Queenan via Massie via Drezer via McCardle has this to say on bad movies.
To qualify as one of the worst films of all time, several strict requirements must be met. For starters, a truly awful movie must have started out with some expectation of not being awful. That is why making a horrific, cheapo motion picture that stars Hilton or Jessica Simpson is not really much of an accomplishment. Did anyone seriously expect a film called The Hottie and The Nottie not to suck? Two, an authentically bad movie has to be famous; it can’t simply be an obscure student film about a boy who eats live rodents to impress dead girls. Three, the film cannot be a deliberate attempt to make the worst movie ever, as this is cheating. Four, the film must feature real movie stars, not jocks, bozos, has-beens or fleetingly famous media fabrications like Hilton. Five, the film must generate a negative buzz long before it reaches cinemas; like the Black Plague or the Mongol invasions, it must be an impending disaster of which there has been abundant advance warning; it cannot simply appear out of nowhere. And it must, upon release, answer the question: could it possibly be as bad as everyone says it is? This is what separates Waterworld, a financial disaster but not an uncompromisingly dreadful film, and Ishtar, which has one or two amusing moments, from The Postman, Gigli and Heaven’s Gate, all of which are bona fide nightmares.
Six, to qualify as one of the worst movies ever made, a motion picture must induce a sense of dread in those who have seen it, a fear that they may one day be forced to watch the film again – and again – and again. To pass muster as one of the all-time celluloid disasters, a film must be so bad that when a person is asked, “Which will it be? Waterboarding, invasive cattle prods or Jersey Girl?”, the answer needs no further reflection. This phenomenon resembles Stockholm Syndrome, where a victim ends up befriending his tormentors, so long as they promise not to make him watch any more Kevin Smith movies. The condition is sometimes referred to as Blunted Affleck.
I actually like Kevin Smith movies, but I see his point.
I would add point 7 — a movie must have its defenders. Nothing can make you hate a movie more than someone insisting that some piece of shit is actually a good flick. That’s why the movie I hate most is Jerry Maguire. It meets all seven requirements.
So why do I hate the movie? First, there’s the execrable acting. Maguire might be the most over-acted movie in cinematic history, from Cruise’s somnambulant turn at enunciation to Gooding’s scenery chewing. Then there’s whatever message it’s trying to push. Maguire’s diatribe makes me puke anytime I hear it.
But mostly it’s the horrid script. Rarely do you see a script that is: (a) completely ignorant of its subject matter — most sports agents have lots of clients because very few of them will make money; (b) riddled with cliched dialogue stolen from other better movies; (c) lacking i any kind of subtlety — the “you’re a strong black man” scene is painful to think about, let alone watch; (d) responsible for the most over-rated and over-used movie quotes in history — which I will not repeat here for the sake of decency.
It’s Jerry Maguire that makes me sympathize with people who hate Lord of the Rings, a movie I obviously love. No film is worse than the one everyone else loves. And the more they try to argue with you and persuade you that “no really, it’s a great movie! How can you not like it! Don’t you love this line!”, the more you hate it.