The Movie: Kristen Stewart bites her lip and Robert Pattinson stops traffic (well, traffic accidents) as star-crossed lovers. (Also, he’s a vampire.)
Why It’s Not That Bad: No, we’re not kidding.
Before the series dissolved into an excuse for Taylor Lautner to rip his shirt off, Twilight was a surprisingly solid teen vamp soap opera.
It helped that Catherine Hardwicke was at the helm, bringing a blue-hued indie moodiness to proceedings. And before the tags ‘R-Pattz’ and ‘K-Stew’ existed, this duo made for a decent on-screen Romeo and Juliet.
Just skip the sequels, eh?
The Movie: Former ILM animator Mark A.Z. Dippé directs Michael Jai White in the lead role as a former soldier resurrected as Spawn, the leader of Hell’s army.
Why It’s Not That Bad: Made a breath before comic book movies were really cool, Spawn is a hodgepodge of style over substance that is thrilling for that very reason.
It’s a comic-book mash-up that benefits from White’s hulking frame, the martial-artist-turned-actor bringing personality and physicality to a role that could easily have been all thump, no thought.
It’s also mental. As Entertainment Weekly noted in its glowing review, “the film gives you the pleasurably junky sensation of living inside an apocalyptic videogame”. Damn straight.
Lady In The Water (2006)
The Movie: A grown-up bedtime story, Lady In The Water follows Cleveland (Paul Giamatti), a superintendent at an apartment complex who discovers a sea nymph called Story (Bryce Dallas Howard).
Why It’s Not That Bad: M Night Shyamalan’s become something of a joke in recent years, but his last film before the genuinely atrocious The Happening and Last Airbender is a whimsical fantasy that has heaps of style.
Yes, there are weirdly indulgent digs (Shyamalan casts himself as the film’s hero and an improbably despicable journalist as a villain).
But Lady In The Water is dripping with ideas and some of the visuals are surprisingly poetic (see the underwater shot as a giant bird swoops into frame).
Cutthroat Island (1995)
The Movie: When her pirate father dies, Morgan Adams (Geena Davis) inherits everything (including his treasure-map scalp) and sets out on a quest for – what else? – treasure.
Why It’s Not That Bad: Before Pirates Of The Caribbean made walking the plank cool again, Cutthroat Island offered up just as much popcorn entertainment – if not more.
Yes it’s shallow and often preposterous, but it’s as frisky as a newborn lamb, leaping all over the place with entertaining distractions designed to keep you from realising that the plot’s a shambles.
In short: a cheesy actioner that gives you plenty of buckle for your swash.
John Carter (2012)
The Movie: Based on Edgar Rice Borroughs’ series of books, we follow the adventures of John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), who winds up on Mars and trapped in the middle of a Martian war.
Why It’s Not That Bad: Alright, it’s unwieldy as hell, boxed in by an unnecessarily complicated framing device (Burroughs was a real person who really met John Carter!).
Push through that, though, and John Carter ’s every bit the epic space saga director Andrew Stanton promised.
It looks gorgeous, the CGI is painterly as hell and the battles are breathtaking. Even better watched as a double bill with the equally buff-tastic Masters Of The Universe .
Hudson Hawk (1991)
The Movie: A post-modern redo of To Catch A Thief . Bruce Willis plays the eponymous Hawk, a burglar who dreams of going clean.
Why It’s Not That Bad: Unfairly condemned on release, naysayers branded Hawk a vanity project that struggled to escape its script's often crippling implausibility.
They missed the point entirely; Michael Lehmann’s film is a fanciful action-comedy that never takes itself too seriously.
It’s basically a swashbuckler dressed up as a modern-day thriller, and its nod-wink satire elicits giggles and groans in equal measure.
If you like slapstick, you’ll love this.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
The Movie: Tobey Maguire’s final swing as Spider-Man before Sony hit the reboot button. He goes up against Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman, New Goblin (James Franco) and Venom (Topher Grace).
Why It’s Not That Bad: Still a sore spot for many Spidey fans, Spider-Man 3 isn’t perfect, but it’s not the disaster everybody likes to think it is.
Yes, it’s got too many villains, yes Peter’s emo transformation is atrocious and yes, it completely fudges Venom (a character Sam Raimi didn’t even want in the film), but if anything, that over-stuffed narrative is reflective of just how ambitious comic-book movies have now become.
Spider-Man 3 is basically Raimi going for broke, and though he himself admits not everything works, Spider-Man 3 is still web-head and shoulders above comic stinkers like The Spirit.
Miami Vice (2006)
The Movie: The 1980s TV show gets a big screen update courtesy director Michael Mann as Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) and Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) attempt to take down a drug kingpin.
Why It’s Not That Bad: There’s something funny going on with Colin Farrell’s hair, but we’ll let that slide because this is Michael Mann at his most visually flamboyant.
Sure, the plotting’s slacker than we’d expect from this most auspicious of directors, and the film doesn’t so much nod to the original show as just pinch its title.
But this is pop entertainment at its most lusciously eccentric. That Miami Vice: The Movie doesn’t quite match Mann’s other crime sagas is simply because his other crime sagas are so damn good.
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
The Movie: An outlaw (Daniel Craig), a cattleman (Harrison Ford) and a beautiful woman (Olivia Wilde) fight back against invading aliens.
Why It’s Not That Bad: How can anything that has Harrison Ford as a gruff cowboy really be bad?
Playing a kind of wrinklier, Old West version of Indiana Jones, Ford’s the reason to give this one a re-watch – not least because he has some great growl-offs with Daniel Craig.
The ‘flash alien tech vs Western true grit’ also elicits jubilant yee-haws (everybody loves an underdog), and if all else fails, at least Olivia Wilde’s easy on the eyes…
The Movie: A twist on J.M. Barrie’s fairytale, Hook imagines what would’ve happened if Peter Pan had grown up and had a family.
Why It’s Not That Bad: Think of Hook as a cinematic pantomime directed by one of Hollywood’s greatest filmmakers and suddenly it all makes a weird kind of sense.
There’s Dustin Hoffman putting in a fantastically bonkers performance as Hook (buck-toothed, paranoid, mummy issues) and Robin Williams doing his family guy thing with gusto.
Sure, Pan’s kids are irritating (first Spielberg film to miscast the little ones?) and it’s all blatantly studio-bound, but 20 years on Hook ’s got a strange creaky charm. And it’s miles better than some of Spielberg’s later efforts.
The Razors Edge (1984)
The Movie: A remake of the 1946 film with Bill Murray playing Larry Darrel, a WWI survivor who goes on a one-man search for the meaning of life.
Why It’s Not That Bad: Murray famously struck a deal with Columbia that meant he would only make Ghost Busters if he could also film Razor’s Edge , and thank goodness he did.
There’s no doubting it’s a gamble (the original was an Oscar-grabber), but Murray gives one of his most interesting performances for a film that’s as eccentric as the actor himself.
Terminator Salvation (2009)
The Movie: Set after Skynet became sentient, Salvation stars Christian Bale as leader of the human resistance John Connor. Anton Yelchin is young Kyle Reese.
Why It’s Not That Bad: The dialogue’s frequently groan-worthy (see Michael Ironside’s “Commence bombing of Skynet!”), but director McG is obviously a Terminator fan, and he wants to do right by the franchise.
It has everything going for it – a great cast, fantastic effects – and McG genuinely comes really close to pulling it off. Sure, like Sam Worthington’s character by the end, it’s lacking in heart, but the handful of action sequences are genuinely thrilling.
Despite the title, it wasn’t this franchise’s salvation (sorry), but it had a damn good crack at it. And that’s worth applauding.
The Movie: Race car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) ends up stranded in sleepy motor town Radiator Springs in John Lasseter’s love letter to hot wheels.
Why It’s Not That Bad : Sure, if you compare it to ‘instant Pixar classics’ like Finding Nemo and Up , Cars resembles a clunky old banger.
That said, pop Cars next to certain non-Pixar animations ( Shark Tale , we’re looking at you) and it positively hums with humour and class.
Obviously, the animation is dazzling, the characterisation sharp as lemon juice. And how can you not love Mater?
The Movie: Talent-less lounge singers Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman take a trip to Morocco where they find themselves at the centre of a Cold War face-off.
Why It’s Not That Bad: Reviews were mixed and the film’s one of the biggest flops at the box office ever (it made just $14m Stateside on a $55m budget).
Since then, though, Ishtar has earned a cult status as an underappreciated gem. While it’s silly and often dim-witted, it’s got some great songs (courtesy Paul Williams) and the against-type casting is a masterstroke.
Beatty’s personal review of the film? “ Ishtar is a very good, not very big, comedy, made by a brilliant woman. And I think it's funny.” End of.
Tron: Legacy (2010)
The Movie: A much-belated sequel to cult favourite Tron , with Jeff Bridges reprising his role as gamer Flynn. Garrett Hedlund is his adventure-seeking son.
Why It’s Not That Bad: If nothing else, Joseph Kosinski’s film is a feast for the ears and the eyes.
Sure, the story’s shoddy (and the original’s wasn’t?), struggling to find emotional resonance amid the dazzling tech.
But Daft Punk’s score is a chewy, pulsating masterpiece, and visually it’s absolutely stunning. Even Michael Sheen’s Bowie impersonation entertains.
Plus, haven’t you ever wondered what The Dude would be like if he lived in a computer? Legacy provides you with the answer…
The Movie: Director Rob Zombie reimagines the genesis of serial killer Michael Myers.
Why It’s Not That Bad: Now that we’re over the shock of somebody daring to remake a John Carpenter film as iconic/perfect/beautiful as Halloween , we can see Rob Zombie’s slash-fest for what it really is.
What’s that? Well, a big, beefy redo that has respect for Carpenter’s original, but wants to turn it into some sort of giant wrestling opus.
It works in places.
The film’s just so grubby that you can’t help but respect the production design, and Michael Myers is actually scary again, which is quite something – especially after watching him degraded by Busta Rhymes in Halloween: Resurrection . Now there’s a bad film…
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The Movie: Continues the Wachowskis’ Matrix trilogy, with Neo (Keanu Reeves) attempting to free the human race from futuristic robots.
Why It’s Not That Bad: With The Matrix setting the bar so high, the only way was down for this first sequel.
If the plot swerves into increasingly maddening philosophical cul-de-sacs, though, the action remains breathtaking – not least Trinity’s opening explode-a-thon.
And it’s miles better than trilogy-closer Revolutions .
Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (1999)
The Movie: George Lucas begins his second Star Wars trilogy, a trio of prequels that follow the birth of Darth Vader – from adorable little moppet to scourge of the universe.
Why It’s Not That Bad: “But… Midichlorians! Racism! Politics! JAR JAR!” we hear you bellow.
Yes, yes, all good points, all flogged-to-death reasons why Phantom Menace can’t touch the genius of the franchise’s genesis.
But, say we, get over it. Nothing could possibly match the original Wars flicks; they’re coated in decades of nostalgia. What Menace did do, though, was give us one hell of a pod race set-piece, Darth Maul and double-ended lightsabers.
Sure, it’s no classic, but it’s not as bad as you remember. (Especially after a few beers.)
The Movie: At the time, the most expensive film ever made, Waterworld is set in a future where the polar ice caps have melted, causing the oceans to rise and eradicate almost all land.
Why It’s Not That Bad: Movie legend has risen up in condemnation of Waterworld . Joss Whedon described his time rewriting the script on set as “seven weeks of hell”, and the film bombed at the box office.
It’s not all that bad, though, especially if you’ve seen the extended cut. Costner fell out with Kevin Reynolds, but the director’s vision of a post-apocalyptic future is pleasingly grotty.
And the Smokers are awesome, right? Right?
Mystery Men (1999)
The Movie: Based on Bob Burden’s comic-book series, Mystery Men follows seven wannabe superheroes as they attempt to save Champion City from the evil Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush).
Why It’s Not That Bad: Though it was branded “a long, shapeless, undisciplined mess” by critic Roger Ebert, Mystery Men is so much more than that.
It’s a gag-filled superhero spoof that knows its subject matter inside out and boasts so much witty, subversive stuff that it makes 2008's Superhero Movie look like a giant movie turd. (Which, of course, it is.)
Sure, the sets are over-designed and the narrative’s murky at best, but gags are this film’s priority, and it delivers them straight to the funny bone.
Superman III (1983)
The Movie: Superman (Christopher Reeve) goes through something of an identity crisis. Meanwhile, Richard Pryor plays a computer-fiddling nincompoop.
Why It’s Not That Bad: Superman III was much-booed for its startling tonal shift, Richard Lester’s film favouring light-hearted pastiche over the reverential drama of Richard Donner’s first two films.
If the comedy is often silly, though, the film’s ace card is the fake Kryptonite that turns Superman evil.
Reeve has fun playing the Man of Steel’s darkside (fixing the tower of Pisa, blowing out the Olympic torch), and it really works. The final fight between Superman's good and evil sides is not only iconic as hell, but also truly epic.
Grown Ups (2010)
The Movie: Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Chris Rock, Kevin James and David Spade star as high school buddies who reunite to grieve the death of their old basketball coach.
Why It’s Not That Bad: We’ve all become just a little bit too old and cynical, don’t you think?
That’s the only reason we can think of that Grown Ups was so unfairly slated on release (even by us). Yes, it’s daft, over-the-top, loud and childish, but those are all positives in our book.
Plus it boasts one of the greatest assemblies of comedy actors we’ve ever seen, meaning this singularly odd comedy almost gets by on cast chemistry alone.
The Movie: The big green giant goes cinema-sized in director Ang Lee’s comic-book curio.
Why It’s Not That Bad: It’s now considered something of an ugly duckling in the superhero movie genre, but let’s not forget that we gave the film four stars when it was released – and those are four stars we still stand by.
Jostling with invention, this is a typically ambitious Lee product, its greatest feature being the innovative comic-book panel editing – which beat Sin City to the ‘moving comic book’ thing.
The cast is also game, Eric Bana bringing gravitas to a role that could easily be garnished with too much ham (and frequently has been).
It’s a beast, but it’s also sort of magnificent.
Speed Racer (2008)
The Movie: Everybody’s favourite Manga boy racer gets a Hollywood makeover courtesy the Wachowskis, with Emile Hirsch in the lead role.
Why It’s Not That Bad: “It was before its time,” Hirsch told us at Comic-Con a few years back, and though that’s probably an easy way of excusing the film’s shortcomings, it’s not far off the mark.
Shooting almost entirely against green screen freed up the Wachowskis, giving them complete control over their virtual world, and what a world this is – candycane and topsy-turvy and filled with the kind of scenery you really want to get your teeth around. (Which the cast frequently did.)
It all comes to a head in that glorious final montage, which genuinely makes your heart leap into your throat and lodge there.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)
The Movie: Following the cancellation of TV series Twin Peaks , David Lynch made this mind-bending blend of weirdness – a film that follows the final days of doomed Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee).
Why It’s Not That Bad: Lynch is pretty much the mortal embodiment of an experimental filmmaker, and Fire Walk With Me is definitely out there – it’s his second most ‘trial by fire’ project after The Straight Story ’s surprising conventionality.
Wrong-footing Peaks fans by showing what happened before the show started, rather than after it ended, Lynch earned fan ire.
But Fire isn’t a bad film; just a weird, frustrating, nightmarish one that defies expectations. Like all Lynch products.
The Exorcist III (1990)
The Movie: Famously tampered with in the editing room (director William Peter Blatty was forced to add in an exorcism scene at the climax), this second sequel follows Lieutenant Kinderman (George C Scott) as he investigates murders that seem to have been committed by a dead serial killer.
Why It’s Not That Bad: Well, it couldn’t get much worse than The Exorcist II: The Heretic , could it?
Returning the series to its dark roots, Exorcist III is a genuinely scary threequel that deals in some really dark, adult themes.
It's a fine example of tense, primal horror - and the fact that it ditches Regan’s story for something entirely different is a real boon.
Last Action Hero (1993)
The Movie: Arnold Schwarzenegger plays hero Jack Slater in this action movie pastiche. He wears cowboy boots and goes up against Charles Dance’s eye-swapping assassin.
Wh y It’s Not That Bad: Last Action Hero is neither Arnie’s last great action flick (that title surely belongs to True Lies ), nor his silliest (er, Jingle All The Way ), but it’s certainly one of his most enjoyable.
It’s one of those films where cool ideas are rammed in just for the hell of it, and while that makes for a convoluted, often completely nonsensical narrative, it’s still hella entertaining.
Take the folding-in-on-itself third act, which has Arnie meeting himself and chucks us Ian McKellen as Death.
Then there’s a Sharon Stone cameo, Slater’s (knowingly?) dreadful one-liners and, best of all, Arnie quoting Shakespeare.
What’s not to love?
Alien 3 (1992)
The Movie: Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) crash lands on a prison planet, but still can’t escape the ravenous xenomorph.
Why It’s Not That Bad: Once you get over the fact that it squats all over the happy ending of Aliens , there’s loads to love about Alien 3.
It’s got balls, for a start. Ripley shaving her head? A prison colony populated with bald British men? Ripley being impregnated? All genius.
On top of that, the alien’s still really goddamn scary, not least because it’s suddenly a super-fast hybrid dog-thing.
Also, it could’ve been a lot worse. Wooden planet anyone? Sheesh.
Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)
The Movie: Considered one of the worst movies ever made, Plan 9 was director Ed Wood’s 10th film, a sci-fi thriller about ETs who attempt to stop humans from creating a destructive doomsday weapon.
Why It’s Not That Bad: There’s something to be said for trying, isn’t there?
And Ed Wood was nothing if not an enthusiastic try-hard.
That much is evident in Plan 9 , and no matter how laughably rickety/thrown-together it is, it’s got such craptastic charm that we can’t help but love it.
Superman Returns (2006)
The Movie: Bryan Singer jumps the X-Men ship in favour of rebooting the Superman franchise, casting Brandon Routh as the Man of Steel in a direct sequel to Superman II.
Why It’s Not That Bad: Warner Bros is pretending it never happened, focussing on the ‘more relevant’ Man Of Steel . But Superman Returns did happen, and we’re glad it did.
As with Richard Donner’s original (which it holds in high esteem), Returns uses modern tech to make you really believe a man can fly, and Brandon Routh is a perfect Christopher Reeve substitute.
So the Christ imagery is overdone and Lex Luthor’s mad plan isn’t so much mad as weird. That’s all excused in the face of that awesome plane scene and Parker Posey doing her nutso thing so well.
If it hadn’t been for the ill-advised ‘Superman has a son!’ subplot (still grating), we’d probably have seen Routh suiting up again. It’s a shame that he never got the chance.