Bad movies can be great. Sometimes a truly bad movie is better than the best good movie. Many of my favorite movies are also very bad.
1. Samurai Cop (1991)
Buddy cop movie directed (and written!) by an Iranian guy with a less-than-optimal understanding of English. The acting is wonderfully terrible, the fight scenes are shoddily done, and some of the samurai cop's more verbose moments are sure to make you smile. A "WTF movie" if there ever was one.
Oh, and I've seen the sequel too. It makes about as much sense as the first one, but it lacks the low budget charm of its predecessor.
2. The Room (2003)
"Oh hey Mark!" This is the gold standard of bad movies - so bad that they made another movie about how bad this movie really is.
Your first watch is bound to be cringe-inducing, but by the second or third watch you'll be quoting it to family and friends. It was probably made on a budget of $20 and a pack of cigarettes, and features abominable acting, a plot that makes little sense, and a creepy "boy neighbor."
3. Deathsport (1977)
70s barbarian motorcycle movie starring David Carradine ("Bill" from Kill Bill). A lot of drugs were involved in the making of this movie, and the ending consists of an almost uninterrupted series of explosions.
One of the best/worst things about this movie is the dialogue. It transforms what would have been a boring low budget picture into something WEIRD. It's kind of like a high-brow science fiction film and a 70s TV pilot had a bastard child that loved loud noises and flashing lights.
4. Basket Case (1982)
The number of times I watched this movie as a kid probably explains a lot about me. Conjoined twins are separated at a young age, and the larger, normal-looking, sane one carries the smaller, weirder-looking, insane one around in a basket. Thus "Basket Case."
Sites like Rotten Tomatoes actually give this film a decent score, but I think the real reason many of us love this movie is that it's terrible. A remake would probably do pretty well at the local multiplex.
5. Showgirls (1995)
Paul Verhoeven's masterpiece of bad film-making. A young girl (from a troubled home, of course) journeys to Las Vegas to find fame and fortune.
The funniest scene has to be that odd bit of lovemaking in the pool.
6. Network (1976)
Paddy Chayefsky, where are you now? With all your earnest, embarrassing dialogue, and tropes centered around older men with younger women! Wikipedia says you died in 1981, and the world is a little poorer for it.
Anyway, if you've ever heard the phrase "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" you can thank Network. William Holden courts Faye Dunaway, and Peter Finch (who is, in other movies, a great actor) gives his most memorable performance as a TV prophet. Like other Chayefsky-related productions, it's full of memorable lines and some terrifically bad acting - not that you can blame the actors for that.
If you like this one, I highly recommend 1971's The Hospital, featuring the always-overbearing George C. Scott.
7. Female Trouble (1974)
Do movies that are intentionally bad count? I have no doubt that John Waters knew exactly what kind of film he was making, and the fact that his earlier movies still enjoy a lot of underground credibility testifies to this fact.
It's hard to pick a favorite among the early Waters films. Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Desperate Living, and Polyester are all great for different reasons. I'm picking Female Trouble because it's the movie my family quotes the most often. "Not on Christmas! Not on Christmas!"
It's only too bad that Divine is no longer with us. He/she is sorely missed.
8. Gods of Egypt (2016)
Who says they can't make truly bad movies on a big budget? Who says all of the truly classic bad movies date back to the previous century? If I hadn't already mentioned The Room above, I'd be obligated to mention Gods of Egypt. It's BAD, BAD, BAD.
Partly an attempt at mythology, partly an attempt at superheroes, partly an attempt at "whitewashing," Gods of Egypt is chock full of bad dialogue and worse acting. It also features some of the worst CGI known to man, and on top of that the plot is nonsense.
Don't worry, Chadwick Boseman. You're a good enough actor to survive this debacle. As for the rest of the cast... good luck!
9. Inframan (1975)
Gotta love Inframan. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube. Part kung fu movie, part robots vs. monsters, this Hong Kong production is just as awesomely silly now as when it first appeared in theaters.
"Princess Dragon Mom" and her henchmen are bad news, but thankfully we have... Inframan!
10. The Toxic Avenger (1982)
Like Female Trouble, this one is also intentionally bad. Also like Female Trouble, I've seen it more times than I can remember.
After being exposed to toxic waste, a high school nerd develops super powers. My favorite part of this movie is the game his tormentors play early on in the film. "Double points, my man!" Great stuff.
Don't bother with the sequels. They aren't so bad they're good. They're just so bad they're unwatchable.