1st Edition

Why It's OK to Love Bad Movies

By Matthew Strohl Copyright 2022
    218 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    218 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Most people are too busy to keep up with all the good movies they’d like to see, so why should anyone spend their precious time watching the bad ones?

    In Why It’s OK to Love Bad Movies, philosopher and cinematic bottom feeder Matthew Strohl enthusiastically defends a fondness for disreputable films. Combining philosophy of art with film criticism, Strohl flips conventional notions of "good" and "bad" on their heads and makes the case that the ultimate value of a work of art lies in what it can add to our lives. By this measure, some of the worst movies ever made are also among the best.

    Through detailed discussions of films such as Troll 2, The Room, Batman & Robin, Twilight, Ninja III: The Domination, and a significant portion of Nicolas Cage’s filmography, Strohl argues that so-called "bad movies" are the ones that break the rules of the art form without the aura of artistic seriousness that surrounds the avant-garde. These movies may not win any awards, but they offer rich opportunities for creative engagement and enable the formation of lively fan communities, and they can be a key ingredient in a fulfilling aesthetic life.

    Key Features:

    • Written in a humorous, approachable style, appealing to readers with no background in philosophy.
    • Elaborates the rewards of loving bad movies, such as forming unlikely social bonds and developing refinement without narrowness.
    • Discusses a wide range of beloved bad movies, including Plan 9 from Outer Space, The Core, Battlefield Earth, and Freddy Got Fingered.
    • Contains the most extensive discussion of Nicolas Cage ever included in a philosophy book.

    1. The Good, the Bad, and the Good-Bad
    2. Artists’ Intentions and Bad Movie Greatness
    3. A Beautiful Rainbow of Badness
    4. Taste and Twilight
    5. Nicolas Cage and the Limits of the Critical Imagination
    6. Bad Movies and the Good Life


    Matthew Strohl is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Montana. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and blogs about movies, food, and philosophy of art at strohltopia.com and aestheticsforbirds.com.

    ". . . this is a wonderful book, and it should take pride of place in the libraries of many cinephiles. It’s beautifully written, admirably clear, lucidly ordered, and—something rare in books of film theory, let alone philosophy—extremely funny."
    Adrian Martin, Cineaste   

    "The six chapters of Why It’s OK to Love Bad Movies, rich with close film analysis and abnormally accessible philosophical argumentation, convincingly argue that these movies are wonderful. . . . [Strohl’s] analytical precision, zealous passion, and overwhelming generosity make Why It’s OK To Love Bad Movies genuinely indispensable."
    Nicholas Whittaker, Los Angeles Review of Books

    "Why It’s OK to Love Bad Movies is a deeply personal, philosophically sophisticated, and thoroughly enjoyable book. . . interesting to cinephiles and philosophers alike."
    Elizabeth Scarbrough, British Journal of Aesthetics

    "Have you ever said, "This movie was so bad that it is good"? If you have—and most of us have—this book is for you. Matthew Strohl has seen them all and celebrates some of them, giving good reasons for doing so, revealing, in articulate and witty prose, a new dimension of aesthetic engagement and appreciation."
    Alexander Nehamas, Princeton University

    "It’s difficult to think of any book on films in the last couple of decades that would combine such rigorous argumentation with an amazingly wide range of examples as Matt Strohl’s book. If you have ever had cinematic guilty pleasures, this book is sure to free you from any sense of guilt when indulging in them."
    Bence Nanay, University of Antwerp

    "I was sipping cocktails with my bourgeois friends and didn’t know what I was missing. Matt Strohl’s mash note to the rule breakers of cinema (and, by extension, life) is funny, personal and wise. I downloaded The Core and Troll 2 immediately. Twilight is next. Down with Ridicule—let Love rule!"
    Aaron Meskin, University of Georgia