11 Terrible Movies That Amuse the Heck Out of Us

Clip of Grease 2, 1982, Score Tonight
Movieclips/YouTube

So Bad, They're Good

We’ve all heard of movies that are “so bad they’re good.” What that usually refers to are movies that are so impossibly stupid that you marvel at how they ever got made. Most films of this ilk are good for one viewing, after which you forget about them and move on to more pressing matters.

Meanwhile, there are also movies that are bad, you know they’re bad, and you keep watching them repeatedly anyway. Indeed, these films sometimes become so beloved that they can be the subject of theme parties or triple features hosted in your home.

Today, we celebrate these movies that have a very high “you’ve got to be kidding” value and whose ineptitude is a source of fascination. They beckon us to return to them over and over again, just as the ocean waves return to the sand, all while our loved ones wonder what’s wrong with us. Here are our picks for really bad movies that are somehow more entertaining than many of the good ones.

Clip of The Apple, 1980
Movieclips/YouTube

1. ‘The Apple’

1980
“The Apple” is a futuristic disco musical that takes place in 1994. As we all remember from 30 years ago, the world was a dystopia lorded over by a shadowy figure named Mr. Boogalow, who imposed a mandatory B.I.M. (Boogalow International Music) hour in which all citizens must dance. All of the acting is awful, the musical numbers are hot garbage, and you will either shut this movie off after five minutes or watch it all the way through the end credits, go back to the beginning, and then watch the whole movie all over again.

The Toxic Avenger, 1984
Amazon

2. 'The Toxic Avenger’

1984
This low-budget science-fiction movie about a bullied janitor turned radioactive superhero is known for its sophomoric humor and violence so over the top with low-budget sloppiness that it recalls the production values of a middle school play. Most of the jokes have aged horribly, and there’s no acting to speak of. However it’s so moronic in its ridiculous violence that it’s basically a slapstick comedy. Sadly, the movie is packed to the rafters with gore, so we cannot link to it, but if you’re a fan of very unconvincing exploding heads, this is the movie for you.

Grease 2, 1982
Amazon

3. ‘Grease 2’

1982
1978’s “Grease” was a massive success that made superstars of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. During the original release, it cleaned up at the box office, making it ripe for the creation of sequels. Sadly, “Grease 2” features neither John Travolta nor Olivia Newton-John, and most of the characters returning from the first movie are faculty members working in Rydell High School’s office. Typified by such execrable musical numbers as “Score Tonight,” it’s shockingly, jaw-droppingly bad. It’s a wonder that a young Michelle Pfeiffer was able to survive her performance of “Cool Rider” and still have a career in acting.

Clip of Showgirls, 1995
The Planet Clips/YouTube

4. ‘Showgirls’

1995
Upon its release, “Showgirls” was instantly reviled by critics and audiences alike for its moronic plot, abysmal acting, and a script so full of stupid dialogue that it seems to defy physics. The story of a woman who comes to Las Vegas to find a career as a dancer, lead actor Elizabeth Berkley’s career never recovered from the onslaught of horrible reviews. She didn’t deserve it because the real criminal here was screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, who wrote so many terrible lines of dialogue they must be heard to be believed. Director Paul Verhoeven also deserves blame, as he told her to do every ridiculous thing she does in the movie. She was just doing her job, man!

Clip of Staying Alive, 1983, Final Dance
veronicavidz/YouTube

5. ‘Staying Alive’

1983
1977’s “Saturday Night Fever” was an Oscar-nominated movie that painted a serious picture of the life of a working-class Brooklyn kid who lives to dance at the local disco. Its sequel, 1983’s “Staying Alive,” was directed by Sylvester Stallone and consists of many sequences featuring the sweaty torsos and ripped spandex unmentionables of dancers in a musical called “Satan’s Alley.” You will lose IQ points if you sit through the whole movie, a small price to pay for the privilege of seeing John Travolta in a dance-fight with Finola Hughes of “How Do I Look?” fame.

Clip of Commando, 1985
High On Lines/YouTube

6. ‘Commando’

1985
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1980s action movies followed a particular formula. His character would brutally murder dozens of people in the most gruesome fashion imaginable, followed by a one-liner about how his victims were now dead. “Commando” is the movie in which that took hold, and indeed, every killing has stupid jokes galore to add to beef up its idiocy profile. Nevertheless, the film is deliriously entertaining, even if not one second is believable. Keep your eyes open for a very young Alyssa Milano in the role of Schwarzenegger’s daughter, whose youth and innocence belie that she knows how to escape from heavily guarded military compounds while Dad is busy dismembering people.

Face/Off, 1997
Amazon

7. ‘Face/Off’

1997
Director John Woo had a successful career helming action movies in Hong Kong, so a career as a Hollywood filmmaker was his next step. One of his American movies was “Face/Off,” which featured John Travolta and Nicolas Cage as an FBI agent and a terrorist, respectively, who end up switching faces and identities for reasons too convoluted to go into. The movie is full of ludicrously improbable scenarios, and the medical procedure by which the main characters switch faces would, in real life, be foiled by the very real scientific phenomenon of tissue rejection. Luckily, John Woo fans will be happy he doesn’t skimp on the slow-motion birds and wind effects, so everyone can go home happy.

Clip of Reefer Madness, 1936
PrintingWithYou/YouTube

8. ‘Reefer Madness’

1936
Did you know that sticky, icky cannabis is an instantly addictive substance that will transform its user into a psychopath who will murder his or her entire family with an axe? This is the compelling premise of 1936’s “Reefer Madness,” an utterly hysteria-laden movie that sought to eradicate the green scourge by depicting its many, many evils. Despite its 1930s vintage, it caught on in the 1970s as part of the midnight movie circuit, where it was treated as the unintentional comedy it is. It’s also mercifully short at 68 minutes, which is about as much attention span as it’s going to get from people watching it today under the influence of the evil weed.

Clip of Road House, 1989
Amazon MGM Studios/YouTube

9. ‘Road House’

1989
After starring in the very successful “Dirty Dancing,” actor Patrick Swayze had his pick of plum projects intended to turbocharge his fame. He chose “Road House,” the story of a bouncer with a Ph.D. in philosophy from NYU hired by a bar to rid it of undesirables and turn it into a respectable establishment. The premise is moronic, as are the acting, directing, and dialogue, the last of which is typified by Swayze’s declarations like “Pain don’t hurt.”

Rocky IV, 1985
Amazon

10. ‘Rocky IV’

1985
It is interesting to note that the original 1976 “Rocky” was a critically lauded film that won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director. This is because every subsequent sequel was progressively and exponentially stupider than the last, culminating in 1985’s “Rocky IV,” which saw the Italian Stallion face off against Russian boxer Ivan Drago, whose primary diet consists entirely of anabolic steroids. Drago was portrayed by Dolph Lundgren, who was wisely given very few lines of dialogue, but on the occasions when he does open his mouth, he lets off some real doozies.

Clip of Timecop, 1994
Phuck Yiu/YouTube

11. ‘Timecop’

1994
One of the goofiest movies ever made, “Timecop” was a vehicle for “Muscles from Brussels” himself, Jean-Claude Van Damme. He plays a law enforcement official whose job is to stop ne’er-do-wells from traveling through time to steal money. The movie never explains why this dude is capable of executing all kinds of fancy martial arts moves, nor does it explain why he’s in Washington, D.C., when he’s clearly from Belgium. You will not get an explanation for any of it, but with Van Damme executing such agile leaps and splits throughout the movie, who could complain?

Advertisement