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Plastic spoons and White Russians

The popularity of cult films

By Laurien Deurwaarder

9 Februari, 2019 | 20:00 last updated

What makes a movie a flop and what makes it a Hollywood blockbuster, is sometimes clearly defined. Disney movies are mostly hyped up before they even hit the theaters, so they are guaranteed to be successful. However, the fact that a movie is not instantly successful does not mean it will fade into oblivion. It can sometimes be quite the contrary. A film can get a so-called cult-status. According to the ever trustworthy Wikipedia: “A cult film or cult movie, also commonly referred to as a cult classic, is a film that has acquired a cult following. Cult films are known for their dedicated, passionate fan base, an elaborate subculture that engage in repeated viewings, quoting dialogue, and audience participation.”​

Oh hi Mark

A very good example of a cult classic is the movie The Room (2003). This movie is still screened and certain things are included in viewings that are not normal at most movie screenings. The movie set includes some framed pictures of spoons, and every time these are shown on the screen, you are supposed to throw a bunch of plastic spoons at the screen. Its status as worst movie ever made has been repeated several times. The unknown origins of the creator Tommy Wiseau also add to the mythical status surrounding The Room. The film still has a lot of fans, and in 2017 a movie about the making of The Room was created. The Disaster Artist stars James Franco and many others and dives deeper into the strange movie.

It really did tie the room together

Another example of a cult classic is the movie The Big Lebowski (1998), which is still popular even though the movie is already 20 years old. It is written, produced and directed by Ethan and Joel Coen. The two previously created the critically acclaimed Fargo in 1996. Furthermore, The Big Lebowski even inspired a philosophy called “Dudeism”, following the lifestyle of the protagonist Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski. March 6 is the sacred holy day of the movement, which also marks the premiere of the movie in the United States. Though the movie was in the beginning not very successful, the later popularity and solid fan base made sure the movie became a cult-classic.

The symbol of Dudeism

 

Still on screen

Last year, both The Room and The Big Lebowski were still screened at the Groninger Forum in Groningen. There was even a special day dedicated to The Big Lebowski, you could get a free drink if you came dressed as a character of the movie. This was to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the film in 2018. This drink, of course, was a White Russian, The Dude’s favorite drink. Thus, screenings of the movies are still visited and this contributes to the cult-status of the movie. Furthermore, cult films also demonstrate the power of films, even though they are not initially successful.