Tesla and I like to watch bad movies. Really, really bad movies. Sci-Fi original movies, to be exact, along with anything else that most people would rather endure a root canal without Novocaine than admit to voluntarily wasting two hours of irretrievable life upon.
Yeah, that kind of movies.
Not every night, of course, but about once a month we’ll sit down with the remote, big bowls of popcorn and assorted soda cans (Dr. Pepper for Tesla, the diet version for me) and root for the snakes on the plane. Or the massive snowstorm that threatens to destroy the universe.
Or whatever happens to be up against mega-shark this week. (Except the people, of course.)
As the celluloid rolls, the body count rises, and snowflakes the size of VW beetles hammer down on an unsuspecting populace (because, you know, you can’t see that sort of thing coming and run away), Tesla and I take turns delivering MST3k-style commentary and narration.
You know the type.
“Terrified at the thought of missing his 9am meeting, Doug stepped from the subway and…oh look, Doug has a call on his cell phone, JUST AS THE METEOR HURLS FROM THE SKY. Oh yeah, that’s gonna hurt.”
Go, Team Meteor.
Now, I know this all makes us sound like horrible, wicked people. (It’s not exactly PC to admit you laughed like hyenas at a meteor that took out Paris … be it France or Hilton.) But before you shake your head and back away slowly, consider: it’s a lesson in perspective. Writers often hear that the villain is the hero of his own story – or, more properly, the protagonist (as many villains are well aware that they are doing wrong). Cheering for the shark merely turns an otherwise horrid film into an opportunity to examine (and hypothesize loudly upon) the myriad reasons something went desperately wrong in this poor fish’s upbringing, resulting in a monster the size of Cleveland. (Leading candidates: radiation, drug abuse, and the inability to have that kitten he always wanted.)
In truth, the exercise is just a good excuse to let loose at the filmmakers’ expense, but there is a grain of truth in the theory, too. A good writer seeks any excuse to increase creativity and explore alternative viewpoints. Told from the view of the shark, Jaws becomes a cautionary tale.
And it never ends well for the meteor.
Take the time to look at something from a different perspective this week. Shake things up and turn them on their heads. Find an unexpected laugh or a sympathetic character in a villain. You may find your writing becomes the richer for it.
Do you like to laugh at bad movies too? Hop into the comments and share your favorites.