Not all films have to be good to be good. While I’ve seen my fair share of terrible movies over the years, I only recently discovered just how true this concept rings. About a month ago, out of COVID-related boredom, I stumbled upon the 2013 Neil Breen cult classic, Fateful Findings. What I watched was a one-hour-and-forty-minute dumpster fire of a film illustrating the sheer force of one man, one greenscreen, and zero plotline—and somehow, I could not tear myself away. Over the past several weeks (admittedly to the mild detriment of my grades), I’ve become a bit obsessed with these wonderfully awful films and now jump at the chance to share them with others. It was only natural that I would be immediately drawn to So Bad It’s Good.
MoPOP’s latest film series, So Bad It’s Good takes my innate human craving for terrible media and transforms it into a biweekly screening, where fellow awful movie lovers can come together to view and comment on cinematic catastrophes. Every other Saturday, So Bad It’s Good host Kasi Gaarenstroom teams up with the special guest of the week (who also happens to be a lover of the film in question) on Zoom to watch and discuss these truly horrible movies. Gaarenstroom starts off by introducing the film of the week and the guest (when I attended, it was the 1997 classic Anaconda accompanied by herpetologist Chelsea Connor) and then it’s straight into the film! Though you do have to provide the movie for yourself on your own device, there are several links to different streaming platforms with the film available in the chat, and even if you should experience tech difficulties at one point or another, the main screen during the viewing is a timer, so you can sync back up with the group.
Although you can go in blind—as I saw several people in the chat mention they were doing—I wanted to know what exactly I would be getting myself into, so I watched Anaconda a night in advance. And let me tell you, after watching this monstrosity twice in less than 24 hours, I can certify with full confidence that the movie is truly something else. From the awkwardly flat acting from actors you generally expect more from (Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, and Jon Voigt, to name a few) to the horrifying inaccuracies of the giant half-puppet, half-CGI snake to the oddly soft, intermittent “damn” from Ice Cube at highly inappropriate moments (like when two of his crewmates fall off the boat and get eaten alive by the anaconda before his eyes! Damn indeed, Ice Cube!), it was everything I could have hoped for in a terrible movie and more.
But what really made the screening worth the watch was the chat function. Though all cameras are off during the actual movie, everyone, including you, dear viewer, has access to the chat. And your level of engagement with the others is totally up to you—there’s no pressure to contribute, so you can be anywhere from a silent but appreciative bystander to a master of snarky quips at every twist and turn the film takes.
Personally, I found that another great part of this chat was getting to interact with the special guest. Chelsea Connor answered all of our snake-related questions in real-time and was able to point out other errors along the way, from issues with size (real anacondas are not, in fact, 40 feet in length, but rather around a third of that at their largest) to appetite (not only would a real anaconda never dream of dining on humans, but it would take at least a week to digest just one, let alone multiple), and beyond. At the very end, she and Gaarenstroom came back on camera to answer some final personal questions about her experiences in her field of expertise, the perfect way to assimilate back into the real world, one where monstrous snakes aren’t actively on the hunt to chow down on you and all your closest friends.
Although quarantine activities are generally inferior to their non-isolation versions, So Bad It’s Good has managed to wrap up all the highlights of this past year—media as an escape from reality; non-camera Zoom calls; casual, low stakes social interactions from the comfort of your own home; and an overarching sense of mild chaos—into a two-hour Saturday night delight. Perhaps you’re new to the bad movie scene and want to see what all the hype’s about, or maybe you’re a hardened terrible film connoisseur…whatever your case may be, So Bad It’s Good will certainly deliver the belly laugh and sense of solidarity with the other viewers that you’re craving. My only complaint is that the series didn’t start sooner!
So Bad It's Good screening and discussion at MoPOP, is held every second Saturday of the month. For more information see here.