Bad bad bad

The other day, as I was off work with a bad back, I found myself on the sofa aimlessly surfing the channels for something to distract me. I must have channel hopped for about 20 minutes before I realised it was approaching the hour and there might be a movie starting on one of the many movie channels at my disposal.

Please note that by this point I had watched all the movies and TV shows that I’d previously recorded and the prospect of painfully extracting myself from the sofa to get a DVD, and then trying to bend down to put it in the player, was not an appealing one. There was a book nearby but I wasn’t really in a reading kind of mood and frankly I was just looking for something to act as a distraction.

And that may have been why I found myself watching Babylon A.D.

Don’t get me wrong, it was certainly a distraction in as much as it was fascinatingly awful in a myriad of ways. The only way I can explain how bad it was is to suggest that for the most part, whilst watching the movie, I felt like I was watching some pre-release edit where the final scenes hadn’t actually been filmed or properly cut together. Quite bizarre. If it weren’t for the fact that I couldn’t lie down as it was too painful, I’d have guessed that I’d fallen asleep for a few minutes here and there.

In saying that it was a good distraction, yes it was dull, badly shot, woeful written, poorly edited and by and large I’d suggest you all avoid if at all costs, but ultimately it left me pondering.

Why do we watch bad movies?

I say we because I know that other people do this, that once we have committed to watching a movie then, come hell or high water, we’ll damn well see it through to the end. Oddly, for me at least, that commitment takes all of a few minutes to make but once I’m past that point then no matter how awful the acting, or directionless the directing, I will watch until the closing credits.

The same sort of weird logic applies to watching a movie from part way through. Typically this only happens if those first few minutes are enough to grab my attention, a perfect example of this would be Duel. I remember flicking through the channels late one night and happened across this movie about halfway through. There was something about the way it was shot and acted that grabbed my attention.

I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on but I was gripped, watching the rest of the movie and thoroughly enjoying it despite knowing I’d missed the opening part of the movie. But I watched it anyway. It was a few years before I finally saw the entire thing (it’s well worth a watch, early Jaws-era Spielberg without the big fake shark).

However I can find no good reason as to why I watch bad movies all the way to completion. I am quite capable of changing the channel if something bores me, and I’ve stopped watching movies because part way through i’ve realised I’m not really in the mood (movies I’ve later gone on to watch and enjoy), but if it’s a properly bad movie I’m riveted.

Car crash cinema?

3 comments

  1. Bizarrely, my prof. is the opposite. If he is not completely entranced and bedazzled by the first 15 minutes he switches off. He walks out of cinemas if he is not completely enamoured. His wife chortling tells me that they sometimes watch up to 3 DVDs in an evening, but never get to the end of one.
    It should be pointed out that they only recently got a tv, and never watch it, only for DVDs, and so all the films they have ever seen are basically from the cinema. Perhaps having a tv means our dross threshold lowers?

  2. I happily give up on films if they’re not good – at least, if I’m watching at home.

    My commitment issue is with books. I find it very hard to give up on one once I’ve started, even if it’s dreadful and even though there are so many better ones waiting to be read. I blame it on being brainwashed as a child.

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