Monday, July 27, 2009

Oh's Guilty Pleasures 26-50!

When I did my blog post a couple of days ago with my top 25 guilty pleasure films, I found myself remembering a plethora more of questionable films I can't take my eyes off of. So...since no one asked for additional 25!

26. ZAPPED! (1982)
Whoah...Scott Baio actually made it into a blog post, and not as a penalty to myself. He and Charles in Charge co-star/Bibleman Willie Aames star as geeky students whose lives change when Baio develops telekinetic powers. A worthy precursor to Weird Science...and much better than it's sequel, Zapped Again!

27. THE WIZARD (1989)
Finally! A film not afraid to deal with the big issues of autism and video game addiction! A stirring portrait of a family torn apart by...wait...oh, yeah, this is that 90 minute Nintendo commercial with Fred Savage, Luke Edwards, Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis, Christian Slater and Beau Bridges. Man, I sure hope they get to California so that vid wiz can win a meaningless competition!

Let's complete our Jenny Lewis double-bill with this charmer with Shelley Long, Craig T. Nelson, Kellie Martin and Mary Gross that combines everyone's two favorite things--Beverly Hills excess and organized scout troops!

29. SUMMER SCHOOL (1987)
Carl Reiner directed this criminally overlooked '80s teen comedy that stars Mark Harmon as beloved Phys Ed teacher Freddy Shoop, stuck teaching summer school to a bunch of misfit kids (including THE Dean Cameron, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Richard Horvitz, Shawnee Smith and Kelly Jo Minter) while flirting with then slim Kirstie Alley. Infinitely quotable and hilarious, and it totally holds up today. "Can I call my folks and tell them I won't be coming home...ever?"

Silly comedy following an alien invasion during a broadcast of War of the Worlds and featuring a very young Ariana Richards (Jurassic Park). Not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but one that never ceases to be amusing.

31. STRANGE BREW (1983)
Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis bring their beer-drinking hoser characters Bob and Doug Mackenzie to the big screen in this loose adaptation of Hamlet ( is...I'm not kidding about that!). Add the voice of Mel Blanc, a flying dog named Hosehead and the slickly evil Max Von Sydow, and you've got a cult comedy classic!

Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) scripted this loving homage to classic monster movies--it's a band of ragtag kids (led by Andre Gower) vs. Dracula, the Wolfman, the Creature, and Frankenstein (Tom Noonan). We learned a lot watching it--that Fat Kid can wield a shotgun; that riding a BMX bike and shades makes you cool; and that the Wolfman has nards. Look for The Wonder Years' Jason Hervey and Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Gries as a bully and the human form of the wolfman, respectively.

Why the fourth in the never ending franchise? Well, you've got your regular wacky law enforcers in Mahoney (Steve "The Gutt" Guttenberg), Hightower (Bubba Smith), Tackleberry (David Graf), Jones (Michael Winslow), Sweetchuck (Tim Kazerinsky), Hooks (Marion Ramsey), Callahan (Leslie Eastbrook), Proctor (Lance Kinsey), Harris (G.W. Bailey), Zed (Bobcat Goldthwait) and Lassard (George Gaynes). But you've also got CIVILIAN recruits played by Sharon Stone, David Spade and Billie Bird! Plus, nothing beats Zed reciting this at a poetry club meeting: "Gene, Gene made a machine, and Joe, Joe made it go. Art, Art blew a fart and blew the whole damn thing apart."

34. OVER THE TOP (1987)
YES! A father and son story AND arm-wrestling! It's like the ambrosia of films! Stallone stars at his grunty best at Lincoln Hawkes, a trucker and arm-rastlin' legend trying to win a tournament...and his son's love! He'll have to avoid barking Robert Loggia and his unearthly tan, and the undefeated Bull Hurley to do so....all the while humming Kenny Loggins' "Meet Me Halfway." And to get the competitive edge he needs, he'll have to go...OVER THE TOP! I own the novelization of this movie, which I have utilized to no end in a comedy bit.

Savage Steve Holland's follow-up to the superb Better Off Dead (which I have not included as I don't consider it a guilty pleasure) reteams him with star Cusack (who has disowned both films, as he is sadly completely humorless) who stars as Hoops McCann, a struggling cartoonist spending a summer on Nantucket with his best friend George (Joel Murray), pacifist Ack Ack (Curtis Armstrong, my hero), the Stork Twins (Bobcat Goldthwait and Tom Villard), a silent little girl named Squid (Kristen Goelz), a dog named Boscoe, and a musician love interest named Cassandra (Demi Moore). He has to help Cassandra save her grandfather's house from the evil Beckersteds--will they raise enough money and keep Teddy Beckersted (Matt Mulhern) and his henchman Ty (Jeremy Piven) at bay long enough to win the Nantucket Regatta? Good God I love this movie. It's not Better Off Dead, but I find it a close second.

Ok, it's not good. But I have a soft spot in my heart for Meathead (voiced by Archie Hahn), a loving parody of E.T. and newest camper who is "ready for the summer." Richard Mulligan, John Larroquette, Hamilton Camp, Jason Hervey and Paul Reubens are all on display here, happily collecting a pay check.

37. HOWARD THE DUCK (1986)
Mega-flop is mega-fun in my book. I remember seeing it at the drive-in in Michigan as a double feature with The Karate Kid II and loving it. You've got Lea Thompson. Tim Robbins. Jeffrey Jones. And a duck who carries condoms.

38. HIGH SCHOOL U.S.A. (1983)
OMG. If you haven't seen this, SEEK IT OUT. A TV movie from 1983, it stars Michael J. Fox as Jay Jay Manners, a typical high school student--with classmates played by Nancy McKeon, Todd Bridges, Dana Plato, Crystal Bernard, Anthony Edwards, Jon Gries, Tom Villard, and Crispin Glover, flashin' his crazy as oddball Archie. Also features TV Land regulars Bob Denver, Tony Dow, and Dwayne Hickman. It's on DVD, and it's usually bargain-bin priced.

"It's all in the reflexes." Kurt Russell plays his BEST character ever in Jack Burton, a hero trucker with a lot of swagger who gets caught up in an otherworldly rescue mission in Chinatown against the evil Lo-Pan (James Hong). Can he rescue Miao Yin and sass-talking journalist Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall) before it's too late? Next to The Thing, this is John Carpenter's best work in my opinion. "Oh great, a six-demon bag. What's in it, Egg?" They should make a sequel to this. Pronto!

40. EXPLORERS (1986)
Baby Ethan Hawke and toddler River Phoenix build a spaceship in Joe Dante's sci-fi fantasy comedy that takes a turn for the weird once they leave earth. Also starring Bobby Fite, James Cromwell, Dana Ivey, Dick Miller, Mesach Taylor and Robert Picardo.

41. DREAMSCAPE (1984)
Christ, this movie was responsible for bunches of nightmares when I was a kid, thanks largely to the frightening snake man. "If you die in your dreams, you die in real life" is explored here--a killer is entering people's dreams and murdering them there. Can Dennis Quaid stop him? A top notch supporting cast includes Max Von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, George Wendt, Peter Jason, Eddie Albert, Kate Capshaw and David Patrick Kelly.

42. D.A.R.Y.L. (1985)
The Neverending Story's Barret Oliver stars as robot boy D.A.R.Y.L., found wandering around without any memory of who he is. He is taken in by the Richardsons (Michael McKean and Mary Beth Hurt), who promise to help him figure out his past. But his creators are hot on his trail--and ready to terminate him. Best of the mnemonic titled '80s films, besting C.H.O.M.P.S. and C.H.U.D.

The best of the Critters series (though the first film has its charms, and the third film has Leonardo DiCaprio) sees Brad (Scott Grimes) return to Grover's Bend just in time for another critter attack--with the help of two faceless shapeshifiting bounty hunters (including Terrence Mann), old town drunk turned hero Charlie (Don Opper), retired sheriff Harv (Barry Corbin, taking over for M. Emmett Walsh), high school crush Megan (Liane Alexandra Curtis) and her father (Lost's Sam Anderson), he battles the space nuisances, who can now form a giant critter ball. The site of '80s cinema nerd Eddie Deezen threating to "Kill Crites!" is worth the rental alone.

Super sweet family fantasy from Nick Castle follows Milly (Lucy Deakins) and her brother Lewis (Fred Savage) and recently widowed mother (Bonnie Bedelia) as they transition to a new neighborhood. Autistic next door neighbor Eric (Jay Underwood) is the title character, and his relationship with Milly is at the heart of this charmer, which also features Jason Priestly and a great subplot involving Savage and his militiristic trip around the block.

'84 might have been the sweetest year ever, as it brought us not one, but TWO break-dance feature films! Ozone, Turbo and who-cares-Kelly are BACK and they've got to save Miracles! That's their center for inner city pop'n' and lock'n kids--and the city wants to demolish it and build a shopping center. They've only got days before the demolition begins--but if they dance hard enough (on bulldozers, and ceilings), they may just have a chance to save it from those wack city officials.

"Thor's a homo." "You take that back--you take back what you said about Thor!" Chris Colombus' superior teen adventure comedy follows Elisabeth Shue and her charges (Keith Coogan, Maia Brewton and Anthony "Ya think?" Rapp) as they venture into Chicago to rescue the hapless and miopic Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller). Impromptu blues-singing, a valuable adult mag, Bradley Whitford, a hook-handed tow-truck driver, and a Thor-ish Vincent D'Onofrio combine in one of the most rewatchable films of that decade. Ok...maybe not a guilty pleasure, for I take no guilt in it. But I'm leaving it on the list.

High-flying Disney sci-fi adventure with David Scott Freeman as Joey Cramer, a boy who disappears for 8 years only to arrive in the future unaged a day since his disappearance. He's soon contacted by an alien ship (voiced by Paul Reubens) who needs him as navigator. Anything with Howard Hessman, Cliff De Young and Sarah Jessica Parker is worth a look in my humble opinion.

48. SPACECAMP (1986)
Take Max to space? Golldarnit' Jinx, you wacky robot you! A gaggle of space geeks (Lea Thompson, Kate Capshaw, Kelly Preston, Tate Donovan and Leaf Phoenix) are accidently launched into space by Phoenix's lil' robot pal in this fun fantasy. I'll watch anything with Leaf-era Phoenix involved. Joaquin, not so much. I just call him Wookie Phoenix now. It's easier.

49. MY DEMON LOVER (1987)
Family Ties star Scott "Nick" Valentine's short big-screen career began and ended with this incredibly weird film following a musician who--get this--turns into a demon when he is sexually aroused. I mean, I get that, but to base a whole movie around it?'s the kind of trainwreck you can't look away from.

It gives me end the list with this rockin' tale of an all female band, led by Justine Bateman and a not-yet-known Julia Roberts. Will the band--"Mystery"--keep on rollin' when they get an offer to play in Europe? And what the F is Liam Neeson doing in this?

Harry and the Hendersons
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
Light of Day
The Legend of Billie Jean
Gleaming the Cube
Hot to Trot
The Rescue
The Experts
Big Shots
Nuns on the Run
Three for the Road
Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold


  1. Meatballs 3 has Patrick Dempsey as a teenager working for a biker boat bar over the summer. Sally Kellerman is a dead porn star who must get the virgin Dempsey laid so she can get her wings. Dempsey shows off his bare teenaged ass. Meatballs 2 has a better cast (Pee Wee as the bus driver!), but Meatballs 3 is my favorite good bad movie of all time.

    Meatballs 4 is second rate Corey Feldman film.

  2. I saw Adventures In Babysitting twice in the theater when it was first released...and this was roughly the same time as Robocop and Full Metal Jacket. I had (have) such a crush on the lovely Elisabeth Shue.