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5 Movies You (Maybe Did But Probably) Didn't Know Were Actually Camp

You thought they were just good movies. Fool.

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Susan Sontag's 18th note from "Notes on 'Camp:'" "One must distinguish between naïve and deliberate Camp. Pure Camp is always naive. Camp which knows itself to be Camp ("camping") is usually less satisfying."

1. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

This is the most offensive movie ever made. The (only) woman, inappropriately named "Willie" screams more than she says words and at the end (spoiler alert) Indiana Jones whips her after she rejects his sexual advances and she smiles and gives in. Also she breaks a nail in the middle of a shoot out and complains about it. The moral of the film is that all asians are evil unless they are a tiny child named "Shorty," all brown people are primitive and dependent on magical stones for happiness and success, and white men in hats are the only beings with agency over their own moral compass/lives. It is perfect camp and it is wonderful and it opens with a chorus of glittery women doing "Anything Goes" in Chinese. The plot doesn't make any sense and the fight sequences are literally centuries long and there's voodoo. So it's essentially the perfect (camp) film. Side Note: Apparently Kate Capshaw had to be taught how to scream. Now she's married to Steven Spielberg. Good for her.

2. Snakes on a Plane (2006)

I'm not saying this is the best movie ever made. But it is. And yes the people who made it probably know it's camp and that breaks the rules. But it is so perfectly what it is (a terrible b-rate movie that is also a cinematic masterpiece and terrifying and scared an entire generation of flyers) that I cannot ignore it at all. The title itself: straightforward and honest unlike the nebulous titles such as "Gravity" (Sandra Bullock's face makes me sad because I saw The Lake House in theaters twice at a young age) or "Melancholia" (barely even a real word). Snakes on a Plane lives its campy life with such joy and ease, and boasts one of the best high camp lines in history. You know what it is and I'm not going to write it out. Also Samuel Jackson is perfect.

3. Queen of Versailles (2012)

A documentary about rich stupid people who are also shockingly unattractive and trashy. The movie itself technically isn't camp but the Siegels, an obnoxiously wealthy and tasteless family, are out of this world. They have more money than God and they shop at Wal-Mart. I have a nicer bike than those kids. However, they have like 60000 terrible bikes. It's an incredible piece of work that also offers a very concise and informative look at the financial crisis and how it came about. David Siegel is literally pure dark matter, and Jackie Siegel is essentially a drag queen. Also she spends most of the second half drunk. A must-watch. I watched it 7 times within four weeks, a sad testament to both the campness factor of the movie and my pathetic lifestyle.

4. Black Swan (2010)

First , if you think this is actually a good movie instead of a camp film, you're a cultureless goon but should tweet at me (@joe_faragher) and make your silly arguments anyway because I need a good laugh because my life is meaningless and I'm running out of antidepressants. Just to clarify though, this is a movie about Natalie Portman who is a psychotic dancer who impales herself on a shard of glass and masturbates (maybe in front of her weird stage mom) thinking she's romping around sexually with a girl (Mila Kunis). A girl, by the way, we are supposed to believe is a member of this very fancy ballet company despite her obvious apathy but maybe she doesn't exist. The make up alone. The fact that Natalie Portman trained for so long. The stakes could not be higher in this film for something that could not matter less in the grand scheme of anything. The fact that she turns into a horrible creature. Everything. Camp. Camp. Camp.

5. Independence Day (1996)

I think this image speaks for itself but I will elaborate. I watch this movie as a drinking game every year on the 4th of July (tweet @joe_faragher if you want the rules) which means it couldn't possibly NOT be camp. A blithering alien pod goo creature gets smacked in the face with a nuke. The scene where the ship blows up and they're escaping is essentially the last scene from Return of the Jedi. The amount of Jewish stereotypes is almost problematic, but a lot of them have to do with Harvey Fierstein so that's great. Oh yes, did I mention that Harvey Fierstein is killed by a flying car? A great movie. Also the president speech at the end ALWAYS makes me cry. But it's camp. Deal with it.

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