The Bad B’s of Summer-Redux

The Bad B’s of Summer are upon us. Turner Classic is offering classics such as, “Gidget Goes Hawaiian” along with “The Thing that Couldn’t Die” and “The Brain that Wouldn’t Die.” For those of us who can’t get enough of the bad stuff, there’s a surfeit of bad B movies to choose from as we while away the long, hot days of summer.

Here’s the post from 2009-Recycled, as an oldie but goodie:

The Bad B’s…I got it bad, and that ain’t good. Meaning I like to watch Bad B Movies at times and they are not always bad enough to qualify as “Good/bad”. Sometimes they are terribly bad, or they can be consciously bad (the worst kind), and then there is ”unwatch-ably” bad-those kind are alright because, frankly, I couldn’t stand it. The rules of engagement are simple: Know your Bad B ’s before the Summer starts: Beach Blanket Bingo should be near the top of the list. Here’s a guide from seasons past:

In Praise of Bad Cinema Many years ago I wrote about really bad movies. Since that time, the list of contenders has grown but the criteria by which we judge deliciously awful films remains the same

Number One– The plot must be non-existent or at least not relevant to the action of the movie. It helps if the actors stink up the joint but that is not a prerequisite.

Number Two-Most of the time it must have a very low-budget. Major films have been known to join the ranks, but as a rule, classically bad cinema usually is in the range from tin-foil robot hats to plastic doors and cardboard rocks.

Number Three-The gold standard to aim for is “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” The title is fairly important, and most bad movies are judged from the base camp of Director Ed Wood’s enduringly awful examples.

Number Four-Science-fiction is preferred, but other genres are always acceptable. If the film does delve into science-fiction, the science portion of the script is usually based on the merits upheld by a television show originally aired in the 1950’s.

Number Five-This is an important element. At some point in the action, the dialogue must be unknowingly funny. If the story line makes too much sense or they try to salvage a movie with a brave attempt at logical plot points, the film cannot qualify. Tonight movie patrons around the country are being treated with a showing of the classically bad, “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. Some bad movies are just plain bad and boring to watch. The Plan 9 club for Bad B’s is in a class that is separate and apart from your typically awful movie. Some modern nominees I have seen (over the past 20 to 30 years) are Donny & Marie’s “Goin’ Coconuts”, Snakes on a Plane, Alexander, all Chuck Norris movies, all foreign martial-arts movies, any movie with Godzilla in the title made in Japan, The Night the Lights went out in Georgia, Mad Max, Old Hercules movies, Jason & the Argonauts, the Ryan O’Neal movie, “Tough Guys Don’t Dance”, Lee Majors as a Viking in “The Norseman”, and any Paris Hilton movie. It is important to note that in my day, we did not have the luxury of “fast-forwarding” through a movie with a button. That is cheating. The dialogue must be enjoyed or endured, however you want to look at it. By the way, my favorite Ed Wood movie is not “Plan 9” but “Glen or Glenda.” It beats Plan 9 by a mile with the wooden dialogue & the inexplicable cuts of buffalo running across the plains, but the clincher is the man behind a desk explaining to the audience what a transvestite is and why they are different than homosexuals. It’s a hoot in any era!

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MLJ

Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Degrees-Film-Future-Global-Village/

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