6 "So Bad, They're Good" Movie Musicals

6 "So Bad, They're Good" Movie Musicals

Here are 6 awful movie musicals I wish I didn't like...but I love them.

In many ways, movie musicals are the ultimate form of escape - not only do they transport you to a different time and place, but they take you to a setting in which it is acceptable to break out in song whenever you are met with conflict in your life. Who wouldn't want to live in such a world?

But for every "Singin' in the Rain" or "Chicago", there are a few movie musicals out there that are unbelievably bad...and yet, so unbelievably joyful to watch. Here are some of the movie musicals I love to hate (though I might legitimately love these movies and just be in denial about it!)

1. Xanadu (1980)

"Xanadu" is one of the classic so-bad-it's-good movie musicals, but there's actually a lot working for it. It has an amazing cast (Olivia Newton-John plays a muse who roller skates into a struggling artist's life, and had graced Gene Kelly's character's life a few decades before). Half the soundtrack is performed by ELO (at least on the vinyl version of the soundtrack, their songs are smartly put on one side of the album, separate from the cheesier songs that everyone else performs). But there are some questionable casting choices (the struggling artist, for instance, is played by an actor who delivers every single line super-flatly, and to add insult to injury, doesn't do any of his own singing). Don Bluth (of "The Land Before Time" fame...but only the first movie...see below..) produced an animated sequence in the middle of the film for no real reason (except maybe to mask the fact that the artist character doesn't do any of his own singing). The plot around the film revolves around Gene Kelly and this less-talented actor opening a hybrid discotheque/big band dancehall, but by the time the film was released, everyone had decided that they hated disco, which contributed to the backlash against the film. Here in the 2010s, where disco doesn't draw such ire, this movie is a cheesy but super-fun pastiche.

2. Grease 2 (1982)

Fun fact: "Grease" was slated to have three sequels and a TV spinoff, but "Grease 2" tanked so badly that it never happened. I won't spend too much time on the plot since it's pretty identical to that of the first movie, except that the romance happens between an established Pink Lady (Michelle Pfeiffer) and a goodie-two-shoes guy (purportedly Australian Olivia Newton John's cousin from England, played by the actor who portrayed Rex Manning in "Empire Records"). The premise made the first movie wildly successful but seemed stale the second time around. But it's the soundtrack that makes "Grease 2" so lovably awful. Most of the songs are far-from-subtle sex metaphors under the guise of songs about bowling and patriotism, but there's also a song called "Reproduction" that doesn't even try to be covert. Still, Michelle Pfeiffer's "Cool Rider" is a pretty great song, and the T-birds are into motorcycles, not cars, this time around. So cool, so edgy.

3. The Apple(1980)

Another disco musical which had the misfortune of being released in 1980, and an adaptation of the book of Genesis at that. The film's Eve figure doesn't do her own singing, and the temptation she's led into is one of glitter and cheesy dance music. Oh, and the whole thing takes place in the future, 1994 to be exact, and of course looks nothing like the 1994 any of us knew.

4. Starstruck (1982)

Okay, there were clearly a lot of bad movie musicals made in the 1980s, filmed all over the world. "Starstruck" is an Australian film, in which a young woman from Sydney who is determined to become famous gets into all sorts of antics with her teenage cousin as they plot ways to get the protagonist on a big variety show, despite their family's opposition to the whole thing. The whole movie pairs sort of awesome New Wave music with really cheesy visuals, which come to a head during the number "Tough," in which the man character discovers that the talent show's host, who she's been throwing herself at, is actually gay. There's synchronized swimming on inflatable sharks, because, of course, there is.

5. The Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water (2002)

Later installations in the "Land Before Time" series might be worse, but I wouldn't know: on break from undergrad one year, my friends and I set out to watch all of the bajillion movies in a row. The night was a blast, but we started getting burnt out during this one when we realized they were recycling songs. If there had been a bunch of "Grease" movies, would we have started getting reprises of "Beauty School Dropout?" (No, we probably would've gotten reprises of "Sandy." Ack).

6. From Justin to Kelly (2003)

The first season of "American Idol" was undeniably one of the best, so of course, they tried to capitalize on it with a spin-off movie. "Tried" is the operative word here. I was actually obsessed with this movie in middle school, but even then was so frustrated with the premise (Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson play versions of themselves with different surnames, and meet during Spring Break. They take a liking to each other and sometimes break into song mid-sentence, but Kelly's bratty friend gives Justin her own number, telling him that it's Kelly's, and misunderstandings ensue). Still, the film introduced me to Anika Noni Rose (who went on to "Dreamgirls" and "The Princess and the Frog"). The songs are painfully poppy, but pretty fun anyhow. The dancing and acting leave a bit to be desired.

There are others I'm missing surely, waiting for me to discover them (or re-discover them...I left out, for instance, "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo" since it's been so long since I've seen it). I'm still waiting for "The Room" to be adapted into a musical, but until then, there are plenty of classics that I love to hate!

Cover Image Credit: B Rosen

Popular Right Now

What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.

Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

How Art Can Help You Take Care Of Yourself

It's time to go on a date with yourself.


Art is a quintessential part of the human experience: it has something that has been present in human culture beginning from prehistoric times, from when human consciousness first entered the world. It is also something that transcends definition and intertwines with our play of life and the meaning of humanity. Art is an expression of feeling in its most ethereal meaning and "for fun" at its most basic.

Personally, as an Art History minor, art has been a dimension of life for me that I have explored deeply and holds a lot of meaning. Painting is a huge outlet and way to deal with stress for me, and appreciating fine art teaches me about the aspect of history and how all of history is tied together throughout paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It helps me center myself and remind me of the place I hold in this world and the curious aspect personal experience of history. However, art doesn't need to be the stereotypical idea of art: it can be expressed through dance, the learning of a new language, or the coloring of mandalas to ease stress.

The exploration of art and the artistic side of human nature is something that everyone has in them: it's written in our psychology. We have an entire side of our brain that is inclined toward feeling and abstract interpretation, so it's natural to assume that emotion and expression of art are intrinsically intertwined. Thus, experiencing art is a way to personally develop yourself, and can be an unfound way of finding out things about yourself.

Different ways to explore your artistic side can be very easy: as easy as 3rd-grade coloring books, coloring mandalas, or finger-painting. Recently, I participated in a lantern festival and being able to paint a small lantern was an amazing outlet from a stress-filled week and allowed me to express myself through something besides just communication. Writing is also another good way to express emotion and create art: many books are just art pieces, and can be another way to further develop yourself. Additionally, other small fun things like carving pumpkins (spooky season!) or even curating the perfect Instagram profile can be another way to express yourself.

Appreciating the small things in your life as art and self-expression help put you more in touch with yourself, which is easy to lose throughout the mundane cycles of college, work, and life in general. Keeping yourself in harmony and balance might seem like an earthy-crunchy concept, but self-care and self-love are vital in keeping the rest of your life ordered. Being mindful of yourself and your goals is something that I have always have had difficulty with, but working toward learning more about yourself is taking the first step.

Related Content

Facebook Comments