flexing their muscles with outrageous aplomb. This film is worth a watch solely for Cage’s serious and dry as the desert delivery of the immortal line “put the bunny back in the box”. Also, what other film has the audacity to end with a notorious rapist and child murderer having such a comic and happy ending as much as Steve Buscemi’s Garland ‘The Marietta Manglar’ Greene?
5. Cliffhanger (Renny Harlin, 1993)
Stallone again, and Cliffhanger serves as an example of how to make an appalling film as there is everything and then some more wrong with this. A wafer thin plot, Stallone climbing mountains in just a t-shirt, various different ranges of atrocious acting, clichéd one dimensional bad guys, clunky dialogue and no characters we actually genuinely care about. However the scenery does provide a spectacular setting and there are so many memorable scenes. Craig Fairbrass’ outrageously overacted ‘soccer’ speech delivered superbly in a cockney geezer accent (his own), Frank’s death complete with Michael Rooker’s screaming, John Lithgow chewing the scenery whenever he is on screen to name a few. However for me the pivotal scene is the one that sets the standard, the opening scene. It is not just Stallone’s mumbled delivery of the immortal line “you’re not gonna die” (she does), but have a look in the background and you will see Frank (Ralph Waite) laughing his arse off! How the hell did the editors miss that one!?!
6. Mamma Mia (Phyllida Loyd, 2008)
What is bad about it? Well there is Pierce Brosnan’s ‘singing’, the extremely cheesy storyline, Pierce Brosnan’s ‘singing’, the lamest possible narrative simply there to embarrassingly incorporate as many Abba songs as possible, Pierce Brosnan’s ‘singing’, terrible directing and cringe worthy dialogue in between the songs, everyone over acting and then singing badly, the fact it basically feels like a fly the wall document of lots of Hollywood a-list actors having a piss up and attempting karaoke, oh and did I mention Pierce Brosnan’s ‘singing’?
What is good about it? All of the above!
Basically, it somehow works! Even if just how it does remains one of the greatest mysteries known to man.
7. Harley Davidson & the Marlboro Man (Simon Wincer, 1991)
In my view this is a truly underrated buddy movie and is beyond silly. Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson are having so much fun that is impossible not to like this. Plot? Well there is a kind of plot but it is best not to worry about that as the action set pieces get increasingly silly. Also, what other film has a group of men wearing long black leather coats led by an apparently indestructible Daniel Baldwin shooting machine guns in it?
8. St. Georges Day (Frank Harper, 2012)
The most recent addition to this list, and one of the (unintentionally) funniest films of recent years. This is a film so poorly written, poorly acted and quite frankly (no pun intended) deluded that it is pure comedy gold. The dialogue is like no other film you will ever see. The secret behind this great comedy is that Frank Harper and his mates believe they are making a serious epic gangster film, and you can tell that they genuinely think that some of the plot ‘twists’ are legitimately clever. Their stoicism, ignorance and deluded stupidity are actually beyond words. Trust me, seeing is believing and not many films make me laugh as much as this one and my life almost feels so much better for this film’s existence! Thank you Frank!
9. Lone Wolf McQuade (Steve Carver, 1983)
Chuck Norris is not only the definition of manliness but his films are something else and for me this is his masterpiece. What lies behind this film’s true greatness is that it takes itself so seriously. The Ennio Morricone rip off music suggests that they think they are making a truly serious western and the god awful story line gives a platform for Norris’ ‘range’ of acting. Of course let’s not forget the iconic scene where they bury Chuck in the dessert in his truck but he still drives out and of course David Carradine’s jumper!
10. Jaws: The Revenge (Joseph Sargent, 1987)
In some ways this is the highlight of the franchise mainly due to Michael Caine’s where-is-my-paycheque performance. Some of his lines are incredible. There is also the god awful plot, where Ellen Brody believes the shark has a personal vendetta against her so to get away from it she goes to the Bahamas! Hmmm, I believe there is a slight flaw in that plan. The shoe string budget itself provides with ‘action’ set pieces that are pure comedy gold. This film is also worth mentioning in the same vein as classics such as Mega Piranha (2010), Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus (2009) and the John Barrowman masterpiece, Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002). Its a shame I have limited myself to only a top 10!