The following statement is true
: the fact that some thing can be ripped to shreds
, metaphorically, does not necessarily mean that thing is bad
. Mystery Science Theater 3000
made fun of bad movie
s, but it is also possible to make fun
of the good
ones, in such a way that it makes them appear to be bad. Wise
ly, they chose not to cross the line. By saying this, I refute
the adage that all humor
has its basis in truth
. There are lie
s that are damn funny
However, it is ten times more fun to read a review that rips a movie apart than to read a glowing review. Unless the film was almost a spiritual experience for the reviewer, it is also ten times more fun to write a lethal review. This is the entire point behind Roger Ebert's recent book, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie. It is a guilty pleasure of mine to go to his website's review archive and, instead of looking for films that got a full four stars, run a search on all the no star movies. Sometimes we will even rent one of these films, to sort of bask in the awfulness and make jokes. Watching a great movie should be a reverent experience; watching a bad one just as irreverent. In a way, the badness of the film is moral justification for its verbal vivisection.
About a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a review of the film "Dungeons & Dragons" and posted it to Everything. I told you guys that I thought it was a bad movie, and that I stand by that opinion. I wrote an almost incredibly scathing writeup for which I have gotten a lot of positive feedback. Indeed, I consider this review to be one of the better things I've written, if judged solely on its technical merits. But if the movie had not been so bad, or more accurately, if I hadn't perceived the movie as being so bad, then I would not have been able to throw myself into the writing so whole-heartedly. It is fun, and even profitable, to write a venomous review of a venomous movie. Increase the quality of the movie, however, and the review is no longer allowed to have as much fun. While bad reviews are evil and delicious, the real purpose of most reviewing is to convey factual information on the quality of the film, not to have a laugh at its expense.
Because of this, bad movies are often more fun than good ones. The Grinch, on which I have also written a review, I didn't like, but it wasn't a horrible movie. I just thought it wasn't that good. Dungeons & Dragons was worse, but it was so bad that I will probably see it again before it gets pulled from theaters. I could probably rewrite that entire review and not duplicate a joke, and I wrote a long, spoily review. Such rich material! But what does that say about movies, about me, about human nature? A film gets rewarded with matinee price, four additional dollars of revenue, because it was bad?
I wrote this writeup because I showed my D&D review, of which I was and still am proud, to an off-line friend and he actually got quite steamed. He liked the movie, a lot. I could now subject him to ridicule in the same venue, but I will not. He is a remarkably intelligent person, only with a different perspective on things. And the longer I live, the more that I see that this observation applies to everyone. Like bad movies that are still fun to watch, sometimes smart people have dumb views. Sometimes smart people have smart views that appear, to me, to be idiotic. There is no celestial authority, no perfectly objective point of view, from which to decide which is true. Sometimes I have good opinions that others do not understand, or of which they actively disapprove. Or maybe they aren't so great. There is not a person in this world in a position to judge. As time passes and I get older, the more I come to suspect that this is a very good thing.