Like Oscars, Razzies overlook real nominees

While Adam Sandler seems set to sweep this year’s Golden Raspberry Awards, the event will likely once again overlook those films truly deserving of the distinction of the year’s worst.

The annual Oscar-spoof awards ceremony, which started in 1980, selects the worst films, performances and behind-the-camera talent for the year.

The nominees for the worst of 2011 were announced Saturday.

Sandler has the most nominations this year with 11, a clear backlash to what appears to be his hitting rock bottom with “Jack and Jill,” which could easily pass for one of the sell-out, mainstream comedies his character from “Funny People” stars in.

While I can not personally attest to the awfulness of the film (though I will attest to the general awfulness of Sandler’s films), I doubt it was the worst film of 2011.

Actually, I doubt any of the five worst film nominees this year really deserve the award (though “Breaking Dawn” certainly deserves a nod).

Looking at the nominations during the awards’ 30-year history, it quickly becomes apparent that just as the Oscars are really about insiders patting each other on the back, the Razzies are really more about sneering at the establishment than seeking out the worst of the worst.

The truly terrifyingly bad films of any given year don’t usually emerge until down the road as cult classics. Like the best films, the worst often fly under the radar.

Take any year’s Razzie nominees and the same story plays out.

In 1996, the award for worst picture went to the Demi Moore vehicle “Striptease.” It beat out the shambolic “Island of Dr. Moreau” and “The Stupids,” which I actually remember being kind of funny, in a, well, stupid, way.

But where was “Werewolf?” This little-seen gem features an appearance by the least of the Estevezes, Martin Sheen’s younger brother Joe, and jaw-droppingly bad, sometimes barely intelligible performances all around.

Also, its tagline was “Rest in…Beast,” so, yeah. It was the worst movie of 1996.

But apparently because actors Richard Lynch and Adrianna Miles’ numbers weren’t up, they ducked even nominations, while Tom Arnold and Demi Moore won the humiliation of worst performances.

Really? Tom Arnold? I wish every movie had Tom Arnold in it.

Of course, recognizing the truly worst would require a lot more work, and a tougher stomach, than simply teasing whichever actor has the worst agent.

There’s also the more valid reasoning that making fun of movies such as “Werewolf,” clearly made on a shoestring budget and with a cast who for the most part can barely speak English, is a bit unfair when Hollywood idiots such as Michael Bay are turning out multi-million dollar disasters like the “Transformers” films.

Still though, I say give credit where it’s due.

There are men and women out there working hard to bring us films that provoke, shock and ceaselessly entertain with their incompetence.

But because some movie industry big shots have figured out they can make big money with formulaic, boring crap, they deserve all the mocking?

No. The truly bad provides such a richer experience, and needs the exposure it deserves.

Take for instance some more recent milestones of cinematic failure: “The Room” and “Birdemic: Shock and Terror.”

Neither garnered any Razzie nods, but both take bad cinema to places I don’t think its ever been.

“The Room” out-soap operas daytime’s worst television and surely holds a record for most hilariously bad filmmaking decisions per capita.

“Birdemic” is simply inexpressibly amateur, meandering, thoughtlessly posturing and has laughably bad special effects. It’s also riveting cinema in the weirdest way.

Then there’s “After Last Season,” a mysteriously elusive film that I’ve only seen trailers for but looks like it could be the holy grail of schlock.

But again, none of these get any attention. Instead it’s Sandler, who’s been bad for either the last 15 years or his entire career, depending on who you ask.

Oh well. For those who are daring enough to look for it, the real dross out there will always stick with us longer than the missteps of the Hollywood elite.

 

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