Razzie Nominees 2012 & Star Wars 3D

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 28th February 2012.

The Academy Awards may have come and gone but this year’s most important film awards ceremony is still yet to come. The Golden Raspberry Foundation, honouring the worst in cinema, has changed their format for 2012. Instead of being awarded the night before the Oscars, the Razzie nominations have been announced this past weekend, with the winners (or losers, depending on how you look at it) to be unveiled on April Fools’ Day.

This year’s array of schlock has seen renown thespian Adam Sandler break the record for the most nominations ever. Between romantic comedy Just Go with It and alleged comedy Jack & Jill, Sandler has racked up a craptastic 11 nominations. Of course, receiving a nod for Worst Actor as Jack and Worst Actress as Jill, helped a great deal. He’s also a writer and producer of Worst Picture nominee Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star which has bypassed Australian cinemas and will plop onto video store shelves in early March. It follows the adventures of a young man who hopes to follow in the footsteps of his parents and become a porn star. It sounds like it possibly might be the Citizen Kane of our generation, if Orson Welles’ classic was about a young man who hopes to follow in the footsteps of his parents and become a porn star.

As one of two Razzie voters in Orange (that I know of), I’ve already sat through many of the nominated abominations. There are still a few that I will need to witness prior to sending my ballot papers to Artesia, California, so unfortunately, Jack & Jill, Abduction, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 and The Hangover Part 2 are on my “must watch and try to stay awake” list.

 

Speaking of movie duds, I still haven’t witnessed the mess that is Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace in 3D. I remember how excited I was in the lead up to its original release in 1999. I had tickets to a screening at one minute past midnight on the day of its Australian release. The cinema was packed with fans. The Lucasfilm logo appeared and the crowd went wild. Then up came the title screen with the familiar John Williams fanfare to more screams and applause. The crawler text began.

Taxation? I’ve been waiting 16 years for the prequel to my all time favourite movie franchise and its origins lie in taxes and trade routes? The bubble burst. The hopes and dreams of millions of Star Wars fans faded away just like Yoda in Return of the Jedi. It was all downhill into the sarlacc pit from there. Besides the podrace and the double lightsaber duel, The Phantom Menace is truly awful.

No amount of expensive 3D conversion will salvage this movie. The only problem is that Lucasfilm producer Rick McCallum has announced that unless this initial 3D revision is a success, there won’t be any further 3D Star Wars releases, and I do want to see Episode IV in eye popping, headache inducing 3D! So, to do my part, this week I shall be purchasing a ticket to The Phantom Menace at the cinema and then going home to enjoy the original trilogy on blu-ray.

My Razzies Diary 2012

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This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 17th January 2012.

The awards season kicked off with the Golden Globes yesterday, however, the most important ceremony is yet to come. Every year, on the night before the Oscars, the Golden Raspberry Awards are announced to celebrate the worst in cinema. As a member of the Golden Raspberry Foundation, I take my responsibilities berry seriously. At the moment, members are deciding the nominees for the final ballot. Having wisely avoided most of the past year’s dross, I needed to watch a dud a night this week to make an informed decision. This is my Razzie diary

Monday Tonight’s delight is Just Go with It starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. I really want to like Adam Sandler but I’m constantly disappointed by his work. In 1995 I took my university friends kicking and screaming to the cinema to see Billy Madison, but they ended up loving the film. I guess his comedy schtick was fresh then. It certainly isn’t now. My test for deciding whether a comedy I’ve just watched is a dud is to watch the gag real. If the bloopers make me laugh more than the movie itself, it’s rubbish. Just Go with It is certified rubbish. There’s no chemistry between the leads and I’m not entirely sure what Nicole Kidman is doing here in a supporting role. I guess we all have bills to pay.

Tuesday Season of the Witch should be billed as part three of Nicholas Cage’s alimony trilogy, along with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Drive Angry. It’s like he has chosen a terrible hairstyle and decided to wear it for three films in a row…any three films. Remember how great he was in Leaving Las Vegas? It’s been downhill ever since. Ron Pearlman, playing an almost identical role to his one in Conan the Barbarian, is probably the best thing in this disaster. He plays a disillusioned Crusader knight, alongside Cage, who decides to take an accused witch to a monastery in order to stop the Black Plague. As you do.

Wednesday I can’t believe that Ivan Reitman directed both Ghostbusters and No Strings Attached.  This so-so romantic comedy stars Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. Kutcher isn’t nearly as terrible as his annoying character in New Year’s Eve (my pick for Worst Film). There’s a sense of smugness in all of his performances which I dislike. Oscar winners seem to choose lighter projects after their triumphs to prove their versatility. I prefer Natalie Portman in dramatic roles. As proven here and in the Star Wars prequel trilogy she should avoid comedies.

Thursday Arthur is a remake of the classic eighties comedy which originally featured Dudley Moore. In the title role this time is Russell Brand. I like Brand in supporting roles because I think a little of his comedy style goes a long way. I’m not entirely sure if he is acting or playing himself. No wonder Katy Perry left him. The best part of this film is Helen Mirren as Arthur’s nanny, Hobson. She has a gravitas that will overcome any crappy script, including this one. My girlfriend says she would happily watch this film again. I wouldn’t, but it certainly isn’t from the bottom of the barrel. Arthur passes my blooper test. The film itself is funnier than the gag reel.

Friday I can’t take anymore of this and go to the cinema to watch The Muppets instead.

The Razzies 2010: celebrating the worst in cinema

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 11th January 2011.

It’s that time of the year again. The awards season is soon upon us, and for members of the Golden Raspberry Foundation such as myself, it’s time to review all of those terrible movies from the past twelve months and ensure that they get their well deserved nomination in the 31st Annual Razzie Awards.

It may not be as exclusive as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association with its ninety members voting for the Golden Globes, or the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with their fancy Oscars, but the Golden Raspberry Foundation is still rather difficult to join. You need a Paypal account and a whole thirty five American dollars to become a member. As I’m not eligible to vote for the Logies (you need to be a fourteen year old girl for that), participating in the Razzies is my only way to flex some democratic muscle in the world of showbiz.

Right now, the awards are in the nomination stage so let’s have a look at who gets my vote to be listed on that final ballot paper. I’ll preface my choices by saying that I didn’t deliberately seek out terrible films to waste away my precious time watching but that sometimes I succumb to the marketing ploys of the Hollywood machine and spend my hard earned dollars on garbage thinking “it can’t be that bad.” Unfortunately, it usually is.

A special new category this year is Worst Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3D. The obvious choice would be the very realistic ceiling collapse scene at the cinema in Bathurst but I’ll give my nods to the awful rendered into 3D post production disasters that were The Last Airbender and Clash of the Titans. I didn’t get a chance to see Cats and Dogs 2: The Revenge of Kitty Galore but I’ll nominate that one too. Talk about the sequel that no-one demanded. Just like no-one wants to see Rain Man 2: Qantas Does Crash.

It’s a shame that I can’t nominate Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never 3D in advance. I’m sorry, but if I wanted to see a movie about a cheeky singing and dancing fictional cartoon character, I’d see Yogi Bear 3D. Speaking of which, the voice talents of Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake are not enough to save this flick from my nomination either.

My entire allocation of nominations for the Worst Actress category could be filled with the cast of Sex and the City 2 but that would be too easy. Case 39 stars Renee Zellwegger and was released in Australia two years ago. However, this horror thriller about a demon child (another perfect descriptor of the Bieber fever movie) was so bad it was held back from US release until now. Want to do a perfect Renee Zellwegger impression each and every time? Just imagine a hamster staring at the sun and you’ll never go wrong. Katherine Heigl, who can’t seem to turn down any romantic comedy, and the vacuous Megan Fox will also get my nominations for Killers and Jonah Hex, respectively.

Throw in the bland and expressionless Kristen Stewart (on and off-screen) from Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Miley (Smiley Virus) Cyrus for The Last Song and that’s my set.

Sam Worthington’s Aussie Perseus in Clash of the Titans is certainly worthy of a nomination in the Worst Actor category. Prince of Persia: The Sand of Time saw Jake Gyllenhaal able to reverse time. Unfortunately washboard abs don’t substitute for acting. I think everyone in the audience wished for the power to turn back the clock after watching this 3D turkey. Gerald Butler also can’t say no to a romantic comedy, good or bad, but mostly bad. His dodgy turn in The Bounty Hunter makes his subtle performance in 300 (this is Sparta!!) seem positively Shakespearean.

The Last Airbender is my sole nomination for Worst Picture. It represents everything that is wrong with Hollywood, Bad 3D and M. Night Shyamalan. Famous for his Hitchcockian twists, the twist at the end of this live action cartoon adaption was that there were no refunds.

The official nominations for the 31st Annual Razzie Awards will be announced on Monday 24 January with the official presentation ceremony usually held the night before the Oscars. It’s still not too late to participate in the nomination and voting process. Join now and make a difference (perhaps).

http://www.razzies.com/