Sometimes high-brow entertainment is not what we’re looking for, and that’s okay! We all need those couple hours to switch off our minds and have a good time with a fun movie. It is therefore understandable that these are usually the movies we love most – so here our our favourites!
Mamma Mia dir. Phyllida Loyd (2008)
Everyone has that film that they automatically put on both when they’re having a tough day, and when they have something to celebrate. For me, that’s Mamma Mia – arguably the queen of the cheesy film. I’ve been an ABBA fan since my mum played their greatest hits album on long car journeys when I was a kid, so it was a completely natural progression to fall in love with the musical-movie when it came out in 2008. Since then, I must’ve watched it almost 100 times, and it never gets old.
To me, everything about it (apart from Piers Brosnan’s singing) is perfect – the songs, the costumes, the star-studded cast and obviously the incredible location which makes my blood boil with jealousy every time. It always puts a smile on my face to sing along with Meryl Streep and forget about whatever was getting me down, or raise my spirits even more when I’ve had a good day. Yes, it’s hugely clichéd and corny, but if you embrace it, then I promise it’ll make your day. That is, as long as you like ABBA.
Flushed Away dir. Sam Fell and David Bowers (2006)
Looking back on this film now that I’m in my twenties … I’m still not sure why this was one of my favourite films as a kid. Maybe it was the acting talent that I retroactively recognise as some big names in cinema from Andy Serkis to Kate Winslet, or the gratuitous use of Tina Turner towards the end.
It’s undiluted fun; chaotic, sure, but Flushed Away works best when you leave the sense of reality behind. The use of everyday items like cans and such which we might throw away, used in inventive ways (e.g. a hand mixer as a speedboat or LEGO flowers for a bouquet) is ingenious. And each rewatch treats you to more easter eggs to watch out for (James Bond, Wolverine, and Mary Poppins among many), so you can somewhat justify a rewatch or two.
And the use of the frog hitman squad? Andy Serkis’ rat as comedic relief? Peak cinema.
A box office bomb in 2006 when compared to how Cars and Happy Feet performed, Flushed Away could be a hidden gem in its own right.
Clueless dir. Amy Heckerling (1995)
Despite earning my personal title for cheesy favourite, Clueless is one of my favourite adaptations of Austen’s Emma, however far it strays from the original source material. To call it cheesy is not to insult the film but actually praise it; the memorable outfits and quotable dialogue certainly contributed to the forthcoming films also exploring popularity and the presentation of hyper-femininity, such as Legally Blonde (2001) and Mean Girls (2004). While 90s and 00s ‘chick-flicks’ can’t always be commended for how they present women who care about their appearances, Clueless does present a self-awareness within its own genre – as is often the case, this film focuses on a rich teenage girl who only cares about her self-image, and gradually learns to accept others and herself through a different lens.
The cheesiness is optimised not only by the character’s cluelessness of their own behaviour and feelings (particularly protagonist Cher), but by the exaggeration of all these stereotypes. As soon as we see Cher choose her iconic first outfit of the movie by using her computer, we know we are in for a cheesy and self-aware ride.