Put yourself in the mindset of a really bad movie producer. It’ll help if you’ll put sunglasses on (especially if you’re indoors). Imagine the greatest action, and/or horror/thriller script that has never been produced. It’ll be…amazing. Allow those scenes to play in your head as you nod confidently, thinking, “Oh, yes…” Then, imagine your action-thriller dissolving into an unintentional comedy. There’s nothing quite like good intentions gone poorly executed in film production. Sometimes missing the mark can be a bulls eye. Here are 10 of the funniest films that were not supposed to be funny.
10. Troll 2 (1990)
Widely regarded as one of the worst films ever made, Troll 2 is a horror flick that was released in 1990 to barely a whisper. Over the years, its reputation grew to be one of the greatest stinkers to have ever been produced. If you haven’t seen this flick, DVDs are available out there. Do yourself a favor, and host a “Good Food/Bad Movie” night. Is Troll 2 scary? Not in the least. The idea of it might frighten a small child, but when the film begins to roll, it would struggle to hold the attention of anyone without a fully formed intellect. Only then can you appreciate all of the unintentional humor that is sewn into every scene. There is even a website devoted to this being the Best Worst Movie of all-time and a documentary about it’s terribleness. Everything about this movie is bad…and funny.
9. Undefeatable (1994)
Hot dang, let’s keep it in the 1990s for this gem of an action-thriller. There have been some terrible flicks made in this genre starring some pretty big names, but it doesn’t get better than a terrible script starring several actors working too hard to be noticed. One has to admire the level of commitment from all of the actors in Undefeatable, sadly, they have little to no acting talent. We can’t make up stuff this good; here is the official slugline: Kristi Jones (Cynthia Rothrock) avenges her sister’s death at the hands of a crazed martial arts rapist. You read that right–a crazed martial arts rapist. As if a crazed rapist wasn’t enough, he’s also skilled in more athletic ways of raping, and killing. Undefeatable is also known in bad movie lover circles to have one of the greatest death scenes in cinematic history. Just watch this trailer and try to take it seriously.
8. Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987)
It as been nearly 30 years since the release of Hard Ticket to Hawaii. Chances are, you’ve seen a few scenes from this one, and maybe haven’t realized it. The guy throwing the razor Frisbee on the beach…? If you’re unfamiliar, consider yourself lured to this adventure. As the theme song suggests, “It’s a hard ticket to Hawaii…it’s not paradise all the time.” And if Hawaii is anything like this film, it is the most comedic version of hell imaginable. You’d think that someone being killed by a razor Frisbee would take the cake, but how about a skateboarder being killed by a bazooka? The laughs keep on coming in this action-thriller. It does hurt your heart a little, knowing people can get the funding to make something like this, but in the long run, it’s a gift to future generations.
7. The Swarm (1978)
This one really does hurt your heart, because it stars several screen legends. It plays like poorly executed satire, which makes it one of the most unintentionally funny films of all time. And those screen legends? Michael Caine, Katharine Ross, and Henry Fonda. However, Michael bears the load in this one, and what a load it is to bear. Some of the lines he has to deliver with a straight face…? Geez. The Swarm features man against nature in the form of an invading force of killer bees from South America. An actual disclaimer from the closing credits: “The African killer bee portrayed in this film bears absolutely no relationship to the industrious hard-working American honey bee to which we are indebted for pollinating vital crops that feed our nation.” That’s comedy.
6. Staying Alive (1983)
Sylvester Stallone got the hankerin’ to get outside the Rocky franchise in the early 1980s with the desire to direct a sequel to one of the best dramas from the 1970s, Saturday Night Fever. That sequel, Staying Alive, also starred John Travolta as a more mature, refined version of Tony Manero–a Tony who had moved on from his week-to-week Brooklyn ways to pursue his dance legacy in Manhattan. Tony scores a Broadway show, entitled Satan’s Alley (seriously), strikes up a relationship with Finola Hughes, and breaks Cynthia Rhodes heart in the process–speaking of, can someone do something to lure Cynthia out of retirement!? There is intentional, and unintentional comedy throughout Staying Alive (Travolta dropping classic one-liners throughout). The choreography is perfectly 1980s, and Sly even puts his brother, Frank, in the mix. This is one that’s really worth having a watch.
5. The Postman (1997)
We are certain Kevin Costner did not intend for The Postman to be an unintentional comedy, but that’s all it really is. We’ll quickly note that this film also seemed to kill the movie career of Larenz Tate. Or perhaps Larenz swore he’d never do another film after working on this one? We can imagine the writers’ meetings for this one in the mid-1990s: “No, we really gotta up the stakes. We have to make this a near future. Something that will really allow the audience to think, ‘Oh my god, this could happen!'” This flick was released in 1997, and the post-apocalyptic America exists in 2013. As in… just a few years ago. Kevin Costner has a knack for being in films that are supposed to be hard hitting dramas, or action-thrillers, all of which become unintentional comedies. That stated, all was forgiven for his legit turn in Hatfields & McCoys.
4. Batman and Robin (1997)
While we’re in 1997, how about another slice of suck from the same year? We won’t go so far as to say there is nothing redemptive about Batman & Robin. OK. We will. Considering what it was supposed to be, it’s either a laugh-a-minute “oops,” or a boring snooze fest. We do appreciate the casting of Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, but Bane as her sidekick? Sweet mercy, this romp was so misguided we figure Joel Schumacher needed to buy stock in Jack Daniels to get through the final cut. And we do recommend a little something to accompany your viewing of this comedic travesty. Here’s what you can laugh about as you watch Arnold Schwarzenegger deliver ice pun after ice pun: this is the film that forced Warner Bros. to go a completely different direction with Batman. Christopher Nolan, please step into the office.
3. The Wicker Man (2006)
We must notate the titles of these films with the years in which they were released, because we wouldn’t want potential viewers to become confused, and accidentally go watch the classic version of The Wicker Man, and think the team at Goliath had completely lost all credibility. In 1973, Ed Woodward and Christopher Lee starred in the original The Wicker Man, and this classic thriller really holds up. Sadly, Neil LaBute thought it needed a solid remake, and he cast Nicholas Cage in the lead role. If there’s one thing for which we applaud Nic, it’s his committing fully to each and every one of his roles. Unfortunately, when things call for subtlety, Nic suffers. You see, he excels at techniques called “screaming,” and acting “bat-**** crazy,” and that’s exactly where he goes for the entirety of The Wicker Man.
2. Final Destination (2000)
What a concept: cheat death once, and it’ll come after you with such a vengeance you’ll have no choice but to die a horribly violent death. This flick was billed as something of the “scary” variety, but it quickly became a deathly comedy of errors: who is going to die next, and how will the death one-up the previous. Damn. For those who remember watching this schlock in theaters, it was a real popcorn munching fiasco. This was one of the first films to use “live audience reactions” as part of the marketing campaign, and it suckered everyone into the seats. In addition to being a huge box office success, the film spawned an entire franchise, because some people just know how to cheat death, and death is too relentless to do anything but keep swinging for the knockout punch.
1. Battlefield Earth (2000)
As all good Scientologists do, they pledge allegiance to the life, and teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. We’ll avoid this topic of conversation, other than to state that it was part of John Travolta’s purpose in producing Battlefield Earth. The source material was LRH’s 1982 novel of the same name. You can look around, and find a lot of rhetoric suggesting this film “isn’t that bad.” And considering the budget and production value, no, it isn’t that bad. In fact, some might suggest that it’s pretty good. We’ll agree: it’s good… good and terrible. It’s a struggle to get through this thing if you’re watching by yourself, but if you add a few friends to the mix, it can really become a laugh riot in the style of Mystery Science Theater 3000, which is appropriate being that Battlefield Earth takes place in the year 3000.