Good Bad Movies and Bad Bad Movies

Last night a friend invited Josh and I to her house to watch a movie. Since we were nearby, we visted one of those magical Red Box things outside grocery stores where you can rent a DVD for one dolla. They had a really broad selection, everything from Milk to never-seen-the-light-of-day shitty horror movies.

We decided on a movie that displayed a picture of a nearly naked lady holding two guns. It was called Stiletto and the description used the word “sexy” twice. You can’t go wrong with that.

We knew that it would be bad. But I don’t have a problem with that. I love bad movies. Too much (remember the Showgirls party?). However, it became apparent around fifteen minutes into the movie that Stiletto was unfortunately not a good bad movie, but a bad bad movie.

And the difference you ask, between a good bad movie and a bad bad movie? Well, let me begin my thesis here:

First of all, let me say that budget has nothing to do with it. Stiletto was clearly made for under a million with a rented camera, and it sucked. Showgirls was made for $45,000,000 and is arguably the worst movie ever made. But it’s also one of the most entertaining, memorable and life-affirming films of the twentieth century.

A good bad movie must take itself completely seriously. It must not be in on the joke and must be made with Oscar-winning intentions. For instance, the film Powder about an albino teenager with mystical powers.Or Obsessed starring Beyoncé Knowles.

A bad bad movie understands its limitations. Like all of John Waters’ movies.

A good bad movie also must have an element of bizarre-ness that pushes it over-the-top. Like Mommie Dearest, or one of my personal favorites, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Because a movie like Stiletto, which tries to be very  realistic just comes across as boring when it doesn’t have the budget or the means to be done well. But when you have an insane transsexual murdering with a samurai sword, well,  that’s just so in another world that any ties to reality are unimportant.

In the end, there’s nothing better than a good bad movie. And the only thing that’s worse than a bad bad movie is a good good movie. Fucking Oscar winners. I would rather have a tattoo sanded off my arm with a belt sander than watch Titanic*. Even the best Oscar winner of all times, The Silence of the Lambs, has some elements of good bad movie-making in it.

So, sorry Stiletto. You are in the awkward place of sucking so bad that you’re neither entertaining nor slightly compelling. Your future lies at the bottom of the Cheap DVD bin at Wal-mart. Right next to Kill Cruise starring Elizabeth Hurley.

*I really would not. That is an exaggeration and a reference to the film Stiletto.

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Elaine:

elgray21@student.scad.edu

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