Review: Better Living Through Bad Movies

Review: Better Living Through Bad Movies

Better Living Through Bad Movies
by Scott Clevenger and Sheri Zollinger
published by iUniverse
original publication: 2006
size: 331KB (227 pages)
categories: movies
lending: enabled
simultaneous device licenses: 6
part of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: yes
text-to-speech: yes

“Anyway, if you can believe that a bad Maynard G. Krebs caricature could make a poorly animated lesbian claw his back and rend the night air with fullthroated cries of “Jinkies!” then you’re the perfect target audience for our first film.”
–Scott Clevenger and Sheri Zollinger
Better Living Through Bad Movies

Did the mention of Maynard G. Krebs send you running to look up the name on Wikipedia…or did you immediately get the connection between Bob Denver’s television beatnik on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis and Casey Kasem’s Shaggy on Scooby Doo?

If it’s the latter, you’ll appreciate all the pop culture shout-outs in Better Living Through Bad Movies by Scott Clevenger and Sheri Zollinger. I mean, anybody who name checks Sigmund & the Sea Monsters is okay by me.

I also love bad movies. One of my favorite memories is spending all night in a theatre (with many people in pjs and sleeping bags…even though we were indoors) watching a “Golden Turkey” festival. The bill included The Creeping Terror,The Terror of Tiny Town…and other movies without “terror” in the title. 😉

One of the nice things about this book is that many of the movies are pretty recent (certainly 1980s and forward) where most famous bad movie books tend to go older.

I thought the writing was good. I got a good smile out of this description of the fight between Yoda and Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones:

“Yoda arrives, but the resulting light saber duel between the 6’5″ [Christopher] Lee, and the two-foot-tall puppet looks less like a titanic battle between good and evil, and more like a slightly panicky Yao Ming trying to club a rabid groundhog.”

However, there are some proof-reading errors in the book. For example, I changed “an rabid” above.  I highlighted a couple of dozen, and will send them to the publisher. That’s not too bad, but if you are picky about it, it’s good to know.

It’s also nice to know that there aren’t any obscenities (which I found refreshing), but there were some sexual comments, as you could tell from my introductory quotations.

There were also some jokes that were at the expense of groups, and not of the movies…a derogatory comment about fat people, and there seemed to be a sense that the idea of a same sex relationship was inherently funny.

That said, the basic conceit of the book was good. The authors present a few movies that fit a theme, and then, as if it was a self-help book, tell you what lessons you could learn (which are always funny).

I’d suggest that you read the book in sections, and not try to do the whole thing at once. The attitude is all snark all the time. While I’d say it’s superior snark, the one note feeling of it might get tiresome after an hour of reading.

I also would have liked it if they’d given people links to the movies, or had more information about them in the back of the book (which seemed to end rather abruptly).

If you liked Mad Magazine in the 1960s, I think you’ll enjoy this one. 🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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