Fascination with failure is nothing new in our culture. There is something reassuring about seeing other people make mistakes, particularly celebrities and people in positions of power. We like to see expensive blockbusters flop and we like to know that actors like Tom Cruise are human too. But that doesn’t quite explain how bad movies can develop cult followings. Movies like Plan 9 from Outer Space, Troll 2 and The Room are generally seen as cinematic travesties, and yet they all have legions of fans who have watched them hundreds of times. You could say that these people like to feel smug and superior to these films, but something tells me that kind of enjoyment only goes so far.
Zack Carlson, a programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse, recently wrote an editorial for Wired about movies that are so bad they’re good. He puts forth the idea that there is no such thing; if a movie delivers a certain level of entertainment, then we have to acknowledge it as being genuinely good. The movie he uses as an example is Miami Connection, an obscure but recently restored ’80s action movie, and while I can see his argument working for that movie, I’m not quite sure it holds up for something like The Room. For me, that movie is just interesting because it’s so weird, but I still don’t know that I would call it genuinely good. But hey, maybe I’m just a snob. What do you think? Is there a difference between movies that are so bad they’re good and movies that are just good? Should we really feel guilty about liking movies that other people claim to be bad? What are your favourite “bad” movies? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.