Some films are evil. Birth of a Nation or Triumph of the Will, say. My interest in this post is not in such morally harmful films. Rather, I am interested in bad movies in the sense of trashy or kitschy movies, but which are nonetheless not evil. Star Wars Episodes I-III are examples.
One might say that the films that I am interested in are ones that are bad artistically, unlike Birth of a Nation and Triumph of the Will which promote evil ideas by what is in a narrow sense of the term "good art".
Now if I were to spend the rest of my life on a desert island with a solar powered DVD player, I'd rather have Star Wars I-III (or any one of them) than no movies. (On the other hand, I would rather not have Birth of a Nation or Triumph of the Will, because I'd be afraid that out of boredom I would watch them enough times that the propaganda might eventually start sinking in.) And I think that not only would I be less bored, but I would actually be better off qua film viewer, better off qua being with artistic sensibilities, for watching these films on the island. Despite the fact that I would call these films bad, nonetheless I think they are better than nothing, even qua films. That probably wouldn't be true of all films.
So I think that some of the things we call bad movies are nonetheless better than nothing. They are really, thus, on balance good things, and even on balance good qua films. They are simply bad compared to the better ones, and hence bad compared to our expectations. The point generalizes. Much of what we call bad literature, bad music, bad painting and so on is, nonetheless, on balance good. Qua consumers of the art, we are better off with it than with nothing. Much but probably not all. I don't want to deny that there is literature, music and paintings that it would be better not to witness, simply on aesthetic grounds, but I suspect we greatly exaggerate the quantity of it. In the interests of not being whiny, of appropriate gratitude and optimism, I suggest the more accurate word "mediocre" in place of "bad" when we're not dealing with stuff that's worse artistically than nothing.