Dirty, Little Secrets or Another Guilty Pleasure

by Chiron O'Keefe

Ah, yes, the 'guilty pleasure'. We all have them. For one gourmand I know, her dirty, little secret is a fondness for boxed macaroni and cheese—"The real yellow stuff," she says with an embarrassed grin.

It's the same with television and movies. I still fondly remember the Friends episode (# 4.12 ) where Monica and Rachel agree to a trivia contest with big stakes: if the girls win, Chandler and Joey must get rid of their beloved pets—the duck and the chicken, but if the boys win, they get the cool apartment. (Embarrassed side note—while researching this article, I stumbled across a video clip of said show and had to watch it yet again. *sigh*)

Here's an excerpt from the lightning round:

Ross: Rachel claims this is her favorite movie.
Chandler: Dangerous Liaisons.
Ross: Correct. Her actual favorite movie is?
Joey: Weekend at Bernie's.

Uh-oh, guilty pleasure alert! Now for a movie to truly be a guilty pleasure it should meet a few criteria. First, it has to be so irresistible that if you flip a channel and find it on the tube, you can't resist watching even if you own the DVD (which you've stashed in the back behind your copy of Dangerous Liaisons).

Second, the film should be lowbrow enough that you can't go on and on about in public without raising a few eyebrows. Pleasure+Guilty=????

A decade or so ago, I was chatting with some friends about movies and enthused about the spy-spoof Flint movies, starring James Coburn: Our Man Flint and In Like Flint. Upon this recommendation, they rented one and their reaction was less than stellar. Um, sorry I forgot to mention this is flick from the 60's starring an ultra-cool 'lady's man' superspy who has a retinue of women watching over him. *gulp* Okay, so maybe it is a little sexist in retrospect, but it was cool enough to inspire the Austin Powers series. So there!

Two more favorites showed up recently on the tube and I just couldn't resist. One of the best movies I would never admit to watching is definitely Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.

The characters are hysterical, the typical 'high-school clique makes life miserable for the outcasts' plot line is over-the-top in a "Of course, I want the hot fudge and M&M's on my chocolate ice cream!" way. Towards the end of this delightful flick is a unique dance number that has never been matched.

Guilty Pleasure!

Another one which makes my husband cringe (did I mention that too can be an indication of a guilty pleasure? *snort*) is the hilarious Zoolander. How can you go wrong with both Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as top fashion models? Throw in an evil Will Ferrell and the most elaborate love scene ever filmed, and even if supper is burning on the damn stove I can't tear my eyes away. Yes!

Now here's one I will absolutely deny loving, though if it shows up on any channel I'll stumble over to the seat to feast my eyes on Loverboy, starring a very young Patrick Dempsey.

Oh how politically incorrect this is! He's got to raise money fast if he wants to stay in college and be near his girlfriend, so he does what any sane, ambitious and enterprising young man would do—he becomes a gigolo to an ever-expanding list of 'cougars'. Stupid? You betcha. Can I resist? Not on your life. Here's a direct link to the trailer. Or, in the next clip there are two trailers, the first for the more popular early "Dempsey" Flick—Can't Buy Me Love. The second half is Loverboy. Enjoy!

It's like with Peggy Sue Got Married.

A young Nic Cage is at his strangest in this silly and delightful time-travel movie directed by his uncle, Francis Ford Coppola, and starring the amazing Kathleen Turner as Peggy Sue. The idea of traveling back to your high school years and making different choices is enough to lure me in, but the wacky performances is why I watch this damn movie over and over. Nic sings! With Jim Carrey! This is yet another silly flick I feel absolutely compelled to watch.

Even though it's a hit movie, it's still a bit embarrassing to admit how many times I can (and most likely will) watch The Forty Year Old Virgin.

The cringe factor is off the charts and yet this is still one of the sweetest love stories around. Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Jane Lynch, Seth Rogen, Catherine Keener all form an ensemble that as a formerly aspiring actress, makes me green with envy. Do stick around to watch the closing credits with the cast dancing to the song, Age of Aquarius.

Bowfinger directed by Frank Oz is another one I can't resist. Don't even make me try. First, it's written by, and stars, the amazing Steve Martin. Eddie Murphy masterfully plays two roles (and deserved an award IMHO). Then you've got Heather Graham as the sweet and not so naive starlet and a supporting cast that includes Christine Baranski, all collaborating on a fake film in a desperate bid to procure a top actor and a producer (Robert Downey Jr. in top form). Fabulous!

Others I can't resist include Legally Blonde, Office Space, and Bedazzled (the one with Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley, if only I preferred the hip, "cult favorite" original I'd be able to cop to this in public!). Did I mention The Wedding Singer (Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler), Anger Management (Adam Sandler and *gasp* Jack Nicholson!), and (please don't hate me *sob*) Mr. Mom with Michael Keaton and Teri Garr?

So tell me, what are your guiltiest pleasures? If you're in a crowd of true movie buffs who can quote Citizen Kane, which of your secret loves would embarrass you most? I promise to strictly keep your secret to myself (and the millions of people reading this blog). *cough* Honest.

By Chiron O'Keefe

Weekly Motivation for writers at The Write Soul


  1. Fun post Chiron! Ah, yes the guilty pleasure movie! I like Romy and Michelle too along with Legally Blonde and Office Space. Mr. Mom is fun. For me it's the Molly Ringwald flicks from when I was a teenager. I can't resist those when they're on TV so I guess they're guilty pleasures even though I also think they're good movies. ;) At the time - John Hughes did something quite groundbreaking - he didn't portray parents of teens as idiots but as loving parents. We saw that in "16 Candles" and in "Pretty in Pink". But I love all the '80s goofiness. ;) Cheers!

  2. OMG
    I LOVE Romy & Michelle!
    I quote it ALLLL the time ;)

    Peggy Sue is awesome! Another great choice :)

  3. Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion always cracks me up!

  4. Fun blog Chiron. I have seen most of the movies you've mentioned. My favorite is Legally Blonde. I hope there will be more from that series.

    I'm with you Joanna, I'm such an 80s girl, I loved all the Molly Ringwald movies.

  5. 'I'm the Mary - you're the Rhoda!'

    And I love your friend the gourmand who loves boxed macaroni and cheese!

    I'm personally not embarassed by anything I love watching. I will proudly say I paid 8 times to see Phantom of the Opera in the theatre. My favorite Spielberg film is Temple of Doom. I prefer the new Superman in Superman Returns (try saying that around some people.) The pillow fight scene in Shanghai Knights nearly killed me from laughing so hard (I get asthma attacks when I laugh hard.)

    Have you seen the original Bedazzled? It's another kill-me-laughing fest for me. I did watch the newer one (and I love Brendan Fraser) but the first one is it for me.

    The original Springtime for Hitler number in the Gene Wilder version of The Producers is another one - still so shocking, it can make people look at me funny when I say it's one of my favorite screen moments ever.

  6. I do have an actual guilty pleasure, but it's not film & TV related. I like to leave my Christmas stuff up till the end of January - a few times, into Feb. My husband and I are in a basement apartment, so no one sees it but us. But when the furnace man was scheduled to drop in last year, I tore everything down in a rush. So, guilty pleasure.

  7. Hey Jo!

    Ah, yes, the 80's flicks! Love them too. I think my fave of the Molly movies is Breakfast Club. It was more of an ensemble piece but the concept and the characters were so engaging! Loved it.

    Personally, I agree--all my 'guilty pleasure' movies are FABULOUS. Great movies. However, I do live in a Shakespeare town. *grin* When I worked at the Shakespeare festival, there'd be long discussions about WHO played the definitive Hamlet or King Lear. *laughs* So it's tongue-in-cheek and yet... not. ;-P

    Speaking of 80's goofiness, I still love Beverly Hills Cop!! Hilarious. Plus Revenge of the Nerds, Back to the Future, The Big Chill, and just recently rewatched Big.

    Another one I can't resist is The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai. Hey! Didn't Airplane kick off the 80's?

    "Looks like I picked a bad day to give up smoking.". *snort*

    Thanks for the comments, Jo!


  8. Hi Juju!

    Aren't Romy and Michelle the best? Or, as the ladies themselves might say,

    "I LOVE watching movies that make me laugh!"

    "OMG!! Me too!!"


    And Peggy Sue... *sigh* The theme music just sweeps me away everytime and I can't resist.

    Thanks SO Much for stopping by!

    --Chiron O'Keefe
    The Write Soul: www.chironokeefe.blogspot.com

  9. Hi Gannon!

    Wow, I'm thrilled to meet so many 'Romy and Michelle' fans! Wish I could invite you all over to watch it with me. :-D

    Thanks so very much for jumping in!

    --Chiron O'Keefe
    The Write Soul: www.chironokeefe.blogspot.com

  10. Hi there, Leeann!

    Isn't Legally Blonde fantastic? It's the perfect story in so many ways. Not only is it over-the-top silly fun, it's also one where I am practically leaping off the couch rooting for the heroine. Go get 'em, girlfriend!!

    I love the subplot between the manicurist and UPS guy too. How sweet! *snap!*

    And of course, I LOVE Luke Wilson in it too. He and Reese are perfect together.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and adding a comment!

    --Chiron O'Keefe
    The Write Soul: www.chironokeefe.blogspot.com

  11. Hi Julia!!

    Made me laugh with your quote. *snort* Hi-Larious. *laughs*

    OMG, Shanghai Knights is too funny. I forgot about the pillow fight!! And I love the new Superman too. He's now starring on Chuck and last night they even made a quick, sly reference, as Chuck (feeling jealous) referred to him as a "superman-ish" kind of guy. HAH!!

    I think I just need more friends like you. *grin* It's been a long time since I watched the original Bedazzled so it may be time to rent it again. And I LOVE the original Producers and the hilarious "Springtime for Hitler" song. Yes, I've received a few strange glances as a result. That and my tendency to say in a British Accent "I'm not dead yet" in honor of The Life of Brian. Hah, again!!

    And speaking of YOUR particular 'guilty pleasure'. My confession is that when I was a teen, my love for Christmas led me to buying an artificial tree, decorating it with mini-blinking lights, and leaving it up in my bedroom all year. Yeah, baby! I'm SO there!

    Thanks always, for jumping in, Julia!!


  12. Why is it a movie you have on DVD always seems more interesting when it's being shown on TV - lol!

    I think I must have checked out during the 80s - with good reason. :)

    But my favorite guilty pleasure movie - and it's okay cuz hubby loves it too - is "European Vacation" - cracks me up every time!

    When I was a kid, Elvis was my guilty pleasure because teens then were hot for hard rock bands. Later, country music was my guilty pleasure cuz lots of people thought that was ick! When I was living in San Francisco, going to Vegas was my guilty pleasure. lol!

    Fun post, Chiron!

  13. Funny stuff!! Thanks for the fab read Chiron!

    OK, so I chuckled at the boxed macaroni and cheese thing. I'm Italian and sometimes I like to buy Trader Joe's pre-made pasta. Not as bad as the 'Yellow Stuff' but nearly. My relatives would die of shame if they knew.

    About films, I will watch anything that Keanu Reeves is in. I mean ANYTHING, even that Bill & Ted's sequel. 'Legally Blonde' is also a must see each and every time it's on. I will have to watch Romy and Michele now, haven't watched it in ages.

    I also watch all of Kate Hudson's films for the clothing and hairdoes... Then I spend the next days in front of my bathroom mirror trying to make my brunette stick-straight hair do the same. HUM... Oh, and am now addicted to LOST, for some strange reason.

    Thanks for the thoughts and reminding me that I need to rent a Keanu Reeves film, haven't seen him of late, must catch up!

  14. Bowfinger is one of my absolute favs!!!! Great article, Chiron!


  15. Hey Chiron

    Totally fun post! My faves are Legally Blonde, Bedazzled (Brendan Fraser one, he's soooo good in that!), Mamma Mia, and Love Actually. And uh, Madagascar 2 if the kiddo is watching it... ("I like to move it move it" anyone sing with me?

    Also, don't let me park my butt in front of the TV if Ugly Betty is running! You can bet I'll remain there even if the food is burning!

    I gotta find Romy and Michelle - Cannot believe I haven't seen that yet.

    One movie I totally cringe at saying I loved and even watched is Kung Pow with Steve Oedekerk! That one is so nuts it actually makes sense in a weird sort of way!



  16. I'd forgotten about Bowfinger! I loved that movie too. Zoolander's a hoot too. Now I'll have to check out Romy and Michele - loved that dance sequence. And the Flint movies rocked! Don't let anyone tell you different. :) That's why I don't think of them as guilty pleasures - they're just movies I love! If others don't, that's their loss.

  17. Hey Kathy!

    Ah, European Vacation, eh? *laughs* Definitely qualifies. :-D That makes me remember Spies Like Us with both Chevy and Dan Akroyd. The opening scene where they are taking tests is SO over the top it just kills me. *heh-heh*

    With music, I love that you're a rebel! When I was in high school, the big thing was KISS and songs like "Smoke On the Water" which drove me crazy. My stubborn nature took hold and I played my early Stones albums exclusively, and learned my first Stones song as a result.

    Hah!! Loved the Elvis movies. Do you remember Kissing Cousins where he played a dual role! Blew my mind! *snort*

    Thanks for chiming in!


  18. Hey Nina!

    Funny about the premade pasta shame. *snort* Imagine how they'd feel if you served the 'real yellow stuff'. Hah! On the other hand, if you're making homemade pasta, I'm bringing the wine. *wink*

    Keanu Reeves is definitely a guilty pleasure. My hairdresser brought him up as well. Said she's seen both 'Bill and Ted' movies way too many times. :-D My favorite role of his is hands-down Something's Gotta Give. He was unbearably yummy in that!!

    I'm now picturing you as Kate Hudson and giggling. She's such a sweetie-pie!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!


  19. Hey Z!

    Another Ugly Betty Fan! We can commiserate over the cancellation. Grrrr...

    I can't believe I haven't yet seen Kung Pow! Believe it or not, Steve was a classmate of mine back in my college days. We were in a comedy troupe together. My, my, how time flies. So I'll have to rent that one (though I probably won't admit it *grin*).

    You're gonna love Romy and Michelle! It's waaaay over the top.

    Thanks so much for leaving a comment!


  20. Cate, you're so right!! :-D

    The Flint movies did rock. I still remember the scene (often quoted) in the flick In Like Flint when Derek discovers the president has been replaced by an actor:

    An actor? As president?

    Was such a hoot when Reagan was elected. *chuckle*

    Hah! Zoolander is too funny, it just slays me everytime. My friend, Gayle, added Tropic Thunder to the list (her new favorite). *laughs*

    If you liked the dance scene, you are sooo going to love Romy and Michelle!

    Thanks so much for jumping in!!


  21. Tessy!

    Isn't Bowfinger hilarious? The scene where Steve and Heather are on their first date cracks me up. The scenes with Eddie freaking out and trying to 'hold it together', the scene in the restaurant with Steve talking on a fake portable phone. OMG!

    Too funny. "Chubby Rain"!


    Thanks for stopping by, Tessy!! Always wonderful to see you here!


  22. Has anyone listed Night at the Roxbury yet? Oh my gosh. Funniest stupid movie ever. And Waterboy. You can just feel your brain cells falling to sleep while you watch them...but they are such a stress re-leaver. What a fun post!

  23. The Sweetest Thing is my guilty pleasure. The first time I watched it, I couldn't turn it off because it was so awful. Then I had to watch it every time it came on because of the horror of the songs and bits included in the unrated version. Then it slowly became one of my go-to movies to make me laugh. Jason Bateman's character is hysterical, and his version of The Bangles' Eternal Flame over the end credits is amazing.

  24. One of my guilty pleasures is a movie from the 60's called "Hello Down There" it has a young Richardy Dryfus has a member of a band playing in their underwater home. Tony Randall is the Dad, and this "groovy" movie is very fun.
    Great Blog!

  25. Hi Gillian!

    Hah! Night of the Roxbury and Waterboy are perfect 'guilty pleasures'! *heh-heh* Sometimes the sillier, the better. Thanks for jumping in!

  26. Hi Jennifer!

    Oooh, The Sweetest Thing, hmmm? I've hemmed and hawed and haven't yet committed to getting past the ear-cutting scene. I just LOVE how you describe the addictive-awfulness of it though! *snort*

    So... The Plan 9 from Outer Space of romance movies? Too Cool! Thanks for the recommendation!

    And thanks so much for chiming in!


  27. Hi Cathy!!

    Oh, my, I vaguely remember that movie and how much I loved it!! I'm going to have to look for that one on Netflix as well. Thanks for the reminder!

    Just last Halloween I rewatched The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and laughed my ass off. Sometimes the classics are the best. :-D

    Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment!!



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