Sign up now for a free
address & your own
Online Writing Portfolio!
This week: Bad MoviesEdited by: May the Waltz Be With You
More Newsletters By This Editor
1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions
Quotes from Roger Ebert:
The movie is being revived around the country for midnight cult showings. Midnight is not late enough.
-review of The Beyond
'It will obliterate your senses!' reports David Gillin, who obviously writes autobiographically.
-review of Armageddon
Going to see Godzilla at the Palais of the Cannes Film Festival is like attending a satanic ritual in St. Peter's Basilica.
Over the weekend, I saw the new Disney/Pixar movie, Brave.
No, Brave is not a bad movie, but there have been plenty over the 100+ year history of cinema.
Now, I love movies. I don't mean that in the sense of "sometimes I'll get together with friends and see a movie, or maybe go to the theater and spend way too much money on stale popcorn." I mean that in the sense of liking movies for their own sake - good movies, bad movies, mediocre movies, and movies that you've never heard of (*puts on hipster glasses*).
The only thing stopping me from watching every movie is that movies are generally a couple of hours long, and I do like to do other things too, like sleep.
The website IMDb is a standard resource for movie fans, and in the course of perusing it recently to find the top-rated movies of all time, I decided to also look up the worst movies of all time.
As ranked by IMDb, the Bottom Ten are:
(Number, Ranking, Year Made)
1. 1.4 Titanic: The Legend Goes On... (2000)
2. 1.5 Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004)
3. 1.5 Daniel the Wizard (2004)
4. 1.5 Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
5. 1.5 Monster a-Go Go (1965)
6. 1.5 Night Train to Mundo Fine (1966)
7. 1.5 Dream Well (2009)
8. 1.5 Ben & Arthur (2002)
9. 1.5 The Skydivers (1963)
10. 1.6 Zombie Nation (2004)
Right off the bat, I see a few glaring problems with this ranking. First of all, I've only seen one of these movies, and you might say "you're not missing much," but you can learn a lot about storytelling - writing - by watching a bad movie. Namely, you learn what you shouldn't do. So I'm a bit disappointed that I've only ever seen Manos: The Hands of Fate, and that was through the lens of the epic, classic bad-movie celebration that was Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Second, look at the dates. Four from the sixties; six from the noughties. But bad movies are pretty evenly distributed through time, much like bad music (sorry, but there has always been a Nickelback), so there's some sort of demographic bias here that, if I were academically inclined, it'd be interesting to get to the bottom of.
But I'm not; I'm a comedy writer, not a statistician. Which leads me to the final problem (okay, not really, but if I can't do a bad segue in an editorial about movies, when can I do it?): Plan 9 from Outer Space is not on there. In fact, it's not even in the bottom 100. How am I supposed to take seriously a bad-movie list that doesn't have Plan 9 on it?
Well, that makes me think that there is a phenomenon going on that I call the Movie Paradox: When a movie is so awfully, epically, unashamedly horrible that all you can do is laugh - well, that's when you laugh, which means you've gotten some enjoyment out of the movie, which means that maybe it wasn't so bad after all. And it means that people are watching it, which puts money in someone's hands (unless you've pirated it, in which case you're a bad, terrible, evil, vile person who probably kicks puppies), which encourages that someone to make... more bad movies.
No, the truly bad movies are the ones which are painful to watch, the ones you fall asleep in (for me, that would be
And yet I'm mining it for comedy nuggets, which means it had some redeeming features after all.
There's also the problem that one person's bad movie is another's friend, or pet project. That film at #1 up there? It's an animated version of the sinking of the Titanic, which is inherently overweighted with comedy gold; in fact, Cameron's treatment of it was only the tip of the iceberg (snert). But someone spent time on it, people poured their hearts and souls into voicing the characters, and animators sweated over that thing for minutes. And it got a rating of 1.4 (out of a possible 10), which means that SOME people have been voting it more than a 1.
The one movie on that list that I've seen? It was the pet project of a dude who had never worked in movies before; it was produced on a bet that he couldn't take a movie from script to showing. It was horrible; it was amazingly horrible (it even led to the untimely death of one of its main characters), but it got made, which is more than I can say for even so much as a novel, which doesn't require me to build sets, buy a camera, or collect actors to not pay. The director did the impossible, and all the rest of us can do is snark at it. (But believe me, it's totally snark-worthy.)
Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't judge a moviemaker until we've walked a mile in his or her Uggs, but keep this in mind next time you throw tomatoes at a movie screen: Somebody loved it, and that somebody accomplished more than your average person has. And hey, nobody made you spend $30 on tickets, popcorn, and Hawiian Punch, so quitcher bitchin.
Just a few funnies for your amusement
Submit an item for consideration in this newsletter!
Have an opinion on what you've read here today? Then send the Editor feedback! Find an item that you think would be perfect for showcasing here? Submit it for consideration in the newsletter!
Don't forget to support our sponsor!
InstantPublisher.Com: Self publishing made easy and affordable. All file types accepted with many options. Starting at $100 for 25 copies in 7-10 days! Visit us today!
Last time, in "Comedy Newsletter (May 30, 2012)" , I talked about comedy in dialogue.'
LJPC - the tortoise : Hi Robert!
This was a great, instructive NL about how to subtly inject humor in writing that isn't necessarily comedy. Since I write Horror and have to keep the tension level up, I find this very hard to do, but you gave me lots of good ideas. Thanks so much!
Well, then, I hope this newsletter helped - most of the worst movies in history are from the horror genre! And the rest are just horrid.
And that's it for me for June - see you next time! Until then,
To stop receiving this newsletter, go into your account and remove the check from the box beside the specific topic. Be sure to click "Complete Edit" or it will not save your changes.