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30 Campy Adventure Movies Ranked by How Well They Help You Escape Reality When You Need to Be at Work in Like 3 Hours

Like many Americans, I am awake at three in the goddamn morning in a seemingly endless anxiety loop. As I stare at my alarm clock in a state of frozen horror, each passing minute makes sleep more crucial and yet somehow less attainable. With just three hours to go before the alarm rings and forces me to trudge through another day at work, with no regard for the fact that I like, JUST fucking did that, I might as well give up and watch a movie. But what movie?

Now is not the time for anything heavy. Something from the Criterion Collection or A24 might push me past the breaking point in my weakened condition, and I need to make it to at least lunch before that happens. What I need is some escapism.

Here are 30 campy adventure movies, ranked by the likelihood that they will make me feel like a kid for five minutes because that’s the closest I’m getting to a night’s rest before I need to go make coffee for hundreds of people I have grown to despise.

30. Mom and Dad Save The World

It fits the bill, but “Mom and Dad” is a concept so close to “Go to work” in my brain that this one does nothing for me in terms of distracting me from my horrible fate.

29. Adventures in Babysitting

Sure, it’s fun, but it’s still a movie about someone who’s at work, which is the last thing I need. I would be too preoccupied with thoughts like “fuck my life” and “Isn’t clopening supposed to be illegal?” to get into this one.

28. Howard The Duck

No matter how many times I watch this movie, it never quite registers in my brain. It’s confounding that a movie about a space duck is this boring. Plus I think the duck winds up sleeping with the lady? And it’s a Marvel movie? The confusion to comfort level is way off here.

27. Krull

Not the fantasy movie I need, but probably the one I deserve. Krull is a mess. It’s got a lead actor who smiles like he’s won a contest the whole time, who wields “The Glaive,” a magical, unnecessarily complicated pocket knife, to defeat aliens who ride horses. How is something that weird this boring?

26. Megaforce

Nice cozy Saturday morning kids show energy completely devoid of plot, “Megaforce” would be the perfect thing to finally lull me to sleep if not for the cornball dialogue and dated ‘80s misogyny making it occasionally jarring and, if I’m being honest, funny.

25. BMX Bandits

Just let this movie whisk you away to a time when it was just you and your friends on bikes pretending to do missions and stuff, blissfully unaware of student loans, economic recessions and utility shut-off notices.

24. The Wizard

What could be cozier than harkening back to a time before kids knew the Nintendo Power Glove sucked shit?

23. The Beastmaster

Part “Conan The Barbarian,” part “Dr. Doolittle,” all Dar. ‘The Beastmaster” is a wonderful slice of cheesy ‘80s escapism, slightly soured by your adult mind wondering how well all those animals were treated on set.

22. Tank Girl

It won’t give you the desperately needed rapid eye movement that keeps your sanity intact, but watching “Tank Girl” is maybe the closest you can come to having a dream while still awake. The logic of this movie is insane. There are inexplicable jumps in the action, animations that may or may not be happening in the world, 4th wall breaks, Ice T as a mutant kangaroo and heavily implied beastiality. It’s a mess, and so are you.

21. Real Genius

Asking yourself “Can Val Kilmer and his crew use their kid genius intellect and precociousness to stop the evil government laser in time?” is a lot more fun than asking yourself “Am I working with creepy Mike all day tomorrow?”

20. Little Monsters

It’s sort of like “Nightbreed” for kids, or “Monster’s Inc.” with cozy practical effects. Just let blue Howie Mandel drag you under the bed to a magical world where… you know what actually I just talked myself out of this one.

19. Masters Of The Universe

There was a time before toxic internet fandom where movie versions of established IP didn’t have to answer to anybody. If it weren’t for everyone calling Ivan Drago “He-Man” you wouldn’t even know this was supposed to be a He-Man movie, but that’s what makes it singular, weird and great. Go ahead and bask in the glow of this bonkers Cannon Films epic before schlupping off to work and listening to your nerd coworkers complain that Admiral Thrawn in Ahsoka doesn’t accurately hold up to the Star Wars Legends continuity, whatever the hell that means.

18. Return to Oz

What better place to escape to than the magical land of Oz? And why settle for the for the cutesy Judie Garland version of Oz when you can have this fucking madness? Watching the alienating, confusing and horrifying spectacle that is “Return to Oz” is perfect conditioning for the sleepless 8-hour shift that awaits you.

17. Clash of the Titans

You remember “Clash of the Titans,” don’t you? Sure you do! Back in the days of cable TV, when you were home sick from school desperately channel surfing for something that would appeal to you? It was this or “Price is Right” and at least this had monsters and stuff, so you watched it? Watching it now will awaken those memories and subconsciously tell your body “I am being comforted” and “Something is wrong,” both true!

16. Surf Ninjas

Ninjutsu, surfing, a magical Sega Game Gear and the guy from the “Naked Gun” movies for some reason. It’s all here, ready to get that sweet sweet nostalgia dopamine flowing enough to make you think “Maybe another 8-hour round of dealing with coworkers I’m sick of and the uncaffeinated public isn’t the fate worse than death I’m making it out to be.” Maybe.

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