So as I was trotting through Gosport High Street yesterday with my better half, we come across some DVDs on sale, which leads to a discussion about movies - specifically, about the grades of bad movies.
Now we can all acknowledge that there are movies that are objectively good, right? Like you can't claim the Godfather is a bad film. You just can't. You can dislike it, and that's totally valid - but it isn't by any definition a bad film.
We all want different things out of a film, however. So quite often we can admit that our favourite film ever is not the best film ever made. My favourite film ever is Aliens, followed by Blade Runner, Transformers: The Movie, the original Alien, Donnie Darko, Collateral, When We Were Kings - but out of them, I believe that Blade Runner is the actual best film I have ever seen.
And let's face it - we all like some movies that we have to admit are kind of trash. Commando? Gone In Sixty Seconds (yes, the Nic Cage one)? Any Rambo after the first one? Any Jean Claude Van Damme movie? Top Gun? Pacific Rim?
But then, there are also some movies that are only good because they are trash. Movies like the three scientifically proven worst movies of all time. Of course there are a lot of truly bad movies that are also great to watch because they suck, rather than in defiance of how much they suck - but the difference is that a lot of them were made knowing full well that they sucked.
No, a movie can only be truly horrible if it was made with the honest belief that it isn't horrible. The filmmaker is putting together something that he genuinely believes is good, or at least, worthy of actually being watched, consumed by other human beings as a non-ironic and non-awful piece of media.
Those three movies - Plan Nine From Outer Space, Manos The Hands Of Fate and The Room - were all made with the best intentions, and I love them a little for it.
Like, sure, Ed Wood probably didn't believe that he was going to be the next Eisenstein - but he didn't think he was taking a huge shit on the pages of cinematic history. Tommy Wiseau, though? In his head he was ALREADY the next Eisenstein, and the next James Dean or Marlon Brando to boot. Harold P. Warren made Manos because he was trying to prove to someone - over a coffee shop bet - that he could make a horror movie pretty much by himself.
Now something like Sharknado or Birdemic is awful but the person making it knew it was awful. That's an inescapable fact. You can't watch either of those movies without knowing full well that they were composed by someone effectively making a cinematic equivalent of a Twitter shitpost. They would fit into the trash movies that we enjoy despite them being trash, rather than BECAUSE they are trash. Lets face it, if The Room had any kind of competency applied to it, nobody would watch it.
So, we have trash movies, and we have terrible movies - but there is a third category.
Just as movies can be objectively good, movies can also be objectively bad, as previously discussed - but then, such movies can be bad and also entirely lacking any kind of merit. Any kind of saving grace, such as the unwitting hilarity of sex scenes involving the navels of the poor female star (I'm looking at you, Tommy), or an amazingly homoerotic volleyball scene, or one-liners that are worth watching the criminal misuse of Claymore mines ("Let off some steam, Bennett").
Some movies just...lack those. And those movies are just...bad movies.
Remember The Core?
If you've seen this movie then I bet you just made a face, and that face is the face you make when you think about movies as bad as The Core. It was truly a steaming pile of ass, a coprolithic gathering of moving images that made little sense and lacked any kind of artistic worth.
We can think of a few of those, right?
Like, it is no secret that I see the Bayformers movies as being truly disasterous. In the context of the fact that they came from a relatively rich universe with actual developed characters, the criminals responsible made a shitty series of disaster movies with all the warmth and character of a contact lens. Racist, sexist, lazy bullshit that doesn't look good or sound good.
So. The three categories of bad movie.
We have Trash Movies, which we like despite their being sucky. We have Terrible Movies, which we like because they are sucky. And we have Awful Movies, which we can't like even if we'd want to, because they suck that much.
Now time to start making lists...