What Makes a Bad Movie Bad?


Demetria Slyt, Opinion Writer

Have you ever watched a movie that you were really excited about and it just wasn’t what you expected? Are there too many confusing plot points and not enough relatable characters? Is the acting comparable to your fifth-grade school play? Are you disappointed because of all of the big Hollywood executive alterations to the original story? You aren’t alone. There have been many times where I’ve gone to the theatre and walked out completely let down; mind you, my movie taste isn’t exquisite, but I can recognize a bad one. Amongst all of the great classic movies out there, are some pretty bad stinkers. Some movies have become cult classics because they’re so bad.  

I have probably seen more movies than there are stars in the sky. If you ever asked me for a movie recommendation I could give you a million that you might never have heard of before. Some of these movie suggestions may be bad, but that’s part of why they’re so good! Sometimes the laugh value is enough to sit through one of these movies. A movie I’ve been hearing a lot about in that sense is The Room (2006) from director Tommy Wiseau. This movie is not meant to be comical but is famously recognized as one of the worst films ever made, and with a $6 million budget! I don’t think I could describe what makes this movie bad, you would just have to check it out for yourself and plunge into madness. Or you could check out the sort of “movie about the movie” The Disaster Artist (2017) which I believe is on Netflix currently. The Disaster Artist is a comedy-drama that explores the making of the film The Room and the role of writer/actor/director Tommy Wiseau who is portrayed by actor James Franco. The movie focuses on the making of The Room and what went wrong: the bad acting, poor planning, insufficient budget, and difficult to follow the plot. 

One of the biggest issues a movie can have, in my opinion, is being too hard to follow; this is especially true in movies with excessive amounts of plot lines or multiple characters that you have to keep track of. The problem is that this often confuses the audience and causes them to slowly lose interest; nobody likes to work hard to keep up with a movie’s story! Too many subplots in a movie can feel pointless and fail to add to the story and help with character development. Directors sometimes take an experimental route with movies, trying to create something deeper for the audience to delve into. In reality, with experimental movies, you never know if it’s going to be a hit or not. Its success is fully dependent on the audience’s reaction. I would argue that having deeper meanings in movies is a good way to keep your audience engaged and leave them wanting more. However, there is a point when things start to get muddled and thdeeper meaning that the director was trying to convey is lost. 

Another thing that adds to a disaster of a movie is poor direction and sub-par acting, this also includes choosing the wrong person for a role. There are many movies out there that are notorious for having some if not all of these aforementioned issues. We have movies with sloppy camera work because of poor the direction of camera-men, awkward interactions between characters because the actors have no chemistry, and themes that don’t fit the overarching narrative at all. It’s kind of baffling how movies like this are released because there are millions of dollars spent on the budget and production and there are early screenings to see how audiences respond to the movie to ensure that it is good or that it is received well.  

When I watch movies with friends and family, another common complaint that I hear is the quality of the effects or graphics a movie utilizes. Let’s consider the film Cats (2019) for a moment. If you hadn’t heard about this big-screen adaption of the original Broadway musical I would be surprised, many critics have called it the best worst movie of all time. The character designs are too humanized and very off-putting to see, they look like pure nightmare fuel. Not to mention the movie wasn’t even finished by the time they started test screening it, the CGI was rumored to be incomplete in many scenes and glitchy. There’s not even really much of a plot to this movie, to put it simply it’s a talent show for cats. All of the good this movie could have been was undone by the poor CGI and designs; as well as the direction and camera shots. Overproduction of a movie can lead to many mistakes, and also overwhelm the audience with effects. I haven’t seen this movie, I would recommend it only because it’s been said to be something that you have to experience, even if that experience is bad.  

There are many things that make a bad movie, ranging from poor acting to bad effects. Sometimes a movie is bad because the original story is being twisted on its head so hard, it makes it practically indigestible for fans all over the world. Bad movies can grow to become laughable cult classics like the previously mentioned films The Room and Cats. I found a list of the 30 worst movies of all time and some of them are kind of surprising, if you’re interested I’ve proved the link for it below. What are some of your favorite bad movies? What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen? What do you think makes a bad movie bad? As always, feel free to reach out to me via email! I thoroughly enjoy hearing back from readers and getting their perspective on what I write about from week to week. Stay tuned for more and more importantly stay safe out there! 


Demetria Slyt is a Dakota Student Opinion Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]