Settling In - A love letter to Venom

There were two dominant sounds in the dark Melville theatre: Eminem’s yelps-disguised-as-rap and my cackling laughter.

I couldn’t stop myself. As the credits rolled and Eminem strung together rhymes about wearing an alien suit, I was overcome with a severe case of the giggles. I let out a harsh laugh that threatened to overpower the booming rap beat. Much like Robert De Niro in Cape Fear, I filled the theatre with my obnoxious guffaws.

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When I watch a movie, I try to be respectful. When I was 17, a friend and I were scolded by a stern father for talking during the oh-so-riveting dialogue of Cowboys and Aliens (remember that dud?). That lecture stuck with me. When I’m in a theatre, I keep my chatter to a minimum. People paid their hard-earned money for a ticket; who am I to ruin their experience?

But during this particular flick, I couldn’t help myself. I chuckled, snickered, and chortled through the entire runtime. I sat there with slackjaw amazement, my eyes refusing to believe what they were seeing.

What film could make me such an annoying movie patron? Venom (even writing the name makes me giggle).

Venom is garbage. Hideous, unsightly, glorious, beautiful garbage. It’s the type of film that, had it come out 10 years ago, would have killed the burgeoning superhero movie genre. It’s an ugly film populated with stupid characters, sickening CGI, and stilted dialogue. It’s the worst superhero movie since Suicide Squad. I love it.

Back in college, I had a roommate who extolled the virtues of bad movies. He told me he’d rather watch a jaw-droppingly bad film than a genuinely good one. I couldn’t wrap my mind around such a philosophy.

To be sure, I’ve enjoyed plenty of “so-bad-they’re-good” movies in my time. I’ve busted my guts laughing at Batman and Robin, The Room, and Bratz: The Movie. But none of them compared to films of actual quality. I’d watch Gone Girl over Taken 3 any day of the week. I thought my friend was off his rocker.

But as the years have gone by, I’ve come to appreciate his stance. There is something...special about a truly awful film. It reaches a level of transcendence good films can’t touch. Terrible films show us the grasping overambition of humanity matched with utter incompetence. Horrible movies give us a chance to laugh at our own hubris.

Venom is one such bad film. It’s a 10-car pileup of bad decisions, bad casting, and just plain badness. Tom Hardy, a talented actor, delivers a mumbly, jittering performance that looks like an audition tape for a Freakazoid adaptation. Entire scenes and subplots seem to be ripped from the final film without any care for how they impact the story. The climatic final battle mimics the look of two bowls of spaghetti smashing into each other.

I don’t want to spoil the rest; Venom has to be seen to be believed. It’s the type of awful film that puts a smile on your face. It’s horridness reignited my hope for cinema. If something like Venom can go so wrong, it’s truly a miracle so many other films don’t follow its path. Venom is the feel-good movie of the year. Bless you, you ugly ball of sub-2004 CGI. Bless you.

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