The Razzies Are Dumb and Bad
Plus: an Oscar favorite assigned!
If you’ll excuse me a moment: a rant about the Razzies.
For those of you who are blissfully unaware, the Razzies are sort of like a counter-Oscars, an effort to take Hollywood down a peg by highlighting the worst movies and performances of the year. As silly as the Oscars are—as much as we might agree with George C. Scott that it’s unbecoming to judge art and artists in such a crassly competitive way; as hard as we might roll our eyes at the politicking; as silly and annoying as the red carpet might be—there’s still something good to be said about trying to recognize the best movies of the year.
Drawing attention to movies large and small with the intent of getting more people to watch the best stuff made each year is a noble endeavor, even if it is so frequently done poorly or myopically, even if it is larded up with self-importance.
The Razzies, on the other hand, make pains to highlight the “worst” of the year, the movies and performances that should be the subject of fun. It is mean-spirited at best, and lazily mean-spirited at worst, the laziness arguably more offensive to my sensibilities than the mean-spiritedness.
This year, the Razzies have come under fire because they nominated a child, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, for worst actress for her work in Firestarter. Note: this is not the first time the Razzies have nominated a child, having decided 20-some years ago that Jake Lloyd hadn’t taken enough of a beating from the public for playing young Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace. I think Brooke Shields also got a nomination in the early ’80s.
And this follows last year’s debacle, in which the Razzies created a whole category to make fun of Bruce Willis’s straight-to-DVD performances that year mere days before it was revealed the actor was suffering from aphasia. They rescinded the category but, sadly, did not shut down their entire operation when they realized they were a pox upon the public.
I think I take special issue with the Razzies because I find the whole endeavor antithetical to the best form of cinematic conversation. The worst, laziest way of talking about movies is “you know that thing you like? Well it’s bad.” And while the Razzies isn’t doing that, exactly—I don’t think there was a groundswell of love for Firestarter this year—they aren’t engaging in its opposite, either, which might be reduced to something like “You know this thing you haven’t seen? I think you might like it.”
This isn’t to say that critics should avoid negativity in their reviews; it doesn’t mean the average viewer has to pretend things that are bad are good. However, as Vince Mancini noted in his essay on the awfulness of this particular organization, “One person’s opinion can be interesting, a group of people’s opinion almost never is.” And that’s particularly true when the group in question is trying to decide what it’s cool to mock.
On this week’s Bulwark Goes to Hollywood, I was super-excited to talk to Dean Devlin—one half of the Devlin-Emmerich pairing that meant a great deal to me as a budding lover of blockbuster entertainment—about the evolution of the business over the last 30 years and his new show, The Ark, premiering February 1 on SyFy with replays starting the next day on Peacock. You’ll get an email with the show tomorrow, but if you want to sign up on Apple to make sure it comes directly to your phone, you can do that here.
And make sure to check out our members-only bonus episode of Across the Movie Aisle, as we discuss Edgar Allan Poe. I share a … humorously personal story in this one. I think you’ll enjoy it.
The headline here is “Stranger Things is the first streaming original to be the most-watched show in a year,” but the real takeaway is “look at how many of these shows originated somewhere besides streaming.” It really is under-appreciated just how much of Netflix’s appeal is tied to constant repeats of broadcast network shows.
Speaking of TV, I had a great time talking to Rene Reyes of The Paley Center about the programming for this year’s PaleyfestLA. Broadcast networks: still huge!
Justin Roiland, a co-creator of Rick and Morty, has been dropped by Adult Swim, where that show airs, as well as Hulu’s Solar Opposites and Koala Man, as a result of a domestic violence charge and illicit DMs on Twitter. Rick and Morty will continue without him, meaning that they will need to recast the voice of both Rick and Morty.
There is absolutely going to be a streaming contraction soon and it’s going to be pretty devastating for all involved, I think. Investors are tired of losing money, but they only have themselves to blame for all the money lost by pushing a model that was idiotic and unsustainable.
Assigned Viewing: All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix)
The biggest Oscar surprise, at least to me, was All Quiet on the Western Front earning nine nominations. I kind of assumed Netflix would be a non-factor this year given that their prestige plays like Bardo and White Noise haven’t made a dent at all. Anyway, I’m assigning it since we’re watching it for Across the Movie Aisle next week.