Study finds that watching trashy films is actually a sign of intelligence
Nobody likes a movie snob. You know the person I'm talking about: the one who always watches the latest film release before anyone else, then ruins it for all their friends by rambling on about how the cinematography wasn't up to scratch, or the plot didn't have enough depth, or some other empty complaint they've lifted straight off of Rotten Tomatoes.
Don't get me wrong, it's totally fine to have opinions on films. But some people only have the opinions they think they should have, and don't let themselves enjoy more "lowbrow" films because they don't think it's worth their time.
But guess what - as it turns out, people who enjoy trashy films tend to be of higher intelligence than their snobby counterparts.
A study published in "Poetics: Journal of Empirical Research on Culture, the Media and the Arts" found that people who seek out and enjoy trash films tend to have a broad enjoyment of cinema, and actually seem to be smarter than those who stick to a particular genre of film.
The research, titled, "Enjoying trash films: Underlying features, viewing stances, and experiential response dimensions", found that "The majority of trash film fans appear to be well-educated cultural ‘omnivores’, and they conceive of their preference for trash films in terms of an ironic viewing stance."
For the purposes of the paper, trash films were categorised as "low budget" and/or featured "explicit content" - think of Tommy Wiseau's "The Room" (which inspired The Disaster Artist), or the Final Destination series.
"The data reveals that trash films are, indeed, identified as ‘cheap’ and hence as a variety of low-budget films," the study said. "At the same time, viewers attribute to trash films not just amusing/entertaining qualities, but also a positive, transgressive deviance from the cinematic mainstream, and their appreciation of these films is coupled with marked preferences for art cinema."
The theory behind this is that people who enjoy trash films do so because they are refreshing, in a way. They do things that "highbrow" cinema would never do - sometimes quite well, in fact. However, a lot of the time, these deviations from the cinematic norm are terrible, but enjoyably so. This makes them enjoyable in an "ironic" way, but also sometimes genuinely funny, even if that's not what the director/producer originally intended.
Take the Birdemic film, for example. It sucks. It has a very shaky plot, a cast of terrible actors, and the special effects are so bad that it probably would have been more convincing to hold up children's drawings of birds on sticks. But it is genuinely enjoyable because it's just totally unpredictable.
This doesn't mean that more intelligent folks don't enjoy "good" films, though. In fact, those who tended to be on the smarter end of the scale enjoyed a whole range of cinema, from the trashy, low-budget failures to the Oscar-winning, artsy fartsy successes.
So, next time someone shuns you for choosing to watch some schlocky action movie over whatever the latest box office hit is, you can rest assured that you're probably going to enjoy your film more - and you might just be smarter for it.