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The Razzies Are Bad Because They're Not Bad Enough

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by Matt Singer
January 9, 2013 11:21 AM
4 Comments
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"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2."
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2."

When you go to the website for the Golden Raspberry Awards -- the annual celebration of the worst movies of the year -- and you click the link for "Our 33rd Annual Dis-Honors," instead of being taken to a full list of nominees, you're sent to a page where you can sign up to become a Razzies member. For $40, you too can arbitrarily decide what movies were the worst of the year. "Take a pot-shot that'll be heard 'round the globe!" the introductory copy boasts. 

In other words, the Razzies are what we thought they were. The Free Dictionary definition of pot shots sure sounds like the Golden Raspberries: "A criticism made without careful thought and aimed at a handy target for attack." Like, say, piling on "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" with eleven nominations, even if the film was basically the best in the entire series, because the "Twilight" movies are big and successful and kind of silly. Or nominating Adam Sandler, regardless of what he makes in a given year because he's Adam Sandler and he's made a bunch of crummy movies in the past.

One of the very first pieces I wrote for this blog was called "Razzing the Razzie Awards," and this latest batch of nominees just serves to confirm everything in it. Like:

"The awards' biggest problem is there's really no delineation between a truly unwatchable piece of garbage and a movie that transcends its own limitations to become something more than the sum of its mistakes. Not all bad movies are created equal, nor watched with equal amounts of pain. Was 'Showgirls' really the 'worst' movie of 1995? It was certainly the most infamous movie of 1995, but history has proven the film has a perverse sort of watchability. I've seen it dozens of times, own it on Blu-ray (because a DVD copy is not nearly hi-res enough to admire the, uh, intricacies of the cinematography), and never get sick of it. Meanwhile one viewing of one of 1995's Worst Picture runner-ups, 'It's Pat: The Movie,' very nearly killed me. I'd rather watch 'Showgirls' 500 times, 'Clockwork Orange'-style, than watch 'It's Pat' just once more.  I would argue there should be two top awards at the Razzies: one for Worst Picture ('It's Pat,' we salute you!) and one for Best Worst Picture (thank you, Paul Verhoeven and Joe Eszterhas!)."

I didn't quite draw a line under it last year, but that's what the Razzies are all about: not badness, but infamy. The "Twilight" movies are more notorious than bad -- same with most of Adam Sandler's oeuvre (last year's big loser at the Razzies, "Jack & Jill," wasn't "His Girl Friday," but it wasn't "It's Pat" either). "Battleship" wasn't terrible, but it was a big flop based on a board game. On that note: how the hell did Taylor Kitsch's other 2012 bomb, "John Carter," not get a single nomination? I didn't hate that movie either, but it has all the markings of a classic Razzies nominee: bloated budget, studio meddling, effects-driven storytelling, bad 3D, and a weak leading performance. I'd have predicted it would get more nominations than "Twilight." Are there a lot of sci-fi nerds on the Razzies board? What gives?

You could actually have a good night at the movies selectively watching some of these Razzie nominees. I greatly enjoyed watching Nicolas Cage supposedly deliver one of the worst performances of the year in "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance." "Breaking Dawn Part 2" was pretty entertaining -- especially the big final battle and Michael Sheen's crazy ass giggle. "Alex Cross" made my own list of "The Best Worst Movies of 2012," for similarly crazy-ass reasons. As I mentioned in last year's piece, the Razzies don't differentiate between fun bad and bad bad, between bad filmmaking and bad faith. That's a big problem.

Even if they are devoted to the worst movies of the year, the Razzies have to do better. Maybe we should all pay the forty bucks and take over the organization from within (this might be their business model: be so frustrating that you're tempted to pay just to make it better). That take-a-pot-shot page actually encourages you to buy multiple memberships -- for $500 you can sign up you and 50 friends for life. There's only something like 700 voting members of the Razzies; I've always wondered why, say, Adam Sandler's publicist doesn't just spent like $5,000 -- chump change to Happy Madison -- to create a huge voting block inside the Razzies membership, and vote for anything other than Sandler's movies. It would totally work. And it couldn't possible make the Razzies any worse.

Here's the full list of 2013 Razzie nominees:

Worst Picture
"Battleship"
"The Oogieloves in Big Balloon Adventure"
"That's My Boy"
"A Thousand Words"
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II"

Worst Director
Sean Anders - "That's My Boy"
Peter Berg - "Battleship"
Bill Condon - "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II"
Tyler Perry - "Good Deeds" / "Madea's Witness Protection"
John Putch - "Atlas Shrugged: Part II"

Worst Actress
Katherine Heigl - "One for the Money"
Milla Jovovich - "Resident Evil: Retribution"
Tyler Perry - "Madea's Witness Protection"
Kristen Stewart - "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II" / "Snow White and the Huntsman"
Barbra Streisand - "The Guilt Trip"

Worst Actor
Nicolas Cage - "Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance" / "Seeking Justice"
Eddie Murphy - "A Thousand Words"
Robert Pattinson - "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II"
Tyler Perry - "Alex Cross" / "Good Deeds"
Adam Sandler - "That's My Boy"

Worst Supporting Actress
Jessica Biel - "Playing For Keeps" / "Total Recall"
Brooklyn Decker - "Battleship" / "What to Expect When You're Expecting"
Ashley Greene - "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II"
Jennifer Lopez - "What to Expect When You're Expecting"
Rihanna - "Battleship"

Worst Supporting Actor
David Hasselhoff - "Piranha 3DD"
Taylor Lautner - "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II"
Liam Neeson - "Battleship / Wrath of the Titans"
Nick Swardson - "That's My Boy"
Vanilla Ice - "That's My Boy"

Worst Screen Ensemble
"Battleship"
"The Oogieloves in Big Balloon Adventure"
"That's My Boy"
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II"
"Madea's Witness Protection"

Worst Screenplay
"Atlas Shrugged Part II"
"Battleship"
"That's My Boy"
"A Thousand Words"
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II"

Worst Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel
"Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance"
"Piranha 3DD"
"Red Dawn"
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II"
"Madea's Witness Protection"

Worst Screen Couple
Any two cast members from Jersey Shore in "The Three Stooges"
Mackenzie Foy and Taylor Lautner in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II"
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II"
Tyler Perry and his drag in "Madea's Witness Protection"
Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, or Susan Sarandon in "That's My Boy"

Read more at Razzies.com.

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4 Comments

  • Arch | January 10, 2013 11:42 AMReply

    I think it's important to emphasize that the Razzie awards never were anti-Awards or un-Awards (whether it was their initial goal or not). To me it's an obvious 'addition/complement' to the Academy Awards ceremony. A way to sneer at mediocre (yet inoffensive) movies and thus confirm that the academy is here to celebrate the top of the top. Something like a comic-relief. You give several definitive examples here. Heaven's gate Razzie award nominations and 'victory' would be another interesting debate.

  • Returnofthesmith | January 9, 2013 4:45 PMReply

    The absolute worst leading performance in a wide release Hollywood film this year was definitely RZA in Man With The Iron Fists. That film's disjointed screenplay was also worthy of some dishonor.
    Matt, I think you should start an Indiewire equivalent to the Razzies. I'm sure the calibre of your readers and the listeners of your podcast could create a much wore worthy list.

  • Returnofthesmith | January 9, 2013 4:44 PMReply

    The absolute worst leading performance in a wide release Hollywood film this year was definitely RZA in Man With The Iron Fists. That film's disjointed screenplay was also worthy of some dishonor.
    Matt, I think you should start an Indiewire equivalent to the Razzies. I'm sure the calibre of your readers and the listeners of your podcast could create a much wore worthy list.

  • Returnofthesmith | January 9, 2013 4:43 PMReply

    The absolute worst leading performance in a wide release Hollywood film this year was definitely RZA in Man With The Iron Fists. That film's disjointed screenplay was also worthy of some dishonor.
    Matt, I think you should start an Indiewire equivalent to the Razzies. I'm sure the calibre of your readers and the listeners of your podcast could create a much wore worthy list.

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