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17 Movies You Probably Only Love Out Of Childhood Nostalgia

October 21, 2020 1.8k votes 200 voters 6.6k views17 items

List RulesVote up the movies you know are bad but you love anyway.

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.

  • 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.

    Nostalgic guilty pleasure?
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  • 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.

    Nostalgic guilty pleasure?
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  • There are few movies in existence with the nostalgic power that The Goonies wields. You can still find Truffle Shuffle and "SLOTH LOVE CHUNK" T-shirts at most suburban malls with minimal effort. People even continue to make pilgrimages to Astoria, OR, to see the sites where the movie was filmed (much to the continued aggravation of the unfortunate residents). What’s not to love about a gaggle of plucky (and overtly stereotyped) kids who triumph over crooks, meet a horribly disfigured former Oakland Raider while searching for pirate treasure, and ultimately save their town from greedy developers? All to the soothing tones of Cyndi Lauper, no less?

    Well, it’s doubtful they saved anyone from anything, considering the “gems” they were able to find were in all likelihood just cheap glass beads that pirates typically used in the slave trade. So that’s depressing. There’s also a fine line between charming and annoying, which The Goonies breaks with greater aggression with each year Corey Feldman continues to walk among us.

    Nostalgic guilty pleasure?

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  • Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman in the same movie based on one of the most beloved fantasy stories of all time? Sounds like a can't-miss proposition. There were Peter Pan-themed antics aplenty from the star-studded cast of Hook, which included Bob Hoskins as Smee and Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell. It was quite a spectacle for younger viewers, and you could be forgiven if you were one of the kids in a theater who rejoiced when the evil captain gets gobbled up by a taxidermied crocodile.

    But if you take off the rosy glasses of childhood, the sad truth is that Hook is very, very bad. In fact, it's widely regarded as one of the worst things Steven Spielberg ever attached his name to. While the movie was by no means a flop, it cost an obscene amount of money to deliver a product that stood the test of time like an avocado left on the porch. Professional critics panned the film mercilessly and the presence of so many expectation-raising A-list performers hammily underperforming only made its fall more spectacular. Even Spielberg himself has gone on the record and admitted, “I still don’t like that movie. I’m hoping someday I’ll see it again and perhaps like some of it.”

    Nostalgic guilty pleasure?

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