/Answers: The Unapologetically Stupid Movies We Truly Love

Every week in /Answers, we attempt to answer a new pop culture-related question. With Geostorm invading theaters this weekend (and not being screened for critics), we're asking "What unapologetically stupid movie do actually love with all of your heart?" Low-budget cult items like Plan 9 From Outer Space and The Room were disqualified – our choices had to be major movies that somehow got made by human adults.

Ethan Anderton: Jingle All the Way

"It's Turbo Time!" Every single Christmas ,I end up watching this movie a couple times. I own it on DVD. Sometimes I'll turn it on when it happens to be on TV. It is shamelessly goofy, completely ridiculous, has the most insufferable characters, and sends the worst message to the audience. And I love every minute of it.

Remember when Sinbad and Arnold Schwarzenegger were both viable box office stars? Sinbad dominated the '90s with comedies for adults and kids alike while Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the biggest action stars in the world. Whenever the latter dabbled in comedy, you knew you were in for something positively foolish. Schwarzenegger doesn't know how to do subtle comedy, and since Jingle All the Way lacks even a modicum of subtlety, that makes him the perfect leading man for this slapstick holiday comedy.

All the situations in which Arnold Schwarzenegger tries to get his hands on a Turbo Man doll are completely absurd. What kind of chain toy store in a shopping mall doubles the price of a toy on Christmas? Why does that same store endanger all of their customers by having them jump after lottery balls? Why are people so desperate for one of those balls when there's only a small chance that they'll get one of the dolls? Is there seriously an underground, bootleg toy market run by mall Santa Clauses?

But if that's not wacky enough, the completely outlandish climax involving a parade superhero costume being equipped with a fully functional jetpack should do the trick. How is it that the Minneapolis Wintertainment parade has a superhero suit equipped with a jetpack over 10 years before Iron Man was a thing, and why isn't our military using these things? It doesn't make any goddamn sense!

Equally inexplicable is my love for this movie. A lot of it comes from Arnold Schwarzenegger and his unshakable accent making the most innocuous lines sound hilarious. "Who said you could eat my cookie?!" I laugh at that every time. Plus, we get to hear that scream that only Schwarzenegger can deliver when he falls out of the sky after accidentally turning off his jetpack. And let's not forget that Phil Hartman is almost a saving grace, bringing that perfect, smarmy, next door neighbor personality to life as only the SNL veteran could.

Jingle All the Way is probably the worst movie that I genuinely enjoy and watch repeatedly. I don't care how much shame it brings upon my family, and I can't wait until Christmas rolls around so I can watch it again. Also, if anyone wants to send me a Turbo Man, I'm not going to be mad about it.

Vanessa Bogart: Wild Wild West

I should begin by saying that I didn't know that Wild Wild West was a bad movie until I started paying attention to the looks on people's faces when I told them that I love it. I was dumbfounded by all of the whining and the soured "You can't be serious" remarks. Pure, blind, and unconditional, that is how much I truly, whole heartedly, unapologetically love this film. Will Smith's Wild Wild West song is part of my running playlist, I can quote the film on command, and the last time I watched it was no less than two months ago. I didn't think there was another person on the planet that loved this movie outside of me and my sister. When I found someone who did, I married him. Okay, that isn't the only reason I married him, but apparently finding another living, breathing, well-adjusted person that loves Wild Wild West is like finding a leprechaun riding a unicorn from Mars.

Every single technical flaw in Wild Wild West can be 100% overlooked (in my opinion) for some very important reasons. First of all, Will Smith in the all black cowboy outfit is about one of the sexiest things that has ever existed. Not to mention that he is a revenge driven son of murdered slaves that was taken in by Native Americans in the desert. What a character! Secondly, Kevin Kline is a cross-dressing U.S. Marshall/ steampunk inventor. Third, they work together. Fourth, the wonderful, Shakespearean actor, Kenneth Branagh plays a half-man, half-industrial spider post-Civil War villain, with an over-the-top accent and the world's greatest facial hair. Fifth, Salma Hayek. She is her own reason. And finally, Wild Wild West is just pure entertainment from beginning to end. As one of the few VHS tapes my sister and I had in our bedroom, watching Wild Wild West was an almost weekly occurrence. Not only that, but it was not uncommon for us to rewind our favorite scenes for multiple viewings, because they were just too damn good to watch only once.

I don't see how you could possibly bother yourself with paying attention to any alleged flaws. It has sex appeal, it has violence, it has humor, and it has steampunk spiders. I stand proud in my love for Wild Wild West, however I would never dare debate anyone on its quality, because as steadfastly as I believe in my above reasoning, my defense doesn't go much further than, "Come on, man, Will Smith and a giant steampunk spider..."

Ben Pearson: Mission: Impossible II

I was 15 years old when Mission: Impossible II came out. While Brian De Palma's 1996 film adaptation of the classic spy TV show was aimed at adults, I was the perfect age to appreciate John Woo's wildly dumb sequel when it blasted into theaters, and Woo's follow-up raised the stakes in terms of mask work, ridiculously cheesy action, and, naturally, slow motion shots of doves flying around while people try to look cool. And what can I say? This movie is profoundly idiotic, but I still love the damn thing.

I've always been into Greek mythology, so I get a kick out of the idea of a virus named Chimera and its cure named Bellerophon. I like Anthony Hopkins' wry speeches in his 10 minutes of screen time as the chief of the IMF, and I enjoy the buddy dynamic between Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames' characters – something that's referenced multiple times throughout this franchise. Dougray Scott gets a lot of crap for having to make this movie instead of playing Wolverine in X-Men, but I think he gives a fun, appropriately over-the-top performance as the baddie, leaning heavily on his accent to sell his villainy. I even think a young Thandie Newton, saddled with the task of playing a cat burglar love interest, acquits herself well under the circumstances.

And come on: this film includes a final fight between Cruise's Ethan Hunt and Scott's Sean Ambrose that features what can only be called motorcycle-fu, which results in a laugh-out-loud confrontation in which they leap from their bikes and collide in mid-air as the bikes explode away from them. It's moronic, it makes no physical sense, and it's one of the dumbest action fights in modern film history...(whispers) but it's kind of awesome, isn't it? Yes. The answer is yes. This movie rules.

Hoai-Tran Bui: Step Up

You can reproach the Step Up sequels for being glorified concert performance videos as much as you want, but the first Step Up is a genuinely good film. Well maybe not good, but it's fun. And isn't that the main goal of the movie-going experience, to have fun? For the life of me, I can't figure out why people deride dance movies as being too formulaic and showy — all style, no substance. Sure, every movie can't have the crackling chemistry and iconic moments of Dirty Dancing or simmering wistfulness of the 1996 Shall We Dance, but goddammit, I just want to see sexy people with abs have a good time.

And Channing Tatum and future wife Jenna Dewan sure are having a good time in Step Up. Tatum's awkward stoicism was written off as wooden at the time, and Jenna literally danced and acted circles around him for much of the film, but you can't deny their slowly warming chemistry and how good they look together. The story is wafer thin and the final dance scene comes off as shoddy compared to the bombastic spectacles that would follow in the sequels, but what Step Up has going for it is its authenticity. Every quiet grin and fumbled catch comes off as genuine in the Step Up, and the movie makes great use of Tatum's gangly limbs and innate dweebiness. Step Up touches on the class disparity between Tatum's Tyler Gage and Dewan's Nora Clark, but never turns it into a preachy plot point — instead it informs the main narrative of ballerina Nora trying to teach b-boyer Tyler classical dance to become her partner. Beauty in simplicity.

And sure, Step Up basically a rehash of Save the Last Dance, except without the benefit of Julia Stiles' star power — but who can hate that scene of Channing Tatum taking a ballerina class with uppity 7-year-olds? No one. It's great. And it's the epitome of what Step Up is: sweet character moments with beautiful, sexy people, and Channing Tatum failing at ballet.

Chris Evangelista: Freddy vs. Jason

Freddy vs. Jason is an absolute blast. But oh heavens, is it stupid. For years, fans of the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street awaited this face-off; a film that had been teased in the pages of Fangoria since seemingly the beginning of time. At the end of Jason Goes to Hell, supposedly the "final Friday," Jason's discarded hockey mask is pulled into the netherworld by the familiar bladed glove of Freddy Kreuger. That was 1993. It would be another ten years before Freddy vs. Jason sliced and diced its way across the silver screen.

Was all the waiting worth it? Oh it absolutely was. Was the movie good though? Absolutely not. This is an inherently silly movie; how could it not be? There's a scene in this movie where Freddy Kreuger, the Bastard Son of 1000 Maniacs, pretends he's playing a game of pin ball with Jason Voorhees' body. There's another scene where a character whines, "Freddy died with fire, Jason died with water – how can we use that?" only to have this brilliant suggestion never mentioned again.

Yet this movie is also so damn fun. There's a giddy joy at watching two titans of horror finally kick the crap out of each other. There's also some genuinely good stuff nestled within all this nonsense. Robert Englund, playing Freddy for the very last time, gives his best performance as the dream murderer yet, making the character seem truly repulsive and menacing for the first time in a long time. And Katharine Isabelle nearly steals the entire movie with a few brief scenes as the a sarcastic teen with a drinking problem. Freddy vs. Jason was never going to win awards, and it was probably never going to be good. But all I asked from the film was approximately two hours of entertaining moments where two slashers who I had watched since childhood beat each other up. On that front, Freddy vs. Jason delivered.

Lindsey Romain: Twister

Twister is a terrible movie and I love every goddamn second of it. Mad respect for a movie that apes the basic story beats of Jurassic Park but replaces dinosaurs with muthafuckin' tornadoes! Nothing about the science of Twister makes a lick of sense, but that's precisely why it's so fun – tornadoes pop up all over the place, out of the blue, in whatever size the story demands. Sometimes there's two of them! Sometimes there's a cow! Although, and this may be contradictory to my point, I would argue that despite occasional corniness, Twister genuinely succeeds on a character level. Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton are fantastic and believable as a sparring almost-divorced couple who rekindle their romance in the wind-battered Great Plains. The supporting cast is also bizarrely perfect. Did you know that Twister co-stars Cary Elwes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Todd Field, and Jeremy Davies? It's great! It's terrible and it's great!

Matt Donato: Grind

Any reason to write about 2003's Grind is a good one. Even the prompt "What's your favorite 'Unapologetically Stupid Movie You Truly Love?'" That still means I get to write about Grind – my favorite X-treme 2000s teen comedy – as I rip celebratory kickflips on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater for N64 and chug Red Bulls. Soak in that slammin' late-90s, early-00s nostalgia!

Directed by Casey La Scala – whose only other credit is a 2014 thriller called The Remaining – and written by Ralph Sall – his only feature writing credit – Grind is like radioactive-colored liquid cheese that slathers movie theater nachos. You understand there's no nutritional value and wait for internal digestive corrosion, yet chow down anyways because goddamn that cheesiness is too good.

In the same way, Grind is comfort by way of alt-rock soundtracks and Bam Margera cameos. Dopiness conceived amid an era where daredevils and skateboarders were heralded as gods. Grind is the culmination of bloody-kneed trends and angsty lash-out feelings packed into an underdog roadtrip about broship, wicked trickage and chasin' babes. Shreddin' gnar, dudes!

In all seriousness, Grind is a movie that still makes me laugh harder than I should – flaws acknowledged. Every character is a backwards-hat stereotype, from Joey Kern's lady-killing Sweet Lou to Vince Vieluf's dunce of a human baboon, yet their companionship is real (Mike Vogel and Adam Brody round out team Super Duper). A van full of testosterone and dreams embarking on a silly quest that ends in skate squad glory.

Yet Sall's message of failure and success rings truest when the wheels stop spinning. Life has different endings for all of us. Some will be the rockstar X-Games personality, others the successful graduate or family man. Grind is about doubling-down on happiness and discovering who we truly are. Something we deserve! It's a sunshiny high that rises above expected – and delivered – immaturity.

Then again, you're here for the comedy. Randy Quaid – a circus clown – reuniting with his son and the carnival-themed skate demo that follows afterwards. Sweet Lou being left at a party, his silhouette dancing suggestively as the camera pans to a colored window. A rival gang of wannabe posers who represent the fakeness that tries to pass as true scene heroes. It's never as raunchy as American Pie or consistent as Out Cold, but still mixes MTV roguishness with a charismatic cast of social "rejects." Tom Green cameo included.

I know what I'm defending and I stand by it. Grind has the moves and grooves teenage Donato dug, and that love hasn't died. Let me cling on to my youth just a little big longer.

Jacob Hall: Independence Day: Resurgence

Independence Day: Resurgence May be the single stupidest movie released by a major studio in the past 30 years. It is ill-conceived on every level, filled with baffling character motivations, questionable creative decisions, and a tone that feels like a Saturday morning cartoon given platform shoes and a steroid injection. It is total lunacy and for most people, critics and audiences alike, it was unbearable. And that's okay. That's understandable. It is a bad movie. A bad, stupid, cringe-worthy, idiotic movie. I also love it.

As bad and dumb and preposterous as Independence Day: Resurgence is, as much as it discards the old school disaster movie charms that tethered the first movie to the ground, as much it keeps finding new ways to top itself when it comes to rampant stupidity, this movie's got spirit to spare. There's a grand sense of going all-in here: the weirdly detailed world-building, the combination of old and new cast members, the hilariously misguided attempt to set up a third movie, and the way the film desperately tries to top the destruction from the first entry only to feel more like a cartoon than a live-action film that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make.

Cartoon may be the key word here. Independence Day: Resurgence doesn't feel like a movie. It feels like someone took a long lost (and thoroughly deranged) anime series from the '80s and dropped it into the machine that translated it into live-action without taking nuance into account. It's the big screen adaptation of the animated sequel series to the original movie that exists only in an alternate dimension. It's such a weird thing, such a bizarre go-for-broke pivot from the first movie that I can't help but admire it. Love it, even. It's like an Irish Setter: dumb as a rock and probably going to ruin your shoes, but aww, it's kind of adorable, right?


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