Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I Got Your "Pistil" Right Here: Cheese-arific Movies

I have a pretty cool job.  Sure, it gets stressful, as office jobs do, but the other day I got called in for a very fun meeting.  For a marketing project, three coworkers and I were brainstorming movies that are so bad, they're actually good--preferably released after 1980.  Now, bear two things in mind: 1) I don't work in the marketing department, and 2) I was the only vagina in the room.  I think my boss wanted a female perspective, and he also knows I'm a bit of a(n idiot) savant when it comes to movies and pop culture.  I'm not a film snob per se--I don't patronize the art-house cinemas nearly as often as I should--but I can probably tell you Clint Howard's last five movies, or name the actor who's always in the background of romantic comedies while also guest starring on Parks and Recreation.  That kinda thing.

Anyway, this project got me thinking, and polling my Facebook pals, about movies of my childhood that fit into the so-bad-they're-good category.   A few of these I volunteered during the meeting, others came from Facebook, and one I haven't seen in its entirety but has YouTube clips that are totally fucking hilarious.  So without further ado, here are my Top 5 So Bad It's Good Movies, post-1980:

Grease 2
This week's photo comes to us courtesy of Grease 2.  And yes, that is Michelle Pfeiffer.  She is saying, "Gee, your armpit smells terrific!"

If you are or ever have been a theatre geek, this is the PRIMO so-bad-it's-good flick.  This ill-fated sequel to the musical megahit has the MOST HORRIBLE SONGS EVER, but damn if they aren't catchy as hell.  The funny thing is, Pfeiffer's solo song "Cool Rider" is actually pretty good, and she's got a decent set of pipes.  But Jesus Christ, the rest of the time you have Adrian Zmed trying to be John Travolta (nope), foxy Brit Maxwell Caulfield looking lost and very awkward on a motorcycle, Lorna Luft making her mother Judy Garland turn over in her grave, and a pre-Tappy Tibbons Christopher McDonald as a T-Bird named Goose.  Oh yeah, and frizzy haired Doris from Fame is a Pink Lady who almost gets seduced in a fallout shelter.  EPIC.

Needless to say, I'm FIGHTING for this to be on our bad movies list at work.

I couldn't pick just one crap song from this crap musical, so please to enjoy two: what happens when a biology class gets out of hand, and a sexy song full of double entendres . . . set at a bowling alley.  (Fun Unpro factoid: ten years ago I was in an outdoor theatre production of Grease, and the cast went bowling one night.  You better believe this song was blared by 30 theatre geeks.  That poor bowling alley staff.)

Teen Witch
When my boss told us why we were in the meeting, at least one coworker and I immediately started scribbling ideas.  Later when it was my turn, I mentioned Teen Witch and said coworker--normally very laid back--burst out enthusiastically, "Oh my GOD, is that the one with the white kids rapping?"  I answered, yes indeedy do it is!  Not much can surpass the gloriosity of a frizzy-haired nerd, who thanks to her magical friend (played by Robin Lively, sister of Gossip Girl's Blake) engages in a rap battle with her puffy-haired, white-sneakered, extremely Caucasian object of lust and his equally pale-skinned posse.  And yes, I have been known to yell out, "Top that, top THAT!" while inebriated.  For a lil bonus, check out Kenneth on 30 Rock's enthusiastic cover.  Supersonic, idiotic, disconnectin', not respectin'!

Camp Cucamonga
I didn't volunteer this one for our list, as we decided that made-for-TV movies don't qualify, as they are often crappy and generally interchangeable.  However, my eleventh year of life wouldn't have been complete without multiple VHS viewings of this literally camp-y Who's Who of early-90's teen stars.  (A closeted) Chad Allen, trying to fake interest in Candace Cameron!  Jaleel White, who is actually pretty adorable sans Steve Urkel garb!  Paul from The Wonder Years (who is not Marilyn Manson), and Winnie too, as a baaaadass girl named Lindsay!  Jennifer Mo-fo-ing Aniston, y'all, before Friends was even an annoying thought in someone's annoying mind.  When their camp faces closure thanks to a wacky misunderstanding involving Cliff Claven and George Jefferson, what is a mostly-white group of kids to do?  Why, take a cue from Teen Witch and RAP ABOUT IT!  If only my camp experience had been this funky. (Note: this is a sped up version, but it's the best I could do on YouTube.)

Troop Beverly Hills
Not sure what she's doing now, but actress Tasha Scott deserves recognition for appearing in not one but TWO of my fave bad childhood movies.  Before she was Cool Urkel's object of affection in Camp Cucamonga, Scott appeared as sassy Jasmine in Troop Beverly Hills, the very best in late-80's faux Girl Scout underdog films.  Also in the rich-yet-ragtag Wilderness Girl troop, led by a very redheaded Shelley Long who is trying to repair her marriage with Craig T. Nelson?  Carla Gugino from Spy Kids, who looks way older than everyone else, aaaaand Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley!  From what I hear, Ms. Lewis does not enjoy it when fans mention this movie around her.  I could say that her career as an 80's child star is what got her a good half or more of her fans, and therefore she should be willing to talk about it with them.  But I'm passive aggressive, so I won't.

Mac and Me
I must admit, I didn't see Mac and Me in the theatres.  I remember the commercials during Pee Wee's Playhouse on Saturday mornings.  I remember being intrigued.  And yet I never went, though I know I mentioned it to my mother at least once.  To which I say now: thank you, Mom.  You may have tolerated The Barney Years of my little brother's toddlerhood, but you were NOT going to waste your hard-earned money on a two-hour commercial for McDonald's and Coke.  Because seriously, that's what Mac and Me is.  It's E.T. without the soul, and with a whole lot of terrible, terrible acting and product placement.  Don't believe me?  Tune into this utterly bizarre production number set at a chain restaurant that begins with "M" and ends with "cDonald's," and a horribly hilarious scene involving a child in a wheelchair.  Christine Ebersole, who plays the child's mother (and went to college down the street from where I went to high school!), would go on to win a 2007 Tony Award for her phenomenal portrayal of Little Edie Beale in the musical Grey Gardens.  Thank God her career was redeemed.

What are YOUR fave so-bad-it's-good flicks?  Leave a comment!


  1. omg, i didn't realize christopher mcdonald was in grease 2. I'll have to look it up. I was an extra in a flop movie he was in ("a smile like yours") and he came over and talked to me. he actually wanted to talk to my boob-job companion, but once he realized she didn't have the mental faculties to hold a conversation, he chatted me up about my name and where i'm from. too funny.

  2. That's a good question. The movies that come to mind aren't so-bad-it's-good per se, more like so-bad-WTF-were-they-thinking. "Soul Man" comes to mind immediately, as does "Meatballs II," which stretches the original "Meatballs" premise (near-plotless summer camp pastiche) fully past its limits with a smorgasbord of ethnic stereotypes and supernatural alien antics.

    My first instinct though was "Can't Buy Me Love," due to the white people not rapping, but becoming cool by doing an "African tribal dance" (I am not sure where on the spectrum between "Soul Man" and all the white people rapping you describe above that would fall, but let's just say bad 80s movies do not handle race very well). Additionally, it's got the whole so-actually-this-is-pretty-much-prostitution plot which I feel like comes up in other 80s movies... anyway, this blog post is going to give me food for thought for the whole day!

  3. As soon as I saw this I thought, "If she doesn't include Teen Witch, I will be so pissed." But you did. I should have known you wouldn't disappoint me. My sibs and I were always telling each other to "Top that."

    I'd also include the hilariously bad Under the Boardwalk. It's a Romeo and Juliet story line with really bad 1980's surfer slang! If you haven't seen it, oh man you HAVE to check it out. Awesomely bad.

  4. I've never even heard of Mac and Me, but it sounds pretty godawful and I don't blame Mom for not wanting to take you to see it!

    And Camp Cucamonga was so badass.

  5. You've seen this, right?


  6. Teen Witch was so freakin random, completely agree. Uh does Centrestage fall under this category? I was 16 when it came out, so kinda childhood right..

  7. As I scrolled down the page each pick you included gave me this giddy feeling of glee and shame at the same time. I loved ALL top 4 moves listed and had them taped off cable at some point in time.

    The one that was missing for me was The Pirate Movie. 1982, a rock retelling of The Pirates of Penzance...with Christopher Atkins and Kristy McNichol! I mean that movie had everything...including synthesizers.

  8. Sequels often don’t live up to the reputation built up by the original movie and end up on the bad movies list. Grease 2 is no exception, I have watched it and you’re right it is terrible.