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Guilty Pleasures: My Two Sense(s)

Friday, March 23, 2007
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Here I was all set to write a fascinating scholarly article about the essays of George Orwell (don’t worry, that’s still coming), when Graeme has to go and post something about guilty cinematic pleasures. So — fine! I’ll do my own damn list.

Do you get the title? A spin on Beal’s recent posts, but a pun in that only two senses — auditory and visual — are all that you need to enjoy these beauts (as in, no brainwork required — and no smelling of anything, because while they’ve invented that technology, it’s not yet ready for mass consumption).

Here we go (also in no particular order):

Backdraft (1991)

This is by far the best firefighter movie ever made; it’s just up to you to decide whether or not the best firefighter movie ever made — especially when it’s directed by Ron Howard and staring William Baldwin — constitutes a good movie. I of course vote yes. Sure it’s melodramatic and over-the-top, but that’s to be expected from a movie which is basically about how tough men overcome tough obstacles (this should not be confused with Apollo 13, which is basically about how extraordinary men overcome tough obstacles). It’s got everything you could ever want in a film: action, suspense, familial tension, moody music by Bruce Hornsby and a beautiful closing shot of the sun setting behind the Chicago skyline. And it was back when Jennifer Jason Leigh was cute.

Bad Boys (1995)

This was back when Michael Bay was on his game (as in, before he made Bad Boys II — ugh), and when Michael Bay is on his game, look out, because he’s gonna kick your white pasty ass all over the room. What could be more entertaining than mid-’90s, in-form Will Smith and Martin Lawrence talking trash and shooting shit up? Not much. Throw in Bay’s wonderful visual style and it’s a non-stop, action-packed thrill ride from start to finish. Think Def-Jam Miami Vice.

Nice.

Ghostbusters II (1989)

Ghostbusters the First does not belong on this list because it is not a guilty pleasure — it is, by any measure, a damn fine film, containing one of the best comedic performances ever caught on celluloid (Bill Murray has been ignored by the Academy long enough!); GBII, on the other hand — not so much. It’s silly and vapid, the style of humour that made the first so funny toned down here for the kiddies. Throw in a plot recycled almost 100% from the first one and you’ve got yourself a pretty big dud. But, it’s a Ghostbusters film, which means it’s not disposable; I still watch it along with the first one every time.

Pearl Harbor (2001)

The second Michael Bay film on this list (does that say more about him or me, I wonder?), this film is much better than its critical legacy suggests, but it is admittedly still a guilty pleasure. Sure it’s melodramatic and over the top, but that’s to be expected from a movie which is basically about how more-or-less normal men overcome tough obstacles, although the women get in on the action in this one; the scene of the attack — where Affleck and Hartnett are up in the planes while Beckinsale and her nursing compatriots are overwhelmed in the infirmary — is actually quite affecting. Throw in Bay’s wonderful visual style and it’s a non-stop, action-packed thrill ride from start to finish — but this time with heart. Just don’t come looking for historical accuracy.

Coyote Ugly (2000 — there’s even a director’s cut!)

Well, this one’s pretty self-explanatory — bunch of hot women dancing around in tight leather clothing pouring alcohol all over each other (plus I even kind of like the song). But there are so many movies like that — what makes this one special? Not too sure, except to say that it actually has a decent script, even if the story is familiar: young, hot girl wants to ‘make it big’ so goes to New York, young hot girl makes it big in New York, The End. Maybe I just remember this one fondly given the circumstances in which I saw it; it was on tv one night, and I watched it while drinking half-a-bottle of scotch, after which I proceeded to run around the block in my pajamas in the middle of a blizzard, laughing uncontrollably for some reason, and then I came home and passed out in the shower (this was during my ‘depressed phase’). I’m sure if I saw it again I’d probably only like it for the hot women dancing around in tight leather clothing pouring alcohol on each other. But who knows — I’m pretty fickle. 03971semaj

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday, March 23, 2007 8:18 am

    You’ve ruined my title pun.

  2. James17930 permalink
    Friday, March 23, 2007 9:23 am

    I’ve ruined nothing.

  3. Friday, March 23, 2007 9:44 am

    So, am I now supposed to do one of these? Because I can only really think of one movie (two, if were to recycle Ghostbusters II) that I love despite being able to recognize that it’s really not very good at all (not counting movies that fit in here). There are plenty of movies that other folks consider bad that I really enjoy, but I wouldn’t even begin to call them “guilty” pleasures, ’cause I think that they’re genuinely good and that those other people are just retarded. What’s a lad to do?

    (Jeez. Coyote Ugly: The Unrated Extended Cut — Featuring additional no nudity!)

  4. James17930 permalink
    Friday, March 23, 2007 10:22 am

    Think about it for a day or two — I’m sure you’ll come up with something.

    Howard the Duck, or something.

  5. Friday, March 23, 2007 10:33 am

    I can’t remember what I thought about Howard the Duck — except that there was a silhouetted duck-on-Lea Thompson sex scene, which is the kind of thing I’d like without guilt.

    And it’s not that I need to think of SOMEthing, I need to think of FOURthing. I already checked my DVD’s, no help there. If only I’d brought my VHS collection with me to Korea.

  6. James17930 permalink
    Friday, March 23, 2007 11:31 am

    Okay, but if you read my post you see that I don’t think Backdraft or Bad Boys are all that bad either.

    I think you need to look more along the lines stuff you like that most other people ridicule. A Duck on Leah Thompson sex scene would definitely be included in that category.

  7. Friday, March 23, 2007 3:05 pm

    Maybe, Beal, you should do a ‘list of movies that are really great and people who don’t like them are retarded’ post.

  8. Friday, March 23, 2007 7:41 pm

    You know, I was thinking that…

    And yeah, as I recall (it’s been a while), neither Backdraft nor Bad Boys is really an especially bad movie. But Coyote Ugly is. I guess it’s really just the whole “guilty pleasures” title. I’ve never gotten that expression. Why would I feel guilt about things that give me pleasure?

  9. James17930 permalink
    Friday, March 23, 2007 10:12 pm

    I think the phrase originated with Catholicism.

  10. Frenchie permalink
    Wednesday, March 28, 2007 3:08 pm

    Top Secret
    TMNT
    Chud
    Airplane
    UHF
    Super Troopers

  11. Frenchie permalink
    Wednesday, March 28, 2007 3:08 pm

    That’s the original TMNT btw

  12. James17930 permalink
    Wednesday, March 28, 2007 3:28 pm

    I’ve heard Super Troopers is hilarious.

  13. Wednesday, March 28, 2007 10:21 pm

    You feel guilt for liking the original TMNT? Is it too late to revoke his membership?

    And I don’t think there’s any shame in liking Super Troopers, either. Meow.

    Or Airplane!, that’s kinda considered a wacky comedy classic, no? And CHUD belongs over here.

    Does UHF qualify? Hmm, maybe. I certainly share an affection for that one.

  14. James17930 permalink
    Tuesday, April 24, 2007 7:50 am

    Got another one to add to this list: Doom.

    Surprisingly not as bad as you would think, even good for long streches — a 6.5 when you were expecting a 3 sort of thing.

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