Raspberry Cliché


Last night Hollywood held its most rigidly predictable exercise in conventional wisdom: the Golden Raspberry Awards, a.k.a. the Razzies, established to honor the worst films of the year. Sandra Bullock showed up to collect her Worst Actress and Worst Screen Couple prizes for All About Steve, then razzed the crowd for not bothering to watch her movie before voting on it:

Bullock then questioned the other award she "won" earlier Saturday evening—for "worst couple."

"If you had seen the film, seen it, with your eyes, it's pretty much a film about a woman stalking a man," she said. "That doesn't really set up the premise for a loving couple. So to give us the worst couple award is kind of a 'duh.'"

Good for Bullock. While I haven't seen All About Steve either, I did sit through the trailer, and on that basis I'm willing to believe that it's as terrible as everyone says. But does anyone doubt that it collected its awards because it was a flop with a bad reputation, and not because a majority of the voters actually saw and disliked it themselves?

The Razzies are prizes for the sort of people who really think Ishtar is one of the worst movies ever made, as opposed to an uneven but not particularly lousy comedy that got a lot of bad press because the director went over budget. Sure enough, Ishtar's Elaine May—a genuinely talented filmmaker—took the Worst Director prize for 1987, managing to beat the auteurs behind Jaws: The Revenge and Leonard: Part 6. As with All About Steve, it's an open question how many of the voters bothered to watch the movie before casting their ballots. Another effort infamous for going over budget, Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate, earned a Worst Director Razzie for 1981, though the Worst Picture prize that year went to the camp classic Mommie Dearest. (I'd rather watch either of those than several Oscar winners.) If the over-budget Titanic had failed to make back its expenses, you can be sure it would have been up for a Razzie. Instead it was a hit and won a Best Picture Oscar, and no one involved with it—not even Celine Dion—got a single Razzie nomination.

The Razzies' boosters sometimes seem to be not just aware but proud of the conformity at the heart of the ceremony. When a commenter on the awards' website complained that he was "sure there were worse movies than some of the bad ones they chose," he earned a quick retort: "There may have been worse, but were they NOTORIOUS enough? Infamy is the name of the game and that is usually what determines if a film goes home with a basket of Razzies." The forum's moderator endorsed this as "a fine and stirring defense," though in a sane world it would be seen as a critique. (Incidentally, if there were a Golden Raspberry Award for worst Web design, the Razzies would have to be frontrunners. Their site combines the sleek look of a GeoCities page circa 1996 with the navigational ease of a Mumbai shantytown.)

Look: Even Avatar's defenders will usually concede that the movie's dialogue left a lot to be desired. You'd think it would get at least a nomination for Worst Screenplay. Instead the Shadow Academy went for a bunch of easy targets, with the prize eventually going to Transformers 2 (or Trannies, Too, as the Razzmeisters have witlessly dubbed it). Transformers took Worst Picture too. I suppose you should give the voters credit for being willing to knock a film that was a financial success. In Razzie circles, that's what passes for bravery.

NEXT: Because What Could Go Wrong With Fake-Identity Condo Purchases In 2008?

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  1. I hereby nominate Avatar and The Hurt Locker as the two worst movies of 2009.

    1. Are you being ironic? I enjoyed the hell out of both of those movies, Hurt Locker in particular.

      1. No irony.

        Avatar was unimaginative, stupid, and boring as hell.

        Hurt Locker was even more boring. Honestly, does that movie even have a plot or a single original character or idea? I get it already, he plays by his own rules!

        HBO’s Generation Kill made Hurt Locker a totally redundant, embarrassingly thin, film-school quality exercise. Kathryn Bigelow must have serious blackmail material on some heavy hitters, cuz that movie blows.

        1. I wonder how many Anonymous Backstabbers actually saw either movie? 😉

        2. Avatar was one of the most cliched, trite movies I’ve ever seen. The love angle was particularly retarded; how anthropormphic can our species be to expect aliens to conform to our standards of female beauty?

    2. Avatar was bad but not the worst. Hurt Locker was excellent.

      1. Avatar was worth it for the special effects.

        1. Watching Avatar with Pink Floyd playing on the iPod was probably the way to go. But I didn’t see the movie.

        2. Yeah obviously the special effects were great, but a good movie has to have original plot and dialogue also.

  2. Heavan’s Gate is another movie that few people have actually seen and isn’t nearly as bad as it is made out to be.

    Actually, some of the worst movies in retrospect are some of the most decorated movies. I would watch Istar a hundred times before I had to sit through “Do the Right Thing”, “Shakespere in Love”, “Driving Miss Daisy” or “Crash” again.

    1. I thought Heaven’s Gate was good but not my type of movie (the wheel scene:YUK) Shakespeare in love was cute but I wouldn’t see it again. Driving Miss Daisy had poetry to it but Crash was a waste of my time.

      1. Heaven’s Gate is a long boring western. No one will ever confuse it with The Outlaw Josey Wales or Red River. But, at the time it was treated like it deserved to be on a double bill with Plan 9 From Outerspace, which is totally over the top and undeserved.

        1. do the right thing is still really solid, bruh.

          the worst thing about crash is that i thought everyone was suddenly hepping to the cronenberg adaptation of the ballard novel. it was a confusing two weeks or so.

          1. Do the Right Thing is PC bullshit. Yeah, just go throw the trashcan through the window. I hate that movie.

            1. I thought Do the Right Thing had an interesting twist — the “right thing” was to trash a store in order to protect the owner from bodily injury.

              Not a great movie, but OK.

              1. Clumsy as Do the Right Thing is in its politics, I don’t know that it’s really advocating any solution other than that people should try harder to be friends. And whatever else you want to say about it, it sure doesn’t have the look or feel of any other movie I know of. It’s a mad concoction of agitprop, naturalism, MGM musical, art film and a bunch of other stuff. I don’t know how it really works as a movie, but as an experience that people had in movie theaters in 1989 (though of course, this being a Spike Lee joint, not too many people), it’s pretty damned interesting.

                What’s your beef with Shakespeare In Love? I mean, I wouldn’t put it on the Space Ark, but it was fun and clever and fast paced, and everybody wants to be in love. Which doesn’t mean it can’t be singled out for scorn, of course. Just wondering why this one sticks in your craw more than any other Best Picture.

                1. Holy shit, you liked Shakespeare in Love!?

                  1. I didn’t hate it any more than pretty much any other Best Picture. I’d take that one over American Beauty — and that’s coming from a guy who still thinks it’s Mena Suvari’s world.

                    I run through that lobby in the Kodak Theater every few days, and I gotta tell you something: Even in the worst year of 60s, you could still name half a dozen movies that were better than the one that won Best Picture. I’m not hating on Oscar?, just stating the truth.

                    1. Movies are worse. But Oscar is worse to. They almost always miss on the best movie. And they give the award as a PC award (Crash and American Beauty) or a lifetime achievment award (Gangs of New York).

                    2. Gangs of New York did not get Scorsese the Oscar, The Departed did.

                    3. And that one sucked to.

                    4. Gangs of New York was entertaining but not Oscar worthy.

                    5. How in the world was American Beauty PC? I know they had Captain Archer and his life partner in it, but that was a very minor part of the film.

                    6. Suburban America really a cesspool of imorality, is a pretty common and beloved liberal morality tale.

                2. There was nothing clever or fun about Shakespere in Love. Seeing the Shapespere character occasionally say a line from one of his plays and then listening to all of the dousches in the theater laugh to show that they to had read is plays, doesn’t count as cleaver or imaginative. That movie is horrible. Only movie I have ever walked out on.

                  1. I’ve never seen SIL, but I had roughly the same opinion about Moulin Rouge (and it is the only movie I’ve ever walked out on when the audio was functioning).

                    1. Kidman can’t carry a film

                    2. Gwyneth Paltrow can but|3.7.10 @ 7:52PM|#
                      Kidman can’t carry a film

                      This is suppose dot be irony, right? Gwyneth Paltrow, the Most Boring Actress Since Daryl Hannah? can carry a film? You can fuck me in the ear if that’s even remotely true.

                      She’s the Michael Bay of chick flicks: she can make anything banal.

                    3. I need to buy a strap-on

                3. I gotta bring the racism here (well, you jokers could at least accuse me of that) and point out that Spike Lee is a massively overrated douchebag. He’s not entirely untalented, and I have to give big props to Giancarlo Esposito for his performance as Buggin’ Out, but man, Spike Lee’s stuff is pretty blas? race-baiting garbage.

                  1. Exactly. He is just Al Sharpton making films. Just because he does them with some technical competence, doesn’t make the films anything but what they are.

                    1. Add me to the “hate” list on Spike Lee.

                    2. Too much hate here. Summer of Sam, He Got Game, Inside Man, and a bunch of others are pretty clearly good movies — or at least movies that can’t just be dismissed as lousy without some justification. And there is an even bigger collection of crazed messes with interesting stuff like Bamboozled (which is worth the ticket price just for all the Sambo iconography you’ve never seen before) and The 25th Hour (which I’m pretty sure is the only studio feature movie that captured any of the look of post-9/11 Manhattan). Given how little excellent stuff there is out there, and how much stuff there is that is not interesting in any way at all, I have a hard time saying Spike Lee sucks.

          2. art film and a bunch of other stuff. I don’t know how it really works as a movie, but as an experience that people had in movie theaters in 1989 (though of course, this being a Spike Lee joint, not too many people), it’s pretty damned interesting. download takers | download the last exorcism

    2. I loved the sequel to Driving Miss Daisy:

      Driving Miss Daisy: Tokyo Drift

      ‘Come on, Hoke, you saw that driver give us the finger – ram him!’

      ‘I dunno, Miss Daisy, this road is on the edge of a crevasse, what you’re saying sounds mighty dangerous . . .’

      ‘What’s the matter, Hoke, you chicken? With that attitude, we’ll never win this race and beat the Drift King!’

  3. I actually saw Transformers 2 (for teh childrens, of course). Wasn’t very good – as expected – but was far from hideous. I wouldn’t gouge my eyes out if I had to sit through it again.

    Titanic, on the other hand – I didn’t make it 1/2 an hour. AWFUL.

    Guess it’s no wonder I’m not a movie critic.

  4. Since I believe the comment threads boast a healthy population of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans, I must refer you to Chris Fujiwara’s magisterial MST3K takedown of yore, which makes a similar case against playing-it-safe raillery. I’m afraid picking on the downtrodden is something we’re all at some level guilty of:

    [W]hy if these mechanical creeps are such Oscar Wildes don’t they take on something just a bit juicier, a tad more worthy of their withering satire than The Beasts of Yucca Flats. What about, say, Fellini’s La Dolce Vita? There’s a film that has everything the robots love to disdain: pretentious dialogue, long dull stretches, and people with funny clothes and big asses. Obviously, the contempt for cinema, history, and the audience that fuels the whole robot insanity can be applied to low-budget horror and exploitation filmmaking.

    MST3K isn’t really about “bad movies” anyway. This is proved by the choice of 1955’s This Island Earth as the film basted in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, the recent theatrical spinoff from the show. In a kinder, gentler era of genre film appreciation (whose tone was set by Forrest J. Ackerman, the benevolent editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland), This Island Earth was regarded as a classic. Whatever you think about the film, to rank it one of “the worst movies ever made” is clearly absurd. Of the 30,000 features released in the United States from 1915 to 1960, This Island Earth is probably in the top 3,000-4,000. Considering that countless films have been made since (most of them bad in ways that could scarcely have been imagined in 1955), I would guess that This Island Earth is sitting comfortably in the top five percent of all films. (That’s right, I’m saying that 19 out of every 20 films are worse than This Island Earth. Prove me wrong.)

    1. The trouble — one of the troubles — with that critique is that the MST team was limited by what films they could get the rights to use. Rifftrax, which is run by some of the same people, doesn’t have that problem, because it simply produces audio tracks you’re supposed to sync to a DVD yourself. Freed from the limitations of copyright law, it has assaulted all sorts of critical and commercial successes.

      1. Rifftrax versions of:
        – Titanic (make sure to watch thru closing credits)
        – Matrix
        – Star Wars
        – Cocktail
        – Running Man
        – Empire Strikes Back
        – Roadhouse
        are all excellent.

        Torrent versions that are already combined with the rifftrax soundtrack for viewing ease…

        1. Mike has written in several comment sections of torrent sites asking people not to pirate his stuff. For once, I’ll agree. I pay the $3.99 and sync it up myself because I truly believe these guys should be paid for the work. Also their live shows are great.

          And second, thank you Jesse for pointing out a huge flaw with that painful to read article.

          1. I’ll pay, and THEN download the torrent, because syncing it is a pain in the ass.

      2. If you want to get a hate on for IP law defintely do some research into what went into getting MST3K made and why it ultimately went away. It’s a wonder it existed at all. I’m still a little amazed they where able to get most of the shows to DVD.

        1. If you want to get a hate on for ridiculously long copyright terms, as opposed to IP law per se, then I agree. A duration of life plus 100 years is not a necessary feature of IP law.

          Personally, I think granting an eternal copyright to Disney for Mickey Mouse would do wonders for IP law, removing the #1 lobbyist for extending copyright duration from the mix. Either that or tie copyright extension to sales (ie, you have to sell a certain amount of copies of your work every ten years in order to keep it copyrighted).

      3. One of the many copyright registrations for La Dolce Vita is here.

        Here are some of the titles to which Best Brains, Inc., MST’s company, were able to acquire the rights. For some reason, though, they didn’t seem to have acquired the rights to La Dolce Vita. Can’t imagine why not.

      4. The trouble — one of the troubles — with that critique is that the MST team was limited by what films they could get the rights to use.

        But that still means they’re limited to picking on the downtrodden, right? That’s the kind of picture that tends to end up with no copyright protection.

        And wait a second. MST3K may have been in business during the It’s a Wonderful Life window. Even if it missed that, some of the greatest films ever made, Night of the Living Dead and His Girl Friday among them, are in the public domain.

        1. “His Girl Friday” is indeed one of the best films ever made.

          “I’d put my arm in fire … up to here” for that movie.

        2. No offense, Tim, but you’re sounding like a socialist. I mean, an unpopular bad film is ‘downtrodden’ because other bad films were more popular?

          I would certainly argue that the experience the MST folks got in mocking bad, public-domain movies (while regrettably missing Night of the Living Dead) gave them the experience they needed to go after the really popular, copyrighted movies once they found a way around the legal obstacles. Hence the miracle of Rifftrax, run not by newbie apprentice mockers by experienced masters with highly developed Jedi skills in verbal evisceration – skills which they turned against worthy targets like Jaws (and Night of the Living Dead, as a matter of fact).

          1. but by experienced masters

        3. So are they supposed to do NOTLD? Do you really think that would work as an MST3K episode? Now, The Crazies or Martin (as much as I love it), those would work.

        4. Tim,

          Sounds like you might not be up to speed on Rifftrax: the second coming of MST3K.

          Here’s the list, including Night of the Living Dead:

      5. MST3K totally sucked. I’d see some cool flick was on like Destroy All Monsters and then there would be all this annoying “commentary” totally ruining the cathode ray experience. When I was a youngin’ we provided our own critical commentary during televised films.It was funnier and more insightful, and if you didn’t like it you could watch the movie on your own TV.

    2. Great call on La Dolce Vita – a truly terrible film.

    3. I gotta say that Fujiwara embodies everything I hate about film critics.

    4. This is absurd, Tim. MST3K wasn’t about critiquing film; it was about being funny smartasses. What accomplishes that objective more; making fun of Fellini (though admittedly he deserves it, that bloated piece of shit), or making fun of Puma Man? And let’s not forget that amongst the films they ridiculed was a Mario Bava picture. You know, that sort of important Italian director who did Cani Arrabbiati?

      1. I like La Dolce Vita. Fellini made more deserving targets.

        1. Satyricon is pure, unadulterated pain. And this is coming from someone who got some enjoyment out of The Skulls. Oh Rob Cohen, why can’t you be like Larry Cohen all the time?

  5. My favorite Razzie story is that of Paul Verhoeven – from IMDB: “Became the first nominee ever to actually show up at the Razzie Awards, when he personally accepted his Worst Director ‘award’ for Showgirls (1995). He also accepted the Worst Picture award for that film.” That’s pure class!

    1. You do know that Verhoeven directed Total Recall, right? And Basic Instinct? And The Fourth Man? Most directors have some missteps, and while I personally like the overindulgence of Starship Troopers and Showgirls, you can’t deny that Verhoeven has a knack for violence. Not a big fan of Hollow Man, I will admit. And I really didn’t like Spetters.

      1. And Robocop. I watched the un-rated Criterion release for ~ the 100th time last night. Great movie.

        Will be the 3rd Blu-ray I purchase (after To Live and Die in L.A. and Manhunter (Blu-ray release of this is excellent)). No if only they’d release Tenebre in HD.

        1. Keep dreaming. We were lucky that Anchor Bay did their remastering of Suspiria to DVD as well as they did; but I seriously doubt we’ll get to see that for Tenebre or even Profondo Rosso.

          However, if you want Mother of Tears on Blu-Ray, maybe Dario will oblige you. (gags)

          1. True. Suspiria has had a (mediocre) Blu-ray release though, so perhaps we’ll see decent editions of HD transfers of Deep Red or Tenebre.


            I saw Deep Red a couple of years ago, but wasn’t it a pretty good DVD transfer?

            1. When I bought my 50″ plasma TV, the first thing I watched on it was the Anchor Bay special edition of Suspiria. Last film shot in Technicolor, bitches!

              The Profondo Rosso transfer is very good, but there is some English audio missing (it was lost while the film sat on a shelf). However, it’s good enough that I don’t even care.

              1. Aha, I knew there was a problem there. BTW, watching Suspiria properly was basically my motivation for buying a decent colorimeter.

                The lack of a top notch transfer for Tenebre is really dissapointing, as it has such wonderful colour which was obviously influential on a lot of film/TV.

              2. Suspiria was the first thing I watched on my HDTV. Before that it was the first DVD I ever bought.There are movies just as good but nothing is better than the first 15 or so minutes of that film.

                1. They’re pretty untouchable. The first 40 mins of Inferno were damn good too.

      2. After Verhoeven fucked Starship Troopers and shit in Heinlein’s grave, I vowed never to watch another film by that intellectually dishonest prick ever again. Except Total Recall.

  6. Oh god, This Island Earth? Despite its fans’ take on the situation (no offense), I have to agree that it deserved everything MST3k threw at it. Yes, maybe it’s better than most completely vacuous offerings, but it doesn’t take much….

    Yeah, I’d like to see them riff on “real” movies (check out Rifftrax), but TIE ain’t one of them.

    1. Raspberry World, for all your raspberry need.

    2. A lot of the riffing on This Island Earth (and most of the MST3K-ed films) was due to the primitive special effects typically found in movies that were either old, low-budget, or both. Something that always struck me as more than a bit unfair.

  7. I would happily watch Plan 9 From Outer Space for forty-eight hours straight before subjecting myself to Gangs of New York again. Holy Leaping Jeezis that movie sucked. I vowed to never, ever watch a Scorese movie again, when I staggered forth from that instrument of torment.

    1. That movie did suck bad. Honestly, The Warriors is a better gang movie. For all its kitch, it was actually funny and entertaining even though in ways the film makers didn’t intend. But Gangs of New York isn’t even good at kitsch. It is just unwatchable. But I hear Shutter Island is actually pretty good.

      1. You know, there was really a pretty good premise hiding inside Gangs of New York. What it should have been about was that while DiCaprio was in prison, Day-Lewis et al. made their peace with the urban political machine (which is true) and DiCaprio was the bombthrower trying to disrupt that on ethnic grounds everyone else saw as passe. But then he would have been the bad guy. Instead it was basically a movie that said, too bad we don’t have eternal ethnic conflict like Ireland or Bosnia!

        1. Scorsazi has a big chip on his shoulder being an Italian. I thought the whole point of the movie was to say “see the Irish were just as bad”. You are right about Dicaprio being in prison. That would have made a much better movie.

          Actually, there is a movie just like that called “Once Upon a Time in America”. There Dinero goes to prison as a young man and returns to find his old buddies sophisticated gangsters and him out of place. That movie, unlike Gangs of New York, kicks ass.

          1. Ditto on “Once Upon a Time in America”, most underrated gangster flick ever.

            1. Dudes, that’s a Sergio Leone movie. Of course it kicks ass. If you like that, you might want to check out Once Upon a Time in the West. Charles Bronson, Jason Robards, and fucking Henry Fonda as the bad guy. Henry’s kids may be douchebags, but Henry was the man.

              1. that movie is awsome. And henry played one hell of a bad guy.

                1. If there’s a more versatile actor than Henry Fonda in the history of cinema, I’m having a hard time thinking who it could be.

                  1. Jack Lemmon was close.

                  2. Edward G. Robinson. In addition to all those gangster movies, he did comedy (The Whole Town’s Talking, although one of his two characters is a gangster); a German doctor in the syphilis-themed Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet, and most interestingly, a Norwegian immigrant farmer in Our Vines Have Tender Grapes.

                    1. Robinson also played the hero in Orson Welles’ The Stranger, a pretty good noir.

              2. I liked Peter in The Limey and Ulee’s Gold.

              3. Oh, and Leone was great. Not quite underrated but definitely not fully appreciated.

            2. Don’t forget underage hotness of Jennifer Connelly. Those dago directors had excellent taste in American JB

              1. Claudia Cardinale. Just mentioning the female in Once Upon a Time in the West.
                Not to imply anyone is gay for not noticing that…not that there is anything wrong with that.

        2. What are you talking about? In real life, the Daniel Day Lewis character died earlier than the timeframe of this movie.

    2. “I would happily watch Plan 9 From Outer Space for forty-eight hours straight before subjecting myself to Gangs of New York again.”

      I don’t know if Ed Wood invented the gag with the perplexed cop scratching his head with the barrel of his gun, but it’s a classic anyway. The laughs from that alone make it a not terrible movie.

  8. he personally accepted his Worst Director ‘award’ for Showgirls

    Please, oh pleeease tell me the award package included a kick in the nuts by a guy wearing pointy-toes cowboy boots.

    1. *toed*


      1. Towed.

  9. If the over-budget Titanic had failed to make back its expenses, you can be sure it would have been up for a Razzie.

    It would have had to been a considerably worse movie to fail to make back its expenses.

    If a movie costs in excess of $100M to make, and is profitable, by definition a lot of people found it resonated with them.

    My wife has watched the movie at least 10 times, probably more — horrible dreck wouldn’t have gotten that kind of response.

    Though, admittedly, part of the attraction for my wife is that she looks a bit like a bustier Kate Winslet.

    1. Lots of awful straight to video erotic thriller actually make a better return on their investment than big blockbusters. If you make a movie for two million and make back four million in video and overseas distribution, you have just double your money and made a better investment than someone spending a hundred million to make back a hundred and fifty million on some big summer blockbuster.

      1. Sometimes a movie can be a commercial success despite being awful. I was reading a Clint Eastwood biography, and was startled to read that “Every Which Way But Loose” (and even its sequel!) was not only a commercial success, but one of Clint’s most profitable movies, while some of his better movies didn’t do all that well financially.

        1. Thus the golden Hollywood rule: monkeys (yes, I know it’s a fucking orangutan) = profit. What’s funnier than a monkey in a top hat and a monocle? NOTHING.

          Step 1: assemble monkeys
          Step 2: ???
          Step 3: PROFIT

        2. “Every Which Way But Loose” was a good entertainment movie – as was it’s sequel. Was it stupid? Yep. But no more stupid than “Animal House”, “Caddy Shack”, “Used Cars”, or a dozen other comedies I could mention which I love. And back in those days, Clint was getting a lot of shiot for movies considered good today from know-nothing critics like David Shehan – the Dirty Harry movies and others.

      2. Actually that’s generally not the case. Mainly due to the immense amount of merchandising money that can be made for years with a succesful blockbuster (toys, books, clothes, tie-ins, etc.). George Lucas was one of the first to understand this back when he made the original Star Wars. There is a reason that so much money is thrown behind these things. If it works, it pays for itself several times over.

        1. But not every movie, even ones that make over a hundred million dollars has that kind of merchandizing. You are right, if you hit a LOTR or Avatar, you make hundreds of millions. But for every LOTR there are a ton of forgetable 2012s that don’t make anything or worse yet lose big.

      3. John, I’m going to disagree with your math here. The cost of borrowing $2M for six months or so is minimal, and even borrowing $100M for six months is minimal. If you had a choice of making $2M minus a minimal amount of interest, versus making $50M minus a larger but still fairly minimal amount of interest, which would you choose?

        The real kicker is the possibility of LOSING most of your money if it stinks up the box office, so that risk has to be accounted for.

        If you can, like Clint Eastwood routinely does, make a movie extremely fast and with a tight controlled budget so that you’re almost guaranteed to at least break even, the cost of the upfront investment matters less than the total profit.

        1. But if you have say 100 million dollars. And your choice is to make one big movie or fifty straight to video little movies, you probably are better off making the fifty little ones. The risk of each one is lower and chances are most of them will make good money.

          1. That is correct, but don’t forget that there is the Dream of Greatness making people stupid. Oson Welles: “It’s all about ego. Everybody thinks it’s all about money because they talk about money all time. Well they talk about sex all the time, but they don’t do much of that either.”

            1. “Dream of Greatness making people stupid.” or ignorance is bliss

          2. But what if your choice is to spend 74 million dollars making Battlefield Earth? It’s going to be a science fiction classic! Travolta says so on the extra content interviews!

            Thank you, Mr. Barbarino. I never thought I could enjoy a cinematic abortion that much. And thank you, Roger Christian, for cantilevering the camera in every fucking scene. You made my decade.

            1. “cinematic abortion”

          3. Except, even those straight to video thrillers lose a lot of money as well. It’s just that they’re so numerous and under the radar that you don’t notice them. When a Worldcom goes under, everyone notices. When 700 mom and pop restaurants do, no one does.

          4. The risk isn’t necessarily lower on small films, John. You could make a $100K straight to video movie and lose most of the principal if it tanks. In fact, small videos are arguably much riskier, in that you might have ten failures and then one success that pays for all the failures, but a 1 out of 10 chance of not losing most of your money is extraordinarily risky.

            If you have a filmmaker like Clint Eastwood who tightly controls costs and thus almost always at least breaks even, then your financing risk is quite low, and so your cost of borrowing money would be much less per dollar borrowed than on a small movie that could easily tank.

      4. ROI isn’t the end all be all. Also, it depends how that $100 M is financed. If you borrow $90M, put up $10M and get back $50M in profit, you’ve made a 5x return (less interest) on your investment. Also, it’s significantly easier to get a high return on a small amount of money than it is on a large amount of money. Would you rather have an extra $50M or an extra $2M?

  10. I earned that Razzie for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.


  11. Science nerds rejoice, months worth of Popular Science reading.

  12. Heaven’s Gate is incredibly boring to try and watch. Not even my beloved Isabelle Huppert could save it.

    Ishtar has Warren Beaty in it. He is a truly horrific actor. Just terrible. He was a shit stain on the screen every time he appeared in (the other wise very good) McCabe and Mrs Miller.

    1. that is just it, Heavens Gate is boring. Boring as hell. But it is not the worst movie ever made or nearly as bad as it is made out to be.

      1. Meh. Beaty ain’t so bad Bonnie and Clyde was excellent and Bugsy was good too. Shampoo, Heaven Can Wait, and Dick Tracy were all worth watching. Ishtar OTOH sucked in every possible way.

        1. He was bloody average in Bonny and Clyde too.

        2. Sorry, but Here Comes Mr. Jordan was better than Heaven Can Wait.

          Unless you’re talking about the Gene Tierney version of Heaven Can Wait. She’s worth watching in almost anything. 🙂

      2. Yeah. It looks good, has an excellent cast, and probably an OK plot. It just takes sooooooo long getting there that there’s so dramatic tension or any atmosphere.

        1. Deerhunter 2: The Western

      3. In my book, boring is what makes a movie bad. I’d rather watch a “crappy” movie that manages to somehow hold my attention than some piece of “art” that makes 15 minutes feel like 3 hours. I’ve gotten better about just stopping these turkeys in their tracks before I lose too much of my life to them.

  13. I don’t know what the fuck your trying to get at Jesse. I sat through Ishtar and I’ve had a root canal, and if I had to do either again I’d choose… I don’t know. Too close to call. The point is, that if you measure “worst” as distribution/quality then Ishtar is easily the worst film ever made.

  14. You guys pick the weirdest shit to criticize. What the 50 or so figuratively masturbatory awards shows were just too low hanging of fruit?

    1. Going after the Grammys or the Oscars is like picking on a retarded kid. There’s just no sport to it.

      1. Because all the cool political commentators make fun of the Oscars and Gammy’s. You know what would be fun and original to read in a political rag? A takedown of the ESPYs.

        1. They would only do a takedown of something that people actually, you know, watch. Which, if you think about it, excludes the Oscars too.

          1. This is why I was puzzled by the war of words between Cablevision and Disney over the fact that Disney is cutting off ABC the day of the Oscars unless Cablevision starts paying them more for ABC broadcasts. I’d be surprised if more people are upset by this than by not being able to watch Grey’s Anatomy.

      2. You obviously haven’t stolen happy meals from a group of retarded kids while wearing wooden clogs.

    2. They already criticized the Oscars last year.

  15. It fills time and space and gives the crackpots something to yak about. In other words, a perfectly utilitarian post. Besides, it’s Oscar? Day, second only to Super Bowl Sunday for hype, excess, funny costumes, fake tits and unbelievable shallowness. Go with it, for tomorrow is another bleak, futile and soul-crushing Monday.

    1. horse’s mouth

  16. I nominate “Jules and Jim” as the most overrated movie of all time.

    1. Jules et Jim was the first movie I thought of when Ted Kennedy died.

  17. Overrated? That’s a hefty list. If it weren’t for worn-out and bitter film professors who never made it in Hollywood and their accomplices in academia who produced undersold paperback textbooks those film professors made you buy, few outside the Frog Republic would ever have heard of Jules et Jim. But it’s a long, long time since I’ve seen it. Maybe it really is great. Time turns coal into diamonds and crap into caviar.

    1. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 97% favorable.

  18. I have to laugh at the retards slamming Avatar.
    I don’t think anyone could watch that movie and not enjoy it.
    It is my guess that the ones slamming it are doing so as a way of saying, “Hi, look at me.”

    1. I haven’t seen it, but I think that’s a rather odd remark to make, giving the subjectivity around art. Admit it, you have a blue woman fetish.

    2. Well, I’m not going to slam it, because I haven’t seen it, because it looks retarded.

      That’s d?tente, comrade.

      1. It’s pretty good. One of the better sci-fi movies of the last decade.

  19. Add Almost Famous to the list of grossly overrated movies. The gushing over it, esp from the likes of Rolling Stone and Roger Ebert, was nauseating.

    1. Totally overrated.

  20. Kind of think It is a hollywood royalty syndrome

  21. Holy fuck, that’s the best dressing-down I’ve seen on H&R since the last time Gillespie went postal. Bravo.

    This piece of shit is the worst movie I’ve seen in years. Far, far worse than Transformers 2.

    1. But, but…William Atherton!

    2. Rated R for sadistic torture and sexual abuse, nudity, language and strong sexual dialogue – all involving children.

      How could they fuck that up?
      It must be really bad.

  22. This is the IMDB user review for best foreign language nominee, The Milk of Sorrow:

    Young director Claudia Llosa (Madeinusa) has won the Golden Bear and a dozen of other prizes around the world for her second work, The frightened tit, its original Spanish tittle.

    Though the plot itself may seem awkward, the movie is a group of 95 minutes rich and beautiful images. The pearls, the potato, the dog, the wedding, the impoverished suburban Lima, everything is accurately directed and carefully thought by Ms. Llosa.

    Fausta (outstanding Magaly Solier) is suffering from The frightened tit, an illness that she caught through breast-milk since she was raped in her pregnancy during the 1980s and 90s guerrilla and terrorism in the Andes. Now in Lima, Fausta is afraid, she’s put a potato in her vagina in other to protect her from raping, and after her mother dies she finally has to deal with the real life, face her fears, and starts working in a high- class house as a made.

    The plot of the movie is fictitious, but it lies on a cruel and past reality of Peru’s modern history, combining it with a delicate halo of surrealism. The image of the potato -all time Peruvian ingredient for cuisine- involves the subject of a war and a fear that affected an entire country, though our differences may not accepted it yet. The scenes in Fausta’s home are the opposite where she works: though the high-class house is in the same impoverished area (another reference to Peruvian differences), over there there’s no gray, no dust: there are plants, life, color.

    At the end, though it may not seem like it, Fausta realizes that in the root of her fears is the solution of them. The movie, indeed, is presented as a cure for the unhealed wounds of a terrible and recent war that happened on Peruvian soil.

  23. For true horribleness, try going as a chaperone to a kid’s movie that doesn’t make the least attempt to cater to adults, such as Pokemon 2000. I literally fell asleep in a crowded movie theatre over that fucker. Two hours plus drive time that I’ll never get back.

    Then there’s movies like The Incredibles that do succeed in appealing to both demographics.

    1. Sleeping Chaperone AKA father’s idea of parenting.

  24. I was a film critic on and off from 1983 to 1995 and had to see hundreds of movies that were disappointments. But distinctions can be made from there. I wish people would see the difference between mediocre and actively irritating. “Ishtar” is dull but not headache-inducing and Charles Grodin has a decent scene. It is remembered as wretched because of its hype and pedigree.

    “Bad Boys 2,” with its loud soundtrack telling the audience how to feel, with Martin Lawrence and Will Smith trying to out-cool each other, and with Michael Bay at his worst, mixing explosions and slow-mo and machismo and that appalling soundtrack — now that was headache-inducing.

  25. in other news…hey, that sparklehorse dude killed himself.

  26. it would have been up for a Razzie. Instead it was a hit and won a Best Picture Oscar, and no one involved with it — not even Celine Dion — got a single Razzie

  27. good article, thanks for share~~YREFDHFDD

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