The Guilty Pleasure Films of 2010

A collection of 10 films that make us feel bad for loving them so - though we can easily defend each and every one... we think.

Film: Devil

Director: John Erick Dowdle

Cast: Chris Messina, Bojana Novakovic, Bokeem Woodbine, Logan Marshall-Green, Jenny O'Hara, Geoffrey Arend



Display as: List

List number: 10

Display Width: 200Devil

First, you've got to get past the production credit. The name "M. Night Shyamalan" is like creative kryptonite in 2010, synonymous with unadulterated crap like The Happening, Lady in the Water, and his latest motion picture affront, The Last Airbender. So, rest assured that all he had to do with this otherwise intriguing thriller was craft the story and pay the bills. He left the actual scriptwriting and directing to others... and it shows. As a simple tale of four people trapped in an elevator -- and the suicide/crime scene surrounding their involvement -- the narrative is a tad too pat... Signs pat. But John Erick Dowdle does such a good job of setting up suspense and delivering payoffs that we ignore the cosmic coincidences and settle in for some decent scares. Luckily, this Devil delivers. Bill Gibron


Film: Robo-Geisha

Director: Noboru Iguchi

Cast: Aya Kiguchi, Hitomi Hasebe, Takumi Saito, Taro Shigaki, Etsuko Ikuta, Suzuki Matsuo, Naoto Takenaka


Display as: List

List number: 9

Display Width: 200Robo-Geisha
Funimation Entertainment

You generally don’t win Academy Awards for movies which feature lines like “She has a machine gun in her ass!”, but there are other rewards, like creating the funniest midnight movie ever. The plot: a crooked industrialist kidnaps geishas and surgically transforms them into robotic assassins as part of his plan to destroy Japanese national identity by blowing up Mount Fuji. If you’re still with me you’ll probably appreciate Robo-Geisha, a film which has too much of everything including blood splatter, hysterically bad dialogue, even worse dubbing, and action scenes which achieve new heights (or sink to new depths) of absurdity. It’s all presented in a perfectly timed succession of gags by director Noboru Iguchi who keeps you laughing so hard you barely have a chance to breathe. Sarah Boslaugh


Film: Jackass 3D

Director: Jeff Tremaine

Cast: Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Chris Pontius, Steve-O, Ryan Dunn, Dave England, Jason "Wee Man" Acuña, Preston Lacy, Ehren McGhehey



Display as: List

List number: 8

Display Width: 200Jackass 3D

Maybe it's the four years between installments. Perhaps the wealth of imitators, both professional and pimping themselves on the Web, have romanticized the original's raunchy "talents". It could be the inherent humor -- no matter how juvenile and sophomoric -- of watching grown men risk life, limb, and reputation in the service of some very salacious slapstick. With the new gimmick patina of 3D pushing the prurience right up and into our faces, Johnny Knoxville and his merry band of idiots reminded us that some brands of baser wit never go completely out of style. While we may feel horrible for laughing so hard, the key is that we are laughing. And since they are having such a seemingly good time, we can't help but join in on the jaundiced festivities. Bill Gibron


Film: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Director: Jalmari Helander

Cast: Tommi Korpela, Per Christian Ellefsen, Ville Virtanen, Jorma Tommila, Jonathan Hutchings, Onni Tommila



Display as: List

List number: 7

Display Width: 200Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Oscilloscope Laboratories

Rare Exports is the best unholy Christmas creation ever. It’s the perfect combination of old world superstition and new age satire. Buried in between the animal carcasses, musty slaughterhouses, and Spartan living condition is still a child’s vivid imagination, only this time, the visions aren’t of candy and kindness, but of a horned demon with elf-like minions that may or may not resemble anorexic old men. Rare Exports wants to argue that the real meaning of Santa was always as an underage cautionary tale, a coal in the stocking vs. presents by the fire kind of behavioral modification. In this case, the wee ones don't just need to be "good for goodness's" sake, but a shout-out to God (or any other benevolent deity) might help the Hellish cause as well. Bill Gibron


Film: Machete

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Cast: Danny Trejo, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Lindsay Lohan, Don Johnson, Jessica Alba, Robert De Niro



Display as: List

List number: 6

Display Width: 200 Machete
20th Century Fox

Machete first appeared on the big screen during Easter weekend 2007. The trailer, based on Robert Rodriguez’s script (and star vehicle for Danny Trejo),was one of several sideline gags accompanyingPlanet Terror and Death Proof. Yet somehow, those few minutes of Machete seemed more grindhouse than Grindhouse. Emerging as a feature in fall 2010 with star Trejo and trashy aesthetic intact, the vigilante tale is essentially a checklist of guilty pleasures. A strung-out Lindsay Lohan dons a habit. Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez enforce justice with the power of limitless sex appeal. Jeff Fahey delivers his lines with a preternatural awareness of how a B-movie actor should speak. Gory set pieces punctuate the plot and occasionally illustrate heretofore cinematically unexplored functions of human anatomy. Presiding over all of this is genre film powerhouse Trejo -- long in the wings and now a star. Trejo’s face is neither fresh nor new, but it is without a doubt that of an avenging action hero. Thomas Britt


Next Page

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.