Schlockbuster Theater: 5 Charmingly Bad Movies You Need to See
5 Charmingly Bad Movies You Need to See
“I need gopher chucks!”
Howdy! John here trying my hand at something other than criticizing my favorite comic artists and writers; I’m trying to keep things positive during these uncertain times. With everything that is going on right now in the world and with orders from every local and federal agency to stay at home and to practice social distancing, now is the perfect time to dust off some of the movies you might have bought and just have not gotten around to watching. You know those movies that you just had to have, the movies that you have just been aching to watch, but let me propose an alternative. Instead of spending your time watching those big budget, blockbuster movies you missed, why don’t you take some time to check out the opposite end of the movie spectrum. That’s right: low budget, schlockbuster movies that have more charm and personality than dollars and sense (see what I did there).
Below is the first list of movies that are so bad, they’re good, and ones that you need to watch immediately. These movies range in genre from action to science fiction to video game adaptation. This list is in no particular order, so please don’t judge my ability to effectively rate and categorize horrible movies. To help me out on this list, I am enlisting my good friend Justin, not only because he certainly has something to say about each of these films, but he also has a unique sense of humor to boot. Alright let’s get started!
Cornavirus facepalm warning: You may be tempted to continually and consistently make a face palm-like motion while watching the movies on this list. Please DO NOT touch your face. And wash your hands. Geez.
Kung Pow: Enter the Fist
Starring Steve Oedekerk, Fei Lung and Leo Lee
Written and Directed by Steve Oedekerk
Approximate budget $10 million
Watch on Amazon!
John: Kung Pow: Enter the Fist is one of my favorite movies of all time. Why? Well, just listen to the premise of this movie and its unorthodox approach to film making. The film is a revenge tale that follows a man deemed “the chosen one” because he has a face on his tongue that actually talks; you know, nothing out of the ordinary. Every scene in this movie is complete hilarity and there are so many quotable lines, it puts other films to shame. “That’s a lot of nuts! Tell me if you see a Radioshack. My name is Betty.” Most notable are a scene involving punching a perfectly circular hole through another person and the appearance of Mu Shu Fasa. I’m going to watch it again right now!
Justin: Steve Oedekerk’s “Kung Pow: Enter The Fist” was the first film that came to mind when asked about my favorite unintentional comedy, though it is the only legitimate comedy on the list. Kung Pow is a hilarious story told through the editing and inserting of modern day shot footage into a combination of old-school martial arts films. Journey alongside “The Chosen One”, a wandering warrior seeking vengeance on the man who ruined his life at an early age. Can “The Chosen One” and his newfound friends race against time (and a kung-fu practicing cow) to save his dojo and the world from destruction?
Street Fighter: The Movie
Starring Jean Claude Van Damme, Raul Julia and Ming Na Wen
Written and Directed by Steven E. de Souza
Approximate budget $35 million
Watch on Amazon!
John: This movie is the epitome of 90’s video game adaptations. Of course, I was a big fan of Street Fighter 2 at the time and could not wait to see this movie. Man, was I confused while watching it, but there is just so much schlock it is charming. Van Damme as Guile? Raul Julia as M. Bison? Blanka looking as “video gamey” as he could? All this culminates into a campy yet nostalgic atmosphere that is completely addictive. Lastly, can we all agree that Dolph Lundgren would have played a much better Colonel Guile than Jean Claude Van Damme?
Justin: Ahh, another personal favorite of mine. A low budget video-game based martial arts movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, is based around a franchise beloved by millions, and the only time in history i’ll get to see Raul Julia in an M. Bison outfit. This flick will have you chuckling from start to finish with its cheesy banter, and all the familiar faces you know from Street Fighter 2 are there. The villainous M. Bison enacts his plans for world domination with his trusted minion fighters, backed by his country of Shadaloo. Now it’s up to Colonel William Guile to form a task group and put an end to Shadaloos evil game.
Starring Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo and Martin Sheen
Directed by Mark A.Z. Dippé
Written by Alan B. McElroy and Mark A.Z. Dippé
Approximate budget $40 million
Watch on Amazon!
John: Being a long time Spawn fan, this was probably the most anticipated movie of my childhood. I remember watching a behind the scenes special on the SciFi Channel for this movie and being hyped to see it. I went with my Dad to Hollywood Video to rent this movie, and I can not tell you how many times I rewound the Spawn VHS to watch those horribly produced, CGI transformation scenes. And that scene of Spawn breaking through the glass during the dinner party ambushing Jason Wynn, my 10 year old eyes melted! The toilet humor provided by John Leguizamo as Clown fit my age demographic perfectly. “Oooh, twins!” I was enthralled by the film as a kid, and even though it has not aged well, I can sit and enjoy all the campiness of Spawn at any time. “Waaannnndddaaaaaa!”
Justin: The film adaptation of a comic book antihero legend. “Spawn” introduces you to assassin for hire Al Simmons, double crossed and left for dead, he descends into hell and accepts his destiny as a hellspawn. This movie is super cg heavy (to an almost nauseating degree at times), and practically oozes cheese with every line. Along the way he meets both friend and foe alike who wish to aid him in his..hellspawn training? I used to despise the “Clown” (John Leguizamo) as a kid, but I’ve grown to really appreciate what he adds to the character over time, as trying to be the comic relief in a movie that takes itself far more seriously than it should.
Mortal Kombat Annihilation
Starring Robin Shou, Talisa Soto, James Remar
Directed by John R. Leonetti
Written by Brent V. Friedman and Bryce Zabel
Approximate budget $30 million
Watch on Amazon!
John: I think it is important to reflect on the promotional tag line for this movie, “Destroy all Expectations,” because in simple terms, it warns the audience of what is about to happen on screen. And what happens is an amazingly comical yet bizarre film that attempts to do right by its source material. Alien, clone guy from The X-Files TV show plays Shao Kahn, and they recast Raiden from the stoic Christopher Lambert to Warriors’ James Remar. The CGI will make your eyes bleed as well. All the most popular stable of characters from the Mortal Kombat series are here showing off their lack of expertise to properly sell and deliver lines as their characters which results in a lot of great laughs. I mean, this film gave us the classic lines like, “Shao What?!,” and, “Too bad………..you will die!” You’re in for a treat!
Justin: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” is a great addition to any film buff or casual moviegoer’s list of oddball, unintentional comedies. Taking place immediately after the events of the first film, Annihilation tells the tale of Earth realm’s greatest warriors once more locked in battle with Shao Kahn and his evil generals for the fate of mankind. This has always been a personal favorite of mine, and I’ve spent countless nights laughing at it’s impeccable line reading, state-of-the-art special effects, and our heroes traversing the heat from the earth’s core inside metal balls (I must’ve missed that Test Your Might minigame).
Starring Daniel Bernhardt, Robert Z’Dar, Travis Brooks Stewart
Directed by Anthony Doublin
Written by Dom Magwili
Approximate budget $3 (according to Google Search)
Watch on Amazon (kind of?)!
John: Hilariously, I was “gifted” this movie by my grandparents for Christmas one year. They decided to take the quantity over quality approach to my gift that year, and I received a box full of discount DVD’s containing this beauty. If a movie involves time-traveling fugitives, cyborgs riding dinosaurs, flashlights used for lasers and power-rangers style exploding cardboard boxes then you will, well, let’s face it, you will probably hate this movie. Upon searching for this movie’s budget, I found it listed at $3, and it shows in every horribly-produced frame. However, the campy atmosphere and low budget, make this movie a top pick for me. Here’s a little bit of trivia: if you think you recognize the star Daniel Berhardt; his career peaked as a supporting agent in The Matrix Reloaded.
Justin: First, I’d like to give a shoutout to 1997 for giving us more gems like these than we can count. “Future War” might as well have been shot for free, puppets and toys are held close to the camera lens (for that larger-than-life effect, haha), and our antagonist has a flashlight strapped to his arm, and most of the set-pieces consist of cardboard boxes. Now that that’s out of the way. A human prisoner escapes to the past from a future where robot overlords train and ride dinosaurs to keep humans in line. After being followed back in time to L.A., our hero must now outwit his cyborg pursuers and their dino-trackers, the police, and the government with the help of a nun.
So that about wraps it up for the first part of our choices for movies that you need to see (or may want to avoid), but are terrible in all the right ways. Look out for part 2 of our list soon, and if you have any suggestions for movies you would like for us to check out or consider for our list, let us know. Stay safe, stay healthy and always remember to wash your hands especially after watching these steaming piles.