So bad it’s good

Community (and, interestingly, awareness of quality) can and do conspire to redeem some of the most failed cultural offerings. Good movies are just good, but bad ones can be instructive.

Duerfahrd recently brought his 29 students to the Music Box Theatre in Chicago for a special screening of the 2003 film “The Room,” widely reviled as the “Citizen Kane” of bad cinema.

“Everyone was talking during the movie and throwing things at it and chanting things at it and responding to it,” Duerfahrd said. “It was a beautiful event.”

Tommy Wiseau, director of the now cult-classic movie, was even on hand.

“The students all wanted to meet the man to blame for the movie,” Duerfahrd said. “It was more like a pilgrimage. Twenty-nine students wouldn’t have gone to see Spielberg or a successful director. They wanted to see Wiseau, this guy who made this horrible film.”

And that’s the heart of the professor’s respect for rotten movie making. It’s easy for us to watch and be entertained by a high-quality film. It’s a passive experience. Deriving enjoyment from a bad movie takes work, imagination and creativity – all the skills the bad movie’s creators failed to utilize.

“Most of the things that go on in our own life look like they’re out of a bad movie,” Duerfahrd said. “Forgotten lines, dropped engagement rings, poor acting. That’s what makes the bad movies so much like the life we lead.”

from “Oscar alternative: The beauty of bad movies,” by Rex Huppke, Chicago Tribune, 26 February 2010 :: via The Morning News

Originally published at

Add Your Comments