Wednesday, August 10, 2011

So Bad It's Good?

The other day, Captain Film Major mentioned that when he comes across a bad line or scene in a movie, he'll rewind and watch it over again. When I asked why he would want to inflict that on himself a second/third/umpteenth time, he said he wanted to make sure it was really as bad as he'd originally thought.

Though this originally struck me as a little unusual (read: crazy weird) it's since dawned on me that it's not the most uncommon thing. After all, when I'm reading a conversation that seems to be going off the rails or the character is saying something utterly ridiculous, I find myself pausing to redirect the scene or patch up the rocky bits. I find myself trying to save it. Is that so different from Captain Film Major trying to see if maybe it wasn't that bad.

This leads me to an interesting thought. Normally, as writers, we are told to revisit works we considered particularly fantastic so that we could study what that author did right. Might it not also be worth our time to consider some things that were particularly awful so that we can see just went wrong and, possibly how it could have been made better?

Maybe studying things that we thought we massive train wrecks could actually be a useful tool for finding the errors in our own work and learning to correct them.

Do you ever find yourself revising work that's already done/published/released for your viewing pleasure? Have you ever read/watched/studied something just for its level of badness? Is there something to be learned from work that was just plain awful?

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