With all the films tanking at the box office this summer, I felt like exploring some of my favorite summer releases that I might have to call “guilty pleasures”, because they aren’t typically regarded as ‘great’ movies. I tried to pick one from each summer from the last twenty years. Here’s a very damning list that I probably shouldn’t share with anyone, but I’m gonna post it.
And yeah, I loved Rough Night, and I liked Baywatch. That’s why this list exists.
Technically, critics loved this. It got a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. And it made 128M domestically, which isn’t bad either. But there was so much hate for this film from a small segment of the population that I feel like I have to qualify this as a “guilty pleasure”. If for no other reason than Chris Hemsworth’s hilarious performance, I love watching this film, and I expect to continue to love it for years to come.
Runner Ups: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, Popstar, Suicide Squad
2015- Ricki and the Flash
Barely a summer release, but I don’t think people consider Jurassic World a guilty pleasure. Ricki didn’t light up the box office, with only a 26M gross. It also managed a so-so 64% on Rotten Tomatoes. Honestly, most of my “favorites” from this summer were either loved by audiences or critics, so it was hard to really pick a top choice here.
Runner Ups: Me and Earl and The Dying Girl (ignored by audiences), Southpaw (ignored by audiences), Tangerine (ignored by audiences)
2014- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I know people love to shit on this Michael Bay remake, but I didn’t hate it. The little kid in me who used to play with his Ninja Turtles toys had fun, and even though this movie isn’t good, I still have fun watching it.
Runner Ups: The Amazing Spider-Man 2, A Million Ways To Die In The West, Calvary (ignored by audiences)
2013- White House Down
I picked this because I’ve actually rewatched it, and found myself enjoying it perhaps even more than I should have the second time around. It plays like a typical action film, and it definitely falls squarely into the “guilty pleasure” category.
Runner Ups: Turbo, The To-Do List, Girl Most Likely
2012- Total Recall
If you ignore the fact that it’s a remake of a classic sci-fi film, it’s an enjoyable film on its own. Yes, it doesn’t live up to the original, but it’s a fun film to watch on its own. I wish it was named something else, so that the comparisons weren’t drawn.
Runner Ups- The Campaign, Hope Springs, That’s My Boy
2011- Bad Teacher
I think I liked this film more than I was supposed to. Yes, it was a breakout hit, but when you talk to people about it now, people seem to shit on it. Honestly, I’ve seen it now at least twice, and it still makes me laugh. Definitely one of Cameron Diaz’s stronger performances. I’d watch a sequel.
Runner Ups: The Hangover pt 2, Colombiana, Friends With Benefits
2010- Dinner For Schmucks
This Steve Carell/Paul Rudd comedy is like Bad Teacher. I remember when it came out, people seemed to enjoy it, but now we shit all over it. It did pretty well at the box office. I’ll stand by it. I don’t move away from films I enjoyed, unless they’re unwatchable on repeat viewings for some reason.
Runner Ups- Robin Hood, The Expendables, Get Low (ignored by audiences)
2009- World’s Greatest Dad
Probably Robin Williams’ truly last great performance. This film made 223K at the box office, as it was probably too dark for audiences to embrace. That’s a shame. He was fantastic in this film. I feel like picking a limited release is normally a cop out, but not here. I honestly believe this was his last great performance, and you should see it.
Runner Ups: Terminator Salvation, The Taking Of Pelham 123, The Goods
2008- The House Bunny
This plays on cable all the time. I honestly think I’ve seen this four or five times now. It’s Anna Faris’ best role. It’s easy to write this film off as dumb, but I think it’s a good kind of dumb. I love rewatching this film. Emma Stone is pretty great in it too.
Runners Up: Prince Caspian, Death Race, Hancock
Yeah, I liked the first one. It’s fun. I can really only watch the first two. Three and four are awful. Honestly, four is unwatchable. I have a very low bar set for the fifth installment. But, there was a lot of fun in the first film. It is in no way a GOOD film, it’s just a fun film to watch.
Runner Ups: The Invasion, Georgia Rule, Balls Of Fury
This is a big spectacle summer action film that I know a lot of people didn’t like. It’s not a perfect film, but I love to rewatch this. I’ve seen it a few times. Definitely a guilty pleasure for me. I shouldn’t have to pick Talladega Nights. We should all still love that film.
Runner Ups: You Me and Dupree, Accepted, The Ant Bully
Truly the definition of guilty pleasure. I know this film is bad. There’s something about the set up, and watching the numbers dwindle. This film was shit on a lot, not just by critics or audiences, but by its own studio. It was shelved for a long time, then dumped in theatres. I’ve actually seen this film twice. It’s a film I can say is a bad film, but I enjoy watching it. That’s incredibly rare.
Runner Ups: The Island, The Longest Yard, Unleashed
2004- The Door In The Floor
A lukewarm reception from critics (67%) left this drama dead to audiences on arrival. 3.8M domestic for a film starring Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger is a little below. I still love this carefully crafted drama, and have rewatched it. I don’t think you even know this film exists, so I’m using this spot to introduce to you a film you should see.
Runner Ups: The Day After Tomorrow, Without A Paddle, White Chicks
2003- Uptown Girls
Like The House Bunny, this film is played on cable a lot, and I’ve probably seen it now 3-4 times. It’s an easy watch, and I enjoy it. I also threw Tomb Raider 2 down there. It’s important to note that I actually thought the sequel was much better than the first, which I hated.
Runner Ups: SWAT, Legally Blonde 2, Tomb Raider 2
Yes. The Vin Diesel actioner is my pick for guilty pleasure. It’s so very 2002 that we all hate it now. When it came out, it was a big hit, and Vin Diesel was a huge star at the time. I think it’s silly, over the top fun still.
Runner Ups: Mr Deeds, Undercover Brother, Bad Company
2001- Jurassic Park 3
I know a lot of people don’t like this sequel, but I honestly enjoy every trip to Jurassic Park. I would only really say the first entry is a good entry. Two and three are just fun.
Runner Ups: American Pie 2, Summer Catch, Planet Of The Apes
2000- The Replacements
Another film that seems to always be on TV, and now I’ve seen it like 4 or 5 times. It’s an easy rewatch. Keanu Reeves is really good in this too.
Runner Ups: The Patriot, Gone In 60 Seconds, Hollow Man
1999- Big Daddy
Probably my favorite Adam Sandler film. It’s not too silly or goofy like his early stuff (Billy Madison/Happy Gilmore), and it’s told just good enough that I really enjoy rewatching it. It’s not his best film, but it’s my favorite to rewatch.
Runner Ups: Deep Blue Sea, Mystery Men, Arlington Road
Yes. Armageddon. I fucking love Armageddon. It’s probably one of my ultimate guilty pleasures. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this film. It’s a long film, and I catch it on TV all the time and watch parts here and there.
Runner Ups: Deep Impact, Halloween H20, Hope Floats
1997- Good Burger
As I got older, I realized that Good Burger wasn’t a good film. I thought it was great when I was a kid, but now I rewatch it just for the nostalgia factor. But, yeah, it’s actually not a very good film.
Runner Ups: Con Air, George Of The Jungle, Event Horizon