The Decade: Perri's Top 10 Guilty Pleasures Of The Aughts

By Perri Nemiroff 2009-11-25 15:56:18discussion comments
Successful filmmaking isnít always about quality. Sometimes the most entertaining film can be, well, pure crap. They fail for every reason in the book - lack of character development, an obscure plot, pure illogicality Ė but manage to creep their way into your life anyway, nestling in comfortably and resonating throughout the years. Whether youíre passing the time on a rainy day or looking for a release after a stressful day at work, itís not the Oscar winners used to fill the void; itís guilty pleasure. Donít get too wrapped up in the pleasure part; thereís also the guilt factor. These are the films youíre completely self-conscious about watching time and time again. The films with titles you mumble when telling a friend what youíre up to, the films that make you blush when someone walks into the room and gets a glimpse at whatís on the TV. That being said, as you read my list of the top guilty pleasures of the decade, Iím blushing and utterly embarrassed. But I'm betting you're right there with me.


Before vampires looked like Robert Pattinson they looked like Ö Gerard Butler. Okay, so the whole gorgeous bloodsucker thing is nothing new, but in Dracula 2000 thereís certainly no such thing as a vegetarian vampire. So, weíve got our vampire, now letís add some modestly famous actors: Jonny Lee Miller, Jeri Ryan, Jennifer Esposito, Omar Epps and Colleen Fitzpatrick. Yes, that would be Colleen Fitzpatrick, better known as the singer Vitamin C, and no, she doesnít sing ďGraduationĒ in the movie. It all comes down to simple math: Pretty Faces + Fangs Ė Necessity of Brainpower = Addiction.


Sean William Scott could be the king of guilty pleasure films. Really, anything heís been in could be on this list. Thereís Road Trip, American Pie 2, Dude Whereís My Car?, Old School and a handful of others, but none strike a chord quite like Evolution. Itís got the David Duchovny-Orlando Jones tag team, creepy creatures, loads of slime and lines like ďGive me back my friend, you big sphincter!Ē Scott isnít the only part of Evolution with guilty pleasure juice flowing in his veins. If director Ivan Reitman had made Six Days Seven Nights within this decade, heíd be getting double honors.


Pearl Harbor takes one the countryís most painful memories, infuses it with attractive stars, a love story and every war movie clichť in existence and tries to pass it off as an epic cinematic experience? Well, okay. Insulting exploitation aside, Pearl Harbor is like a conglomeration of all the greats. Why spend over ten hours watching Saving Private Ryan, Titanic, Top Gun and Armageddon when you can get a little of each in the three hours of Pearl Harbor? That's as far from a serious proposition as you can get, but it's exactly why Pearl Harbor is highly addictive. It takes the best of the lot, rubs a little cheese on it and pretends it was made for pure entertainment rather than to pay any respect to its factual basis.


I hate this movie. Itís incoherent, gross and is worse than juvenile, itís infantile. Thank you cable TV for playing this movie so many times over that itís drilled so deep into my mind that I find Dizzy Harrisonís venture to become popular endearing. DJ Qualls has a face you cannot forget. Will dyeing his hair blond and changing his clothing really make me think heís Gil Harris? Well, yes. I guess itís like TV commercials; if you see an ad for Snuggies enough, it makes you think youíll really benefit from having a blanket with sleeves and pockets. If you watch The New Guy enough, youíll actually think itís funny.


I blame MTV for my love of D.E.B.S. When theyíre not filling designated movie time with Hustle and Flow or Not Another Teen Movie, theyíre showing this. How friggin awesome would it be if you took the SATs and instead of getting into college, you got into spy school? D.E.B.S. rides its way to guilty pleasure fame on its superhero-esque nature and its ability to poke fun at itself. The tagline says it all, ďThey're crime-fighting hotties with killer bodies.Ē Girls will want to be like them and the guys will want to be with them. Either way, itís as big of an oxymoron as the high heels the D.E.B.S. kick ass in; itís low in quality but high in obsession.


Thereís something very likeable about Camilla Belle, but When A Stranger Calls has some of the worst acting of the decade. Everything about this movie is laughable, yet, in true low-budget horror fashion, it hits it big at the box office. Damn you stupid horror movies and your ability to make my heart race with cheap scares. Youíd think knowing what happens would spoil the suspense, but Iíve seen When A Stranger Calls dozens of times and catch myself holding my breath during high-tension scenes every time. How can the Mandrakisí bird room not freak you out?


Thanks to Lindsay Lohanís antics on the set of Georgia Rule, the film was tarnished before it even hit theaters. Sure enough, a vast majority of critics panned the film and it took in just under $20 million at the domestic box office. Say what you want about Lohanís life decisions, but whether youíre willing to admit it or not, sheís a fine actress. Team her up with Felicity Huffman and Jane Fonda, and you get something that, even with a weak plot, is still alluring. The movie is about every mother daughter issue in the book and, in the end, doesnít even make sense, but with every viewing its nonsensical-ness fades further into oblivion, convincing you that shit like this actually happens.


Baby Mama isnít on this list for lack of quality. Itís here because Iím utterly embarrassed by the number of times Iíve watched it. Iím not the laugh out loud type. When I find something funny, I tend to smirk and make this Ďhehí noise. (For some reason admitting this is just as embarrassing as admitting that I watch this movie on a regular basis.) Baby Mama makes me laugh out loud, uncontrollably at that. Rather than rattling off a list of quotes I find amusing, Iíll just let you know that just by scrolling through IMDBís memorable quotes page, Iím alone, at my computer, hysterically laughing. Saturday Night Live may be doing a humor nosedive, but at least we have Baby Mama to keep the ultimate female comedy duo, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, alive and thriving.

Quarantine is a completely unoriginal low-budget horror movie, which makes it a perfect guilty pleasure candidate. Weíve seen it all before - the zombies, the shaky camera Ė but we want to see it again. The whole handheld camera perspective is a blast. It can be considered clichť at this point, but, when you think about it, wouldnít the standard third-person perspective be more overused? If you just sat on your couch all day and watched REC, Cloverfield, Blair Witch and Quarantine, you might get bored. On the other hand, if you come across Quarantine after taking in a whole bunch of standard POV films, itís a great time. I also still purport that Jennifer Carpenterís overacting is justified by the fact that if you were in her characterís situation, you would act like that too. Donít lie, you know you would.


Oh come on! Like you didnít know this was going to be on the list. On the quality front, Jenniferís Body was a huge disappointment. Writer Diablo Cody just couldnít keep the wit flowing like she did in Juno, and Megan Fox, well, doesnít do much beyond look pretty and eat boys. You can pick apart this movie all you want, but even with all of its flaws, itís an undeniably good time. Fox keeps the boys happy, Amanda Seyfried handles the acting and the whole demon thing really turns up the heat. Think Heathers and The Craft, but less likely to develop a cult following and more likely to be a closet obsession.

Alright, confession time. You've heard mine, now admit yours. Share your shame in the comments section below by revealing your favorite guilty pleasure movies of the aughts!

Relive more of the Aughts with us by clicking here.
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