Why it's time for The Razzies to die

Feature Simon Brew 26 Feb 2013 - 06:23

The Golden Raspberry Awards used to be an antidote to the Hollywood awards season. Now? They're part of the problem...

It's traditional that on the eve of the Oscars, the annual Golden Raspberry Awards take place. These have been going for a long time now, and the theory behind them is sound. If you're going to have awards ceremony after awards ceremony praising movies to the hilt, shouldn't you have one that highlights the dross that Hollywood has to offer too? In the words of The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation's website, the awards are designed to "prick the movie industry's pomp".

In principal, who's not on board with that? There's hardly a shortage of pomp to prick, and those movies you sit through where you get the sense that nobody cares should be named and shamed.

To get an idea of what's generally bad amongst 2012's releases, take a look at the Rotten Tomatoes scores. The reviews aggregation site reveals that amongst the worst films were A Thousand Words, The Devil Inside, One For The Money, Alex Cross and The Apparition. And those are just some of the titles that found there way into cinemas, and before critics' eyes. Some of the straight to DVD stuff, that still secured some form of distribution, was even worse.

However, the Golden Raspberry Awards for 2012, which were announced over the weekend, went in the direction of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, and Adam Sandler.

Adam Sandler I'll say from the off is pretty fair game. I've generally liked a lot of his films, but if there's a rich man on autopilot in Hollywood, it's him. I can't remember the last time I saw one of his films and felt he was in any way pushing himself. 

But now, I find myself in the unusual position of defending Twilight. Historically, I'm no defender of the Twilight franchise, yet to call Breaking Dawn Part 2 the worst film of 2012 is surely some way wide of the mark. Instead, the Golden Raspberrys have done what they increasingly choose to do: they've picked on a big, obvious target, that saves them having to watch some genuinely appalling movies. Rather than actively seek out the films that deserve hanging out to shame, the awards have a habit of picking out big failures, and bestowing prizes upon them.

In some cases, it feels like they've waited for the bullying in the playground to stop, and gone back to have another couple of kicks at the whimpering child on the floor.

Inevitably, sometimes it's hard to argue with the winners. Jack And Jill is a slice of people's life that they simply can't get back. Likewise, the Worst Picture Razzie has gone to Basic Instinct 2, Catwoman and I Know Who Killed Me in the past decade or so. None of those are films I ever want to watch again.

Sadly though, there are now but three certainties in life: death, taxes, and that the Razzies will pick up on a major flop, no matter how good or bad it actually is. That's why interesting failures such as Hudson Hawk, The Postman, Howard The Duck (admit it: were you actually bored watching it? It's bad, but still with merit) and The Adventures Of Ford Farlaine take the bullet for the genuinely vacuous dross.

It's the school bully syndrome I struggle with. Sure, its targets are big enough to take it, and I've no urge to take the bullet for Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler and the cast of Twilight. But surely the Razzies should be about exposing the worst of the cynically calculated films, that take your money while offering nothing at all in return. Start with the likes of Vampires Suck, Epic Movie, and films like that. Find me the redeeming feature about those. 

Bluntly, we pay money to go to the cinema, and thus it's the film makers who simply don't seem to try that are the ones who deserve their ire. Instead, the Razzies have become an exercise in pointing at someone and laughing at them. There's a tinge of nastiness about it, that outweighs the value of having a ceremony that exposes the most cynical, bad value movies to see the inside of a multiplex. It's becoming Internet trolling in awards form.

Next year, I'm happy to predict that the nominees will include Adam Sandler again, probably Sylvester Stallone, and no doubt a good number of the usual suspects that the Razzies like to pick on. I'm calling Grown Ups 2 for worst movie at the Razzies now, no matter how the end product turns out, just because it fits the Razzies template.

Sadly, the Razzies has become exactly what it arguably set out to counter: another awards show in the mix, that fails to really point out the films that deserve the prizes it's giving out. To pick out, as it has this year, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 reduces the Razzies to just another bunch of anonymous haters, of which the Internet is not short. Bill Condon for worst director? Really?

Everyone has different opinions, certainly, but it's hard to see where the Razzies fit in now. As a piece of fun, it just feels a little too nasty (Sandra Bullock picking up her prize a year or two back, you can't help but feel, gave the proceedings a respectability they ill-deserve). And as a genuine ceremony to expose the worst of Hollywood, it's too distracted by big names - just like the ceremonies it's taking the piss out of - to do its job properly. 

You can read the full list of 2013 Razzie winners here.

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Good article, Simon. Just curious: who would you have picked to win this year's Razzies instead of Breaking Dawn 2?

Having not seem them, I'm pretty sure everyone hated The Watch, Alex Cross, Piranah 3DD. I hate twilight but I feel like all of the Razzie winners are the easy targets.

You would be wrong because I quite liked The Watch. Yeah it was crap but it didn't stop me enjoying it.

I've had to see all the Twilight films due to girlfriend commitments, and I think the final two Breaking Dawn ones were perhaps the most entertaining.

Great article. Ive never really taken an interest in them but I always thought that the Razzies were a collection of large budget, high expectation movies that failed to live up to those expectations and then they picked a "winner". Upon closer inspection, they just take a small minorities opinion of a movie and take joy in awarding them a Razzie regardless of whether it is any good or not. Just because the "cool crowd" think Twilight is trash, then they pick on them but what they dont realise is that in their goal to be part of the cool crowd, they end up looking foolish.

Hear Hear!

You seem to have missed one of the core points of the Razzies. It's not just about taking on the worst film, if it was (as you noted) then all the terrible spoof films would win every year. It's actually about taking on "Studio Culture". Vampires Suck is a cynical pile of any four letter word you want, however it's not an essential cog in a big studio's plans.Twilight was not as bad as other films released in the passed year but it is balls and had a marketing budget that could have turned around the fortunes of a third world country. That's why it was targeted by the Razzie's. So I would have to question the validity of these calls for their end.

Also Adam Sandler is just awful.

I don't it's time for the Razzies to die at all...and to be fair, it sounds like the basis of this article has been because you don't agree with the choices that were made. I ADORE Hudson Hawk, but I can see why it might have picked up a Razzie or two in its day.

If anything the Razzies need to be refined. The rules re-written. The Oscars absolutely need an award that counter-balances the self-congratulatory world of Hollywood. Perhaps a much larger sample group - something Rotten Tomato does well, perhaps a respected governing board - there's a number of potential solutions. They need an overhaul, yes, but something that does the job they currently do is imperative.

So, you liked the Twilight films and feel disgruntled that it won a Razzie. Sorry, but in your own words "the Razzies should be about exposing the worst of the cynically calculated films, that take your money while offering nothing at all in return". Sounds like the "Twilight" films to me - movies that appeal to the lowest common denominator because the studios know that they can make vast sums of money out of the franchise (so much so that they split the last book adaption into 2 films).

Sure, there's plenty of low budget dross being churned out of Hollywood (and a fair amount of big-budget dross too) but by an extension of your argument, just because a film I really, really liked didn't win an academy award doesn't in any way de-value the Oscars.

This is a sound argument

The Watch is a wasted opportunity and felt all over the place, but had just enough going for it to make it worthwhile. There's a reasonably good film hidden in there somewhere...

But. Alex Cross?

Haha good point well made.

It's not that the last Twilight film was great, but it was worlds better than The Devil Inside, A Thousand Words, and Daddy's Boy, all films I watched and reviewed right here at Den of Geek. I'd watch every Twilight in order before I'd watch A Thousand Words again.

Has ghost rider ever won? I mean fantastic 4 and daredevil at least have child appeal. Ghost rider, man. StuuuuuuuPID. Both movies.

The problem, as I see it, is that most truly awful films leave cinemas after two weeks, if they're lucky enough to get a theatrical release in the first place, and make a tiny amount at the box office. This leaves the the choice of either tacitly assuming that "worst film" really means "worst blockbuster", or bestowing awards upon films that the vast majority of cinemagoers have probably never even heard of, let alone seen. The latter option strikes me as more like bullying than even the present Razzies set-up.

I agree that it feels like they're bullying the red-headed stepchild when there are plenty of movies fit for fodder that lucked out simply because they're not as popular to hate on.

The Razzies need to be re-branded as "Hipster Hate Awards."

Well Twilight was selected to mirror the Academy snubbing the Lord of the Rings trilogy until the last film came out. The Razzies should stop the same time the Oscars lead by example. Any awards that nominates Sharon Stones lopsided boobs for 'Worst On Screen Couple' gets a pass in my book.

"actively seek out the films that deserve hanging out to shame,"

No. That would hardly be fair.

Maybe they were a little over-gunning with Twilight and Adam Sandler, and yes they perhaps should be going for more, less obvious targets. But they should ABSOLUTELY NOT seek out bad films that haven't thus far been noticed. Why? Because they haven't been noticed. They have already suffered far more than they need to, and probably far more than they deserve to, by being ignored by the populace.

Twilight earns billions. Adam Sandler earns millions. Both are flawed in their own, often humourously epic ways, and so deserve to be ridiculed. And it's okay to rip on them because they are actually SUCCESSFUL. What you are suggesting is tantamount to bullying.

I agree that the targets this year have been somewhat obvious and potentially undeserving, but it needs to be going to the big shots who have fame and fortune yet (arguably) don't deserve it. For example, I'd have seen Tom Hooper win worst director and Russell Crowe win worst supporting actor for 2012 for Les Mis, and I might even have nominated Hugh Jackman for worst actor (not necessarily because he deserved it, but because comparatively I felt he was very underwhelming for a leading man). The Razzies should be striking down the people who get too proud or lax (or just shouldn't be on screen at all and yet rake in millions), not adding insult to injury by shaming those who are poor and unknown anyway.

Keith Lemon: The Film, The Devil Inside, Jack & Jill, Rock of Ages, The Sitter, John Carter, This Means War, Silent Hill: Revelation, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Possession, The Rise & Fall of a White Collar Hooligan, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Mirror Mirror, The Pact, The Watch, Red Lights, The Campaign, That's My Boy, Taken 2, The Dictator.

20 films easily worse than Breaking Dawn Part 2. Well done Razzies.

But surely that comes down to a matter of opinion? For every person with your viewpoint, there's someone who would prefer to watch Daddy's Boy to Twilight 4. The argument that there were more deserving Razzie winners is the same argument as those who believe Hugh Jackman should have beat Daniel Day Lewis for the Oscar, and that's hardly an argument that the Awards are failing.

Hollywood has devolved into a business model of high profits at low risk. Brand names, product tie-ins, rip-offs/remakes, Academy Award Winner/Nominee, name-checking galore, all promoted with a non-stop hard sell using a Wagner-style soundtrack. That is why the Razzies are more essential than ever.

Unlike the Academy Awards you can't buy yourself a Razzie -- you've got to earn it!

I like apples

People like all sorts of terrible things. I can look at something like Breaking Dawn and see it's at least well-made. Some skill behind the camera was involved; Daddy's Boy isn't up to snuff when compared to Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, or any of Sandler's better comedies.

That's My Boy was robbed. It's a far bigger failure to make an unfunny movie starring Andy Samberg than make a mediocre movie based on a Stephanie Meyer book. I suppose the Razzie for Twilight was sort of a Lifetime Achievement award for the franchise. Director Sean Anders was robbed too. Bill Condon will probably make some decent films again like Dreamgirls. Sean Anders will go back to writing sex comedies.

I was pretty disappointed with this year's Razzies in general. Vanilla Ice was probably the best part of That's My Boy, and yet somehow he got nominated.

I agree. The Razzies had an off year, but it's hard to argue with their last few years of picks. Jack and Jill, Last Airbender, Transformers 2, The Love Guru... all truly horrible films. I'll defend I Know Who Killed Me to the extent it was not as crappy as a lot of Razzie winners, but it looks like 2007 was a bad year for bad films, if Bratz: The Movie snuck in a nomination for Worst Picture.

John Carter isn't that bad. It suffers a bit from Waterworld syndrome, another movie that was way too expensive than what it delivered. I also thought The Campaign wasn't bad. It was forgettable, but had a few decent moments.

Totally agree, and have done for years. Thanks for writing this article, nice to see someone out there saying it.

I gotta admit I'm lost as to your argument now. Daddy's Boy deserves the Razzie because Sandler did better stuff seventeen years ago, but Breaking Dawn Part Two - despite being an obvious attempt to cash in on the franchise - should be pardoned for looking good...even though it's still a crap movie? You seem to be arguing two things. I could say Breaking Dawn Part 2 isn't up to snuff when compared to Gods & Monsters, Dreamgirls or any of Condon's better films, but it doesn't make sense...

It's interesting how 'hipster' has become a term of abuse,it's almost got to the level of hippie before it. But are you really suggesting that this is some sort of attack by Hipster on TwiHards? I would have thought there was a pretty sizeable overlap between the two!

excellent article, bang on

As Mark Kermode says, it's about two and a half hours of dialogue that basically amounts to "thringy throngy thrang throng"

Sorry, bud, but John Carter was a far superior film than Breaking Dawn...on every level. Just because it tanked at the box office doesn't mean it was a bad film. The Twilight films are the worst big-budget movies ever made and they deserve a Razzie every year until the end of time for the putrid stink they have unleashed on the movie industry. IMO of course!

You're right; box office has nothing to do with it. The fact John Carter was a terrible film is what means it was bad. Awful acting, way too long, terrible plot, ridiculous script.

I just don't get how the Jonas Brothers could have won Worst Actors if they were just themselves in a documentary and not playing anyone.

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