In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the easiest ways to be social while social distancing is to have a virtual movie night. Rounding up your friends isn't too hard, since nobody has plans anymore, but the real issue comes when choosing the perfect film for the occasion. Luckily, these virtual hangouts are usually more for catching up and joking around with your friends than seriously watching something together, and that's why watching "bad" movies during quarantine watch parties is actually the best option right now.
Usually, staying in to watch movies is the opposite of being social, but with everyone confined to their homes, virtual watch parties on video chatting apps like Zoom or Skype have become the new norm. There are even extensions like Netflix Party and sites like Kosmi that make it easy for users to watch all kinds of content together. But in my experience, there's a specific type of movie that works best for this kind of digital experience. I'm talking about the "so bad they're good" films, the ones that were torn apart by critics but developed a cult following for just how ridiculous they are.
There reason these "bad" movies are perfect for quarantine watch parties is two-fold: First, they invite commentary, and second, they don't require all that much attention. A virtual watch party is a rare time to call up your friends, after all, so you're going to want to make the most of it by chatting and cracking jokes throughout the film, and these movies allow you to do just that, without worrying about missing anything super-important, since they're too out-there to make any sense even if you were watching intently.
These films may have scored low with the critics, but will get a 10/10 during your next wild watch party.
1. 'Jupiter Ascending'
With Channing Tatum playing an intergalactic bounty hunter who is also part-dog, Mila Kunis giving new meaning to queen bee, and Eddie Redmayne taking whisper-yelling to bold new levels, Jupiter Ascending really does have it all. Yes, the plot is impossible to understand and nothing makes a lick of sense, but that's what makes this over-the-top space opera so fun. Plus, it's streaming on Netflix, so just fire up the Netflix Party extension and you've got your next movie night set.
You've no doubt already heard of the horrors of 2019's film adaptation of Cats, and now the lambasted movie musical is available online. This is definitely not a movie you should watch on your own — the supreme, unintelligible weirdness of Cats really requires a group viewing so you can all laugh and scream together.
3. 'From Justin To Kelly'
There is honestly no better way to relive the early 2000s with your friends than by watching the critically reviled musical rom-com From Justin to Kelly. The movie starred Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini fresh off of placing first and second, respectively, in the first season of American Idol. Seeing as it was rushed out months after Clarkson's win and neither singer had any acting experience, it wasn't a huge surprise it flopped. Still, the movie is a perfect time capsule of 2003, and has such a predictable rom-com plot, you can tune out to laugh about its latest dramatic dance number without getting lost.
4. 'Hot Rod'
For pure silliness, nothing beats Hot Rod. The Andy Samberg stuntman film is beloved by comedy fans now, but when it was first released in 2007, it got mostly negative reviews. Despite not being everyone's cup of tea, it still makes for a great virtual watch party flick because it's packed with so many jokes, you'll immediately start laughing even if you hadn't been paying attention for a while.
5. 'Secret Obsession'
The best kinds of "so bad it's good" movies have plot that are just so off-the-walls ridiculous, you can't help but laugh at the absurdity. That's exactly the case with Secret Obsession. Netflix's psychological thriller is absolutely wild from start to finish, with a shadowy killer, Brenda Song immediately getting amnesia, and that guy from the Allstate commercials as a detective.
6. The 'Twilight' Series
OK, before you get mad at me for putting Twilight on a "bad" movies list. Yes, the first movie got so-so reviews and it spawned a massive phenomenon, but things got out of control toward the end of the franchise — and that's what makes for a great group watch. Either go through all five movies with your friends, or just stick to the Breaking Dawn movies for maximum weirdness. Your squad's commentary is guaranteed to be comedy gold.
7. The 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Series
If Twilight isn't cringey enough, try the film franchise that began as Twilight fan-fiction. The hyper-sexualized Fifty Shade of Grey movies are filled with absolutely absurd scenarios and lines, and the awkwardness of Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan will give you plenty to talk about.
8. 'Spider-Man 3'
Before Tom Holland or Andrew Garfield swung from building to building, Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man movies of the mid-aughts made the web-slinger a sensation. While Maguire's first two Spider-Man movies are classics, the third installation didn't really live up to the hype. Still, its campy, over-the-top silliness is what memes are made of. I mean, what could be better than Peter Parker going full emo, or an evil Topher Grace, or James Franco as a moody supervillain? It's just such a fun watch, even if it's not necessarily "good."
9. 'Spice World'
It pains me to have to call Spice World "bad," but just technically speaking, the Spice Girls' comedy was a critical flop when it came out in 1997. Despite that, the zany flick has become a cult classic, and it is a must-watch for anyone who grew up knowing all the words to "Wannabe." Sure, the actual story of the movie makes no sense, and I still don't know why aliens randomly show up halfway through, but that's all part of what makes it such a fun, low-commitment group watch.
It's not often Beyoncé flexes her acting muscles, but her 2009 thriller Obsessed let her do it all the way up, with ridiculous lines and even an all-out fight scene with Ali Larter. The movie may not have been well-received critically, but its high-drama plot makes it a super-fun watch. Plus, Beyoncé.
11. 'The Room'
12. 'Sex & The City 2'
The first Sex and the City movie wrapped up the story of one of TV's most beloved group of gal pals... or, so everyone thought. Surprisingly, Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha came back for a second Sex and the City movie that wound up being more confusing and strange than satisfying for fans. The foursome's unexpected trip to Abu Dhabi may have been misguided, but at least it's fun to crack jokes over homemade cosmopolitans with your girl gang.
13. 'Batman & Robin'
It takes a very special movie to go down in history as a camp classic, and 1997's Batman and Robin is a hallmark of that exclusive genre. Although its over-the-top one-liners and costuming were ripped apart by critics, the film's hilarious flamboyance is what has made it so beloved by movie fans today. If you haven't seen Uma Thurman's Poison Ivy performance, you haven't lived.
14. 'Bee Movie'
Bee Movie would have been an entirely forgettable animated children's movie if the internet hadn't gotten a hold of it. Jerry Seinfeld's 2007 comedy is now infamous online as the source of countless memes, most of which point out just how ridiculous the movie is.
15. 'Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen'
Lindsay Lohan absolutely owned the early 2000s with iconic teen movies like Mean Girls and Freaky Friday, but not all the films she helmed in her heyday were hits. Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen may not have gotten the success of Lohan's other high school flicks, but it's still a great watch for anyone who's already seen Mean Girls a hundred times and needs something new. Not only are there a ton of fun musical numbers, but the movie also stars Megan Fox in one of her earliest roles as the school mean girl.
16. 'I Know Who Killed Me'
Speaking of Lindsay Lohan, she's also got a "so bad it's good" movie for fans of psychological thrillers. I Know Who Killed Me is just as unintelligibly out-there as its title suggests, starring Lohan in a dual role as two women who may or may not be the same person. The plot is truly impossible to follow, so you and your friends don't even have to worry about trying — just press play and get lost in weirdness.
One of the most iconic "bad" movies of all time, Showgirls is truly shocking in just how off-the-rails its story goes. The sex-heavy film was an immediate bomb upon release, but years later it's developed a cult status as fans discovered how fun the movie is to watch from an ironic perspective.
18. 'The Boy Next Door'
Jennifer Lopez has starred in some highly acclaimed movies, but The Boy Next Door is not one of them. The thriller about a suburban mom flirting with her son's friend became the butt of every joke when it hit theaters in 2015, specifically for a scene in which the boy shows his love for Lopez's character by gifting her a first edition of The Iliad. It may not have been cinematically brilliant, but the ridiculous premise is perfect for a lighthearted movie night.
Burlesque is packed with superstars, but the glitzy musical was a critical failure. That doesn't mean it's not an immensely fun watch with friends, though. It's actually the perfect choice for laughing at the ridiculous lines and enjoying some powerhouse musical performances from Christina Aguilera, Cher, and even Kristen Bell.
Nicolas Cage has given many over-the-top performances, but nothing compares to Face/Off. The 1997 action flick is a beloved classic among a certain group of movie lovers thanks to its totally out-there premise: Cage literally switches faces with John Travolta. Believe it or not, the movie only gets more ludicrous from there, making it a perfect group watch.
Virtual watch parties are already a big part of quarantine life, and it's easy to just go back to a tried-and-true favorite that you and your friends watch together all the time. But next time you plan a movie night, try one of these "bad" films to foster connections and inspire a good laugh, which everyone could use right now.
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