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Recollecting 15 Bad Movies That Seemed So Good

Updated on July 14, 2013
"The Malibu Bikini Shop"
"The Malibu Bikini Shop"

Have you ever made someone watch a movie that you loved growing up, but they don’t find it anywhere near as great as you do? Well, I can say I’ve done it lots of times and it reminds me of how many bad films I’ve loved over the years. There’s something peculiar about favourite movies from when you were young; the ones that you’d watch repeatedly and were full of relished moments that you never got tired of. But now when you view it with someone who’s never seen it before, even though you may have a sense of nostalgia, they haven’t got a clue why you like it so much.

There are some movies that were considered awesome at the time, but years later are revealed to be crap. Some will always be priceless, because they’re so-bad- that-they’re-good. Some were lame then and are still lame now, and you have no idea why you ever liked them in the first place.

I’m sure that everyone has loved a few bad movies in their time. Here are some of mine, in no particular order….

Jennifer Beals "Flashdance"
Jennifer Beals "Flashdance"

15. Flashdance (1983)

Directed by Adrian Lyne.

No one’s ever really been able to get over the absurdity of Jennifer Beal’s character Alex being an exotic dancer by night and a welder by day. Despite that the character was apparently based on a real woman named Maureen Marder. The movie is actually kind of boring between the perky dance routines and I can’t say I’ve come across anyone who really cares about the love story. I’m pretty sure that what helps us survive through this movie, is knowing that eventually we’ll reach that brilliant end scene, which is one of the most memorable dance scenes of all time.

Michael J. Fox "Teen Wolf"
Michael J. Fox "Teen Wolf"

14. Teen Wolf (1985)

Directed by Rod Daniel.

Michael J. Fox stars in this high school comedy as Scott Howard, a teenager who finds he can transform into a werewolf. This turns him into a basketball sensation and gains him huge popularity at school. For those who grew up with this movie, it’s a 1980s teen classic and we all idolized Back to the Future (1985) star Michael J. Fox. For those that didn’t, it’s probably a stupid heap of garbage.

Madonna "Who's That Girl"
Madonna "Who's That Girl"

13. Who’s That Girl (1987)

Directed by James Foley.

After four years, Nikki Finn (Madonna) is released on parole after being jailed for a murder she didn’t commit. While being chased by gangsters, she turns the life of her escort lawyer Louden (Griffin Dunne) into chaos as she tries to prove her innocence.

This is not a good movie. It’s that simple and I admit it. Bad story and bad acting, plus Madonna doing a kind of weird, high-pitched, “Betty Boop” voice. Nevertheless, I loved it. It’s a wild and wacky journey that includes some funny moments and a cool puma that I wished I could have.

12. Police Academy (1984)

Directed by Hugh Wilson.

After this first movie, many believed that the series was dragged out way past its due date. It’s a screwball comedy about a bunch of bumbling cadets joining the police academy, lead by the prankster Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg). The cast includes Kim Cattrall (Samantha from Sex and the City) in an early role.

Although most people had enough after the first one, I hung in there all the way; well, at least until number five in the series. Five out of seven isn’t a bad effort though.

Bob Goldthwait "Hot to Trot"
Bob Goldthwait "Hot to Trot"

11. Hot To Trot (1988)

Directed by Michael Dinner.

Remember Bob Goldthwait? He’s the guy with the annoying screechy voice from Police Academy. Well, this is a movie starring him and a talking horse named Don (voice of John Candy). Need I say more? What in the world was I thinking? The only possible reason I can give for liking this movie was that I was a fan of Police Academy and animals. Pretty poor excuse I know, but that’s all I’ve got….

Robin Lively "Teen Witch"
Robin Lively "Teen Witch"

10. Teen Witch (1989)

Directed by Dorian Walker.

This megaflop was intended to be a kind of Teen Wolf for the girls, but it was nowhere near as popular. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie’s domestic box office gross for the USA was a meager $27,843. However, over the years the movie has apparently gained a cult following and there are rumors of a re-make.

Robin Lively stars as Louise Miller, a high school girl who discovers that she has magic powers. She casts a spell to win over the hot guy at school and becomes the most popular girl, but soon realizes that it’s best to just be yourself.

It’s totally corny and depicts the epitome of 80s fashion and teased hair. But I’m sure that there were lots of other young girls out there wearing rah-rah skirts, who like me thought that Teen Witch was sensational.

Kim Basinger and Dan Ackroyd "My Stepmother is an Alien"
Kim Basinger and Dan Ackroyd "My Stepmother is an Alien"

9. My Stepmother is an Alien (1988)

Directed by Richard Benjamin.

A silly movie that was made long before Kim Basinger was an Academy Award winner. It’s about an alien Celeste (Basinger) who comes to earth disguised as a beautiful woman to try to find out secret information from a widowed scientist (Dan Ackroyd).

Both Basinger and the movie are far from great, she used to squeak and squeal a lot back then. Still, as a kid she was my favourite actress. Why? Because she was Vicky Vale in Batman (1989), a movie I was obsessed with and that inspired me to chew hundreds of packets of Topps gum to collect Batman trading cards.

Jonathan Silverman & Andrew McCarthy "Weekend at Bernie's"
Jonathan Silverman & Andrew McCarthy "Weekend at Bernie's"

8. Weekend at Bernie’s (1989)

Directed by Ted Kotcheff.

Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman play two lowly employees who discover their boss Bernie dead from an apparent suicide. They manage to convince everyone that he is still alive, so they can enjoy the rest of the weekend at his beach house. Things turn bad when they find themselves on the run from Bernie’s murderer who thinks he hasn’t completed the job.

Weekend at Bernie’s was my favourite movie, back in about Grade 4. I even had my own video copy to be able to watch it more frequently. This crazy comedy is far-fetched and silly, but it’s a jolly, mindless romp that’s memorable for many.

Angelina Jolie, Matthew Lillard, Jonny Lee Miller, Renoly Santiago "Hackers"
Angelina Jolie, Matthew Lillard, Jonny Lee Miller, Renoly Santiago "Hackers"

7. Hackers (1995)

Directed by Iain Softley.

Hackers is implausible and full of lame dialogue, yet it once seemed so hip. When I was a kid, being able to hack was one of those things I wished I could do. Despite that the movie didn’t depict anything resembling real life hacking, somehow it didn’t matter; just the fantasy of the world was enough to make it an enjoyable. This was one of Angelina Jolie’s earliest films; even then she was strikingly beautiful and held a screen presence as the cool chick with attitude.

The movie looks dated now, partly because we’ve moved on from cyberpunk fashion and because computer technology has advanced so far since then. Yeah, it was a bit of a dumb movie, but watching teenage kids hurl through the city on rollerblades, causing chaos with laptops to the pumping sound of The Prodigy’s “Voodoo People”, well that’s entertainment.

Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short are the "Three Amigos!"
Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short are the "Three Amigos!"

6. Three Amigos (1989)

Directed by John Landis.

I’ve included Three Amigos because it stars three great kings of idiotic comedy: Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short. All these guys have appeared in numerous classic movies, but Steve Martin is the only one who seems to have stuck around. Although I do believe that the influence of Chevy Chase will continue forever, because National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) still gets played on TV at Christmas and many of us end up watching it every year.

This is a funny movie about three down and out actors who travel to a small Mexican town, under the impression they’ll be filming a movie. They discover that the townspeople believe they are actual heroes and want them to protect the village against the wicked El Guapo and his gang.

It’s a cheerful, bubbly comedy that works well because of the hilarious three leads. If that’s not convincing enough, what other movie is there that includes a singing bush.

Pauly Shore, Brendan Fraser and Sean Astin "Encino Man"
Pauly Shore, Brendan Fraser and Sean Astin "Encino Man"

5. Encino Man (1992)

Directed by Les Mayfeld.

This is where is all began for Brendan Fraser in his first leading role. He plays Link, a caveman who’s been thawed out by two high school dorks Dave (Sean Astin) and Stoney (Pauly Shore), who found him frozen in a block of ice in the backyard. They take Link to school and teach him about modern life, pretending that he’s an exchange student from Estonia. Link soon becomes popular and helps his daggy friends increase their dismal status.

The question is, do you remember Pauly Shore? He was big for a few years around the time of this movie, but descended downhill rather quickly. He was known for his dopey surfer-dude speech style and I remember kids at school imitating his trademark “Hey, Bu-ddy”.

Encino Man is amusing, light-hearted fun. It’s kind of passé (mainly due to Pauly Shore), but it’s a good chance to see Brendan Fraser in a movie that first demonstrated his talent for playing goofy, comic roles.

IIan Mitchell-Smith and Anthony Michael Hall "Weird Science"
IIan Mitchell-Smith and Anthony Michael Hall "Weird Science"

4. Weird Science (1985)

Directed by John Hughes.

Totally ridiculous, but totally brilliant. Anything was possible in the 80s, including this story of two nerds Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (IIan Mitchell-Smith) creating a living, sexy woman with their computer. Their creation Lisa (Kelly LeBrock), helps the boys to grow up and get girlfriends, but turns their lives upside down in the process. Weird Science is a definitive 80s teen flick with an unforgettable title theme song by Oingo Boingo.

Tanya Roberts as "Sheena"
Tanya Roberts as "Sheena"

3. Sheena: Queen of the Jungle (1984)

Directed by John Guillermin.

Sheena was adapted from the female Tarzan comic book character and is way up there on the scale of corniness. It stars blonde bombshell Tanya Roberts, an ex-Charlie’s Angel from the final TV season. The movie was considered terrible by nearly everyone.

Much of the movie is angled around showing off Sheena’s curvy figure in her skimpy loincloth and bra outfit. In true “Baywatch” style, you can see her in the opening credits galloping on a zebra across the plains with a bouncing chest; although try not to be too disappointed that it’s actually a horse painted like a zebra. I thought Sheena was amazing because she could talk to animals; others may have thought she was amazing because of her nude bathing scenes.

Scorpion "Mortal Kombat"
Scorpion "Mortal Kombat"

2. Mortal Kombat (1995)

Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson.

This film adaptation of the popular video game is B-grade, but it’s certainly kick-ass fun. No, it’s not the most intellectual movie, and yes, it’s full of corny dialogue. Who cares though…. it’s Mortal Kombat! The special effects don’t look as good now, but when the movie came out, getting to see the legendary characters on the big screen, battling it out to a cranking heavy metal soundtrack was totally entertaining.

Galyn Gorg, Barbara Horan & Ami Julius as the girls of "The Malibu Bikini Shop"
Galyn Gorg, Barbara Horan & Ami Julius as the girls of "The Malibu Bikini Shop"
Bruce Greewood & Michael David Wright as brothers in "The Malibu Bikini Shop"
Bruce Greewood & Michael David Wright as brothers in "The Malibu Bikini Shop"

1. The Malibu Bikini Shop (1986)

Directed by David Wechter.

The other movies on this list are not numbered in any order, but The Malibu Bikini Shop (released in some territories as The Bikini Shop) is definitely my #1. It’s the story of two brothers who inherit a failing bikini shop from their aunt. To save the shop from closing, they carry out a bunch of wild ideas, including a two-way change room mirror and bikinis with stitching that dissolves in water.

This has to be one of the top cheesiest movies of the 80s, complete with a silly story, lots of permed hair, loads of topless girls, a steamy hot tub love scene and some absolutely classic dance numbers.

When I was a kid, I had a video of this movie recorded from TV and it was my one of my favourites. Even though it’s content is actually not suitable for children, I didn’t know that at the time. To me the movie was full of fun, bright colours, upbeat music, comedy, and pretty people dancing around, even if they were semi-naked, big-boobed girls. From the view of a seven year old, I guess a corny dance performance in bikinis, with an army-themed video clip style and a pumping smoke machine can seem pretty cool. Anyway, how could anyone not love a dance scene packed with all the most awesome 80s dance moves, you know the ones I’m talking about.

Recently I discovered something surprising. There’s a song originally used in the movie called “Girls of Rock and Roll”, which backed the bikini contest scene. It turns out that this track was covered in another one of my other favourite movies at the time The Chipmunk Adventure (1987), where it was sung by The Chipmunks and Chipettes!

This revelation could lead one to suggest that The Malibu Bikini Shop was so appealing to me because of the music. Despite the fact that I obviously couldn’t tell the difference between Chipmunks singing it or a girl shaking her boobs to it.

The Malibu Bikini Shop Trailer

The Original "Girls of Rock and Roll"

The Chipmunk Version


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    • Jade Evans profile image

      Jade Evans 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      trusouldj, I'd probably suggest that you should stay away from 'Teen Wolf Too' then :)

    • trusouldj profile image

      trusouldj 7 years ago from Indiana

      Still love Flashdance, particularly the restaurant scene. Teen Wolf, not so much.

    • Jade Evans profile image

      Jade Evans 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Maybe just a generational gap Kath :) Think we saw The Chipmunk Adventure about 3 times at the Wallis cinema at the Bay. But maybe you chose not to join us on that movie...haha

    • profile image

      Kath Waddell 7 years ago

      Was I living on another planet???

    • Jade Evans profile image

      Jade Evans 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks very much Cogerson. Haven't seen 'Making the Grade', but am a fan of Judd "Bender" Nelson, will have to check it out. Notice it's the same director as 'Teen Witch', that's got to be sign of greatness!

    • Cogerson profile image

      UltimateMovieRankings 7 years ago from Virginia

      great hub....I really enjoyed reading this candidate for this list is Making the Grade with Judd Nelson and Andrew Dice Clay....keep up the great work

    • Jade Evans profile image

      Jade Evans 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks! 'Babysitter' was actually on but got bumped at last minute for Sheena. Parenthood was just a bit too excellent like... Labyrinth :)

    • profile image

      Rachel 7 years ago

      Hahaha..Hit it with them all Jade. Brought back some cheesy but well loved moments from our tweens and beyond...well beyond and still continuing. A few more for me would have to include..

      Don't tell mom the babysitters dead, Parenthood and Better off dead with John Cusak. All recent purchases and all still funny, fab and dumb as. Seriously the list could go on and on. Must've been hard to choose. Glad Labrynth didn't make it..cos that's just awesome.


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