Wenzdae Wendling

Bad media and TV shows matter too

October 12, 2022

I recently sat down with a group of friends to watch Netflix’s new teen movie “Do Revenge,” and it was anything but a distraction-free viewing. 

Constant interruptions from my friends on how inaccurately the film portrayed high school parties and how teenagers talk made it impossible to fully immerse myself in the story. 

The unrealistic depiction of high school seemed to upset my fellow viewers to the point where they could not enjoy the movie. 

Going into a movie with such a critical viewpoint can only lead you to find the flaws and makes it hard to allow yourself to fall into the constructed universe.

My favorite part about cinema is that it is a fantasy one can escape to. Using cinema as a way to cope or take a break from reality is not a new tradition in the 21st century.

In times of distress, such as the Great Depression, people would flock to movie theaters to forget their troubles, according to an Oct. 28, 1979 New York Times article.

“Bad” entertainment media should not be deemed unwatchable. In most cases, these are the types of movies and shows I laugh at the most and would want to watch with a group of friends.

Just because someone appreciates poor writing or acting in any type of entertainment media does not give another person the right to ridicule their taste.

The release of “The Room” in 2003 forever changed how poorly written movies would be consumed by the public.

The general plot of “The Room” is centered around a character named Johnny, who lives with his fiancée, Lisa. Lisa grows bored of Johnny and decides to seduce his best friend, Mark. 

Although the plot is clouded by inconsistent storylines and horrendous acting, that did not stop people from attending midnight viewings of “The Room” until it famously became the worst movie in Hollywood, according to a Dec. 19, 2017 article by Vox.

By the time word got around to all of Hollywood about what was colloquially being referred to as the weirdest movie to be released, countless celebrities, such as Paul Rudd and Kristen Bell, attended and organized viewings, according to the Vox article.  

The appeal of this film is that it is complete nonsense. The unprofessional cast, plot holes and poor writing of “The Room” are what make it so funny.

Why this movie’s failures acquired such a cult following could be connected to the superiority theory, which posits the humor we find in life is based on ridicule of an object we deem inferior to us, according to a 2016 study from the Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism.

Instead of focusing on the confusing dialogue or awkward nature of a scene, viewers should let go of the preconceived notion of how films are meant to be digested. When viewers allow themselves to be less critical and laugh at the nonsense, they can actually have more fun.

When film first started becoming a popular medium in the early 1900s, its initial purpose was to entertain viewers purely with visual effects. 

The term “cinema of attraction,” coined by Tom Gunning, meant the movement of images was enough to pull in an audience, according to a Nov. 5, 2018 article by Europeana.

Gunning’s term puts more emphasis on the animation and visuality of cinema rather than the narrative.

Films did not start utilizing storytelling until 1914 when the narrative form quickly started dominating the market, according to a June 18, 2020 article by the National Science and Media Museum.

Cinema was always meant to be a source of entertainment rather than a medium to be constantly picked apart.

However, now that film has evolved and progressed through sound, color and other stylistic advancements, the way in which we process and react to it has evolved as well.

Bad movies can also be used for educational purposes. As a film major, I can study these movies to learn what not to do, making it easier to spot and break down mistakes.

In many of my film classes, we study not only famous filmmakers’ innovations but also their errors. By seeing the process of both good and bad filmmaking, I am able to gain a more well-rounded understanding of how movies and TV shows come to life.

Although deciphering whether a movie is good or bad is an inherently subjective task, it’s important to make these comparisons. To be able to make the claim that a movie is good, it’s crucial to have bad movies so there can be some kind of measuring system.

Without understanding what makes a movie bad, it would be impossible to tell what makes one good. You develop the ability to identify good art through comparing one work to another, according to a fall 2019 article by The Hedgehog Review.

Sometimes after a long day, all I want to do is put on a horrible TV show that makes little to no sense and just fade into someone else’s universe. 

Watching an unrealistic teen drama does not mean you have poor taste in shows, it just means you want to watch the kids from “Riverdale” battle teenage hormones and a murder mystery—or whatever the plot is at this point—rather than thinking about your own problems.

Not every movie or TV show is supposed to be ground-breaking. We need abominations like “Riverdale” and “The Kissing Booth” to also appreciate the classics.

It’s also important to keep in mind that everyone has different tastes. Cinema, like any other art form, is very subjective. It’s okay if you do not always agree with your friends about the quality of a movie or television show. 

It’s a truly amazing thing that everyone is able to develop and share their own ideas and opinions surrounding any type of media. However, when people begin to ridicule others for their taste, it takes all the fun out of consuming entertainment.

When it comes to any type of entertainment media, especially “bad” media, people need to be less critical and just give in to the flawed universe. It is so much more enjoyable to laugh at these movies and television shows than it is to complain.

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