Thursday, August 23, 2012

I actually like making "bad" movies...

So, I had a conversation today about someone's opinion that I'm a shitty film maker - I'm paraphrasing that because the details are boring. I'm not writing this to call them out or insult them or anything like that, it was their opinion and they're more than welcome to it. My intention isn't to talk about them behind their back in a forum where they can't defend themselves, that's not the point. I don't even want them to comment on this, it's not really even about them. And I believe that statement was more reactionary than plotted out.

But I do find it hilarious. Now I don't know exactly what's going on in some people's heads, however I do have a pretty damned good idea sometimes. I find people can be pretty transparent when it comes to certain things. In this case when certain phrases are mentioned in conjunction with a very specific project I've done - I have to laugh a bit.

I've said this before and gone on and on about it before to the point where it's feeling pretentious almost, like I'm holding myself up as some brilliant misunderstood auteur  - couldn't be farther from the truth. In fact, I do make shitty movies - that's kinda the point, but a shitty film maker? That's a matter of opinion really and I don't really care anyway.

I am not a film maker nor do I even want to be. I might've harbored some thoughts towards it once upon a time, that was a long time ago though. A very long time ago. I hate the fact that just beause I made a movie, or several, that for some people it instantly means I must want to be a professional film maker. Does a bunch of guys playing baseball in their backyard mean they all are dying to be pro ball players? Not in every case - some people just like doing things because it's fun. That's it.

I hate the business side of it and I don't really care much for amateur film making - not to be confused with independent film making. I draw the distinction by the arrogance of the film maker that implies they're not amateur, when they clearly are, simply by calling themselves an indie film maker instead - I've done that myself, no one's safe.

My point to all this is opinions and impressions and how one person's opinion totally colours their view of something. That's obvious though. Without again going into detail, as it's not really the point of why I'm writing this, just the inspiration, Bimbo Zombie Killers! was called out for being a shitty movie - that's cool. It's supposed to be. See, when it's call it a shitty movie, it's a compliment not an insult. That means I did my job damned well, so well, that I fooled them.

This is a tricky thing to explain, and it might be some foolish assuming on my behalf but it's a consistent enough thing where I'm pretty comfortable in saying I fully believe I'm right in making this statement. There are certain key words and phrases that I see in negative feedback, towards this movie specifically - the problem is those words, in conjunction with a serious attempt at film making, would be a devastating blow to any ego.

But in the case of this one particular project, these words are compliment because I realized that I fooled them. I don't mean to make that sound like I just "duped some sucker", but that my hard work in attempting to make a movie so ramshackle and bad (as an homage to bad 70s movies that more than likely were serious, but failed, attempts) that I actually created a movie that looked genuinely bad. So bad that it's believed to be a failed attempt at serious film making rather than a successful attempt at shitty film making.

Does that make sense? I can understand that people don't care for that, but I was successful in what I did, just because a person or even a group didn't like it is pointless, but the fact they base their opinion on whether or not they liked in on the very points I specifically created the whole project around - leads me to believe, they simply didn't get it. That doesn't mean even if they did "get it" they'd suddenly have to like it.

I'm pretty sure I went on about this before, I know I have with people in person. It's just that this is something I find a little perplexing and rather amusing. It's like someone watches it, they see the title of the movie, they see the shitty colouring and lines and scratches (very obviously done for effect since lines and scratches don't appear on digital, you know that, right?) and still as they sit through the utterly retarded dialog and  are fixed on the notion I made this as a serious attempt at film making. I've had other folks, who are very knowledgeable about film, say how much they loved Bimbo Zombie Killers! totally because it hit all the marks of an homage to a very specific time and place in "bad movie history". The liked it because they "got it". See where I'm going with this?

I'm not insulting people who don't get it, not by any means. I don't want anyone to feel bad, although it's like not getting the joke "Why'd the chicken cross the road?" It's not an intelligent joke by any means - but it's also far from a subtle joke. The arrogant part of me, and believe me it's there in large quantities at times, believes that I might've done too good of a job. I forgot to add the "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" to let people know it's a joke - but I hate that hand-holding kind of movie. It's insulting, it's what the average film-goers hates too. When someone says a joke, we know we're supposed to laugh if it's funny - but we won't when laugh if it's not funny just because we're expected to. It's like the applause sign flashing at the audience during a sitcom taping, but this time it's the movie itself letting you know "It's okay to laugh, our scientifically proven humour should appeal to you and your age group.We're hip...Really." You have to let the audience figure it out for themselves, the problem is they don't always do that it seems.

Different tastes, different opinions, whatever. No one said anyone had to like what I do. Mine is a niche taste in films, no doubt about it. I grew up watching the same movies as everyone else, but I also saw a shitload of 70s, 80s exploitation and splatter flicks. Crap from the 50s and 60s - most of which  I probably don't even remember seeing I was so young. I saw the original I Spit on Your Grave when I was 11 or 12. I saw Michael Caine lose his hand to a mailbox and have it come back to kill him. Killer frogs on the bayou. Dumb shitty stupid movies - but fun. Comedy today in mainstream movies is dumb, it's stupid and lowest common denominator and we accept it. We revel in it - I don't, I hate most of it, but that's me. See, it's not clever stupid - it's stupid stupid.

I'm not saying saying what I'm doing is clever, but if it goes over someone's head and assuming they're able walk and breath at the same time, than it must be slightly more intelligent than your average Knock, Knock joke at the very least. While these movies I mentioned were done, most likely, in all seriousness, there was a silliness and campiness to them that's very appealing to some folks, but when you parody or satire them, you end up with fart jokes and ham-fisted attempts at humour - the individual lines of dialog shouldn't just be the only joke, the movie itself shouldn't have to have lame setups and punchlines - the whole damn thing is a joke. It's a joke that takes itself seriously, so seriously that it's ridiculous.

I guess since it's something I've always appreciated about film making that I never stopped to think that it actually might be that niche or maybe even an art form that simply goes go over the heads of some people. Or maybe some film goers just take themselves or the experience to seriously. I don't know why it happens, I just know I see it a lot.

Anyway, that's pretty much what was rolling around in my head. And to put a cap on the incident that inspired this, it did end well as far as I'm concerned - it was actually a good conversation, I've never really had to prove or explain my stance on what I do to anyone so it was actually nice to have that opportunity in some way. I have no ill will towards them and even take the blame in spurring them into making that comment in the first place. I had a bit of a "don't piss in my pool" reaction to a public suggestion that caused me to privately attempt to quickly, and abruptly, explain my position on things - it didn't come off well I guess.

That's it. The End. I like making shitty movies because it's goddamned fun, plain and simple.


  1. Right now I'm giving you a standing ovation. It's a little awkward since I'm in my cubicle at the office, but too bad. It was worth it.


  2. Anonymous11:09 PM

    Brilliance! Well said!