Five Film Favorites: Guilty Pleasures

Audrey Hepburn sings "Moon River" and who cares whether she is a great singer?

This week’s list of five was prompted by “Guilty Pleasures by Mike White,” which was posted last month. Inspiration is always welcomed.

Besides, if this isn’t the perfect season in which to celebrate our own peculiar proclivities, what part of the calendar year would be better?

When it comes to movies, to me, guilty pleasures are films that you know aren’t really great, but you watch then over and over, anyway. Here’s my list of five guilty pleasure favorites:

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961): Directed by Blake Edwards; Cast: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal

“The Chase” (1966): Directed by Arthur Penn; Cast: Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford

“Phantom of the Paradise” (1974): Directed by Brian De Palma; Cast: William Finley, Paul Williams, Jessica Harper

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” (1945): Directed by Albert Lewin; Cast: George Sanders, Hurd Hatfield, Donna Reed

“Touch of Evil” (1958): Directed by Orson Welles; Cast: Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles

Yes, these movies may have strangely bad acting performances, or other obvious flaws, but guilty pleasure movies are still fun to watch. If the plot is unbelievable, like in “Phantom of the Paradise,” or the characters are over-the-top, such as those in “Touch of Evil,” maybe that’s mostly more fun.

What about a bad accent, such as Audrey Hepburn’s in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”? Is Mickey Rooney’s bizarre character in the same movie a silly joke left over from WWII? Isn’t George Peppard such an inadequate actor it makes no sense he would be in any movie?

So what! Hepburn is always watchable in any movie and “Breakfast” is like a cocktail after hours. It can’t be judged by dinner hour standards.

Mumbling Marlon had better scripts in other movies, but who looks better getting beaten to a pulp than Brando in “The Chase”?

Coincidence, or not, all five on this list are about excess, in one way or another. Perhaps we in the audience enjoy seeing people with movies star looks, who also can’t resist the temptations that lead to doom?

Naturally, I’m still ready to watch any of these five, again, the next chance I get. Guilty pleasure movies are like comfort food. Or, another cocktail…

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3 Responses to Five Film Favorites: Guilty Pleasures

  1. anubhavbist says:

    In what universe can Touch of Evil, regarded by almost everyone as the one of the greatest films ever (and maybe the greatest film-noir ever) by America’s greatest filmmaker, a guilty pleasure?!

  2. Peter Schilling says:

    My guilty pleasure: “Mr. Bean’s Holiday”. I can’t stand Mr. Bean, but this is one hell of a funny movie, and it’s beautiful to look at as well. A great send up of the Cannes Film Festival is thrown in the mix, and Willem Dafoe is brilliant. This is deeply inspired by Jacques Tati, but I’m not a big fan of Tati, and I believe this is better than any of Tati’s stuff. No one on earth agrees with me, however.

  3. F.T. Rea says:


    Hey, I like “Touch of Evil,” but I have to laugh at some of the over-the-top performances. I see it as Welles’ spoof on film noir. And, Orson Welles is a big favorite of mine. Go here to read “Maybe Rosebud” —

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