There are plenty of bad movies out there, and mostly audiences feel that their time has been wasted by sitting through them. Then there are movies that are so bad and over-the-top audiences end up laughing and enjoying themselves.
Whether it be a movie with a totally ridiculous concept, a nonsensical script or awful acting, some movies can’t help but be enjoyed as the piece of terrible cinema they are. Here are ten of them:
1. Show Girls (1995)
For a movie about dancing, Show Girls has a lot of really bad dancing. In one memorable scene, main character Nomi (Elizabeth Burkley) almost knocks out five or more people while flailing wildly at a dance club, and that’s before the fight breaks out. But not content to have some of the worst dancing in film, Show Girls also has some of the worst acting. Nomi shouts most of her dialogue and the film’s antagonist Cristal (Gina Gershon) balances this out by whispering most of hers. It’s a movie that is impossible to be played at a reasonable volume.
On top of that, there never was a film that made less sense with its characters reasoning than Show Girls. It’s like the cast have had complex discussions about motives and relationships off screen, but as soon as the camera is on they develop an instant case of amnesia and settle whatever the problem is through who can scream the loudest. In addition to that, the plot is insanely convoluted.
There are high fantasy epics with fewer subplots. Yet somehow, Show Girls is still a cult classic, with a nomination for worst movie of all time at the Golden Rassies under its belt. It’s a bad movie that audiences have loved to hate for over twenty years, and that will definitely continue to love into the future.
2. Battlefield Earth (2000)
It’s impossible to talk about so bad they’re good movies without mentioning the bizarre Battlefield Earth. Made by as a passion project by John Travolta to honor the works of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, Battlefield Earth is less religious film and more bizarre sci-fi romp.
Most science fiction films suspend audiences belief by creating complex world, using excellent special effects and introducing us to believable yet alien characters. Battlefield Earth made the bold decision to do none of these things instead relying strange prosthetic character designs, gross looking CGI tongues and constant tilted camera angles to transport audiences to an alternate Earth.
There’s no mistaking the ridiculousness of Battlefield Earth, from the barking laughter of the aliens to the nonsensical choices of lead villain, Terl throughout the film. It’s well-deserving of a place among the worst films of all time, but it’s also worth a watch for those that enjoy really bad sci-fi.
3. Need for Speed (2014)
Video game movies are notoriously bad, but they tend more towards the boring-bad and the confusing-bad than the funny-bad. Need for Speed kicks this trend by being hilariously bad. It tells the story of Toby Marshall, a young mechanic (played by a young Aaron Paul), who wants to win a highly-dangerous illegal street race to get revenge for his young friend being killed, by his nemesis in a highly-dangerous illegal street race. It makes about as much sense as that sounds.
The film includes a scene of Rami Malek stripping for no apparent reason and one of the worst fake-American accents in recent memory as performed by Dominic Cooper. It also heavily features Michael Keaton obsessing over cars in the top of a lighthouse, without every really interacting with any of the other characters in the film. It almost feels like director Scott Waugh added him as a bit of an after-thought, though his off-the-rails performance is probably the highlight of the movie.
Need for Speed is one of the most enjoyable video games movies in recent years. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, in spite of attempting a serious element to the plot, and that enables the audience to appreciate the silliness more while watching it. It’s a movie that will be loved by bad movie fans and video game fans alike.
4. Dungeons and Dragons (2000)
It’s unsure who initially thought that making a film adaptation of the father of all tabletop role playing games was a good idea, but they might not have been as crazy as they seemed. Yes, the film has some truly awful CGI (even for the time) and a plot that most Dungeons and Dragons games make significantly more sense than, but it’s also one of the funniest fantasy films you’ll ever watch.
It’s not every day that you get to see Tom Baker dressed up as an elven doctor or watch heroes run at full pace into garbage heap before trying to pass it off as an accident. The best performance by far in the movie, however, goes to Jeremy Irons’ evil wizard, Profion. His performance makes the cheesiest bond villains look nuanced and subtle, and his scene-chewing is simply a joy to watch.
New Line Cinema, who produced the film, would go on to release arguably one of the best fantasy films of all time the following year, in the form of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. But their first attempt at high fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons, would stick in audience’s minds as well, not as a good film, but as a fun one.
5. Spice World (1997)
Admittedly, there are some die-hard Spice Girl fans who love this as a genuinely good film, but for others from the moment it was released, Spice World belonged in so bad it’s good territory. It was released at a time when films cashing in on the popularity of pop stars weren’t the feature length documentaries we have today, rather they were badly written movies with bizarre story lines.
Spice World focuses on the Spice Girls trying to get ready for their biggest performance ever at Albert Hall, but they are waylaid every few minutes by evil Australian newspaper owners, odd agents and even more odd dream sequences. Not only that, the script required the group to perform as fictionalized versions of themselves, and while that may have worked well for the Beatles many years earlier, it doesn’t work at all for the various Spices. The film even has another character comment on their lack of acting skills.
But the joy of Spice World isn’t just how hilariously bad it is, it also contains a who’s who of nineties British celebrities, from Elton John and Bob Geldof appearing as themselves to Hugh Laurie and Jennifer Saunders turning up in cameos. Not to mention that the Spice Girl’s driver throughout the film is randomly Meatloaf. Even if it’s not worth watching for the bad movie laughs, it’s definitely worth watching to play spot-the-celebrity.