Guilty As Charged: Films You Hate to Admit You Love

Let’s be honest. We are all quick to admit that there are films that we all like that are considered to be masterpieces by the general population. Most are quick to agree that The Godfather is a great film or that Pulp Fiction is awesome. Many people will stick to films that are on “most popular” lists on websites like IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes when discussing their favorite films.

So what about the films that many are embarrassed to admit liking? What about those films that you find on television channels like TNT or TBS and find it difficult to stop watching? As a person who absolutely adores movies, it’s not too hard for this writer to find enjoyment in viewing just about any film, even the bad ones; even the ones that I’m not supposed to enjoy due to my gender (there’s a possibility I have a soft spot for “chick flicks”) or a film that is supposed to be flat-out awful (this may be explained later in the upcoming list).

Yes, there are certainly exceptions out there that I just can’t stand (cough… Transformers 2… cough, cough), but there are so many good things about movies that it’s easy to forgive such atrocities and learn to love the good and the bad. So what are some of the films that I’m thinking of? Let’s make a list! (note: there’s a decent chance I humiliate myself with this).

A few more quick notes for qualifiers on this list. I’m not saying all these films are bad. I’m most certainly not saying all these films are good. I’m also disqualifying films like Plan 9 from Outer Space and Troll 2 if for no other reason that they’ve been discussed too much and also I don’t randomly come across those movies very often on TV. For the purposes of this “guilty pleasure” list I’m defining the term as a film I would have trouble not watching if I happen to stumble upon it while channel surfing or checking out what’s available on my favorite streaming service. Also this is not a ranking of these films, simply a list.

19. Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect

A new entry to this list, Pitch Perfect was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2012 and there is absolutely no way anyone should be intrigued by a movie about an a capella competition. With a cast lead by Anna Kendrick, this movie is a feel good film and is legitimately funny and enjoyable. It’s basically the a capella version of Bring It On. Speaking of which…

18. Bring It On

Bring It On

Another movie about a subject very few should be interested in watching a film about, Bring It On was a fairly massive hit back in the year 2000, and there good reason for it. The movie is one that is often mocked and has been duplicated a countless number of times. While this movie may be silly, cheesy and quite stupid, it is still highly entertaining, and I’m not going to be too hard on the endless run of complete crap (in all likelihood) in the straight-to-DVD sequels.

17. Showgirls


Oh Showgirls. This is the first truly terrible, awful, no good movie in this particular bunch. This movie has recently been getting some run on one of the premium channels (I can’t remember which one but my money would be on Cinemax) and I’m tempted every time to tune in because the experience is so fantastically awful. While watching Jessie from Saved By the Bell throw her career away may be sad, the film is just too horrifyingly entertaining to turn away from.

16. Clueless


Teen high school films may be the most susceptible types of films to lists like these and Clueless will not be the last of this genre to appear here. This also won’t be the last time a movie with Alicia Silverstone will show up. Clueless is an earlier example of the wave of teen comedies that came out trying to emulate John Hughes films and making high schoolers way smarter than they actually are in real life. It’s also fascinating to watch the early part of Paul Rudd and Brittany Murphy’s careers.

15. Mean Girls

Mean Girls

Out of all of the movies that will appear on this list I think this is the one that all will agree with whether they want to admit it or not. Not only is this a movie that many will not want to admit in liking, the fact is that this is actually a very good movie, and is brought to life by the writing of Tina Fey.

14. Blast from the Past

Blast from the Past

I remember watching this movie quite often when it was being aired on TBS about every day for 5 straight years (yes, I’m exaggerating). The second, and still not the last, movie on this list with Alicia Silverstone has too many likable things in it to hate it too much.

13. Wanted


I know some people who vehemently disagree with my opinion that this James McAvoy/Angelina Jolie sci-fi action film was one of the better movies to actually be released in 2008. I can’t help but feel bad about liking a movie in which people can make bullets curve and strings of fate determine when someone will be assassinated (At least I think that’s what happened. I haven’t actually seen this movie for awhile).

12. The Rock/Armageddon aka the Michael Bay Essentials

Michael Bay

There’s not really much to say about these two films. They’re both members of the Criterion Collection and are perfect examples of American blockbuster cinema. Also… Nicolas Cage.

11. 10 Things I Hate About You

10 Things I Hate About You

This teen high school telling of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Julia Stiles, and the late Heath Ledger. It’s a heartfelt effort and its an enjoyable experience.

10. She’s Out of My League

Shes out of my league

I know this isn’t a very good movie but the combination of the ultra-likable Jay Baruchel and the fact that there’s plenty of Hall & Oates cover band action gets me every time.

9. Easy A

Easy A

This is basically the same movie as Mean Girls except it stars an actress whose career hasn’t resulted in starring as Liz Taylor in a Lifetime movie. It also helps that this movie is smart, funny, and is very self aware of exactly what it is. Plus, Emma Stone stars in it. And also… Emma Stone stars in it.

8. Face/Off

Face Off

Nicolas Cage switches faces with John Travolta… Do I really need to say more?

7. Joe Dirt

Joe Dirt

Everything in this movie pretty much sucks, but there’s something about watching David Spade play dumb in a ridiculously exaggerated mullet that keeps my attention.

6. 13 Going On 30

13 Going On 30

The story isn’t very original, but Jennifer Garner brings a wonderfully charming and adorable performance to the screen and Mark Ruffalo is busy doing Mark Ruffalo things. This film could very likely be considered as another formulaic romantic comedy, but it’s certainly one of the more enjoyable formulaic romantic comedies out there.

5. Batman Forever/Batman & Robin aka those crappy Batman Movies

Batman and Robin

These two Joel Schumacher-directed episodes of the Batman franchise almost play as parodies of the series, with virtually all of the performers hamming it up as much as possible. In Batman Forever Jim Carrey over-acts, even by Jim Carrey standards and Val Kilmer is the opposite of charismatic. Batman & Robin introduces… Drumroll please… Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl and Arnold Schwarzenegger was somehow cast as Mr. Freeze. There is actually a scene in which it is demonstrated that the bat suit comes equipped with blades that pop out of the boots for ice skating purposes (someone please notify me if that’s actually correct because that does not sound real now that I think about it). There’s probably more I could talk about regarding these films but I’m really starting to ramble so I’ll move on.

4. The Sweetest Thing

The Sweetest Thing

I have no explanation for this one. There’s a good chance this is one of those movies that tries to empower women but ends up making them look like idiots instead. I can’t say I’m a very good authority on that subject though.

3. Street Fighter

Street Fighter 1994

For those who never really got into video games or Jean-Claude Van Damme movies as a kid, this movie is definitely not for you. There are some pretty bad movies based off video games out there, but this one takes the cake. It’s just amazing.

2. The Happening

The Happening

I can’t remember the last time I laughed as hard at a movie as when I first saw The Happening. That may seem harsh to say about a movie in which many people suffer brutal deaths but… come on! The following is a quote from the movie spoken by the Elliot Moore character played by Mark Wahlberg:

“You know that everyone gives off energy, right? It’s scientifically proven. They got these cameras that can record what color you are when you’re feeling different things. People that are angry give off a different color than people that are sad. See this ring? This ring can supposedly tell you what you’re feeling. Let’s see what you’re feeling right now.”

Seriously? The dialogue alone in The Happening is enough to provide quite a few laughs. Just go to IMDB and check out some of the quotes and you will not be disappointed.

1. Point Break

Point Break

And last we have what may be the ultimate guilty pleasure film in which Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), former college football star turned FBI agent, learns to surf in order to catch the infamous bank robbers lead by Bodhi (Patrick Swayze).

So there you have it; a list of a bunch of movies that are very easy to get sucked into and when you get caught watching them by a friend you’ll likely say you were just about to change the channel. If there are any other films that you feel would fit in this list feel free to share.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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I'm Kevin Licht, a graduate from the University of Missouri with a bachelor's degree in English and a minor emphasis in Film Studies. When I'm not working I watch and write

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  1. David Tatlow

    Great idea. I enjoyed this, and agree with several (Mean Girls, 10 Things, Joe Dirt).

    I’d have no qualms with saying that Face/Off is great fun, nothing guilty in loving that film for me, no matter how ridiculous the whole thing is.

    Thanks for a good read!

  2. Brandon Somma

    Dude… LOVED Pitch Perfect.

  3. Why is Face/Off on that list? It’s not a guilty pleasure for me as I have no shame in admitting that it’s great =)

  4. Claire Macallister

    I could watch Mean Girls for the rest of my life and never admit to feeling shamed. Same notion applies to Pitch Perfect and 10 Things I Hate About You. Although, I agree with Point Break and The Happening!

  5. I don’t think anyone would be ashamed of liking Point Break. Now Roadhouse maybe. Point Break. Hell no!

  6. I would tend to believe that Fight club should not be on this list because there is a more depth than immediately apparent from the action scenes but I can broadly agree to everything else.

  7. The assessment for number 8 is totally ineffective.

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