Musings on…’guilty pleasures’

A couple of months ago I was searching for something to watch.  I didn’t fancy anything too complex or sophisticated and wanted something I hadn’t seen before.  I scrolled through Netflix and, after several considerations, I selected a movie- Reel Steel.

Reel Steel, released in 2011, is set in the year 2020 and features a world in which robot boxing has become a standard form of entertainment.  Hugh Jackman plays Charlie Kenton, a former boxer who now scrapes together a living using the aforementioned robots.  After Charlie’s ex-girlfriend dies, his son Max enters the picture and soon they stumble across an old sparring robot which has a rare shadow-boxing feature.  Soon father and son bond as they experience success against the odds and, by the end of the movie, Charlie is a better person.

It’s corny, predictable and I absolutely loved it.  Reel Steel is fun, plain and simple.  It never pretends to be more than that and is all the better for it.  Some of my favourites movies include The Usual Suspects, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Captain America: Winter Soldier.  A somewhat varied mix with one thing in common- I enjoyed them.  Those three movies are generally considered great films, garnering critical and/or commercial success and may even appear on your favourite film list.  Reel Steel, whilst not a flop or negatively received, is supposedly the type of film that is referred to as ‘a guilty pleasure.’

I’m meant to feel guilty for enjoying a movie?  A movie made by a whole bunch of people for the express purpose of entertaining an audience.  A movie that, while not Citizen Kane, Jaws or Dallas Buyer’s Club, leaves me feeling thoroughly entertained.  Why should I feel guilty for taking pleasure in a fun, action-packed feel good movie?  I also have a soft spot for The Mighty Ducks, The Sixth Day and Deep Blue Sea.  All perfectly good movies; not award-winning but enjoyable in their own way but because it has become acceptable to deem these types of movies as ‘guilty pleasures’, I’m meant to feel ashamed of my affection for them.

Fuck that.  And fuck anybody who makes me, or you, feel that way.

Be proud of the films you enjoy, whether those movies are academy-award winning, Daniel Day-Lewis starring biopics or trashy, snake-filled plane crashing, Samuel L. Jackson starring disaster flicks.  Enjoy what you like and scream it from the rooftops as it is your opinion and (despite the fact I am using my blog to share my opinion on films) the only opinion that truly matters is your own.  This is true for all movies, not just these so-called ‘guilty pleasures’.

By all means argue your opinion; promote your point of view.  Debate with your real-life friends or within online discussion forums the merits of Con Air and Face/Off.  Don’t insult their opinion.  Listen, agree, disagree.  Don’t be a dick about it though as their opinion is as valid as your own.

If we all liked the same things, the world would be a boring place.  I can’t stand the Lord of the Rings trilogy and share a similar viewpoint as Randal in Clerks 2 (‘Three movies of people walking to a fuckin’ volcano!), however I have watched all three and have formed my own, valid viewpoint.  Recently I have started to introduce my children to the Star Wars movies and they have enjoyed the prequel trilogy so far (Episodes 1 and 2 done).  I was 15 when I saw The Phantom Menance and it was undoubtedly one of the biggest disappointments I have experienced in a cinema.

In my opinion.

Some people like Episode 1.  My children like that stupid, borderline racist misfire of a comedy character called Jar Jar Binks because, as my 5 year old son puts it, ‘he’s funny’.  As you can tell from my description of him, I’m not a fan.

So share your opinions, back them up with reasonable debate and allow others the freedom to have their own views.

And let’s dump the phrase ‘guilty pleasure’ down the toilet….

Where it belongs….

With the one ring…

And Jar Jar…

In my opinion.


7 thoughts on “Musings on…’guilty pleasures’

  1. I absolutely enjoyed your writing, your take on the movies, your philosophy as relates to something as restrictive and subjective as “guilty pleasure”, and your live and live attitude…so very entertaining and insightful 🙂 I will follow you as a result. Thanks for sharing…by the way, my husband teases me for having watched “Face Off” every time I catch it on tv 🙂


    1. Your husband should be sat alongside you watching face/off if you ask me. That and Con Air make a great double bill (add in The Rock for the full Nic Cage 90’s action trilogy).
      Thanks for the feedback, always welcome. I had a look at your latest blog post and will check out the rest later before leaving a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, rather than The Rock, I would choose “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”…I’ve watched it so many times I’ve lost count…for a couple months, I put it in my laptop and fell asleep to it every night… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. School of Rock and Clueless. 2 brilliantly enjoyable films for no other reason than the fact they are brilliantly enjoyable.


  3. Great post. Everybody is familiar with the concept of a guilty pleasure. We all have our stranger opinions; I recently admitted (on the blog) to enjoying both Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail, despite their flaws and warped outlooks on what constitutes a healthy romance. That’s because I enjoy the presence of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, and can be a sucker for a romantic comedy sometimes. Either way, I don’t feel “guilty” about it, and the entire concept of a guilty pleasure is entirely flawed.
    Like you I can’t understand why would anybody ever have to feel guilty about legitimately liking a film? Finding pleasure in a B-movie hardly constitutes a cause for guilt, and the term implies that you should somehow be ashamed of your own opinion. In other words, it’s almost an admittance of bad taste – that you know you can’t justify your enjoyment of something and thus deny that you do in fact enjoy it. There are good reasons to enjoy movies even if they’re typically considered bad, and it’s rare to find a film entirely without merit.
    For me, there isn’t, or shouldn’t be, such a thing as a “guilty pleasure” – if you can’t take pride in your own feelings and opinions, what does that say about you?


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