“Mystery Science Theater” (and subsequently, “RiffTrax”) has changed the way in which we watch films. Thanks to the influence they have had on pop-culture, bad movies aren’t just for the $3.99 bin at your local Target, they are an EVENT. Combine alcohol, a group of like-minded individuals, and a bad movie, and you can successfully and enjoyably destroy a few hours and brain cells on any given Saturday night.
But how many of those movies that you watch drunkenly in groups are you likely to watch again? At home? By yourself? Sober? It takes a special kind of bad movie that can be appreciated both ironically and literally. That’s what this list of 50 Movies looks at today. They’re not simply bad, they’re entertainingly bad, even without the benefit of a peanut gallery. That’s why you won’t see straight-up awful movies, like Manos: Hands of Fate, The Room, Zardoz or Birdemic: Shock and Terror on this list because without the group dynamic, films like those are simply excruciating to watch.
Using a sophisticated algorithm developed by a real-life unemployed NASA scientist, I’ve endeavored to rank the Top 50 Entertainingly Craptacular Films of All Time using the following criteria: 1) How enjoyable is the movie to watch ironically? 2) How enjoyable is it to watch on cable television by single people with nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon? And 3) Is alcohol necessary for the enjoyment of the film, or does alcohol simply make it more entertaining?
This is the result of that study.
50. Missing in Action: Colonel James Braddock is an American officer who spent seven years in a North Vietnamese POW camp, then escaped 10 years ago. After the bloodiest war, Braddock accompanies a government investigation team that goes to Ho Chi Minh City to check out reports of Americans still held prisoner. Braddock gets the evidence then travels to Thailand, where he meets Tuck, an old Army buddy turned black market kingpin. Together, they launch a mission deep into the jungle to free the American POWs from General Trau.
49. Fire Down Below: Environmental protection agent Jack Taggart is fighting big business types led by Orin Hanner who are dumping toxic waste somewhere in the Kentucky hills region. They also killed his fellow agent and are killing the nature of the region.
48. Fired Up!: The two most popular guys in high school decide to ditch football camp for cheerleader camp. For the girls and for the glory.
47. Cursed: A werewolf loose in Los Angeles changes the lives of three young adults, who, after being mauled by the beast, learn they must kill their attacker if they hope to change their fate to avoid becoming werewolves too.
46. Very Bad Things: A prostitute is killed during a bachelor party and the attendees turn on each other as the wedding approaches.
45. Phantoms: 150 dead and 350 missing in the tiny mountain town of Snowfield, Colorado. And that’s only the beginning…
44. Demolition Man: A cop is brought out of suspended animation in prison to pursue an old ultra-violent enemy who is loose in a nonviolent future society.
43. Pitch Black: A group of marooned space travelers struggle for survival on a seemingly lifeless sun-scorched world.
42. Drive Angry 3D: A vengeful father escapes from hell and chases after the men who killed his daughter and kidnapped his granddaughter.
41. The Last Action Hero: A young movie fan gets thrown into the movie world of his favourite action film character.
40. Snakes on a Plane: An FBI agent takes on a plane full of deadly and poisonous snakes, deliberately released to kill a witness being flown from Honolulu to Los Angeles to testify against a mob boss.
39. Next of Kin: Truman, a Chicago cop, sets out to find the killer of his brother. Meanwhile, another of his brothers, Briar (a hillbilly) decides to find the killer himself.
38. Frankenhooker: A medical school dropout loses his fiancée in a tragic lawnmower incident, and decides to bring her back. Unfortunately, he was only able to save her head, so he goes to the red light district in the city and lures prostitutes into a hotel room so he can get parts for his girlfriend.
37. The Specialist: A woman entices a bomb expert she’s involved with into destroying the mafia that killed her family.
36. The Mummy: An American serving in the French Foreign Legion on an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Hamunaptra accidentally awakens a Mummy.
35. Cobra: City cop is on the trail of a serial killer. Loaded with action and violence. Stallone fans will love this Rambo-like movie with Stallone on the chase instead of the run.
34. Swordfish: A secretive renegade counter-terrorist co-opts the world’s greatest hacker (who is trying to stay clean) to steal billions in US Government dirty money.
33. The Big Hit: Melvin Smiley, a successful young hitman, is living a normal all-day life for his jewish fiancé Pam, but kills for money in Paris’ organization. In addition, he has a relationship with a beauty from the neighbourhood and gets bothered by a pimply video store guy, because he did not return “King Kong Lives” for two weeks. He and his three teammates Cisco, Crunch and Vince one day decide to kidnap the daughter of super-rich businessman Jiro Nishi – off the record. What they do not know, is that Jiro just went completely bankrupt due to a successless movie production, and, even worse, that his daughter Keiko is the god-daughter of Paris, the boss of the kidnappers.
32. TransporterThis film is about a man whose job is to deliver packages without asking any questions. Complications arise when he breaks those rules.
31. Idle Hands: Lazy Anton’s right hand becomes possessed with murderous intent.
30. Torque: Biker Cary Ford is framed by an old rival and biker gang leader for the murder of another gang member who happens to be the brother of Trey (Ice Cube), leader of the most feared biker gang in the country. Ford is now on the run trying to clear his name from the murder with Trey and his gang looking for his blood.
29. Basket Case: A young man carrying a big basket that contains his deformed Siamese-twin brother seeks vengeance on the doctors who separated them against their will.
28. Re-Animator: A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus.
27. Assassins: Robert Rath is a seasoned hitman who just wants out of the business with no back talk. But, as things go, it ain’t so easy. A younger, peppier assassin named Bain is having a field day trying to kill said older assassin. Rath teams up with a computer hacker named Electra to defeat the obsessed Bain.
26. Grandma’s Boy: A 35 year old video game tester has to move in with his grandma and her two old lady roommates.
25. My Bloody Valentine 3D: Tom returns to his hometown on the tenth anniversary of the Valentine’s night massacre that claimed the lives of 22 people. Instead of a homecoming, however, Tom finds himself suspected of committing the murders, and it seems like his old flame is the only one will believes he’s innocent.
24. National Treasure: A treasure hunter is in hot pursuit of a mythical treasure that has been passed down for centuries, while his employer turned enemy is onto the same path that he’s on.
23. Beerfest: Two brothers travel to Germany for Oktoberfest, only to stumble upon secret, centuries-old competition described as a “Fight Club” with beer games.
22. Cruel Intentions: Kathryn makes a bet that her step-brother, Sebastian, won’t be able to bed Annette (a virgin, who wants to wait until love). If he loses, Kathryn gets his Jaguar, if he wins, he gets Kathryn.
21. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze: The Turtles and the Shredder battle once again, this time for the last cannister of the ooze that created the Turtles, which Shredder wants to create an army of new mutants.
20. Beastmaster: A sword-and-sorcery fantasy about a young man’s search for revenge. Armed with supernatural powers, the handsome hero and his animal allies wage war against marauding forces.
19. Over the Top: Lincoln Hawk (Stallone) is a struggling trucker who’s trying to rebuild his life. After the death of his wife, he tries to make amends with his son who he left behind years earlier. Upon their first meeting, his son doesn’t think too highly of him until he enters the nation-wide arm wrestling competition in Las Vegas.
18. Armageddon: When an asteroid the size of Texas is headed for Earth the world’s best deep core drilling team is sent to nuke the rock from the inside.
17. The Rock: A renegade general and his group of U.S. Marines take over Alcatraz and threaten San Francisco Bay with biological weapons. A chemical weapons specialist and the only man to have ever escaped from the Rock attempt to prevent chaos.
16. Toxic Avenger: Melvin is a social misfit who works in the Tromaville Health Club. He is always suffering the abuse of two bullies and their respective girlfriends and the four are also murderers. But all the abuse is going to end when Melvin accidentally falls into some barrels with toxic material. Now he is “The Toxic Avenger” and soon he will be the hero of Tromaville and a menace to the corrupt mayor.
15. Conan the Barbarian: The epic tale of child sold into slavery who grows into a man who seeks revenge against the warlord who massacred his tribe.
14. Con Air: A newly released ex-con and former US Ranger finds himself trapped in a prisoner transport plane when the passengers seize control.
13. Final Destination: After a teenager has a terrifying vision of him and his friends dying in a plane crash, he prevents the accident only to have Death hunt them down, one by one.
12. Red Scorpion: A Russian KGB agent is sent to Africa to kill an anti-Communist black revolutionary. However, he has a change of heart when he sees how the Russians and their Cuban allies are killing and repressing the locals, so he switches sides and helps the rebels.
11. Deep Blue Sea: Searching for a cure to Alzheimer’s disease a group of scientists on an isolated research facility become the bait as a trio of intelligent sharks fight back.
10. Maximum Overdrive: A group of people try to survive when machines start to come alive and become homicidal.
9. Varsity Blues: In the town of West Canaan, Texas, football is a way of life but for Jonathan “Mox” Moxon(James Van Der Beek), he has just about enough of it. Pressured by his father to play since childhood, Mox has barely ever seen some football action being a second string quarterback. But after the first string quarterback Lance Harbor(Paul Walker), is seriously injured, Mox is brought in to finish the season and win Coach Bud Kilmer’s(Jon Voight) district championship.
8. Bad Boys: Two hip detectives protect a murder witness while investigating a case of stolen heroin.
7. Shoot ‘Em Up: A man named Mr. Smith delivers a woman’s baby during a shootout, and is then called upon to protect the newborn from the army of gunmen.
6. Independence Day: The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy. Fighting superior technology, Man’s best weapon is the will to survive.
5. They Live: A drifter discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to wake up to the fact that aliens have taken over the Earth.
4. Skulls: Luke McNamara, a college senior from a working class background joins a secret elitist college fraternity organization called “The Skulls”, in hope of gaining acceptance into Harvard Law School. At first seduced by the club’s trapping of power and wealth, a series of disturbing incidents, such as his best friends suicide, leads Luke to investigate the true nature of the organization and the truth behind his friends supposed suicide. He starts realizing that his future and possibly his life is in danger.
3. Showgirls: A young drifter, named Nomi, arrives in Las Vegas to become a dancer and soon sets about clawing and pushing her way to become the top of the Vegas showgirls.
2. Crank: Professional assassin Chev Chelios learns his rival has injected him with a poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops.
1. Road House: A tough bouncer is hired to tame a dirty bar.