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Guilty Pleasures

Last night, I was looking over my DVD collection, and I realized something: I love campy movies. I have a great fondness for cheesy comedies, and I happen to own some of the classics.

"Hot Shots!" and "Hot Shots! Part Deux"
In these movies, some of the guys behind Airplane! did to Charlie Sheen what they did for Leslie Nielsen: they took a serious actor and proved he could do comedy brilliantly. While mainly a parody of Top Gun and Rambo: First Blood Part II, nothing is held sacred in these unbelievably freewheeling satires. Also to their credit, they feature Lloyd Bridges, the amazingly gorgeous Valeria Golino, and a third actor (whom I won't name) in a different role in each movie.

Weird Al Yankovic's feature movie. (Yes, I have all his albums.) Many critics dismiss this as merely a collection of sight gags, music videos, and other brief parodies, but it's much, much more. I'd like to see it used in film schools as a lesson in making a "complete" movie. I think nearly every single plot element is wrapped up satisfactorily by the end, including the shocked little old lady watching TV at home and the annoying "change, mister?" bum. It also features the delightful Victoria Jackson as Al's love interest, Kevin McCarthy as the bad guy chewing huge holes in the scenery, Billy Barty, and a pre-Seinfeld Michael Richards as the show-stealing (literally) janitor-cum-kid-show-star, Stanley Spadowski. And let's not forget the promo for "Gandhi II" -- "No more Mr. Passive Resistance!"

You don't have to be a Star Trek fan to love this, but it sure as hell helps. Tim Allen NAILS William Shatner perfectly in this sci-fi satire, Alan Rickman grafts Spock's character on to a Patrick Stewart background, and Tony Shalhoub is a stoner Scotty. Sigourney Weaver riffs every single bad cliche' about female characters in sci-fi with barely a single "Alien" reference, and and Sam Rockwell is the all-too-disposable background crewman who knows EXACTLY what his red shirt means.
My best friend and I are both huge Star Trek fans. He can recite the dialogue of every single original series episode, while I have all the movies on DVD and a three-foot-tall stack of Star Trek books that are purely reference books. We only see each other a couple times a year, since he moved away, but we always make a point of watching this together.
Further, I have an ex-girlfriend who is also a Star Trek fan. I bullied her into letting me take her to see it in the theatres, and she has still not forgiven me -- I think her sides still ache from laughing.

"Mystery Men"
One of the finest, funniest superhero movies ever made. This movie and this movie alone gives me a reason to overlook Ben Stiller and Jeneane Garafolo's politics. (It also helps that they have both badmouthed it since.) William H. Macy plays the biggest boy scout this side of Superman as a man whose "power" is his ability to wield a shovel. Hank Azaria is a poofty British master of flying cutlery -- but NO knives. Geoffrey Rush revels in his role as the villain, Casanova Frankenstein, who rides around in a limo made from a 70's Corvette. And Paul Reubens absolutely steals any scene he's in as The Spleen, the superhero whose power is -- I kid you not -- flatulence.

And here's one last thing that appeals to the trivia geek in me. One of the movies I mentioned above has the distinction of featuring both a star from "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and a star from "The Drew Carey Show." Can anyone name it and them, without going to imdb.com?

It's a relief that off my chest. Confession may be good for the soul, but I suspect I've done grave damage to my reputation around these parts.



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Comments (31)

Everyone I know hates Myste... (Below threshold)

Everyone I know hates Mystery Men, but I absolutely love it. It always struck me funny in a weird way.

If you like campy, try Bloo... (Below threshold)

If you like campy, try Blood sucking pharoes in Pittsburg, Eat and run or Polish Vampires in Burbank!

You left out Brenda Bakke f... (Below threshold)

You left out Brenda Bakke from HSDeux, who is one of my all-time favorite sexpots.

How about the ultimate in c... (Below threshold)

How about the ultimate in campiness-Rocky Horror? :-)

Hm...is it the guy who play... (Below threshold)

Hm...is it the guy who plays Lewis? Ryan Stiles, I think his name is?

I recall him being in Hot Shots and Drew Carey. Not aware if he's in Buffy, as I've never watched the show.

Sorry, Jon, I think I missp... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Sorry, Jon, I think I misspoke. I meant two different stars, one from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and one from The Drew Carey Show, appearing in the same movie.
Although Iyari Limon, who was in the last season of Buffy, played Oswald's Mexican hooker in one episode from the last season of Drew Carey, now that I think of it...


No, I doubt you misspoke. ... (Below threshold)

No, I doubt you misspoke. I simply read it wrong.

My bad. :)

Hey! I've got Mystery Men a... (Below threshold)

Hey! I've got Mystery Men and UHF at home! And I don't own GalaxyQuest, but I thought it was a solid film.

So... did anybody else like the Adventures of Pluto Nash? I think it's solid entertainment, too.

*cough*Top Secret... (Below threshold)

*cough*Top Secret!*cough*

I'm sorry, what were we talking about?

Don't leave out the George ... (Below threshold)

Don't leave out the George Hamilton camp classic, "Zorro, The Gay Blade."

Dude! Trick question!... (Below threshold)

Dude! Trick question!
Paul "Pee-Wee Herman" Reubens was The Spleen in Mystery Men as well as the really really cheesy head? vampire in the Buffy movie...
Kristy Swanson...ROWRRRR!

I second Top Secret by the way. And of course BtVS movie was grade A cheese.

Kin:Dude! DOUBLE tri... (Below threshold)
Jay TEa:

Dude! DOUBLE trick question! I dunno how the hell I forgot Paul Reubens was in the original Buffy movie (his death scene in the closing credits is legendary), but I was thinking of Kristy Swanson herself, the original Buffy, who was also in the first Hot Shots! movie.

And yeah, Top Secret!, with the machine gun in the crowded room scene, and the Skeet Surfing bit, and the truck hitting the Pinto...


The best scene from UHF is ... (Below threshold)

The best scene from UHF is when Al forgets to meet his girlfriend for dinner, and just as he remembers and reaches for the phone, it rings... and he just hangs there...

The Adventures of Buckar... (Below threshold)

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

Utterly classic.

Also: Big Trouble in L... (Below threshold)

Also: Big Trouble in Little China.

Of course, if you want REA... (Below threshold)

Of course, if you want REAL cheese and campy celluloid goodness, you need to check out Mike Vraney's company Something Weird Video, at www.somethingweird.com.

This is probably the only place where you can find such totally forgettable fare as "The Psychic", "Satan In High Heels", "The Giant Gila Monster","Alice In Acidland", and "Mondo Mod." He also has a mind-boggling collection of stag films and peepshow loops from the 1930's through the 1970's.

It's worth a little of anyone's time just to browse through his catalog and marvel at what our parents wasted their hard-earned money on at the drive-in movies 40 years ago.

Good post Jay.Next... (Below threshold)

Good post Jay.

Next time my wife accuses me of being a geek (guilty as charged), I'm going to forward her a link to this post. Then I can say "But look Honey, at least I'm not as bad as this guy!"

JMaster, you're NOT welcome... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

JMaster, you're NOT welcome.
And to conclude the answer to my challenge: Kristy Swanson, the original Buffy The Vampire Slayer, was in Hot Shots! with Ryan Stiles of the late, lamented Drew Carey show. And she was shirtless, with a lacy bra. Sigh...


D'oh! Ho could I forget Big... (Below threshold)

D'oh! Ho could I forget Big Trouble in Little China!?! One of my all time favorite movies. That soo rocked.

What about "The Fifth Eleme... (Below threshold)

What about "The Fifth Element"!
All the others are great!

Don't forget one of the bes... (Below threshold)

Don't forget one of the best features of the Galaxy Quest DVD: the dub into the alien language!

I wish they had made the sequel to Buckaroo Bonzai; I'm still curious about why that watermelon was there.

Although I really, really, really enjoyed Mystery Men, it pissed me off to no end that they left the Herkimer Battle Jitney behind to get swallowed up in the collapse of the Casanova Frankenstein compound. And they should have had the camera look away when Invisible Boy did his thing.

Well Jay, I could have ad... (Below threshold)

Well Jay, I could have added that "UHF" used to be my all time favorite movie. Being a big time Weird Al fan and an electrical engineer made that a natural.

But since The Big Lebowski" came out, its a toss up for me. Mostly because my wife likes TBL too, but I am forced to watch UHF alone.....

"Don't leave out the George... (Below threshold)

"Don't leave out the George Hamilton camp classic, 'Zorro, The Gay Blade.'"

Two bits, four bits, six bits, a peso ... All for Zoro, stand up and say so!

Ahem! The Fifth Element is... (Below threshold)

Ahem! The Fifth Element isn't cheese. If you want Bruce Willis cheese, try Hudson Hawk (the missus refuses to watch with me) or the Whole Nine Yards (Matthew Perry stole the show).

I'm kind of partial to The ... (Below threshold)

I'm kind of partial to The Specials, with Rob Lowe and the guy who played Lowell on Wings (who I loved in Ned and Stacey, for the five minutes it was on), although Mystery Men is a fine film as well. Loved William H. Macy and Stiller's character Mr. Furious.

Galaxy Quest probably wins best Cheese for being self-aware but still funny.

Anachonda, Big Trouble in L... (Below threshold)

Anachonda, Big Trouble in Little China was actually adapted from a script for Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League. Or so I've been told.

Fersboo,Wow. My wi... (Below threshold)


Wow. My wife won't watch Hudson Hawk with me either. What a brilliant movie. Sucks that it got panned in the press, it really was spectacular.

Don't forget "Evil Dead II"... (Below threshold)
craig mclaughlin:

Don't forget "Evil Dead II" and "Army of Darkness." Ash is the man.

For the Trek fan inclined t... (Below threshold)

For the Trek fan inclined try "Free Enterprise".

About died when I saw the Logans Run dream sequence and in the credits that the part of Bill is played by "The Actor formerly known as Shatner"

For cheese Rustler's Rhapso... (Below threshold)

For cheese Rustler's Rhapsody is pretty darn good, early Tom Berenger (sp?).
And of course Perfect Timing. With one of the best music videos I've ever seen, "I want a muscle" (that can stay up all night).

The best scene in UHF is when they show the Supplies closet and then open the door and the group of Japanese guys all yell, "Suplise!!!"
That was funny.

Ash is the ManCrai... (Below threshold)

Ash is the Man

Craig beat me to it!






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