We can all assume that trashy movies make up the majority of the film industry, with films ranging from clichéd romcoms where the outsider gradually becomes the popular one, or where the guy gets the girl and everyone lives ‘happily ever after’. Whilst these types of movies are not Oscar-worthy in the slightest, it may be the reason why we love watching them.
“No matter what age you are, trashy films never seem to get old.”
In our day and age, movies that are nominated for Oscars follow a pattern of containing a strong moral message, such as emphasising the issues of social and racial discrimination, as well as the issues of gender. Although these films are important when it comes to spreading and foregrounding significant social messages, particularly nowadays when it comes to female empowerment and the importance of increasing the number of multi-racial actors in Hollywood blockbusters, they are not exactly the films we would re-watch.
Nor would they be our go-to films when we feel like snuggling on the sofa, bringing out the popcorn and pizza, and just want to enjoy a relaxing evening with friends or family. Trashy films are a way for our current generation to escape from everyday stresses and intensities, and to have the opportunity to experience the feel good factor, and the feeling of comfort at home or in the cinema.
If we were to look at the types of trashy films that the population are attracted to watching, it is clear that the majority of these films are targeted at women, for instance teenage girls who want to watch a cheesy movie at a casual sleepover. No matter what age you are, trashy films never seem to get old. As a current first year student, I can tell you that whenever I feel overwhelmed by work, or I’m not in the mood to go out and have another wild night at Crisis, I turn to a good old trashy movie that makes me feel nostalgic. I can still remember the first time I watched a trashy film like Wild Child or Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging in my early teens.
“Critics who class these movies as worthless to watch and quite literally unnecessary “trash” may, in fact, be narrow-minded”
Typical examples of films that are so bad that they’re good are those like House Bunny, Fifty Shades of Grey and Clueless. Others include Movie 24 and the all-so-popular Godzilla franchise, films we only watch just to have a dig at, comment afterwards on how bad it was, or we only watch to have a laugh.
But these trashy films have their advantages, as many of the above have given actors the opportunities to rise up and make names for themselves in the film industry. For example, LA Weekly stated in their 2008 online article that House Bunny gave the lead actress in the film Anna Faris a chance to show off her talent as a comedy actress, claiming her to be “shaping up as the most inventive screen comedienne of her generation”. The film also has a message that is attractive to people who feel like the estranged social outsider.
The online article raised attention to the fact that House Bunny “operates on a level of a skin-deep sociological experiment with a predictable be yourself, inner beauty message”. The film is comparable to Legally Blonde, (which also helped Reese Witherspoon make her name in Hollywood), with a similar message weaved into the storyline: to stick to who you are, ignoring the social pressures and people who tell you that you are not good enough. Ultimately, you will eventually be rewarded for remaining true to yourself, which is a strong message, especially for young viewers.
A study that was brought to the public’s attention in an article by the Huffington Post stated that viewers who are willing to watch these trashy movies, and who do not just dismiss them as pointless television, are people with “above average education, which one could describe as “cultural omnivores”. Such viewers are interested in a broad spectrum of art and media across the traditional boundaries of high and popular culture”.
I think that it’s safe to say that the critics who class these movies as worthless to watch and quite literally unnecessary “trash” may, in fact, be narrow-minded, because they only class the films with powerful social messages as the ones viewers should focus on watching. Needless to say, the ever-growing popularity and creation of trashy films provide feel-good factors that ours and future generations will not give up watching.
Featured image by Jessica Miglio, Movie productions, courtesy of Relativity Media via IMDb