28 Bad Movies To Watch With Your Gay Friends
1. Valley of the Dolls (1967)
The gist: Three young women embark on careers in show business and soon find themselves lost in a world of backstabbing, infidelity, and lots of pills.
What makes it bad: Despite the serious subject matter, the performances are too over-the-top to be taken seriously. Every emotional moment is undercut with awful line readings and a cloying score.
Gay icon alert: Patty Duke as Neely O’Hara, a character based on Judy Garland.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: Having lost everything, Neely suffers a breakdown in an alley, crying out for her former friends and lovers — and finally for Neely O’Hara herself.
2. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)
The gist: It’s basically a trippy rehash of Valley of the Dolls with three young women in a rock band getting seduced by drugs and sex in Los Angeles.
What makes it bad: That’s questionable — the script by Roger Ebert and direction by Russ Meyer is all very intentionally campy. It’s not bad in the traditional sense so much as a gleeful mess.
Gay icon alert: Director Russ Meyer, no matter how heterosexual his intentions were.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: The first introduction to Z-Man is iconic, including the line “This is my happening and it freaks me out!” (later co-opted by Austin Powers) and a performance by Strawberry Alarm Clock.
3. Can’t Stop the Music (1980)
The gist: It’s a fictionalized biography of the Village People, in which songwriter Jack Morell puts together a band with the help of his model roommate Sam.
What makes it bad: The Village People are best appreciated in small doses, not in a two-hour musical starring Steve Guttenberg on roller skates. That there’s a story at all is laughable.
Gay icon alert: The Village People as themselves.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: “YMCA” gets performed at the YMCA. And despite the fact that this is a PG-rated film, there’s plenty of full-frontal male nudity involved.
4. The Apple (1980)
The gist: In the science fiction future of 1994, Alphie and Bibi try to make it in the music industry and discover its dark side in this disco-infused Biblical allegory.
What makes it bad: Did you see the part about it being a disco-infused Biblical allegory? God is a hippie named Mr. Topps. It’s all brightly colored, incredibly grating nonsense.
Gay icon alert: None really, but there’s a lot of disco.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: The titular song is pretty amazing, complete with a giant (metaphor) apple and presumably a lot of cocaine. “Oh, it’s a natural, natural, natural desire / Gets ya higher, higher, higher, higher!”
5. Xanadu (1980)
The gist: The most famous 1980 disco musical involves a Greek muse helping a struggling artist open a dance club called Xanadu.
What makes it bad: Along with Can’t Stop the Music, Xanadu is what inspired John J. B. Wilson to create the Razzies, which celebrate the worst films of the year. From conception to execution, it’s truly awful.
Gay icon alert: Olivia Newton-John as Kira. And MORE DISCO.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: The title song, which remains the most famous track from the film, is the only sequence really worth watching at all. Might as well watch it twice, then.
6. Mommie Dearest (1981)
The gist: Christina Crawford struggles to survive her oppressive, cleaning-obsessed actress mother Joan Crawford.
What makes it bad: Overacting runs rampant. Variety wrote of Faye Dunaway’s performance, “Dunaway does not chew scenery. Dunaway starts neatly at each corner of the set in every scene and swallows it whole, costars and all.”
Gay icon alert: Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: Her face covered in cold cream, Joan bursts into Christina’s room in the middle of the night, berating her for hanging her dress on a wire hanger, then beating Christina with the hanger in question.
7. Grease 2 (1982)
The gist: It’s essentially Grease, but it’s goodie two-shoes Michael who has to change his personality in order to date Pink Lady Stephanie Zinone.
What makes it bad: While Grease 2 is a masterpiece, it’s also pretty terrible, featuring forgettable songs and a very obvious repurposing of the original plot, minus much of the charm.
Gay icon alert: Michelle Pfeiffer as Stephanie Zinone, Tab Hunter as Mr. Stuart.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: Old Hollywood gay Tab Hunter teaches his class how sex works in the song “Reproduction,” perhaps the greatest musical number ever committed to film.
8. Masters of the Universe (1987)
The gist: Warrior He-Man must help regain control of Castle Greyskull from the evil Skeletor in this adaptation of Mattel’s toy line.
What makes it bad: As an animated series, Masters of the Universe worked, but this kind of silliness was never meant for live action. The result is a movie with equal parts bad special effects and homoeroticism.
Gay icon alert: He-Man.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: Skeletor has He-Man tied up and tortured with his laser whip, all while Skeletor clutches his staff in delight. It could not get any gayer if it tried.
9. Street Fighter (1994)
The gist: An international military force known as the Allied Nations sets out to wrest control from evil general M. Bison, who holds humanitarian workers hostage.
What makes it bad: Video games are tough to adapt to the big screen, especially when their gameplay is essentially just characters punching and kicking each other. The script here doesn’t help, and neither does the terrible acting.
Gay icon alert: Kylie Minogue as Cammy.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: Guile and M. Bison face off against each other, delivering moves borrowed from the video game and lines that not even the great Raúl Juliá was equipped to handle.
10. Showgirls (1995)
The gist: Drifter Nomi Malone hopes to make it as a showgirl in Las Vegas. She moves her way up the ranks by befriending and ultimately betraying Cristal Connors.
What makes it bad: The Joe Eszterhas script is shockingly terrible — so perfectly awful that it had to have been intentional. Some of the actors get that and have fun with it, while others… not so much.
Gay icon alert: Elizabeth Berkley as Nomi Malone, Gina Gershon as Cristal Connors.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: Nomi and Zack finally give in to their carnal desires in a swimming pool. It turns out that when Nomi has sex in the water, she basically turns into a horny dolphin.
11. Anaconda (1997)
The gist: A documentary film crew in the Amazon stumbles upon a giant anaconda that proceeds to eat them one by one.
What makes it bad: The special effects are atrocious, but none are as offensive as Jon Voight’s accent as a Paraguayan snake hunter who is trying to capture and kill the titular snake.
Gay icon alert: Jennifer Lopez as Terri Flores.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: The anaconda swallows snake hunter Serrone whole — the camera gives us his point of view as he travels down the snake’s mouth — then regurgitates him, still in one piece.
12. Spice World (1997)
The gist: The Spice Girls embark on a series of adventures en route to a big concert in this surreal homage to the Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night.
What makes it bad: The Spice Girls are not the Beatles. The plot is nonsensical, with countless flashbacks, fantasy sequences, and cameos that will leave viewers scratching their heads.
Gay icon alert: The Spice Girls as themselves.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: The girls finally make it to Royal Albert Hall, running up the steps to the Rocky theme before performing “Spice Up Your Life” for a crowd of adoring fans.
13. Batman & Robin (1997)
The gist: Batman and Robin are faced with two new villains — the pun-loving Mr. Freeze and seductive Poison Ivy — and a new ally, Batgirl.
What makes it bad: While Batman is, of course, a comic book creation, the movie is cartoonish to a fault. The casting is a mess, with George Clooney stepping into Batman’s suit, which is now equipped with nipples for some reason.
Gay icon alert: You could make a case for Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy or John Glover as Dr. Jason Woodrue, but it’s really all about George Clooney’s bat-nipples as themselves.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: Any scene featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, who uses an endless onslaught of ice-related wordplay to stave off the cold.
14. Crossroads (2002)
The gist: Lucy goes on a road trip to Arizona with her friends Kit and Mimi to find the mother who abandoned her.
What makes it bad: Britney Spears is not an actor. The plot doesn’t do her any favors either, as it’s basically a bad TV movie, complete with mommy issues and a pregnant girl who loses her baby after falling down the stairs.
Gay icon alert: Britney Spears as Lucy.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: Lucy realizes that her poem “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” makes a lot more sense as a song, but not before we’re treated to a dramatic reading of the lyrics.
15. From Justin to Kelly (2003)
The gist: On spring break in Florida, singing waitress Kelly falls for college student Justin, while their friends pair off with one another.
What makes it bad: It’s the first and last American Idol movie, which is saying something. As Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman put it, “It’s like Grease: The Next Generation acted out by the food-court staff at SeaWorld.”
Gay icon alert: Kelly Clarkson as Kelly Taylor.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: The group number “Vacation,” a cover of the Go-Go’s song, sets the stage for the rest of the film, mostly in that it previews how fucking terrible every song is going to be.
16. White Chicks (2004)
The gist: African-American FBI agents Kevin and Marcus Copeland go undercover as white girl socialites Brittany and Tiffany Wilson.
What makes it bad: The make-up that transforms Kevin and Marcus into Brittany and Tiffany is impressive — but mostly for how horrifying it is. Seriously, this is the stuff of nightmares, and it makes the whole movie a ghastly delight.
Gay icon alert: None, although Brittany and Tiffany should probably count.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: Two preppie boys catcall the titular white chicks, leading to a dramatic confrontation and the famous line, “Hold my poodle.” Note: That dog isn’t even a poodle.
17. Catwoman (2004)
The gist: After Patience Phillips is killed for knowing too much about an evil cosmetics company, she’s brought back to life with new catlike powers.
What makes it bad: It’s a Catwoman movie that has nothing to do with the Batman character. The villain is the wife of the head of a cosmetics company trying to shill an anti-aging cream that causes skin to disintegrate.
Gay icon alert: Sharon Stone as Laurel Hedare.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: During the final showdown between Catwoman and Laurel, Catwoman scratches her face, and Laurel — so horrified by her skincare issues — voluntarily plummets to her death.
18. Southland Tales (2006)
The gist: After two nuclear attacks, the world is in chaos. There is hope in the form of twins Ronald and Roland, porn star Krysta Now, and action star Boxer Santaros.
What makes it bad: It doesn’t make any sense. Like, at all. Richard Kelly was forced to edit the film down dramatically, but even reading the epic prequel comic series doesn’t fill in many of the blanks.
Gay icon alert: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Krysta Now.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: Justin Timberlake lip synchs the entirety of the Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done” in a sequence that is basically just a music video plopped down in the middle of the movie.
19. Basic Instinct 2 (2006)
The gist: Basic Instinct’s Catherine Tramell returns, once again suspected of murder, and she proceeds to manipulate everyone around her.
What makes it bad: Sequels 14 years after the original are rarely good, especially when the crazy has been upped so severely. Any subtlety in the original is lost: Catherine is no longer discreet when baring it all.
Gay icon alert: Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell, Charlotte Rampling as Dr. Milena Gardosh.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: In the opening sequence, Catherine drives a drugged English footballer, using his hand to masturbate and increasing her speed before finally crashing the car and killing him.
20. I Know Who Killed Me (2007)
The gist: Aubrey is kidnapped and tortured by a sadistic serial killer, but when she escapes, she’s convinced she’s actually struggling stripper Dakota.
What makes it bad: Star Lindsay Lohan had fallen onto some hard times since she first played twins in The Parent Trap. The plot, which rests on a psychic bond between twins and a bionic arm, is also absurd.
Gay icon alert: Lindsay Lohan as Aubrey Fleming and Dakota Moss.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: Dakota’s first appearance at the strip club. All of her bad behavior is memorable, particularly as it mirrored what the tabloids were saying about Lindsay at the time.
21. Because I Said So (2007)
The gist: Overbearing mother Daphne wants to make sure her daughter Milly finds love, but Daphne ends up meeting a man of her own.
What makes it bad: There are lots of sub-par romantic comedies, but few have a script this incompetent. Diane Keaton, who is usually charming, is completely unbearable in the role of shrill, possessive Daphne.
Gay icon alert: Diane Keaton as Daphne Wilder.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: Daphne, who has lost her voice, must communicate with Milly in writing. She chooses this time to ask her daughter what an orgasm feels like, and it’s awkward for everyone.
22. Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)
The gist: In the future, organ transplants occur on a payment plan, and if you can’t pay up, the repo man comes and takes the organs back — violently.
What makes it bad: The music is unbearable and the abrasive visuals make the movie as a whole nearly unwatchable. It’s stylized to be cool, but it’s mostly just really embarrassing.
Gay icon alert: Paris Hilton as Amber Sweet.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: “Zydrate Anatomy” is the best and worst song in the movie. It’s catchy as hell, with an incredible performance by Paris Hilton, but it also captures everything wrong with the film.
23. Obsessed (2009)
The gist: Sharon suspects her husband Derek is having an affair with office temp Lisa, but Lisa’s dangerous obsession with Derek is one-sided. And insane.
What makes it bad: Idris Elba aside, the actors are not exactly at the top of their game. The plot goes to zero to crazy so fast you’ll get whiplash: It makes Lifetime movies look restrained.
Gay icon alert: Beyoncé Knowles as Sharon Charles.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: The climactic battle between Sharon and Lisa is the catfight the movie has been building toward, and it does not disappoint. Spoiler alert: Lisa falls through a glass table and gets smushed by a chandelier.
24. Burlesque (2010)
The gist: Ali moves to Los Angeles to become a dancer and ends up working as a waitress at a failing burlesque club, yearning for the chance to perform.
What makes it bad: It’s done in the style of an old Hollywood musical, which isn’t nearly as effective when the star is Christina Aguilera. Not to mention the fact that Cher is Cher-ier than ever.
Gay icon alert: Cher as Tess, Christina Aguilera as Ali Rose, Alan Cumming as Alexis.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: Cher belts out “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” a song that wishes it were a showstopper but really isn’t. Then drunken employee Tess bursts in, calling Ali a “slut with mutant lungs.”
25. Sex and the City 2 (2010)
The gist: Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha leave New York for an exciting vacation to Abu Dhabi, where Carrie runs into her ex-boyfriend Aidan.
What makes it bad: Everything. The great HBO series, which had already been tarnished by the first bad Sex and the City movie, is further destroyed by awful writing and offensive stereotypes.
Gay icon alert: Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie, Liza Minnelli, Miley Cyrus, and Tim Gunn as themselves.
The moment you’ll want to rewind: After Samantha nearly incites a riot with her brazen sexuality, the women are rescued by a group of Arab women, who reveal that they wear expensive designer clothing under their black robes.