Classic films like Citizen Kane and Seven Samurai continue to inspire us decades after their release, while more modern masterworks like Dallas Buyer’s Club and The Wolf of Wall Street keep reminding us that quality cinema is alive and well.
The five films below have nothing to do with all that, yet we still love them. Maybe it’s encouraging, on some level, that we can still find a great deal to love about even the worst films. Whether they’re so terrible they’re great, or just terrible, here are five terribly corny movies that we still love talking about.
Claudio Fragasso’s Troll 2 isn’t a true sequel to the original Troll. It also doesn’t actually contain any trolls. To call it “corny” actually gives it too much credit; it’s not corny – it’s just a horrible, horrible movie. Every actor in this movie exists in a sort of uncanny valley of human emotion, which I suppose was to be expected when you cast would-be extras in leading roles.
And that’s why we love it. In fact, the film inspired a great documentary in 2009 called Best Worst Movie, which chronicles this film’s strange transformation from a universally panned train wreck to one of the most popular corny movies of all time.
In some parallel universe, this movie became the portrait of masculinity that every adolescent male in the US studied intensely in order to learn what it is to be a man. Back in ordinary reality, however, this movie is little more than a pastiche of terrible stereotypes.
The late Patrick Swayze plays a brooding bouncer who divides his time into moodily staring into the camera and ripping out men’s tracheas with his bare hands. The greatest puzzle of all is that we still manage to find this movie endearing.
Often hailed as the “next Rocky Horror Picture Show,” The Room is a movie as inexplicable as its director. Tommy Wiseau wrote and directed what is either a towering work of genius or the ravings of a deeply troubled mind.
Thankfully, it easily falls into So Bad It’s Good territory, due in no small part to Wiseau’s (inadvertently?) hilarious delivery of every single line of dialogue, its painfully saccharine and yet totally absurd attempt at romance and profundity and its reused, ten-minute-long sex scenes.
Batman and Robin
I envy the generation that will be raised on Christopher Nolan’s most excellent Dark Knight Trilogy and won’t know the whirlwind of pain that was the first four Batman movies. The first two, directed by Tim Burton, were silly, but passable. Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin, however, will forever be remembered as the cinematic abortion it was.
Between Batman’s Bat-nipples and Mr. Freeze’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger) cringe-worthy one-liners, this film single-handedly killed the Batman film franchise for eight long years. Somehow, we enjoy this movie for the very reasons that make it a terrible film.
Put your pitchforks down. I love Ghostbusters. Everybody does. It’s a genuinely wonderful movie. But it’s nearly impossible to deny its corniness.
Ghostbusters was written by Dan Aykroyd and the late, great Harold Ramis. The movie was not only a critical and commercial success in its day, but is still remembered very fondly as a wonderful cinematic achievement.
That said, you’d be a fool not to recognize how corny this movie is. When the “final boss” of your film is the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, it’s time to recognize that you’ve pretty definitely found yourself in “campy” territory. Even so, Ghostbusters is, to this day, still scaring children and bringing a smile to even the most jaded adult’s face.