To me, guilty pleasures are among the most important aspects of pop culture and fandom today. Regardless of the exact medium, whether it is film, TV, music, literature, or anything in between, enjoying something without any need for logic or sensical reasons is a something that we should all hold onto.

Guilty pleasure films, in my experience, generally fall into one of a couple categories. The first is made up of films that are maybe lower in quality, but are easy to watch. They allow you to turn your brain off a bit and simply enjoy them. This is an art that has been utterly mastered by the Fast and the Furious franchise in a remarkable way (R.I.P. Paul Walker). These are movies that you'll never go into expecting to be challenged in any dramatic way, but it's likely that you'll still walk out of smiling ear to ear.

This is because they're self-aware enough to know what works for them, and they stay in that lane without trying to complicate things in ways that take away from the visceral fun that these films offer. They strip away the type of mythology that would muddle everything up (unlike Michael Bay with the Transformers franchise, who can't seem to stop explaining things until he manages to make a movie about robots fighting each other feel really boring).

They know that I want to see Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson literally flex a cast off his arm and fight a helicopter with a minigun, not why possessing that minigun now makes him the chosen leader of the Autobots.

The other school of guilty pleasure movies consists of ones that are ambitious or try something unique or different, but don't quite deliver on their potential. Despite these films' flaws, you still find yourself drawn to them because you like the concept. For me, this is especially true of movies I was originally drawn to when I was younger and didn't necessarily have the discernment to see the flaws. This is why, despite the maddeningly convoluted and contradictory mythology of the Highlander series, I will never turn down a chance to watch any of the films or TV show.

For all the great things that have come from social media and the overall interconnected nature of the world we live in today, one thing that I absolutely despise about the state of things today is how difficult it has made to have guilty pleasures. At the end of the day, if you enjoy something, you shouldn't really feel guilty about it. However, voicing a contrarian opinion makes you subject to intense scrutiny. This doesn't just pertain to when you enjoy something that is unpopular, but the reverse of this as well, and this is an issue.

This creates an environment where discourse, not only about films, but pop culture as a whole, is all too uniform. People (myself included), tend to make up their minds about something before they see it because of mass consensus. There are a few reasons that this trend worries me so much.

Beyond giving undue praise or criticism where it is not deserved, I'm also worried that rapidly-achieved mass consensuses about films have the potential to dismiss interesting and innovative ideas found in films that may not be as well received. Innovative ideas should be celebrated, even when they are not necessarily backed up entirely by execution. This doesn't mean that we should ignore these films' faults, but I do think we should be able to compartmentalize more.

The other thing that I'm afraid about with this comes from a sense of creative ownership. It's a very natural thing for films or art in general to build off the ideas of others in order to improve and innovate even further. However, I think it is far too easy to be dismissive of an innovative idea when it comes from what is considered to be a subpar product overall.

What I am most afraid of, however, is that the innovative ideas of lesser-known filmmakers will be taken and repurposed by major studios. As we see in academics today, plagiarism is an issue that has only been magnified and worsened by our digital age, where resources are seemingly endless and utterly accessible. The same goes for films.

Some of the best guilty pleasure films are utterly low-budget, but are doing something weird or creative. Frequently, what makes these films so fun is that without major studio involvement, they have the freedom to do whatever the hell they want, regardless if it makes any sense or not. This magic cannot be replicated without the same conditions, so when major studios attempt to either copy or remake one of these films (look at the slew of B-movie horror remakes for example), it's just not the same.

It takes the guilt out guilty pleasure, which in turn, also takes away the pleasure.