Tag: guilty pleasures

Guilty Pleasure Movies

Yesterday my friends over at Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys) posted a list of their favorite guilty pleasure movies.

http://jordanandeddie.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/top-10-guilty-pleasure-movies-eddies-take/

I commented on Eddie’s choice of Pearl Harbor, one of my least favorite movies, and it got me thinking.  What movies do I know aren’t great but I have an affection for?

The guys lists are:

Eddie- Phantom Tollbooth, Mouse hunt, Transformers, The Mummy, Pearl Harbor, Death Race, Con Air, Deep Blue Sea, Ave Ventura Pet Detective, Hot Rod

Jordan- Doom, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Doomsday, Kung Pow: Enter the Fists, Mallrats, Bad Taste, Mother of Tears, Man with Two Brains, My Name is Bruce, Resident Evil Franchise (I haven’t seen a single one of Jordan’s choices).

Jordan describes a guilty pleasure as- “There those endlessly rewatchable treats that appeal to some and are despised by others, usually nestled somewhere between bad and terrible”

It was tougher than I thought to come up with a list because there are a lot of movies that I LOVE which most people are lukewarm for such as You’ve Got Mail, Just Like Heaven, or Source Code.  I couldn’t think of that many movies that people really hate that I like.

However, I could think of a lot of made for TV movies I like that people hate.  I don’t know if these should count but I figure a movie is a movie.and it’s my list so who cares!

Guilty Pleasure Movies

Love Comes Softly
Love Comes Softly

1. Love Comes Softly Series-

Starting in 2003 Hallmark released their first Hallmark Hall of Fame movie based on Janette Oak’s novels of a family finding love and hope on the frontier in the 1860s.  Each features a strong willed woman who must support her family emotionally and physically and find love along the way

You can watch the series based on the release date starting with Love Comes Softly, Love’s Enduring Promise, Love’s Long Journey, Love’s Abiding Joy, Love’s Unending Legacy, Love’s Unfolding Dream, Love Takes Wing, Love Finds a Home, Love’s Christmas Journey

or you can watch in chronological order with 2 prequels made in 2011 Love Begins and Love’s Everlasting Courage (I have all 10 films if you want to borrow).

What Critics Think:

The average critic would hate these movies.  The acting isn’t always great.  The stories are predictable and the sentiment is laid on pretty thick.  One reviewer said “abysmal like too little grass spread across too much lawn…”

Why I Like Them:

I know these movies are sappy and predictable but I feel like they tell their stories in a really likable way.  The cinematography is good, the performances are earnest and sometimes quite good.  They also talk about faith without beating it over your head.  They will make you cry and smile and just like a bowl of soup feel good even if you know it’s just a bowl of soup.

high school musical

2. High School Musical-

I actually don’t own high school musical but it is one I turn on when I see it is on TV.  High School Musical was made for the Disney channel in 2006 and became a sensation.  Like a musical from the 60s (or a musical set in the 60s ala Hairspray or Grease) HSM is set in a high school with Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens as two students afraid to try out for the high school musical despite their great voices and chemistry.  There are all the typical characters of a high school including jocks and prima donnas but none of them are done in a mean or heavy-handed way.

The reason why this movie did so well I believe is because it appealed to the pre-teen crowd even though it was set in a high school.  There is so few quality entertainment that is targeted for that demographic.  Most are for either older or younger kids.  With HSM tweens could dance and sing and swoon over Zac Efron.  The songs were catchy and the dancing energetic.

What Critics Think:

One critic said “And although the movie is mindlessly engaging for a while, the whole thing ultimately becomes so overwhelmingly silly and juvenile, it’s difficult to imagine even the most die-hard fan of musicals finding anything here worth embracing.”

Why I Like It:

Well my friendly critic I find much worth embracing.  Again if we look at the high school musicals of the past are they really that much better than this?  They have charm, likable leads and catchy music.  At least HSM actually stars real teens instead of a 30 year old Olivia Newton John.

Glee was obviously a result of HSM’s popularity and I think they would have done better if they had kept some of it’s innocence instead of treating it’s characters like adults.

So I like HSM.  I think it is fun, with engaging performances, dancing and singing. Enough for me.

hallmark christmas

3.  Hallmark Christmas Movies-

So I’m a real sucker for Christmas movies.  In fact, it takes a lot to make a Christmas movie I don’t like (I’m talking to you Four Christmases).  Every Christmas I look forward to the Hallmark channel’s Countdown to Christmas and daily syrupy tales of holiday joy.  They always get capable actors and the stories have charm and bring that Christmas cheer.

Some of my favorites are

The Road to Christmas- stars real life couple Jennifer Grey and Clark Gregg (I believe they met on this film) in an opposites attract,  road trip story, that’s completely cheesy but what can I say sometimes I like my Christmas cheese.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year- stars Brooke Burns, Warren Christy and Henry Winkler.  A sweet story of single Mom who is trying to make a Christmas for her son and her uncle who befriends a man on the plane and ends up inviting said man to enjoy Christmas together when his plane is delayed.

The Christmas Choir, Mrs Miracle movies, The Christmas Card, The Christmas Ornament, The Wishing Tree. etc.

What Critics Say-

Well critics, as you might guess, are not very nice to these movies.  They say they are the same movie made over and over again.  One critic cried out in exasperation “If I have to watch another sappy freaken christmas movie I am going to go POSTAL”

Why I Like Them-

First of all the repetition doesn’t bother me.  The whole joy of the holidays is repeating the same messages and traditions over and over again.

Besides, we know there are 7 plots in storytelling, so really almost all movies are the same as a million other stories.  I can only think of a few times in my life I have seen or read something truly original (The Book Thief, Inception come to mind).  That is such an exciting event when it happens but it is rare.

So, you have to find a type of story that you like and then the repetition won’t bother you. I guess I just like stories of Christmas and family and love and romance and goodwill to mankind.

4. Hallmark Hall of Fame Movies-

hallmark romance

This is a bit of cheat because I just had Love Comes Softly and Hallmark Christmas but these bi-monthly films satisfy my need for romantic comedies about nice people falling in love.  In a world where the rom-com is dead what’s a girl to do?

I won’t go into these because the explanation is basically the same as my affection for Hallmark Christmas but some of my favorites are

For the Love of Grace, Love Notes, Romancing the Bride, The Love Letter, The Lost Valentine, Remember Sunday, The 7 Year Hitch, How to Fall in Love, Good Witch, Puppy Love, I Married Who, Flirting with Forty. (Those are not all hall of fame movies but I think they are all Hallmark.  Could be wrong about Flirty).  Lifetime movies are not always as good but still enjoyable.

But honestly I pretty much like them all.  Tonight is one starring James Denton.  Love him…

Friends With Kids main

5 . Friends with Kids-

This movie is technically fresh on rotten tomatoes but it seems like the people who hated it really hated it but I liked it.  It’s not perfect but I really liked what it was trying to do even if it didn’t quite get there.

The movie is about a group of college friends in their early 30s starting to get married and have families.  The ensemble includes Maya Rudolph, Jennifer Westfeldt (starred, wrote and directed), Adam Scott, Kristen Wiig, Chris O’Dowd, Megan Fox and Edward Burns.

2 of the group Julie (Westfeldt)  and Jason (Adam Scott) remain single while the others get married.  They see their friends new lives and on one hand are insanely jealous (and probably a little left out of the concerns and problems they talk about).

On the same breath they are horrified by the chaos and quarreling they see in their married friends.  I so relate to that and I have yet to see a movie really tackle that idea. I honestly think it could be done even better than this movie but I enjoyed it.

What Critics Said-

They are a 65% on RT so a lot of critics liked it but then some hated it.  One said “I’d rather have my head stuck in a vise than be forced to sit through another viewing”

Oh well!

What I Liked About it-

I did not enjoy the routine plot of Julie and Jason deciding to have a platonic child together.  That was boring but the observations about life and their friends I totally bought and as that is the majority of the movie I really liked it.  I think it is a hidden gem and if you are single in your 30s check it out.  I bet you will relate too.

It does have a lot of language so you’ve been warned.

win a date

6. Win a Date with Tad Hamilton-

The kind of sweet simple movie that used to be made all the time but almost never is now (except on Hallmark channel).  Stars Kate Bosworth as a midwest fan girl who gets a chance to go to LA and go on a date with her celebrity crush played by Josh Duhamel.  Meanwhile back home her manager Topher Grace has long had feelings for Rosalee.  What will she decide  the glitzy life of Hollywood or the ordinary man who really loves her? hmmm…

All the leads are endearing and fun.  Ginnifer Goodwin and Sean Hayes also give nice supporting work.  It is completely predictable but in a likable way.

What Critics Thought-

Most gave it a pass as harmless and likable (53% on RT) but a few had stronger words.  One critic said “There is no reason on God’s good Earth to see this movie”

Why I Like it-

It’s sweet love story with likable performances even from Duhamel- a role that would usually be a jerk or diva but he is very human.  But mostly I just like Topher Grace a lot.  He’s won me over way back to That’s 70 Show days.  He’s sweet and earnest and just so darn cute.  Enough for me!

Napoleon-Dynamite

7. Napoleon Dynamite-

This is another movie it seems like you either go with and love or hate because of it’s pacing and style.  It’s stupid no question but it made me laugh a lot.  Maybe part of it is it skewers small town Idaho which isn’t too far away from Utah where I live.  The performances are funny.  The style is slow and deliberate but it works and Napoleon is the coolest nerds before nerds became cool.  He’s not even self-aware that he is a nerd.  He’s just himself and the world responds to him.

I find with most any comedy it will either make you laugh or not and there is no guessing what will set any of us off. So in the end I thought it was funny.

A lot of critics actually liked it at 71% but there was also some backlash after it was so popular but go back and watch it I bet it will hold up for you.

A_Walk_to_Remember_Poster

8. Walk to Remember-

Most people give Nicholas Sparks a pass on The Notebook which is a fine movie; but, if I had to pick a Sparks adaptation as my favorite I would chose A Walk to Remember.  It contains all the Sparksian ingredients- young love, glistening charismatic actors, dewy locals and terminal illness.  However, there is good chemistry between the stars Mandy Moore and Shane West and I love the music.

What Critics Thought-

Walk to Remember gets a 27% on RT.  Most dismissed it as sentimental teen romance but others were harsher saying “A monstrosity of a movie that I am all too eager to forget”

Why I Liked it-

Like I said it’s sweet and I bought the simple romance.  It maybe belonged on Hallmark but the music takes it to a higher level for me.  I really like the songs and Sparks has certainly produced much worse cheese since this so I wonder if those critics might be a little nicer to it in retrospect?

better off dead

9. Better Off Dead-

This movie actually rates pretty high on RT (82%) but I put it on the list because I know it is completely stupid. but….it makes me laugh.  So many of the jokes work.  Whether it’s the Chinese men who learned to talk from Howard Cosell or the neurotic coupon obsessed brother or the strange concoctions his mother cooks, it makes me laugh every time!

The story is about Lane Meyers who is obsessed with his girlfriend (all the high schoolers look 36 in this) who dumps him for the ski team captain.  In revenge he decides to ski the k12, the hardest hill in the town and all hijinks begin.

What Critics Thought-

Like I said most of them liked it.  One critic, Brad Laiman said “I’ve rarely met anyone who didn’t secretly love it passionately.”  Isn’t that the definition of a guilty pleasure?

Why I Like it-

It’s pretty simple.  It makes me laugh.  It has been since 2012 that a comedy came out I wanted to see.  Most nowdays are hard Rs or children’s movies.  The family friendly or teenage friendly comedy is a rarity.   Please bring it back Hollywood.  I miss it!

miss congeniality

10. Miss Congeniality-

This is another one that simply made me laugh.  It’s a silly story of an FBI agent who goes undercover to find a bombing suspect at the fictional Miss United States pageant.  The idea of Sandra Bullock being an ugly woman is silly but they make it work and the scenes with Michael Cain are very good.  Benjamin Bratt is a charming love interest and Heather Burns scores a  lot of laughs as Miss Rhode Island.

Candice Bergen and William Shatner play the heads of the pageant and it gets weaker when they are on screen.  Sandra Bullock makes this movie work.  She’s just so darn likable.

What Critics Thought-

Critics aren’t as harsh on this as I would have thought.  42% on RT.  Most said pleasant, entertaining, harmless etc.  One said “Like most beauty pageant contestants themselves, Miss Congeniality is all charm and little substance.”

Why I Liked It-

I’d actually agree with the above quote.  It’s totally charm over substance but it was charming enough for me to overlook the silly plot.  If you have likable characters with some funny dialogue than I don’t need a huge substantial plot.  In fact, sometimes that can make a rom com feel muddled and pretentious.

cutting edge

11. Cutting Edge-

This is one I have nostalgia for.  I know it isn’t a great movie but it’s ice skating and the Olympics and opposites attract and romance.  I loved it when I was younger and I still enjoy it today.  I have also seen all of the sequels.  That’s right all of them and they are basically exactly the same movie and since I like it I like those although less than the original of course.

DB Sweeney is the hockey player who is forced to train in figure skating with Moira Kelly for the Olympics.  he’s gruff hockey and she’s elegant skating.  Will they ever get along?  Love it!

What Critics Thought-

The critics were pretty nice on this one 60% on RT.  Most said it was silly but charming.  One said  ” A guilty-pleasure ’90s romance you can skate to”  So I guess it belongs on this list! .

Why I Like It-

I am an Olympics junkie and there are surprisingly few movies about the Olympics.  This is what I call a sleepover movie.  Meaning it is one of the movies my girlfriends would watch when we were having a sleepover.  Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Dance with Me, Dirty Dancing (Dance is a general theme) as well as Emma, Clueless and more made the list.

Like I said before.  It is cheesy but sometimes I feel like some cheese!  Nice chemistry, decent skating scenes and a ton of fun.

Honorable mentions- Legally Blonde, Kate and Leopold, An Affair to Remember, Blind Side, Some Kind of Wonderful, Moonstruck, Mamma Mia, Christy, Steel Magnolias, Miracle, Dirty Dancing, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Valley Girl, Princess Diaries, What a Girl Wants, Sydney White, Hope Floats, Something New

So that’s my list!  What would you say is a guilty pleasure movie of yours?  Do you agree with any on my list?  Please check out the Movie Guy’s lists as they inspired me to create my own.

Thanks and watch a guilty pleasure movie on me!

Pudding Cups and Childhood Food Envy

Today I’m not feeling great.  Congestion, cough, sore throat. I suppose the best thing about my job is I work from home and can schlep around in my PJs if I want but it is also hard to really take a day off when I’m sick; however, I don’t mind because it keeps my mind occupied.    I swear like 4 people I know have this cold.  Sigh…

Anyway, I went to get some soup from Zuppa’s.  I love the Yucatan Chicken Tortilla soup.  Its flavorful and comforting.

yucatantortillaI also decided to get one of my favorite foods when I’m sick- a pudding cup.  Pudding cup you ask?  Well when I was little I always wanted cute little lunches with things like pudding cups but my family couldn’t afford them (plus, they aren’t exactly good for you).  I usually ended up getting hot lunch which was much cheaper. I think at the time my hot lunch cost 1.50.  I am sure it is much more now.  I could also get breakfast at school for a similar cost (or I ate breakfast at my seminary teacher’s house.  He made the most delicious sour dough biscuits and bread with a starter that went back generations).

My Mom has never been a big breakfast person, and usually had toast until she became gluten intolerant (now she can have gluten free bread but I don’t think she has toast as often as she used to).   However, her food allergies didn’t happen until I was nearly graduated from college so we had a lot of pasta, salads and sandwiches.  One friend I had said we had spaghetti every time she came to my house and she was my friend for about 7 years.  Perhaps this is why I’m so fond of the stuff today?  I love a good plate of spaghetti.

Interesting enough we almost never had the food my Mom grew up on- roasts, jello, canned goods and casseroles.  My Mom did make one yummy mexican tortilla style casserole but it was rare.  I don’t ever remember her using canned soups in anything.  When I went on my mission to Indiana all of these foods were very common and I had to get used to their high salt content.  I also don’t remember ever having wonder bread, plain yellow mustard, grape jelly, tv dinners or bologna.  Margarine was rarely used.

It was also a special treat to have cereal.  It was too expensive for a large family.  My siblings and I could go through a box of cereal in one morning sometimes and so you can imagine my feeling when I went to BYU and they had an entire wall of cereal!  It was very exciting!  My Mom also loves deli meat over the packaged slimy variety.  She would buy that on occasion and I still love it!

I don’t want you to get the impression that we were poor.  Far from it, but when you have a big family there are things that are harder to buy than others.

I also have a softspot for lunchables because they really are ridiculous.  Paying $4 for cute little crackers, ham and cheese, but then they are cute little crackers with ham and cheese.  Every once in a while I’ll buy one just to feel some sense of power in this world of chaos. 🙂pudding cups

But the ultimate coup de gras of treats I envied in my friends lunchboxes was pudding cups.  Tapioca, vanilla and especially chocolate.  I loved them and I still think they are tasty.  They are just so cute in their little cups.   So, if there is anything great about being an adult it is that I can buy pudding cups whenever I want without getting permission from anyone.  It’s the good life!

Can you relate to this?  Are there any foods you couldn’t have or afford as a kid that you love as an adult?  Any guilty pleasures? Please share in the comments section.  pudding cup

Twinkie Conundrum

So Hostess has closed.  We have all heard that.  Another American brand down the drain, no bailout for those 18k workers, no recourse for a union that flushed workers down the drain.

Here’s the funny thing since the news came out I have heard basically this same conversation from almost all of my friends/family (even my Dad!):

“I’m not going to miss all those unhealthy foods.”

or  “America is sure going to be healthier with out all the trans-fats clogging their arteries”

but then the statement is almost always followed by ‘I will miss those cupcakes though’, or ‘I wonder how much longer we can get a snowball?’ or ‘hard to imagine no more wonder bread or twinkies’.

What makes me laugh is that almost everyone I know plays the part of the healthy eater, glad Hostess is gone and ridding America from its guilt-ridden treats but secretly are lamenting the loss.  I guess it is the definition of a guilty pleasure!

I wonder if part of the remorse is like watching Saturday morning cartoons. They are syrupy and stupid but you kind of like them.  They remind you of being a kid again and for those of that had pleasant childhoods the remembrance is pleasant.  Perhaps we like such food because when we were a kid we didn’t have to worry so much about carbs, organic food, clean eating or any of that crap? We could just eat a twinkie if our Mom told us it was okay.

Perhaps we like things like hostess because we secretly LIKE THEM! In one Washington Post article about the mass selloff of twinkies on ebay a vendor described the situation well:

“If buyers do not bite, Mr. Edmonds is not sure what he will do with his supply. He does not even like Twinkies.

“I do like to have a Ding Dong every once in a while though,” he said.”

(I swear that same caveat is being said by nearly every American)

I remember when I saw Martha Stewart making her own peeps and I felt tired and a little disgusted.  What a waste of time when the original are delicious. I’m sure she would be insulted at the idea of store bought peeps but at Easter I wouldn’t want them any other mixed up, gussied way, just gooey, crispy peeps.  I like gourmet food but I also like familiar food where I know how it will taste and what it will be like.  I think that is the appeal of a lot of foods like Hostess. They are easy to eat, absorb and enjoy.

What foods do you like that you are slightly embarrassed to admit liking?  Come on, let it out.  I can think of some:

1- Chicken Nuggets- not fancy chicken strips (although those are good too).  I’m talking about crunchy little chicken pieces of manufactured yumminess and I get all the sauces I can muster.

2- pizza- This is really a guilty pleasure but I like all variations of pizza, not just the bubbly gourmet kind with fancy cheeses but the greasy pepperoni from Little Caesars (and I love Crazy bread!)

3- Movie popcorn- I love popcorn in general but I like the salty, yellow, intoxicating smelling popcorn at the movie theater.  I do! (With extra butter of course).

4- Sweet/Sour candies. When I went on my sugar fast the thing I craved the most was sour patch kids.  Strange but something about that lip puckering sweet and sour sounded so good.

5- Ice Cream- I’ve never met a flavor or brand of ice cream I don’t like.  I love the fancy gourmet kinds but also the big buckets of generic vanilla.
I also love ice cream novelties like drumsticks and fudgicals

6- Popsicles- I love those double popsicles in cherry, root beer, grape, banana, orange, etc.  You know the one’s?

7- Ramen noodles- I don’t like canned soup- ever, ever, ever!  I don’t eat it unless I’m forced and if I’m sick I’d much rather have ramen than canned soup.  I just don’t like the tecture of it.

8- Really hot fresh french fries.  They just aren’t the same baked.  Need the deep frier.  I love sauces.

9- Pillsbury- I think those crescents and biscuits are delicious.

10- Slurpees- Love all the favors, all the time.

11- Donuts- I love chocolate, maple donuts, simple glazed, powdered, whatever!  The smell makes me crazy.  Even those little powdered one’s make me happy.

12- Crackers- I love Chicken n’ biscuit, ritz, saltines, club crackers whatever.  YUM!

13- pudding snacks- not fancy kind.  Just standard pudding cups.

14- On same line lunchables.  Ah the decadence!

( I could keep going…)

What about you?  What do you have to talk yourself into getting a salad for?  What transfat nightmares do you linger over in the market and then head for the whole wheat section…

Be honest!  Who out there is secretly going to miss the twinkie?