The Myth Of “So Bad It’s Good”

An outdated modifier used to justify our earnest enjoyment of movies. 

Alamo Drafthouse programmer/archivist and occasional BAD correspondent Zack Carlson wrote a really great piece for Wired today about the myth of "so bad it's good," particularly in relation to Drafthouse Films' joyous new acquisition Miami Connection, a previously unreleased 35mm print that Zack picked up for fifty bucks on eBay. Miami Connection is now winning over audiences with its riotous sincerity. From Zack: 

The plot centers on a tae kwon do-themed synth-rock band called Dragon Sound and the group’s 10-fisted battle against an evil Florida empire of cocaine-dealing motorcycle ninjas. 

Now, ask yourself why your eyebrows just leaped up when you read that last sentence. Because it sounds bad? No. Because it sounds incredible.

Yeah, it's hard to find folly in that. Zack argues that our enjoyment of movies should be no different than our enjoyment of food - if we like something, we take it in. If a movie's dated and technically inept, but truly entertaining and heartfelt, does that mean our appreciation of it has to be filtered through layers of ironic detachment? 

He also points out that those films that are particularly susceptible to the "so bad it's good" disclaimer are smaller budget films made outside of the slick Hollywood machine. Does that make them less worthy of our earnest admiration than a bloated Hollywood blockbuster? Troll 2Plan 9, Miami ConnectionBirdemic - we watch the hell out of these movies, because they're fun. They make us happy. And as Zack says, 

So we watch, some of us snorting and smirking and shouting, “Bad! Bad!,” but we do watch. And we enjoy watching. Which leads to a revolutionary, not-so-bold concept: 

If a movie entertains us, then it’s good.

Don't love movies ironically. Just love them. And read Zack's whole post over at Wired - it's so good it's great.