“All you need for a movie is a girl and a gun.”
Cinema, in its purest form, is full of artistry. Yet, Jean Luc-Godard’s timeless words ring true now more than ever. With a comprehensive cinematic canon filled with unwatchable garbage that couldn’t be further from art, films have tipped in favor of mindless entertainment and spectacle as opposed to meaningful representations of the world around us.
And yet, there’s something truly beautiful about the bad movies. If digested in limited quantities, joy can be found in indulging a horribly produced flick that stands in polar opposition to the medium’s proudest works. Explosions, campy dialogue, poor performances, car chases and outlandish plotlines are all ingredients for an entertaining evening.
Sometimes you just aren’t in the mood to watch the latest Terrence Malick film. Sometimes it’s been a long week, and you simply want to kick your feet up and lose yourself in the escapism of a movie that is so bad, you can’t help but love it. And that’s why we have compiled our list of the Top 25 Most Awesomely Bad Movies on Netflix Instant. Enjoy.
25. Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
Only a film directed by McG could don the title Full Throttle and expect to get away with it. Not surprisingly, it doesn’t, and the 2003 sequel to the reboot of the classic television show fails in nearly every category that normally make up, you know, good movies? Acting, plot, character—all gone. What we have left is an extended music video with lots of explosions and seemingly “written on the spot” dialogue. We expect more from you, Cameron Diaz…wait, do we?
24. A Night at the Roxbury
Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan did us the pleasure of bringing their infamous head-banging brothers from SNL to the silver screen and we need to thank them for it. Gracing us with lessons in the art of sex appeal and fail-safe pickup lines, you can learn a thing or two from the self-aware A Night at the Roxbury, which is not something we can say for a lot of the films on this list.
23. Tremors 2: Aftershocks
Though the sequel is one degree removed from Kevin Bacon, Tremors 2 is equally entertaining if you’re willing to support the fight against subterranean bloodthirsty worms. This addition finds Earl Basset south of the border and has no shortage of classic one-liners and memorable demises.
22. Earth Girls Are Easy
The quintessential ‘80s comedy, Earth Girls Are Easy not only shows the power of a great makeover by transforming three hairy aliens into totally hot guys, but also shows every guy that if an alien can pick up a girl, so too can they.
21. Reefer Madness
It’s time somebody set the record straight on marijuana. If you think for one second it’s a harmless drug used for fun, you’re wrong and are likely on the way to axe-murder your family. Think I’m joking? Check out this informational film for the real story.
20. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
“Things blow up, and it’s awesome”—unconfirmed page from the third act of the official Transformers: Dark of the Moon screenplay. Michael Bay, bless his soul, is the undeniable genius/master of his “craft” and should keep making Transformers movies until the day he dies. Perfectly suiting the director’s taste for the ‘loud’ and ‘bright’ and ‘confusing,’ Transformers: Dark of the Moon features robots, explosions, pretty girls and, just for good measure, outer space. Also, it will supposedly be Shia LaBeouf’s last film for a major studio…so, you know, you don’t want to miss that.
19. Maid in Manhattan
Jennifer Lopez sure is pretty, and she’s also a maid! How can a politician possibly fall in love with a woman working at a hotel? Hollywood has the answer, thanks to a freakishly adorable kid who helps introduce the odd couple. Watch in suspense to find out if love transcends social class. Also, why, Ralph Fiennes, why?
18. Party Monster
When you think ‘party,’ you think Macaulay Culkin and Seth Green. Unable to learn his lesson from the first time he got lost in New York, the perpetually baby-faced Culkin gets in way over his head amongst the world of drug dealing and partying. It’s also based on a true story… so there’s that.
17. Pootie Tang
Is Pootie Tang a ridiculous, surreal, subversive anti-comedy, or a flat-out terrible piece of trash? Uncomfortably walking the line between the two, the film goes far enough in both directions to provide, at the very least, a lazy afternoon worth of enjoyment. Adapted from a blaxploitation-satirizing sketch featured on The Chris Rock Show, Pootie is the coolest mutha-shutyourmouth in town, beating baddies with his belt, and refusing to speak a word of understandable English. Major bonus points for being written and directed by a yet-to-be famous Louis C.K. (yeah, really).—Zachary Philyaw
16. Look Who’s Talking Too
Even 80 minutes seems like an eternity for this John Travolta/Kirstie Alley vehicle, and to make it through the entire film is prize-worthy. What’s that, you say? Babies are always funny? Wrong. The gimmick of listening to babies’ inner monologues is just about as funny as ABC’s television series Wipeout. The first joke gets a laugh, the second gets no reaction and the third justifies taking action to make an abrupt end to your misery.
15. The Expendables
In what may be considered the ultimate “I bet my gun is bigger than yours, bro” movie of all time, nearly every aging action star appears on screen to relive their glory days in a massive collection of explosions and overly violent manly acts. With nearly too many stars to list, and a nearly invisible plot, The Expendables represents the atypical throwback action flick, and, in this writer’s opinion, one of the most subtle bromances of all time between Stallone and Statham.
14. Failure to Launch
In the totally realistic world of romantic comedies, Failure to Launch is the perfect movie to make even the most sinister of hearts believe in love. It’s totally realistic that you would fall in love with the person who lied to you for months and was hired by your parents to get you out of your house. And, obviously, any self-aware 35-year-old living at home is a catch, right? Well, that’s the case in this lovely little “romcom” starring Matthew McCaoughy and Sarah Jessica Parker. Failure to Launch lives up to its name… it seriously never gets off the ground. It has every cliché/over-the-top/everything-works-out-in-the-end situation imaginable, and really, that’s quite an accomplishment.—Laura Flood
13. Season of the Witch
2011’s Season of the Witch came during a period when Nic Cage was releasing atrocious movies at an astonishingly prolific clip…without anyone even noticing. Drive Angry? Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance? Seeking Justice? Trespass? Season of the Witch? These all came out in 2011? Was I the only one who mentally lumped them into a single amorphous blob of Nic Cage garbage that’s still growing at an alarming rate somewhere in the Pacific? Anyway, I’m not going to pretend I saw Season of the Witch or even heard of anyone seeing it, but I’ll never forget watching Cage blankly delivering lines about sorcery in the trailer like he was reading from cue cards.—Ryan Bort
12. Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor
Just when you thought the Kickboxer series was over the filmmakers delivered a roundhouse kick to the face for such blasphemous assumptions and produced a fourth installment. Our hero (David Sloan) finds himself in jail for a murder he didn’t commit. And, to make matters even worse, his wife has become a sexual slave. Talk about a double-bummer! Sloan reaches a deal with authorities to earn his freedom by kicking two birds with one stone and leading them to the evil Tong Po’s hideout where his wife is being held captive.
11. Freedom Writers
The blending of various cultures and nationalities is what makes America great, but it can also be the cause of extreme instances of hatred and violence. Fortunately Freedom Writers reminds us that white people have the answer to every problem, including situations they might not fully understand. Enter Hilary Swank, who uses the power of writing to end violence between races—and she does it all in a semester!
10. Demolition Man
Released in 1993, Demolition Man kicks off in 1996, asking audiences to believe that a sophisticated system of cryogenically freezing prisoners had been developed in a span of three years. Is this something we thought science was on the verge of in the early ‘90s? Regardless, the bulk of the movie takes place in 2032, where Sly Stallone and Wesley Snipes (playing Simon Phoenix, a psychopathic criminal with a bleached faux-hawk) go head-to-head in a battle to demolish each other, whatever stands in their way and their acting careers.—Ryan Bort
9. The One
In a film who’s title and visual concept could not have possibly derived from any other pop-culture phenomenon (cough, The Matrix, cough), James Wong’s The One combines parallel universes with martial arts for a unnecessarily complicated flick. Jet Li portrays a renegade agent traveling between universes and killing versions of himself to gain super-human strength. As a result, we must send Jason Statham to help the last remaining counterpoint to stop him from becoming the “one” and only version across all universes, because then he might become, like, a God…or something.
8. The Last Airbender
The worst nightmares of the fans of the well-written and gorgeously animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender may have been realized in M. Night Shayamalan’s 2010 simplified and visually unimpressive adaptation. Criticized by fans for not staying true to the original program through plot changes and character omissions, not even the casual filmgoer seems to be fooled by Shayamalan’s flashy effects that shockingly fail to conjure up a plot.
7. Hard Target
Jean-Claude Van Damme, in a mullet, with a plaid shirt tucked into his jeans, is all you need to know about the fabulous adventure from the mind of John Woo. This movie is not for the soft of heart, bro. It takes all of the things about movies that make them boring like emotion and character and replaces them with explosions, car chases and roundhouses; so many roundhouses.
6. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead
You may be able to guess what you’re in for before you even sit down to watch a film titled Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. But, in case you still need some convincing (or you still somehow unsure as to what the film is about) Poultrygeist tells the harrowing tale of a fast-food chicken franchise built on sacred Native American burial grounds. What is the result? Why, zombie chickens, of course. Enjoy.
5. Battlefield Earth
Who knew that this wouldn’t actually turn out to be the low point for John Travolta? And, no, the actual low point I’m referring to has nothing to do with seedy massage parlors (it’s this). 2000’s Battlefield Earth was one of the rare movies that was so bad that it actually got a good deal of national attention for being as splendidly horrific as it was. The fact that it was adapted from an L. Ron Hubbard book probably didn’t help its cause. Was Travolta trying to bring people into Scientology or scare them away?—Ryan Bort
“I’d like to take his face…off.” Yes, the pinnacle of American action cinema is available for your viewing pleasure in the form of John Woo’s iconic Face/Off, with awesomely bad mainstays Nicolas Cage and John Travolta in the leads. Sean Archer, FBI agent and family man, undergoes advanced plastic surgery that gives him the face of his arch nemesis, the comatose terrorist Caster Troy. However, Troy soon awakens and forces scientists to grant him the face of Archer. What follows is an unbearably entertaining display of action sequences and one-liners that promises to be worth your time.
3. Leprechaun 5: In the Hood
The fifth installment of the Leprechaun horror franchise manages to answer one of the most pressing questions raised by its predecessors: Can leprechauns rap? Well, my friend, indeed they can. Murderous Leprechaun finds himself awakened in the ‘hood by a group of blossoming rappers and proceeds to wreak havoc upon them. Also, Coolio co-stars.
2. Vampire’s Kiss
Nicolas Cage delivers one of the finest performances ever captured on film. I mean, just look at the depth of expression on this face.
1. Troll 2
Perhaps the epitome of early ‘90s horror, Troll 2 offers a delightful display of acting and gore at its finest. The night before departing for the dream-like vacation destination of remote farming community called Nilbog, little Joshua Watts is visited by the ghost of his grandfather who warns him about goblins living in the area. Apparently, these goblins turn people into human-plants so that they can eat them. Will Joshua survive? And, perhaps more importantly, how come goblins are scary but creepy ghosts of dead relatives are not?