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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Opinion

And the award for most terrible awards show goes to… the Razzie Awards


Late winter is the holiday dry season. Normal people pour themselves a little extra coffee, suck it up and go to work. Film industry executives cope by devoting three months to exchanging statues, making speeches and patting themselves on the back.

A laundry list of awards ceremonies is slated for the coming months. The discerning public will get the opportunity to watch Jennifer Lawrence trip up the stairs at the SAGs in January, the BAFTAs in February, and the Academy Awards in March.

The esteemed Razzie Awards, traditionally held the night before the Academy Awards, were created to be the antidote to Hollywood self-congratulation. Instead of awarding the best of the best, they award the worst of the worst. The Razzies are quite literally a golden opportunity to offer some pointed criticism to the film industry. Unfortunately, the Razzie Awards have not been living up to their full, awful potential.

The 2014 Razzie nominations for Worst Picture include “Grown Ups 2,” “A Madea Christmas” and “Movie 43.” What do these movies have in common? All of them are universally despised.

Obviously, terrible films don’t make good Worst Picture selections. The 2014 slate of nominees is predictable and boring. “Movie 43” is the Justin Bieber of the cinematic world. It’s crass, obnoxious and next to no one is willing to defend it.

The Razzie Awards consistently pick the low-hanging fruit. Adam Sandler has been nominated for Worst Actor for nearly every movie he’s made since “Happy Gilmore” in 1996. Tyler Perry has a similarly impressive collection of nominations and awards.

We get it, Razzie Awards. Adam Sandler and Tyler Perry are objectively awful. Give both men a Lifetime Achievement Award in Awful and open up the floor to the hundreds of uniquely awful movies that go unrecognized every year.

2013 had a wealth of terrible movies that deserved recognition. After all, it was the year of cinematic masterpieces such as “Gangster Squad,” “The Internship” and “Jobs.” All three of these movies were terrible for their own unique reasons.

“Grown Ups 2” is just one more in a long line of Adam Sandler comedies that have been trashed to hell and back. There’s nothing new or productive to discover in a critique of “Grown Ups 2.” However, “Gangster Squad” and “Jobs” have much more interesting and topical failings to pick.

“Gangster Squad” was a hyper-violent and exploitive “Untouchables” wannabe. “Jobs” was a lukewarm biopic that glossed over the controversial parts of Steve Jobs’ career at Apple. A nomination of either film could prompt a productive discussion about violence at the cinema or problems with the biopic genre. Instead, we get to discuss the fart jokes in “Grown-Ups 2.”

The Razzies should also consider genre-specific categories similar to those of the Golden Globes. Worst Picture is a pretty broad category. But “Worst Teen Supernatural Romance”? Not only does the category itself offer a pointed criticism, there’s no shortage of movies to fill the shortlist. “The Host,” “Beautiful Creatures,” and “The Mortal Instruments” were all released in 2013 and scored less than 50 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

A “Most Blatant Display of Nepotism” category might be in order. Any future Jaden Smith projects could be filed under that category and cleared out of regular nominations such as Worst Picture or Worst Actor.

The Academy Awards often get called out for awarding statues to easy, safe picks like “Crash” or “Driving Miss Daisy.” It’s time to subject the Razzies to the same kind of scrutiny.

The Razzie Awards too often fall victim to laziness. It’s a shame, because the Razzies could have real intellectual value. Hollywood produces a stunning variety of terrible films. Why let all that critical fodder go to waste?

Opinion columnist Megan Kallus is a pre-business freshman and may be reached at [email protected]


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