Can you make a movie so bad it's good on purpose?


PBS Idea Channel host Mike Rugnetta argues that you can't make a movie in the 'so bad it's good' category on purpose. Personally, I think his definition is interesting but a bit too broad.

Certainly there are classic film in this category and none of the classics were made that way on purpose. But a film doesn't necessarily have to be 'classic' to have achieved its goals. There are good gangster movies and bad gangster movies but just because a gangster movie is good, doesn't make it the Godfather.

So, I think it is possible to make a good-bad movie on purpose, it just doesn't necessarily fall into the classic category of Troll 2 or Birdemic. Sharknado, after all, was a bad movie that meant to be but it doesn't deserve to fall into the same category of bad movies that represent most of Hollywood's output.

Most bad movies, the ones that are just plain bad and forgettable are usually the film industry's equivalent of click bait. They fall into nearly every category - action, romance, comedy, romantic-comedy, supernatural thrillers etc., and usually have big names attached to them. It's also usually obvious that no original ideas were involved and that most of the participants sort of phoned it in.

The same cannot be said of most films that aim at the good-bad genre. Some of these still turn out badly (Knight's of Badassdom for example) but most of them are at least trying to do something beyond lure in date night audiences or bored teenagers on summer vacation.

The same can be said for indie films, they may be low budget, they may hire friends instead of doing proper casting but they are at least sincerely trying to tell a story. Anyway, that's my two cents. Here is the PBS Idea Channel's take.

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