Why Review Bad Movies?

We’ve reached the mid-point of season 2 for Pat & Jason Binge Movies. A lot has changed for our podcast since we started in late December of 2015. In our first season we looked at famous movie franchises like the Rocky series, Star Wars, Terminator, Jurassic Park, and more. Reviewing these mega-blockbusters brought a lot of attention to a show still finding it’s way. Then season 2 came along. We held a Twitter poll (follow us on Twitter) and our followers voted for a new theme for a new season, “Terrible Sequels and Reboots.” The obvious question is, why review movies the majority of people already know are bad?

This is a more complicated question than one might assume. Firstly, there are varying levels of “bad movies”. Some movies suffer from poor scripting, bad direction, or lazy acting. These are the middling movies that come out, go to cable, end up on Netflix, and are either watched on rainy Saturdays in the fall or not at all. Then there are the more intriguing failures. The movies that have healthy budgets, typically good casts, dependable directors, and yet somehow still manage to fail on many levels. As an audience member you are left wondering how something with so much talent attached could go so awry.

Take Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 for instance. Raimi entered the superhero genre early on and is greatly responsible for it’s renaissance. Many people have either forgotten or have realized this because his lasting legacy in the genre is the ridiculous Spider-Man 3. Raimi’s previous film Spider-Man 2 is one of the best superhero films ever made and before Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, it was widely touted at the best ever. The previous films managed a perfect balance of zany Raimi camera movements, emotionally resonate plots, top tier action, and faithfulness to the Marvel Comics source material. Yet somehow the third film entirely fails at all of these. Leaving viewers and reviewers dumbfounded. How did it go so wrong?

The second season of our podcast has spent most of it’s time dealing with the second sort of bad movie. By looking at “Terrible Sequels and Reboots” we are mostly looking at films that failed their respective intellectual properties. We discuss, often in-depth, what makes many sequels and reboots just fall flat. However, there is a third category of bad movie. One we’ve left largely untouched for the time being. The elusive, “So bad it’s good.” Movies like Samurai Cop, Troll 2, Gymkata, Fateful Findings, Miami Connection, or just about anything covered by folks like Red Letter Media.  We’ve name checked many of these titles as we’ve personally seen and laughed ourselves silly at most of them. Longtime listeners to the show will recognize our “Neil Breen” Scale. Named after the worst and therefore potentially BEST director of all time.

Movies that truly fail on every conceivable level send a certain type of viewer into fits of delight. You simply can not imagine how anyone ever thought anything done or attempted in these sorts of films was a good idea. The total lack of common self-awareness is remarkable. The sheer shock and cringe of seeing such a film is a wonderful and awful experience. You can’t look way but you don’t want to watch. That sort of energy is contagious and like a bad smell you instantly want others to experience the funk. “You’ve got to see this movie!” is a phrase I’ve uttered more about the truly atrocious stinkers then the latest hit.

That sort of fun and energy makes for enjoyable conversation, reviews, and movie podcasting. If the podcasters or reviewers are having fun then the listener is likely to feel that too. Movie nerds like us live to dissect and analyze the best and worst parts of any film. We typically lean toward the worst parts because there is more to say. So if a movie is mostly or all those worst parts then there is quite a bit to say about it. Finally, I think angst is a universal emotion. We’ve all felt ripped off or let down by movies, especially sequels and reboots. Hearing two friends run down the movies that stole our money and our precious time is an enjoyable bit of therapy. We know that somewhere out there some other poor sucker got taken by the Hollywood swindle machine and they’re mad too.

For all these reasons and more, “bad movies” have become the go to for almost all movie podcasts. In the economy of content it is the stinkers that draw the most eyeballs and ears and so we podcasters give the people what they want. That is the bottom line of why a movie review podcast spends their time watching and reviewing films we already know suck. We review bad movies because they are entertaining. Usually for the wrong reasons and sometimes even more than their successful brethren. The vast majority of movies are forgettable. Even the one’s we enjoy get boxed on shelves, added to a queue, or downloaded on a drive. Only two types of movies bring us back over and over, are quoted daily, and shared endlessly. The truly outstanding and the truly awful. So three cheers to cinema and to crap!

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