Iconic but awful

I’m watching John Carpenter’s They Live right now and boy, howdy, is it awful. There are some truly iconic scenes, but the Roddy Piper and his hair are indescribably bad. The make up, the clothes, the sets, the script - it is all SO BAD. “Life’s a bitch and she’s back in heat.” What the hell?

Do you have any movies to add to this list? TV shows are also welcome.

I’ve never seen “Road House”, but based on the reviews I’ve seen over the past 30 years, I’d add it to this list. Somebody must watch it (probably because it stars Patrick Swayze - RIP) and that’s why it airs so often on (mostly) AMC.

They Live is sociopolitical commentary wrapped inside of a standard ‘Eighties action-thriller with a suitable degree of absurdity and optimistically nihilistic ending, filmed for less than the caterer’s budget on a James Cameron film. Great movie!

Road House is basically the epitome of ‘Eighties Patrick Swayze movies. It is completely ridiculous and makes no sense whatsoever, even compared to Point Break.


I never saw “Dirty Dancing” until a few years ago. I still can’t believe I made it through the whole thing, and am grateful I didn’t pay money to see it.

Maybe you would prefer the short story it’s based on:

Blasphemy alert: “Citizen Kane” was one of the most tedious slogs I’ve ever tried to watch. Incredibly boring.

Any movie that contains a line like “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubblegum.” can’t be all bad.

I think you misspelled awesome.

Avatar. Groundbreaking CGI, a massive ad campaign, and a box office titan and popular darling… with an unoriginal plot bordering on plagiarism, writing so lazy that they literally used “unobtanium” as the name of their unobtanium, and acting on par with a cutscene from a PS2 game.

Citizen Kane is brilliant, but not because of the story or acting (which are both still good). It’s mostly remembered due to it’s groundbreaking filmmaking techniques which will look quaint today. Without context it does come off as staid in the 21st century.

Contributions to thread:

I feel much the same way about most of Star Wars actually. Brilliantly made from a technical standpoint but generally don’t hold up to rewatching.

The Graduate is not terrible but very average until the last 10 seconds or so.

I thoroughly despised It’s a Wonderful Life the first time I saw it. And I hated it even more the few times afterwards I’ve been forced to sit through it.

I actually came to post Avatar, but for the additional fact that anyone with half a brain realized that all it takes is the spacefaring society to drop rocks from orbit and all the pretty blue people die. Then they mine the Macguffin of previously described stupidity.

I’ll also toss in Top Gun. Iconic, yes, but from any rational POV Maverick shouldn’t be teaching, he should be in the stockade forever, roughly. And even if somehow you feel that his heroics at the end justify his GETTING HIS BEST FRIEND KILLED, his is NOT the example you want to be providing to future defenders. The story is weak, the love story is even weaker, and other than looking cool (by the standards of the day) it’s endless 'Murkia, F*** Yeah despite being some of the worst and most ineffectual people from the top down.

You know, scientists do have a sense of humor. I can see them naming an insanely valuable material that can only be found on a distant planet “Unobtanium”, and the corporate assholes not getting the joke.

Easy Rider is a suck ass move.

And a movie has to be pretty bad for me to hate it if it centers around motorcycles. Bc I love motorcycles.

“Unobtanium” as a jokey name for a rare element has been used since the '50s.

The writers of Avatar were lazy enough that they just used the trope name itself instead of coming up with something like “adamantium” or “vibranium” or “Nth metal” or “elerium-115” or the names more clever sci-fi writers have used when employing the trope.

From 1968 through the '70s, I thought Hawaii Five-O (the original, with Jack Lord) was one of the coolest shows on TV. Watching it now in “strip” form five days a week, I can see just how bad most episodes were, in virtually every way—writing, acting, plots, continuity, editing, and so on. In spite of all this, I still love it and join in with McGarrett when he says “Book him, Danno. Murder One!” at the end of each episode.

The biggest disappointment, though, was watching the original Mission: Impossible five days a week. The ridiculousness of almost every story was just laid bare, especially after 1972 or so. “William Shatner thinks the last 30 years were just a dream? Vic Morrow thinks he’s forgotten the last 30 years with World War III? Steve Forrest thinks a band of aliens is going to give him immortality? Come on, guys, tell me something more believable—like ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’”

I never saw Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure until I was an adult, and my wife (then girlfriend) rented it to show me. Hoo boy, does not hold up.

Somehow I never saw Beetlejuice either until a couple of years ago. We were visiting my dad and his wife, and the kids wanted to watch something, so we pulled it up. I spent about an hour waiting to laugh, until Beetlejuice showed up and started sexually assaulting the main character for lulz, and which point I bailed.

My headcanon for two of those episodes — well, not so much ‘headcanon’ as ‘what explicitly gets shown as happening’ — is that our heroes pumped the guy full of high-powered drugs and then carried his unconscious body around for a while before his eyes fluttered open when the con artists were ready to act out their playlets.

What are the odds that, say, you could swindle me? Whatever they are, I’d figure they improve considerably if you can have me pumped full of high-powered drugs first.

I won’t call it awful, but It’s a Wonderful Life is overrated, especially in since George is such a doormat. I was disappointed from the start since I was familiar with try he original story, and liked it less when I saw how much of it was self plagiarized from Capra’s American Madness.

Oh man. I really, really wanted a dirt bike as a kid. I heard about the movie Easy Rider and thought if I made my dad take me to see it, for sure he would let me have a motorcycle.

Did not work out very well. But I did eventually get a dirt bike.