The Magic of Bad Movies. / by Eric Emma

Today at the production company I intern at, I wrote the oddest coverage for a film that normally, I would have put “PASS!”, but I actually, “recommended” it. My opening thoughts read:

A cliché crime film involving a unique set-up and tons of unintentional laughs. Whether or not ******** intended it, he created a very humorous movie that’s a lot of fun to watch (even if it is for all the wrong reasons).

For the uninitiated, there’s a dark side of the film-world that till recently was followed by a very select group of folks and that is the “bad film.” There comes a saturation point in any movie lover’s life where there’s no going back. When films lose the distinction of degrees and are simply either interesting or completely boring. You’ve seen too much, you know all the tricks, and so an average film simply isn’t going to cut it. We’re like junkies chasing the thrills of a pure high, but we start to question  if it even exists anymore and we need that fix… And so we turn to bad movies.

For the movie lover, the bad film becomes test of his or her knowledge of film as he or she will immediately spot the bad films influences. Most bad films are "genre" films, but there are exceptions. The Room" would be classified as a drama, which is why that film has a wider following than most bad films. Even if you don't love film, the average viewer is sucked into the bizarre nature of the film. However, most bad films are poorly made genre films and its here the movie lover identifies because most of these films are made by folks that love film.

Art is special because it makes us understand the human experience better. It makes us feel not so cosmically alone in this fucked up existence we called a life. When we watch Godfather, whether we have ever had a hand in organized crime, we feel for Michael Corelone’s dilemma. Bad films have a similar effect except we don’t empathize with the characters on screen, we empathize for the film-makers. We laugh because either A) we understand what the film-makers were trying to do and how it was completely doomed from the start or B) it so nightmarishly bizarre it garners scientific appreciation.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 brought "bad films" more to the main-stream and then came Netflix and other streaming services, which made it free and easy to watch these turds of cinema. The tragedy with the "bad movie" genre is how it has become a marketable genre. These films are special because of how incredibly genuine they are. The minute the film-maker decides to actually make a bad film, the entire point is lost. We no longer can enjoy it because the film-maker is in on the joke.  It’s far less endearing. It becomes like everything else and ironically, the reason we started watching bad movies in the first place, mundane. 

So if you’re tired of watching the generic vampire or rom-com on Netflix. Do yourself a favor and try watching “The Room”, “Troll 2”, “Samurai Cop”, or the many other legendary bad movies and enjoy some people’s dream of making a movie even if they lack either the talent or money to do so.

-Eric