It’s been said that the best part of going to the movies is seeing the previews for upcoming releases.  As a movie buff, I tend to agree with the sentiment; mainly because nine out of ten times the trailer is better than the movie.  It shows you all the good parts in a thrilling pace (even a trailer for a  Jane Austen movie is intense) and so your mind imagines that the rest of the 98 minutes will be just like that–it’s usually not. So when you’re trying to decide whether or not to see a movie based on the trailer, you’re really wonder if the they (the director/writer/producer/or actors) can pull off bringing that quality all the way through.  I’ve come to the belief that good filmmakers simply make really long movie trailers.

Now, there is an exception to the movie trailer paradigm.  A trailer can make you not want to see a movie, it can make you swear a blood oath against doing so, and still be great.  If a movie is so horrible and so cheesy that even the “best scenes” used in the trailer are just as bad, it crosses from the crap side of the quality spectrum to the utterly sublime. Think of it this way: we all love movies that are so horribly bad they’re funny, but can’t stand spending either the money or the time to see them. The trailer allows you to enjoy such sub-par fare without wasting the $12 or two hours of your life. They essentially become their own short films to be evaluated on their own elements.   Keeping that in mind, you realize the true direction Nicholas Cage has been taking his career over the past few years

Being a connoisseur of such cultural artifacts, I’ve noticed several rules to making the best awesomely bad movie trailer. The first and most important rule is to have a voice over narration of the trailer.  It’s a cliché, but that’s what makes it necessary (it also provides the much need exposition without the time).  The second most obvious is wooden acting, you want the actors to not only be stiff and unbelievable, but the expressions on their faces showing they know it.  Third, actors with some reputation or fame must be involved; otherwise you’re just watching a shitty homemade movie. And finally, there should be some element of science fiction involved—this will create the setup for under budget special effects as well utterly ridiculous scenarios.

Below are three great examples:


Not bad.  As we can see all the rules were met, including notable actors-Charlie Murphy (Eddie’s brother and breakout star of the Chappelle show) as well as Hassan Johnson (Wee-Bey from The Wire).  But one or two of the jokes were actually kind of funny and I almost laughed, which should happen for such a movie trailer (at least not intentionally).

Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus

YES! We see what happens when all the rules are met and it is a fantastic result. We also discover what Debbie Gisbon and Lorenzo Lamas are now up to.


This one ignores the last rule and really comes through on the third (Oh, Gary Oldman!).  There is only one word to describe this awesomely bad trailer: genius.