Best of the Bombs: Finding treasure among Hollywood’s trash


This month marks the 30th anniversary of “Howard the Duck” hitting theaters in 1986. That film was a large commercial and critical failure, offering up bad puns and a convoluted plot that audiences simply weren’t interested in seeing. However, sometimes the box office doesn’t tell the whole story, and those films deemed as flops are actually worth taking a second look at to discover an enjoyable, if weird, movie. Here are 15 films, in chronological order, that deserve to be rediscovered despite their terrible performance with ticket buyers.

“Pennies from Heaven” (1981)

Audiences weren’t ready for Steve Martin in anything but wacky comedies in the ’80s and probably weren’t exactly primed for a subversive musical drama that is caked in cynical darkness, either. But Herbert Ross’ Pennies from Heaven” (based on the UK miniseries of the same name by Dennis Potter) is an astounding achievement that juxtaposes the lively musical numbers of the day with the bleak existence many faced in the 1920s. It has incredible performances from Martin, Bernadette Peters and Christopher Walken, features some impressive song and dance sequences, and really hits the emotional core of broken dreams.

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