Monday, November 09, 2009

Happy Monday Rex Manning Day

You ever just wake up with a phrase in your head and you can't shake it? So it was with me this morning, when all I could think of was Rex Manning Day, as celebrated in the seminal mid-'90s teen-movie excuse-for-a-soundtrack-album (wow, think about that concept today) extravaganza Empire Records. Specifically, "Rex Manning Day" as dreamily uttered by Ethan Embry right here:



Even back when I first saw Empire Records back in the day, I knew it was a guilty pleasure. Like its spiritual step-sister Can't Hardly Wait, it's only grown to feel more guilty and more pleasurable as the years pass. Most of the movie is just cringingly fabricated, but I absolutely can't deny that a) I can recite whole chunks of dialogue by memory (my sister, my cousin, and I pretty much wore out our VHS copy watching it so often), and b) it puts a goofy grin on my face, without fail.

Like, this scene:



Just ridiculous, whitewashed sentiment from beginning to end. Love the shit out of it. I could sit here posting clips and surfing through YouTube all day (like this one, this one, and this one). Instead, I'll throw the question out to you guys: Talk about your favorite guilty pleasures. REAL guilty pleasures, the ones heavy on the guilt. That term's been co-opted for mainstream movies that people want to say they like without seeming less cool. I want to know movies you know are legitimately bad and you love them -- without irony -- anyway. Go.
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30 comments:

Stephanie said...

Josie and the Pussycats. Yes, I know it's based on a comic book. Yes, I know that Rachel Leigh Cook is a terrible actress. But I love that silly little movie. Du Jour are the best fake band ever, it's endlessly quotable ("Du Jour means seatbelts!") and the songs are awesomely catchy. Especially "Backdoor Lover".

Holly said...

I saw "From Justin to Kelly" during some formative years and can honestly say that I've watched it more times than I've read some of my favorite (less embarrassing, more intellectually stimulating) books.

I was going to try to place this movie on the "Guilty Pleasure" scale, but I think the title speaks for itself.

BeRightBack said...

Nowhere, by Gregg Araki. I know that his name connotes irreproachable indie cool, but this movie forces you to like it for bad reasons, because there are no good reasons. And yet, I can't get enough of Nathan Bexton's mismatched eyes and Rachel True's poreless skin and Christina Applegate's purple hair and braces.

Stephanie: Josie is legitimately good, in my opinion. No guilt!

Nora said...

You stole mine! Empire Records has always been mine ("Sinead O'Rebellion! Shock me, shock me, shock me with that deviant behavior!" "I don't have to explain my art to you, Warren!"

Joslyn H said...

Holly, I can top that: I saw From Justin to Kelly in the movie theater. On purpose. And I now own it on DVD, where it definitely sees the light of day far more often than say, Chicago.

I also stayed up past 1am the other night to watch Earth Girls are Easy. It is beyond stupid, but Jeff Goldblum is weirdly hot. And before her awesome fake-out Golden Globe acceptance speech, I found Geena Davis insufferably stuck up, so to watch her be so awful was just really fun.

kim said...

"Center Stage." I used to act like I only liked it ironically, but now I proudly admit that I love every terribly acted, poorly written, i-understand-suspension-of-disbelief-but-this-is-insane moment in it. Ridiculous ballet scenes (involving cornrows!)! Peter Gallagher! Susan May Pratt as the best bitchy bulimic ballerina EVER.

"The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" runs a close second, although I'm not entirely sure that's really a guilty pleasure so much as just unmitigated awesomeness, 1982-style.

JAM said...

Oh, man, Kim beat me to "Center Stage." I have nothing to add to what she said, except:

I'm the best g-d dancer at the American Ballet Academy. Who the hell are you?

pvt. awesome said...

I'm with Stephanie on this one. Josie and the Pussycats makes me laugh so much. Parker Posey does the cliche villain thing and whispers her evil plans to herself and is overheard - so funny! And Missi Pyle steals every scene she is in (as usual).

Anonymous said...

"Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead"- watched this constantly in my youth, and I still LOVE it. my brother, our friends and I used to quote from it constantly. I'll watch it any time it's on TV, from any point. I loove her outfits, i love the fashion show, i loeve the "kids cleaning up the house" montage... i could go on and on

Hellcat13 said...

Oh, perhaps EVERY cheesy dance movie ever made. Center Stage? Oh yes. Save the Last Dance? If it's on, I will watch it. The Cutting Edge? Close enough.

And OMG yes to Empire. "Stop calling me Warren! My name isn't FUCKING WARREN!"

jessica said...

Wow! "Empire Records, open til midnight ............ Midnight!"

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is Awesome with a capital A and I will never ever feel guilty about loving it, and The Cutting Edge is seriously great. Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead definitely qualifies, and I do love it, but my ultimate guilty pleasure has GOT to go to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Helen Hunt, Shannen Doherty, and Jonathan Silverman in the greatest, cheesiest catholic-school-girl-wins-TV-dance-contest-with-hot-motorcylcle-riding-partner movie EVER!

floretbroccoli said...

I'm WAY too old, but I caught Empire Records on some flavor of STARZ the other day.

Have you notice how many cast members have gone on to CBS procedurals? Crazy!

Kris McN said...

It is a testament to my affection for you that I will admit to this in public: I love A Christmas Carol in all its cinematic versions. I love it. I don't know what it is - tale of redemption, second chances, what? It's probably best not to examine it too closely, all I know is I wallow in the sentiment every year. Soon I will begin my annual Watching Of The A Christmas Carols Fest. I love the Alistair Sims version, the George C. Scott version, the Albert Finney version, the Captain Picard version, and the Muppet version (especially the Muppet version). I will watch Scrooged and A Diva's Christmas Carol. I'll watch the Flintstones and Jetson's versions. I will watch many of these versions more than once this season, and I will cry each and every time. I will.

And god help me, Joe, but I will probably love the Jim Carey version too. I know! I'm finding it hard to believe too! And yet, given my history... Look, you said guilty for real, so there it is.

Rachael said...

I submit... "Camp". Granted, most of the teenagers' singing and dancing is actually pretty awesome, and there are a few good zingers in the dialogue, but mostly the script is a mess, and a lot of the acting is really, uh, not good during the non-musical portions. But still, I will watch this movie whenever it comes on cable. My reaction to hearing the premise of "Glee" was "So it's going to be like 'Camp' for an hour every week? Awesome."

I will also second "Josie" and "Center Stage".

Anonymous said...

I also saw From Justin to Kelly in the theatre. My friend and I enjoyed it a lot more than the people who went there to view "a movie" instead of "a wonderfully bad movie," and we've watched it quite a bit since then.

A couple of others that get frequent viewings are Bulletproof Monk and Varsity Blues.

Ah don't want yer life!

Joe Reid said...

"Camp"! That's such a good call. I go back and forth constantly over whether I think it's a good movie or not, but there is no doubt I'm in love with it.

Also, am I gonna have to check out "Josie and the Pussycats" now?

jessica said...

@Kris McN -- I, too, will watch ANY incarnation of A Christmas Carol. LOVE THEM! I watched Ghosts of Girlfriends past on purpose ... (I know). I watched the Tori Spelling masterpiece, A Carol Christmas. All my friends think I'm possibly special needs since Scrooged, of all movies, makes me weep, but every time that little kid says, "and God bless us, everyone," I completely lose it.

floretbroccoli said...

What, no love for Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol? That's the first I ever heard of CC.

Corielle said...

Twister. I have watched that movie probably 100 times since it came out -- on VHS, on DVD, on cable TV, on movie channels. My husband made fun of me at first, but now he loves to watch it with me & make fun of Bill Paxton (who never, never closes his mouth all the way). He makes fun of it, but I truly love that movie.

Kris McN said...

@jessica - OMG, I haven't seen the Tori Spelling one!!! ON THE LIST.

@floretbroccoli - I love the Magoo one too, though it doesn't seem to show up every year. I really should just find it on DVD and OWN IT.

Joe Reid said...

I should also offer up "Mickey's Christmas Carol" as a favorite Scrooge iteration. Even though they NEVER show it on TV anymore. They own like EIGHTY networks (I should know), can they not find a stray hour somewhere?

Mags said...

I've got to echo those who already said Center Stage, Girls Just Want To Have Fun, and Cutting Edge.

I'm also a huge fan of two fantastic Kristy Swanson guilty pleasures: Mannequin 2, On The Move and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I mean...how many ridiculous people were in Buffy? Donald Sutherland, Luke Perry, Rutger Hauer, and Hillary Swank? Excellent.

And I think my ultimate guilty pleasure is disgustingly Twilight. I know in my heart that it's absolutely terrible, but I can't help it. Every time I see it, I'm mesmerized, even though I feel vaguely gross the whole time I'm watching.

Josh said...

Yes, Joe! I know Tara Reid and RLC are scary, but Josie & TP is worth it just for Du Jour and Missi Pyle.

DuchessKitty said...

I should preface by saying that I will see (and secretly love) any dance movie put out. I've seen both Center Stage movies, all of the Step Up films, From Justin to Kelly, the latest "Fame"...and my 40th birthday is just around the corner so I feel double guilt in the pleasure I get from these balls of cheese.
But my best friend of 30 years and I have a ritual, that we probably enjoy every 2 years or so, where we put our pajamas on, surround ourselves with snacks and beverages (wine has replaced diet soda) and watch the trifecta of cheesy guilty-pleasure movies:
- Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
- Grease 2
- Xanadu
We can recite every line of dialog from these cheestastic classics. We have choreographed whole roller skating and dance routines in our basements to several scenes/songs from these films.
Sometimes "Little Darlings" or "The Pirate Movie" are substituted for one of the above 3 but that's rare. We've sadly even introduced and inducted my friend's kids into this event. Scarring them for life I'm sure.

Scott said...

Josie is not a good movie - but everything about Du Jour is fall on the floor funny. And I can never get enough Missi Pyle.

Do Jawbreaker or Get Over It count as bad movies? I think both of those are endlessly entertaining.

Patty M. said...

Yes, yes, yes! I love Center Stage - the ending makes me cry (so does the end of Scrooged, so you know there's something wrong with me).

My favorite guilty pleasure movie is one that I first saw on late-night TV when I was about 12 years old. It's called "Sweet Hostage" and stars a dreamy young Martin Sheen as an escaped mental patient who imagines himself to be a Romantic poet. He picks up a girl whose car has broken down, takes her to a cabin in the mountains, and proceeds to win her heart with poetry and chivalric manners. Of course, the whole thing ends badly.

Pillow Fighting Fanatic said...

Dude, get over it and Whatever it takes were both steaming piles of crap and yet, in both we have Shane West and in Whatever it takes we have Shane West playing the accordian shirtless, and James Franco being slimy and awesome. As much as I hate myself for watching them, i can't turn away....

jessica said...

@KrisMcN -- It's sooooo awesome. Tori Spelling is some diva talk show host named Carol who is only interested in those train-wreck stories where people get KILLED and lives are RUINED because those are the ratings draws! Will she redeem her cold black heart?? WILL SHE?!?!?

I can't believe I forgot Grease 2, of all things. It is IMPOSSIBLE for me to go bowling without singing that song. Also, any time is a good time for "Cool Rider." Really.

mathan said...

Guilty pleasure? Empire Records is a solid pick and would probably be up there for me, but I've got a legit one.

Can't Buy Me Love. I've got a lot tied into the movie. It was filmed at the high school that I attended. And my junior high friends and I would watch it every weekend the summer before our freshmen year, trying desperately to memorize where the cool kids sat and how the social strata worked. That poor vhs tape.

The movie got it totally wrong. But now when I watch it not only do I remember being that naive young kid, but it's also fun to see my hometown again.

Canyon said...

Josie and the Pussycats is well worth watching, and not because it's a guilty pleasure -- it's a genuinely good movie that's satirizing commercial culture in an intelligent and funny way. With good cheesy tunes to boot.

Adding to the chorus of Cutting Edge and Center Stage mentions as well -- I'll watch pretty much any movie about dancers, no matter how bad. I was too embarrassed to see the Fame remake in a movie theater, but I am so Netflixing that sucker.