Bad things are everywhere, doubly so in media and pop culture. The label of “bad” seems to get plastered on everything though, and not just those things that truly deserve it.
Is it the fault of the internet? Or are things truly worse than they were before? This week Chris explores the idea of bad movies.
Hello ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Chris Taylor, and I am the Advocate of the Devil!
Last week I ranted and raved about The Last Jedi, the latest in a long line of Star Wars videos, and certainly not the first of its kind either. To be quite honest, considering this is being filmed at the same time as that one, I’m not too sure what the audience reaction is going to be.
But I do know that a wide variety of people have claimed that Star Wars Episode Eight was a bad movie. While I disagree wholeheartedly, it did make me think… what exactly IS a bad movie?
It’s one of those things that, I think, means something different for everyone. For some it’ll be a plot that doesn’t make sense. For other’s, there will be issues with pacing, or the acting, or the CGI. Whatever the case may be, there really isn’t a 100% consensus. It’s all subjective.
Because of that, it’s mostly opinion, yes? Maybe the movie in question isn’t bad, maybe it’s just that you personally don’t like it. That’s what I think anyways, and that’s why I can look at so called bad films, like Jurassic Park 3 or Batman and Robin, and still see some good within them.
Then there are other films. Films like Birdemic, or Catwoman, or… The Room. Movies that no matter what way you slice it, they are not good films. They’re the kind of movies that are practically indefensible…
…. Buuuuuuut here’s the thing. Defending the undefendable is my job, at least on this channel, and today I’m going to generalize a bit and explain what is so good about bad flicks.
I want you guys to join me as I hope aboard a little something called the Wayback machine. That’s right, it’s time to delve a little deeper into my own past.
It was the year 2000… and something. During those marvelous, personality shaping High School years that we’d all love to binge drink into forgetfulness. During most of my English classes, classes I can look back at now and wish I paid more attention to, there were several times when Book Reports and Oral presentations were due.
I do believe I’ve mentioned this before but I’ve never felt overly comfortable doing Public speaking. Sounds strange given what I do here, but this is easy in comparison. This is just me in front of one dude and his camera, with words that I’ve written and read through at least one time first. Not a crowd.
The worst of times were when the Oral’s and the Book Reports were the same bloody thing. Me, I love to read, or at least I did back then, but having to explain to a class of people who couldn’t care less about something that I did in fact care about… well, it was difficult to say the least.
As in most things in life, there were times when I did better than others. Either the material wasn’t clicking as easily with me, or other times where I was just flat out too lazy to do anything. Actually, a lot of times it was just the lazy part.
Here’s the kicker: They both took approximately the same amount of effort. I’m not kidding. The reports that were great and the reports that were just done out of necessity… it still took the same amount of time, the same resources. And that is my first point.
Bad movies take just as much time and effort as good movies to make. In fact, there are plenty of times where bad movies are actually MORE heartfelt and sincere than better ones. I’ll give you an example.
Let’s take a look at the Phase 2 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. There’s a good chunk of the audience that I’m sure has seen them all, probably multiple times, myself included. Now, some of those movies were REALLY well put together, like Captain America Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. Hell, Winter Soldier is still probably my favorite flick of the MCU.
But then you had movie’s like Thor Dark World and Ant Man, movies that did very little with their own existence and, to me anyways, felt more like necessities to further along the overall plot of the Universe rather than focusing on being a good movie on it’s own.
Thor 2 and Ant Man didn’t take risks. I have trouble remembering most of Thor 2, since it didn’t really DO anything. And Ant Man? You take a character who’s big power is to grow big or small, and then use him to remind us all about the Avengers about a thousand times? What a waste!
BUT… I can’t call them bad movies either. They exist, they serve their purpose, but they weren’t bad. And I would actually say that’s worse than being a bad movie, because at the end of the day, they weren’t exactly memorable.
Then you take a look at Bird Demic or The Room. Movies that are absolute gutter trash! Have you ever tried to watch either of those movies on your own? It’s a bonafide nightmare! With all those moments that are endlessly quoted, and repeated, and referenced…
I mentioned last week how as long as there is a reaction, that’s a sign. You either succeeded, or you succeeded at finding something that didn’t work. The “just existing” Marvel movies are unmemorable, but some of these terrible movies just stick out at you!
And have you seen the people who have worked on them? Guys like Tommy Wiseau are few and far between. In some respects, thank GOD, because that dude is just weird.
But on the other hand, they are so passionate about what they are doing! They don’t think that they’re making bad movies. They are putting every effort and resource in their heart and souls into creating the absolute best thing that they can. And yeah, they failed…
But did they really? If we are still able to talk about it to this very day, is that a failure? Maybe it’s not the cinematic masterpiece that they were trying for, but there’s just some undefinable, ineffable THING about truly bad movies that keep us going back to them.
It’s that thing that I personally think a lot of people need. I think everyone on the planet has that one dream, but not everyone TRIES to accomplish it. Maybe it’s a book they want to write, or maybe it’s being an actor or an astronaut. That one dream gives them hope, it gives them strength, it’s what makes their eyes light up whenever they talk about it!
It’s what makes these terrible flicks so memorable, because deep down the people involved were putting their heart and souls into it. Not just checking things off on a list of things that needed to be put into a movie.
It’s why so many Romantic Comedy’s fall flat with me. Because you swap out the names and they’re all pretty identical. It’s why I long for television shows and… hell, EVERY form of entertainment, why I search for things that try something new and different, something I haven’t seen before.
Yes, a lot of bad movies are the cinematic equivalent of a train wreck: It disturbs you on a personal level and yet you can’t look away. But to those involved, that could very well have been the greatest achievement of their lives.
And finally, there is one other special something about bad movies that separates them from others: The Fanbase! The sense of community!
See, The Room on the surface is a terrible movie, and I hate to keep bringing it up but it’s also probably the GREATEST terrible movie, and because of that it’s still being shown all the time.
There are traditions in place, gags that are exclusive to the viewing experience of it. The movie tours all year long, sometimes followed by Q&A’s with the actors themselves!
I will always remember the first time I watched this movie. I was with my Room Mates, and for once I’m not using that as an excuse to point out a Pun…. although I did, just now.
I had to ask them to pause the movie about a dozen times because I literally couldn’t breathe from laughter at points. They were pointing things out to me that, had I ever tried to watch this movie alone I NEVER would have noticed myself.
If we ever watch good movies together, and we do all the time, then we have a good time. But the bad movies? Those are instances that I will cherish… because we all suffered together.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary I do hope I managed to shed some light into the Goodness in Bad Movies. Whether it’s the passion that is clearly visible in every misguided effort, or the memory’s you create while watching them, bad movies can, at times, be so much more spectacular than good ones.
There is a quote from one of the screen Junkies, Dan Murrel I believe it was when he was talking about Jurassic World, although it could have been Max Landis. He said that it is better for a movie to fail spectacularly than for it to just exist. You forget things that JUST exist, but you remember the truly great… and the truly terrible.
As always, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button to keep up with everything we do here at Devious Advocacy. And click the link in the description to keep the conversation going on Discord! We love getting to know our fans.
Speaking of Fans, Much Love must go in the direction of our Patrons, for giving us the support and drive to keep us going. You guys are the real heroes here.
Finally, but absolutely most importantly, let us know in the comments below what you think! Are there some truly bad movies that you just keep going back to, time and time again? Or maybe you think they’re just a waste of time! By all means, let your own views clash with my own… so that I may proceed to prove you wrong.
But for now, in the case of Bad Movies… The Defense Rests.
You know, all this talk about bad Movies has reminded me of another form of entertainment. Bad Games! You know, ones that were rushed out to meet a surprising popularity… ones that have great gameplay but were released by terrible companies…
… Dragon Age 2. I’m talking about Dragon Age 2.
Join us on Discord and discuss it with us directly!
And you can stalk us on Facebook right here:
Huge thanks to our Patreon supporters! Be a patron: