From movie selection to snack pickings, here’s a list of seven tips to get the best out of your next hate-watching experience.
By Alec Cudmore, St. Edward’s University
I’m a Hate-Watcher.
Simply put, I absolutely love watching bad movies and making fun of them with my friends. There’s something magical about a movie that just doesn’t quite have its act together—characters deliver awkward lines, the writers make terrible decisions and the special effects are absolutely horrible. A bad flick combined with a funny group—oh, it’s a good time.
Halloween is on the horizon, and that means my friends and I will be watching an exorbitant number of horror movies. These films will range from truly unsettling to laughably terrible. Among these terrible films will be movies so heinously shitty they are practically begging to be torn to shreds.
You’d think watching a bad movie and making comedic commentary with your friends, all whilst having a good laugh, would be simple. Unfortunately, many people underestimate just how easy it is to screw up a proper roasting of a film: Somebody makes too many jokes, drowning out everyone else. The movie isn’t shitty enough. The snacks are bad. Somebody invited friggin’ Stanton, the least funny guy in the group. Many things can go wrong.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to have an enjoyable hate-watching experience—the do’s and don’ts, if you will, of efficiently destroying a film’s self-esteem through hilarious jokes.
I’d also like to disclaim that these are guidelines I’ve compiled after years of personal experience—your hate-watching experience is purely subjective. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
1. Invite Your Witty, Overly Critical Friends
You don’t want to invite your humdrum, standard’s met friends to a hate-watch party. You need to bring in friends who are active jokers, rarely satisfied with anything. That means they aren’t too scared to let their off-the-cuff comedic material fly. A proper hate-watching requires improvisational humor and positively biting commentary. The movie should be picked clean by the night’s end, and your stomach full.
2. Pick a “Serious” Movie
Many people have come to me wanting to have a “Sharknado” roasting. If you aren’t aware, “Sharknado” is a god-awful movie about a shark-infested tornado going on a rampage. You won’t ever catch me hate-watching a movie like “Sharknado.”
Why? Because you can’t make fun of a movie that was made as a joke. “Sharknado” is so purposefully bad, any remarks I make about the film could be met with “Yes, that was the point.” And that lessens my enthusiasm a great deal.
It sounds cruel, but you’re better off choosing movies that were the result of misguided, genuine passion for film-making. They often lend themselves to greater, more interesting commentary. You’ll tend to find plenty of material in the Horror genre, so I recommend you start there.
3. Make Sure the Movie Is Terrible
It isn’t always easy to find the perfect hate-watch movie—but thankfully, IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes are fantastic resources for bad films. Make sure to also comb your Netflix for one or two star ratings. You just might get lucky.
If you start watching a movie, and it isn’t grabbing your hate-watching group’s attention, feel free to change the movie promptly. You don’t want to waste any time on a movie that’s just not bad enough.
The kind of movies you’ll probably want to look out for are the ones that were made on a shoestring budget by relatively unknowns. They tend to have a bit of everything—a sort of hate-watching buffet. Bad writing, bad acting and inexcusable special effects. The lines are written awkwardly, delivered awkwardly—and the director’s band plays over the ending credits.
A good starting place would be a movie like “Birdemic: Shock and Terror.” It’s a movie so gloriously terrible, it whips back around into being fantastic. It’s relatively well-known at this point, but it’s still definitely worth a watch, especially if no one in the group has seen it. Films like “Birdemic” can be found all over Netflix—just keep an eye out for terrible cover art and low ratings. The movies normally have names like “500 MPH Storm” or “Age of Dinosaurs”.
Both of those titles are real movies I’ve seen, both wonderful for hate-watching. “Age of Dinosaurs” is comedy gold.
4. Be a Team
Remember: You and your friends are tearing apart a film for its flaws as a cohesive unit. Do not attempt to be the master of ceremonies by talking over others and shaming someone for a bad joke. If somebody makes a joke about the movie that doesn’t work well, or the same person does a terrible Christopher Walken impression, let it go. Chances are you’ll have a few misses too. Be supportive of each other.
5. Don’t Invite Your Group’s “Stanton”
Stanton is that one guy who always, ALWAYS misses with his jokes. He makes fun of things that aren’t shitty enough, he tends to keep jokes that have run their course in a stranglehold (repeating them ad nauseum) and sometimes he’ll even steal material from a past hate-watching experience. He’s on his phone during the movie, he’s an avid fan of comedy but isn’t quite up to snuff when it comes to his own execution of it and he probably suggested you watch “Sharknado.” His commentary is overly loud and not funny, and he talks too much.
I don’t mean to turn hate-watching into an exclusionary experience. But sometimes, you gotta make sure the team is right, and Stanton just isn’t cutting it at these gatherings. Look, I know it’s hard to not invite Stanton to things. He’s a genuine soul. He brings great snacks. But dammit, he’ll bring the team down. Just go hang out with Stanton another day to avoid feeling guilty about it, all right?
6. Pace Yourself
As I said before, you do not want to attempt to be the ringleader here. That means pacing out your jokes and not trying to make fun of every little thing.
Keep your remarks fairly spaced out to allow others to make their jokes as well.
If you choose right, the selected movie is going to be universally bad, so there will be plenty to make fun of as time goes on. You don’t want to use up all of your stamina in the first half hour.
I find that it is always best to try and like a shitty movie as best you can, and let it unravel itself. It will make your commentary feel more natural, your disappointment with the film more organic. This provides greater comedic depth and also gives everyone a chance to really soak in the movie without oversaturating the room with constant jokes. Don’t be a Stanton.
7. Don’t Forget the Munchies
I hope you didn’t expect to watch a movie without a proper supply of food and drinks. Anything flies here—whatever the preferences may be of the group. Drinking alcohol can either enhance the experience or cheapen it. It’s up to you to try it both ways.
I wanted to keep this guide short and sweet and easily referenced. October is one of the greatest months for hate-watching shitty movies, and I highly suggest you do it. Hopefully my advice will set you off in the right direction to a better, brighter hate-watching experience.