Here at Gizmodo Australia, we’re big believers in ‘fun’ movies. A movie doesn’t have to be good to be enjoyable, and some of the worst movies are the most entertaining. What defines a good-bad movie is mostly subjective, but generally one of the following elements is present: a bad plot, awful scripting, terrible performances or bad CGI. These elements combine to form a movie that somehow, miraculously, is great.
There’s been many examples of fun good-bad movies over the past few decades, but these are the cream of the crop. Here’s Gizmodo Australia’s picks for the best good-bad movies around.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
You could ask yourself why Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter exists, but I think it’s more important to ask the question: why not? This film charts the ‘secret’ history of Abraham Lincoln as an underground vampire hunter going after the vampire who killed his mother (said vampire happens to be played by the delightful and underrated Rufus Sewell).
It’s very campy and at times it’s a bit dour, but it’s fantastic entertainment all the same. Dominic Cooper is also having so much fan as vampire Henry Sturges it’s worth watching the movie just for him.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a much better good-bad movie than it has any right to be.
The reaction against Twilight was harsh and swift in the late 2000s, but it’s important to recognise a lot of the scrutiny placed on the movie was a product of it being a fantasy movie purely for straight women. It’s rare for movies to target women alone and Twilight has an important place in the pantheon of cinema for that reason.
But really, it’s just silly good fun. A super fast vampire who shimmers in the sun? Hell yeah, why not. A budding (slightly creepy) romance with an ancient vampire? We’re into it. Robert Pattinson doing a terrible impression of acting? Absolutely.
Twilight is ridiculous and over-the-top, but that’s exactly why we love it. It’s pure good-bad movie and that’s just fine with us.
D.E.B.S. is an action-comedy spy flick about four young women recruited to join D.E.B.S., a spy agency which stands for Discipline, Energy, Beauty and Strength. It’s a silly film (and you can see just how silly in the image above) but it’s also very charming and perfectly early 2000s.
In addition to having an excellent, diverse cast, it also features a heart-warming lesbian romance long before featuring LGBTQIA+ representation was mainstream in cinema. It’s delightful, very quirky and holds up extremely well in 2020, even when it’s very camp.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
Someone at 20th Century Fox really loves bad movies, and we can’t thank them enough for it.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has been panned by comic fans and critics alike for being a terrible movie, but if you squint, it’s actually a very good-bad movie. It has all the elements of a typical early 2000s supernatural horror movie: vampires, monsters and James Moriarty, from the Sherlock Holmes novels. Yes.
It’s a big team-up movie with major literary characters like Mina Harker from Dracula, Dorian Gray and Dr. Jekyll. Also, there’s explosions and romance aplenty. It’s wicked fun and an absolute delight, no matter what the critics say.
Click is a typical Adam Sandler movie, and you probably know what that entails — or do you?
Audiences who filed in to see Click in theatres expected a typical Adam Sandler man-child comedy. What they got instead was a rumination on the importance of maintaining relationships and being there for your family. Fair warning, this movie will have you absolutely bawling your eyes out. It’s a comedy, but it’s also deeply emotional, surprisingly well-told (beyond the odd fart or dick joke) and there’s plenty of reasons to love it.
Click is a low key masterpiece in narrative storytelling.
Elizabethtown is a romantic comedy about life and death. While it’s awfully cheesy and very shallow, it’s absolutely fun and easy to lose yourself in. This is actually the film that helped coin the phrase ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ because Kirsten Dunst’s Claire Coburn so closely resembled a male fantasy of a woman, rather than a real-life one, thanks to surface-level writing.
Still, it’s very sweet even when it’s silly. If you don’t like the movie, just look into Orlando Bloom’s eyes the whole time instead. They’re totally dreamy.
Flubber is a Robin Williams-led film about a scientist who accidentally creates a sentient blob of goo called ‘Flubber’. It’s up to said blob of goo to save the day, and the scientist’s marriage. There’s some typical late ’90s antics, very questionable CGI and a loveable Robin Williams doing what he does best. What more could you want from a film?
While it’s not ‘good’ by any stretch of the imagination, many of us watched Flubber growing up and it’ll always have a special place in our hearts.
Flubber is available on Disney+ if you want to relive this wacky childhood adventure.
Batman Forever (1995)
Batman Forever is the OG good-bad movie. It’s ridiculous, over-the-top and very fun. In fact, if you don’t like this movie, you genuinely hate fun. It’s good, it’s bad and it’s wonderful.
Rather than the usual grim-dark Batman affair, Batman Forever is an explosion of colour and wacky performances. Jim Carrey is in a league of his own (as usual) and he’s joined by a delightfully ghoulish Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face. There’s awful performances all around, and the movie is much better for it.
This is the kind of movie where you can sit back and just let yourself be taken on a ride. If you do, you’re in for a wild time.
Good-bad movies are an absolute joy. Forget what the critics say. Dive into any of these glorious trainwrecks and you’re in for a fantastic time.