Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Razzies: More Geeky Than Usual

The night before the Oscars is the penultimate moment for the award season, with two final award shows before the big one: The IFC Spirit Awards, usually held in Santa Monica, and The Razzies, held in Hollywood at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre ("a low-priced rental house for live theatre, dance, music, spoken word, lecture, film and special event presentations." - official website)

Out in the West Side,  IFC gave their best picture award to Black Swan: They also considered The King's Speech a foreign film, and it won that award as such. Back in H'wood, awards at the Razzies were mostly shared by two films: The Last Airbender, which took 5 awards (worst picture, director, screenplay, mis-use of 3D, and worst supporting actor) and Sex and the City 2, which received three (worst actress combined, ensemble and  worst sequel).

According to the breathless copy on the Razzies' pop-up-infested homepage, The "winner" of worst picture is "Repeat Offender M. Night Shyamalan’s 're-imagining' of the faux-animé TV series The Last Airbender into a jumbled, jump-cut mess of a movie that fans of the TV show hated even more than critics did (if that’s even possible!)."

I've read more than my fair share of savage reviews in 2010, and there were quite a few for Airbender. But the worst most people could say about it is that it was confusing and boring. No, the best, the most elaborately written, the most snarling and vicious reviews were almost universally reserved for Sex and the City 2. It inspired such review quotes as:
 ...An enervated, crass and gruesomely caricatured trip to nowhere -- seems conceived primarily to find new and more cynical ways to abuse the loyalty of its audience. (Slate)
It's an accidental candid snapshot of the sick, dying heart of America, a film so pleased with its vacuous, trashy, art-free extravagance that its poster should be taped to the dingy walls of terrorist sleeper agents worldwide. (IFC)

SATC2 takes everything that I hold dear as a woman and as a human—working hard, contributing to society, not being an entitled c*** like it's my job—and rapes it to death with a stiletto that costs more than my car. (The Stranger)
I mean, from major newspapers to online critics, everyone who was paid to write a write a review of this film went out of their way to throttle SATC2. The Last Airbender? Aside from some soaring put-downs of Mr. Shyamalan (who most believe will be moving on to directing wedding videos) most reviewers thought it was just a poorly executed film, not the end of western civilization as we know it.

It would seem that the Razzie folks are in the corner of disappointed "faux-anime" fans than part of the larger chorus of outrage over the awful, clueless, tone-deaf abomination of SATC2.

Then again, this isn't really a surprise:  I've found it interesting that the closer you get to the fringes of Hollywood culture, the prevailing culture becomes increasingly male and fanboy-like. So I believe SATC2 didn't take full [dis]honors because ultimately the Razzie boys couldn't quite parse the negative reactions to it-- and it was so far outside their demographic they would never actually see it.

It's not an exact analogy, but I'm reminded of the segment of the Academy Awards ceremony where they hand out the technical Oscars. This event is held far in time and space from the big show, and it is usually MC'd by a recipient of a "real" Oscar-- This year, it was Marisa Tomei. The last shot of the segment was the group photo: Cute little Marisa standing on a stage surrounded by tuxedoes. Away from the bright center of Hollywood, it's apparently a real sausage fest.

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