pop culture

Top Ten Picks: Ten Guilty-Pleasure Movies

Inspired by Jillian at Random Ramblings, today’s Top Ten Picks is one of my own creations.  Instead of writing about books today,  I thought I’d tackle another one of my favorite topics: movies.  More specifically, I thought I’d talk about some of my favorite guilty-pleasure movies.  You know what I mean, right?  I’m talking about the movies that are pretty terrible in general, but you can’t help but watch them every time they’re on TV?  The movies you watch when you’re laying on the couch, hungover from a crazy night out?  Yeah, those ones.

Here are ten of my favorite guilty pleasure movies, complete with quotes and trivia, because I was actually that bored.

Outbreak (1995)

General McClintock: With all due respect, Colonel Daniels, if you do not follow us to Travis Air Force Base, I will blow you out of the sky.
Daniels: General, with all due respect, fuck you, sir.

Outbreak was a 1995 movie starring Dustin Hoffman, Renee Russo, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Spacey.  A deadly airborne virus escapes a lab via a monkey and wreaks havoc on the world.  It’s up to the scientists to try to track down the source of the virus as well as develop a cure for it.  This movie has everything, you guys: adventure, exotic locales, political commentary on animal testing, love lost and found again, and deadly viruses!  When I was in middle school, I became obsessed with the concept of catching a virus like Ebola.  This movie both fed that fear and allowed me to fantasize that Dustin Hoffman would race to find a cure for me before I perished in a hospital bed, covered by sterile plastic.  What can I say?  I was a weird child.

DID YOU KNOW? Betsy, the capuchin monkey who is the host of the virus, also played Marcel on Friends.

Deep Blue Sea (1999)

Preacher: Einstein’s theory of relativity. Grab hold of a hot pan, second can seem like an hour. Put your hands on a hot woman, an hour can seem like a second. It’s all relative.
Tom Scoggins: I spent four years at CalTech, and that’s the best physics explanation I’ve ever heard.

Deep Blue see was released in 1999 and boasted a cast of Thomas Jane (who has something of a cult following), Saffron Burrows (who will forever be Nan from Circle of Friends to me), LL Cool J, Samuel L. Jackson (in what has to be one of the best death scenes of ALL TIME), and Stellan Skarsgaard.  The basic premise is this: a group of scientist are living and working on an isolated research facility in the ocean, trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease (what is it with me and medical testing movies?).  The sharks that they are testing the drugs on end up getting super-smart as a result of the experiments and start killing all the scientists.  DOESN’T IT SOUND AWESOME?  THAT’S BECAUSE IT IS AWESOME!  My sister and I have seen this movie more times than I’d like to admit, starting with a late-night viewing of it on a portable DVD player at the airport during a super-long layover.  In addition to boasting one of the best death scenes ever, it also has some of the most clunky exposition in all of film: “As a result, the sharks got smarter.” (This is more effective when spoken aloud, with Burrows’s soft accent.)

DID YOU KNOW?  The quote from Preacher listed above is actually a quote adapted from Einstein himself: is adapted from a quote by Einstein himself: “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”

13 Going on 30 (2004)

Jenna: Matty! It’s Thriller!

This is one of those movies whose charm actually oozes out of the screen.  Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo take this fairly standard romantic comedy and bring it up a notch with their convincing performances.  A sort-of reverse take on Big, Garner’s 13-year-old self makes a desperate wish on her thirteenth birthday to be thirty and fabulous.  When she wakes up, she finds that she’s zoomed forward in time and has everything she ever though she wanted: a fabulous job, a great apartment, and a famous boyfriend.  But as she navigates the world of her 30-year-old self while maintaining the mentality of a 13-year-old, she starts to realize that her new life isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.  I would watch this movie for the Thriller dance scene alone (and sometimes have, to be honest), but it’s also a movie that makes me laugh and makes me feel good every time I watch it, which is reason enough for it to make this list.

DID YOU KNOW? Gwyneth Paltrow, Renee Zellweger, and Hillary Swank were all considered for the role of Jenna.  Gross.

Mamma Mia! (2008)

Rosie: It’s very Greek.

This movie adaptation of the Abba-themed musical boasts a pretty impressive cast: Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, and Stellan Skarsgaard all show up to give campy, fun performances.  Set on a Greek island the week of Streep’s daughter’s wedding, she doesn’t realize that the daughter has invited the three men who might be her father.  Hilarity ensues.  This movie is totally terrible, you guys, but it makes me laugh and it’s kind of trippy, what with all the singing and dancing and scuba diver outfits.  This movie always cheers me up (always), and it always makes me wish I was a bottle of wine deep.

DID YOU KNOW? Mandy Moore, Amanda Bynes, Rachel McAdams, and Emmy Rossum were all considered for the part of Sophie.

While You Were Sleeping (1995)

Lucy: If you fit into my pants I will kill myself.

For years, I have been teased mercilessly for my ridiculous crush on Bill Pullman (not to be confused with the kind of skeezy Bill Paxton, mmkay?).  This is the movie that helped enforced that crush (along with Casper, oddly enough).  Released in 1995 and starring Sandra Bullock as a subway token attendant (haha, I love Hollywood) in love with a customer she’s never even really talked to before (Peter Gallagher), the romantic comedy finds Bullock’s character in a tricky situation after she saves Gallagher from an oncoming train and then gets mistaken for his fiance.  As Gallagher’s character is in a coma, Bullock falls in love with his family–and his brother (the boyishly good-looking Bill Pullman).  Hilarity ensues.  To be honest, I went through a phase when I was about 15 where I would watch this movie every time I babysat for my neighbors.  I never told anyone this, and I kind of wish I hadn’t just blogged about it now.

DID YOU KNOW? The original script had the roles reversed: a woman was in a coma with a man pretending to be her fiance.  This was considered to be too predatory (it’s creepy either way, guys), and so it was rewritten.

The Mummy (1999)

Evelyn: Look, I… I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am.
Rick: And what is that?
Evelyn: I… am a librarian.

When an Egyptologist and an uncouth adventurer accidentally release a very old, very pissed off mummy from his tomb, they must race to put him to rest before he mummifies other people in order to become whole again.  Readers, I ask you, what is not to love in this movie?  Like Deep Blue Sea, this movie has so much to offer: Brendan Frasier before he got all puffy; Rachel Weisz’s 20s-style eyebrows; a CGI-mummy hell-bent on revenge; grossly misrepresented historical facts about Egypt; a smidge of romance.  It’s got something for everyone, and for some reason, this is a movie that I revisit from time to time and always feel completely entertained.  This doesn’t apply to the sequels, though, which I have declared anathema.  They don’t exist in my world.

DID YOU KNOW? An Egyptologist was brought in to phonetically render what Ancient Egyptian might have sounded like for the dialogue.

Blue Crush (2002)

Anne Marie: What do I want? Oh my god, I want Penny to quit smoking and go to college. I want, I want to be able to pay the phone, electric and rent in the same month. I want a girl to be on the cover of Surf magazine. It would be great if that girl were me, but any girl would do. I want… I mean I wish my mom would come home, and I really, really want to win pipe masters tomorrow, that’s what I want.

Perhaps the only Kate Bosworth movie I can stomach, Blue Crush is a great, frothy girl-power anthem of a movie featuring female surfers.  Never having surfed a day in my life, you wouldn’t think that this movie would be meant for me, but something about it is incredibly enjoyable.  I don’t know why, exactly, but every time it’s on TV, I end up watching way more of it than is strictly necessary.  It’s clear that my tastes in men have changed since 2002, though, because while I can appreciate the fact that Matthew Davis (who is now on The Vampire Diaries, what up?) is handsome, he doesn’t really do it for me.  When I was seventeen, though?  Total cutie.  Plus it’s the only time that Michelle Rodriquez is almost warm as a character.  Almost.

DID YOU KNOW? For the big competition scene, a male pro surfer was used, complete with wig, bikini and shaved legs. But in the final edit, he was digitally replaced with Kate Bosworth, with only his feet remaining in the film.  (That kind of pisses me off like a lot.)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Peter: [singing] Everybody hates you. Everybody wishes that you were dead. Peter you suck. Peter you suck. Peter your music is fucking terrible. Peter you suck, Peter you suck. You don’t do anything of value. Peter you suck. Go write some music. But instead you sit and write these bullshit songs. It’s so self-loathing. Go see a psychiatrist. I hate the psychiatrist. Go see one anyway.

I’ll admit that I was nervous about the basic premise of this movie when I first heard about it.  As a big fan of Kristen Bell, I want her to be successful and haven’t had much faith in her movie choices (I’m still recovering from You Again, not to mention the atrocity that was When in Rome) so far.  Imagine my surprise when I saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall and fell in love with the entire thing.  When a television-score composer (Jason Seigel) gets dumped by his actress girlfriend (Kristen Bell), he decides to take a trip to Hawaii to get over her.  Things get complicated when he ends up staying at the same resort as her and her new beau (Russell Brand).  The movie is really, really funny, and it never fails to make me laugh really hard.  That alone is enough to warrant a spot on this list, guys.

DID YOU KNOW? The naked break-up scene is based on an actual break-up that Jason Segel experienced.

One Fine Day (1996)

Jack: Maggie, when you grow up and are incredibly beautiful and intelligent and possess a certain sweetness that’s… that’s like a distant promise to the brave, to the worthy, could you please not beat to a pulp every miserable bastard that comes your way simply because you can? Could you not do that?
Maggie: Okay Daddy.

Le sigh.  This is, perhaps, the only movie in which I can watch George Clooney and not want to punch him in his smug face.  A single mom and single dad try to navigate their busy days with the addition of their young children when both of them miss the ferry taking the kids on a field trip.  In the course of the longest day ever, the two kind of end up sort of falling a little bit in love maybe?  Most awkward sentence ever?  Michelle Pfeiffer is pitch-perfect as a completely anal-retentive woman who has to be in complete control, and Clooney mugs as a lothario who oozes charm.  The addition of a tiny Mae Whitman (my absolute favorite character on Parenthood, not to mention my current girl-crush) makes this movie really entertaining and super-cute.  Plus, Natalie Merchant sings the theme song.  It literally doesn’t get any more 90s than that.

DID YOU KNOW? When Maggie Taylor forgets the kitten’s name, it was not a part of the script. Mae Whitman actually forgot the kitten’s name and stayed in character. The director thought that it was so cute that he kept it in the movie.

Liar Liar (1997)

Fletcher: I was hoping after being married to me you’d have no more strength left.
Audrey: Well, you have to remember that when we were married, I wasn’t having sex nearly as often as you were.

I can’t explain this one, you guys.  I shouldn’t like it, because Jim Carey is at his most obnoxious, and yet somehow this movie never fails to make me laugh.  I once shared a great moment with a guy on the treadmill next to me at the gym over this movie.  It was a total bonding experience.  Basic premise: a hotshot lawyer’s young son makes a birthday wish that his father can’t tell a lie for a whole day.  Shocker: it comes true.  It’s ridiculous and very, very funny.  I can’t help it.

DID YOU KNOW? Carey turned down the role of Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movie in order to take this role.

So that’s it, guys.  Ten of my favorite guilty-pleasure movies.  What did I miss?


2 thoughts on “Top Ten Picks: Ten Guilty-Pleasure Movies

  1. Ah One Fine Day. Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney. It’s not deep, and it’s not meaningful, and from the moment it begins the ending is completely obvious, but for me it’s the perfect rom-com.

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