This week, Newcity published an article I wrote on Chicago’s bad movie scene. “So-bad-it’s-good” movies have been getting a lot of press lately. There’s “Birdemic: Shock and Terror,” “The Room” and “Troll 2,” which is finding even more approval due to the recent documentary on the B-movie,”Best Worst Movie,” making the rounds on the critical and national moviegoing scene.
I’ve been interested in “cult films” for sometime, and the ambiguous world of “good-bad” films factors quite well into that world. And I noticed a certain rousing interest in “good-bad” movies in Chicago. So I spent several months delving further into this world. I spent many midnights and an entire day watching movies at the Music Box, attended “Bad Meaning Good,” a bad movie screening series, the first Monday of every month, watched episodes of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” online, got a membership to Chicago independent rental store and cinema, Facets.
And, of course, not everything made it into the final copy. One thing that didn’t was a brief explanation of part of the appeal of bad movies, and the similarities to certain kinds of music:
In many ways, those tiny failures are a reflection of reality we know all too well. In the same way that musicians like Daniel Johnston or The Moldy Peaches are beloved for their strange, childlike musical creations, the best bad movies can reveal something about the genuine human experience in those little, unintended mishaps.
It’s just one of many thoughts on the subject that popped into my head during the months I’d dedicated to dissecting the subject. And I must thank those who were happy to discuss bad, cult and b-movie culture with me: Tommy Wiseau (writer/director/producer/star of “The Room”), James Nguyen (writer/director/producer of “Birdemic”), Patrick Dowell (recent DePaul grad and bad movie fan), Brian Andreotti (the Music Box’s program director), Jason Deuchler (cinematographer, DJ and “Bad Meaning Good” coordinator), Jarrett Spiegel (DJ and “Bad Meaning Good” coordinator), Michael Rousselet (co-creator of “5-Second Films“), Peter Debruge (Variety writer), John Wilson (actor and “Bad Meaning Good” host), Joe Rubin (Odd Obsession volunteer manager and film historian) and John Aranza (owner of Horrorbles) all pitched in. They all had great things to say, and unfortunately not all of it made it into the article. There’s just too much to write about. Perhaps it could make for a good book someday.
If you’re curious about the scene in Chicago, head over to Newcity and read more. (Or grab a print copy if you’re in Chicago.) And if you want to see this scene in action, head to the Music Box this weekend for the Chicago premier of “Birdemic.”
Before that, enjoy the following videos of some key “good bad” movies:
“Best Worst Movie” trailer:
“Troll 2” trailer:
“The Room” trailer: