'Twilight' is objectively bad: So why am I still obsessed with it?

·4 min read

Once upon a time, sparkling vampires and overprotective werewolves dominated pop culture. And now, "Twilight" is in the spotlight once again, 13 years after its premiere.

The vampire-themed romance saga, based on Stephenie Meyer's novels, has arrived on Netflix, with all five films immediately cracking the platform's top 10 most-watched list. Fans are reviving the decade-old debate about Team Edward vs. Team Jacob and stirring new conversations about the underrated mustachioed hunk Charlie Swan (yes, Bella's dad).

As a Twihard (a nickname for the fandom), I will put my personal biases aside to acknowledge that yes, "Twilight" is objectively a bad movie. So bad that lead actor Robert Pattinson even hated it.

It's impossible to ignore Kristen Stewart's constant blinking and the uncomfortably awkward interactions throughout. And you can't forget that computer-generated baby – which is more terrifying than it is cute.

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Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in "Twilight," which has hit Netflix.
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in "Twilight," which has hit Netflix.

But even with all its flaws and cringe-worthiness, "Twilight" is still one of my favorite movies. As a more mature and less angsty 22-year-old, I am still excited to stream the supernatural saga on Netflix and relive the juicy drama between Edward, Bella and Jacob.

But I'm not the only one. Why are people – many of whom are now adults – so obsessed with a movie known for its bad acting and cliché plot?

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It's silly to realize that a 108-year-old vampire and a poorly edited computer-generated image wolf had millions of teenage girls swooning. But for 8-year-old Jenna, "Twilight" offered my first glimpse of what I thought love was. Two boys fighting over little old me? Yes, please!

Edward (Pattinson, now 35) and Jacob (Taylor Lautner, now 29) go back and forth trying to prove their worthiness to Bella (Stewart, now 31) with unrealistically grand gestures. Edward heroically pushes a swerving car to save Bella's life, while Jacob sidelines his tribe's lifetime beef with the vampires to protect his unrequited love interest.

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Watching the movies back, I now see the many red flags I missed. No, it isn't romantic when someone breaks into your house to watch you sleep, and calling your crush your "personal brand of heroin" doesn't age as well as I thought. And that love triangle that I oh-so-envied is a more problematic and dramatic narrative today: I question whether Bella even had real feelings for Jacob, or was he just a rebound for when she missed Edward?

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However, it was revisiting this unrealistic yet emotional roller coaster on Netflix that brought me and apparently many others back to simpler times: To when my biggest problem in life was Edward's near-death experience in "New Moon." Or when 90% of my thoughts were occupied by this series – so much so that I bought a life-size Edward Cullen cutout to bring the fantasy into my reality.

Obviously, I was Team Edward.
Obviously, I was Team Edward.

Everything about "Twilight," from its classic tomboy fashion to its unforgettably catchy soundtrack, takes me back to the late 2000s, and to this day, no movie has ever excited me as much as "Twilight" did. And watching in 2021, that action-packed surprise ending in "Breaking Dawn – Part 2" with the Volturi, the franchise's most powerful (and less friendly) coven of vampires, had me doing a double take, just as it had the first time around.

Other teen rom-coms have tried and failed to recreate the steamy love triangle trope since (looking at you, "Kissing Booth"), and there isn't a fandom as united and cult-like as Twihards (maybe with the exception of BTS Army).

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But rewatching the saga has shown me that my years-old obsession with these supernatural characters has not faded, and there is nothing quite like Twilight" – whether that's a good or bad thing.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Twilight' tops Netflix most-watched list. Why are we still obsessed?

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