Even if you only remotely follow Hollywood’s awards season, you know that the Razzies are the anti-Oscars. Now in its 32nd year, the Razzies dis-honor the year’s worst films and performances with a tacky little homemade-seeming trophy topped with a golden raspberry.
But the differences, as I found out last night when I covered movie’s smallest night, do not end there. Oh no, all awards ceremonies are not created equal, I assure you. I’m not sure what should have been my first clue — the new April Fool’s Day observance date, the parking in a public lot followed by an elevator ride that smelled of human waste, the lack of a red carpet, or the line of guests dressed in jeans, T-shirts and flip-flops.
Or maybe it should have been the venue. Magicopolis is no Kodak or The Shrine. It’s a Santa Monica magic shop with a theater that often hosts juvenile birthday parties and shows that include pulling coins from ears. As they tried to sort out some technical issues on the stage, a handful of journalists and VIPs milled about drinking cheap beer while chomping fresh popcorn. (This could be the one area where the Razzies outshine the Oscars.) Posters of illusionists and conjurers lined the walls while mannequins — some painted, some sawed in half — upped the overall creep factor. It began to feel like I entered a scene from a John Waters movie, especially when I was almost mowed down by a man in a suede chaps as I turned a hall corner.
Eventually we were allowed to take our seats, and a guy in the front row struggled to make his Words With Friends move as an overhead voice reminded everyone to turn off their phones and the room went dark. (Well, except for the glow of several iPhones.) Immediately there were technical problems. The microphone levels were not registering and the flat-screen TV wouldn’t run the opening credits until the stagehand brought out the remote. The wood podium with home-printed signage (that matched the unbound, hand-folded paper programs that came complete with a donation, err, membership form) had seen better days.
The only “famous” presenter, Thushari Jayasekera, the fifth or sixth lead on the universally panned TV show Outsourced, wouldn’t even qualify for Dancing With The Stars. Two male presenters, who I assume are members in high standing of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation, actually shared a suit jacket and gold pocket square. When one was finished with his presentation, he’d leave the coat on the podium and the other would throw it on when he reached the stage for his bit. (I seriously could not make this up if I tried.)
Sadly, not a single nominee showed up to apologize for the pain they caused the movie-going public. Adam Sandler’s “twitty twin” comedy Jack & Jill swept all 10 categories, an unprecedented feat. It even beat out the Twilight Saga in a fan-voted category. “Unless we add an eleventh category, I don’t know if anything will ever be able to top this,” the show’s founder John Wilson said. “I’m worried that we will encourage people to see it [just] to see how bad it is, which is a fate worse than death.”
Sandler personally scored Worst Screen Couple, Worst Actor, Worst Actress, and Worst Picture as the producer of the drag disaster. Unlike previous winners Halle Berry or Sandra Bullock, Sandler did not show up and collect his prize for being putrid. Wilson explained that Sandler’s people were told “their client featured heavily in the event” and invited him to attend, but “were quickly told he would not be available. His family vacation to Florida, which I suspect was very hastily planned, [coincided] with the show.”
Despite the lack of star-power, the low-budget, and, well, everything, the Razzies managed to be quite entertaining, starting with the opening parody jingle set to the tune of “Mr. Sandman.” It included the phrase “Please return your card to SAG/ Mr. Sandler, you’re a drag” and name-checked Transformers director Michael Bay by calling him a “macho jerk-off.”
The script jovially went for the jugular, referring to Dark Of The Moon as Trannies 3 and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as the underwear model. Twilight: Breaking Dawn’s subtitle was tweaked on practically every mention. (My favorites: Breaking Wind and Breaking and Entering Bella!) They even pulled an April Fool’s prank by announcing Sarah Palin as the winner for Worst Actress.
At a post-ceremony press conference held in plastic lawn chairs near the restrooms (Who needs a lavish Wolfgang Puck-catered after-party?), Wilson discussed the Razzies’ prospects for next year. “We already have a strong contender in Eddie Murphy and A Thousand Words, a movie so good they kept it in a closet for four years.” Rotten Tomatoes editor-in-chief Matt Atchity agreed, “That movie wasn’t released. It escaped.”