Awesomely Awful Movies You Never Heard Of

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

Do you really have anything better to do than read this post?

It's amazing which movies will keep you from turning the channel.  For me it can be one of many types: a Bogart film, a classic, an 80's movie that takes me back to my youth, or a great action flick.  Jaws and Predator are two that recently forced me to watch the bulk of them even though I'd seen both more than once.  I'm weak like that.

Many times these movies that take hold over us are terrible.  So, why do we watch them again?  Maybe we like to laugh at how easily entertained we once were.  Or it simply reminds you of where and when you were when you saw it the first time. 

Whatever the reason, I thought I'd share a few movies that I love-- or at least was entertained when I saw them-- and are terrible cinema.  Not Ishtar or Gigli bad, but let's just say the acting and plots are suspect.  Here they are, in no particular order:

BMX Bandits (1983)
Easily my most highly recommended from the list.  It's an Australian movie featuring a 15-year old Nicole Kidman who's scenes were mostly shot with a boy in an orange wig.  I saw it when I was a kid, hence the BMX enticement, but also laughed my but off at bumbling Australian gangsters who are after Kidman and her two friends for getting their hands on the crooks' hi-tech walkie-talkies and selling them to all their friends.  Now they want their money back, but they have to catch them first.

Speaking of awful, how about this "talk show" where young Nicole had to do a little publicity for her big movie?  I also tacked on the trailer.

 American Flyers (1985)
It's hard to think you could get an interesting hour and a half out of a cycling race, but director John Badham (WarGames, Blue Thunder, Short Circuit) was able to do it.  Mostly because of a mustached Kevin Costner trying to make amends with his brother after years of family strife.  Obvious 80's staples:  the race called "The Hell of the West" features two bad guys; one an American named Cannibal, and of course the Russian champion.  If you're a guy and have a brother-- watch it.  When looking for this movie in the video store try the category: Rae Dawn Chong Movies Before She Hit It Big.

Meatballs II (1984)
And you didn't know there was a sequel!  Actually there were three, but I never got around to Meatballs III or 4.  No Bill Murray in this one, but John Larroquette and Richard Mulligan are more than capable of carrying a plot of two warring camps battling over the same lake where two unlikely teens fall in love and a cabin full of kids befriend an alien.

Midnight Madness (1980)
This is one that really seems dumb looking back on it.  A young Michael J. Fox has a small role in this movie about a bunch of teams on a scavenger hunt across the city.  The comedy was much funnier when I saw it the first time making this one less awesome and more awful.  Go to the 5:00 mark of this clip for the best part.

Gleaming the Cube (1989)
You're shocked a Christian Slater movie has made the list?  This is classic young Jack Nicholson wannabe Slater as a skateboarder trying to find out who killed his adopted brother.  Most unrealistic moment: Slater skateboarding on the highway at 80 miles and hour from the back of a car and being able to not wipe out because of special trucks on his board.  But I like it because of all the skateboarding and cameos, including Tony Hawk.

North Shore (1987)
You should not be surprised that a Nia Peeples vehicle is considered awesomely awful.  It's less Nia, though, and more surfing.  Growing up in Florida, surfing movies always got a watch and this is my favorite.  Matt Adler is a kid who learns to surf in a wave pool goes to Hawaii to try with the big guns.  Of course, he loses everything, but is taken in by a guy who teaches him to surf.  Most unrealistic moment: the guy teaching him to surf is Gregory Harrison.  But it's awesome for the surfer cameos, the bad acting, all the waves and the local language.  Howli, barney, kook-- all said by a guy named Turtle and the local gang called The Hooey.  Whenever this one pops up on cable-- I always watch it.

White Water Summer (1987)
Two Matt Adler movies made in the same year-- both awesomely awful.  Adler is one of four kids who get talked into an extreme camping trip with the crazy leader Kevin Bacon.  Sean Astin (Rudy, The Goonies) is the weakling who battles Bacon until a heroic finish featuring a mutiny and Bacon losing his mind.  I always seem to remember the music from this movie featuring Journey and Cutting Crew.  (Anyone judging me, please read "Cutting Crew" as "Metallica.") Here's the trailer.

I challenge you to find better bad movies that are virtually unknown or forgotten about.  I'd love to waste even more time checking them out.

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  • by Jason Location: newsroom on May 22, 2009 at 12:20 PM
    Willow-- a great choice! Fandango didn't make my list b/c it's not really awful in any way. The Patrick Dempsey movie I should have included would have been In The Mood where he plays the Woo Woo Kid. GJWHV is a good choice too-- if my wife was doing this list. She would also include Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.
  • by P on May 22, 2009 at 11:51 AM
    How about the BMX movie, RAD. I think the year was 1986.
  • by Anonymous on May 22, 2009 at 12:52 AM
    Willow with Val Kilmer
  • by Anonymous on May 21, 2009 at 10:23 AM
    fandango with kevin costner and can't buy me love with a very young patrick dempsey
  • by Anonymous on May 21, 2009 at 08:34 AM
    Girls just want to have fun! Starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt!
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