Scott Malia, College of the Holy Cross – What Makes Bad Movies So Good?

All bad movies are bad, but what makes some also so-bad-they’re-good?

Scott Malia, associate professor and chair in the department of theatre & dance at the College of the Holy Cross, watches and reports back.

Scott Malia is an Associate Professor of Theatre whose specialties include LGBTQ+ Theatre, Comedy, Television, Horror Films and Cult Films. His book, Giorgio Strehler Directs Carlo Goldoni was published by Lexington Books in 2013. Other articles and writings have appeared in Theatre Journal, The Conversation, and New England Theatre Journal. His plays, The Interview, A Few Adustments and Buffering were performed as part of the Boston Theatre Marathon, with two of them published by Smith & Krauss.

What Makes Bad Movies So Good?

Bad movies are serious business, and while they can be wonderful, explaining their appeal can be a bit challenging. Badfilm, sometimes called so-bad-it’s good, is a subset of cheerfully terrible films that enjoy a strong cult, and even academic, following. For superfans, it is important to distinguish them from films that are just dull or mediocre–so what’s the difference?

To help explain, look at the Golden Raspberry Awards, or the Razzies, which is one of the longest-running awards organizations specifically focused on mediocre movies. The Razzies, which have been celebrating cinematic bombs for forty years, overwhelmingly align with critics when selecting the Worst Picture of the Year, which seems to indicate that many of these films are legitimately awful, as opposed to so-bad-it’s good, which could explain why cult favorites like The Room and Troll 2 were overlooked by the Razzies.

Another factor in Badfilms is genre. The most represented genre among Razzie Worst Picture winners is comedy, accounting for almost half of the winners. Why comedy? Well, Badfilm scholars and fans often point out that part of the appeal of a so-bad-it’s-good film is that in trying to do something serious, it becomes unintentionally funny. The problem is, the reverse doesn’t appear to be true. If a film is trying to be funny, it doesn’t accidentally become a drama simply because it is poorly made. So if audiences of so-bad-it’s-good are looking for laughs,

quote-unquote serious films like Mommie Dearest or Plan 9 from Outer Space are the way to go. Meanwhile, Razzie-winning comedies like The Love Guru and Jack & Jill seem to fall under the category of so bad they’re …still bad.

Read More:
Article “Bradley Cooper, Cillian Murphy, and the Myths of Method Acting” The Conversation

Interviewed in article “Oscar predictions: film expert thinks these films, actors will win big

Book, Giorgio Strehler Directs Carlo Goldoni