I don’t have any interest in Sharknado. The movie, that is. Or the sequel, for that matter. And now Sharknado 3 has been announced. Emotions seem mixed on the internet about this, and that’s the part that interests me.
People seem amazed that reaction can be so large for such a bad movie. (There are a ton of reasons why it’s a bad movie, not the least of which is the impossibility of the premise. But again, I don’t care.) And I’m not one to look for people to blame for things (I’m an oddity in that I believe in exploring the responsibility angle rather than merely assigning a scapegoat.), but I think I see the issue here. Bad movies are cool. It’s a strange phenomenon to be sure, but that’s the essence of it. And at the heart of why bad movies are cool is a little TV show from the 1980s called Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K for short, and I’m probably not enlightening anyone with this).
The idea that one can mock a bad movie probably isn’t all that new, but MST did a really good job of it. And the guys who wrote and starred in it were (and are) really funny. So the show became an underground hit (and still exists online in the form of Rifftrax). What they did was make it fun to pick on the terrible flicks. Couple that with the Syfy network and their desire to fill their broadcast time with cheaply made SF movies and you’ll find a natural fit.
And then Twitter latched on like a hungry infant.
Anyway, one of the things I’ve found most interesting is when people ponder what it will take to get Syfy to stop making Sharknado movies (which is really just the most obvious example at the moment). And I think I’ve found the answer. It’s simple, really, though I don’t think it will be easy (these are very different concepts, before you jump on me).
And it is: make a good Sharknado movie.
If people enjoy mocking the bad movies, stop making the bad movies. How do we do that? Make good ones. Simple, like I said. Do I want to be the one to try to write a good Sharknado movie? Hell no. But I suspect that a good start would be to find a way to make the premise less unbelievable. Maybe aliens or an alternate universe or something.
But why would anyone make fun of a good movie? I don’t remember seeing Citizen Kane on MST3K. Or Casablanca. Or The Silence of the Lambs. No Oscar winners at all, that I’m aware of. There’s just nothing there to mock.
I’m pretty sure it would shut down the hype machine. And then they would just find something else to hype about. So it goes.