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.