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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:40 pm 
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New Kid

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Erin brings the case against her friend Ezra. Ezra hosts a "Bad Movie Night" at his house for their friends to watch movies, eat, and hang out. It's a popular event, but Erin says that Ezra could make the night way more fun if he just took a few of her suggestions. Who is right?

Judge John Hodgman Episode 116: Shut Your Pie-Troll 2


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:55 pm 
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New Kid

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Gotta say I really disagreed with Judge Hodgman's assessment that b-movies by definition are not entertaining, or hard to watch. There are a lot of them that despite their flaws or cheesiness are still pretty enjoyable and charming. A b-movie can be bad but still have legitimate strengths. Miami Connection for instance, in my opinion, never has a dull moment, it's got cocaine stealing motorcycle ninjas vs a rock band of orphans who know taekwondo! It's fun!

I also host a b-movie night, except I do it every weekend and we not only watch 2 movies but some times we'll have an all day/night marathon and watch 3 or more, and it's a lot of fun. If a movie is just too hard to endure we stop watching it and skip to a different one. It's very rare that a film ends up being "hard to watch" though. I'd also like to argue that watching bad movies with friends is a lot more fun than watching actual good movies. A good movie you just sit there and enjoy passively, but watching a bad movie with friends is a much more active experience. B-movies feel more like an activity than simply watching a film.

I think asking Ezra to watch the movies beforehand kinda ruins the fun. I can't speak for Ezra, but for me personally a bad movie night is more fun when you're going on the journey with your friends and there's that element of spontaneity. Ezra can watch trailers and read reviews on Amazon and etc, listen to a podcast review, etc, I think that's sufficient vetting. If it turns out to just be unwatchable then they can simply stop watching it.

Perhaps Ezra should just find out who out of friends really has the same enthusiasm for b-movies as he does, and only invite them to this bad movie night, and then have an alternate bigger get together where they watch a good movie, that way everyone's happy.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:02 pm 
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New Kid

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The disagree with the judge's decision in this case. I sort of feel like the judge and Jesse teamed up a little too much on Ezra and his hobby. The judgement said that Ezra is not allowed to enjoy his own hobby that the judge and Jessie basically nerd-shamed him on. In this case one of his guests, who admittedly dislikes this hobby, brought up that they didn't want to partake in this and to change it around her ideas.

Also, as someone who clearly doesn't have their own bad movie night, the judge doesn't grasp the fun of experiencing these as a group for the first time. Watching bad movies is a social activity if you yell, laugh, and riff on the movie. This case also assumes that there isn't a Mike Nelson, or Bill Corbett or two in your group who help make the movie fun. If everyone is silently watching a bad movie eating messy food in their laps in a dark room then there is no question that this is a sad and needs to stop. From what I heard, though, people get involved and continue to attend the movie night.

This episode leaves a bad-taste in my mouth. I feel like after listening to this, the judge and Jesse is saying that anyone who has a bad-movie night should feel bad about what they do. :(


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:31 pm 
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New Kid

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ok... compiling a list of bad movies listed as a guide

help me out folks...
i will be updating here

d c cab
fantastic four
flophouse (from hodgman/jesse)
the room (from hodgman/jesse)
berlin alexanderplatz (from hodgman/jesse)
tammy the t-rex

-----------------
and boy-golly do i disagree with pronouncements during the ruling. it's not about being mean spirited.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:52 pm 
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Friend of the Family
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While the final judgment wasn't too unjust, the questioning in this case did rankle. I don't doubt Judge Hodgman's bonafides in consuming bad films, but the nerd-shaming was extremely surprising and regrettable coming from this courtroom. I also didn't hear sufficient evidence from Erin that Ezra's current practices were hurting attendance at his events; only that the plaintiff, a person who doesn't enjoy watching bad movies, continues to not enjoy them (and still shows up).

While "you can't compel a person to like a thing" is a cardinal rule on JJH, this came dangerously close to compelling a person to stop enjoying a thing, which is about as offensive. The "life's too short" argument against watching bad movies is a slippery slope. If I should always be mindful of better uses of my short time on this planet, perhaps I should be reading compendia of actual world knowledge.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:06 pm 
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New Kid
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Hmmm. I came here to chastise Mr. Hodgman for forgetting the name of the hilarious and charming Stuart Wellington of the Flop-House podcast and suggest that he guest on the Flop House as penance.
The judgment didn't strike me as unjust or bullying. Hodgman is clearly personally wary of "bad movie" watching as an interest, as it is *often* scornful, mean-spirited, and ultimately destructive rather than creative. No arguments here. Irony is soul sucking. Isn't that what Max Fun was founded upon?

He clearly isn't against bad movie watching as a hobby. He expressed much affection and admiration for the aforementioned Flop House podcast and MST3K/Rifftrax. He said Ezra throws bad parties, doesn't provide adequate furniture, and forces people to watch two movies, neither of which he has seen before. Ezra, basically, needs to curate the movies properly to ensure they are GOOD bad movies like Troll 2 and not merely boring or mediocre films. If you think that sounds worse than Ezra's original parties, then I guess we must agree to disagree.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:11 pm 
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New Sincericist

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I am definitely with Judge Hodgman in that inspired by him I made a choice to stop intentionally consuming "bad" things (even though I did enjoy the practice) and instead use that time consuming the "good" things I have wanted to see but never had time for instead. I have no regrets.

That said, I agree with AmazingLarryX. The judge was chastising Ezra for throwing a bad party with a recommendation that he rethink his bad-movie-watching habits, not an order.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 6:56 pm 
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aliceandstuff wrote:
That said, I agree with AmazingLarryX. The judge was chastising Ezra for throwing a bad party with a recommendation that he rethink his bad-movie-watching habits, not an order.


ALICE GETS IT

I think the point here is that a host has responsibilities to his or her guests, which weren't being fulfilled.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:41 pm 
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New Kid

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The most interesting thing about this case was completely brushed over. At 31:55, Erin says, "He and his girlfriends who live here." This bad-movie-watching, lap-eating dweeb lives with two (or more) girlfriends?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:07 pm 
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New Kid
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Regardless of the verdict, the tone was pretty harsh. Where was the love? Once the Judge eagerly defended folks to be into whatever they were into. This time, Hodgman and Thorn really took the defendant to task for his taste in movies. Yet Hodgman praised the Best Brains bunch who made a living doing the same thing. These kids were taking bad movies and transforming them in real time into watchable pieces of culture. It seems that just because it wasn't pre-digested by Mike Nelson, that there was some ineffable reason for scorn.

As far as being a terrible host, again, a pretty harsh tone, though knife-and-fork food for lap-based consumption isn't the most considerate thing you could serve. However, the kid is twenty-five, hosting "bad movie" night. This isn't a debutante's ball. The usual fare for that kind of thing is pizza and beer.

Besides, if you want a break from screen time during bad movie night to socialize, there is a place for that. It's called the kitchen.

I think the real keeper from the case was the card system. That could be fun. However, why turn the decision making of bad movie night over to someone who doesn't like bad movies? It seems like judicial overreach. The dynamics of watching a bad movie are very different than watching a good movie. Watching a bad movie in a group is far more creative and interactive. One doesn't have to worry about missing anything happening in the film, because one isn't really invested in it. However, a good movie is something that requires investment, with more silence and attention, and less overall social interaction.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:24 pm 
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New Kid
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Jesse wrote:
I think the point here is that a host has responsibilities to his or her guests, which weren't being fulfilled.


Surely the host's main responsibility for a Bad Movie Night is to provide one or more 'bad movies'. I don't see why he or she should prepare a MST3K-like list of points to make, that's supposed to happen within the group viewing the movies naturally. And part of the fun is also to see how bad these movies actually turn out to be, and to not give up, but endure them.

All of this is implied in the idea of a Bad Movie Night, and anyone who chooses to visit such an evening should be aware of this.

Sure, a second movie might be too much for some, but those people are completely free to move to another room, or leave the party. It is a Bad Movie Night, after all.

It seems quite unfair that the people who come for the movies that the night is named for, should have to change their ways, for people who actually don't really enjoy bad movies but come anyway.

Don't get me wrong - personally I like to spend my time watching good movies, but then again, I also make sure not to go to Bad Movie Nights.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:10 am 
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qrter wrote:
Jesse wrote:
I think the point here is that a host has responsibilities to his or her guests, which weren't being fulfilled.


Surely the host's main responsibility for a Bad Movie Night is to provide one or more 'bad movies'. (snip) And part of the fun is also to see how bad these movies actually turn out to be, and to not give up, but endure them.


Precisely this. In terms of curating, there are excellent sources for gathering viewing selections which could be better exploited. But failure to prescreen does not indicate that the host devalues the time of the guests, rather, it's an invitation to open this package together. The responsibility Ezra is falling short on is that of decent dining furnishings. That's it.

Also, I'm not at all buying the "watching bad movies will wreck your soul, but it's okay when the Best Brains gang does it" thinking. Either this activity is bad for you or it isn't. I've been a fan of the Brains since coming home for a college winter break and seeing them on KTMA, and I can't pretend their riffs have not at times been scornful and mean-spirited as well -- RiffTrax, in particular, is a little too fond of the fat/gay/trans jokes.

Finally, there are at least four movies on the Evidence List that had more going for them than Pootie Tang.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:15 pm 
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New Kid

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Like many, I disagree with both the tone the Judge took in this case and his ruling. It took me a while, but I've summarized my disagreements below:

That watching bad movies is ‘bad for you’

There are two arguments presented here. The first is that watching bad movies is somehow boring and awful. The second is that people who say they enjoy bad movies actually enjoy the mocking of those movies and the people who made them.

The first argument can be true, but it depends wholly on the movie and the situation. Watching, say, Blood Freak by yourself is a pretty dire experience that I wouldn’t recommend. Watching Blood Freak with some friends and a few drinks? That’s a fun shared experience. Years later you can say, “Remember when we watched that movie about the guy who turned into a blood-thirsty turkey?” and have a good time reminiscing.

This isn’t just true of bad movies, it’s true of all movies, an art form that was designed for the communal experience.

JJHo and JT extend their second argument by joking about reading bad novels or listening to bad music, as if no one does those. So why would anyone do this for movies?

Well, people do do that. And they do so un-ironically and with love.

In the art world there are collectors and appreciators of outsider art. John Waters is a good example here.
In the music world there are people who unabashedly love ‘bad’ music. 90% of WFMU shows are some bit of odd, ‘bad’ outsider music that the DJ unabashedly loves.
‘Bad’ novels get the same love. I had a friend who devoured romance novels. She didn’t do so to make fun of the content or the authors, she just loved them.
And so on. So why would movies be any different? When Ezra says that he’s enjoyed these movies, why would you assume that he is lying and that he’s secretly watching them to make fun of whoever is in Fantastic Four?

That mocking bad movies is rude

The Judge suggests that making fun of a movie is a crass act, because you are making fun of the work of all the people involved. There’s a nuance here that I think the Judge has missed — the difference between an amateur passion project and a commercial film. This distinction is frequently discussed on the very podcast the Judge recommended, The Flop House. The hosts of that show are frequently asked to watch movies like The Room and they demur, as mocking small, personal projects like that seems spiteful and pointless.

But bigger commercial films are a different story. No one who signed on to The Fantastic Four, a Roger Corman film could have had any illusions about the kind of film they were making. Let’s not pretend they are naifs signing on only for projects that meet some sort of aesthetic ideal. They are working actors and taking jobs for experience, exposure and money. All of which they got, regardless of whether or not Ezra cracks a joke at their expense.

That Ezra should curate his movies

This is a straight-up bad idea. It’s both bad for Ezra and it’s bad for the party goers.

It’s bad for Ezra because many of these movies are really only fun in a crowd. And many of them are only fun once. As mentioned earlier, cinema is communal art. Many films require a crowd to really work. So by watching these movies by himself, Ezra will cut himself off from the aspects that actually make them entertaining.

And it’s bad for the party goers in two ways. First, it removes the element of surprise. Uncertainty is an excellent aspect of bad movie watching. Will DC Cab actually be hilarious? Only one way to find out. If Ezra watches all the movies first, you’re going to lose that. He’s stating that every movie achieves some standard.

But, more subtly, not only will the party goers lose uncertainty, they will also gain the certainty that they’ll only be seeing movies that Ezra likes. You have to allow for personal taste. Erin might have hated Theodore Rex, but did everybody? When I showed the fairly-shocking Hanzo the Razor at a party, I did so knowing that it wouldn’t be to some (ok, most) people’s taste. But some people really liked it. I promptly had those people put on a watch list as they are weirdos who should be monitored.

The party goers are further harmed by Ezra having already seen the film. Ever watched a movie for the first time with a guy who has already seen that movie? It is awful. His body language telegraphs the entire film to you. Oh, he’s looking excited, here comes a good part. Oh, he just left to get a drink, this part must suck.

I assume that Ezra is not keeping his movie choices secret beforehand. If that’s true, then any party attendee can do their own curation. They are free actors with their own free will. Does Hanzo the Razor look like it will offend you (hint: it will), then let Ezra know that you won’t be staying for that one. No harm, no foul.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:45 pm 
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It's generally my policy to ignore people who signed up to complain about a ruling, but I will say two things.

1) As someone who works in the fringes of the entertainment industry, I can say that even on the worst projects, everyone is working incredibly hard trying to make something good. This is as true of a local commercial as it is of a blockbuster movie. So don't pretend that mocking their attempts at art (or entertainment) isn't cruel. You can say it's worth it, it's for some reason deserved, or that they'll never know, but you can't say they don't care. Trust me, they do.

2) One of the signs of a nerd is outsized passion and enthusiasm. That's often for stuff that other people are less enthusiastic about. That's great. One of the signs of a grown-up is remembering to put the consideration of others, and particularly guests, ahead of your personal interest. Sometimes those things conflict, and I think you can guess how I feel that conflict should be resolved.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:04 am 
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Jesse wrote:
It's generally my policy to ignore people who signed up to complain about a ruling, but...

...As someone who works in the fringes of the entertainment industry, I can say that even on the worst projects, everyone is working incredibly hard trying to make something good. This is as true of a local commercial as it is of a blockbuster movie. So don't pretend that mocking their attempts at art (or entertainment) isn't cruel. You can say it's worth it, it's for some reason deserved, or that they'll never know, but you can't say they don't care. Trust me, they do.

This is especially true in this day of the internet and social media. Being kind and moderating one's remarks in a public forum such as this, is extremely important. Words can get around, and get around quickly. Moderating oneself in such an environment is a sign of being grown-up. However, in the privacy of one's home and among one's friends, a person can be appropriately less moderated. It's all about context. It hurts to have one's work slagged off, but bad work is still constantly being produced. Even good work runs afoul of personal taste and mores. Part of being a grown up producer of culture is realizing that you win some and loose some, and even at your best you'll have detractors.

When I think of all that goes into a video or film project, all the hands involved, all the interests involved, all the places where it could go south, I'm amazed that so much good stuff actually gets made. That a film, television show, or webseries is actually excellent is a minor miracle. I think this is why I'm a podcast junkie. There are so few competing interests, that the talent and vision of those few involved can really shine. You're a prime example of that Jesse.


Last edited by lemurboy on Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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