Just before we begin I want to make very clear that at no point will I be making any jokes about movies that are 'no Gouda' or any other cheese related puns (if I can help it.) -- and now that I got that off my chest I can get on with the business at hand. In honor of Piranha's glorious return to theaters, Alexandre Aja's remake of Joe Dante's 1978 comedy-horror about a swarm of killer piranha has inspired the folks over at Wired to compile the 24 Cheesiest Sci-fi films of all time. It's a comprehensive list that showcases the best of the worst in sci-fi -- even if I disagree with their inclusion of Cloverfield among chessy classics like The Creeping Terror and Troll 2 (you can read the entire list here). But one of the advantages of my job is that I don't have to rant and rave about someone else's list, I can just make my own.
So what makes a move go from downright un-watchable to the elevated status of 'cheese'? Well, it's a personal choice, but for me the calling card of any cheesy classic is the feeling that everyone involved really seems to be trying to make great cinema, but either through a lack of budget or talent, you wind up with a movie that is so laughably awful or over the top that it becomes more than bad -- it's entered the great tradition of 'Cinema Cheese'
Unless you're new to these parts, you have probably noticed that I never like to play by the rules of a movie list, so I'm not going to confine myself to the world of sci-fi, because as we all know, cheesy movies come in all shapes and sizes. So let's get started...
This teen gymnastic drama starred Olivia D'Abo and Keanu Reeves and also went by the appropriately cheesy titles, Dream to Believe and Teenage Dream. But the title wasn't the only thing that kept changing in this movie, and this cheese-fest has the distinction of being one of the few movies I've seen a character pronounces his own name differently throughout the film (Mr. Reeves, I'm looking in your direction). But that's not all that makes this movie one of my cheesy favorites, because it also holds the dubious honor of containing some of the most obvious stunt doubles I've ever seen on the big screen.
All you need to know about how this particular action flick made the list, just look at the picture -- that just about sums it up. The story of ass-kicking twins separated at birth is a high point in action-movie cheese and at the time I'm sure someone thought this was Van Damme's chance to show a little acting range, but unfortunately in the words of the great Dorothy Parker his performance "runs the gamut of emotions from A to B".
OK, this selection is a no-brainer because Paul Verhoeven and Joe Eszterhas's tale of a crack-ho turned Las Vegas superstar (played by Elizabeth Berkley) is the Citizen Kane of cheese. Although, maybe a more apt description is All About Eve smothered in Velveeta -- that is until someone had the bright idea of adding a brutal gang rape and killing your bad movie buzz.
I Know Who Killed Me
Poor Lindsay Lohan. The bottom never seems to drop out for the once promising child star and current tabloid staple. There isn't much I can say that hasn't already been said about this train wreck of a movie, but, what takes this movie from just plain bad to the realm of fine cinema cheese is that you get the feeling that Lindsay truly thought this was the movie that would make here a serious actress. What she got instead was weird sex scenes, gratuitous stripper routines that go on a little too long along and gruesome amputations.
John Carpenter's Vampires
Some may argue that this film was intentionally over the top and trying to recreate a 'grind house' feel, but if Wired can have Cloverfield and Tremors on their list, I'm going to include Vampires. Because just when I thought the story of a group vampire hunters couldn't get any dumber, it did -- and am I the only one who thought they slapped around the hooker just a little more than was necessary? But just in case you think I'm the only one who just doesn't 'get' this movie, I offer you a small piece of market research: I saw this flick way back in 1998 in a sneak preview let's just say that audience definitely wasn't laughing with the movie.
Of course, I've just scratched the surface, and I know there are hundreds of other movies who have every right to be on this list, so now I'll turn it over to you. Leave your nominations for cheesiest movies of all time in the comments below.