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May 6, 2024


If you’ve ever read our About Us section, you might remember that our mission statement is to write for “the everyday film fans who spend their hard-earned money at the theater.” That means we want to discuss movies across the entire spectrum — not just the trendy awards darlings and possibly inaccessible critical successes like The Zone of Interest, The Power of the Dog, and Perfect Days, but also the overlooked, discarded, and generally insulted bombs that, for whatever reason, we enjoy anyway. To be clear, we’re not talking about so-bad-it’s-good territory like The Room, and we’re not talking about movies like Billy Madison that were panned because most critics are too far up their own ass to laugh at Adam Sandler pelting grade-school kids with a dodgeball. We’re talking about “yeah, maybe this movie sucks to most people, but I genuinely and unironically love it anyway.” Surely, you have a few of those...

With that in mind, each writer has reviewed two such Guilty Pleasures, highlighting the enjoyable positives in otherwise maligned films. For our purposes here, we had two loose benchmarks: the movies couldn’t have a Rotten Tomatoes score higher than 40 and it had to pass a certain “feel” test. For example, one writer initially picked Denzel Washington’s John Q, which much to everyone’s surprise, only has a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, that’s not a movie that seems to be disproportionately hated, as evidenced by a 78% Audience Score. So, it didn’t pass the “feel” test. Alternatively, one of the films below actually has a 43% Rotten Tomatoes score, but it aced the “feel” test with flying colors as it’s often used as a punchline, so we allowed it. It’s an imperfect methodology, but we still came up with a great list. Is it a list of trash? Maybe…but you know the old saying: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

So, are our picks trash or treasure to you? Let us know what would be on your Guilty Pleasure list!


In 1986, long before the MCU, Howard the Duck, a wild fever dream of a movie that meshes a bizarre sense of humor with truly scary sci-fi and horror elements, was released as the first feature film based on a Marvel property. As long as you don’t think too hard about it (for example, don’t explore why Beverly (Lea Thompson) seemingly wants to bump uglies with an alien duck), the movie succeeds on the strength of a terrific soundtrack (the main theme is still an earworm), Jeffrey Jones’ terrifying performance as the possessed Dr. Jenning, Lucasfilm’s puppetry of Howard, and the pure 80s-ness of it all. - Quentin


Sure, Critters may have garnered a reputation for being a bad Gremlins rip-off, but Critters 2 is a great Gremlins rip-off. It’s a solid 90 minutes of wacky fun, complete with crazy practical effects and a bunch of Easter-themed mayhem. If you want a taste of just how weird this movie gets, consider the “critter-ball.” There is a scene where the critters (or crites) combine, Power Rangers-style, into a giant multi-faced meatball that rolls over the townsfolk, leaving nothing but skeletons in its wake. I seriously feel sorry for any of the critics that managed to watch that transpire without a smile on their face. - Caleb

MAC AND ME (1988)

I’ll be the first to admit that Mac and Me is like terrible candy: something I inexplicably enjoy while fully recognizing that it’s rotting my brain and providing absolutely zero nutritional value. I mean, it’s the version of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, and is essentially one long commercial for Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, including a terrible(-ly awesome) flash mob dance sequence featuring Ronald McDonald. BUT! despite that…or maybe even because of it…I absolutely love this movie because it takes me back to a simpler time, it’s ridiculously cheesy, and I smile just looking at Mac’s dumb face — it’s hilarious. Ask Paul Rudd, he’ll tell you. - Quentin


How in the world, after watching Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello sing “Swinging on a Star,” listening to Willis and Andie MacDowell quip back and forth, and soaking in James Coburn completely chewing up the scenery, do you not have the biggest smile on your face by Hudson Hawk’s end credits. The movie completely immerses you in its hilarious antics, and it has one-liners for days (no, I still have never been to Hoboken). Willis has never been more charming, his chemistry with Aiello and MacDowell is off the charts, and the whole cast’s total commitment to the outlandishness makes this film immeasurably rewatchable. - Amarú


The Secret of the Ooze is the best TMNT movie that has ever been made. Is that a hot take? I don’t care if it is because what the second live-action movie does so well is recreate the chemistry and personality of the 90s cartoon turtles that came to define my childhood, be a catalyst for my love of martial arts, and had my brother and I scene-recreation-fighting until someone was pissed and told mom. Throw in a little “Ninja Rap” from Vanilla Ice, and you have a classic that will live on forever. BTW, Donatello is the best of the four turtles mic drop. - Preston 


Although some may view Hollow Man as a…ahem…hollow excuse for a movie, I think this version of The Invisible Man is incredibly gripping and thrilling. At its core, this film is about ethics and morality, and it stays faithful to the story of the invisible scientist gone mad. This thriller provides out-of-sight enjoyment by combining classic chills with killer special effects that still hold up to today's standards. Plus, Kevin Bacon gives a deliciously villainous performance. I find it incomprehensible that this gem is not a cult classic because it feels like a true modern horror adaptation of the beloved tale. - Paige


God bless the late, great Chris Farley. Even in a film like Beverly Hills Ninja, which admittedly features some obvious humour, his delivery and commitment to the bit still makes me laugh. Whenever I see people talk about how critics can't have fun, and that a movie they enjoyed was panned even though it wasn't supposed to be deep, I typically roll my eyes. But then I see Beverly Hills Ninja, a very stupid movie with a simple one-joke set-up that makes me laugh and smile for 90 minutes, and I begin to realize what they mean. - Adriano


Watching director Henry Selick's transition from insane stop-motion animation to insane live-action feels almost seamless. I won’t pretend there aren’t obvious flaws in Monkeybone. Yes, a lot of it is utter nonsense, but that's what I find fun about it. I don't think that was the intention, but Selick's world-building is colourful and wild, complemented by a fun and likeable performance by the great Brendan Fraser. For me, that's the bare minimum. Monkeybone is successful because its innocent nature and depraved chaos are just delightful enough for me to forgive the shortcomings. Also, anyone who knows me knows Brendan Fraser is a cheat code. - Adriano 


Before directing Guardians of the Galaxy, director James Gunn penned the screenplay for Scooby-Doo, a quintessential piece of early 2000’s pop culture. Despite some dated fart jokes and a bit of wonky CGI, this adaptation has largely stood the test of time. It’s regarded as a classic by Gen Z, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s campy as hell, it’s got a fair amount of subtle stoner comedy, and it features a stellar cast of cult superstars like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, and Linda Cardellini. Sure, Scooby-Doo isn’t high art or anything, but it’s pretty solid as far as cartoon adaptations go. - Caleb


Does anyone else think that Daredevil gets more hate than it deserves? Daredevil is my favorite superhero, so I may be biased, but I genuinely think this superhero movie is one of the most underappreciated ones out there. I enjoy my comic book movies dark and gritty, and this one has a tone that is suitably grim. While I recommend the director's cut more than the theatrical version, the story is pretty faithful to the comics, which is rare these days. Additionally, it’s got an ensemble packed with great actors. Call me crazy, but Ben Affleck is better as The Man Without Fear than Batman. - Paige


When I was growing up, we didn’t have The Avengers…well, we did, but it was something completely different. It did star Sean Connery, though, who's also in this. Anyways, I’ve always enjoyed The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It’s a mashup of various literary icons teaming up Avengers-style, and although it can be a little on the messy side, it's a good time. It also marks the final film of Sean Connery's decorated career, and it ends with a great cliffhanger that sadly and frustratingly goes unrealized. It’s certainly a film of the era, but I think even now, you can still have fun with it. - Nick

BE COOL (2005)

Although his career has devolved into something borderline unrecognizable, John Travolta used to be cool… like, really cool. Get Shorty’s Ernesto “Chili” Palmer is a great example of that. Be Cool takes that character and puts him in the music industry, surrounded by a cast of eclectic characters. Sure, it’s goofy, but it’s fun to watch a bunch of actors playing off type, especially Andre 3000 and the “scorching” Dwayne Johnson. I’m not surprised at its poor reviews, especially with it being a comedy, but I thought audiences would have been more into this. - Nick


Hide and Seek terrified me as a kid, and it still affects me now. It’s an edge-of-your-seat thriller with an exciting twist that would leave M. Night Shyamalan giddy. The first half follows a father and daughter after the tragic loss of the mother, with an incredibly tense atmosphere and all the tropes and creepy imagery you’d expect from young kids in horror films. The second half is all-out mayhem and an exceptionally fun time. All of this is elevated by flawless performances, from Dakota Fanning, who is such an engaging performer at a young age, and Robert De Niro, who is straight-up terrifying. - Katie

SAHARA (2005)

I admit that, objectively, Sahara could be seen as nothing more than a run-of-the-mill, unrealistic adventure film. However, there’s something that always clicks when you put Steve Zahn next to incredibly capable and charming lead actors. Yes, I’m crediting my love for this movie to Steve Zahn. He just brings the fun out of Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz while the three of them go off on an absolutely preposterous adventure, and who cares about believability when the kinetic action that director Breck Eisner brings to screen, alongside an ensemble of charming veteran actors and an energetically brisk pace, makes Sahara an absolute joy to watch. - Amarú

ST. TRINIAN'S (2007)

St. Trinian’s is a formative film from my childhood and British noughties classic. It has the fiery sense of Girl Power typical of teenage films from the 2000s and tonnes of anarchic attitude. To this day, it never fails to make me smile, with its oddly impressive cast, hilariously witty lines, slapstick humour, cheesy fun, and pop culture references. The highlights include Rupert Everett in full drag as the bawdy headmistress having a love affair with the Education Minister (Colin Firth), and a successful art heist at the National Gallery celebrated by a Girls Aloud performance, not to mention my favourite ever make-over montage. - Katie

BURNT (2015)

You knew a chef movie was coming since you’ve already read “Bon Appétit: Films for Foodies.” Seriously, though…why is it that when Bradley Cooper stars in a film, it loses some credibility, even though he is usually fantastic?! Yes, Burnt is a little cliché, but so are the vast majority of movies today — but this one is cliché for a reason. It accurately tells the story of what it’s truly like in the high-stakes, high-pressure kitchens of the very best restaurants. This is the type of movie you watch when you want to throw something on while you eat good food and relax on the couch. - Preston

Photo Credits: Photo 1 - Universal Pictures; Photo 2, 5 - New Line Cinema; Photo 3 - Orion Pictures; Photo 4 - Tri-Star Pictures; Photo 6, 7 - Sony Pictures Releasing; Photo 8, 10, 11, 13 - 20th Century Studios; Photo 9 - Warner Bros. Pictures; Photo 12 - MGM Studios; Photo 14 - Paramount Pictures; Photo 15 - Entertainment Film Distributors; Photo 16 - Lantern Entertainment

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