The Best Bad Movies Of All Time

Join us in a celebration of cinematic embarrassment. Quality not included.

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Image via Getty/Axelle
best bad movies the room

When it comes to film and film criticism, there’s usually an overall consensus on whether a movie is worth your time. Yes, themes are unpacked, performances are critiqued, and problematic elements are confronted, but in the end, a film is either branded “good” or “bad.”

But what about those films that exist in that beautiful gray area? What do we do with those movies that are so awful, that miss their mark so poorly, that they end up providing more enjoyment than disgust? The films that are so bad that they are actually good? They need a category all to themselves, where we can dissect them and identify how they can be so cringe-worthy, yet so good.

Because let’s face it: sometimes, watching a phenomenally acted, produced, and directed piece of cinema can be exhausting. There’s so much to take in, between the sights, sounds, colors, dialogue, setting, and cinematography; the experience is certainly not for the faint of heart. This draws us to those pieces of art that were created with less care, that don’t give a shit if we guess the ending or roast the actors the entire time.

Maybe the acting is so awful you can’t look away. Maybe the plot is held together by so many nonsensical strings that it turns into a two-hour comedy. Maybe you figured out the movie’s poorly hidden bombshell minutes in, and want to watch the underdeveloped main characters twist in the wind until the light bulb comes on in their heads. Whatever the reason, good-bad movies make up a wonderful corner of the film industry, and they should be celebrated rather than panned.

So, in the same spirit, here are the 55 best bad movies we could find, their terribleness now out in the open for all to enjoy. 

Bright (2017)

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Director: David Ayer

Stars: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Lucy Fry, Noomi Rapace, Edgar Ramirez

A critic’s take: Bright aims for the grittiness and “one crazy night” structure of the former, but wallows in the chest-thumping goofiness of the latter, not only by smearing some very expensive-looking CGI and makeup effects with a thick layer of grime but in its fixation on cartoonish graffiti, face tattoos, and Latino men calling each other “holmes.” - Katie Rife (AV Club)

Why it’s bad (meaning good): David Ayer has some sparkling notches on his resume. He wrote the screenplay for Training Day. He directed the incredibly slept on End of Watch. But since the calendar turned to 2016, the Illinois native has been stacking up Ls.

After his direction of Suicide Squad was widely panned by critics and audience members alike, Ayer attempted to rebound with Bright, a Netflix original touting Will Smith as its lead playing a Los Angeles police officer living in a world with orcs, elves, fairies and a pretty dope magic wand. Ayer swung and missed, so much so that the bat came all the way back around and ended up making contact anyway.

 From one of the film’s earliest moments, which features Smith actually uttering the line “fairy lives don’t matter today” while the most stereotypical L.A. gang in movie history looks on from the neighboring yard, Bright remains so cringeworthy and nonsensical throughout that you can’t help but want to finish the whole thing (I guess that’s why we’re getting a Bright 2).

For a movie full of fantastical elements, some explanation of why humans and orcs despise each other, and what this huge war between them thousands of years ago was all about, would’ve been helpful. Alas, Ayer has no time for plot points. He’s far too busy forcing feeding you a laughably bad commentary on race.

So you won’t have any idea what’s going on, but there are orcs wearing FUBU jerseys. And isn’t that enough?

Freddy Got Fingered (2001)

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Director: Tom Green

Stars: Tom Green, Rip Torn, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Anthony Michael Hall, Harland Williams

A critic’s take: “In a sense, this is a horror film, worse than anything Andy Kaufman could dream up, in which Green tries to outgross himself. Well, he succeeds, if that's any kind of welcome news to you.” - Desson Howe (Washington Post)

Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

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Director: John Carpenter

Stars: Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun

A critic’s take: Carpenter has allowed technology to dominate his story. Since so many of his big set-pieces look so awesomely expensive and complicated, and since the effects are undeniably mind-boggling, there's a temptation to praise him just for daring to make a movie on such a scale. But special effects don't mean much unless we care about the characters who are surrounded by them, and in this movie the characters often seem to exist only to fill up the foregrounds.” - Roger Ebert

Why it’s bad (meaning good): Jack Burton, Kurt Russell’s lead character in Big Trouble in Little China, is an idiot. Charming, yes, but a complete and utter buffoon. It is because of Burton’s performance that the 1986 film has become something of a cult classic, mixing poor special effects, hilarious (whether intended or not) one-liners and nonsensical action scenes into a sort of bad-good movie cauldron.

There are Youtube videos almost five minutes in length dedicated to every single question Burton asks throughout the film (yeah, it’s a lot). In the midst of a fight between Burton’s sidekick, Wang, and a villain, the villain inexplicably take a pause from battle to karate chop a statue of a golden lion in half before resuming the fight. One of Burton’s catchphrases is literally just “oh what the hell.”

There’s lightning battles, comically oversized hats and Burton walking around with lipstick on. I don’t really know what else you could ever want in an action flick, personally.

The Happening (2008)

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Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Betty Buckley

A critic’s take: “The performances, too, are weirdly stunted: normally reliable actors like Mark Wahlberg, John Leguizamo, and Zooey Deschanel—playing, respectively, a science teacher, a math teacher, and a worried wife, all fleeing the leafy threat—stalk through the action with a mixture of grimaces, goofiness, and what I charitably read as indigestion rather than catatonia. To be honest, I would be perfectly happy to walk with a zombie after ninety minutes of this; it would feel like light relief.” - Anthony Lane (The New Yorker)

Why it’s bad (meaning good): Widely regarded as M. Night Shyamalan’s worst film, The Happening is great because it’s legitimately trying to be a good movie. With a plot surrounding plants causing human beings to kill themselves without explanation, that’s an incredible proposition.

Mark Wahlberg’s face remains in a constant state of confusion, as if he’s trying to figure out what in the world he’s doing in this movie right along with the rest of us. Zooey Deschanel spends 90 percent of her screen time gazing off into the distance. A man lies down and lets a piece of farm equipment run over him, and it might be the funniest scene in the movie. That’s not great for something billing itself as a horror flick.

There’s a scene featuring Wahlberg giving a young girl a mood ring, telling her that it turned yellow because she’s about to laugh, which she does, which is then immediately followed by a woman showing Wahlberg a video on her phone of a man being mauled by a lion. IT’S INCREDIBLE.

So what’s really happening here? Greatness. That’s what’s happening.

The Snowman (2017)

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Director: Tomas Alfredson

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, J.K. Simmons, Val Kilmer, Charlotte Gainsbourg

A critic’s take: “Fassbender runs right out into the open during the big showdown, bellows ‘Come on, I'm ready,’ and promptly gets shot. By that point, it makes as much sense as anything else that's happened.” - Alison Willmore (Buzzfeed)

Black And White (1999)

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Director: James Toback

Stars: Robert Downey, Jr., Oliver “Power” Grant, Raekwon, Claudia Schiffer, Brooke Shields, Jared Leto, Elijah Wood, Ben Stiller, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Kidada Jones, Bijou Phillips, Joe Pantoliano, Allan Houston, Scott Caan, Mike Tyson, Gaby Hoffmann

A critic's take: “Toback's method of presenting the evidence without judgment backfires, finally appearing just as shapeless as the movie's structure. I wonder how much better a movie he could have made if instead of wanting to be Johnny on the spot with this examination of hip-hop, he'd delved into race relations via the new urban soul of artists like D'Angelo, Macy Gray, and Angie Stone, all of whom have links to the '50s rock 'n' roll he still loves.” - Charles Taylor (Salon)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Writer-director James Toback’s ambitions far exceeded his capabilities when it came time to make Black And White, a limp social satire that’s most notable for its mixed bag of a cast, including Wu-Tang members (Raekwon, Method Man), a New York Knicks star (Allan Houston), a supermodel (Claudia Schiffer), Ben Stiller, and Iron Mike Tyson.

We’re guessing that Toback didn’t intend for this look at how the hip-hop culture affects non-hood white teenagers to work best as a cavalcade of famous faces, but, alas, that’s what we’ve got here. Which doesn’t mean that Black And White isn’t captivatingly flawed.

Plagued by a scatterbrained structure, one that’s comprised of several plotlines when it really only needs one, Black And White is an instance of quality parts not equaling a successful whole. It’s difficult to completely write off a movie that features an uncomfortably real scene in which Robert Downey, Jr., fully in character as a gay man, flirts with an unsuspecting Mike Tyson and nearly becomes the next Michael Spinks.

Who's The Man? (1993)

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Director: Ted Demme and Suzanne de Passe

Stars: Ed Lover, Doctor Dre, Denis Leary, Richard Bright, Salt, Badja Djola, Colin Quinn, Guru, Ice-T, Jim Moody, Karen Duffy, Eamonn Walker, Vinny Pastore

A critic's take: “Despite their obvious comic potential, Doctor Dre and Mr. Lover have a lot more droopy, colorful stocking caps than funny lines.” - Janet Maslin (The New York Times)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Back in the day, MTV’s Yo! MTV Raps was a formative weekly viewing ritual, blessing hip-hop heads in the making with the latest and greatest in MC’s videos, and two of the show’s endearing stars were hosts Ed Lover and Dr. Dre. So Who’s The Man?, the duo’s oft-forgotten, lone foray into Hollywood, was instantly on our to-watch radar in 1993, especially since the fellas brought along several prominent rappers for cameos: Ice-T, Guru, House Of Pain, B-Real, Busta Rhymes, CL Smooth, Bushwick Bill, KRS-One, Heavy D, Flavor Flav. The list goes on.

Sadly, neither Lover nor Dre possessed any of the nuances required to come across as genuine actors; their characters—two lunk-headed barbers turned cops—exaggerate every word, facial expression, and emotion. Then again, the Yo! bros weren’t really actors in the first place, something they had in common with the aforementioned recording artists included. Taken as an excuse to watch some of your favorite old-school rap personalities goof off, Who’s The Man? is as pleasurable as a DJ Red Alert megamix.

Stone Cold (1991)

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Director: Craig R. Baxley

Stars: Brian Bosworth, Lance Henriksen, William Forsythe, Sam McMurray, Arabella Holzbog, Richard Grant

A critic's take: “What the world needs now, apparently, is another overly muscled, stone-faced dunderhead hero, and Bosworth certainly fits that description. Unfortunately, Bosworth couldn't act his way through the Seattle Seahawks and he's not likely to act his way into a film career based on this first outing.” - Richard Harrington (The Washington Post)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Of all the physically imposing NFL stars of the 1980s, Hollywood, for no discernable reason, opted to give Seattle Seahawks linebacker Brian Bosworth a shot at becoming the next Sylvester Stallone. And you know what? As much as we would’ve loved to see Lawrence Taylor give Tommy “Tiny” Lister some casting call competition, the Boz wasn’t half-bad; his first movie, however, was at least three-quarters bad.

Written as a mish-mash of other, better action films, Stone Cold is the kind of star-making vehicle that lives or croaks by its headliner; thankfully, Bosworth doesn’t disappoint. Chewing up scenery like it’s tobacco, the unexpectedly charismatic behemoth, along with his sick blonde mullet, punches and fires his way through clichés, leading into a conclusive, legitimately epic one-versus-many street fight.

If the Boz doesn’t show up in the inevitable The Expendables 3, your boy Sly Stallone will have fucked up.

Honey (2003)

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Director: Bille Woodruff

Stars: Jessica Alba, Mekhi Phifer, Lil Romeo, David Moscow, Zachary Williams

A critic's take: “Honey suggests that the old stories of realizing your dreams, even as baldly retreaded as they are here, may still have some life for audiences. But the predominance of black music right now deserves better.” - Charles Taylor (Salon)

Why it's bad (meaning good): If cheese could dance, it’d definitely move like the characters in Honey, a laughably formulaic “underdog story” that’s certifiably premium mozzarella. Jessica Alba looks smoking hot as Honey Daniels, a street-smart chick whose sick moves catapult her into a career as an elite hip-hop music video choreographer, surrounded by sleazy producers, a humble everyman love interest (Mekhi Phifer), and a hustler-in-training (Lil Romeo) dependent on Honey’s motivational examples.

Not for a second does Honey’s narrative progression toward “happily ever after” involve any clever surprises, yet Bille Woodruff’s hokey schmaltz-fest has an undeniable charm to it. Sure, it doesn’t hurt that Alba looks killer while shaking her booty in spandex outfits, but that’s not Honey’s only appeal. What can we say, we’re suckers for a good rags-to-riches yarn. Or, rather, bummy sweats to skintight designer jeans.

Ernest Goes To Jail (1990)

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Director: John R. Cherry III

Stars: Jim Varney, Barbara Tyson, Charles Napier, Gailard Sartain, Bill Byrge

A critic's take: “The good news is 'Ernest Goes to Jail.' The bad news is, he didn't get a life sentence.” - Rita Kempley (The Washington Post)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Don’t act like you weren’t an Ernest P. Worrell fan at some point in your life. Jim Varney rehashed the warm-hearted bumpkin character for a whopping nine movies—clearly, somebody kept watching them. Picking one’s favorite Ernest movie is no less difficult than choosing between a preferred ex-girlfriend: They’re all harbingers of painful memories, yet a glimmer of happiness remains from each.

Ernest Goes To Jail, Varney’s third feature film go-round with Mr. Know What I Mean?, is arguably the best of the lot, which is to say that it’s the most delightfully lame. For Varney, it’s also his biggest stage as an actor, with the task of playing both the titular hero and a slimy, delinquent version of the character who’s essentially the Mr. Hyde to Ernest’s Jekyll. Not that he gives an outstanding performance, though—as the dangerous Felix Nash, Varney is, believe it or not, too understated. When you’ve grown to love a comedian’s nasally delivery of “Ewww,” it’s hard to accept him any other way but harebrained.

Karate Dog (2004)

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Director: Bob Clark

Stars: Chevy Chase, Simon Rex, Jon Voight, Jaime Pressly, Pat Morita, Nicollette Sheridan

A critic's take: “Imagine I'm standing next to you at the video store. I have just smacked the DVD out of your hand and, for good measure, slapped you upside the head. I may even just start shouting, 'No!!' at you, like you're a family pet who just pooped on the couch. Hey, that's just about right—wanting to watch Karate Dog is like wanting to poop on the couch. Both deserve a stern yell and a smack on the nose with a rolled-up magazine.” - David Cornelius (EFilmCritic)

Why it's bad (meaning good): In one respect, we can’t help but cringe whenever we think about the rightfully forgotten Karate Dog; directed by the great Bob Clark, it represents an inexcusable low for an excellent filmmaker who previously gave us the horror gems Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (1973) and Black Christmas (1974), as well as the undying holiday classic A Christmas Story (1983).

Perhaps it’s Clark’s god-given talents that inconspicuously uplift Karate Dog into the higher tier of crap cinema, though, or maybe we’re just suckers for talking canines voiced by Chevy Chase. It’s most likely the latter. Yet, how much do we love Bob Clark? Enough to bypass the atrocities known as Baby Geniuses, Porky’s II: The Next Day, and Loose Cannon. Trust us, you won’t find any of those duds on the rest of this countdown—they make Karate Dog look like Rin Tin Tin.

Never Die Alone (2004)

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Director: Ernest R. Dickerson

Stars: DMX, David Arquette, Michael Ealy, Jennifer Sky, Reagan Gomez-Preston, Clifton Powell, Drew Sidora

A critic's take: “DMX's character (whether from the writing or DMX's monotone acting) gains no insight into his own destruction, not even when speaking from beyond the grave. He goes to cremation (symbolically, to hell) with no more inkling of the evil he's done than he had when he was alive.” - Jim Lane (Sacramento News and Review)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Every now and then, a brilliant actor finds himself in a hopelessly bad movie—think Daniel Day-Lewis in Nine, or Denzel Washington in John Q. Who would’ve thought that those prestigious thespians would ever have anything creatively in common with DMX, then?

In the wannabe neo-noir Never Die Alone, Earl Simmons manages to give a surprisingly efficient performance as a fallen crime boss; his work here is much better than director Ernest Dickerson’s ugly adaptation of author Donald Goines’ 1974 novel deserves. Whenever the Darkman isn’t on screen, Never Die Alone dies by the hand of leading man David Arquette, an inferior actor expected to pull off a gritty, Humphrey Bogart kind of role. Fast forward to DMX’s scenes, however, and you’ve got one of modern-day film’s most underrated rapper-actors turns.

Over the Top (1987)

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Director: Menahem Golan

Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Robert Loggia, Rick Zumwalt, Susan Blakely, David Mendenhall

A critic's take: “This is the kind of film in which the mansion's front lawn includes lots of white statuary, and Mr. Stallone breaks it all. The film seems to advocate reason as a good first approach to any problem, and all-out destruction as the next best thing.” - Janet Maslin (The New York Times)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Only Sylvester Stallone could watch a couple of brutes arm-wrestle each other and envision a Rocky-like tale of redemption. Not even based on an actual sport, Over The Top is still one of the most underrated “inspirational sports movies” out there, a formulaic and transparent crowd-pleaser that hits every anticipated narrative beat on its way to the prerequisite final bout.

As evidenced by the likes of The Fighter and last year’s slept-on Warrior, the tried and true “athlete vs. the odds” motif never gets old—even when it’s sloppily executed. Only in this case, the physically bruising dénouement involves a couple of sweaty dudes holding hands in a series of slow-motion close-ups underscored by grunting sounds.

The Last Action Hero (1993)

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Director: John McTiernan

Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, F. Murray Abraham, Charles Dance, Tom Noonan, Austin O'Brien, Anthony Quinn, Bridgette Wilson, Art Carney, Robert Prosky

A critic's take: “For all of its sensational stunts and flashes of wit, however, The Last Action Hero plays more like a bright idea than like a movie that was thought through. It doesn't evoke the mystery of the barrier between audience and screen the way Woody Allen did, and a lot of the time it simply seems to be standing around commenting on itself.” – Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times)

Why it's bad (meaning good): In his prime, Arnold Schwarzenegger had the macho appeal and self-clowning humor to attract audiences of all backgrounds. No matter the movie, however awesome-looking or potentially embarrassing the subject matter, the future Governator was the type of bankable movie star who could reel ticket-purchasers in by name alone. With the exception being, unfortunately, 1993’s The Last Action Hero, a box office nose-diver that reportedly put Columbia Pictures out of $26 million when all was said and done.

Coming on the heels of the colossal success Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Last Action Hero should’ve been money in the bank for Schwarzenegger, with its nonstop thrills and meta comedy. But that’s the problem: The script, written by Zak Penn and Adam Leff, spoofs action cinema with the potency of a lazy Saturday Night Live sketch.

The best way to view director John McTiernan’s (Die Hard, Predator) notorious flop is to adopt the point-of-view of young co-star Austin O’Brien: Playing a teenager obsessed with Hollywood blockbusters, he’s magically transported into one of his favorite films, gets to dodge explosions and fight bad guys with Schwarzenegger’s fictional Jack Slater, and ogle beautiful women in a world where everyone looks like a well-groomed movie star. It’s childhood fantasy by way of Michael Bay.

Idle Hands (1999)

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Director: Rodman Flender

Stars: Devon Sawa, Seth Green, Elden Henson, Jessica Alba, Jack Noseworthy, Vivica A. Fox, Sean Whalen, Nicholas Sadler, Katie Wright

A critic's take: “Even pretensions toward the humorous and hip cannot save this blood-drenched film from its innate tastelessness, calculated to find its audience among those, like its hero and his friends, whose vapid lives are a celebration of truancy, marijuana, and junk food in a virtually parentless habitat that stretches only from bed to television set.” – Lawrence Van Gelder (Entertainment Weekly)

Why it's bad (meaning good): She’s lost a little of her pin-up girl luster in recent years, but, damn, was Jessica Alba once one of Hollywood’s sexiest young actresses. Before she earned mainstream fame as the star of James Cameron’s sci-fi TV series Dark Angel, Alba played the out-of-his-league love interest in Idle Hands, the 1999 horror-comedy that got trounced by critics and ignored by ticket-buyers on its way to bargain DVD bins. The picture above should make it abundantly clear why the film’s leading lady left a strong impression on teenage male viewers.

As time has passed, the ghastly stoner humor in Idle Hands has earned a special place in our lower-brow hearts. Taking a page directly out of An American Werewolf In London’s playbook, Seth Green and Elden Henson co-star as two buddies killed by their best pal’s (Devon Sawa) demonically possessed severed hand who return as decomposing zombies. This, naturally, affords director Rodman Flender the opportunity to show chunky liquids oozing out of the hole in a dead kid’s throat as dude eats an uncooked burrito. Can’t appreciate the disgusting funniness of such an image? No worries—there’s always Miss Jessica Alba’s bare, wonderfully tanned midriff.

Dead Heat (1988)

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Director: Mark Goldblatt

Stars: Treat Williams, Joe Piscopo, Darren McGavin, Lindsay Frost, Vincent Price, Robert Picardo

A critic's take: “When Mr. Williams is asphyxiated in the line of duty, his pals cook him under the resurrection microwave and he goes forth to outghoul the ghouls. 'After all,' somebody says in a reflective moment, 'what separates life from death?' Not watching movies like this.” - Walter Goodman (The New York Times)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Frankly, we’re surprised that more people haven’t come out and professed endless love for Dead Heat, the greatest zombie cop movie ever made. Or, depending on how you look at it, the worst zombie cop ever made. Either way, the Treat Williams/Joe Piscopo buddy horror-comedy can’t be classified as mediocre.

Sort of like Zombieland meets Bad Boys, Dead Heat takes place in a world overrun by undead criminals, flesh-eating delinquents who rob banks wearing BDSM leather masks and use “Brains” as their safe word. Williams and Piscopo play the wisecracking cops tasked with killing what’s already deceased; expectedly, the former, excellently named Roger Mortis (get it?), turns into a ghoul himself. Once he’s a walking corpse, Williams gets to go snarky line-for-line with the colorful Piscopo (“You’re under arrest—you have the right to remain disgusting!”), sometimes even topping his co-star; in one scene, when a woman comments that Mortis looks hurt, he replies, “Lady, I’m fucking dead.” Pure gold, we tell you!

Southland Tales (2007)

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Director: Richard Kelly

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seann William Scott, Justin Timberlake, Mandy Moore, Nora Dunn, Curtis Armstrong, Miranda Richardson, Wallace Shawn, Bai Ling, Jon Lovitz, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, John Larroquette, Wood Harris

A critic's take: “With boundless ambition far exceeding his ability to tell a coherent story, Kelly manages only an artistic apocalypse.” – David Germain (Associated Press)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Richard Kelly certainly came out swinging in 2001, when his brilliant feature film debut Donnie Darko confounded and impressed critics in equal measure. Following the cult hit’s slow, grassroots rise to notoriety, Donnie Darko put Kelly’s name atop lists dedicated to anointing cinema’s hottest young filmmakers—the sky was the limit for a prodigy whose laudable debut was made when he was only 26 years old.

It wasn't until 2007, when Kelly’s sophomore effort, Southland Tales, premiered, that the truth emerged: Dude is a one-trick pony. Overzealously ambitious, Kelly’s sprawling ’07 catastrophe was meant to be a grandiose social satire for the ages, but, instead, it’s little more than one of film’s most unfortunate cases of the sophomore slump.

Still, in a medium that’s so often chastised for its lack of imagination, one can’t help but admire Kelly for taking such an out-there chance with Southland Tales. Clearly in over his head as a screenwriter, he earnestly tried interconnecting alternate realities, hallucinogenic musical numbers featuring a whacked-out Justin Timberlake, futuristic gadgetry, and dystopian themes into a cohesive, purportedly nine-part “interactive experience,” complete with additional graphic novels.

What started off, in Kelly’s mind at least, as his very own Star Wars has since become a film community punch line, and unfairly so. Sure, Southland Tales does nearly everything wrong, but its overreaching intentions are easily respectable.

Sucker Punch (2010)

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Director: Zack Snyder

Stars: Emily Browning, Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino, Oscar Isaac, Scott Glenn

A critic's take: “'Begin your journey,' [Scott Glenn's character] tells Baby Doll. 'It will set you free.' Exit the theater. It will set you freer.” - Steven Rea (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Deep down, aren’t all grown men still horny teenage boys at heart? We sure as hell are, which is why Zack Snyder’s universally maligned Sucker Punch was our guiltiest pleasure last year; yes, it’s a clusterfuck of a movie, shamelessly compensating for what it lacks in common sense with copious shots of PYTs in miniskirts, lingerie, and skin-flashing army attire. But what part of that doesn’t sound like a great time at the movies?

When Snyder (300, Watchmen) was writing the script, he no doubt sat around trying to think of ways to make every 13-year-old boy in the world dole out thousands of cool points during every scene. Elaborate and totally illogical battle sequences ripped straight from the craziest video games not yet made? Check. Close-ups of hotties Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish, Jamie Chung, and Jena Malone in skimpy outfits? You got it, little boys.

If we were feminists, or self-serious film blowhards unable to turn our brains off from time to time, we’d surely despise Sucker Punch, but we’re neither. Now excuse us while we go giggle like Beavis and Butt-Head at the sight of Miss Browning slaying a Godzilla-sized samurai warrior holding a Gatling gun.

Fear (1996)

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Director: James Foley

Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Reese Witherspoon, William Petersen, Alyssa Milano, Amy Brenneman

A critic's take: “What's most disappointing is that the characters begin as well-etched individuals, but are gradually turned into mere plot functions. Worse yet, Fear shamelessly borrows from numerous thrillers of the last decade.” – Emanuel Levy (Emanuel Levy)

Why it's bad (meaning good): As a first leading man vehicle, Fear was actually a smart move on Mark Wahlberg’s part. Save for a few small roles in movies dominated by bigger names (Danny DeVito in Renaissance Man, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Basketball Diaries), the former Marky Mark was looking to shake off his white rapper and underwear model images, and what better way to disrupt the status quo than go all “Robert De Niro in Cape Fear”?

If only Wahlberg had used some of his Funky Bunch clout to demand a better writer and director for Fear, it could have been his coming out party as a commanding actor. Playing a deranged hoodlum obsessed with a prissy suburban cutie (Reese Witherspoon), he’s effectively creepy at times, and when he’s hilariously shouting “Let me in the house!” through a peephole, his overly maniacal performance is surprisingly tolerable. Mainly because you can sense that Wahlberg knew he was in a teenybopper version of Fatal Attraction; anything to get those Calvin Klein ads off his back.

Drop Dead Fred (1991)

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Director: Ate de Jong

Stars: Phoebe Cates, Rik Mayall, Marsha Mason, Tim Matheson, Ron Eldard, Carrie Fisher

A critic's take: “An appallingly unpleasant, unfunny, and deeply disturbed motion picture. It's an ear-splitting slapstick comedy for an unknown audience, unifying parents and kids in discomfort with its aggressive movement.” – Brian Orndorf (Brian Orndorf's own site)

Why it's bad (meaning good): It takes a certain kind of weirdo to enjoy Drop Dead Fred, a deeply disturbed case study in schizophrenia that somehow thinks it’s a high-concept comedy. Phoebe Cates, trying her damndest to squander the goodwill she earned in crowd-pleasers like Fast Times At Ridgemont High and Gremlins, stars as a recently divorced woman who, in her depressed state, unknowingly resurrects her old imaginary friend, Drop Dead Fred (Rik Mayall, seriously in need of Ritalin).

Sounds like great comedic fodder, doesn’t it? Instead of crafting a dark psychological drama from such an intriguing premise, the filmmakers checked their brains at the set’s door and made a poor/psychotic man’s version of Beetlejuice. If you can tolerate Mayall’s Looney-Tunes-character-on-drugs shtick—which is no small order—Drop Dead Fred is one of those obviously wretched movies that exemplifies the old “can’t look away from a train wreck” adage.

Death Race (2008)

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Director: Paul W. S. Anderson

Stars: Jason Statham, Joan Allen, Tyrese Gibson, Ian McShane, Natalie Martinez, David Carradine, Jason Clarke, Jacob Vargas

A critic's take: “It is an assault on all the senses, including common. Walking out, I had the impression I had just seen the video game and was still waiting for the movie.” - Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Except for one key ingredient, everything about Paul W.S. Anderson’s noisy remake of the 1975 Roger Corman-produced Death Race 2000 looks and feels like yet another mindless action flick. And, for all intents and purposes, it is precisely that. Jason Statham plays another one of those one-dimensional toughs he could embody in his sleep at this point; Anderson, the glossy hack behind those increasingly unbearable Resident Evil movies, brings nothing singular to the production; and the car crashes, set within a pay-per-view styled automotive competition in which prisoners try to off one another through vehicular homicide, are passably vicious.

For most of Death Race’s duration, it’s as run-of-the-mill as these kinds of flicks come, but then something magical happens: the strangely cast Joan Allen (a three-time Oscar nominee, mind you) belts out, without a hint of humor, “OK, cocksucker—fuck with me, and we’ll see who shits on the sidewalk!” Yeah, we don’t know what the hell it means, either, but it’s amazing. And it’s in that moment that Death Race’s true “brainless good time” colors shine through.

Punisher: War Zone (2008)

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Director: Lexi Alexander

Stars: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Julie Benz, Colin Salmon, Doug Hitchinson, Dash Mihok, Wayne Knight

A critic's take: “With its dopey fight scenes, grimy look, and goopy gore, this movie is so far from ept that inept is the wrong word. It's anti-ept.” - Kyle Smith (New York Post)

Why it's bad (meaning good): One of these days, hopefully before we all die, someone is going to make the good Punisher movie that the badass Marvel Comics character so justly deserves. So far, Hollywood is 0-for-3, with the heinous 1989 edition led by Dolph Lundgren, the marginal 2004 flick The Punisher (starring Thomas Jane and miscast villain John Travolta), and 2008’s Punisher: War Zone, which is easily the most outlandish of the three.

In all fairness, once Marvel loyalists can get over the sad realization that Frank Castle has yet again been bastardized, director Lexi Alexander’s all-kinds-of-wrong action picture is readily acceptable as an exploitative, grindhouse-inspired thrill ride, one filled with hammy acting and astonishingly over-stylized carnage. Limbs burst, Parkour dancers get brutalized, and bodies drop with video game excessiveness. Until Hollywood execs stop fucking around and get Michael Fassbender to play Frank Castle, this is as good as you’re going to get, Punisher fanatics.

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)

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Director: John Frankenheimer

Stars: Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, David Thewlis, Fairuza Balk

A critic's take: “Too many failed scenes overwhelm the few good scenes. Makeup maven Stan Winston's designed mutant creatures (half-human, half-animal) look ludicrous, as if they were competing for the Freak of the Year award with the silly scene-stealing leads.” - Dennis Schwartz (Ozus' World Movie Reviews)

Why it's bad (meaning good): We’ve heard “third time is the charm” before, but “third time is a harm”? Apparently that’s philosophy adopted by veteran director John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, Ronin) when he decided to adapt H.G. Wells’ classic sci-fi novel The Island Of Dr. Moreau, a seminal work that’d previously been turned into two movies, the great Island Of Lost Souls (1933) and the quite good The Island Of Dr. Moreau (1977). So obviously Wells’ literary masterwork needed a third, completely asinine movie edition.

And, boy, is that what it received. Frankenheimer’s mess is anchored by a post-prime Marlon Brando, giving a truly funny (for all the wrong reasons) performance as the sadistic Moreau, a doc with a God complex and the hunkering to morph human DNA with that of animals. The fleet-footed beasties that emerge from Moreau’s experiments look absurdly over-designed, while Val Kilmer and miscast leading man David Thewlis constantly try to one-up each other in the overacting department.

Throughout all of its high-strung preposterousness, The Island Of Dr. Moreau holds up as a enjoyably loopy, if not entirely pointless, slice of low-grade camp.

Ladybugs (1992)

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Director: Sidney J. Furie

Stars: Rodney Dangerfield, Jonathan Brandis, Jackée Harry, Vinessa Shaw, Ilene Graf

A critic's take: “It's The Bad News Bears all over again, this time with a whole bunch of Rodney Dangerfield's oldest and hairiest one-liners.” - Scott Weinberg (DVD Talk)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Admittedly, our affinity for Rodney Dangerfield’s uninspired Ladybugs stems back to the days of pre-teen adolescence. First seeing the sports comedy as youngsters, the notion of being able to infiltrate an all-girls team, learn their secrets, and possibly hop in the communal showers with them after practice triggered the best kind of bedtime dreams. Which, we should add, conveniently deleted the whole “young boy dresses like a girl” aspect of Ladybugs.

Also working to the film’s advantage is Dangerfield’s woe-is-me spiel, the predictable yet reliable brand of self-deprecating humor that was done far better in the legendary comedian’s other movies, but, for some reason, left our 12-year-old selves in stitches. Not to mention, our girl Jackée Harry was packing some mondos underneath that tight coach’s shirt. Again, blame it on pubescent mentalities.

Spookies (1986)

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Director: Brendan Faulkner, Thomas Doran, and Eugenie Joseph

Stars: Felix Ward, Maria Pechukas, Peter Iasillo Jr., Charlotte Seeley, Pat Wesley Bryan, Peter Dain, Nick Gionta, Lisa Friede, Joan Ellen Delaney

A critic's take: “There is so much wrong with this film that it is difficult to know where to start, virtually every aspect of it is flawed to the point of hilarity.” - Matt Compton (Nefarious Films)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Behold a rarity amidst the pantheon of awful cinema: An atrocious film that’s actually two shit moviez for the price of one. Strung together like a botched, drunkenly assembled Frankenstein’s monster, no less.

The story behind Spookies is quite hilarious, and it all shows on screen. Initially, directors Brendan Faulkner and Thomas Doran were hard at work on a horror flick called Twisted Souls, about a bunch of obnoxious partygoers who run afoul of various monsters inside an isolated mansion. But then money issues shut the production down before such issues as final editing, effects, and coherency were addressed. The so-called light at the end of the tunnel: Eugenie Joseph was hired to shoot by the financiers of Twisted Souls to shoot completely unrelated footage about an undead warlock trying to resuscitate his long-comatose bride through black magic.

In the end, the producers spliced both stories together into one unintelligible pile of awesomely bad storytelling. Unintentionally more of a comedy than a scary movie, Spookies delivers such joys as muck-men who constantly fart for no reason, a chunky Fonzie wannabe who ends every like with “or somethin’,” a half-man/half-feline prowler dressed like a Mexican restaurant’s guitar-player, and a giant Asian spider woman. None of it makes a lick of sense, but, from beginning to end, Spookies is an immensely watchable blast.

White Chicks (2004)

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Director: Keenen Ivory Wayans

Stars: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Busy Phillips, Jennifer Carpenter, Terry Crews, Jaime King, Maitland Ward, Anne Dudek, Rochelle Aytes, Brittany Daniel

A critic's take: “Keenen Ivory Wayans treats White Chicks not as burlesque or farce but as an action comedy that wouldn't seem fresh if it came out in 1984.” - Wesley Morris (Boston Globe)

Why it's bad (meaning good): On paper, the Wayans Brothers’ White Chicks doesn’t seem like the worst idea in the world. Conceptualized around the time when Paris and Nicky Hilton first caught the public eye, its central idea—to satirize the aloof, stuck-up nature of privileged heiresses—was ripe for comedic impact…just not under the creative control of Keenen Ivory Wayans and brothers Shawn and Marlon.

As is, thanks to the always forceful Wayans siblings, White Chicks abandons all wit and hits the satirical head way too on the nose. Plus, there’s an abundance of toilet humor, and the brothers’ white-face makeup jobs (seen above) resemble Tori Spelling suffering from Michael Jackson’s skin pigmentation affliction (too soon?).

So let it be said that whenever we give White Chicks a new college try on cable television, we shamefully laugh. The moronic film’s M.V.P. is Terry Crews, the diesel funnyman who owns White Chicks as a horny basketball star trying to smash Marlon Wayans’ Marcus/Tiffany character. Somebody needs to give Crews his own top-billed comedy, immediately—just not Keenen Ivory Wayans, please.

Disorderlies (1987)

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Director: Michael Shultz

Stars: Mark Morales, Darren Robinson, Damon Wimbley, Ralph Bellamy, Anthony Greary, Troy Beyer

A critic's take: “The strangest choice of all is to ignore the Fat Boys' fans, who might have liked to hear them rap in more than one scene, and to aim Disorderlies at an audience that probably doesn't know—and on the basis of this, shouldn't care—who the Fat Boys are.” - Caryn James (The New York Times)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Picture this: The guys from Das Racist starring in a Hollywood comedy alongside the reputable actor Christopher Plummer. Sounds implausible, doesn’t it? In 1987, such a bizarre cinematic collaboration became a reality in the form on Disorderlies, a silly flick starring the robust trio of fun-loving rappers known as the Fat Boys and Ralph Bellamy, a then-56-year veteran whose industry credibility was only outstretched by his insanely long filmography.

So what if the jokes in Disorderlies are juvenile and lazy? It’s still a grand old time watching the Fat Boys do their best Three Stooges impressions for 86 joyful, effortless minutes.

Catwoman (2004)

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Director: Pitof

Stars: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Alex Bernstein, Lambert Wilson

A critic's take: “Faithful neither to Batman creator Bob Kane's original femme fatale nor to any of the filmed incarnations thereof (including those essayed by Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, and Michelle Pfeiffer), this plodding, by-the-numbers superhero flick has all the feline grace of a walleyed mastiff.” - Mark Halcomb (Village Voice)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Poor, poor Halle Berry. We’ll give her the benefit of the doubt here and blame it on her agent (it’s nearly impossible to hate on a woman who’s that damn fine), but, nevertheless, there’s no getting around the fact that Ms. Berry’s output has been largely appalling since her 2001 Oscar win for Monster’s Ball. The worst offender of them all: Catwoman, a comic book movie that totally disregards its DC source material.

OK, so the allure a superhero tentpole movie was too enticing for Berry to resist, and, using Michelle Pfeiffer’s celebrated embodiment of the feline superhuman in 1992’s Batman Returns as a precursor, the character definitely seemed primed for mainstream explosion.

So why in the kitty-cat’s name didn’t Berry question the project the second she realized its director’s name is Pitof? And that those action scenes she was filming had all the intensity of an Underdog cartoon? Those oversights led to male viewers’ enchantment, however, mainly due to Sharon Stone’s cheeky work as the villain and Berry’s softcore S&M costume.

Maximum Overdrive (1986)

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Director: Stephen King

Stars: Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, Laura Harrington, Yeardley Smith, Leon Rippy, Frankie Faison

A critic's take: “[King] has taken a promising notion—our dependence on our machines—and turned it into one long car-crunch movie, wheezing from setups to crackups. A cheap cold war twist in the final subtitles doesn't make Maximum Overdrive any less mechanical.” – Jon Pareles (The New York Times)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Nobody has ever accused Stephen King of being an underachiever. With a staggering bibliography that includes 50 novels and over 200 short stories, the prolific scribe isn’t one to shy away from a creative itch. So when he fancied himself as a movie director back in the mid ’80s, there was no stopping King from hopping into the big seat, grabbing the megaphone, and yelling “Action!”

We’re sure that, in hindsight, he wishes someone would’ve put a muzzle on said megaphone. Maximum Overdrive, his only attempt at feature filmmaking (based on his own short story, “Trucks”), ranks as one of the worst King page-to-screen adaptations, a trivialization that the self-proclaimed Uncle Stevie can only blame on himself.

To be fair, “Trucks” is one of the tireless writer's lesser tales, so it’s not as if Maximum Overdrive had a phenomenal starting point. It’s the story of machines given homicidal life-forces by a crashed meteor, after all—there’s only so much fine art that can be mined from such a premise. Besides, as King himself once admitted, he was so high on coke while making the film he barely remembers anything about the shoot. Opting for some sticky-icky and a sixer of beer, not the hard white, when revisiting Maximum Overdrive is highly recommended.

Masters Of The Universe (1987)

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Director: Gary Goddard

Stars: Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, Meg Foster, Courteney Cox, Billy Barty, Chelsea Field, Robert Duncan McNeill

A critic's take: "Wardrobe seems to have borrowed the space soldiers' black plastic outfits from the sentries of Star Wars, and the composer revised John Williams' heraldic scores. The effects are clumsy, but the Eternia throne-room set is interesting even if the faux marble floors do look more like bathroom countertops in a chain of cheap hotels." - Rita Kempley (The Washington Post)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Think back to those role-playing scenarios you used to enact with your trusty He-Man and Skeletor action figures—no matter how simplistic your favorite made-up storyline was, it was undoubtedly better conceived and thematically stronger than Gary Goddard’s piss-poor big-screen take on the fantastical swordsman’s universe, Masters Of The Universe.

Hell, you’d probably be able to design more authentic looking sets and costumes by simply using whatever’s in your bedroom, too. The only advantage that Masters Of The Universe has over an adolescent’s imagination is that Goddard’s film turns into a comedic masterpiece when viewed under the influence of booze. As if we need to explain the disadvantage of underage drinking.

Deadly Friend (1986)

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Director: Wes Craven

Stars: Kristy Swanson, Matthew Laborteaux, Michael Sharrett, Anne Towney

A critic's take: “[Craven is] content with the rigid cliche's of a revenge plot, as the revived Samantha, imbued with superpowers, takes off after all those who have wronged her. And that makes Deadly Friend a movie whose ho is exceeded only by its hum.” - Paul Attanasio (The Washington Post)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Already a horror favorite thanks to The Last House On The Left (1972) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977), Wes Craven cemented his place in genre movie history in 1984, when the writer-director’s A Nightmare On Elm Street introduced pop culture to slasher movie icon Freddy Krueger. At that point, there was little to no indication that Craven could possibly do any wrong…but then 1985 started. By year’s end, he’d assaulted filmgoers with the horrid The Hills Have Eyes Part II (featuring a dog flashback, no less), yet nothing could’ve prepared shell-shocked horror flick lovers for what Craven had in store for ’86.

Two words: Deadly Friend. Still the filmmaker’s worst movie to this day, it’s an inadvertently comical muddle of a movie that apes Frankenstein, The Stepford Wives, and, apparently, Ed Wood. Lord bless poor Kristy Swanson, a talented actress who gives it her all as a teenager murdered by her abusive father and brought back to life by her computer geek pal, who inserts a microchip into her brain that causes her to become a robotically homicidal cadaver.

Nonsensical dream sequences and un-scary set-pieces ensue, though there is one brief moment of salvation: the use of a basketball that’s thrown at an old woman’s head and causes her melon to explode as if a grenade were stuffed into her mouth. The best part: Her decapitated body does a quick little shimmy, headless chicken style, as Swanson looks on in awe. It’s sublimely bonkers.

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1989)

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Director: Donald G. Jackson

Stars: Roddy Piper, Sandahl Bergman, Cec Verrell, William Smith, Rory Calhoun

A critic's take: “Even in 1988 the post-apocalyptic narrative was tired and worn out. The writers attempted to put a new spin on it having the main character tasked with repopulating the earth, but the novelty wore off about 10 minutes in… If you don't like [Roddy] Piper or have never heard of him, don't waste your time—it's not even bad enough to be funny.” – Greg Kita (The Moving Arts Film Journal)

Why it's bad (meaning good): We kid you not, this is the plot of the ingeniously titled Hell Comes To Frogtown: In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, human-sized amphibians kidnap human women, strip them down to scantily-clad looks, and force them to become sex slaves for the sake of continuing life through breeding. Feel free to search Google for a DVD copy at this time.

Back with us? Great, now we can further sing this ludicrous sci-fi dud’s praises, with our harmonies pointed directly at star Rowdy Roddy Piper. The comical WWF Superstar entered bootleg Mad Max territory as Hell Comes To Frogtown’s butch hero, Sam Hell, a badass who bags aforementioned slave girls whenever he’s able to shake off an electric shocker attached to his genitals.

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)

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Director: Rod Amateau

Stars: Mackenzie Astin, Anthony Newley, Katie Barberi, Jim Cummings, Debbie Lee Carrington

A critic's take: “None of this humor has even the repulsive gusto of John Belushi gorging himself in Animal House. Antisocial body language is the film's real point, but it's snuck in, the way a small child might blurt out a bad word and giggle.” - Caryn James (The New York Times)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Oh, to be a fly on the wall inside the theaters playing The Garbage Pail Kids Movie back in January of 1987, when the you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it freakshow first opened. Based on the popular line of tongue-in-cheek, intentionally sickening trading cards, the live-action film was sold as a kids’ comedy, meaning little ones were ushered into multiplexes alongside their charitable parents, expecting something along the lines of, say, The Muppets.

What they got, amusingly, was the stuff of underage nightmares. Featuring such heartwarming Garbage Pail Kids as Messy Tessie, Valerie Vomit, and Foul Phil, the movie’s backers foolishly bypassed the animation route and stuck midgets in hideously disturbing costumes. Unsurprisingly, moms and dads weren’t pleased, launching a series of protests that quickly got The Garbage Pail Kids Movie pulled from theaters.

Time, as always, has healed all wounds. Those lucky enough to find a copy today can revel at the unaware wrongness of Messy Tessie’s unstoppable running snot, Windy Winston’s nose-crushing farts, and the Pail Kids’ expressionless faces.

Reefer Madness (1936)

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Director: Louis Gasnier

Stars: Dorothy Short, Kenneth Craig, Lilian Miles, Dave O'Brien, Thelma White, Carleton Young, Warren McCollum

A critic's take: “Campy and just plain awful, Ed Wood would have been proud of this masterwork of bad bad bad moviemaking.” - Christopher Null (Film Critic)

Why it's bad (meaning good): The next time that you and your boys light up some doobies, be thankful for how far we’ve come as a society, even if Ms. Mary Jane still isn’t legalized everywhere. If this were 1936, propaganda films would be presenting weed as a drug deadlier than crack laced with heroine mixed with LSD.

In an ironic twist of fate, Reefer Madness, released 76 years ago as a way to convince youngsters to pass on puffing, actually works better today when viewed with a blunt in hand. One might pass out from laughter the moment one character smokes his marijuana cigarette and instantly becomes a snarling, fiendish addict, or when a young female’s brief interaction with pot sheds her inhibitions to the point of allowing a perverted man to fondle her while she maniacally giggles. And you thought Half Baked was funny.

Anaconda (1997)

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Director: Luis Llosa

Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Jon Voight, Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz, Jonathan Hyde, Owen Wilson, Kari Wuhrer

A critic's take: “One never questions the realism of the remarkable animatronic and computer-generated effects, but it's hard to credit a snake that screams.” - Derek Adams (Time Out)

Why it's bad (meaning good): No matter how you slice it, 1997’s hardly-B-level creature feature Anaconda is no better than those Sharktopus flicks that are always must-see TV whenever the SyFy channel re-airs them. The only detail that separates this one from its cable TV successor’s is a cast full of actors who, at the time, weren’t choosing to battle cheesy-looking monsters in order to avoid joining some reality TV competition with other has-been celebs. And that’s precisely why Anaconda is such a damn hoot.

For one, the black dude (played by Ice Cube) doesn’t die, instead surviving long enough to proclaim, “That’s it, man, I’m getting the hell back to L.A.!” You’ve also got a pre-megastar Jennifer Lopez donning a paper-thin wife beater, and the dynamite Jon Voight playing the resident wackjob as if he’s on shrooms.

But come on, now: You watch a movie called Anaconda for the titular beast, and the one here doesn’t disappoint. With its none-too-subtle, basement CGI effects, the massive snake eats characters, pukes them out into mushy puddles, and then digs back in a la refried beans.

No Holds Barred (1989)

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Director: Thomas J. Wright

Stars: Hulk Hogan, Joan Severance, Tommy “Tiny” Lister, Mark Pellegrino, Bill Henderson, David Paymer, Kurt Fuller, Jesse Ventura, Gene Okerlund

A critic's take:No Holds Barred is tremendously crude, unapologetically manipulative (Zeus finally breaks down Rip's reserve by crippling his kid brother), and aimed directly at easily entertained 13-year-old boys.” – Brian Orndorf (Brian Orndorf)

Why it's bad (meaning good): How bad is No Holds Barred? It’s the worst movie ever made by a professional wrestler whose other credits include Suburban Commando, Santa With Muscles, and Mr. Nanny.

However, we don’t need to convince fellow Hulkamaniacs why No Holds Barred is a junky classic, but we shall anyway: Before he cheated on his wife and enabled his burly daughter to record unlistenable pop music, Hulk Hogan could do no wrong. And No Holds Barred, his first movie as a leading man, following his brief debut in 1982’s Rocky III, makes us want to chant “I am a real American” despite the Hulkster’s visibly self-conscious acting, far too serious tone, and Kurt Fuller’s insufferable performance as the snaky antagonist Brill.

License to Drive (1992)

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Director: Greg Beeman

Stars: Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Heather Graham, Richard Masur, Carol Kane

A critic's take: “About all that's worth noting is that the Caddy gets demolished and that the stars remain intact (though practically everyone will wish that it were the other way around).” - Hal Hinson (The Washington Post)

Why it's bad (meaning good): The best bad movies don’t instantly win over cynics—more often than not, it takes years of distance, a wealth of nostalgia, and endless replays on various cable TV channels like Showtime, HBO, and Cinemax. A quintessential example of this slow burn road to endearment is License To Drive, one of the earliest “Corey movies,” starring Corey’s Haim and Feldman.

Unfairly, the lightweight teen comedy has garnered a negative rep since its 1992 release, due to its generic storytelling and wholly inconsequential impact. Yet, since when are teen comedies expected to be anything but that? They can’t all be on Superbad’s abnormally brainy level.

Both Coreys do their individual thing as two utterly likeable kids joy-riding through town inside Haim’s father’s cherry Cadillac with his non-existent driver’s license. In fact, there’s not a discouraging character of any kind in License To Drive, right down to sexpot love interest Mercedes (Heather Graham). Sometimes, perfunctory movies can be a lot of fun.

Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)

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Director: James Nguyen

Stars: Alan Bagh, Janae Caster, Whitney Moore, Adam Sessa, Colton Osborne

A critic's take: “With its poorly rendered CGI eagles and vultures 'swooping' down like a flock of benign desktop icons on automaton-like actors, [Birdemic] is simply foul.” - Jennie Punter (Globe And Mail)

Why it's bad (meaning good): James Nguyen, the hack extraordinaire responsible for the 2010 schlock sensation Birdemic: Shock And Terror, calls himself the “master of romantic terror,” and openly admits his love for Alfred Hitchcock. Thus, it’s safe to assume that Nguyen envisioned this computer graphics monstrosity as his very own The Birds, but, whether he’ll ever admit it or not, Birdemic is his Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Played humorlessly straight, the first 40 minutes of Birdemic follows a software salesman/tool (Alan Bagh) as he sweeps a gorgeous underwear model (Whitney Moore) off her feet—why Nguyen would waste more than half of a movie called Birdemic’s running time on a middling love story is beyond us.

Once the cheaply rendered killer birds show up, however, the fun really begins. Deprived of the budget (or skills) necessary to use animatronic or real birds, Nguyen basically splices clip-art animals into frames and asks his unfortunate cast to pretend to be scared of thin air. Hopefully, for the performers’ sakes, their fearless director at least let them hear the B-52 bomber sound effects that accompany each attack scene.

Con Air (1997)

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Director: Simon West

Stars: Nicolas Cage, John Malkovich, John Cusack, Monica Potter, Dave Chappelle, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, Mykelti Williamson, Rachel Ticotin

A critic's take: “I kept thinking that if their budget were cut in half, they would have made a better picture. If the special effects department were put on a much stricter budget, the show might have had to develop the characters beyond caricature.” - Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Chronicle)

Why it's bad (meaning good): With Con Air, when we say “bad movie,” we’re measuring it against films that have an actual story, fleshed-out characters, and an inkling of plausibility. All spectacle and no soul, director Simon West’s jet-setting action hit was an early example of the types of dumb-fun blockbusters for which Michael Bay would soon become. Only, Con Air is much better than anything Bay has ever cranked out, even if it’s a completely brainless lark in any every department except “visuals.”

The key to Con Air’s success is its reputable cast, comprised of several dramatic heavyweights taking atypical stabs at popcorn excess (John Cusack, John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi) and Nicolas Cage sporting the first of his many hilariously bad hairstyles, as well as a horribly forced Southern accent. Knowing that their checks would soon cash, the fine actors involved treated the sloppy material with genuine, go-for-broke vivacity, and the result is a stupid movie played unexpectedly, and unnecessarily, smart.

Leprechaun: In the Hood (2000)

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Director: Rob Spera

Stars: Warwick Davis, Ice-T, Anthony Montgomery, Rashaan Nall, Red Grant, Dan Martin, Donna M. Perkins

A critic's take: “The horror scenes are completely scare-free, and even the gore is extremely tame! There are a few simply awful attempts at comedy, such as when our heroes dress up as women to sneak into a hotel… There's also a rap sequence at the end in which we are treated to the finest cinematic musical number by an inhuman creature since Howard the Duck.” - Scott Weinberg (EFilmCritic)

Why it's bad (meaning good): When Leprechaun came out in 1993, no one was crying out for a sequel. Fun in a forgettable kind of way, the little goblin’s first adventure performed admirably at the box office (earning over $8 million on a $900,000 budget) but hardly pit itself against supervillain-driven horror franchises like Friday The 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street. That didn’t stop actor Warwick Davis and repetitive producers from milking Leprechaun for all its worth, though; to date, we’ve been assaulted by six—that’s right, six—movies, all of them dire.

To its credit, Leprechaun: In The Hood is at least ridiculously entertaining. The series’ fifth installment, Davis’ foray into the hip-hop culture is hilariously out of touch and just a wee bit stereotypical. Just check out the names of the film’s struggling rapper characters: Stray Bullet and Postmaster P. Both of which aren’t nearly as bad as Ice-T’s record producer counterpart’s moniker, Mac Daddy O’Nassas. Even better, Mac and Mr. Leprechaun are, get this, fighting over a magical flute. Though, in his absurd quest, Leppy Lep does find time to get super lifted with a huge bong. Because what’s more hip-hop than that?

I'm Bout It (1997)

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Director: Moon Jones and Master P

Stars: Master P, Moon Jones, Silkk The Shocker, C-Murder, Mack 10, Mr. Serv-On, Mia X

A critic's take: “Ostensibly semi-autobiographical, I'm Bout It is still awfully derivative, pilfering scenes and characters from Menace II Society, Scarface, and Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood without incorporating them into anything resembling a coherent plot.” – Nathan Rabin (The A.V. Club)

Why it's bad (meaning good): These days, it’s all about Young Money and Maybach Music, but wet-behind-the-ears rap fans sadly can’t fully comprehend the impact that Master P’s No Limit movement had back in the late ’90s. Issuing new CDs faster than McDonald’s dishes out crispy French fries, the New Orleans-based record label took the music industry by storm and redefined what it means to be an independent hip-hop brand. And it all traces back to I’m Bout It, a do-it-yourself “movie” that unblinkingly jacked ideas and scenes from every hood flick in existence.

What Percy Miller and his No Limit cohorts do throughout I’m Bout It can hardly be labeled as “acting,” since the whole thing feels like a 90-minute music video—albeit one that’s powered by some of the best southern rap jams of its time.

Street Fighter (1994)

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Director: Steven E. de Souza

Stars: Jean Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia, Kylie Minogue, Damian Chapa, Ming-Na, Byron Mann, Wes Studi, Jay Tavare, Peter Tuiasosopo, Gregg Rainwater, Miguel A. Nunez Jr.

A critic's take: “What can you say when a video game is more exciting and entertaining than the big-budget feature film it inspires? Not much, and that's exactly the problem with Street Fighter, a Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle based on the popular vidgame Street Fighter II. Of course, the filmmakers couldn't use that title, since it would screw up any possible sequels and confuse young viewers. Fortunately, we're as unlikely to see a Street Fighter sequel as we are to see one to the last video/film fiasco, Super Mario Bros.” - Richard Harrington (The Washington Post)

Why it's bad (meaning good): And the award for most over-the-top performance by an acclaimed actor in a piece-of-shit movie goes to… Raul Juliá in Street Fighter! Sadly for the renown Puerto Rican thespian, the hammy 1994 video game adaptation was the last film he completed before succumbing to cancer—not the best way to go out. Well, unless you, like us, are able to appreciate Juliá’s wonderfully madcap work as General Bison, the evil military leader targeted by do-good brawler Colonel Guile (Jean Claude Van Damme) and his merry band of racially diverse scrappers.

Like most films based on console products, Street Fighter overflows with loud, unsubtle action, so much of it, in fact, that director Steven E. de Souza’s flick is ultimately less narrative-driven than the actual Capcom games it’s translating. Everyone involved is visibly having a ball, though, and that collective energy, matched with a brazen fondness for all things that go “boom” and “smack,” makes Street Fighter anything but dull.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

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Director: Stephen Giodo

Stars: John Allen Nelson, Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Vernon, Michael Siegel, Peter Licassi, Royal Dano

A critic's take: “It's a one-gag movie, but while some of the iterations of that gag are about as hilarious as a squirt in the face from a plastic flower, a few are genuinely rib-tickling.” - Ian Berriman (SFX Magazine)

Why it's bad (meaning good): According to some genre heads, Killer Klowns From Outer Space isn’t all that bad of a movie; meant to be a dark, sci-fi comedy with horror undertones, director Stephen Giodo’s campy pic never purports to be anything more than silly, so for that we can’t knock the guy. But that doesn’t justify Chiodo’s deathly serious commentary track included in the movie’s DVD, in which he recounts shooting scenes where alien clowns suck people’s brains out with straws jammed into giant cotton candy balls with the pretentiousness of an art-house auteur.

So apparently the filmmakers thought they were creating high art, then? If so, Killer Klowns From Outer Space is an enormous miscalculation, rife with silly acting, marred by cheap special effects, and lacking in even one sympathetic character. Fortunately, the army of intergalactic, malevolent clowns is the film’s main attraction—just try not to howl with applause when one of their young uppercuts a biker’s head clean off his shoulders for smashing its tricycle.

The Wicker Man (2006)

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Director: Neil LaBute

Stars: Nicolas Cage, Ellen Burstyn, Molly Parker, Kate Beahan, Frances Conroy, Leelee Sobieski, Diane Delano

A critic's take: “LaBute excises all of the pagan perversity that made the first Wicker Man such a peculiar but engaging affair. Gone are the risqué sex scenes, Britt Ekland's carnal dance and the unsettling undercurrents, replaced with drippy dialogue, put-downs, and false scares.” - Bill Muller (The Arizona Republic)

Why it's bad (meaning good): We’d like to think that ancient Pagan gods are to blame for director Neil LaBute’s ill-advised remake of the masterful 1972 British horror classic The Wicker Man, having put a hex on the filmmaker for even daring to redo such a sacred property. But, no, it’s all LaBute’s fault, since he both wrote the film’s lame-brained script and directed this stinker without a shred of scary moviemaking panache.

Mr. LaBute did flex one stroke of pure genius, however: He cast Nicolas Cage. Playing an investigator looking for his long-lost daughter on a secluded island full of wacky, cultist women, Cage gives one of his all-time great batshit crazy performances, selling every poorly written line and ridiculous scene with laughable vigor—nothing much in cinema beats the sight of Cage snuffing a lady while wearing a bear suit, or karate-kicking another chick into a wall with the force of Jet Li on steroids.

Upon first viewing, The Wicker Man is especially painful for horror buffs who swear by director Robin Hardy’s ’73 original, but even the staunchest of cineastes can’t deny the wholly inept film’s hackneyed allure.

Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984)

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Director: Sam Firstenberg

Stars: Lucinda Dickey, Adolfo Quinones, Michael Chambers, Ben Lokey

A critic's take: “There are so many more things in Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo that defy logic, reason, even dignity, from obvious idiocies like Turbo's Fred Astaire-stolen breakdance on the ceiling to subtle dumbness like Kelly's handcuff belt, a marvel of mid '80s fashion. I will let you discover the rest on your own.” - David Cornelius (EFilmCritic)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Upon the release of 1984’s Breakin’, pop-and-lockers finally had their very own Rocky—minus everything that made Sylvester Stallone’s boxing epic great, of course. The inspirational story of a formal dancing student who falls in love with urban breakdancing, Breakin’ paved the way for more recent body-rocking flicks like Save The Last Dance and every Step Up entry; funnily enough, it’s quickest copycat was actually its rushed sequel, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Released a mere eight months after Breakin’, Turbo (Michael Chambers) and Ozone’s (Adolfo Quinones) second endeavor took an already mediocre production, raced to the finish line with a bundle of awesomely awkward scenes intact, and established itself as one of the cheesiest movies ever made. How else can one describe a movie that depicts its gang warfare scenes as West Side Story in neon leotards, and with flamboyant thugs that couldn’t even whoop the asses of the Lizzies from The Warriors? Here’s an alternate description: visual crack for those who can’t help but laugh at overdone ’80s goofiness.

The Room (2003)

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Director: Tommy Wiseau

Stars: Tommy Wiseau, Juliette Danielle, Greg Sostero, Philip Haldiman, Kyle Vogt, Carolyn Minnott, Robyn Paris

A critic's take: “Given audience reaction at screening attended, pic may be something of a first: A movie that prompts most of its viewers to ask for their money back—before even 30 minutes have passed.” - Scott Foundas (Variety)

Why it's bad (meaning good): In interviews, amateurish filmmaker Tommy Wiseau defends The Room, a monumentally bad movie with legions of passionate followers, by describing it as a black comedy that’s smarter than its audience expects; in reality, of course, he’s either delusional or high, because it’s as clear as day that Wiseau’s incomprehensible mess is played totally straight as a romantic drama. Albeit, one that’ll make you soil your armor from laughter.

Plot wise, The Room has something to do with Wiseau’s character, his wife (Juliette Danielle), and their friend (Greg Sestero) dealing with personal conflicts and emotional stress. None of the impact one would expect from such a premise registers, though; apparently edited by a dyslexic Helen Keller type, The Room introduces several plot-points that inexplicably disappear, for good. For example, at one point, one female character reveals that she’s been diagnosed with breast cancer, a piece of breaking news that’s never mentioned again. And in another moment, all of the film’s male leads engage in a bit of pigskin-tossing while wearing tuxedos, though it’s never explained why they’re all so dressed up.

Perhaps the funniest thing about The Room is how serious Wiseau remains about it; whenever he makes personal appearances at The Room nationwide midnight screenings, he continues to stand up for his work. The irony, of course, is that fans don’t want him to defend anything—they, like us, love The Room just the way it is.

Killa Season (2006)

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Director: Cameron Giles

Stars: Cam'ron, Juelz Santana, Hell Rell, Funkmaster Flex, J.R. Writer, 40 Cal, Damon Dash

A critic's take: “With dialogue that sounds like it was improvised, abandoned, and then half-remembered through a chronic-induced haze, acting which redefines the words 'amateurish,' 'dull,' and 'ineffectual,' and a storytelling style that avoids logic, meaning, or clear character motivation, Killa Season is the worst kind of entertainment industry ego trip.” - Bill Gibron (Pop Matters)

Why it's bad (meaning good): To fully grasp Killa Season’s ironic greatness, one needs an already built-in appreciation for the always entertaining and often comical ignorance of Cam’ron and the whole Dipset crew. With that understanding in tow, the experience of watching Cam’s totally unnecessary directorial debut becomes a delightful exercise in Mystery Science Theater 3000-esque laughs.

Loosely based on Cam’ron’s own life (or we think), Killa Season finds the purple-loving Harlem native playing a hustler named Flea, whose life is one huge pain in the ass. The cops routinely hound him, his young niece gets iced over a Papa John’s pizza, and his grandfather dies, which inspires Flea to deliver the old man’s eulogy as an extended rap verse.

It’s not as if Cam was trying to mimic Martin Scorsese, though, so Killa Season's amateurishness and camcorder production values are excusable; even Beanie Sigel and company attempted to shoot movies that look and feel like actual movies with those equally bad State Property flicks. But do any other rapper-driven “hood movies” have a sequence in which two girls poop drugs out of their asses? We think not.

Mac and Me (1988)

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Director: Stewart Raffill

Stars: Jade Calegory, Jonathan Ward, Katrina Caspary, Christine Ebersole, Lauren Stanley

A critic's take:Mac and Me is such a shameless clone that its cute little alien has E. T.'s gangly, prune-skinned body, his elongated arms and fingers, his enormous, mournful eyes—that look of a cross between an infant and his own grandfather. Only a 2-year-old or an amnesiac might be surprised at any of this film's Spielbergian turns.” - Caryn James (The New York Times)

Why it's bad (meaning good): You don’t have to like Mac And Me, but you should at least admire director/co-writer Stewart Raffill for his humongous stones. Six years after Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial blew audiences away in 1982, Raffill and co-writer Steve Feke’s showed Hollywood and audiences alike just how blatantly and shamelessly they could rip Spielberg off with Mac And Me.

A woefully ham-fisted debacle, Mac And Me takes the same exact plot (lonely boy befriends lonely, government-targeted alien), title conceit (MAC stands for Mysterious Alien Creature), and imagery (boy riding on wheels with alien beside him) from E.T., only adding to the overcooked, sentimental cheese by having its protagonist be wheelchair bound.

As an accidentally riotous failure, Mac And Me comes highly recommended, but its real purpose requires a line of shot glasses, some hard liquor, and a bunch of thirsty friends. Once you’ve gathered them all around, play the “Mac And Me Drinking Game” (trademark: Complex), during which everyone must take a shot whenever Raffill’s film displays one of its countless product placements. By the time the five-minute dance sequence featuring Ronald McDonald is over, it’ll be a race to the nearest porcelain god to see who throws up first.

Howard The Duck (1986)

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Director: Willard Huyck

Stars: Lea Thompson, Tim Robbins, Jeffrey Jones, Chip Zien, David Paymer

A critic's take:Howard the Duck, the movie, is as bad as you've heard. Actually, it's worse.” - Keith Phipps (Slate)

Why it's bad (meaning good): And you thought Jar Jar Binks was a truly boneheaded decision on George Lucas’ part. The bane of the first three Star Wars episodes’ collective existence was predicated on a horrific idea, sure, but there’s an argument to be made that Lucas’s worst notion ever came in the form of 1986’s Howard The Duck. In Marvel Comics’ original book of the same name, the bearded, flannel-shirt-loving science fiction icon had a lighthearted, kid-ready, if not also inherently goofy, protagonist, an orange-billed alien from a planet of ducks who talks, wears flashy jackets, enjoys rock 'n' roll music, and kicks game to a sexy rocker chick (Lea Thompson, in her adorable prime) all while saving the world. Sounds like it’d make for one hell of an animated flick, right? We think so, too.

Sadly, Mr. Lucas did not. Opting to go the live-action route, the man who previously created Luke Skywalker and Dart Vader drained the likability out of Howie’s comic book form and put the focus on Industrial Light & Magic’s special effects work, which, obviously, wasn’t their best work. Deservedly, Howard The Duck grabbed itself a rep for being one of Tinsel Town’s hugest cinematic turkeys, and by no means has the film gotten any better with age. It’s just that, today, as fun-loving adults, we’re finally able to appreciate the audacity and just plain old foolishness that’s required to film scenes in which a midget-sized duck lays its little white pipe into a gorgeous female homo sapien. On second thought, maybe we shouldn’t have just divulged that.

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

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Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.

Stars: Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon, Tom Keene, Tor Johnson, Dudley Manlove, Joanna Lee, John Breckinridge, Vampira, Bela Lugosi

A critic's take: “It all ends with famous psychic Criswell asking the audience, 'Can you prove it didn't happen? God help us in the future.' Prophetic.” - Derek Adams (Time Out)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Over 50 years have passed since the heyday of Edward D. Wood Jr.’s filmmaking pursuits, yet the man behind such misfires as the cross-dressing drama Glen Or Glenda and giant-rubber-octopus-starring Brides Of The Monster remains Hollywood’s all-time worst director. That’s something to be proud of, no? If Ed Wood were still alive today, we’d hope that he’d feel a ton of gratification from knowing that all of his movies hold up as endlessly hilarious works of non-art; that’s not what he intended, but it’s certainly something for which we’re eternally thankful.

Plan 9 From Outer Space is, hands down, Wood’s pièce de résistance of crap—make that glorious crap. The modicum of story revolves around aliens resurrecting Earth’s dead in order to halt a potentially universe-shattering nuclear weapon from discharging. But, as in any Ed Wood production, plot is meaningless, as well as idiotically presented; what’s most important, and most enjoyable, are the scenes in which boom microphones are clearly visible, prop tombstones shimmy whenever characters move their feet, and Wood’s chiropractor walks around with a cape over his mouth to hide the fact that he’s not star Bela Lugosi, who died early into the shooting process.

Road House (1989)

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Director: Rowdy Herrington

Stars: Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliot, Ben Gazzara

A critic's take:Road House lays out its story with the subtlety of a wrestling match, and probably with less sharpness or savvy.” – Hal Hinson (The Washington Post)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Back in 1989, Patrick Swayze (R.I.P.) was every woman’s fantasy man, thanks to his turn in the schmaltzy romantic smash Dirty Dancing. So, understandably, he wanted to regain some of the macho, guy-friendly appeal he exuded in flicks like The Outsiders (1983) and Red Dawn (1984). His strategy: star in a pair of muscular action films, Next Of Kin and Road House, both released in 1989. Unfortunately, though, neither film was any good, and his unconvincing performances in both critical pariahs earned Swayze dreaded Razzie nominations for the Worst Actor statue.

In hindsight, folks were way too hard on Road House. It’s actually inconceivable to think that Swayze’ honky-tonk barroom brawler movie didn’t leave audiences cheering up storms back in ’89, now that Road House has cultivated a reputation as an unabashed, chest-bumping romp for dudes who love seeing other guys beat the piss out of one another. And don’t get it twisted: Swayze pranced around like a swan in Dirty Dancing, but here he knuckles up with credible ass-kicking flash.

I Know Who Killed Me (2007)

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Director: Chris Sivertson

Stars: Lindsay Lohan, Julia Ormond, Neal McDonough, Brian Geraghty, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, Spencer Garrett

A critic's take: “It's a shock to see that Lindsay Lohan, even with her boundless flair for self-destruction, would sign on for a grisly piece of torture porn. And really, did she have to choose such a gruesomely tawdry and inept one?” – Owen Gleiberman (Entertainment Weekly)

Why it's bad (meaning good): In I Know Who Killed Me, Lindsay Lohan plays a pole-humping stripper who’s being stalked by a gruesome serial killer—what’s not to love? Try a script that’s intended to evoke David Lynchian psychosis but conjures up nothing more than uproarious laughter and tireless head-scratching. And a director, Chris Sivertson, who’s clearly seen Dario Argento’s Suspiria one too many times, drowning every scene in overdone, loud blue and red color palettes.

Yet, putting all of that negativity aside, I Know Who Killed Me has the kind of entertainment value that most directors of Academy Award hopefuls could only wish to achieve. Give the beleaguered Lohan credit, too, because her performance here, playing enigmatic twins on a homicidal maniac’s to-slaughter list, is nothing if not balls-out. Not to mention, it’s her sexiest role to date, adding a large portion of stripper eye candy to a disastrous movie that’s already packed to the brim with trashy salaciousness.

Troll 2 (1990)

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Director: Claudio Fragasso (under the pseudonym Drake Floyd)

Stars: Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Margo Prey, Connie Young, Deborah Reed, Darren Ewing, Jason F. Wright

A critic's take: “Only a truly awful movie could make Troll look like a horror masterpiece, and let there be no doubt, Troll 2 is that movie.” - Nick Schager (Lessons Of Darkness)

Why it's bad (meaning good): If you’re not entirely sure why anyone would dedicate an entire list to 50 god-awful movies, give the 2010 documentary Best Worst Movie a look. Centered on the ever-growing sect of die-hards who religiously watch 1990’s unbelievably incompetent Troll 2, the doc, directed by Troll 2 co-star Michael Stephenson, does a fantastic job of delving into the bliss that can come from experiencing horrible cinema.

And there’s no doubt about it: Italian hack director Claudio Fragasso’s supposed “sequel” to 1986’s Troll (the two movies have nothing in common whatsoever) is wretchedly made. Yet, it’s so inexpertly conceived that everything about it works in unexpected ways. Funnier than most comedies written intentionally for giggles, Troll 2 is a smorgasbord of robotically spoken dialogue, goofy monster costumes, and non-existent chemistry between the actors.

You’ve got to love Fragasso’s doomed-to-fail approach to shooting, too: Despite the fact that he was working with largely inexperienced actors, Fragasso employed a nearly all-Italian crew, meaning that the cast couldn’t understand most, if any, of his directions, nor effortlessly take part in general on-set discussions. Never has a language barrier yielded such amazing results.

Belly (1998)

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Director: Hype Williams

Stars: DMX, Nas, Taral Hicks, Method Man, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Tyrin Turner, Oliver “Power” Grant, Hassan Johnson, Louie Rankin

A critic's take:Belly is a film that begs for a pat on the head for its virtue while catering to cinematic tastes more interested in crotch shots, topless dancers, wall-sized television screens, ganja galore and, wherever possible, crime without punishment, all to the accompaniment of a high-octane soundtrack.” - Lawrence Van Gelder (The New York Times)

Why it's bad (meaning good): Some people will tell you that Belly doesn’t deserve to be on this list, and they’ll most likely cite Hype Williams’ visual flair as the movie’s best asset. To which we’d say, “True, Hype and his cinematographer really did their things with this one.” Who didn’t do their respective things, however, were the main actors and the screenwriter, who altogether combined to downgrade Belly into a weakly performed knockoff of every gangster movie classic that predated it.

Taking recognizable imagery and sequence set-ups from flicks like Scarface and Goodfellas, Belly is devoid of one single original thought—it’s the cinematic equivalent of rappers sampling older, beloved songs to make hit records. The thing is, as much as we love Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out,” we really love Biggie’s “Mo Money Mo Problems,” and in the same spirit Belly’s shark-like bites are ultimately dismissible.

As for Nas’ sleepwalker performance, however, that’s not as easily forgivable. Nothing says “Go to acting school, homie” more than the scene in which God’s Son catches a bullet and says, in complete Napoleon Dynamite drollness, “Yo, I’ve been shot.”

Showgirls (1995)

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Director: Paul Verhoeven

Stars: Elizabeth Berkley, Gina Gershon, Kyle MacLachlan, Glenn Plummer, Robert Davi, Gina Rivera, Alan Rachins

A critic's take: “This film is like a shiny, red apple that's rotten to the core—despite slick direction and a glossy sheen, it reeks of decay.” - James Berardinelli (Reel Views)

Why it's bad (meaning good): In a perfect, less inhibited world, Showgirls would have kick-started a resurgence of theatrically released “adult” films in Hollywood, giving perverts no reason to feel shameful about ogling beautiful women and laughing at cheeky melodrama. Unfortunately for director Paul Verhoeven, film critics and halfway intelligent moviegoers can’t seem to look past a movie’s sheer inadequacies, thus relegating this nudie dancer saga to the annals of cinema’s darkest, most inferior works.

And, really, we can’t imagine having it any other way. There’s something to be said about a movie that can simultaneously make you chuckle uncontrollably while also getting you all hot and bothered.

Make no mistake about it: Despite critics’ claims that it’s about as hot as a Mo’Nique shower scene (that’s paraphrased, of course), Showgirls is often sexy as hell. Credit that to former Saved By The Bell star Elizabeth Berkley’s hotness, which more than makes up for her horrendous overacting—though, that overcharged performance approach does benefit from a water-splashing sex scene inside a pool.

Equal kudos go to the rest of the film’s actresses, ladies unafraid to catfight it out while topless, deliver hokey same-sex flirtations with straight faces, and somehow not burst out in hysterics whenever Berkley’s acting falls flat (i.e., every single scene). We, the viewers, however, are free to laugh our asses off. And if someone slights you for loving Showgirls, dare them to say they’ve never watched late night Skin-A-Max flicks. At least Showgirls has some production value, however small.

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