Hi Nerd Faithful!! It’s Commander Shipp here to let you know everyone at Nerd Union actually enjoys watching a bad movie occasionally. Sometimes, it’s so bad it’s awesome, like my personal favorite Commando. But there’s others so bad, the only way to enjoy them is by ripping into them. Since there is a wide range of ways to enjoy bad movies, we figured it was past time someone wrote guidelines for the internet to either enjoy or rip apart themselves.
- The first rule and certainly the most important: It’s okay to enjoy a bad movie. Hence my Commando example above; I know full well it’s a terrible film and there’s moments in the final attack scene where Schwarzenegger never reloads and I love every second of it. Not to mention he barely takes cover either; he should have taken some kind of damage, but not a scratch at all. There’s more issues than that, but my 5 year-old brain didn’t care. I’ve been a fan ever since and Schwarzenegger has been involved with better films than this one. However, my enjoyment doesn’t give me an excuse to break rule #2, which states….
- Don’t call bad movies good! Rule 1 protects us and let’s you enjoy bad movies free from any backlash (more on that in rule 3). But that comes with a major caveat, respect that the movie is bad and don’t try to elevate it where it doesn’t belong. If a film has low ratings across the board, it’s pretty fair to say that film is a stinker regardless of how high the audiences scores or opinion may be. Take the time to distinguish from what is enjoyable and quality film making1. As long as you do that, critics shouldn’t be attacking you, so…
- Hey critics (myself included), Don’t hate viewers for liking bad movies! Sure, we get annoyed because Hollywood is already pumping out fewer and fewer quality pieces of work. When we see that happen, it can be hard to stomach the thought that millions of people went to watch Terminator: Genisys instead of a better work of sci-fi like Ex Machina. But you shouldn’t get blasted for that so long as you respect rule #2. However, if you trample over rule #2, especially given the state of Hollywood today, don’t be surprised to encounter sharp rebuttals by stark raving mad critics.
- Now that we got the first 3 out of the way, let’s get to actually watching some awful films. So, how does one pick a bad film? Well, for starters, let’s chat about the scores: Make Sure It’s Truly Terrible. If it’s at a 60% on RT, that’s not exactly a bad film although you can certainly still watch it. No, I’m talking about Plan 9 From Outer Space bad. Like everything Uwe Boll has ever made bad. This is how you know your in the right territory; if the film isn’t killing Josh Trank’s career like the Fantastic Four remake did, then you’re not looking hard enough. If the score is too high, you’ll probably just watch it like it’s nothing. But if it gets bad, the next set of rules can really make it fun…
- This works great with horror films, but you can always Guess What’s Going To Happen. Back when I had a bad habit of buying movies I hadn’t seen yet, I grabbed a copy of AVP: Requiem hoping it would be better than the original (In case you were wondering, it’s not). One day, Nerd Union writers Trevor and John came over to my house, saw this movie on my shelf and wanted to know just how bad it was. They started to predict each plot point with much hilarity and made an awful film that much better. Actually, that reminds of another way to make a film better…
- When in doubt, you can always MST3K-It!! Mystery Science Theater 3000 informed much of my critical thinking towards films when I was growing up and holds a dear spot in my heart. No, we may not be forced to watch B movies until we break, like Joel, Mike, or newcomer Jonah. However you can always grab a group of friends together and start riffing a film for an added amount of fun. This does come with a caveat though…
- Respect the production. Production crews are human and even the best team of directors, performers, and producers can pump out something awful if they are not careful. And riffing can be one of the funniest things you ever do, but sometimes we go too far. The things I’ve seen online (sometimes in response to my own reviews) have been absolutely egregious for some films and can’t be repeated in this post. Now, what you do in your own home is up to you, but I personally try to never cross the line from riffing on the performance to the person. If I start digging into an actor’s personal life to make jokes about their movie, I feel like that’s going too far. The only thing that’s been opened up to us to either enjoy or reject is the performance, nothing more or less.
- If a film is so bad that neither of those things work, you may contemplate Drinking Something and no we’re not talking about soft drinks. Alcohol can be a great addition to a bad movie night although you need to be careful how much you consume especially if you’re out in public. Getting plastered before you go watch a Live Rifftrax is probably not the best idea and is a strong formula to get you kicked out (Trust me, I’ve seen it happen). Besides, there’s other ways alcohol can turn dangerous in a bad movie session, such as..
- playing Drinking Games!! However, I again urge caution because this can spiral out of control. If we play the unofficial Nerd Union LOTR drinking game, you would be 20 shots in before Fellowship ends. So seriously, pick something manageable as your trigger, because picking “sword unsheathing” or “Awkard Frodo moments” will put anyone under the table. Hmm…maybe it’s time for a non-alcoholic option
- Check Out the DVD Commentary: Okay, maybe you’ll need drinking for this one. In all seriousness, you’d be surprised how awesome the director and actor commentaries can be on some films. Did you know that Robert Downey Jr. stayed in character the entire time for the Tropic Thunder commentary? Or how about Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog? Yeah, they sung the commentary too. Wait, those are good films and TV….ummm, I actually have no idea if bad movie commentary is as good as that. But how about you take a swing at it and get back to me? At the very least, for good films, it can be a cool way to re-watch a film you’ve already seen a hundred times or pick up nuggets of info you never knew. For bad films, it can let you see why directors’ made the choices they did and gives insight to how something went wrong. Sometimes it will let you know whether they worked under some poor circumstances or the crew was just that bad.
- Do Whatever The Frak You Want! At the end of the day, I know you are going to do whatever you want. So use these rules, ignore them, add more, subtract, I could care less. Movies are entertainment and the only one who can determine whose enjoying it is you. If a critic hates the film you love, don’t take it so personally. We exist to highlight cinematic triumphs and failures, but it’s still a very subjective business despite how objective we try to be. When we write a review, it’s no different than when you decide to watch a film. You either agree with it or not, but the decision is yours to see the film, use the review or engage in commentary afterwards. So long as we’re enjoying movies and respectfully interacting with one another, you can go watch Showgirls for the hundredth time for all I care. Meanwhile, I’ll be at the Belcourt watching Howl’s Moving Castle or something
So say we all
When the commander isn’t wallowing in despair over the status of DC and Marvel movies, you can find him reviewing most major film releases, and a select handful of the years best indie films here at Nerd Union.
1 When these two overlap, you get masterpieces; when one is prioritized, you can get disasters or films that rank high in one area. It’s entirely possible for a film to highly rated, but the enjoyment factor hits the garbage pail which we see occasionally.
2 With the rise of the internet, there’s been even more accessibility for fans to become critics in the past decade ( I should know). We should also remember that many of them may be hardcore fans just like you and me. Please remember it pains them (myself included) to write a bad review on a movie we wanted to be good. If they don’t strive for impartiality however, they won’t be taken seriously. That’s why I’m stressing the first 3 rules so much. Don’t take a bad review to heart, but just listen to the critique and see why those items were highlighted. It will probably help you understand a movies flaws better or it may explain a nagging issue you’ve had with one and couldn’t nail down the reason why.
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