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Why Are Bad Movies So Addicting?

Tommy Wiseau in "The Room"
Wiseau Films

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Why Are Bad Movies So Addicting?

It’s like cinematic nicotine.

You’ve probably heard the phrase: “So bad it’s good,” but why is this the case? Over time, bad movies like “The Room”, “Sharknado,” and “Birdemic” have gained a cult following. Fans will willingly go to theaters to watch bad flicks like these year after year, but why? I mean, there has to be a reason why these movies have gained such a large fan-base, but what’s their appeal? As someone who has willingly sat down to watch a “bad movie,” I can tell you that it is a much more complex experience than you might think. 

With bad movies, it may seem like you know exactly what you’re getting into but that’s not always the case. Take for instance perhaps the greatest bad movie ever made: “The Room.”  Tommy Wiseau‘s “The Room” is a film that shares similar elements to more “successful” films. With a budget of 6 million USD, it’s comparable to films like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Juno” but on top of this, the movie also includes poor writing and questionable acting. In theory, who would want to waste precious time on a movie that you know will be bad? But still, there is a sense of curiosity and fascination that draws you in.

Once a film crosses the line from average to bad, it opens up a whole new world of questions. What makes this film so bad? How can someone make and release something so bad? In a way, it takes talent to make a bad film. Most of us grew up watching movies, and even though we might not know how to make one, we know the basic elements of what makes a good movie. We can distinguish which ones are “good” or “bad” purely by our years of experiences. So while there are movies that just don’t hit the nail on the head, we question movies that completely miss by yards away. Bad movies might not make us question our lives, but they are nonetheless fascinating to watch. And oftentimes this fascination can turn into an ironic form of entertainment and ultimately leave us wanting more. Bad movies are like horrible car wrecks. We can’t help but look.

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