Loving Trashy Movies Probably Means You're Smart, Says Science

Who's game for a "Sharknado" marathon?!

12/10/2016 3:26 AM AEDT | Updated 12/10/2016 5:02 AM AEDT

Can’t wait to see “Fifty Shades Darker? 

Well, leave your judgy friends behind, grab the popcorn and indulge in all the trashy movies you want.

Seriously, it’s a sign of your brilliance.

In a study published this summer in the interdisciplinary arts and culture journal Poetics, researchers found that people with “bad” movie preferences tend to be, well, smart.

The study was conducted by film scholar Keyvan Sarkhosh of the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Germany, and relied on an online survey to collect data from 372 participants ― largely university students and people with a presence on Facebook and trash film-focused online forums. Their mean age was 34.6 years.

The survey asked participants to provide up to 20 words they spontaneously associated with the term “trash films,” and to describe the feelings these films elicited and how often and in what context they typically watched them. Participants were also asked to list up to 10 film titles that came to mind when they thought of “trash films.”

“There was no pre-selected list of trash-film titles,” Sarkhosh told The Huffington Post.

Participants described “trash films” as cheaply or poorly made films that feature embarrassing or disturbing content. In an unsurprising twist, “Sharknado (and its sequels) were among the films most often mentioned by trashy cinema intellects. Because, hello, Fin and April 4ever!

The study concluded that one’s enjoyment of trashy cinema indicates “a positive, transgressive deviance from the cinematic mainstream.” Trashy movie-lovers tend to watch such films ironically ― solely for humor or entertainment value. Nothing like a good hate-watch, right?

One of the study’s central findings was that participants appreciated trash films as well as art cinema

“Items in the questionnaire were designed to uncover the relationship of trash-films to other modes of filmmaking and distribution like blockbuster films, Hollywood mainstream or art-house cinema,” Sarkhosh said. “We also asked for the general art, media and film genre preferences of our participants.”

“We are dealing here with an audience with above-average education, which one could describe as ‘cultural omnivores,’” he explained. “Such viewers are interested in a broad spectrum of art and media across the traditional boundaries of high and popular culture.”

In other words, finding a “cheap and worthless” film enjoyable is a sign of smarts.

If you’re wondering how educated the study participants were, here’s the breakdown Sarkhosh gave HuffPost:

  • 148 (43.3 percent) held a university degree

  • 110 (32.2 percent) had a higher education entrance qualification

  •  61 (17.8 percent) had a general certificate of secondary education

  •  15 (4.4 percent) had only completed mandatory basic secondary schooling

  •  4 (1.2 percent) had no educational diplomas  

  •  4 (1.2 percent) reported having a degree which was not included in the list given.

The study deduced that 86 percent of the participants are regular trash film viewers, which Sarkhosh chalks up to “a sustained and deliberate hedonic habitude devoid of guilt feelings.”

So, if your typical weekend includes a low-budget horror movie marathon, a trip to see “La Traviata” and listening to Bjork’s new album, you might be a genius. Go forth with your “deliberate hedonic habitude devoid of guilt feelings” and be merry!

Anyone else feel good about their love of the movie “Glitter all of a sudden? 

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