Whether we’re talking about nostalgic movies for millennials, Generation X’ers, or Boomers, we all have those theater experiences from our childhoods that automatically give us the warm happies in our collective tummies when we think of them.
However, when held up to the cold hard light of scrutiny, many of the films that made us squeal with glee when we were young are more likely to make us cringe with shame now that we’ve matured into cynical grumps. Here are some of the “classic” movies that actually aren’t very good but people may still love anyway thanks to the power of nostalgia.
Vote up the movies you sorta love even though you know you shouldn't.
- Photo: Columbia Pictures
The original Ghostbusters was so good that people are loath to condemn either the shoddy cartoon that came out afterward or the follow-up movie that came out five years later. You know, the one in which the Statue of Liberty runs amok in downtown NYC? Yeah, as far as sequels go, Ghostbusters II was no The Godfather Part II. People were hungry for more ectoplasmic shenanigans, however, so naturally, it made a bundle and broke the all-time record for a one-day opening.
It was about as hard to make as it is to sit through now, thanks to the simmering disputes behind the scenes among the cast and crew. The story also makes exactly zero sense (even for a movie about busting ghosts), and the lack of enthusiasm some of the lead actors display is on par with the average fast-food employee working the midnight shift. Honestly, this is one of those times you’d be better off telling the kids the story ended after the first one and that anything else is from an evil alternate universe. Kind of like what most people do with The Godfather Part III.6217Nostalgic guilty pleasure?
- Photo: Buena Vista Pictures
Watching Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker dress up like witches for 96 minutes straight may not be everyone’s definition of a good time. But the 1993 comedy Hocus Pocus has become a cult classic over the years, despite being neither monetarily nor critically successful when it was released, thanks in large part to TV channels airing it incessantly during the Halloween season. Kind of like what happened with It’s a Wonderful Life, but with more cannibalism.
Upon further investigation, the initial lukewarm-to-hostile reactions to the film were probably appropriate. Because unlike It’s a Wonderful Life, sitting around watching Hocus Pocus with the family will require that you explain a whole lot of creepy sex jokes. It’s also a movie that can’t decide whether it’s supposed to be scary, funny, or some kind of evil experiment on children that will result in a lifetime of therapy after repeated viewings.6727Nostalgic guilty pleasure?
- Photo: 20th Century Fox
Who doesn’t look back on the beloved comedy Mrs. Doubtfire and smile? The way Robin Williams's character disguises himself to stalk his ex-wife, then spitefully assaults and poisons her new husband in front of their children on her birthday is simply delightful. Wait a minute...
While Williams's improvisational genius was on full display in this film, there are more than a few troubling aspects that rear their head (and not just the scene where he talks about eating fried foreskin in a family movie). We’re not saying the movie isn’t still funny, it’s just that we need to explain to our kids when they see it for the first time that the hero of the movie is actually something of a villain.5218Nostalgic guilty pleasure?
- Photo: Warner Bros.
There’s no denying the impact Jim Carrey had on the comedy world when Ace Ventura: Pet Detective arrived in 1994. And we can only thank our lucky stars that the filmmakers’ initial choices of Rick Moranis, Judd Nelson, Alan Rickman, or Whoopi Goldberg didn’t land the lead role, and that they instead decided to take a risk on a young Canadian who was making a lot of noise on a show called In Living Color. Carrey’s outlandish performance, which he based on a noisy "smart bird," hit theatergoers like a lightning bolt and rightly made him an instant household name.
But you might have forgotten that Ace Ventura’s antics were far from G-rated. If you were thinking of using this movie to show the kids how funny Jim Carrey is, keep in mind that it takes about five minutes before the first physical oral sex joke. And you’ll likely find yourself canceled in your own house for laughing out loud at the film’s treatment of the mentally ill, not to mention the whole “Finkle is Einhorn” thing. And let’s be honest here for a minute. Talking out of your butt is objectively dumb (Tone Loc was right to be annoyed). And perhaps most egregious, as if never winning a Super Bowl wasn’t humiliating enough, making former quarterback Dan Marino deliver multiple lines of bad dialogue was just plain cruel.6535Nostalgic guilty pleasure?