We all have our guilty pleasure movies, the ones that are so bad but for some reason are also really enjoyable. The “so bad it’s good” title is typically given to those films that were intended to actually be good—whether it’s a drama, comedy, or action—but are so bad that the fact that they’re supposed to be good blows your mind and prompts you to keep watching. Sometimes a drama or action movie makes you laugh, and sometimes a comedy is only good because of its absurd premise. Whatever it may be, “so bad they’re good” movies are often so ridiculous that you just can’t look away. Here are five of these rotten gems that you can find on Netflix.
1. Christian Mingle
A woman resorts to joining Christian Mingle despite her lack of Christian faith in order to find love, but ultimately finds God. As in most bad romantic comedies, the premise of “desperate woman looking for love” is played out, the storyline is predictable, the cheesy music and dialogue is unbearable, and the jokes are terrible and unfunny. The only thing about this film that makes it entertaining is indicated in the title; this is basically an extended Christian Mingle ad. You know that the main character, Gwyneth, is going to find God and get the guy in the end, which makes the whole film basically propaganda to join the dating site (ironically, Gwyneth works at an advertising agency which feels like a wink from the filmmakers). Watching a film that seems to be selling you something is undeniably funny, and not in the way that Christian Mingle intended. This is not to say that romantic films about religion can’t be taken seriously (see: A Walk to Remember) but Christian Mingle is like a promotional campaign—even if you’re NOT Christian, join now and you will be!
2. The Adventures of Food Boy
This film is just plain weird: a nerdy high school student, Ezra, decides to run for class president. It starts off like a regular teen movie, but once Ezra starts eating weird food combinations to somehow prove he’s capable of being president and then starts making food appear out of nowhere, it becomes absurd. Ezra’s grandmother informs him that the power to magically produce food is hereditary and goes back generations. There seems to be a metaphor in this odd ability, but it’s lost on me. The excess of food throughout the movie becomes grotesque, Ezra is annoying and uncharming, and the whole damn thing makes no sense. You keep watching to try and figure out how his ability and class presidency are connected, which is never explained. But, because of how ridiculous, inconsistent, and pointless it all seems, the movie is actually quite entertaining; you never truly get over the fact that someone actually came up with this premise.
3. A Christmas Prince
People almost exclusively watch Christmas films around Christmas time (obviously), but unlike the well-made classics, which are usually funny, like Elf, or heartwarming, like Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Prince is only consumable around Christmas because that’s the only appealing thing about it. Though many Christmas films are cheesy for magical reasons, this film is just a bad romcom. The plot of A Christmas Prince is almost irrelevant—a reporter goes undercover as a tutor to investigate the rumours surrounding a young prince, but ultimately falls in love with him—because the Christmas element is the only thing that draws the viewer to the film; it gets them into the holiday spirit. The predictable storylines and cringe-worthy acting would be unbearable the rest of the year. What makes this film good is precisely the time of year we watch it, because everyone is a little cheesier around the holidays.
This choice might be controversial, but hear me out: the Twilight movies are not good. When Twilight hit theatres in 2008, fans of the book series were obsessed. It had a pretty dedicated band of haters at the time, so a lot of people would have agreed with me, but few would have indicated then that it was actually good because it was so terrible. However, it’s been ten years, so the diehard Twilight fans can also admit now that the saga has always been bad. Looking back, everything was so over-dramatic, from the writing, to the acting, to the lighting, that it becomes funny. The initial premise itself is ridiculous: a teenage girl falls in love with a vampire who must resist the urge to suck her blood. Though vampire-themed entertainment flourished post-Twilight, this film and its four sequels—all five are on Netflix—are so excessive with the melodrama that it’s laughable. Edward is supposed to be alluring, but he is so stalkerish that it’s creepy. The Twilight films fail as fantasy drama, but thrive as comedy because of this failure, especially knowing that so many people (including myself) used to think they were great films.
There’s nothing quite like the hero of a movie chainsawing his way out of a shark as a grand finale. This franchise, all on Netflix, has been universally mocked since the first film was released, in which a tornado of sharks plagues Los Angeles, and a bar owner/surfer and his friends and family must defeat it. The film has an 82% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, who indicate that this film does exactly what a good bad movie should do—entertain through its absurdity. It’s not clear whether this film was intended to be ridiculous or not, because it really feels like it’s taken seriously by everyone involved. None of the characters ever stops to point out the fact that the whole thing is, in fact, insane. Either way, the hilariousness of a shark tornado never really gets old; because the characters are all so terrified of these CGI sharks whipping around in the sky, the image becomes a thousand times funnier. By the fifth movie, the premise has been exhausted and the “brainlessness” (as critics call it) has become too self-aware, but the first is guaranteed to leave you flabbergasted for an hour and a half that you’ll never get back.