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‘Really Bad' Movies That Are Really Good

I like to make fun of my sister for her taste in movies a lot because she doesn’t really have one. My sister has liked almost every movie she has ever seen and talks about How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days like it’s Casablanca. However, there is something to be said for movies that by many standards would be considered “bad” but are actually, in my humble opinion, some of the best hours ever captured on film. Here are four of my personal favorites — It might not be coincidence that as a 90s kid, most of these are from that decade.

Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead (1992)

Oh, man. I couldn’t even tell you how many times I watched this movie as a kid. I just loved it. What’ s not to love, really? Sue Ellen (Christina Applegate) and her siblings are left home with an elderly baby-sitter when their mother goes away, much to their chagrin. She quickly passes away, leaving the kids to their own devices — Sue Ellen eventually realizes that there is no way for them to survive all summer so she lies her way into a job at a fashion retailer, quickly becoming their newest star. Little does she know that in the meantime the kids are spending all of her petty cash on new televisions and diamond rings. She hatches a plan to make it all back by launching a new line and holding the fashion show at her house — all hell breaks loose when a bitchy employee (who also happens to be her crush’s sister) outs her to the entire company as a mere teenager and her mother comes home from her trip early. Add a run-in with some drag queens dressed as Marylin Monroe and Liza Minelli who steal their car and, a neurotic boss and Sue Ellen’s incredible 90s wardrobe and I am hooked on this film for life. “I’m right on top of that, Rose!”

Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)

One of my favorite movies ever. Seriously. I have never seen an episode of the television show and I honestly don’t ever plan to. This is the movie that started it all … and it’s amazing. The show was for dorks (not that I have anything against dorks, but the fact that most people who were obsessed with the show have never even seen the movie just does not sit well with me.) Buffy (Kristy Swanson) is an air-headed Valley girl who cares about nothing but clothes, cheer-leading and making out with her boyfriend — until a mysterious man named Merrick (Donald Sutherland) finds her and reveals that she is destined to be a vampire slayer and defeat the vampire lord named Lothos. She soon meets Pike, (my lifelong crush Luke Perry) the gorgeous guy from the wrong side of the tracks who helps her on her journey to vampire ass kicker extraordinaire and then rides her off into the sunrise on his motorcycle. On top of the obviously epic storyline, there are more hilarious one-liners in this film than you can imagine — some of my favorites “Get out of my facial”, “All I want to do is graduate high school, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater and die” and “Are you addressing I?” Also, Hilary Swank is a total scene stealer in one of her first roles and you can also catch a quick glimpse of a young Ben Affleck as a basketball player. There’s also a pretty stellar soundtrack, good clothes and incredibly bad cheer-leading routines with catchy cheers.

For Keeps (1988)

Hello, completely underrated post-Brat Pack Molly Ringwald film. Darcy, an editor at her school’s paper who is looking forward to a career in journalism and her boyfriend Stan who is heading to college to study architecture find themselves dealing with real life a lot sooner than they anticipated when Darcy finds out she’s pregnant. Their parents don’t support their decisions to stay together and raise their baby, so they move out on their own and find themselves wading through Darcy’s postpartum depression, their lack of funds and mostly, the pain that comes from giving up on their dreams. Watching this loveable duo navigate their way through the end of high school with a baby on their hips is actually really endearing and for 1988, this topic was a few years off from being everywhere like it is now, so it was really unexplored issue that I think was dealt with really realistically but also sweetly. Plus, Stan (played by Randall Batinkoff, who is also Buffy’s boyfriend!) is super adorable in this film. One of the most memorable moments is definitely a pregnant Darcy at the prom.

Sleeping With the Enemy (1991)
I am quite the fan of Julia’s early work and this film is no exception. Laura lives in near seclusion with her obsessive compulsive and abusive husband until she fakes her own death at sea to get away from him and start her life anew in a small town near her ailing mother. She cuts her hair, changes her name, meets her cute curly-haired neighbor, takes a job at the library and gets to visit her mom (although disguised as a man, in case her husband is lurking about). A phone call alerts Martin to the fact that Laura may still be alive and he begins to search for her. Enter lots of near misses and panicked scenes along with cute visions of new love between Laura and Ben, who is an acting teacher — one memorable moment shows Laura trying on various costumes in the the theater of Ben’s school set to “Brown Eyed Girl.” The last fifteen minutes of the movie are probably the best, real at the edge of your seat stuff. Julia’s big curly early 90s hair and megawatt smile are still at their best here. Can’t miss it.

What are some of your favorite “bad” good movies? I’d love to hear about them! Happy movie night!

You can read more from Kerri on her Twitter.

Image 1 and 2 via The fan carpet. Image 3 via New York Times.Feature image via photobucket.

  • Melissa Rae Brown

    dishes are done, man!

  • Megan Miolla

    I love Dont tell mom the babysitter is dead! I watched it so much growing up!

  • Melissa Bobbitt

    Super Mario Bros.! It was fun and dumb, and Dennis Hopper was at his over-the-top best!

  • Penelope Dawn

    YES I love you. I have loved Don’t Tell Mom the Baby-sitter’s Dead for AGES. And as a HUGE Buffy (the show) fan, I really like the movie too.

    For Keeps! “Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there lived a grand-mal seizure.”

    I just love the second Ace Ventura movie. My husband makes fun of me endlessly.

  • Zelina Garza

    love those movies. 90’s FTW

  • Nicole Hellings

    Teen Witch…top that.

    • Nichole Trone

      COMPLETELY! I loved this movie and had forgotten about it!

  • Rain Zebrowski Lindaman

    Adventures in Babysitting is still one of my favorites and features Keith from Don’t Tell Mom as the older brother, who has a massive crush on Elizabeth Shue’s Chris.

  • Melissa Hestand

    OMG “Top that” love it!

    My Boyfriends Back and Untamed Heart played over and over on my VCR.

  • Emily Dubinsky

    This is amazing.

  • Vicki Robinson

    Pump up the Volume and Kuffs. All I wanted to do when I was in high school was marry Christian Slater and die!

  • Calette Trujillo

    Teen Witch and clueless and cutting edge and untamed hearts and you have compilied a list of my favorite movies of all time!

  • Corey Bourbonniere

    whoaaa.. i love the buffy movie too, but it doesn’t compare to the show!! i like the movie because of how horrible it was but the whole reason it failed was cause you can’t fit joss whedon’s vision into a 90 minute movie. and i probably sound exactly like the dorks you were talking about, but there’s no buffy like sarah michelle gellar.

  • Joanna Boese

    Both “Mannequin” films. :)

  • Shannon Esman

    My boyfriends back is one of my favs!

  • Zoë LeDuc

    every lifetime movie ever made

  • Shandra Goldfinger

    Gone in 60 Seconds, A Knight’s Tale, Stick It.

  • Tasha Collins Martin

    Teen Witch: Frumpy Louise discovers she’s a witch and turns herself into a Debbie-Gibson-Tiffany-mash-up to snag her dream guy.

    Newsies: Christian Bale saving the day Disney-style with a good song and dance.

    Pump Up the Volume: 1990s Christian Slater and a little Damn-the-Man.

    Better Off Dead: John Cusack, a suicidal paperboy, and a singing hamburger.

    Can’t Buy Me Love & Loverboy: McDreamy whoring himself out.

    Secret Admirer & Lovelines : Movies I never should have been allowed to watch at that age. Lovelines borrows from Romeo & Juliet, adds some music, and a bit of raunch. Secret Admirer follows after the story of Cyrano de Bergerac. Toni loves Michael, who loves Deborah, who’s dating Steve. Michael writes Deborah a love note and asks Toni to deliver it. Toni reads it, realizes it’s horrible, and rewrites it. Somehow it ends up in a mom’s purse, and then the confusion really sets in.

    Dream a Little Dream (1989): Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, and a plot I still don’t understand.

    • Penelope Dawn

      Dream a Little Dream! Totes.

    • Jessica Freiholtz-Van Vleet

      Teen Witch. I always sing, “Top that, top that! I don’t give a — bout tryin’ to top that!”

  • Cija A. Jefferson

    Why am I actually watching ‘don’t tell mom the babysitter’s dead’ as we speak, random coincidence, online and HBO on in background when this movie came on…saw this in the movies!

    • Cija A. Jefferson

      I meant as I write this not as we speak, smh!

  • Alycia Lourim

    I concur — esp don’t tell mom the babysitters dead such a classic!!!

  • Mylène Chouinard

    I just have to say it : I’m a Buffy fan. The television show is wonderful and touching, the characters are lovely : everything is perfect about it. That being said : I’ve seen the movie, and I liked it. It totally deserves to be on that list : it’s quite a “bad” movie according to everybody, but I’ve seen it many times… and I own it in VHS and DVD, because I’m that kind of girl! :p

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