Forget “Sharknado 2.” Movies that try to be bad on purpose will never have the magic of movies that are accidentally terrible and still eminently watchable. As a connoisseur of so-bad-it’s-good cinema, here are my all-time favorites, from low-budget clunkers to ill-advised Hollywood projects.
Edges the Guy Ritchie/Madonna vehicle “Swept Away” for the worst celebrity couple vanity project, as Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez (aka “Bennifer”) star as a hit man (with a heart of gold!) and a (lesbian!) criminal who are brought together by the kidnapping of a (mentally challenged!) young man. So many bad ideas in one movie!
9. “Battlefield Earth”
Noted Scientologist John Travolta championed this adaptation of an L. Ron Hubbard novel in this big-budget flop of unintentionally funny proportions. Come for the baffling plot, stay for the endless use of “Dutch angles” (there’s not a single level shot in the movie).
8. “Plan 9 from Outer Space”
Ed Wood’s most infamous movie is as enjoyable for its badness as it is for its earnestness.
7. “Blown Away”
Here’s an underappreciated gem of bad cinema. This 1992 sex thriller stars Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and “Charles in Charge” star Nicole Eggart with all three stars going out of their way to lose their onscreen innocence. Warning: The sight of a thrusting Corey Feldman is not for the squeamish.
You can keep your sharks out of my tornadoes, thank you very much. Yes, it had cool effects (for 1996), but the enjoyment now lies in how ridiculous the plot is (good indie tornado researchers vs. bad corporate tornado researchers) and the fact that Philip Seymour Hoffman was part of the cast. One of my favorite guilty pleasures, this one. And, yes, it’s bad.
It’s easy to forget that “Showgirls” was ever supposed to be taken seriously, but it was the first major studio movie released with an NC-17 rating. “Saved by the Bell” star Elizabeth Berkley violently thrashing in a pool with Kyle MacLachlan is in the running for least sexy sex scene ever.
4. “Miami Connection”
This rediscovered 1987 movie about a martial arts rock band fighting a gang of drug-lord motorcycle ninjas got a theatrical release as a good-bad movie.
3. “Birdemic: Shock and Terror”
The touching story of an internet billionaire and a Victoria’s Secret model whose budding romance is thwarted by random outbursts of murderous birds will teach you the importance of editing, special effects and proper sound recording.
2. “Troll 2”
The fact that it wasn’t actually a sequel to “Troll” is one of many, many mysteries of “Troll 2,” the subject of the excellent documentary “Best Worst Movie.” It’s cult status is probably only bested by my No. 1 …
1. “The Room”
Writer/director/star Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room” is truly the “Citizen Kane” of bad cinema. It’s rare that a movie can be so incoherent, feature eye-searing sex scenes and be so re-watchable. (See: monthly midnight screenings at the Drexel.)