You grab your giant tub of delicious crispy popcorn (salted, not sweet, of course) and with a wide smile on your face, you take a seat in one of the red velvet cinema chairs. It’s been ages since you’ve seen a movie at the cinema and you’re practically vibrating with happiness!
The previews are always awesome, but then the movie starts and… oh, sweet Jesus no! It’s–it’s terrible. Yuck. You should’ve seen it coming—there were plenty of signs after all. And now you feel like you’ve wasted your money and time. Oh well, at least you’ve still got your popcorn, right?
You’re not alone if you’ve started mentally collecting all the telltale signs that a film’s going to be a waste of your time. The folks over on r/AskReddit have shared their own red flags that a movie is bound to be awful and we invite you to scroll down and have a read. Got any other signs that they missed but you’d love to share? That’s what the comment section is for, dear Pandas! Meanwhile, let’s check out these horror movie signs and pick out the most accurate ones.
I had a lovely and in-depth chat about the line between good and bad movies with redditor Thats_What_Sh3_Sa1d who is an aspiring filmmaker and who created the viral thread in the first place. They told Bored Panda that everyone’s responses helped them get a sense of where quality does and doesn’t lie.
“I wanted to create this thread because I want to make movies myself, and I thought that if I could get some of Reddit’s opinions on what makes a bad movie, then I could get a better sense as to what makes a good one. I had wanted to get at least a little bit of attention so I can get some answers to what makes a bad movie, but I didn’t expect this much attention,” they shared. You’ll find our full interview with the original poster below, so be sure to read on.
When you’ve basically seen the entire plot of the movie and all main scenes in the trailer.
The thread, started up by redditor Thats_What_Sh3_Sa1d, quickly grew in popularity. At the time of writing, it had gotten over 49.2k upvotes in the span of a single day. What’s more, it got a whopping 21.7k comments. And that proves that redditors really do care about what they watch. (And, let’s be honest… who doesn’t like complaining about the movie industry from time to time?) Keep in mind though, even awful movies can have some merit. We’ve all been there—a movie we’re watching is so mind-numbingly bad that at some point it starts to be good.
In redditor Thats_What_Sh3_Sa1d’s opinion, the dialogue and all of the various movie effects help determine whether the project will be a success or not. “I’m not exactly a movie critic, but I will say that the line between a good and a bad movie depends on dialogue, whether or not the lines that characters say to each other makes sense or contributes something to the film, whether or not the CGI or maybe the VFX looks good or not because that really makes an impact on a movies likeability, at least for me,” they said.
“And of course if it has a good back story, if it’s really going to catch your attention, that also plays a part in a movies likeability,” they added.
If there are multiple trailers for a comedy movie, but they use the same joke in all of them.
The preview shows a girl who’s Just Too Focused On Career to find love going back to her small hometown for whatever reason.
I was curious to get the redditor’s take on whether we all instinctively know whether a movie is going to be a waste of our time or not. In their mind, it all depends on the audience in question. “I personally like action movies, but I also like a little bit of romance, so if I was going to watch a movie about the history of a company, for example, I would think that it would be a waste of time. Whereas some people might think the exact opposite.”
As for why filmmakers tend to make the same mistakes over and over (and over) again boils down to their lack of taste which they may not have fully developed yet. “The people making the movie either don’t know what makes a good movie, or they think that a bad movie is a good one. Now again, I’m not saying that I’m a movie critic and I know everything there is to know about film, but I, and most people I think, know a bad film when they see one, and maybe some people don’t. And in my opinion, for the situation to be able to change, the people making the movie should be informed as to what makes a good film rather than what makes a bad film,” they shared.
If the character points out something that is blatantly obvious. IN A WORLD, WHERE ONE MAN, HAS TO SAVE THE WORLD. Man: ‘I have to save the world.’
If the whole synopsis is a terrible idea, like making a movie about emojis
When the main actors name is bigger than the title on the poster.
Something very interesting that redditor Thats_What_Sh3_Sa1d pointed out to me was movie directors may not be at fault for making bad films. “A film can be bad just because it’s bad,” they told Bored Panda, pointing to 2017’s ‘Justice League’ as an example.
“Justice League 2017 was not the best movie out there. It was so bad in fact, that they had to re-make it. And the remake was a lot better than the original because it had different directors/ However, just because it was better, doesn’t mean that everybody liked it. I’m sure there were people who didn’t like the better remake for whatever reason. And that’s what I mean when I say a film can be good or bad despite the director,” they shared that there’s far more nuance involved than we expect. And reality is far from black and white, just like the view on the silver screen.
When the advertising is “[Famous movie] meets [Famous movie]”…
Critics did not receive an advance screening in order to write a review. It means the studio is hoping to at least recover an opening weekend of ticket sales before word gets out.
Whether the creators of the movie were self-aware or you learn to find the humor in the bad taste, either way, you inexplicably start enjoying yourself. It doesn’t happen with every gosh darn bad movie, but when it does, it’s magical. It’s a cult hit. It’s something you recommend to your friends.
The secret to bad movies being good, according to Uku Tooming in ‘The Puzzle of Good Bad Movies’ published in the Journal of Aesthetic Education, is that they give filmmakers a chance to experiment with the artistic possibilities of the project more than if the film were more mainstream. In other words, good bad filmmaking is intrinsically linked to the freedom of artistic expression.
So while many (probably most) bad films will remain truly amazingly awful because of how unadventurous and downright boring they are (who likes blatant exposition? Nobody!), a small handful might become cult classics because they dared go where others didn’t.
An exposition in which one character explains everything that’s going on to another character that should already know what is going on.
When I can tell how it’s going to end by just watching the trailer.
Blatantly bad re-casting to the point where you wonder if it would have been better to just drop the character (Mummy 3)
A comedian who hasn’t been funny in ten years stars in it and plays multiple roles. (Looking at you Sandler, Murphy, and Myers)
The female lead gets naked in the first 10-15 minutes.
You know they were already running on fumes for plot, so out come the ta-tas.
Reviews state that it’s “Scariest”/”Funniest” movie of the year. It rarely is
Starts with too much exposition: “Mary, just because you have a medical degree from Harvard, I’m still your older brother!”
When they hype the movies soundtrack more than the film it’s self
Ex. Suicide squad
When the opening scene involves a shoot out with so many cuts you litterally cannot see what is happening, or who is shooting at whom.
Shaky cam and quick cut editing. Jumping over a fence? 20 quick cuts. Take it or leave it.
“Get ready to see ____ back in action in the big screen!” This line is used in many bad movie trailers of old properties which are made into movies
It’s been in production for too long.
There’s always a reason, for a recent example; ‘Chaos Walking’. It changed screenwriter, director and production company so many times over 10 years but was sold on it been “A Charlie Kauffman movie starring Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland”. Kauffman left in 2013, Ridley and Holland filmed it over years due to so many reshoots and failed screenings. Then Lionsgate said the negative reviews were shocking to them.. Really??
If it’s being released in January. That isn’t the case every time, just most of the time. January is basically the cinematic dumping ground month.
If it opens with a narration starting with, “I know what you’re thinking…”
It just screams desperation from a crowded writer’s room.
ANY movie made that stars Melissa Mccarthy where it happens to also be directed by her husband. She is incredibly funny and extremely talented as is he when they’re acting. But when he’s in the director’s chair, It always spells out “doomed-to-fail.”
When they try forcing memes into it. It’s either cringe or so outdated that it just looks stupid.
Showing what is obviously the best part/climax in the trailer. If it isn’t strong enough to catch my interest with the lead-up, it’s likely gonna suck.
It’s an edgy reboot of a children’s property that stopped being relevant a decade ago
Whenever they start promoting their movie by constantly comparing it to one of the all time greats in the genre. If you are a fantasy movie and you have to state in the advertising that you are great just like Lord of the Rings, it makes me think you’re movie is probably shit. Because you are not LOTR.
When the trailer gives away the twist or climax of the movie. Remember that Terminator movie where they reveal **** was a terminator in the trailer? That’s when I knew I wasn’t gonna watch it.
The amusing thing is they all seem to miss the real warning signs:
“From the producers of…” i.e. the people who paid for something that turned out good once, not the ones who actually made it.
“From the minds behind…” again.. nebulous people who were somewhere near the production that made something good once, or referencing the original author who had nothing to do with the film.. looking at you Stephen King.
Spoiler filled trailers are nothing new, even for superb films. Watch the trailer for John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982).
When they front load a movie with an expensive opening 15mins it’s to get more investment money.. “Here look what we can do.. if we get more money” doesn’t always mean it will flounder.. but disjointed productions that stop n start rarely land.
When the characters say the title of the movie less than 20 minutes in.
It’s clearly being released in a desperate attempt to capitalize on a different studio’s success. (WB keeps trying to rival the MCU with DC films but their meddling repeatedly ruins them, also the Divergent series trying too hard to be Hunger Games).
When they try adding a irl trend in the movie, it’s just cringe
When one villain wasn’t enough to make a movie, so they shoehorn in multiple half-arse villains instead.
They release the first 7 minutes of the movie weeks before it’s released, and it’s so glorious you just know the rest of the movie will definitely live up to that teaser. (I’m looking at you, new Mortal Kombat movie…)
When the movie was supposed to be a drama and they changed it during filming to a comedy.
has too many of what unknown critics say on the movie poster or trailer
When it’s a mainstream movie about Time Travelling. ALWAYS missed the point and are irrational!
i.e: Avenger Endgame, Terminators “reboots”, Looper,…