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'90s Movies We Loved As Kids That Are So Bad, They're Good

Updated February 2, 2021 4.9k votes 726 voters 27.2k views12 items

List RulesVote up the '90s movies you loved as a kid that are so bad, they circled all the way back around to being good.

To many contemporary movie-watchers, the flicks we watched as kids are full of nostalgia. Catching part of a cult classic like Hocus Pocus (1993) or Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) may remind you of watching movies with friends or family, prompting pure sentimentality along the way.

Many '90s movies might be good in hindsight, perhaps as a result of that very nostalgia, but a lot of films from the childhoods of 1990s kids were bad at the time - and remain bad now. Panned by critics, these movies don't hold up - regardless of when you watch them - but their fans are adamant hangers-on, individuals who hold on to their truth that sometimes a bad movie is so bad, it's good.  

In fact, there are numerous '90s movies that comprise a category all their own. We can't call them guilty pleasures (because we don't feel guilty about loving them), but we can't really fight the fact that they are, in fact, bad. Rather, they're "good bad" '90s movies, ones our inner child refuses to give up. It's up to you to defy the haters and vote up your favorite "good bad" '90s movies that are actually so bad, they're good. 

  • Encino Man and Jury Duty (1995) both earned Pauly Shore Razzie Awards, but the former was a box office success (while the latter was, comparatively, not). Encino Man demonstrated itself to be "aimed at the younger set... insulting even within its own no-effort parameters," according to Variety magazine.

    The movie ushered in a series of movies that featured what Caryn James from The New York Times called "Pauly-isms," none of which made the movie "cool."

    As a side note, Arnold Schwarzenegger gets a credit for Encino Man on account of a clip of his 1984 movie, The Terminator, informing Brendan Fraser's vocabulary

    • Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rose McGowan, Brendan Fraser, Pauly Shore, Robin Tunney
    • Released: 1992
    • Directed by: Les Mayfield
    Perfect example of a "bad good" movie?
  • In a retelling of the classic Peter Pan, 1991's Hook was moderately successful, but the assessment of its overall quality remains contentious. Hook was nominated for several Academy Awards alongside a Razzie for supporting actress Julia Roberts. 

    Critics felt as though Hook couldn't decide exactly who its audience was supposed to be, with Rolling Stone chiding it for being "engineered for merchandising potential" but lacking charm. Roger Ebert was disappointed in the film never delivering in what it promised, but concluding in "embarrassingly excessive" fashion with no substance. 

    • Actors: Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Dante Basco, Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow
    • Released: 1991
    • Directed by: Steven Spielberg
    Perfect example of a "bad good" movie?
  • As a relative box office success, 3 Ninjas was met with lukewarm reviews. The movie about three young boys learning ninjutsu was criticized by Stephen Holden of The New York Times for not being able to "make up its mind whether it wants to be a comedy, a fantasy, or an adventure film."

    The overall message of 3 Ninjas was one that seemed clear to Los Angeles Times critic Kevin Thomas, however, who praised its emphasis on "mind and spirit as well as body and requiring resourcefulness and discipline." 

    3 Ninjas spawned three sequels, released in 1994, 1995, and 1998. 

    • Actors: Clifton Powell, Patrick Labyorteaux, Victor Wong, Max Elliott Slade, Joel Swetow
    • Released: 1992
    • Directed by: Jon Turteltaub
    Perfect example of a "bad good" movie?
  • With star Rodney Dangerfield, who was known as a comedian who played to adult audiences, Ladybugs was stifled from the get-go.

    Cast as a salesman-turned-girl's soccer coach, Dangerfield proved to be somewhat funny amid "feeble" material, according to The New York Times critic Vincent Canby, but the "emotional insecurities laced with aggressive tendencies" of the character dominated the movie. When asked why he made Ladybugs, director Sidney J. Furie stated, "Why not? It was something to do! One has to keep working, and believe me, it was one of the best paydays to come down the pike."

    • Actors: Rodney Dangerfield, Tommy Lasorda, Jonathan Brandis, Vinessa Shaw, Jackée Harry
    • Released: 1992
    • Directed by: Sidney J. Furie
    Perfect example of a "bad good" movie?