The Phenomenon of Cult Classics: Nostalgia or Humor?

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There is something that I’ve noticed with certain flunks in Hollywood turning into critically acclaimed films that have rocked the industry at random. One example of this would have to be the infamous mistake of 2007 (Spider-man 3) on account of Sony taking all creative control from Sam Raimi to give us a mess of a film and an even worse end to the terrific trilogy while making millions off of it. However, in the present day, it is one of the utmost celebrated movies in cinematic history, why the change? Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith is another example of this phenomenon back in 2005. The prequels were hailed as one of the worst sci-fi movies in history humiliating George Lucas for his attempt at making films heavily influenced by CGI in the early 2000s’. Now, let’s head forward to present-day pop culture where the prequels are some of the best sci-fi movies out there with a subreddit of over a million followers showering it with applause and acclamation. Surprisingly enough, numerous amounts of people enjoy atrocious movies and even give pretty solid evidence as to why their movie should be hailed as one of the best, but why do these people exist?

Cult Classics have been embedded into our culture for years now, creating communities and fanbases so strong that you start to wonder if they’re praising the film as a form of sarcasm or not.  From the Room to the Sam Raimi trilogy, here are some movies that went from zero to hero in the span of a decade.

THE ROOM

The Room is known as the worst movie of all time with a 3.7/10 on IMDb and a 24% on Rotten Tomatoes. Even though this movie did almost everything wrong, it exceeded everyone’s expectations and spawned a cult-like fan base of people who will ravage you if you speak badly about the film. On the fact that the movie became an infamous classic, it spawned a documentary-Esque movie starring James Franco as Tommy Wiseau and Dave Franco as Greg Sestero. The Room- very similar to many of the movies in this article- was so bad that it was good and it embodies that with hilarious dialogue and some very distinct one-liners from “you’re tearing me apart Lisa!” to “Oh, Hi Mark”. This film has been given very well deserved recognition and is quite a movie to watch.

BLADE RUNNER

Although we are talking about bad cult classics, Blade Runner is a fantastic example of a cult rising from a good film. The theatrical release of this movie was very lackluster, only profiting around 11 million dollars off of a 30 million budget. The main reason for its failure in the theaters was because of the version of the movie shown; The theatrical cut was poorly put together and was very mediocre at best. The Final Cut, on the other hand, was much more detailed and is the famed movie we know today spawning the spectacular sequel: Blade Runner 2048.

THE SAM RAIMI TRILOGY

The Sam Raimi trilogy is one of the greatest trilogies ever, exploring deep into the psychological horror that is Spider-Man. Each movie will take us through a section of his life from the web-slinger getting bit by the radioactive spider, his greatest foe, and the fall of the hero himself. Sam Raimi spent countless years perfecting this series giving us layer after layer of intricate detail for his love of the character and the story lines attached to him. The first movie was critically acclaimed as the first superhero flick to take things to the next level. With amazing actors like James Franco and Kristen Dunst, it was not a surprise that these movies would succeed tremendously. Spider-man 2 is proclaimed as one of the greatest superhero movies of all time, gaining a large fan base and an even larger box office. Spider-man 3 on the other hand…was very bad. The finale to this series was incredibly disappointing to some, but for others, it was a godsend. The third installment has gained a massive fanbase throughout the years for how hilariously bad the movie is from the classic emo Parker scenes to the clumped up rogues gallery, it is one movie to watch.

THE PREQUEL TRILOGY

The Prequel Trilogy, while being very lackluster and campy, is one of the craziest cult classics out there with a literal “cult” defending the movies till they die; Yes, they’re that stubborn. Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith has one of the biggest fan bases in this trilogy on account of the future generation praising the movie for being ahead of its time, which was very much true. The movie did an incredible job portraying Anakin’s fall into despair and his rise as Darth Vader. Sadly, most people during this time already knew what was going to happen since the prequels came out a decade after the original trilogy, so it was given heavy criticism. The reason why it is such a big success today is owing to the fact that the newer generation saw the movies in chronological order; They realized what many adults didn’t: the movie is good.

 Most of the fanbases didn’t choose these movies just to be humorous or for fun, but because of nostalgia. The movies hold a special place in many peoples’ hearts, they’re a part of them. Whenever they turn the television on to watch their childhood movie, they feel at home. For me, that’s what the Sam Raimi trilogy was. Whenever I’m at a low point in my life or just looking for something to give me joy, I turn on the Blu-ray player, carefully put that disc in, and start watching. It’s never really about how good the movie is, but the memories attached to them. 

I still remember when I saw Spider-man 3 for the first time, I was seated in my living room watching cable on some big blue chair when they announced that the next movie they’re gonna be showing was the daring Spider-man 3. My eyes went wide open with curiosity about what this movie was. Superheroes were something of a role model for many individuals, giving them an idea of what they could become. For countless fans, superheroes were never about how cool they looked or what superpower they have, but the person within. They inspired people to be better and we have no one to thank for that than the creators. I still enjoy engaging in online communities and discussing my favorite movies with numerous people, some of which I’ve never met. It lets me relate to the masses who enjoy the same franchises I do. Cult Classics, in my opinion, were never about how incredible the movie was nor how detailed it was; It was the memory of when we were kids who had nothing to do except play video games or watch movies; Nothing to worry about, no limitations. We still try to go back to those times through these films because, in the end, it’s what makes us human.

WORKS CITED

Rolling Stone. “Readers’ Poll: The 25 Best Cult Movies of All Time.” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 7 May 2014, http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/movie-lists/readers-poll-the-25-best-cult-movies-of-all-time-18696/. Accessed 10 Dec. 2020.

‌https://www.cbr.com/star-wars-gen-z-turned-revenge-of-the-sith-into-cult-classic/

These images were used from the movies shown below

Spider-man 1 (2002)

Blade Runner (1982)

The Room (2003)

Star Wars Episodes 1-3 (1999-2005)

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