I call this the “Saved By The Bell” Phenomenon: You watch a movie/TV show a million times as a kid and fall completely in love with it. You think it’s the greatest thing you’ve ever seen. Then about 10 years go by without seeing it and when you reach your twenties (and have actually developed some taste and intelligence) you happen to see it again. And it’s the most surreal experience of your life. How could I have possibly liked this movie as a kid? This is the worst dialogue I have ever heard. The shoes on my feet must have cost more than the budget for this movie. Would my IQ be 10 points higher now if I didn’t watch this every day after school for an entire year? But the strangest thing about this phenomenon is that you still love it, just because it reminds you of a time when you didn’t have to worry about paying student loans or getting that strange noise in your car checked out. So without further ado, here are my 7 favorite movies from my childhood that I now realize suck but still love anyway:
License to Drive
To me, Corey Haim and Corey Feldman were a better one-two punch than Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. Then I grew up. But bonus points for featuring a very young Heather Graham. It’s strange watching this movie now knowing young Heather is about 10 years away from playing Rollergirl.
Over The Top
This is Stallone at his best (or worst?). Most people know Sly as Rocky or Rambo, but not me. I know Sly as an arm-wrestling, truck-driving badass with the biggest brat in the history of cinema for a son. I loved the move he did with his hand that would magically make his arm stronger and help him win the match. Also bonus points for the theme song that I can still hear in my head after all these years (Meet me halfway…Dah da da Duh…Across the sky).
Along with its sequels (Kick Back & Knuckle Up), this series of films was like The Godfather Trilogy to me as a child. Terrible dialogue and first-ballot Hall Of Shame fight sequences did not stop me from adoring these movies. But I now realize that Tum Tum was partially responsible for the ongoing obesity problem our nation is now facing.
Actually I never saw this movie as a kid; I didn’t see it until I was 18. And I thought it was one of the worst movies I had ever seen. I’m just putting it on this list because all the Star Wars fanatics must have fallen in love with it as kids and live in denial as adults about how terrible it is.
No Holds Barred
Hulk Hogan delivers at Oscar-worthy performance in the movie that introduced me to the word “dookie.” Plus Debo terrified me long before he was terrorizing Craig and Smokey in Friday.
This movie might be the main reason why my mind is so warped now. I was way too young to be watching Arnold kill 137 people while delivering 137 terrible puns. Here’s a completely true story: When I was about 4 my parents put me in a room by myself and turned this movie on to keep me occupied. Two hours passed and my parents came back into the room to check on me. I had taken a green crayon and colored the walls, floor and myself green in an attempt to camouflage everything I saw. My parents still haven’t let me live that one down.
Howard The Duck
Wow. Just wow. This was my absolute favorite movie as a kid. I probably watched it twice a day for two years straight. My parents must have seriously considered putting me up for adoption every day during that span. I saw it again a couple years ago and it was like a religious awakening. As a kid I was too naive to realize that this movie was actually filled with sexual tension between Lea Thompson and a wise-cracking duck. But I still love this movie so much that if it was playing on TV during the Ohio State-Michigan game I would have a tough choice to make on which to watch.