Guilty Pleasure Movies

Every time I come across Never Been Kissed on TV, I have this compulsion to watch it. I know it’s a terrible movie full of bad messages and terrible stereotypes. The ugly duckling turns into a swan story. The smart people are nerds and socially shunned but are ultimately the victors trope. The one true love schmaltz. The unbearable whiteness of being. It’s awful. It’s a terrible movie. In case you missed it, let me throw in one more terrible.

And I love, love, love it.

THL readers, I need some reassurances that I’m not the only one with this kind of dirty secret*. Do you have any movies or shows** that break your “ism” rules, but you love them anyway? Do you attempt to justify the love by finding excuses, or do you enjoy your crapfest, no holds barred?

*you already know my biggest dirty secret: Supernatural. ;)

ETA: **or any media, really. Confession: I did not mean to hit publish on this post. LOL.

Comments

  1. Alison says

    My dirty secret feels so dirty and so thoroughly awful I’m loath to admit to them… they’re not even GOOD films. Transformers 1 and Road Trip. I kid you not.
    I HATE Michael Bay AND I want to see Transformers again. I thought Shia was handsome, and it was shiny and smooth and the running and the muscles… yeah. I liked it, even after M.Fox’s character said “It’s your carburettor” and I knew she *couldn’t even see* the carburettor and I said it out loud in the cinema. But I suspect I’ll get over it soon because my eyes hurt from rolling at all the testicle jokes.
    And Road Trip! I mean! How big is my blind spot for that film??!! But I really enjoyed it, even though it’s offends [insert any group routinely buggered in white-boy films] and promotes awful college habits. AND I laughed. *shame*

  2. sbg says

    Alison,

    Oh yes, Transformers and Independence Day are two on my guilt list. Every single time I happen across them, I am stuck watching to the end. The “world” (read: Amuuurica) battling technologically superior alien beings and winning!

  3. DM says

    I love the Van Helsing movie. It’s terrible and I adore it. And Supernatural, of course. Oh, and not a film, but the Bayonetta video game is so over-the-top sexist and objectifying – I try to defend it by pretending it’s an intentional parody of stereotypical feminine sexuality – and I love it. It careens so far around the bend of ridiculous, yet remains awesome to me.

    The Twilight movies. I watch them religiously and enjoy it. Strong female characters? Who cares? Pretty people! (I have the biggest crush on Kristen Stewart.)

  4. says

    DM,

    Oh, the Van Helsing movie. The naked vampire brides in that movie helped me realize I was bisexual. *happy sigh* I watched it later as an adult, and gawd it’s a terrible movie. But I love it still.

  5. Megan says

    Sylvia Sybil, and
    DM, after my Grandaddy passed away I had insomnia for about a month, so every night I would spend on the couch in my dorm suite’s common room watching Van Helsing. Hugh Jackman will distract you from all your woes, oh yes he does precioussss…. Even with the terrible script….

    Ahem. Yes. “America’s Sweethearts” is a silly rom com that I watch at least monthly. Catherine Zeta Jones is a vapid bitch and Julia Roberts is the sweet sister who wins the boy in the end. On the plus side the dialogue is incredibly clever, so I enjoy it.

    My favorite film of all time is “Jurassic Park.” Also my favorite book. Shut up.

  6. says

    Not so much with movies, but I have more than a few comic habits that make it hard to look my reflection in the eye. I loved the Please Save My Earth manga. And felt horrible for loving it. My god. The main romance is so creepy and dub-con and wtf and by all rights I should want the male lead to die in a fire. WHY DO I NOT WANT THE MALE LEAD TO DIE IN A FIRE?! What is WRONG with me?! But it’s pretty! But he’s an asshole! But it’s poignant! But he’s an ASSHOLE! But it’s soooo romantic and epic and beautiful and tragic! BUT HE’S AN ASSHOLE! *sob*

    And then of course there’s the sexism/othering/objectification/consent-issues from, oh, just about every Yaoi manga I’ve ever read…. >_>

  7. says

    Another Van Helsing fan. :) Not only is it worth almost anything to be able to watch Hugh Jackman for two hours, but I love the fact that Friar Dweeby (played by a wonderful Dave Wenham) got laid while studly Van Helsing never did, hee!

    Angie

  8. Casey says

    Dani Atkinson,

    Is the male lead in Please Save My Earth as bad as the male leads in Hot Gimmick and Black Bird? ‘Cuz I could understand being ashamed of liking something like that. :P

    I can’t really name off specific stuff right now ‘cuz it’s 2 am but jeez…I think pretty much everything I like counts as a guilty pleasure.
    So…almost every old movie on TCM, most all horror/slasher/exploitation films, most pro-wrestling promotions, VH1 Celebreality shows and every hentai, yuri and yaoi manga I ever read (to say nothing of regular old manga!).

  9. says

    Do you attempt to justify the love by finding excuses, or do you enjoy your crapfest, no holds barred?

    I’d be interested in everyone’s answer to this. I definitely have guilty pleasure stuff, but am struggling to think of the best examples just now. However, I will say I believe in enjoying stuff despite its flaws, because otherwise there would have been absolutely no way for me to enjoy TV or movies at all until… the late 90s, maybe? And I don’t make excuses or try to rationalize the isms away. I just acknowledge that it’s got problems, but it’s also got good stuff, and focus on the positive.

  10. says

    Transformers. Totally. The cartoon Transformers was my favorite – other than Voltron. I love big robots and adore Optimus Prime, I’m loathe to admit that the first time I saw Optimus up on the big, big screen, I think I teared up a bit.) And, yes, I despise, despise, despise Michael Bay – especially every time I watch Transformers.

    Elektra. I know, I know. It was so universally panned and horrible. But, I can’t help it. I kinda liked the relationship btw her and the girl. It made me wish for the sister I never had. The doctor from ER was just there as Her arm candy. For once. Also, I have wanna-be assassin wish-fullfillment issues, especially since I found out I’m a crack shot with a crossbow completely by chance at a fair.

  11. DNi says

    “Do you attempt to justify the love by finding excuses, or do you enjoy your crapfest, no holds barred?”

    Oh, definitely the latter. I enjoy Penn & Teller’s Bullshit, even though half the time I don’t agree with them, or find their arguments flawed or poor (The War on Porn episode a glowing example — and I’m pretty porn-positive).

  12. says

    Do you attempt to justify the love by finding excuses, or do you enjoy your crapfest, no holds barred?

    More sort of…ignore the flaws as hard as I can. Like a dog not-looking at the mess on the carpet. I know they’re there, but there’s all the shiny over here!

  13. SunlessNick says

    I don’t have any guilty pleasure movies – well, maybe the Mummy Returns – but the Vampire Diaries might count as something of guilty pleasure TV series.

  14. M.C. says

    Disney movies are my guilty pleasure. They’re so sexist and racist and generally every -ist, but I can’t help loving them (and singing along *g*). Except for Beauty & The Beast – that Stockholm Syndrome is way too creepy for my taste.
    But I am very able to ignore the flaws of Aladdin, Mulan, The Little Mermaid, Enchanted, Hercules,…

  15. sbg says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Well, yeah, and had I actually meant to post this, I think I would have tried to clarify that I am talking about the worst of the worst. The secret love for Kindergarten Cop, even after Arnold made officially public his assholishness.

    NGL, if I could get a job in Astoria, Oregon, I would move there because of this movie. And The Goonies. ;)

  16. says

    Hellboy II: The Golden Army. I should loathe that Malfoy Elf Prince. But he’s so *pretty*, especially when he does that rolling thunder thing through the King’s guards. Mmmm….

    Sorry, you were saying?

  17. Kimberly B. says

    “Earth Girls are Easy.” My best friend and I watched it so many times, starting in college, and it is just so mindlessly silly. “Big Trouble in Little China.” Disney films, of course. And I love historical and fantasy films, and will put up with a perfectly ridiculous plot if I get enough costume porn (hairstyles count, too). And add me to the list of those who guiltily watch Van Helsing; the CGI Mr. Hyde is an especially nice touch!

  18. says

    OH SO MANY. As a young teenager, I was a keen horror fan…’nuff said. Horrible cheesy slasher movies, anything with an oversized creature that chomps on scantily-clad women – I can’t resist them. They’re so insulting; but, of course, the very fact that they objectify women so terribly might be the reason I loved them so much as a closeted teen…

    More recently, Crank 2: High Voltage – so ridiculously OTT racist/sexist/etc. that it’s actually a parody of these tropes in action movies. I think. Lo, I think I might be justifying.

  19. draconismoi says

    If I love a movie, I love it. I may be baffled by my love due to overt -isms…..but sometimes I just can’t help myself.

    Stargate (the original film) is so freaking racist and sexist that it boggles the mind. Does that stop me from constantly watching it? No. Can I articulate my willingness to forgive such -isms in this film when I won’t even stay in the house when the roomies break out My Super Ex Girlfriend? Nope. It’s just the way it is.

    America’s Sweethearts, btw, is one of the 4 total “chick flicks” that I’ve been able to sit all the way through (others: Practical Magic, Charms for the Easy Life, Kill Me Later), which as far as I am concerned makes it a shining example for the rest of the genre.

  20. Ida says

    A whole crapload of games that objectify women. Tomb Raider is probably #1, since I have loved that series since it started back in the 90’s. Right now, my new thing is League of Legends, where women go out into the battle arena wearing lingerie. Sigh.

    No, I don’t try to justify them. I would like them all a whole lot more if it wasn’t for the sexism, but I grit my teeth through the sexism to get to the good stuff.

  21. tiffanized says

    “While You Were Sleeping”. So many things wrong with the ethics in that movie, and yet I cannot look away.

  22. Patrick McGraw says

    I can’t call Van Helsing, The Mummy Returns, GI Joe: Rise of Cobra, or any other Stephen Sommers film a guilty pleasure because I feel no guilt whatsoever at loving them. They are films filled with the glee of a kid who just got a bunch of awesome toys to play with.

    Many merchandise-driven cartoons of the 80s, like GI Joe or He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. So very cheesy and weird, but I grew up with them and cannot deny them.

    I love the work of David and Leigh Eddings despite the massive amounts of gender and racial essentialism.

    Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft were horribly racist even for their time, but damn they could write.

    “The Truth About Cats and Dogs” utterly fails with work with its underlying message, but Janeane Garofalo and Uma Thurman are so funny in it that I don’t care.

    “The Craft” has all kinds of issues to it, and I can’t really find any way to defend it except that it has Robin Tunney in a Catholic Schoolgirl uniform.

  23. KLee says

    I am quite able to turn it all off and enjoy my guilty pleasures, if I couldn’t I would probably go crazy. I’m going to leave out TV shows & just go movies. I loathe Michael Bay, mentioned by several here, for so many reasons, but if “the Rock” is on I have to watch. I’ll happily watch the original Transformers cartoons if I can find them, but I found the first film ‘meh’ in large part because the action is so fast you can’t truly appreciate the robot effects & the Witwicky stuff was just painful. (josh duhamel though is yummy). I really enjoy action/adventure films but I find the swish-pans & ultra-fast effects to be disorienting the older I get. Why go to all the trouble of creating such awesome, real looking robots & then shoot action sequences so fast that only the occasional slo-mo lets you appreciate the pretty. Though the voice of Optimus Prime in the film gives me the shivers in a good way.

    I have a whole list of movies that trigger me, if they are on TV & I flip past I must watch even if I already own it on DVD. I call them my Pavlov movies: While you Were Sleeping, Simply Irresistible, Return to Me, Practical Magic (i love SB in this), Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, National Treasure & National Treasure: book of secrets. Way too many movies.

  24. KLee says

    sbg,

    Well Independence Day is really just one long argument for the superiority of American values, leadership and invention. Right down to the modern families and apple pie in the form of an Apple computer that can interact with and infect alien computers!

  25. says

    Supernatural, for me. Not a movie, but my only real big guilty pleasure, and ZOMGFAILCONTAINERSHIP in its badness.

    I’ve toyed with the ideas of re-writing some of Lovecraft’s greatest works, to take the racism out. I think it can be done, and the stories wouldn’t be the worse for it.

  26. Gabriella says

    The Saw movies – if pushed for an answer, I’ll tell you it’s out of peverse curiosity as to how far they can retcon the backstory. Book-wise, anything by Philippa Gregory, particularly her Wideacre trilogy. The book was atrocious, but I was hooked enough to read both sequels.

  27. Patrick McGraw says

    CaitieCat:
    Supernatural, for me.Not a movie, but my only real big guilty pleasure, and ZOMGFAILCONTAINERSHIP in its badness.

    I’m still on the second season, so I can only imagine how far it has to go from there.

    I’ve toyed with the ideas of re-writing some of Lovecraft’s greatest works, to take the racism out.I think it can be done, and the stories wouldn’t be the worse for it.

    It would vary from story to story. There are plenty where racism doesn’t enter into things at all (like “The Whisperer in Darkness”) and others where it is inextricable from the story (like “The Horror At Red Hook,” which can be summed up as “I am living in New York and I am surrounded by people who are Not Like Me and it is Intolerable!”).

  28. says

    I second Stargate the movie! Lord have mercy. The series had some race and sexism issues, too, but it had more good points to balance them out.

    I also liked Kindergarten Cop, and it made me think of moving to Astoria! Wonder if it was actually produced just to get more tourists to that area? j/k

    Fight Club is one of mine. I know it’s got huge, massively sexist issues, but while he’s addressing the men of Gen X, I’m just so not seeing how that all doesn’t apply to me, too, you know? So years ago I wrote about the way *I* saw the movie, and somehow MRAs latched onto those posts and thought I was saying something else entirely *shakes head*. But I don’t try to justify it in my own brain – it is what it is, but if I can connect with it even though the very thought would probably baffle the creators, good for me.

    Like the people in this thread who love Disney despite the flaws, I also love some animated series that… well, they’re not always rolling in blatant sexism, but they follow the usual formula where all the characters are male unless they need females as mothers or love interests – which is especially harmful in stuff aimed at kids, because it teaches them that males are people, and females are accessories to males. It sometimes crosses my mind when I’m laughing my ass off at Shaun the Sheep that if I reviewed it here, I’d have to be critical (especially of the handling of Shirley in S1, a big fat ewe who basically eats nonstop and is oblivious to everything else – she gets better in S2, though). So… I don’t plan on reviewing it. Partly because it’s not that helpful to point out every single show that follows that formula when we all know it’s a bum formula, but most because I’m being a hypocrite who just finds that show way too funny to spoil with critique! (OMG, Bagpipe Buddy…)

  29. says

    Shaun the Sheep is a *series*???? How did I not know this? Is it produced by the same folks who gave us “Chicken Run”? Hey-now that’s a movie no one here has ever reviewed (or have we, & I’ve forgotten)

  30. says

    Gategrrl,

    Yeah, it’s a series. Shaun was created by Nick Parks (Wallace and Gromit), who, along with the other animators at Aardman, did Chicken Run for, um, whoever did that movie. Shaun first appears in W&G, and then someone else developed the series and I can’t really find Nick Parks saying anything about it other than that he never dreamed Shaun would take off like it did and end up outselling W&G. :( I love both series.

    And I don’t think we reviewed chicken run. I never saw it. Mel Gibson made my skin crawl long before we all found out what an asshole he was.

  31. Søren Løvborg says

    For guilty pleasures, I’ll go with “Once Upon a Time in the West”, which is sort of in an odd company among the other films mentioned here.

    The film is highly regarded by critics and film aficionados, considered a classic within its genre, and a defining moment in the history of westerns and in the legacy of its director, Sergio Leone. The plot is a lot more complex than your average western, with twists and turns like something out of a noir thriller. Henry Fonda is amazingly evil, Charles Bronson amazingly enigmatic, and Ennio Morricone’s music is just amazing.

    And then the film is also incredibly sexist. The central theme of the film is an eulogy for the by-gone era of Real Men(tm), as the railroads herald a new era of technology and cowards and women. The nominal female protagonist is a prostitute, constantly pushed around by guys both good and bad, and is – in one especially creepy scene, filmed as if it was an intimate, romantic moment – raped by the antagonist. Any attempt to excuse the portrayal of women by the director as unintended or accidental is betrayed both by his later film “Once Upon A Time In America” (widely recognized as a misogynistic tour-de-force), as well as the DVD commentary for “West”, in which it is revealed that the misogyny was toned down by the studio against Leone’s wishes.

    It is quite defenseless… and yet I adore the film. Is there such a thing as a good film full of bad messages and terrible stereotypes?

  32. says

    Søren Løvborg: Is there such a thing as a good film full of bad messages and terrible stereotypes?

    “Good” is such a relative term. I’m not sure you can declare a work of art “good” overall, you need to define your metric. You can say that a movie is “good” on spectra of plot, camerawork and soundtrack even if it’s terrible on spectra of bigotry and characterization. Nazi propaganda films were apparently very good movies, masterpieces of art that got the blood pumping and the heartstrings stirring for king and country (as it were). Yet most people would agree that the content and the purpose of the films were despicable.

    Same thing with jokes. There was a fascinating comment thread over at Jezebel a few months ago, with some commenters arguing that laughing at a rape joke makes one a rape apologist and others arguing that a joke can have good jokey elements, timing and structure and subversion of expectations, that makes one laugh reflexively even if the message is disagreeable.

    Same thing with any art form. Hieronymus Bosch did wonderful paintings, with great… painty bits. He introduced a new style that was radically different from the traditional. Yet the content of his paintings is, in my unprofessional opinion, fucked up. Seriously, the guy was obsessed with Hell and depicting the horrors of Hell in the most graphic way possible.

  33. The Other Anne says

    Søren Løvborg,

    I too love Once Upon a Time in the West. That train station sequence is just…well, I love it. Also I love the original FMA series opening that gives it a nod. And the music. Oh the music, so so much.

    I feel the same towards many many Terrence Malick films. They are so problematic on so many levels but so gorgeous and reverent as well. Thin Red Line, New World and Tree Of Life are breathtakingly gorgeous to me but at the same time I want to yell at them as I watch them. So it’s a good thing they take away my breath or I would.

  34. says

    I’m coming in on Independence Day and Disney for movies, and Howard and Lovecraft for writers. King’s a more mixed bag, but I do like his earlier works despite their issues.

    One of my major ones is Gone With the Wind. Gah. It’s horrific on almost all social justice levels–maybe it gets points for “behavioral standards for women sucked in the 1860s”, but that’s about it–but it’s excessively readable. And the life-during-wartime thing gets me every time.

  35. Kalica says

    Dusk til Dawn.
    One scene in particular should show why it’s so damn problematic. Stripper in a mexican biker bar/stripclub, covered in a python, comes out and does her little dance in a way that commands the room’s attention, not in heels but in bare feet. The director of the film, as one of the cast members and on camera, drinks alcohol that was dribbled down her leg and over her feet, sucking it off her toes. One dosen’t have to be paying attention to know that Quentin Tarantino is in love with women’s feet. So him using the camera and the power of being a director to do that is… EYUGH. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.

    Yet, I love the movie. The vampire slaying is over the top, the priest’s crisis of faith is believeable (if a bit too easily resolved) and it has Cheech of Cheech and Chong in two different roles, one of them as a barker who’s main job seems to be figuring out how many ways to work the word Titties into a sentance. The band where the musical instruments made of dismembered corpses make me laugh every time. The movie is SO over the top it’s easy to forgive what happens in the movie. What the director used the movie to do is a different story.

  36. Casey says

    Oh, this isn’t a movie (I STILL HAVE TO THINK UP MOVIES), but in regards to more TV shows that are guilty pleasures, I could just turn my brain off and watch “The Bad Girls Club” in giant all-day marathons… *3*

  37. draconismoi says

    Patrick McGraw,

    What are you talking about? The Craft is awesome! (See what I mean about no guilt?) It totally has some good points beyond Robin Tunney’s uniform.

    1) Presents a non-judgmental view of pagan faith
    2) Passes the Bechdel test
    3) Shows real issues teen girls face (sexual assault, double standards, racism, classism, suicide, peer pressure)

    See? You just need to overlook the guilt and consider it a fun movie about teen female friendship. With magic powers. Where they discover their identities in the face of misogyny, puritanical double standards, racist twits, rapists, unrealistic body image expectations and dead parents. With magic. :)

  38. Patrick McGraw says

    draconismoi,

    That’s true, and one of the things I liked about it was that the casts’ problems were all real problems until the “magic magic magic” ending.

    I also love that Sarah’s reasons for her suicide attempt aren’t gone into, avoiding any sort of “single issue psychology” with her. And that she recognizes, and articulates, that people who turn on you as soon as you disagree with them are not your friends.

    And Nancy is a good antagonist with a clearly-expressed character arc, and her psychological issues do NOT come out of nowhere the way they do for some characters.

    My real issues are with how it presents the other leads. Bonnie and Rochelle were very flat. Bonnie’s character arc is entirely bound up in her disfigurement, and Rochelle’s problems being racist twits makes her race her defining feature… funny how the white girls have defining features NOT related to their race.

  39. says

    I thought of another one for me – a tv show, but still: Blake’s 7. It has a number of moments that make me think of what people criticize about the Gor books, but it’s just such an enticing blend of hilariously super-cheesy and deeply nihilistic that I manage to giggle at the ridiculousness and keep watching.

  40. Robin says

    The ABC Family shows Make It Or Break It and Pretty Little Liars are definitely on my list. I’m really conflicted about MIOBI, because last season they had a main character give up her dreams of Olympic gold rather than terminate an unwanted pregnancy, but then they had another character come out to his best friend as bisexual in a pretty positive way.

    Patrick McGraw:
    Oh my god yes, The Craft! Not so much for the Robin Tunney, but for the mid-90s over-sexualized pseudo-girlpower, the half-naked Skeet Ulrich, the comedy gold of Breckin Meyer, and the soundtrack.

    Also from that era, I can’t help but watch The Skulls over and over. Pretty people succumbing to temptation and uncovering secrets gets me every time. Plus, I may have a… slight weakness for Joshua Jackson. (And again with the rockin’ soundtrack.)

    I’m sure there are many more, but I can’t think of them at the moment.

  41. The Other Anne says

    Another guilty pleasure of mine: monster movies.

    Of course, I ALWAYS root for the monster. What can I say, I like cryptids and other “monstrous” animals. Like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park: adore. Or the giant squids in The Beast (I LOOOVE squids), and the super-smart sharks in Deep Blue Sea are AWESOME, as well as Bruce in JAWS. And the giant croc in Lake Placid–and I loooove that it was a little old granny who loved it. And the anaconda in Anaconda. And Godzilla. And the poor little baby monster in Cloverfield!

    What I DON’T like about monster movies: that every time humans win. I mean, I like humans (sort of, but only because I’m biased in that I am one), but I’d like to see some other animals win some of the time–and last scene comebacks do not count. Also Piranha was awful. I love piranhas and they just have a crap reputation. Same with sharks, which is a big beef I have with Jaws (and even Benchley regrets that one–as he should). But Piranha…ugh. That movie DELIGHTED in women being killed. It delighted in everyone being killed, of course, but there seemed to be special “satisfaction” onscreen whenever the victim was female.

    But, yeah, I pretty much love going to see any alien/monster/creature feature even though I typically rip them to shreds afterwards.

    Though I also love animal buddy movies like Free Willy and Flipper (and I’m sure I’ll adore Dolphin Tail). But I really REALLY want a human and shark buddy movie. I think I would die of happiness if someone made one of those.

  42. Ida says

    Oh my goodness, I just thought of a big one for me. Coupling. It is possibly the cleverest comedy series I have ever seen, and also one of the most sexist series I have ever seen. My face when I’m watching that show must look really weird. Roaring laughter. Scowl. Roaring laughter. Scowl. Roaring laughter. Scowl.

  43. Jenny Islander says

    Independence Day, gpofball product placement, jingoism, and all.

    The Indiana Jones movies–the armchair archeologist in me just has to grit her teeth.

    The Iron Man series because if I were Pepper Potts I would have told Tony Stark to get his butt into therapy long ago, and if I were Rhodey I would’ve broken his nose. And the endless objectification of every woman who is not Pepper gets up my nose. But I love that suit!

    Also the 2007 Transformers movie. Parts of it were so incredibly cool. What would it be like if you met a Real!Live!Space!Robot! and it turned out to be a Big Damn Hero and also your best buddy ever??? Geeky joy, that’s what. The sequel was so whambamsmashcrash that I just couldn’t get into it and I won’t watch the third one since I heard what happened to Megan Fox, so I get my TF fix from fanfic these days.

  44. Jenny Islander says

    Re Shaun the Sheep: The great big fat one who eats nonstop is named Shirley?? I thought it was a (handwave handwave) boy sheep like Shaun. Shirley doesn’t bother me as a fat person because I know that some sheep really will eat things that aren’t actually food and keep eating far past satiety.

    Re Chicken Run: This may be Mel Gibson’s only non-skeevy, non-macho role. SPOILERS: The movie is set on a joyless factory-style chicken farm, with everyone patterned after characters from movies about the WWII home front and/or plucky POWs. Only a few hens dream of escape; most are resigned. One day a rooster comes flying over the wall. He tells the hens that he can teach them how to fly. However, one canny hen has suspicions. It turns out that he’s running a con: he’s an escapee from a sideshow act and he can only “fly” when shot out of a cannon. He is just milking their belief as long as possible in order to get extra rations and so on. In the meantime, the owners of the farm are making plans to turn a bigger profit by selling chicken pies . . .

  45. says

    The TV series ‘Gossip Girl’. It’s all poor-little-rich-kid, and I generally can’t stand high school shows either. Not to mention holding onto 19th-century social customs is problematic for all sorts of reasons. But something about its trainwreck quality appeals. Well, and Blake Lively is lovely.

  46. says

    Jenny Islander,

    She’s named in the DVD extras. I had a feeling she was probably based on some real ewes and not remotely intended to stereotype fat people or fat women in any way. But because that was pretty much all there was to her in S1, I could just hear parents saying, “You don’t want to end up like Shirley” to their little darlings, what with the obesity epidemic and all.

    She’s had a couple of cool moments in S2, and that helped make her more of a real character in her own right.

    • Maria says

      @Cassandra

      I maintain that Legally Blonde is a feminist movie… particularly because the musical version takes all the strong, pivotal moments between women and makes them between Elle and her new BF. It’s not a GOOD movie but I love it for being a fluffy feminist-y film.

  47. Patrick McGraw says

    Equilibrium and Ultraviolet.

    “Terrible plots!” they say.

    “Completely implausible action!” they say.

    “But look Christian Bale/Milla Jovovich are shooting lots of people!” I say.

  48. says

    I like Legally Blonde because Elle is pretty and bubbly and fashionable – and she doesn’t change. She grows, but the skills she develops are the same she had at the beginning of the movie, when she called out the saleswoman trying to cheat her on the price of the dress. She’s sharp and loyal and has a healthy self-esteem throughout most of the movie.

    There are parts I don’t like, like the caricature of a militant lesbian feminist, the sheer Whiteness of the campus and the odd interaction between the large, awkward man and the two giggling, cruel women he was trying to score with (seriously, what was the point of that encounter? Elle is such a nice person she’ll help a loser trick the cheerleader archetypes into sleeping with him?).

    But on the whole I like it because Elle doesn’t conform to Harvard, Harvard makes a space for her and her fluffy, pink pens. She’s just as fashionable as the day she arrived – that even becomes a strength and helps her during the trial. I’ll take my strong female characters where I can find them, and there’s a shortage of Princesses who aren’t made out to be either helpless or catty.

  49. M. says

    Action-heroines and heroines who are badass. Warrior women or women who go on adventures to save the world. As a muscular woman in real life, I like watching women with the same body type as myself.

    (Since apparently, liking women with “masculine traits” or “strong” women is wrong, oh so very wrong)

    Oh, also, Transformers.

  50. Gabriella says

    Bran Nu Dae. It’s like some straight white dudes thought ‘hey! let’s be all liberal and do an all-Aboriginie movie. Except we’ll give it a paper-thin plot that’s strung together by a bunch of silly songs and, oh yeah, it will star Geoffrey Rush’. But I love those silly, silly songs. (There is nothing I would rather be than to be an Aboriginie…)

  51. Hazel says

    Jenny Islander,

    That’s not quite the plot of Chicken Run. They all assume Rocky (the rooster) can fly because of the way he turned up at the farm and the main hen Ginger insists that he teach them to fly or she’ll turn him in, he half-heartedly protests until he realises it’s pointless and that he may has well stay until his wing is fixed. He leaves and then the hens discover his secret.

    It is one of my guilty pleasures because despite Gibson’s presence, I love it. The voice acting of Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks, Miranda Richardson, Timothy Spall, Lynn Ferguson, Imelda Staunton, etc, is tremendous, and it replays multiple viewings.

    However, my real guilty pleasure is Calamity Jane. I justify it because by the end Doris Day is still wearing buckskin.

  52. Ebb says

    I’m a believer that entertainment(movies, tv shows, comics, novels…) is kinda like having good friends and/or relatives. You don’t always agree with their decisions or their ideals, but you still love them. That said, I am quite embarrassed about these ‘favorite’ movies of mine, one of them being

    *blushes*

    …Overboard.

    Oh GOD, it’s so messed up in so many ways! The kidnapping, the effed up assumption about women’s roles, the forced labor, hell there’s even mental health issues there!
    But it’s one of the first movies that my nana and I bonded over. And it’s so ridiculously 80’s that I never took it seriously at all. And I liked the acting in it and…i’m just giving excuses now. I don’t even watch it anymore(but sometimes I kind of want to).

    Also, What About Bob, which, as pointed out by my old roommates, is not good at ALL about mental health issues. Curse my love of Bill Murray’s charm!

  53. Maria says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    Heh, Harvard IS pretty white. While there should have been a few extras of color on campus, I think the place there should have been more diversity would’ve been Elle’s sorority, since that’s out in Cali… even then most of the Latinas I know who are involved in Greek culture are more into the few Latina, Black, and multicultural sororities.

    But!!! You’re totally right about the militant feminist and the weird sexual dynamics. I mentioned in another thread tho that when I was younger I often felt like people dismissed me for being a really cheerful, peppy, extroverted girl. I really latched onto Legally Blonde (and, uh, LIVING SINGLE!!!!!!!!!!!!) as my comfort shows because they included the ditzy Sinclair and the peppy Elle. :D

  54. Casey says

    Ebb,

    OH MAI GAWD YOU LOVE OVERBOARD TOO~?!?!?!

    Jeez, Overboard is on TV so much in re-runs that it’s become a running joke at our house. My parents love anything Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn so we end up watching it a lot…the forced labor always alarmed me but I didn’t TRULY realize just how frightening and problematic the film is as a whole until a few months ago. >_>V

  55. sbg says

    Little House on the Prairie has been airing in blocks on a channel here in the States. Funnily, I don’t recall all of the very bad things that went down on that show from when I was a kid. I’m a little stunned that I don’t even remember being torqued about the setting. There are no mountains in Minnesota, and the soil is dark as night, not dusty, dry and tan. And that’s only a shallow grievance.

  56. sbg says

    Casey,

    Well, it was clearly filmed in CA. It’s so funny, because I know a lot of the towns in that area of Minnesota and I really don’t know why it didn’t bug me back when I was a kid watching after school reruns.

    But the topography is really nothing compared to the subject material and wrong, wrong bad things. You know, like fat shaming on multiple occasions or that one with the rapist dude that was titled for the victim, but throughout the episode she has zero agency and we’re told the story through the male view of Albert, the made up adopted Ingalls who was first a Marty Stu, then a bad ass trouble-making drug addict, then back to Marty Stu and ultimately, heroically, and tragically killed off so Charles could mourn the loss of another precious perfect son (who, btw, loved the rape victim soooo much but two episodes after they killed that poor girl, he was flirting with another girl).

    Etc, etc.

  57. larlar says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Oh sheesh, B7 with the awful Space-Muslims (okay, some people ‘just’ read the Amagons as generically arab-ish, but I shouted ‘Space-Muslims’ at the telly in horror when I watched that ep on dvd and the nickname stuck), the theme of sexual violence against women (and ladies always being into that stuff), the strong women suddenly getting relegated to staying at home operating the teleport unless a plan requires ladies in dresses…. So many issues.

    But I adore it in a way that is beyond healthy – I love those classically trained voices both genders speak in, I love the *idea* of Jenna, Cally, Dayna and Soolin, especially when despite the patchy writing they were clearly trying to do something progressive, right up until they cocked it up. I love the camp, the melodrama, the astounding amounts of leather and spandex… and I get suckered in right until it breaks my heart over and over again with that damn’ relentless futility and tragedy. (I also want to take Vila home with me!)

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