By Ho Wei Jian
Films have the ability to make us cry, laugh and most importantly, give us a sense of escapism. From the heartbreaking anguish we feel when Jack dies in Titanic, to the encroaching suspense of The Thing, we all have our revered films. But what about films that are considered ‘good’ because they’re really, really bad? Here are four examples:
The Room (2003)
“You’re just like a little chicken, cheep cheep cheep cheep,” says Johnny, taunting his best friend Mark as they confer over adultery in this emotionally heavy film. I’m just joking. I’m not talking about a masterpiece, I’m talking about The Room.
From its bizarre dialogue, which includes “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!” and “Oh, hi Mark,” to its debauched sex scenes, Tommy Wiseau’s The Room is a subversive masterpiece. Since its debut, The Room has gained a huge cult following, selling out in Europe and the United States to this day.
The Disaster Artist, a book written by Greg Sestero, who plays Mark in The Room, details the entire filmmaking process, and is a comedy about how a group of outcasts managed to succeed against the odds. The book has since spawned a 2017 film starring James Franco and Seth Rogen.
What is most distinctive about The Room is that you can distinguish it from its mistakes. A lot of the audio recorded on set in The Room was unusable, which resulted in the need for ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement). One such scene was in a shop where protagonist Johnny, played by Wiseau, goes to buy flowers for his fiancé Lisa. The ADR was so horribly misplaced, it suffered from lack of realism.
We can’t help but question why the film was not redubbed for better sound design. However, The Room wears such mistakes on its sleeve. Wiseau remained confident that The Room was a masterpiece, even submitting it for Oscar consideration. Ironically, a film titled Room (2015), won Best Picture in the 2016 Oscars.
The Room remains one of the most famous films in the list of ‘so bad they’re good’ and anyone who wants a good chuckle should check it out.
Birdemic Shock and Terror (2010)
Have you ever marvelled at movie special effects, such as the ones in Avengers: Endgame? Then meet Birdemic Shock and Terror, produced by James Nguyen, which takes special effects to a whole new level.
Around 40 minutes into the film, a flock of cheap bird pictures will viciously attack nearby towns and gas stations by becoming tiny CG (computer-generated) explosions – as revenge for mankind’s destruction of the environment.
From its horribly recorded sound design to its inexplicably hilarious bird special effects, to the incredibly stoic performance from protagonist Rod, Birdemic is a recipe for a hilarious disaster.
In a documentary by Vice, Nyugen reveals that he takes heavy inspiration from legendary director Alfred Hitchcock. This is evident from the fact that Birdemic looked highly reminiscent of the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds, where a romantic relationship goes bad when a flock of birds attack a small town.
Birdemic managed to gain incredible traction since Nyugen advertised his movie from a van after being rejected for the Sundance Film Festival. It would soon sell out on several midnight screenings and spawn a sequel in 2013, titled Birdemic 2: The Resurrection.
Fateful Findings (2013)
Neil Breen wrote, directed, produced, edited, and starred in Fateful Findings, a divine jewel of overt liberal political views, convoluted plot threads, and surreal imagery. Breen, originally an architect, debuted in the filmmaking world with Double Down. Fateful Findings is his third film.
Its political views are expressed through its characters, where a few senators and insurance agents kill themselves while admitting their lies in public. With its overbearing use of greenscreen and the surreal tone of a David Lynch movie, Fateful Findings is one bad movie you do not want to miss.
Who Killed Captain Alex (2010)
Ugandan film Who Killed Captain Alex is the cheapest film on this list, made with a measly $85. Its hilarious special effects, unintentionally witty dialogue, and overexposed shots bring new light to a culture in Uganda.
With voiceovers to replace real dialogue and a famous scene of two men jumping off an animated helicopter behind a greenscreen, Who Killed Captain Alex has become somewhat of an internet sensation, with its trailer racking over 3.3 million views on Youtube.