Why Bad Movies Can Be Good for You

We’ve all seen them, films where a few minutes in, all agree, “This sucks so bad, even I could have done better.” And often we get frustrated, and flip the remote because someone got paid for that, and more often than not, it wasn’t you.

For beginning film makers, this is really a glass half empty sort of perspective. Don’t lose sight of what you’re trying to do and just kick back to be entertained. There are some films out there that are a pleasure to watch, but the bad ones are just as important. Here are five reasons bad films are actually better for you than good ones.

1) Bad films are a great lesson what not to do with a camera.

It gets up every filmmaker’s butt to do something a little beyond their budget/means/experience. Bad movies are a great example of what not to do or at least how not to do it. Take this chase scene for example. Even if you don’t have insurance or permits, don’t do a chase scene like this.

2) In bad films, it’s easier to see the seams.

One difference between bad films and great films is that great films suck you in, and captivate you. Bad films tend to be distracting, all of the seems visible and apparent. Film making is artifice but you don’t want to be swept up in the emotion, you need to focus on the how.  Here’s a sequence with many ‘distracting’ elements.

Jolly Roger: massacre at Cutter’s Cove

3) Bad films give you a great ear for bad dialogue

A good film might have a line or two you find difficult to swallow. A bad film quickly becomes hard to watch if the dialogue isn’t good. This scene has some NSFW language.

4) Bad films propose a great challenge

See a film you think is awful? Go and re-shoot the scenes better. You’re so cool, your opinion matters so much. It’s actually a great spring board – you don’t need to invent something from scratch – just do it! Make sure you change the names to avoid liability though.
5)  Bad films should give young filmmakers pause

The truth of the matter is that even bad films are a lot of work. Shooting & editing 90 minutes of footage is not for the faint at heart. And if you slop through it with no plan, you won’t even get a direct to DVD deal, because DVD is pretty much dead. And who wants to be ‘that guy’? At least some people like Roger Corman and the Asyilum crew let you know, ‘this will be bad, that’s our genre expertise.’ But without much thought and planning, you’ll have wasted money, time and find yourself with effort on a DVD that no one wants to watch.

Good places to get bad films include

  • The Library
  • Wal Mart
  • You Tube
  • Local Grocery Store
  • Big Lots

The more gaudy the cover, the better

What’s your favorite bad film to learn from?

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One Response to “Why Bad Movies Can Be Good for You”

  1. Matthew Miller says:

    HA HA HA! This article was so awesome. Such a departure from the ordinary and mundane BS that is out there. You know what ? I almost want to go watch a bad film or two just to learn from it, cuz you are right? We can learn from others mistakes… the problem is, as a working professional, I only have tolerance and TIME for good or excellent films. And if one slips through the cracks, its usually because I was too lazy to vet it properly via recommendations or reviews. So… when that happens next time. I’ll think of this article! HA HA HA! THnx

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