Queen of My World thoughtfully shared her top 10 favorite cheesy films of all time, and when I rolled up my sleeves to let the typing fingers fly, I realized I had WAY more to say than would fit into comments. So in the spirit of generosity, I'd like to call your attention to my list of Top 10 Films You May Not Have Seen Yet But Really Should If You're At All Like Me (and who wouldn't want to be like me? Really? Wait--don't answer that.)
While my Netflix Ratings list indicates that I’ve five-starred well over a hundred and fifty films through the years, that list includes few that other people rarely admit to having seen—at least nowadays. Especially for the under-35 crowd that may not have been around to enjoy them the first time. While I could cover well worn ground with highly regarded favorites, in this post I instead hope to inspire you to slide a few of these less-famous gems into your queue, do a couple of shots (WARNING: in general, this step should not be considered optional), then settle in to enjoy. I’d love to hear back if you actually enjoyed them!
No. This is not the John Travolta schlockfest that some of us recall, hazily, from the late 70s, when his hair was still bigger than his ego. This is a film of transcendent ridiculosity, of jaw-dropping audacity, of heart-melting charm. Best of all, it’s Jake Gyllenhaal and Swoozie Kurtz having what looks to have been one hell of a good time. Rent it. Tell me you loved it. Please.
Clash of the Titans
Take me, Perseus! Take me now! Take me on Pegasus! Save me from all those horrible claymation baddies like the Kraken and…uh…wait, I knew this, but damn it, you have no shirt on, and Harry Hamlin, let me just say, you were HAWT in the day. You can chain me to your rock anytime, if you know what I mean (and I think you do).Meanwhile, ponder this: The goddesses spend an awful lot of time just standing around bickering, don’t they?
Casey Affleck is so ashamed of this turkey, it’s apparently the one film he’s ever done that he utterly refuses to talk about. Ever. Me, I laughed out loud, slapped my knee, snorted, snurfled, and thought it was brilliant and clever and just damned cute. If you do brave this film, you must understand that the Yugos are integral cast members.
Evil Dead II
OK, I concede that most everybody’s probably already seen this one, even if you’re a youngster. But really. The scenes with The Hand? CLASSIC.
Hal Hartley is one of my favorite off-the-grid writer/directors. Quirky dialogue, inventive, “I-have-no-idea-where-this-is-going” plots, slashing wit. He’s got my number and he dials it frequently. This one’s mostly going to appeal to literary types, grad-school survivors, and fans of (deeply) indie film. But when it was released, I fell into all three categories and saw it with enough others (also in all three categories) that we laughed until we gasped and wheezed. If you enjoy this one, do follow up with the sequel, Faye Grim.
In a Technicolor suburb, in a universe that looks much like this one in the 1950s, there used to be a zombie problem.
Until a megacorporation figured out how to domesticate the zombies with shock collars.
Today, every well-heeled keeping up with the neighbors must have a zombie. Timmy Robinson’s zombie, Fido, is Billy Connolly. (Have you placed it in your queue yet? How bout now? NOW?)
The Hudsucker Proxy
Tim Robbins has an idea! You know, for Kids! And the Coen Brothers go all fast-talking high-pants on us, creating a goofy, visually creamy-and-delicious world in which Jennifer Jason Leigh’s hard-bitten journalist-undercover-as-a-secretary is determined to get to the bottom of this new-kid-on-the-block, see, but she might just be falling in love with him… I know other Coen productions get more love, and I adore The Dude as much as anybody. But this one’s my Coen Comfort Food.
Return of The Killer Tomatoes
Go to the sequel. Go directly to the sequel. Do not pass Attack. Do not collect a headache for nothing. While the low-budget cult film that set the stage for this loopy joyride has its adherents, I much prefer watching a very young, chrysanthemum-headed George Clooney chew up the screen that he shares with a diminutive stuffed vegetable. Nice skewering of product placement, too.
I’ve seen this most excellent film has fans at OS already. Rob has already waxed poetic about its crowning achievement: the most absurd, drawn out, violent, hilarious alley fight scene. EVER.
Never before (and never since) has a film about a down-on-his-luck everyman with magic sunglasses managed so completely to savage our anaesthetized, consumer-lobotomized culture.
To quote Burt the Survivalist, portrayed with giddy glee by Family Ties’ Michael Gross:
Food for five years…
A thousand gallons of gas…
Underground God damn monsters!
Second best cheesy Kevin Bacon film in history (right after Footloose).
Honorable Mention in the Foreign Category: Les Visiteurs
Action and suspense fans likely know French hottie Jean Reno from his legendary turn in the English-language nail-biter, The Professional. He is a magnificent performer and I admit, I cry rivers when I catch that one, every time.
This film shows the man’s comedic chops. It was (inexplicably) remade in English, based in Chicago, and trust me—that version sucks and blows. But the original tale of a time-travelling medieval noble and his questionably faithful servant (Jackass--er, Jacquesse) slays me. Over and over again.