Thursday, June 17, 2010

What's Your Pleasure? Guilty, That Is...

We all have guilty pleasures. You know, those entertainments that you love dearly, but are a little embarrassed to talk about in public. My own embarrassment has waned over the years, as my pleasures have leaked out, over and over again, and I've gotten used to the ridicule. But I know what is SUPPOSED to embarrass me. I'll show you mine if you show me yours...

So here we go.

Movie: Starship Troopers. This one is actually less guilty than it seems...or, at least, it SHOULD be! Paul Verhoeven's 1997 actioner is about a weighty subject: humans and their to-the-death fight with interstellar space bugs. Starring the likes of Casper Van Dien, Neil Patrick Harris, Jake Busey, and (gasp) Denise Richards (it's complicated), Starship Troopers is big, dumb, and flashy. Or, is it? No less an august reviewer than Scott Tobias at the A.V. Club calls it "the most subversive major studio film in recent (or distant) memory"! An insightful (and hilarious) critique of fascism, Starship Troopers tackles its target in the mode of The Colbert Report, by pretending to be the thing at which it pokes fun.

Music: Hall and Oates. I have no excuse. They are the kings of cheese, but I love it. I could listen to "You Make My Dreams Come True" and "I Can't Go For That" over and over until the end of time. And those aren't even their biggest hits! "Private Eyes" or "Maneater" (both great tunes in their own right) take home that crown. But it's the catchy melodies and head-bopping rhythms that get me.

Books: Anything by David Sedaris. Now, Sedaris isn't a guilty pleasure for the "quality" of his work. He's a well-regarded and -reviewed writer, often appearing on Ira Glass' "This American Life." No, this pleasure is guilty in the traditional sense...there's lots of naughty words. So while I can officially (in my role as man-of-the-cloth) recommend Hall and Oates, I must caution you to beware of naughtiness in both Starship Troopers (R for language, human on bug and bug on human violence, and brief nudity) and the works of David Sedaris.

But you know? It's because we take pleasure in things that make us feel guilty that we need a savior! And, praise Jesus, we have one! In the comments, I'd love to hear about your guilty pleasures.


  1. Nick- I'm with you 100% on Starship Troopers. It threw me for a serious loop when i first saw it. So good!

    That said, I've stayed away from the sequels... They might be more 'guilty' than 'pleasure'. You?

  2. without looking at imdb...the only redeeming thing I can think of about the sequels is Ron Perlman (of Hellboy fame). Isn't he in the first sequel? He's usually fun to watch. But come on, DZ...give us some guilty pleasures of your own!

  3. None of those were actually guilty pleasures Nick!! except for hall & oates. If it is a guilty pleasure, you have to know it is truly bad with very little redeeming value. Here are some of mine: Charmed. Charmed is terrible maybe with the exception of the fact that holly marie combs is actually a decent actress (evidenced by the fact that she delivered RIDICULOUS lines with sincerity.) Little River Band...there is nothing really good about them... REMINISCING, COOL CHANGE, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, LONESOME LOSER...ugh. GLEE- singing is FUUUNN but dialogue is stupid and pointless- probably why i am not a fan of musicals- nothing really sincere or understated about them. One really redeeming thing about Glee is SUE SYLVESTER. I wish i could wear a different adidas track suit every day.

  4. i could add the entire Tom Cruise catalogue, Peter Jackson's Bad Taste and Dead Alive, and Little People Big World. Until recently, I would have included both The Hills and The Real Housewives of New York City...but both have gotten too embarrassing for me to keep watching.

  5. most of my guilty pleasures tend to be musical: melancholy brit-pop especially. Oasis, Embrace, Athlete, Coldplay, Keane, etc. I also love rocking out to Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell. Stuff that I wouldn't even argue the artistic legitimacy of.

    in books, i have a soft spot for fantasy epics (Robert Jordan). And all things Stephen King.

    movies, i've always loved That Thing You Do. Back To The Future 3. The original Clash Of The Titans. Both Young Guns and Young Guns 2. Home Alone and Home Alone 2. I could go on.

    probably my entire comic-book interest should be considered a guilty pleasure too...

  6. oh i almost forgot: The Eagles. I love them.

  7. TV: Early episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 and really bad Twilight Zones. Not the classic ones. The really, really bad ones.

    Movies: Just Married (starring Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy - yikes!) and The Wedding Planner (starring Jennifer Lopez - YIKES!)

    Books: The Twilight Zone Companion


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