Sunday, May 15, 2005

How to justify a questionable Netflix queue

Sometimes I watch bad movies. Sometimes they are movies I know will be bad, or at least subpar; But I'm a Cheerleader was just as hit-and-miss as the critics said, although I enjoyed parts of it (the casting was probably the most well done part; RuPaul as an ex-gay, Bull from Night Court as an ex-ex-gay, and Clea DuVall as a rebellious young lesbian were all excellent choices, courtesy of Christopher Walken's wife). If I know something's likely to be mediocre but I am curious about it anyway, I'll watch it, be moderately pleased, and then never speak of it. But sometimes I watch bad movies, or flawed movies, and they get under my skin. My boyfriend makes fun of me for this; he cannot understand why I devote significant mental energy and time to picking out all the reasons why the American version of The Ring is inferior to the Japanese version. (The cinematography of the former is excellent, but it is, as far too many Americanized films are, much stupider and more clumsy.)

But the experience of being disappointed by a film is enough of a goad to require that I get to the root of the matter: why is this movie bad? It's no fun to do this with movies you already know are awful; usually you can say why certain movies are bad without even watching them. But when you're expecting something to be good, or at least a fair bit of workmanship, and then it all falls apart, there's a sort of satisfaction that comes from figuring out what bits unravelled. And so I spend half an hour or so analyzing exactly why something (usually a horror/thriller flick, because I am a sucker for those and so many of them are terrible, buckling due to an inability to remain internally consistent to their puzzle-box narrative) bites. Alas for the tyranny of expectations.
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