Tier Recommendation: Tier 1.75
Mainly, the low recommendation (IMO for a new release) is due to the significant color timing issues on this piece -- the majority of the film has been done in the almost-sepia orange/teal arrangement that seems to be more noticeable because it actually doesn't have any teal moments. All of the skin tones were colored and bronzed, except in a few moments where the film shows the "televised" spelling bee. That said, textures and black levels were spot on and led me to not reduce the rating further. In fact, other than the color timing and some of the weird "looks like public TV" effects, I'd say this was a fairly well-done modern release--comparable with anything else I've seen lately. Facial details were exhibited and individual eyelashes on the child actor could be seen in nearly every scene. Even a toy car showed lots of detail in close-ups.
In comparison to Lone Survivor, which I also watched this weekend, Bad Words was a significant drop in quality for it's inability to correctly display skin tones and other colors, while maintaining similar levels of details in faces and clothing. That said, the picture quality is clearly how the Director (Jason Bateman, making his directorial debut) or the Cinematographer (Ken Seng from Quarantine and Project X) intended and so I personally don't see a need to place it further down the tiers.
Former 35mm and Digital Projectionist @ Regal Cinemas
Currently watching on: BenQ W1070, 82" 1.0 Gain Screen, PS3, with Yamaha RX-V473, SVS PB-1000, a Def Tech CS-8040HD, and 4 Def Tech ProMonitor 800s.