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The Joy of Watching (and Rewatching) Movies So Bad They’re Good

Michael Musto | Longreads | May 7, 2019 | 2,090 words
Posted inArts & Culture, Essays & Criticism, Feature, Featured, Nonfiction, Story

The Joy of Watching (and Rewatching) Movies So Bad They’re Good

Michael Musto sings the praises of his favorite cinematic clunkers.
Wiseau-Films, Warner Bros, American International Pictures, Quintet Productions, Four Leaf Productions, Mid-America Pictures

Michael Musto | Longreads | Month 2019 | 8 minutes (2,090 words)

I’ve known about the power of good/bad movies since I was a kid, but I was reminded of it just a few days after 9/11, when I went to a press screening of Mariah Carey’s unwitting classic Glitter.

Naturally, New York City was traumatized, many of us going through the motions in a daze as we tried to make sense of the horror. But we had to make a living, so, along with a handful of other arts journalists, I dragged myself to the screening, not sure of what we were getting into. It turned out to be the hackneyed story of a DJ who tries to lift a backup singer (Mariah) up from her humble roots through song and romance. And it was evident quickly into the film that Mariah just didn’t have the acting chops; the new Meryl Streep this wasn’t. We uncomfortably sat there watching the pop diva try to act, but eventually we couldn’t hold back, and a few of her line readings were greeted with titters — the first time I’d heard laughter (including my own) since 9/11. It sounded both shocking and very welcome, and the unintended reaction mounted during a ludicrous scene where Mariah and the DJ were magically thinking of the same melody. By the end, when Mariah spills out of a limo in a glittery gown to visit her dirt-poor mother, we were all screaming in hilarity. This was just the catharsis we needed, and it generously helped us bond and move on.

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