Bizarreness in Baywatch (2017)

John Dyck and Matt Johnson (2017) identify a connection between good-bad movies and bizarreness, claiming that when watching a good-bad film,

‘One is left not just laughing, but rather genuinely curious and bewildered, wondering: How could someone think this is a good idea? The bizarreness commands our attention as viewers.’ (2017)

The example I came up with is the recent film adaptation Baywatch (2017) which has such a bizarre narrative along with stereotypical characters and cheesy dialogue. I think in this case the film is intentionally bad and is supposed to be a spoof of the original tv show from the 80s, however, I think it turned out to be much much worse than was intended and this makes watching the film a very bewildering yet hilarious experience. The jokes are terrible and every action scene is excessively dramatic. I first watched this film in the cinema with my mum and sister and there was a shared sense that we were all watching something completely insane.

In the final action scene, the two main male characters (Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron) are trying to stop the villain (an insane and glamourous drug dealer played by Priyanka Chopra) from getting away and this scene is really just a series of totally bizarre events. Johnson’s character gets shot in the chest but survives by stabbing himself with a poisonous sea urchin to give him an adrenaline rush, there’s the discovery of a ‘big red button’ which will obviously solve everything, and then Chopra’s character gets blown up by fireworks. All in all, this definitely fits the idea of something so bizarre that it becomes comical.

 

 

References

Baywatch. Directed by Seth Gordon. 2017.

John Dyck and Matt Johnson (2017), ‘Appreciating bad art’, Journal of Value Inquiry, 51(2), 279-292.

4 comments

  1. This is an interesting example as here you point out that the authors of the text intended for their art to be bad, unlike most failed art that intended to be good. And yet the final product still ended up being even worse than they intended. However, as Dyck and Johnson point out the enjoyment comes from the failure of artistic endeavour but does not specify that the intent of the endeavour is to create good art. The art can just be much worse than they intended, instead of being bad in the way that a parody is.

  2. Great choice of scene to engage with the readings.

    Wow – what an *interesting* choice of dialogue by the script writers.

    As The Rocks’ Mitch pleads with Chopra’s character for his life, he says “i eat fire coral, i piss seawater, i scratch my back with a whale’s dick.”
    WOW. I cannot imagine, even with a gun pointed at my head, a sane person ever uttering those words seriously. And yet The Rock says all of these words without cracking up.
    It seems as though he is not ‘in on the joke,’ which links back to our reading of The Room, in which the comedic aspect is complete unintentional. I do think that your point: “I think in this case the film is intentionally bad and is supposed to be a spoof of the original tv show from the 80s” is totally valid here, it seems as though the dialogue is SO cringey that it can’t possible be serious. At least I hope…

  3. I think this example is really interesting because I actually love this movie and this scene. It’s so stupid that it cracks me up. The totally non-sensical and bizarre aspects of this film seem to blend with a sort of cinematic self-awareness that it was never actually intended to be good, which makes me find it really funny. I also think that it’s a good example of how taste in humor can be very divisive, and can understand how someone would interpret this scene differently and think that it’s the dumbest thing they’ve ever seen.

  4. This is an INSANE example. The syntax, the dialogue, everything about it is ridiculous. I cannot believe this scene even exists. These are some QUOTABLE LINES!!! That makes for great good-bad film!

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