The first time was an accident. Me, Carly, and Shelley were in the throes of singlehood and PMS-ing in sync, so naturally we got together on a Saturday night for Girls' Night In at Shelley's place. Carly supplied pizza, I brought dessert. We all wore yoga pants.
We settled in on the couch, expanding into our forgiving waistlines. Shelley sported her home-sewn remedy for cramps -- a little heart-shaped pouch of steaming dry rice that fit perfectly in the nook of her crotch, like she was being censored.
We began aimlessly scrolling Netflix, when someone suggested a recent Indie their boss had helped make (it was very LA). Given the personal connection and our assumed impeccable taste, we dimmed the lights, certain we were in for a good time.
We were wrong.
The film told the story of a modern couple's broken marriage, attempting to be good by being all real, but it was the kind of real where you realized, with a sudden burst of insight, that the point of movies is to escape reality, not rub your face in it.
We hated it. We couldn't turn it off. We bonded.
A month later, our cycles told us it was time (who knew this would turn into a period post? news to me!). We donned our knits, ordered greasy pizza to Shelley's, and when we went to select a movie, we thought -- well why not pick another terrible one? Our uteruses (uteri?) are already screaming. And thus it was, that Bad Movie Night was born -- a tradition that lives on nearly four years hence.
As time has passed, the practice has evolved from a simple form of amusement to an actual quest to find the perfect bad movie. Because what you learn when you are consistently and intentionally watching bad movies is that there are many subgenres within this sprawling category. There are Hallmarks, Lifetimes, Cheapy Horrors, Weirdly Vulgars, and Nicholas Sparks (**visible shudder**). There was the one where J-Lo the schoolteacher was seduced by the hot 16-year-old neighbor and ended up gorily poking his eyeball out (it escalated VERY quickly). There was the one where Naomi Watts and Robin Wright start dating each other's sons (honestly what sickos are behind these plotlines??) There is the yearly batch of Holiday fare, that always tries and always fails to top A Christmas Kiss.
Whenever I tell Scott I'm headed to Bad Movie Night, there's always a flicker of confusion before he cheerily tells me, "have fun!" How it must baffle him to see his wife, who hates nothing more than she hates wasting time, subject herself over and over to hours of horrible entertainment. But it doesn't feel like time wasted to me. It feels like time spent pursuing my life's (albeit unorthodox) calling.
On the other hand, maybe Bad Movie Night is time wasted. Maybe that's the joy of it -- the setting aside of an evening to be spent on absolute garbage. Squandered in empty calories; irretrievable as the thousands you've spent on tampons.
Maybe Bad Movie Night is some version of empowerment. Of reclaiming the right to pick our miseries rather than having misery thrust upon us.
When life gave us cramps, we turned them into Bad Movie Night.
I think it's a pretty fair trade.
Bad Movie Night happens once a quarter, and is open to suggestions.