21 Movies I'm Embarrassed To Admit I Love

We all have them. Our guilty pleasure movies. Movies we like that we don't like to tell other people. Films that bring us unbridled joy while making others cringe in pain. Films so many people hate but you just, somehow, for whatever reason, love. This is my list.

Jumper is on this list. It's that kind of list. Image: 20th Century Fox

Here are 21 movies that I'm embarrassed I like at all, let alone as much as I do, in alphabetical order.

The team in Armageddon. Image: Touchstone

Armageddon

Michael Bay's Armageddon was a massive hit. Everyone has seen it but few actually think it's that good. I'm one of the believers. Sure, it's ridiculous, overly-dramatic and predictable. But Bay delivers undeniable visual delights and includes hilariously over-the-top characters featuring one most impressive casts of the 2000s, inexplicably formed in the '90s: Steve Buscemi, Owen Wilson, Ben Affleck, Peter Stormare, Michael Clarke Duncan, the list goes on and on.

Miley Cyrus and John Travolta's characters in Bolt. Image: Disney

Bolt

Bolt is about a dog who stars as a hero on his own TV show, and who actually believes he's a hero. He then goes out into the world to realise he's anything but. The characters are also voiced by Miley Cyrus and John Travolta. In my defence, it has some great action scenes, strong emotions, and is a perfect example of a Disney Animation hitting their stride right before things really took off for them. This movie is highly underrated although it's very embarrassing to say so.

Trey Parker in Cannibal. Image: Troma

Cannibal the Musical

We all know movies that are so bad they are good. But what about movies that are so bad, you can't believe they actually exist? Cannibal the Musical is one of those. It was made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone when they were in university, and it absolutely feels like a student film. If you were watching it and someone walked in, you'd turn it off immediately. But the songs and storytelling, albeit crude, show all the genius potential they'd unleash in later years.

Big explosions in Cars 2. Image: Pixar

Cars 2

Read any ranking of Pixar films and it's likely Cars 2 is near the bottom. I get that. Compared to most of the other films -- and even the first Cars -- it's very straightforward and has almost no depth. But in my mind, Cars 2 is a badarse spy action movie, a sort of Pixar James Bond movie. No, it doesn't have the resonance of other Pixar films, but it's a hell of a lot of fun to watch. I agree it isn't Pixar's best but hey, their worst is still better than most.

Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in Cloud Atlas. Image: Warner Bros.

Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas is a movie many hate, but those few who like it really like it. But I freaking love it. I think it's a true masterpiece, a work of film perfection that should stand alongside the best films of Spielberg, Kubrick and Hitchcock. Obviously, most people wouldn't agree. Co-directors the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer somehow make a film that links multiple stories over multiple timelines, all with the same actors, work in perfect harmony. I maintain the film is a Swiss watch that you have to watch over and over again to fully appreciate.

Jason vs. Freddy in Freddy vs. Jason. Image: New Line

Jason X, Freddy vs. Jason and the 2009 Friday the 13th Reboot

I'm wrapping three films together here because to me, they work together in a very cool way. They also happen to largely get shit on by horror fans. I'm not a huge, huge horror fan by any means, but these three movies, in my mind, handle Jason the way I always want to see him. These films are so, so aware of what they are; they don't take things seriously and the payoff of Jason fighting Freddy was a transformative experience. I'd watch any of these movies over the rest of the franchise.

Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day. Image: 20th Century Fox

Independence Day

Again, this isn't one I'm alone on. Independence Day was a huge hit and has a lot of fans, but it's so cheesy and so stupid and oh God do I love it so much. I saw it in theatres four times when it came out in 1996. I saw it again before the horrible, horrible sequel. That's too much, but I have no regrets. I admire it as a singular piece of entertainment. The story is so big and sweeping that, massive flaws aside, you can't believe it's all in one movie. These days, this one movie would have been a trilogy, and that economy of storytelling really just still speaks to me. I still watch this film whenever it's on.

Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen in Jumper. Image: Fox

Jumper

If these were ranked, this would probably be the most embarrassing film on the list. I mean, it kind of sucks; even I know that. It stars Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson, for crying out loud. But if you try and ignore the mostly wooden performances, director Doug Liman does impress with the film's ultra fun concept, interesting action sequences, and plenty of dumb wish fulfillment. It's a movie you watch and think, "This is bad, but watching it kind of makes me wish I was in this world." And I'm OK with that.

Atom in Real Steel. Image: Dreamworks

Real Steel

I love sports movies. I love robot movies. Put them together and, of course, I love Real Steel. That makes me part of a pretty small club. Admittedly, for a film about robot boxing, it's incredibly melodramatic. But the effects are top-notch, as are the robot designs, and Hugh Jackman brings plenty of charm and star power to the film. It isn't Rocky, but to me it's the Rocky of robot boxing movies.

Jigsaw in Saw. Image: Lionsgate

Saw 2-7

So far there have been seven Saw films, and excepting the first movie, almost everyone hates them all. Which, again, I get, but I feel like that's because people are looking at them wrong. And maybe that makes me wrong, but here's my view: I don't think of Saw as a series of seven movies (with an eighth one on the way). I think of them as annual episodes of a long TV series. The way the films pick up exactly where the others left off, and sometimes fold up on each other, is just really great storytelling. Even if some of the "episodes" don't hold up individually, taken as a whole, it works. Parts 3 and 4 are my favourite, but I'm going to count all of the sequels as movies I probably shouldn't be admitting I like.

The stars of Sky High. Image: Disney

Sky High

On the surface, Sky High may look like an ultra-glossy, made-for-Disney Channel movie about teen superheroes. This is almost totally accurate, which is why it's been completely forgotten by the general populace, but it's actually quite good. Kurt Russell leads a great cast (including an early, awesome performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in what is basically a mash-up of The Incredibles and Harry Potter, which is just as fun as you could hope it would be.

Loki and Thor in Thor: The Dark World. Image: Disney

Thor: The Dark World

Much like my Cars 2 entry, if you look at any ranking of all the Marvel films, odds are Thor: The Dark World will be near the bottom of the list. And like Cars 2, I get that, but I also find the God of Thunder's second outing to be entertaining on every level. Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth have such great chemistry, obviously, and that alone makes this worth a watch. Plus, the set pieces are all majestic, it's so funny, and the giant final battle in London (and across the realms) works extremely well. Sure, the villain Malekith kind of stinks and compared to the other Marvel movies, it falters, but I still like Thor: The Dark World for its pure entertainment value.

Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt in Twister. Image: Warner Bros.

Twister

Like Armageddon and Independence Day before it, Twister is a movie with a lot of fans, but again, I love it to an embarrassing degree. Do those fans watch it every time it's on? Sing the Van Halen song featured in it? Quote the movie like Mystery Science Theatre 3000? Well, I do, and I'm only marginally afraid to admit it. Twister is just so freaking goofy. Everyone in it (with the exception of Philip Seymour Hoffman) doesn't seem to understand the tone, and that cluelessness works wonders. Plus, for the time, the effects are good and the music is constantly fantastic. It's just one of those pedal-to-the-metal action films, which is why it's still liked by many. I just like it way, way more.

Luke Edwards, Jenny Lewis and Fred Savage in The Wizard. Image: Universal

The Wizard

OK, so this isn't exactly sci-fi but it still totally fits. You don't say, "Hey, I love that weird one off Nintendo movie with Fred Savage," and get cool points most places, although some consider the movie a cult classic, if only for introducing the world to Super Mario Bros. 3. But I believe it's also a dramatic, almost uncomfortable tale of a broken family. For a feature-length Nintendo commercial, it has some real meat on its bones. Watching it these days makes me feel a little awkward, but that actually makes it much better of a movie. Plus, the main kids are great and all the video game scenes still rule.

This is just limited to movies in the fantasy/sci-fi wheelhouse -- this list would probably triple otherwise. So, what about you? What movies are you embarrassed to admit you love -- or love way too much? Don't let me be the only one going out on a limb here!


Comments

    Hmmm, I count 14 - seems we are missing seven.
    But I too confess to loving Jumper.

      I love my fair share of bad movies but to everyone, including the author of this article, jumper is right up there as one of the worst movies I've ever seen. It is truly terrible, i remember actually laughing in the cinemas because it was so bad

        It's been a long time since I've seen it, but I fucking loved it at the time. Were the performances really that wooden?

          I might be the odd one out then. I know bad movies and bad acting can sometimes end up being amazing.... haha but not this

      "Jason X, Freddy vs. Jason and the 2009 Friday the 13th Reboot" is three movies, "Saw 2-7" is six - so add seven more to the total!

    I find people tend to dislike movies more based on what actors people hate/mock. Tom Cruise is a great example - people hate/mock him, and thus are unable to watch any of his movies because they can't separate the real life actor from the character they're playing. Lost count of people I know that just refuse to watch Tom Cruise films because the guy seems to be a bit bonkers IRL. Which honestly shouldn't factor in - even if it is true. I take it all with a grain of salt because media loves to spin a narrative.

    Stuff like Oblivion, Minority Report, Edge of Tomorrow, even the MI films are actually a lot of fun. I enjoy watching him, and honestly couldn't care less what he does in real life, as long as he's not drowning puppies or punching random people left and right.

    Hayden Christensen is a similar deal - Episode 3 is actually one of my favorite Star Wars films. It's broken and just terrible in so many ways, but enjoyable in just as many. I honestly feel sorry for Hayden Christensen and think Ep3 basically killed his career. Sure his performance was far from Oscar-worthy, but goddamn - I don't think even Anthony Hopkins could've brought life to that god-awful script. George Lucas writes fucking terrible dialog. But HC was mocked and derided so hard for it, he probably couldn't have done anything else if he tried. Also, people just hated the prequels full stop, and he's lumped in with them for better or worse. I felt bad for him at this year's Star Wars celebration - he was so nervous about going because he was sure the crowd would boo him out. But it was great to see him up there with Ian McDiarmid, talking about Ep3. The crowd welcomed him just fine.

    Went off on a slight tangent, but it's interesting to observe what music/films people won't publicly acknowledge, but secretly love - simply because of what people might say. Sad, really.

      In my mind there are two of Tom Cruise...

      One is the actor who is pretty great in movies, the other is the guy who does all the public appearances and hype for actor Cruise and sometimes comes off like a lunatic.

        Yep, I'm the same. I love him simply because he makes some great movies. As for the Scientology and couch jumping and all that rubbish - who gives a shit? I don't give a toss what any of these people do in their spare time because I don't know any of them. As long as they make good movies I'll watch them.

          I give a shit that he runs around promoting a horrible even cult. Scientology is run by a calculating psychopath and Cruise is best friends with him.

          But yeah, I can separate that and enjoy movies he is in.

        Agree. Edge of Tomorrow was on the best movies I've seen in last 5 years and the rest of his movies are generally pretty good fun. Jack Reacher was a steaming pile of poop though!

      I don't mind Tom Cruise movies either. But Oblivion was weird. How it treated a clone as the same person. Minority Report was pretty cool. Edge of Tomorrow, they lost too much of the source material. They didn't even have the iconic umeboshi scene in the movie.

      I agree with so many of your comments. I love the actor Tom Cruise and have watch 95% of his work. He is one of my favourite actors. But his religion did big me for a while and I found it hard to seperate, but I've over come that. He just make fun films that I can't help but watch.

      As for Hayden and the prequels, agree. This guy has serious talent. But when you read up on the making of the prequels, you realise the actors only had hours to learn lines. George Lucas was rewriting and chopping scenes before, during and up until the editing process. I don't think he had a clear vision of how the prequels were going to play out, and it's visible on screen.

      But that's not to bash the films. I love the prequel trilogy and hold them as my Star Wars films. I grew up with them and love them to this day more than ever. Hayden is a talented actor who sadly was given wooden dialogue. Watch Life as a House or Shattered Glass. You'll see with great scripts, the guy can act.

      And Jumper is an enjoyable film. Not as good as the book, but always something I can throw on Netflix.

      I thought Hayden's performance in Ep3 was pretty good. Its Ep2 that was truly shameful.

      I'll have to see if I can find his appearance at SW Celebration, I must have missed that with all the Carrie tributes going around :(

        Yeah, Ep2 was pretty bad. Although he was basically playing a confused, whiny teenager.

        There was like a 5 minute sitdown with one of the hosts which was a little bit awkward, and another where he comes out and sits on the couch with Ian McDiarmid, who is wonderful. It was clear HC looked nervous/uncomfortable, and I heard somewhere that he confessed after he was terrified of being mocked or booed at the celebration. I felt really bad for him.

    I wouldn't call Thor 2 the worst Marvel movie at all. I thought it was quite good and much better than the first movie, which I thought really dragged in places.

      Same here. It might not quite be up there with Guardians of the Galaxy (style-wise) but I still thought it was a great mix of sci-fi and fantasy that the first didn't quite get right - it felt like it was trying too hard to just be an action film.

      Last edited 30/05/17 8:44 pm

      I really never understood the hate for Thor 2.

      I mean sure it wasn't like "Best movie ever!" but it was far from awful, and really seems to cop a remarkable amount of crap for reasons I apparently don't understand.

      I enjoyed it. The first Thor movie is the most awful thing in the MCU to date. It was barely a Thor film, it was a shameless Avengers prequel. He spend 3/4 of the movie powerless and doing cringey shit we're meant to laugh at, and Loki is a whiny brat.

      Then there's Thor's bleached eyebrows. The movie deserves everything it gets for that alone.

    I don't get why you are embarrassed to say you love these movies, it's not like you you put down the Twilight series or something.

    Please, Armageddon, Cloud Atlas, Independence Day and Twister are god-tier movies at least!

    Gotta agree on Cloud Atlas, amazing through many watches. It's my favorite movie but I'm not at all embarrassed to admit it.

    Also enjoy Jumper for the same reasons though that one does go on the embarrassed list.

      I loved Cloud Atlas way, way more than the book. I think it is an absolute blinder of a movie, and I normally struggle a bit with Tom Hanks.
      Bolt is really great too, had the weird experience with it of seeing it in NZ about 6 months before it came out anywhere else, and everyone kept wondering what this film I had obviously imagined was all about.

      The Wizard, oh man, that is a really, really heart wrenching film. It is amazing to watch as an adult if you saw it as a child, two completely different movies depending on your age viewing it.

      And Twister? I think I may have watched it more than anyone. I bought a DVD player in the US on a trip the year DVD came out. The only two moves available were Twister and some other terrible movie I can't remember.
      So we watched twister with DIGITAL SURROUND every time *anyone* came over to the house. The picture quality, effects and sound were incredible, when all anyone else had was VHS. We watched it in all the different languages just for the fascination of being able to.
      That movie still rocks.

        It is one of those rare cases where the movie feels much better than the book.

    Hey, Bolt is great and anyone who disagrees needs to assess the mistakes they've made in their life that have brought them to this point.

    Last edited 30/05/17 7:31 pm

    Why are you embarrassed to find something that brings you joy and entertainment? These days people are so wrapped up in need to only like everything things that are (apparently)perfect, it is annoying and quite frankly tiresome.

    It takes far more skill and maturity to find stuff you like in less than perfect things. When the world is seeming full of people who hate everything and can craft more perfect art from their armchairs, than the artists who do it as a career, you know the world has jumped the shark. Not the art/film/tv/games themselves.

    Give me a great B grade film, than an internet full of hater of Destiny, Batman V Superman (insert any other mass hated thing her). At least those things, in spite of their flaws offer me actually fun and entertainment and value for my money.

      Exactly, there are no such things as guilty pleasures in my world. Why would I try and stifle my enjoyment of something because of what someone else might think? They are almost always operating from a place of ignorance and insecurity if they attack it.

      Take music for example, I literally flew to Melbourne to see Taylor Swift live the last time she came to Australia. That was the only reason I went, I was a 25 year old man at the time. Why? Because her last album was awesome. There are so many people who go to the typical self-conscious / ignorant / insecure response when I tell them that but abort within 5 seconds once they see the comfort in which I admit that fact.

      Music is a massive part of my life, i'm confident that I know more about it as a listener than most people I will come across, and it's this knowledge that's freed me from the embarrassment lots of others might feel. I'm not trying to brag, I went through all the stages of pretentious and insufferable know-it-all-ism when it came to music, and my acceptance of all genres is a very recent development. I refused to listen to pop music, calling it trash, and taking pride in "not listening to the radio", but that lifestyle is not only exhausting, it's cutting you off from massive sections of a hobby / interest / artform you apparently love.

      "If i admit to liking this song, it might invalidate all my other favourite music tastes, I have a reputation to maintain!" is what I imagine goes through people's heads. But everyone forgets how cool they're trying to be when Call Me Maybe comes on at a wedding and everyone's drunkenly singing all the words. That human connection is what makes music worth listening to and enjoying with others, and it's not limited to any particular genre or the complexity of any given song.

      Don't be embarrassed about what you love.

        Well said, okay here it is; I am a middle aged man and I love playing minecraft. Even without mods.

          Minecraft being "for kids" is a recent phenomenon. The early adopters were all older people. It's a pretty age-neutral game I feel.

    Why print an article if you're so "embarrassed" by them? Cannibal, Real Steel are ace. Thor 2, Atlas and Jumper are okayyyyyyy - ish but the rest are serious dumpster fires. At least Independence Day is a bin fire I can laugh at. Sky High? Yeah you should be fkn embarrassed at that 1!

    Friday the 13th Reboot
    While the movie isn't amazing, I like it more than I do most of the series. Not to mention it has the best Jason hands down. I love how they changed him from this slow and lumbering oaf to a fast, intelligent (by Jason standards) killer. The intro where he is running full speed and lodges the machete into the dude's skull is fantastic at showing how brutal he is now.

    Freddy vs. Jason is a blast. I've never been a fan of the Friday the 13th series but I'm a huge Nightmare fan. FvJ is just a fun flick despite not being scary in the slightest and not really doing any favours for either character.

    I had a copy of Cannibal a long time ago and must've watched it a good dozen times over the years. It really is a shpadoinkle film.

    What's wrong with Thor 2? I thought it was a great movie

    I fucking love Armageddon. I don't care what anybody says, it's a fantastic sci fi / action movie with a great cast. Just leave your brain at the door and enjoy all the bright lights and loud noises and stupid one liners.

    Cloud Atlas I didn't like much but that may be because I'd just read and loved the book. I really need to give it another watch now that a few years have passed and try to judge it on its own merits.

    Jumper is great fun.

      Also, if your career crash and burns yet you wind up marrying Rachel Bilson, I am thinking you did ok.

        Didn't he choose to leave Hollywood to become a farmer or some shit?

        I'm pretty sure most people blame George Lucas for the shitshow that was episode 2 and 3 more than they blame Christensen anyway.

        Last edited 30/05/17 8:52 pm

          I agree that the prequels weren't his fault. Lucas himself has to take that one. However. Christensen is a bit of a poo actor. Jumper is a great movie though.

          I blame them both. Hayden Christensen has the acting talent of a plank of wood, he shouldn't have even applied for the role, let alone been cast.

    I wouldn't say I'm exactly embarrassed but these 2 definitely seem to go against the grain: Waterworld and The Postman. The second in particular, I am a huge fan of the post-apocalyptic genre so I did enjoy the book, but it wasn't exactly earth shattering; the film is far superior in my opinion. Perhaps it would have fared better with a different title.

    And seconded on Cloud Atlas and Independence day, another 2 of my favourites.

      I love waterworld despite the badly cut scenes of no wind suddenly being enough wind to put distance on power boats and 90's bad guys.

    Okay Twister and ID4 don't belong on this list. They were good movies.
    Freddy vs Jason was fun as hell, and I legitimately enjoyed the F13 reboot...

    Battleship immediately comes to mind when I see lists like this.

    Though I'm not embarrassed to admit I liked that, it was a fun movie with a level of quality to it I absolutely did not expect.

    Wow, Never realised that was hayden in Jumper. Great movie.

    You can never go wrong with 90's Bruckheimer. The Rock, Con Air, Enemy of the State...I could go on.

    Some of these were hugely successful in their time, but really require the forgiving lens of nostalgia to be enjoyed today.

    A personal favourite 'guilty pleasure' is Demolition Man. It's unintentionally hilarious throughout. In the opening scene Spartan (Stallone) jumps out of a chopper, inexplicably yelling "Phoenix!". I lose it every time.

    Then there's Mars Attacks, The Last Action Hero, Face Off, Under Siege, Starship Troopers, Broken Arrow, True Lies...I know what I'm doing this weekend!

      I don't know, I'd like to think Demolition Man knew exactly what they were doing. Then again, which is better? Intentionally hilarious, or unintentionally hilarious?

        Good point. Very possible Demolition Man was an ironic pastiche on the genre.

        Either way, it's an incredibly entertaining movie.

      I saw a pretty cool theory a few weeks back... Sean Connery in The Rock is playing James Bond... a spy, locked up by Americans, not recognised by either country... watch The Rock again with that in mind, its uncanny.

    Some good picks, I enjoyed Thor 2 and after the dust settled on that movie I was surprised to find that it's looked at so poorly. I guess if you're not team Loki the movie can be a drag ;)

    Thor 3 we can all agree looks amazing right?

    How has Jumper never made it as a franchise blows my mind, had so much potential.

    Cloud Atlas is brilliant, and some of the others you mentioned don't belong anywhere near this list.

    Actually I don't know if this movie deserves to be on this list but I think that Equilibrium is one of the best movies ever and most people I know love it. BUT I was watching it recently with my wife and she could not stop pointing out holes in it and I was thinking shut up stop picking holes in this epic movie but to be honest she was right, it has a lot of holes - does that make it a terrible movie?

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