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Craptastic or crap: How do you tell the difference?

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In addition to assembling a fantastic list of perpetually rewatchable movies, many of the posters who joined in the party here the other day provided intriguing criteria for what makes a film addictive: Commenters celebrated the pleasures of comfort movies, noise movies, great movies, romantic movies, crying movies, cheesy movies, guilty-pleasure movies, and so-bad-they’re-good movies, among other categories.

It’s the so-bad-they’re-good subdivision I’m most interested in at the moment, an unintentional genre that I think of as relatively new–and just possibly dangerous. I mean, remember the genius cult TV creation Mystery Science Theater 3000? When stranded human Joel Robinson and his robot sidekicks Tom Servo and Crow (that’s them, above) were forced by evil scientists to watch bad movies, the accidental moviegoers were under no illusions that the stuff on the screen was craptastic–it was pretty recognizably crappy, and ripe for a running commentary that was the real point of the show.

“Craptasy” (did I make that word up?) assumes an ironic, hipster-y (did I make that word up) acceptance of blithe bad taste and bad production as if standards are for snobs and squares. And left unchallenged, I think that kind of “whatever” attitude leads to an erosion of quality. Not to mention a mass mentality of laziness on the part of us ticket-buyers that excuses the production of more…crap.

But don’t take my word for it. Do you think there’s a difference between craptasy and crap? If so, tell me what it is, or what it isn’t. As a reward, here’s a thrilling clip of MST3K ‘s Tom Servo and Crow debating Mac vs. PC years before John Hodgman and Justin Long got into the commercial biz: