Critics are always quick to assign a starred review to movies, and while I have a lot of respect for Roger Ebert, there's plenty of instances where I've disagreed with his (or the Rotten Tomato) takedown of any particular movie. Movie love is a personal opinion, and whether a film is good or bad ultimately comes down to preference.
And as a personal preference, I have a love for movies that are so bad they’re good, so for a second look at a couple of titles that may have slipped critical acclaim, suspend your disbelief, and get to watching—you might just be pleasantly surprised!
For any viewers accessing from overseas, whether you're traveling or living, it's easy to get around geo-blocking with a VPN and then you're ready to watch! Load up the queue, press play and get to enjoying these great titles that may not be everyone's favorite film, but definitely hit the spot for me. Happy viewing!
1. Working Girl (1988)
Melanie Griffith is wonderfully naive in this 1980s power girl flick, not to mention Sigourney Weaver's boss lady power trip, and that's what makes this comedy flick so irresistible despite its suits and shoulder pads. Throw in a prime time Harrison Ford into the mix and you've got the perfect set-up for a retro fix that does more good than bad. Where this film really fails is in its evil mastermind portrayal of Weaver's character; the ice queen boss stereotype feels even more antiquated on a second watch than ever. However, with a classic comedy ending, this movie doesn't fall flat and deserves a second (or third) watch, especially just to watch the breakout scene and one more listen to "Let The River Run" by Carly Simon.
2. Bewitched (2005)
Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell take on the beloved sitcom in a movie that sparkles with clever characters—Michael Caine as Samantha's Dad Nigel Bigelow, Steve Carell as the funny Uncle Arthur and Shirley Maclaine as the show stealing Endora—and leads with astute direction (Nora Ephron directs). But it feels a little less authentic than the original. However, if you're willing to suspend a little disbelief, it can still steal your heart. It's vintage, it's cutesy, and it shines with the kind of magic that can only come from the movies—nose twitch, broom, black cat and all. For lovers of the sitcom, it's a modern update that takes a lot of liberty but ends up delivering a happily ever after in the end.
3. Scooby-Doo (2002)
There’s something retro about sitting down for a watch with the old cartoon Scooby Doo serials that the Scooby-Doo live action movie just can't compare to. That being said, it is undeniable that I haven't put this modern classic in my queue more than once, and that I haven't laughed at every rewatch. I don't know it's the pseudo-macho performance of Freddie Prinze Jr. as Fred, Matthew Lillard's whispery-voiced Shaggy or Linda Cardellini's turn as the ultra sharp Velma, but I can't help but fall for this campy 70s remake when I feel like popping in a childhood favorite.
4. How to Steal A Million (1966)
How could any movie starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole be bad? Well, it's not; it's just incredibly silly. But if you suspend your disbelief for the evening in their thriller based on art forgeries and secret museum steals, you'll be delightfully surprised by the tongue and cheek performances that are too far-fetched to be believed. A farce for the 1960s, this movie seems a little too cardboard cutout for modern audiences to experience a deep belly laugh, but it's a delightful romantic comedy nonetheless, and especially one whose charm only grows with each rewatch.
5. Shanghai Knights (2003)
Any movie with Jackie Chan is wonderfully campy in that certain way, so if you add in a talkative Owen Wilson, it’s the perfect recipe for a classically great, terrible movie. When it comes to Shanghai Knights, the “bad” part comes down to the somewhat underlying cultural appropriation and a lacking script thanks to the fact it was an unplanned sequel. But in the long run, it has its funny moments and sly jokes that put you enough at ease that you forget you’re watching movie starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson.
6. Rumor Has It (2005)
No one denies that there’s something incredibly satisfying about a Jennifer Aniston rom-com, but it’s the performances of Kevin Costner and Mark Ruffalo that are underserved and therefore make it feel a little off. It gets good after the introduction of the matriarch of the family, played by a devilish Shirley Maclaine as the proposed real-life Mrs. Robinson behind The Graduate, and it’s her alone who takes this film from bad to delightful. While the acerbic wit of Maclaine is never off or forced, the storyline already comes with the traditional Hollywood wrap-up, so there're no surprises—the greatness is in the journey.
I can’t be the only one who has told people I was watching some Best Picture nominee when really I was pampering myself with a guilty pleasure such as one of these wonderfully, terrible movies. So whether you're going to watch these on the Incognito Chrome tab to hide your browser history or project them on the side of your house and invite the neighbors, know that these goodies-but-baddies are as loveable as they are cringe worthy.