The hate is strong, but the love is stronger...

George Bell writes about the appeal of 'so bad it's good' movies.

George Bell
24th April 2020
You can have great films. You can have terrible films. But sometimes, in the famous words of Hannah Montana, you can have “the best of both word worlds”. Sometimes you’ll watch a movie so bloody awful you can’t help but like it. But why?  I’ll try and explain my reasoning in a, hopefully, not so-bad-it’s-good way while also mentioning a few trauma enduring films you have to check out (preferably with friends).

When talking about terrible movies, you can’t not mention the godfather of awful cinema, The Room (2003). Directed by and starring Tommy Wiseau, the film is full to the brim with campy dialogue and acting worse enough to deserve all Razzie Awards ever. And somehow it has become a cult classic. The film doesn’t try to be a comedy but succeeds at making us laugh more than most modern comedies. That’s one reason why I think people love films like this, they are so bad you can’t help but laugh while watching them. That humour gets cranked to 11 when you watch such films with friends. You can’t help but joke around and make fun of the disaster unfolding before you. While watching the film can be bad, the experience with friends can be great. Also without The Room, we wouldn’t have got the excellent Disaster Artist (2017), swings and roundabouts.

Image Credit: IMDB

This comedy aspect can get even greater when the films accept how bad they are and don’t even try to be good anymore. While seeing a film try to be good and then fail, spectacularly, is certainly a sight to behold, watching a film be proud of how truly awful it can be is almost endearing. I am of course talking about the 'Sharknado' series. If you haven’t heard of it then in short, it is about a tornado…full of sharks. Okay, I guess the title is self-explanatory. The concept is about as dumb as the actual film with cringe-inducing dialogue and worse CGI than something I could make in GCSE art. But for some reason they made sequels. Five of them. But while there was no real increase in quality at least they embraced the dumb nature, getting more and more ridiculous with each installment. It could be a fun series to marathon with friends, just make sure you have a lot of drinks.

A film so bad it’s good in certain ways can act as inspiration. If someone is allowed to make a film that bad, then what’s stopping you from making your film? You would definitely have to try hard to reach as poor-quality films as some out there. Battlefield Earth (2000) is widely regarded as one of the worst films ever with an impressive Rotten Tomatoes score of 3% (A whole three percent!). This is all despite the film having big names like John Travolta and a decent budget of $44 million. If a film like that is given the green light then surely something else should be given a chance because you’d have to try really hard to make something as bad.

Sometimes a performance is so shockingly bad you can’t help but love it. It’s way too over the top or just makes so sense for the film it’s in. Such performances can ruin a film but also make the role and actor iconic and cemented as a legend of cinema, even if it isn’t in the way they intended. A great example of this has got to be Nick Cage. He’s starred in tons of films and mostly known for his extremely over the top performances in less than brilliant films. And we love him for it. Cinema would be a very boring place without him and his terrible movies, not to mention more than a few memes.  In more recent years people have figured out how to match the actor to the role with performances in Mandy (2018) and Color out of Space (2019) which are just as crazy as him. If we never got Cage giving these weird, over the top performances we never would have got such films and that would have been a damn shame.

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AUTHOR: George Bell
One half film addict, one part computer nerd. All parts Croc lover

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