Good Bad Movies and Bad Bad Movies

“I was supposed to what? Talk to them? I could’ve sworn this was the scene where I killed everybody. Okay, from the top.”

A few weeks ago, I went over the topic of bad movies and how enjoyable they can be. It’s a different type of fun than watching a great movie and there’s a limitless amount of awfulness to view. With all the great terrible movies out there, it may be even easier to come across the ones that aren’t good bad, just…bad bad.

What makes a good bad movie and what makes just a plain awful movie? I can’t help but think of the differences between the two after watching a film that opened up last weekend and climbed its way to the top without any problem. Yep- Resident Evil: Retribution. It’s already made up twice its budget which is more than it deserves.

The thing that scares me about titles like Fill in the Blank: Single Word Here is that the real plan is to confuse the audience. “Didn’t we already watch Resident Evil: Retribution a few months ago?” No, you’re thinking of Underworld: Awakening. “Ohhh yeah…” It’s easy to get the two mixed up, being that they’re Sci-Fi/Action movies with a strong female protagonist. But the whole “Not numbering sequels” anymore is interesting to me. Is it because simply putting a “2” on the end became old and a word like “Revenge” after your movie title sounds cool? Or is it so you don’t know what the heck you’re actually watching? Chances are, it’s the latter.

“Resident Evil: Brutality or Resident Evil: Uranium? I can’t decide.

I don’t want to insult people who like these movies, I really don’t. Heck, I like the Transformers movies (for the most part). But after talking to a few people at my theater this past weekend about why they were coming to watch the new Resident Evil, many of them were just there because of a friend or because “I saw the other ones so whatever.” I get the impression many movies that we know are going to be bad based on the previous installments make their money by viewers who ultimately just feel like “…Might as well.”

I thought this might be the case with last year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strange Tides but after becoming the second of the highest grossing Pirates movies (only behind Dead Man’s Chest by a few million), I had to retract. Evidently, people can’t get enough Jack Sparrow.

At the end of the day though, Pirates is a different story because it isn’t absolutely horrible. It might have run its course, they might not seem like they’re really trying, but you can still see the quality of those movies over something like the Resident Evil series. And it’s not just the budget.

While I imagine Milla Jovovich enjoys playing the role of Alice, the lead character of the Resident Evil series, I can’t help but wonder if she knows this is crap. Wouldn’t she have to know? The first had her running around between scared, confused, and deadly, sure. The second has her cold and dangerous which works sure, because she knows who she is now female Jason Bourne.

"I don't know who I am...but I'm going to punch, shoot, and KILL everything to find out."

“I don’t know who I am…but I’m going to punch, shoot, and KILL everything to find out.”

Then number three and onward there’s nothing there; no development, no progression, nothing. “Money” is the only answer to a series that keeps going long after character development has died and there’s nothing new to say. It’s like a human walking around, talking, eating and sleeping…but having no soul. or like a fruit that couldn’t sustain you; what’s the value?

I’m not trying to get all faux-philisophical on you just because I watched a movie that really sucked. I’m really just trying to figure out what people get out of a movie as bad as this one. You know when you’re watching a unanimously bad movie rather than just one that you don’t like. I don’t care about Mystic River. It’s just not a type of movie I care to sit around and watch all day. It’s slow, depressing and dark in a way that I don’t want to invest myself in. I could use the word “melodramatic.”

But ultimately, it’s well written and well made. I just don’t like it.

I’m sorry, Clint.

A bad movie on the other hand is right there for most everybody to see. You might even know exactly how you know it’s bad, you just feel it. Take The Room for example.

It’s notoriously bad and for what reason? The writing, the acting, the editing, the camerawork- it’s all just awful. Most people don’t even realize the majority of the things mentioned, it becomes more apparent with the quality of the actors. The camerawork is something you just feel. Hey, whaddaya know, in The Room, most of the shots are showing us the waist and up on the characters. Why? Because that’s about how tall the cameraman is. After a few of the same shots like this, you start to feel bored and you may not even know why but it’s in part because you feel like you’re seeing the same thing over and over again. And you kinda are.

What point am I trying to make? I’m not even really sure although it feels as though I’m really posing more of a question with no answer. Why do truly awful movies make so much money? Maybe because people just don’t know what they’re watching and don’t care. It’s possible that the reason I can honestly consider a “good” bad movie entertaining is that the budget on a movie like Troll 2 was the director’s mom’s allowance while a movie like RE: Retribution is given something quite substantial and comes up with something that leaves a horrible taste in my mouth.

Eh, I don’t know what I’m talking about.

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