Have I mentioned how much I enjoy blogging so far? It has only been a few weeks, but already I am digging it.
Anyway, I want to talk about B-movies this week. You know those awful movies that never make it into the theatres. On the rare occasion, one manages to get enough backing and buzz to merit it hitting the big screens. B-movies are everywhere. And as much as we like to hate them, we consume them with a strange vigor. I hadn’t watched a true B-movie in a couple months. Last night, I snuggled up and put on Rise of the Zombies (Nick Lyon 2012). There was nothing better to watch and I couldn’t resist a movie with both Danny Trejo and LeVar Burton. I wish I had turned away, but I came away from the experience enjoying it.
There is a not so explicit difference between a bad movie and a b movie. Not all b movies are bad, but there certainly are quite a number of them that are. I’ll start with why bad movies are bad movies. Actually, it’s kind of hard to describe. Bad movies are just bad. Sure than can be a flurry of reasons a movie is bad. The plot is flimsy. The characters aren’t engaging. There are more plot holes than there are good moments. The premise is positively ridiculous. The pacing in the movie is way too slow. I don’t care about the characters. The casting is terrible. They can’t act. The list goes on and on. Yet, everything could be right about a bad movie, and it still sucks.
Green Lantern( Martin Campbell 2011) is a fabulous example of a bad movie. Nothing felt grounded. I didn’t feel invested in the world. The problems could pile one on top of the other. I can’t fully condemn the movie because despite all of the flaws, I was still engaged by Ryan Reynolds. His charisma wasn’t enough to save the movie. It was still completely terrible. Green Lantern was a huge budget production and it still produced a bad movie.
I am not saying all B-movies are bad movies. That is not true. There are gems, but many are bad. I suspect money plays a large part in this, but I could be wrong. B-movies have their own set of conventions, depending on the genre. A B-movie may have some really great elements in it, but one major flaw in another area that drags it down. What really sets a B-movie apart from an A-movie is the money. It’s the promotion. It’s the people working to try to make it good. Syfy movies are awful for a reason. There is a constraint on budget and it shows. The truly great ideas are either independent or major releases. Not many are relegated to the nether realm of productions.
The key difference is a b-movie can still be enjoyed. I sat through Rise of the Zombies and laughed my ass off at it the entire time. It was truly ridiculous. The characters did everything that they shouldn’t have. A plot line that opened the movie was abruptly ended in an entirely unsatisfying way. Yet, I still watched that movie to the very end. I believe the difference comes from the way in which we watch these movies, compared to those movies that are so bad they can’t be finished. When I turned on that movie, I knew I was walking into a bad movie. It delivered. My every last poor expectation was met. When I watched something like Green Lantern, I may not have been expecting an OSCAR nominee, but I was expecting a decent movie. It wasn’t what I got.
The point is, it is all about expectations. With B-movies I expect flaws, but still hope to be entertained by them playing into their status.
Maybe next week I’ll stray away from movies for a change. Nah, The Wolverine(James Mangold 2013) is coming out.