So bad they're good. Students gather to celebrate love of cinema.

By Communications Department | Student Life, Upper School

When you think of bad movies you’ve seen, you probably wouldn’t want to get together with your friends and see them again. But, that’s exactly what students in the Upper School (US) Bad Movie Club are doing.

Wyatt Knoell ‘22 and Mason Santalucia ‘22 resurrected the club, which was inactive last year. They joined around 35 other students laughing and pointing out absurdities in The Hottie and the Nottie, a romantic comedy the group watched earlier this month in the John Mitchell Theatre during Advisory/FLEX.

On the surface, watching bad movies may only appear to be silly and fun for students, but the activity is actually reinforcing community and providing entertaining, thoughtful engagement for those who love film.

“Whether they know it or not, they’re bringing back something that’s really important for movies,” according to Dr. Peter Sattler, the club’s advisor. “They’ve created a club that recreates the idea that movie going is a community experience, and laughing at it is a community experience, and talking to each other while it’s happening reinforces that community experience.”

“I’m guessing that with the pandemic a lot of people have a thing with going back to the movie theaters,“ said Knoell. “They are just watching movies by themselves, and I think this experience brings back the experience of watching movies with other people.”

In addition to being entertained, students are also noticing flaws in the movies they watch. “Most people who like bad movies also like good movies,” Sattler said. “To be able to even think of a movie as being good or bad, means you’ve developed something like taste, and taste comes from knowledge, and growing up, and experience.”

“A good example I can think of is Cars 2,” said Santalucia. “When I was a little kid I watched it in theaters. I saw spy cars, actions, explosions, all that. I didn’t care. That did not carry over a single message, lesson, or values of the first movie, you know what made the original Cars so special.”

Sattler says ‘good’ bad movies typically fall into two categories. Either the director takes the story very seriously, and doesn’t realize how off it is, or the director plays along with the audience in creating something cheesy.

Student club members are polled to determine which movies to watch. In February, the genre was romantic comedy. Knoell and Santalucia aren’t sure what the next genre will be, but they know they want students to watch a bad Star Wars movie in May.

May the Force be with them.

Bonus content: Mason Santalucia ’22 (on the left) and Wyatt Knoell ’22 (on the right) share their best bad movies off all time.