A Case for Crummy Movies


Photo courtesy of Wiseau Productions

“‘You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!'” The soup opera level acting in “The Room” is exactly what makes a bad movie so good.

What do vintage bottles of Pinot Grigio, a Claude Monet painting, and the vast majority of Michael Bay movies have in common? All require a refined palate to fully appreciate.

A lifetime of crummy movies has given me that refined palate, and let me tell you: the garbage movies of the world have a lot to offer. Natural human behavior may incline moviegoers to avoid paying money to see something they won’t enjoy, and I won’t argue with them. No one should ever give money for an experience that is ultimately unenjoyable.

But there is an argument to be made for learning to enjoy a movie in spite of itself. Whether it’s the audacity of Tyler Perry’s writing, the ham-fisted acting of Batman and Robin or the logical nightmare that is “From Justin to Kelly,” bad movies in a very real way reveal to movie goers what makes the movies they love so good.

For as much good media there is out in the universe, there is bad. For every “Breaking Bad,” there is a “Keeping up with the Kardashians;” every “Song of Ice and Fire”, a “DaVinci Code”; every “Jurassic Park,” a film version of “The DaVinci Code.”

The truth is, bad movies are inevitable of modern life. But rather than living in fear or disdain of them, there is a certain joy that can be had from viewing these disasters.

Granted, there is a certain acquired masochism that one must be willing to accept to enjoy these movies. It’s hard to imagine actually enjoying the hell that is Matthew Broderick celebrate Christmas. And by “celebrate,” I mean act with the charm of a man who just discovered there is no god and whose own death an infinite universe will forget.

Communal watching of films eases that pain. There are few joys in life as great as being able to gather friends and to have them ridicule the any number of M. Night Shyamalan movies. If you have friends who fancy themselves as would-be comedians, terrible films make the perfect punching bags.

Don’t have that perfect group of friends the Internet has you covered. Communities celebrating bad movies aren’t hard to find. Podcasts like “The Flop House” or “How Did This Get Made” go in depth on how truly bananas any one given bad movie is with a more behind-the-scenes look on it’s creation. Want to know why Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed to a movie where he gets pregnant? Or why George Lucas thought it was a good idea to make a children’s film about a surly anthropomorphic duck? These podcasts have got you covered.

Bad movies have become so infamous that the tell all book, “The Disaster Artist,” written by one of the actors starring in the film has become a New York Times best seller. It’s lined up to be adapted into a film starring comedy duo Seth Rogen and James Franco.

As mentioned before, enjoying bad movies isn’t for everyone, so it may be a good idea to look into what are widely considered to be the best bad movies, and see if they’re for you. May I suggest, “The Room,” a film starring, directed and produced by its sole alien-faced financier, Tommy Wiseau. “The Room’s” bizarre plot is revered enough to see occasional screenings at Chicago’s Music Box Theater, in where its cult fiction fans are able to recite the movie’s strangest lines while throwing plastic spoons at the screen.

“The Room” is just one of many cult fiction disasters to be celebrated. Some other films to consider might be “Troll 2,” a horror film that actually forgot to feature any trolls in the movie. Perhaps you may enjoy “Foodfight!” in where Charlie Sheen voices an animated dog detective that might as well have been puppeteered by a drunken chimpanzee.

But don’t take my word for it. Get some friends together, microwave some popcorn, and pop in one of these clunkers on Netflix with the intention of having a good time. Get ready to enjoy some of the not-so-finer things in life.