The “So Good It’s Bad” Films

In my experience in movie-watching I’ve found a difference in a movie I like and a movie I think is good. These are not mutually exclusive. A movie I like can also be a movie I think is awful on a technical level (a la Fateful Findings). These are called “so bad it’s good movies”. I believe there’s an inverse to that, a so called “so good it’s bad movies”, where dark and complex themes are so well implemented it makes the movie hard-to-watch.

An example that inspired this video is Rain Man, which I recently watched for the first time because it was brought back to theaters as a Fathom Event for its 35th anniversary. It’s directing, acting, complex characters and writing make it a solid film. However, I was put off by the character of Raymond. That’s not to say I didn’t find him well-written or well-acted. I’m not an expert on the subject, but he has been acclaimed as a realistic example of a low-functioning Autistic character. I found the character grating and physically hard-to-watch because of his nasally voice, awkward mannerisms, frequent outbursts, and repetitive phrases. Which in my opinion, seemed to be the intent of the writer to show how difficult life could be with severe autism, and how it affects people around them. Watching the movie I pitied him, but also his brother Charlie for having to constantly accommodate him.

Another film I watched recently that could fit this category is Oldboy, a South Korean psychological thriller. Though I do not consider myself queasy to excessive violence, even I have my limits. And the incest twist ending is haunting and quite disgusting to be honest. With that said I can’t deny its merits as a movie in itself. Despite it’s low budget, it’s intense directing and acting, stylistic cinematography, and its well-executed plot twists made it a brilliant film. Though like I said there were certain parts that made me extremely uncomfortable which is why I probably won’t view this film for a very long time.

Though I had a hard time watching these films I still acknowledge that they are well-made and deserving of their praise. Maybe the reason these films are so special is because they elicit a strong emotional reaction from me. I find films that are capable of that have mastered their intent. Films are meant to bring emotions out of people, and sometimes emotions aren’t pretty.

Jacob Reed

Region-based Film/TV nerd.

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