I met a guy who was completely adamant that Adam Sandler movies are good. Movies like “Jack and Jill,” “Pixels” and “Grownups” are all hated by critics. His argument was that he enjoys watching them; therefore they are good, even if just to laugh at them for being poorly made. If someone enjoys watching Adam Sandler make terrible jokes, ironically or not, then that makes Adam Sandler good to them.
Even movies that are criminally bad, such as “Sharknado,” have accumulated an audience of people who genuinely enjoy watching them. This is mainly because these films weren’t made to be high quality; they were designed to be as entertaining as possible. Yet to critics and a lot of people, there’s an inability to see past imperfections that exist within the works. This begs the question: what makes art good?
Art can be anything that is made using creativity and self expression. The issue most people would have with this definition is that it opens up too many things to be art. But, truth be told, art is an extensive term. My bedroom door could be considered art because it was made with some degree of creative imagination and aesthetic. As strange as that sounds, somebody did take the take time to design my door in a visually pleasing way. Not all art exists to be thought provoking and high-concept. Some just exists to serve a singular purpose. A painting in a doctor’s office isn’t put there for patients to pontificate; it is there to create a calming environment for patients.
Pop music doesn’t exist because people struggle with how smashed they’ll get at the club, yet they’re enjoyed all the same. A lot of works of art were created simply to entertain, any of which have the capacity to be good. There’s nothing wrong with art that exists to entertain. Though I like paintings and films that take time to analyze and grasp the full meaning of, there is no reason that paintings and films that are a bit more shallow can’t be just as good. In 2016, “Mad Max: Fury Road” was released, a post-apocalyptic action movie about people on trucks fighting. It won ten oscars without being what most people would consider high-concept.
The art community puts an immense value on what critics say as opposed to personal taste. There’s stigma behind the way we view high art as being for smart people, which can make it difficult for a wider range of audiences to enjoy. This stigma comes from the way historically significant artists are put on a pedestal. A lot of people associate classical music with bourgeois, intellectually elitist culture, as if only certain people can appreciate it. In reality, classical music is for everyone to enjoy and liking it doesn’t make anyone better than anyone else. Yet there is value in what critics have to say about certain works. Analyzing and taking notes of what works and does not work in a piece of art is how a medium is innovated.
However, some art does exist for reasons outside of entertainment or utility. A lot of works exist to push for social change or to make others reconsider their point of view. Art is a powerful force and shouldn’t be taken lightly as just something we use to pass the time. Movies like “Sharknado” are fun to laugh at and loud club music is cool to listen to, but they’re like potato chips. They’re accessible, they’re easily made, and they’re good, but there is no sustenance. This doesn’t mean stuff like this shouldn’t exist; they just are what they are. They serve a purpose and that’s it.
The term “good” is commonly used to say that something is objectively good, as if there are strict rules for every medium that must be followed. In reality, what is good is based entirely on the taste of an individual. Art is meant to be enjoyed and is subjective by nature.
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