OK, hear me out — I don’t think “Twilight” (2008) is that bad. No, I mean it. Is it a good movie? No. Does it have Oscar-level acting? Absolutely not. But does it deserve to be pop culture’s cinematic punching bag? I don’t think so.
Let’s not forget that this movie was released over 10 years ago. Chances are, you were a prepubescent kid with an emo side part who listened to Maroon 5 back then (I know I was). And I remember seeing this movie in theaters for the first time and actually enjoying it. I mean, how can anyone not? It’s a comedic masterpiece.
Yet, people are quick to point out the obvious mistakes and the overall cringe factor of the movie. Some have said that it supports toxic and abusive relationships, while others have voiced their distaste for the terrible acting and special effects. I mean, they’re not wrong. At one point during the movie, the vampires play baseball — which has nothing to do with the plot (and thus doesn’t get mentioned in the movies ever again).
But this cringe humor is an incredible subgenre of comedy that is a lot more popular than we realize. A lot of TV shows heavily rely on cringe humor. Think of “The Office,” (2005–13) “Girls” (2012–17) and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2000–). All of these shows have earned critical acclaim and fame for creating uncomfortable laughter among their audiences.
“Twilight” isn’t any different. Sure, it hasn’t won any Oscars, but it has this absurd level of seriousness, executed flawlessly with a young, hot Robert Pattinson, playing a sexy, 100-year-old vampire. And Kristen Stewart? She delivers the performance of a lifetime as a teenage daughter who has the personality of a wet cabbage. The best part of it all? They fall in love, and not just in the movie.
The cinematography — striking in its bleached bleakness of the Pacific Northwest — combined with an odd, yet great set of music (it even features Radiohead!) made this movie a cultural phenomenon that shook the 2000s to its core, right when social media was taking hold. It did so well at the box office that the producers and directors decided to make another movie shortly after. Little did they know that they would make three more after that.
Now, I’m not here to convince you that this movie is perfect. There are too many plot holes and too many bad performances for that. All I’m saying is that watching this movie can be an enjoyable experience for everyone — whether they’re Team Edward, Team Jacob or Team Anti-Twilight — because everyone can find something in it to poke fun at. (Mine is the line: “Hold on tight, spider monkey.”)
After all, we don’t always watch movies because they’re cinematic masterpieces. Sometimes, we watch movies because they’re stupid, silly and fun. And “Twilight” is just that.