As I promised in last week’s article “10 Movies I Wish I Liked,” here is my follow-up list of 10 movies I wish I didn’t like. Most of these are guilty pleasures, but there are a few genuinely good films sprinkled in, as well. I think you’ll be interested in seeing my list and the reasoning behind the films on this list. Without further ado, let’s see what sick, bizarre films await.
I first saw David Lynch’s take on Dune when I was an impressionable teenager, and I found it utterly fascinating. This movie has so many things going for it: a huge cast of famous actors and/or musicians, an epic story, superb music, and memorable special effects. Why did it fail so spectacularly? Maybe it was a little too ambitious. Whatever the case, I can’t bring myself to dislike this film. I really enjoy the set pieces, particularly Paul Atreides learning to ride a Worm. And I don’t mind all the whispering internal dialogue. It works quite well, especially in the Gom Jabbar scene when Paul is trying to keep his panic at bay.
The buildup to the rain at the climax and then the end theme are also fantastic. We get a good look at all the cast members and then the film quietly comes to an end. I can certainly understand why people don’t like this movie (its odd pacing, shoe-horned characters, and poorly shot action sequences), but for me I can look past its flaws to see the good in it. I guess the slow plot penetrates my shields.
Ernest Goes to Camp
This movie is genius! It’s like the filmmakers managed to tap into every bit of childish humor and fun, and somehow turn it into a completely enjoyable movie. I am so embarrassed that I still like this movie as an adult.
I grew up watching Ernest Goes to Camp, and the only part I didn’t like as a kid was when Ernest gets beaten up by a bully. I never got physically beaten up as a kid, but I knew what it was like to be intimidated and mocked by bigger kids. The montage after that brutal scene when Ernest sings “Gee I’m Glad It’s Raining” is one of the most touching things I’ve ever seen in a film. We get to see tough characters on the verge of tears, and we gain some real insight into Ernest’s character through the tender lyrics. Maybe I’m just a sucker for slapstick and melodrama, but I can’t stop loving Ernest Goes to Camp. Know what I mean?
Fantastic Four (2005)
After so many action-packed superhero films in the early 2000s (X2: X-Men United, Spider-Man 2, and The Incredibles) it was actually refreshing to see a boring one come around. Fantastic Four is neither good nor bad – it’s just pointless and dull. And for some reason I find that charming. It’s not even trying to be a good movie. The whole thing feels so leisurely that I find myself forgetting that I’m even watching a superhero film. It’s more like a superpowers film. The Fantastic Four constantly use their new gifts in mundane ways. Not once in the whole film do they fight crime or do anything other than cause catastrophic damage and goof around. I respect this film for that. It’s completely forgettable and nothing really happens in it. It might as well be invisible.
High School Musical 2
I don’t care much for the High School Musical series. The first film is atrocious and the third one is merely all right. But the second movie is, I hate to say it, a wonderfully entertaining film. The characters, who were so sloppily set up in the first film, are all fleshed out in extremely satisfying detail this time around. I watched this movie out of morbid curiosity. The first 10 minutes had me worried, but then an odd thing happened: I started to enjoy the songs and get invested in the characters. One of the villains from the first film becomes a likable and conflicted character. The other villain has believable motivations and is delightful in her cartoony-ness. The actress who plays Gabriela gives a much better performance. Troy isn’t a jerk; he’s just a nice guy who’s constantly confused and manipulated.
This movie has the courage to point out that its stakes are not very high. Sharpay’s goals are petty and small. None of the goings-on has any real bearing on the characters’ future; it’s just office politics and teen angst. It’s so refreshing to have a movie like this come out and admit that it’s not the most important thing ever. It’s just telling a fun little story with plenty of catchy tunes and clever choreography. That’s it. And I love it for it. High School Musical 2, (sigh) you are the music in me.
The Last Starfighter
The Last Starfighter was one of the first films I reviewed on the Deja Reviewer website because I love it so much. My younger brother used to tease me for watching it. I just couldn’t help myself. The music at the start gets me so pumped and ready for action every time. I relate to the hero because I, too, had an uphill battle paying my way through college and I loved video games. But the real reasons I love this movie are Centauri and Grig. Both of these characters are so friendly and instantly likable. When they’re not on the screen I’m thinking about them and counting the seconds until they return. They make this movie for me. Even if it’s just me against the whole world when it comes to liking this movie, well… I’ve always wanted to fight a desperate battle against incredible odds.
I can’t believe I like this movie. I find the story trite and the characters ridiculous caricatures, but the music wins me over completely. I could have lived my life happily never having seen this film. But several years ago a family that I babysat for thought this was one of the best films of all time, so I sat through it a few times with them. And I developed a love-hate relationship with it. This is one movie that works better as a soundtrack. Just listen to Alan Menken’s incredible score and ignore the boring parts in-between, and you’ll think this is one of the best musicals of all time. Once and for all I admit that I like Newsies. To my everlasting shame.
Most of my family members think I’m foolish for liking this movie. They think RoboCop is silly and way too violent… and they’re right to a certain degree. It takes a silly idea very seriously and injects a mind-numbing amount of violence to make up for its shortcomings as an action film. How great can your action scenes really be with a protagonist who can barely move a foot per second?
Although I am not overly fond of violence or foul language and I don’t use either of them in my personal life, I can’t help finding RoboCop irresistible. It’s a movie with a good heart. The first thing I ever saw from it was the fight between RoboCop and ED-209 and at that point I knew I had to see the whole film. It took me a few years, but I finally did, and it didn’t disappoint. Ironically, the VHS copy I got only cost a dollar!
During my sophomore year of high school, my history teacher showed Spartacus in class as a reward for our hard work. He was a demanding teacher, but he made up for it with nice periods of respite like this. Unfortunately, I loved this film. I say “unfortunately” because this movie is so good and yet so devastating in the end.
We spend the whole film rooting for the titular character and the other former slaves to sail off to freedom only to see their quest come to a tragic end. What’s more, Spartacus is forced to kill his best friend in a duel and then he finds out his nemesis has taken his (Spartacus’) wife and baby for his own. The movie ends on a somewhat happy note by implying that Spartacus’ wife and baby will escape and live free, but that doesn’t make up for seeing Spartacus crucified and an evil tyrant in command of the Roman Empire. I wish I liked this movie less because it’s so hard on my emotions to watch. But I have to salute it as a masterpiece.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Star Trek: The Motion Picture is one of a select few films that I can walk away from for several minutes at almost any time and not miss any plot points. This movie is like a black hole (or whatever they’re called in the 23rd century). It sucks the life out of its characters and story. This is the smallest epic film I’ve ever seen. I want so much to dislike it, but something about it keeps me from doing so. Maybe it’s Jerry Goldsmith’s perfect music or the twist ending, but some part of this film keeps it from being a complete disaster. I just have a weak spot for long, boring movies that don’t insult my intelligence.
Xanadu is a train wreck, pure and simple. Nothing works. The acting is wooden beyond belief, the music is hilariously awful, the choreography is pathetic, and it’s an insult to every Gene Kelly fan. The only reason I love this movie is because it’s so easy to riff. The jokes practically write themselves. I’m a big fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its spinoffs, RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic. So when I find a movie like Xanadu that is so deserving of the MST3K treatment, I shout for joy.
This movie makes me question the very foundations of filmmaking. Editing, dialogue, and character development all seem completely foreign to it. It is a wonder to behold such sloppiness put to celluloid. I Xanadu like this movie.
That’s all the embarrassment I can stand right now. I can’t help liking all of these films, even though it’s probably not healthy to do so. I might even treat myself to an Ernest marathon right about now.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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The Elder that introduced the Church to me was in High School Musical 2. During the “I don’t dance/baseball” scene he plays the catcher. He was 15 at the time.
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That’s so cool! I hope you’re able to keep in touch with him. I heard that the High School Musical Movies were filmed in Utah, so that makes sense that some of the extras would be LDS. Way cool connection! And here I was embarrassed to share that I like that movie. 🙂
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Yeah, I think that one was filmed in St. George…where the Missionary is from. I’ve talked to him a few times after he’s gotten home. I plan on visiting him some time next year.
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I love Dune(and most of these other movies) and wish it had been done a little bit better. The book is so damn long and there are a lot of parts to the Dune universe that the movie was really just the minimum they could do. The mini series did a much better job at making everything fit better, but I still love the movie.
I know what you mean. I can’t help loving the 1984 film despite its flaws. It’s just so captivating, even if it fails to live up to the book. I totally enjoy the Sci-Fi miniseries, too, for different reasons than the movie. Just great entertainment.
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That’s a well written personal piece.
Some of these films are really misunderstood. Star Trek TMP is best categorized as an art house film. The message, the pacing… if it wasn’t promoted as a block buster film but as in the same catagory to Her of The Lobster it wouldn’t get any harsh words. The acting could be better though, that’s really the film’s weak spot. Still, you shouldn’t be ashamed of loving it.
Same for Last Star Fighter an Fantastic Four. Both are quintessential comic book movies. I know, I know, Last Stafighter wasn’t comic book but art has the same look and feel. They are well written and add a little something to the films made in their respective periods.
Where every post-Return of the Jedi scifi tried to squeeze as much ridicule out of the budget as the could (Spacehunter Black Hole and Ice Pirates, I’m looking at you), Last Star Fighter never lets go of a character arc, and it all works very well.
Where every film in that time had to be grim and gritty, Fantastic Four has light, colour and fun and four people who *really* do not know what to do with their new powers. With that last part, it might be the most realistic superhero film of that decade 🙂
And RoboCop — well, I’ll defend every Paul Verhoeven-film, even Show Girls. The films he made in the US were really all satire. I like to think he almost laughed himself to sick when RoboCop was regarded as a serious action film. The over the top violence, gore and unlikeable personalities aren’t something to look past, but still people managed. The dead-serious intended sequel proved Paul’s point.
That said, I love how intimate Verhoeven treats his main character (take a look at the scene where RoboCop takes of his helmet), how every character is unempathic and highly unlikeable except the guy who had most of his human body replaced with machinery. You could say that last part is in the script, but look how much warmer Murphy as RoboCop is (performance and framing) as the rest — even warmer than when he himself was all organic.
RoboCop is a near perfect film. As an action film (the fights are gorgeously shot), as a thriller and especially as a social satire.
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I’ve pretty much changed my mind about all of these films since I wrote the article. I don’t mind liking them anymore. Some are guilty pleasures while others, like RoboCop, are masterpieces, just as you said.
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I’ve only seen a couple of the films you mention in this excellent article: Dune and Star Trek. Love ’em both. I feel less alone now! 🙂
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You’re very kind 🙂