What is a guilty pleasure film, really? The definition differs from person to person, but there are a few key factors.
1. It’s not exactly Oscar material. That doesn’t mean it’s bad (although it can be) but it’s not something that is widely accepted as an incredible piece of cinematic art.
2. It’s perhaps something that you wouldn’t shout from the rooftops about. There’s a reason it’s called a guilty pleasure. These are films that you might watch in the dark, by yourself.
3. It’s something that brings you comfort. Whether that’s a good laugh, a good cry, or anything that scratches an emotional itch.
Naturally, being the investigative reporter I am (I’m not) I turned to Twitter to find out what movies other folks consider their guilty pleasure. There were over 200 responses! Here are six of the films that made the guilty pleasure cut, and where you can find them yourself.
It’s in the Water (1997)
This late 90s film was my choice and I was pleasantly surprised how many other people also considered it a guilty pleasure. The film, written and directed by Kelli Herd (and has a lesbian folk soundtrack) is about the people of the town of Azalea Springs, deep in the heart of Texas. Alex Stratton, is the daughter of a wealthy couple and feeling the malaise of being an unsatisfied socialite in a predictable marriage. When her former best friend, Grace comes back to town after leaving her abusive husband and coming out at a lesbian, the two women pick up where they left off. This movie has some questionable performances, and some sub-plots that go completely off the rails, but the chemistry between the two leads is delightful, as is the perfectly 90s nostalgia. Get it on Amazon Prime,
Girltrash: All Night Long (2014)
This ill-fated but beloved movie musical came up a lot! Perhaps it’s because two of the leads, Gabrielle Christian and Mandy Musgrave, were robbed of their proper ending in the TV show South of Nowhere. Or maybe because it was based on a popular webseries of the same name. Or perhaps it’s because of the film’s sketchy behind the scenes drama. Whatever it is, watching this delightful train wreck of a film has become a guilty pleasure for many. So what’s it about? Well, musicians Daisy and Tyler are trying to make it to the Battle of the Bands, while dealing with Daisy’s newly out sister who is searching for the girl who captured her heart…all while trying not to get killed by mob boss Monique. Did I mention it’s a musical? Available on iTunes, Vudu, Amazon, Youtube and Google Play.
D.E.B.S. made many a guilty pleasure list, and it’s easy to see why. It hit at a time where many of us were still firmly in the closet (2004 wasn’t exactly a bastion of LGBTQ acceptance yet) and was one of the first truly happy endings in queer cinema. D.E.B.S. knows exactly what movie it is, a campy lesbian love story. It embraces its camp, and hits the mark with really great and fun performances from actors like Jordana Brewster, Holland Taylor and Jimmi Simpson. D.E.B.S. are special super spies, who wear catholic school uniforms for some reason. Their arch nemesis is the elusive Lucy Diamond (Brewster). When head D.E.B. Amy (Sara Foster) falls for Lucy, all heck breaks loose. Available on iTunes, Vudu, Amazon, Youtube and Google Play.
Nina’s Heavenly Delights (2006)
We love a good underdog story! This film came up often too in the Twitter poll. The film follows Nina (Shelley Conn), a young Glaswegian-Indian woman who returns to her family’s restaurant and lives after three years in London. Upon her arrival, she finds out that her late father has all but lost the restaurant due to gambling, and the only way out is winning the “Best in the West Curry Competition” and using the money to settle his debts. She teams up with Lisa (Laura Fraser), her childhood friend and half owner of the restaurant, to win the prize and fall in love in the process. The film itself is mediocre at best, but it has a lot of heart which is why it’s still beloved by so many. Available on Amazon Prime/Here TV.
Below Her Mouth (2016)
This recent film popped up quite a bit, but maybe not for the same reasons as the films above. Below Her Mouth wants to be a serious movie, but it’s hard to take it seriously with its weak script and dubious performances. It is however, very hot. Jasmine (Natalie Krill) is a professional something (honestly I don’t even recall) who meets a very determined lothario roofer named Dallas (Erika Linder). After a passionate hook up, Jasmine is doubting her engagement, and Dallas thinks she’s the one. It’s a mess guys, but we can be messy people and that’s ok. Available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, Youtube and iTunes.