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Swing Away: The Top 11 Sh*tty Movies That We Like Anyway

By Rebecca Pahle | Lists | August 7, 2015 |

By Rebecca Pahle | Lists | August 7, 2015 |

As a follow-up to my post about movies we hate that everyone else loves, I decided to switch things up a bit and ask you guys about the unpopular, unappreciated movies that you genuinely, unironically like, because never let it be said that I am not a positive, completely uncynical, ray of sunshine motherfucker.

One spreadsheet and endless comment stalking later, I present the top eleven movies that (some of) you love—damn critics, damn the world, damn that niggling sense of self-doubt that maybe Ghostbusters II does suck. (It does not. I mean, the fact that Egon and Janine don’t end up together does, but everything else is sterling.) Shine on, special snowflakes. Shine on.

The collective filmography of the Wachowskis

Jupiter Ascending and the Matrix sequels both got a handful of votes (true story: I once cried on an airplane at The Matrix Revolutions. True, unironic, I-am-being-emotionally-affected-by-this-movie tears. Still not sure what happened there.), but it was Speed Racer and Cloud Atlas that really brought the defense squad out of the woodwork. I’m not a huge fan of their non-Matrix work myself (including Sense8sorry, Joe), but I appreciate their willingness to utilize royalty-sniffing bees approximately 100% more than any other director does.


The general consensus: Not great as an adaptation of the source material, but dammit, it’s as good movie on its own. Also, SWINTON. Always SWINTON.

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Starship Troopers

The director of Showgirls does a whip-smart military satire. Who knew?


While some of you don’t want to miss a thing about this schmaltz-ridden Michael Bay disaster flick, and even Pearl Harbor has some apologists, not one single person voted for Pain & Gain. Guys. It’s a bit overlong, as Bay films tend to be, but it is geuinely funny. The Rock’s great in it, and Marky Mark’s really good when he’s playing idiots. I have unqualified affection for this Bay movie, and I don’t even care.

And then. Uh. Armageddon. Yeah. That one.

What Dreams May Come

No, no, no. It’s “What Dreams.” “What.” With a w and then an h. “WHAT.” Stop saying it so fast. E-NUN-CI-ATE.

I refuse to watch this, because I’m either going to hate it (*cough*DeadPoet’sSociety*cough*) or it’s going to make me sob uncontrollably.


I’m OK with any movie where Christian Bale mows down an entire crowd of people to rescue a puppy.

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Well it is the ultimate thinking person’s science fiction film. (Note the publication date, please.)

Death to Smoochy

My memory of Smoochy is pretty hazy: Jon Stewart is there, and Ed Norton dresses up in a cut-rat Barney costume? Regardless, I remember enjoying it, though not so much as a lot of you clearly do. Also, Danny DeVito directed it! Obligatory:

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The Mummy

…and, to a lesser extent, The Mummy Returns, which set up a permanent place of residence in the Uncanny Valley and died there. Honestly, I was a bit confused by all the people voting for The Mummy, because I have never met a single person who doesn’t like it. I guess my friends all have good taste.


OK, OK, it’s a consensus: Signs, at least among our readership, is not nearly as unpopular film as it is in the wider (Muggle) world. Now let’s pass out the baseball bats and pitchforks, and you can all argue about The Village, OK?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I will throw down for this movie. Is it an accurate adaptation of Douglas Adams’ famous sci-fi novel (which, incidentally, I love more than life itself?). No. But so much of what’s great about the book is in Adams’ writing style (“The ships hung in the sky in much the way that bricks don’t”), and that’s difficult to translate visually. Rather than trying to do what Adams already perfected, director Garth Jennings chose to stick to the spirit of the Hitchhiker’s Guide, rather than to the letter*, inventing new characters and situations that I think worked really well. Mos Def is the best possible person who could have been cast as Ford Prefect. I literally do not care.

*Incidentally, this is also why I tend to prefer the two-hour feautre adaptations of Jane Austen novels—you know, the ones intended for us snot-nosed plebes—over the behemoth miniseries versions the BBC puts out. If I want to experience every little bit of Austen’s writings, I will read the books, where I can fully experience her wit instead of being bored stiff watching people stand around in drawing rooms for four fucking hours. I include Pride and Prejudice in this assessment: Colin Firth is a great Darcy, but on the whole I would rather watch Joe Wright’s Keira Knightely version than the BBC’s any day of the week. Fight me.

Honorable mentions: Ghostbusters 2 (it’s good, God dammit, I don’t care!), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters aka Jeremy Renner’s Penis Gun: The Movie, the Step Up franchise, the Star Wars prequels (no), Dude, Where’s My Car?, Hudson Hawk, Smokin’ Aces, and Forrest Gump, one of the few movies that could appear on our Movies You Love That Everyone Hates and Movies You Hate That Everyone Loves lists.

So. Let’s all have one giant Pajiba movie night, watch all these, and then proceed to beat each other up. How ‘bout it? TK’s place?