Since life is too short to listen to every song by every artist I'm not familiar with, I often just listen to the one or the few with the most Spotify streams. This is a useful approach, but it can become too entrenched into my mindset. Sometimes I like a song and then I see that it doesn't have very many Spotify streams, and I second-guess whether I should like it. That's stupid. I have to remind myself that I don't need anyone's validation to like something.
I had to remind myself again after I watched one of my new favorite movies the other day. I laughed through much of it - quite an achievement, since I rarely laugh when I'm alone and don't have other people's laughter to trigger me - and then had trouble sleeping because I was so excited about how great it was. And then I looked up more information about it and realized that, while some people agree with me that it's "A little-known cult gem," others see it more as "Land fill fodder the musical." One reviewer on imdb wrote, "If you have a child 6-12 perhaps, with a weird sense of style and fun, this might be something good to put on after they've watched all of Pee-Wee's Playhouse at least 10 times each." Another wrote, "None of the jokes are remotely funny. This movie really hurts and kills brain cells. It can be used to torture prisoners with." Another wrote, "Except for a few moments of unintentional humor this is certainly one of the hardest films to watch that I've come across. It appears to be little more than a Pia Zadora vehicle, and that vehicle is on a collision course with a tree." Another wrote, "I'm not kidding. This one is appallingly bad. Where to start? It really doesn't matter, this movie sucks on every level, so by all means, watch it! Enjoy it!" So anyway, I started to wonder if they were right and I was an idiot for enjoying it.
But I quickly concluded that what we have here is a mismatch of expectations. Patrick Mason has written in a thinly veiled scathing personal attack on me, "Those who are disappointed that church meetings are not as intellectually stimulating or historically nuanced as university classes suffer from category confusion; they would surely not expect or appreciate a sermon from their college professor." Likewise, the people who didn't like this movie obviously expected something different from what they got. I have no idea why. I'll freely acknowledge that it doesn't cater to everyone's tastes, but I think it's pretty obvious at a glance what kind of tastes this movie does cater to. I knew what I was getting and I got it and then some. Tell me truthfully, would you watch this movie with expectations of groundbreaking special effects, phenomenal acting, and a rational plot?
Where Voyage of the Rock Aliens subverted and exceeded my expectations was in the very conscious, deliberate nature of its low-budget cheesiness and weirdness. It's not just a B movie, it's a parody of and tribute to B movies. I first realized this when I noticed that the name of the malt shop was Popular Teen Hangout. And once I realized that, the movie could do no wrong. It thoroughly covered its bases. Clever jokes are funny. Stupid jokes are funny. Jokes with potential but poor delivery are funny. Absurd events are funny. Random musical numbers are funny. Bad dancing is funny. Some of the songs aren't terribly memorable, but they've all got the eighties charm that you'll appreciate if you aren't the imdb reviewer who wrote, "Man, I'm sooo glad the '80s are dead and buried." And this movie riffs not only on sci-fi movies, horror movies, and sixties beach movies, but eighties music videos - which it had the self-awareness to do during the eighties. I may not know much about art, but I know that this movie is it. I'm going to make all my true friends watch it on my birthday after I download it from YouTube and edit out the half-second of nudity in case that offends someone.
The second best thing I watched this weekend was General Conference, which I will probably write about next weekend after taking some time to collect my thoughts and look at the transcripts.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.