Bad B Movies

For all lovers of Bad B Movies

6 Degrees of Film: Summertime & the Return of the Bad-B’s

Summertime…and each year the films that pop up in the “Bad B’ category are always the ones that we very often find to be even more ‘watchable’ than the classics that fill us with the sturm and drang of deep emotional stress. There are times when we remember an awful movie we saw long ago with fondness. It may trigger a memory of an outing with a friend or loved one that makes us want to relive the experience. And we find we don’t really have to function with deep concentration when watching the really bad movies. It may be like doing a mindless chore. You sometimes just want to do something to vacate the mind and realize that not all tasks or stories are meant to make you feel uplifted or transformed. You may just want to ‘let it be’ for a while… That is perhaps why “Plan 9 from Outer Space’ has endured and is shown on small screens and in arthouse settings after all these years! There are some things that make us sit up in awe-much like the audience “Gif’ of the crowd watching “Springtime for Hitler!” for the first time! It’s so bad you really can’t believe it!  Here’s a short trip down memory lane for some of the “A List’ of Bad B’s that we have compiled from years past. Enjoy your trip down memory lane…6 Degrees This is our list of Bad B’s of Summer…   Summertime is here and one of the funniest pastimes for me, as a movie critic, is just reading the synopses of some of the old Beach Movies that people flocked to see during the summer. (I think they flocked to them, or they wouldn’t have made at least seven of these Bad B Beach films!) I recently compiled a short list of the best of the blurbs. Here are a few favorites:   Bad-B’s at the Beach   It’s a Bikini World When a female scientist turns down a playboy’s pass, he poses as his own brother to win her heart. Muscle Beach Party The beach gang goes head-to-head with the bodybuilders at a new gym that’s interfering with their strip on the sand. Gidget A young girl dreams of winning acceptance from a gang of surfers. Gidget Goes Hawaiian: A surfer girl triggers romantic confusion during a Hawaiian vacation. Beach Blanket Bingo:  The surfing gang rescues a beautiful girl from a gang of evil bikers. How to Stuff a Wild Bikini:  When he’s stationed in Tahiti, a sailor hires a witch doctor to keep an eye on his girlfriend.   We all talk of the light and lovable time period when these films were made. Sure, the movies were sexist and made light of violent biker gangs and surfers without jobs or ambition in life. And of course the films exposed the dumbing-down of America.  We concede that the vapid content was overkill, even topping the syrupy sentiment of the hits Doris Day starred in during this era.   There may have been some maturation of the character of Gidget as she progressed through the series of moronic pictures. But, the entire Beach movies culture was enough to produce the counter-culture that came into existence in the late sixties.   The films stand alone as some of the worst series of films ever made. Only some bad-b Japanese movies are in the running to compete with the moronic vapidity on display in this film series. But…if you like Bad-B movies, and I admit to being quite a connoisseur of the art, then some of these films might just make it to the finals.   They are not quite in the league of Plan 9 from Outer Space, but some of the material in these films is noteworthy. And by that I mean, worthy of taking note of how poorly the film was made, edited, written, acted in and directed. I have written about Bad-B’s before, and I’ve resurrected that post for those fans of Bad B. If there are some films that may have slipped under the radar, please write to me at mljtpa@6degreeswriter.com. I’d love to compile a list of reader Bad-B’s for a new top 10 List. The Bad-B Top 10 from Rotten Tomatoes   No 1. The Oscar- 1966 (Rest of list in descending order of terrible!) 10. Showgirls- 1995 9.Battlefield Earth-2000 8. Glen or Glenda-1953 7. Plan 9 from Outer Space-1959 6.Robot Monster- 1953 5. Howling II-1985 4. The Black Gestapo-1975 3. Frankenstein Island-1981 2. Road House- 1989  

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6 Degrees Film Roundup for June: Judy Garland at 100!

The best of…The “best of” films are sometimes hard to find! Because people have different tastes and some bad “B” movies are the ones you really might be in the mood for some nights. I had a friend who worked in the old movie rental stores, and people would come in looking for something different. They would complain when she recommended films to people that were just not right for them. And that seems to be the way of it. Everyone has different tastes and standards, and it’s hard to find something to agree on with “Family Film Night!” That’s why you end up watching documentaries like “Call of the Wild.” What may be hilariously funny to you can leave others cold. And it’s the same with film reviews. I’ve seen people complain about bad reviews that just loved the films that I or others have panned. It’s a subjective thing-the subject of movies and especially “Best of!” Judy Garland at 100   For films of Judy Garland, the most beloved is one of my personal favorites. The Wizard of Oz has so much in the way of talent and beauty and it is a very family-friendly film. And yet, the fantasy takes you to places that Lord of the Rings lovers would agree are timeless. The realm of Oz is a fictional land of fantasy that really represents so much that is ‘the best’ of Hollywood. The Wizard of Oz captures the essence of what Hollywood can be at its heights. And it was made in a year that has come to be considered the ‘height’ of the Golden age of film. The year 1939 saw so many great films made, that stacks of books have been written about it. That was how Judy Garland came to be first seen, and then univerally beloved on celluloid. Some recommendations for her best performances include Wizard of  Oz as well as Meet me in St Louis and In the Good Old Summertime. The Harvey Girls is one of the #MeToo films for women who can see what women were depicted on screen in a favorable light during the Golden Age of Film. They were not always simply objects and there were so many great performances from strong female leads that it is important to highlight them. Some of Judy Garland’s later performances showed a complete metamorphosis of her character and physical appearance that it is almost startling. Judgment at Nuremberg is one of the darker appearances, but Montgomery Clift is even more pronounced in his character. TCM Highlights   For lovers of film noir, two favorites that have been shown frequently of late are Laura with Gene Tierney and The Big Sleep with Bogart and Bacall.  And those who can take a dose of dark humor, Kubrick’s classic Dr Strangelove is shown (with scenes that are unfortunately almost too real for these dark political times!) The Armchair Film Fest This month, those who love summer films may also enjoy some of the Bad B’s. Forbidden Planet is a sci-fi classic that is campy, but not really in the same category as the formulaic bad movies that make the grade! Plan 9 from Outer Space is a must-see, as well as the Attack of the 50-Foot Woman. There is also one called The Wild, Wild Planet which looks as if it fits the bill and checks every box for Bad B! Later this month, Mel Gibson fans can see a film fest that includes the original Mad Max (which also fits into the Bad B category with its dubbed dialogue for Mel making it completely campy!) Also, Mrs Soffel, (with a real-life sad version of this film recently seen in the news, as Soffel is also based on a true story of a woman seduced into helping a convict escape from prison.) The Year of Living Dangerously is one of director Peter Weir’s best, and also foreshadows the darker elements of Mel Gibson’s true character in this story. And on the subject of ‘bad boys,’  James Dean is seen on TCM in two of his big hits made during his short life. Rebel without a cause and Giant are both very good films. And I’ve often speculated about where the rebel character would have taken him in his film career. The James Dean Legacy in Film is a chapter in my book, 6  Degrees of Film, with the theory that Paul Newman and Steve McQueen  ended up taking over the mantle of Rebel that was Dean’s Legacy. They were the stars in the roles he would have been offered as the dark and mixed-up youth becomes the troubled young man and finally a haunted and despairing loner in later life. Friday Flix Recommends… Our online magazine, Friday Flix, highlights some of the revisionist westerns, including one of my all-time favorites, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. There’s a piece on some of Judy Garland’s ‘best films’ (See above!) And a beginner’s guide to American Film Noir. That is a new way to cover noir, (Noir means dark in French!) Noir is noir, and that can be American or French or any other combination of the above. In 6 Degrees of Film, there’s a chapter on the rise of Film Noir. It was a movement that gave a voice to many returning from war who were looking for meaning. And it also catapulted stars such as Humphrey Bogart to fame. That’s all for now film friends. Don’t forget to follow us each week at the newly re-vamped 6 Degrees of Film Facebook page! And sign up for the newsletter to receive updates and downloads from 6 Degrees of Film. Until next time, have a great summer vacation and see you at the movies!

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