Here at The Bubble we strive to bring your attention to some of our favorite art and entertainment in Argentina. That’s why we write pieces about cult classic Los Simuladores, put together our list of favorite Argentine albums of the year, and why we are always telling you about things to do in this wonderful city.
But every once in a while, it’s fun to take a break from what is traditionally “good.” Every once in a while, you want to simply lie back, relax, and watch something hacky, trashy, and cheap. Sometimes you want to revel in art and entertainment that is truly atrocious – so atrocious that it comes out the other side and becomes hilarious.
So we’ve rounded up a few examples of “So Bad It’s Good” works from film and television that are sure to leave you wide-eyed, mouth agape, and laughing in disbelief. And yes, let’s get this out of the way: the expression “so bad it’s good” is a bit of a misnomer because art is subjective and there is no true “good” and “bad.” The bottom line is: whether you watch them alone or with friends, these selections will provide a thoroughly entertaining experience – perhaps in a different way than the creators intended.
Un Buen Día
You’re probably familiar with The Room, Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 opus, often referred to as “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” and whose rocky and too-ridiculous-to-be-believed production was later immortalized in James Franco’s hit 2017 film The Disaster Artist. Well, Un Buen Día is kind of like the Argentine version of The Room, a misfire of epic proportions, evincing a stunning degree of incompetence by everybody involved.
From the stilted, hilariously awkward script (“making love is an orgasm of the soul” is an actual line that is delivered without a hint of irony or comedic intent), the unnatural-sounding performances (much like The Room, the majority of the dialogue was dubbed-in during post-production), the utterly insipid and often nonsensical story, and the slapdash editing, Un Buen Día is less of a movie and more of an experience. Of course, it has amassed a cult following, and for good reason. Everybody loves a train wreck, and this is one of the biggest ones we’ve ever seen.
The first-ever Argentine Netflix Original raised eyebrows as soon as the casting of model/actress Juanita Viale was announced. Though afforded a tremendous wealth of opportunities, Juanita hasn’t exactly set the acting world ablaze, and every one of her performances seems to feel less natural than the previous one. Edha strives to be a dark, noir-ish tale of intrigue and deception, like a House of Cards set in the fashion world Instead, it feels more like a high school production of some long-shelved screenplay, with characters that sound completely alien to their surroundings and plot twists too ludicrous to be believed. It’s an exercise in hate-watching, and you won’t want to quit until you follow its unraveling plot to its illogical conclusion. Read more about it in our full review of the show.
What can we say about this delightfully bizarre blunder? Cruzadas is a film from 2011, starring screen legend Moria Casán and directed by the late Diego Rafecas. It follows the story of Juana (Casán herself), whose father Ernest Pérez Roble passes away, leaving her with the key to his multimedia empire. As if dealing with her father’s death weren’t enough, Juana must now grapple with the revelation that she has a long-lost sister, who shows up to stake her claim on her father’s inheritance. It’s a… comedy, I guess? At least it tries to be, but much of its comedic value comes from the utterly shambolic way it’s put together; that is to say it’s funny, just not in the way the cast and crew intended. It could be argued that the film ultimately succeeds, in a roundabout sort of way. The lone bright spot is the musical involvement of Damas Gratis, which tells you all you need to know about the kind of film you’re getting into.
Desearás… al Hombre de Tu Hermana
A movie is truly horrible when it’s predictable. When it is staid and boring, and every story beat is telegraphed from miles away. One thing you can say about Desearás is that it is decidedly not that. In fact, it is one of the weirdest, most outlandish, most gloriously unpredictable movies we’ve ever seen. An attempt at an erotic thriller set in the 1970s, the film boasts gorgeous cinematography and some legitimately compelling character moments, but it is also filled with some of the strangest narrative decisions ever made by a filmmaker. Inside sources have claimed that the film was originally meant to be a dark drama, mirroring the tone of the novel it is adapting, but the decision was made early in the shoot to switch the tone to comedy. The end result is a truly staggering mishmash of tones and strange performances. Check out our full review.
Bañeros 4: Los Rompeolas
Y’know, it might be a bit unfair to put a movie from the Bañeros series here. After all, it’s not like it’s ever striving to be good, or satisfy the needs of anyone expecting high art. Low-brow humor is the name of the game in this long-running series of films, which now spans over thirty years of wacky adventures (the original film in the series – Los Bañeros Mas Locos del Mundo – was itself a spin-off of an earlier film series titled La Brigada Explosiva. Yes, this strangeness runs deep).
The series follows a group of life guards and their adventures in Mar del Plata, often incorporating elements of farce, superhero films, and slapstick humor. This particular installment is particularly heinous in its humor, falling into sexist tropes, cringe-inducing dad jokes, and a surprising amount of animal involvement (often calling to mind Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls). It’s not great, but it’s so completely incompetent in its execution that you can’t help enjoying yourself.
El Hilo Rojo
Who doesn’t love to hate a romantic comedy? Particularly a romantic comedy that is set in a beautiful location, features a patently absurd plot, is based on an ancient Chinese legend, and is plagued with real-life tabloid drama? El Hilo Rojo somehow manages to hit all those points while also being a strangely compelling movie in its own inept way; a Love Actually subplot that somehow managed to earn the full-movie treatment. You’ll hate both its protagonists, but you’ll love every second of it. For more information, check out our full review.
What is it with Sebastián Estevanez and soap operas that contain “amor” in the title? Amor en custodia, La Ley del Amor, Herencia de Amor, Dulce Amor, Camino al Amor – the guy won’t quit it with this “amor” business. Still, Dulce Amor is probably the worst (and thus, most enjoyable) of his small-screen ventures; running a whopping 301 episodes across a single season, this telenovela lit up television screens across the country in the year 2012, and followed a convoluted plot featuring star-crossed lovers (of course), infidelity (of course), doubtful paternity claims (of course), a tangled web of lies (of course), and amnesia (duh). All of these are tried-and-true telenovela tropes, but what makes Dulce Amor so utterly watchable is its horrific performances and utter disregard for tonal consistency, as well as the pulpy thrills delivered by its strange storyline. And lucky you, the whole thing is available on YouTube!
La Patria Equivocada
Juanita Viale, we meet again. Yes, we feel a bit bad for trashing the actress twice in the same article, but to be entirely honest, her performance is not the biggest problem in this ambitious period piece. Instead, Carlos Galettini’s historical drama falls apart when judged from a narrative, aesthetic and thematic standpoint. The stiff, utterly unnatural performances are the icing on this very bitter cake. Is it enjoyable? Sure, in the same way that watching a real-life fight unfold over a Facebook comment thread is. You realize you’re not supposed to be enjoying it, but the question “what is wrong with these people?” keeps drawing you in.