What makes a bad movie? An Introduction to Hatewatch
We’ve all seen them before; the films so bad we can’t help but stare on amazed, pinching ourselves to check this isn’t some lucid dream brought on by heat stroke. Whether that be due to Nicolas Cage punching a woman in the face whilst dressed as a bear, Arnold Schwarzenegger explaining what killed the dinosaurs, or Tommy Wiseau visiting a flower shop, everyone has experienced those films so bad you can only weep with laughter and question how this perfect piece of shit ever came to exist.
Sadly, not all bad films can be this enjoyable. There’s a certain hierarchy when it comes to bad films, spanning a surprising range of quality. At the very top of the scale are the much-maligned, underrated films that have managed to garner a bad rep over the years. These films are increasingly rare, but occasionally, a hidden diamond emerges from the rough. Beneath the genuinely good films are the ones that could happily be called “not bad”. Not particularly brilliant, but not terrible either, these are the films that provided a moderate amount of entertainment, are generally harmless and inoffensive, or have enough saving graces to justify their existence.
While technically not better than ‘not bad’ films, ‘so-bad-they’re-good’ films usually offer far more entertainment, and are likely to be re-watched more often. So-bad-they’re-good films will offer jaw-droppingly bad performances, clunky “was this google translated?” scripts, appalling visuals, or a sense of the strange and weird that makes it an experience unlike any other. Complete failures as films, but massive successes as hilarious cult favourites. Unintentional comedies are certainly better than plain bad films; bad films feature most of the same features as so-bad-they’re-good movies, but they lack that weird, over-the-top quality. Bad films play it safe, featuring bad acting and weak scripts without ever going crazy or unpredictable. Bad comedies are usually the worst offenders here; there is little worse than a bad comedy that sticks to by-the-books storytelling without telling a single joke.
Perhaps even worse than bad films, however, are boring films. Bad films can at least inspire some kind of feeling (even if that feeling is a bit of sick); boring films are simply nothing. Overlong, devoid of passion and intrigue, and difficult to review because there is little to say about them, boring films are almost at the bottom of the barrel. However, the bottom of the barrel is reversed for THE FUCKING WORST films. Everyone has experienced THE FUCKING WORST films. These films are so catastrophically awful, words can barely describe them. THE FUCKING WORST films don’t just provide poor acting, scripts, direction, and visuals; to hit absolute rock bottom, these films tend to have a streak of offensiveness or ugliness, something that makes you question how the film was written, released, or sat through by audiences.
And so we get to Hatewatch, my new bad movie feature. With each Hatewatch column, I will be watching and reviewing a bad film. Each film reviewed must fit at least one of the following criteria:
- It flopped at the box office.
- It was battered by critics.
- It has a notorious reputation.
Hence, a film could have made millions but if it’s bad, I will still pummel it with my snow shovel of enraged critique. It may be beloved by large sections of the population, but if it has a reputation as being cinematic dog shit, Hatewatch will cover it. Starting with the new Ricky Gervais “comedy” Special Correspondents, I will be delving into the murky world of cinematic abominations and deciding what level of bad each film is (if it isn’t a rare underrated flop).
Wish me luck.
If you have any suggestions for truly awful films, tweet or facebook me and let me know what you want Hatewatch to cover.
By Harry J. Ford
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