How Sharknado Is Ruining The Fun Of Bad Movies

How Sharknado Is Ruining The Fun Of Bad Movies

What SyFy originals are lacking.

After an absence of almost twenty years, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is back, having premiered on Netflix last week. Thankfully, the new cast has proven adept at heckling bad movies, just as the original cast did in the 90s.

While it may never have had a large audience, the show was arguably the starting point for the Internet's obsession with bad movies. During its original run, the show featured some of the worst movies ever made, as its characters mercilessly mocked them. To this day, IMDb's list of the 100 worst-rated movies includes many films brought to light by the show, from Manos: The Hands of Fate to The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies. Old school B-movies, foreign exploitation films, and direct-to-video schlock are common targets on the show. However, another kind of film has joined the landscape of trash cinema: the SyFy original.

Sharktopus. Dinocroc. Mega Piranha. The list goes on. The name SyFy (formerly the Sci-Fi Channel) has become synonymous with unimaginative disaster and monster movies. The Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival even commented on this development during its takedown of the 1978 disaster movie Avalanche. The show's new host Jonah, along with his robot companions, devised an increasingly absurd series of potential SyFy titles, from Triceraquake to Volcanasaurus Rex. It seems like a playful jab at SyFy, which cancelled the original Mystery Science Theater in 1999. However, they make a valid point in the process.

MST has always uncovered genuinely bad films, amusing oddities lacking budgets, talent, coherence, or some combination thereof. SyFy, on the other hand, specializes in producing deliberately bad movies, seemingly intended for ironic viewing. SyFy's movies are undeniably bad, but they lack the qualities that make bad movies funny. Genuinely bad movies often take themselves incredibly seriously, despite being ridiculous. There's something inherently amusing about actors screaming in terror at the sight of a monster that's clearly a rubber sock puppet. The problem with movies like the Sharknado series, however, is that the filmmakers are in on the joke.

Making a deliberately bad movie is just an easy way to circumvent criticism. No matter how bad it turns out, the filmmakers can always argue it was intentional. Ambition and risk are essential to the creative process, even if they result in failure. You can learn a lot about filmmaking by seeing the common mistakes that can drag a film down. Besides, failure can be funny. We get a rush of excitement when we see a boom mic drop into frame, or a crew member trying (and failing) to hide from the camera. SyFy originals draw our attention to their calculated flaws, effectively throwing an Easter egg at your face instead of letting you look for it. There's simply no point in mocking a bad movie if it wants to be mocked for its badness.

Watching a bad movie can often be a much better experience than watching a good movie. However, that experience simply can't be captured intentionally. Trying to make a movie bad can prevent it from being good, but it misses the real appeal of a bad movie. Good or bad, any movie worth watching is the product of a leap of faith, not a cynical lack of effort.

Cover Image Credit: SyFy

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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