Sunday, February 22, 2015

Saving the Razzies

Never mind the Oscars tonight, okay?  In a culture such as ours, which, as Lewis H. Lapham once noted, involves the re-assurances to the populace that our artists are capable of producing masterpieces, made in order to preserve one of "the myths that our society deems precious" - that we are a first-class civilization despite being mired in a milieu of complacency - the Oscars don't reflect who we are all that much.  Too really understand us, you have to look to the Razzies.
The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation (GRAF) just awarded its booby prizes for 2015 for the worst Hollywood has to offer, and if you're a Kirk Cameron fan, you're not going to like this.  The former "Growing Pains" star's movie Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas (yes, he took credit - or blame - for the movie through the title!) obtained three Razzies, for worst screenplay, worst actor (Cameron himself), and - wait for it! - worst picture.
Another Cameron - Cameron Diaz - "won" the worst actress award for two movies, The Other Woman (which also featured Kate Upton, who was inexplicably spared a Razzie nomination of any sort), beating out Melissa McCarthy (for Tammy), whose movie career is as credible as her cousin Jenny's authority on vaccines.
Other "winners" included Kelsey Grammer, for worst supporting actor in four movies - Expendables 3, Legends of Oz, Think Like a Man Too, and Transformers 4: Age of Extinction - seems like I missed a name for my losers lost for 2014, eh? - and Megan Fox, for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remake.  A one-time "it" girl, she clearly doesn't have "it" anymore.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, incidentally, joined movies such as Expendables 3 and Transformers 4: Age of Extinction - along with Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas, of course - in getting nominations in multiple categorizes, and Expendables 3 got three Worst Supporting Actor nominations overall, for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson (remember him?) as well as Grammer.  These movies should put an end to sequels and remakes, but then, Hollywood can always be expected to put out such movies - especially if they're action/adventure franchises - to avoid having to come up with new ideas and to spend money the IRS would otherwise get. 
Speaking of which, the remake of Annie won the worst sequel/remake prize.  I haven't seen it, but I know it got mixed reviews and a so-so response from moviegoers.  But how bad could it have been?  It was a remake because John Huston originally made it for the big screen in 1982, setting it in the 1930s as the original Broadway musical had been, whereas the 2014 version was set in the present.  Though I've never seen the 1982 movie - I did see the original (and highly entertaining) Broadway production, by which time the criminally underrated John Schuck was playing Daddy Warbucks - it's safe to say that Annie must be one of those Broadway musicals that is very tough to adapt to film.
Oh yeah, the GRAF has since come to the belated realization that actors are human and make mistakes, which is why it now has a Razzie Redeemer award for actors who win or get nominated for Razzies but then go on to do good and distinguished work.  Ben Affleck earned this year's redemption for going from a Razzie laureate for Gigli to wining Oscars for Argo and for his role in Gone Girl, beating out a field that included Jennifer Aniston (for going from being a four-time Razzie nominee to getting a Screen Actors Guild award nomination for Cake), Mike Myers (for going from wining a Razzie for Love Guru to directing the documentary Supermensch), Keanu Reeves (for going from being a six-time Razzie nominee to the critically acclaimed John Wick) and Kristen Stewart (from being a six-time Razzie recipient for the vampire movie Twilight to the art-house success Camp X-Ray).
The Razzie Redeemer nominees offer a happy ending, but don't buy into the moment; more Hollywood wretchedness is likely over the next year, which is more than enough reason to expect a plethora of Razzie nominations for 2016.     
The full list of Razzie award winners and nominees are here.   

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