Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Top 10 Films Nominated for Razzies

Every year, while Hollywood insiders scramble to secure Oscar wins for their respective films, a small group of people elect to “pay tribute” to the worst movies of the year. The Golden Raspberry Awards began nearly 35 years ago as a means of restoring balance. And while I agree with most of their contemporary nominations (including many from this year) they have been known to get it wrong in the past. Below are 10 films that I absolutely adore, despite being nominated for Razzies. 

10. Cliffhanger (1993)

Nominated for: Worst Picture, Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
Full disclosure: yes, perhaps Renny Harlin’s Cliffhanger was Razzie-worthy, but it felt right to start this list off with a fun flick. And what a damn fun film this is. Insanely expensive stunts, Stallone at his most hyperbolically heroic, John Lithgow at his most comically villain… come on, what’s not to love?

9. Indecent Proposal (1993)

Nominated for: Worst Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supp. Actor, Song
I actually love Adrian Lyne’s Indecent Proposal. It’s a smart, sexy, honest depiction of class separation in America. It’s also a rather devastating romance drama. Sure, the film is rooted in a scandalous premise, but there’s far more going on emotionally. I’m frankly stunned that it “won” Worst Picture.

8. Basic Instinct (1992)

Nominated for: Worst Actor, Supporting Actress, New Star
Basic Instinct is one of the few films to receive Oscar nominations (for Editing and Original Score) and Razzies. I personally think the Razzie nominations were misguided, as Basic Instinct is one of the best, most intentionally sleazy erotic thrillers ever made. Paul Verhoeven and Joe Eszterhas knew exactly what they were doing when they made this movie.

7. Cruising (1980)

Nominated for: Worst Picture, Director, Screenplay
Cruising will always be one of William Friedkin’s most divisive films. The movie, about a New York cop (Al Pacino) who attempts to catch a killer by immersing himself in a gay S&M culture, was labeled as wildly homophobic upon its release. I don’t agree with that criticism at all, nor do I think the film merits multiple Razzie noms. It’s certainly a risqué film, but Friedkin’s best pictures always are.

6. Scarface (1983)

Nominated for: Worst Director
So... the Razzies kind of hate Brian De Palma. His films have racked up a total of 12 Razzie nominations, with Scarface being one of the more curious of those noms. I’m not as big of a Scarface fan as many are, but I certainly wouldn’t hail De Palma’s direction as one of the worst directorial efforts of 1983.

5. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Nominated for: Worst Picture, Actress
Maybe no one on the Razzie nomination committee actually saw The Blair Witch Project in the theater when it was first released, and were able to scrutinize it from the comfort of their bright living rooms. Or maybe they did see it in a dark, crowded theater and were just so damn pissed off from having the shit scared out of them.

4. Blow/Vanilla Sky (2001)

Nominated for: Worst Actress
Penélope Cruz landed a Worst Actress nomination for her contributions to Blow, Vanilla Sky and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. My opinion: give her the nomination solely for Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and we have no problem. But including the other two films isn’t the right move, regardless if they were all released in the same year.

3. Body Double (1984)

Nominated for: Worst Director
I don’t understand this at all. One of Brian De Palma’s smartest, most patient, most De Palma-esque films was actually in contention for being the worst-directed film of the year? I know De Palma can be hit or miss, but Body Double is a hit in the best possible way.

2. The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

Nominated for: Worst Supporting Actor
I agree that, on paper, Harvey Keitel may not seem like the best choice to play Judas. But, then again, Willem Dafoe could’ve bombed as Jesus. Thankfully, both excelled in Martin Scorsese’s bold biblical tale.

1. The Shining (1980)

Nominated for: Worst Director, Actress
Yep, Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece was a double Razzie nominee. And while I suppose I understand the inclusion of Shelley Duvall, I simply can’t wrap my head around Kubrick’s nomination. The Shining is one of the most controlled thrillers ever made. Confident, determined, and unique. A shining example of how the Razzies got it wrong.

Ten More I Enjoy
Dressed to Kill (1980)
Friday the 13th (1980)
The Thing (1982)
9 ½ Weeks (1986)
Wall Street (1987)
The Bodyguard (1992)
Four Rooms (1995)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
G.I. Jane (1997)
Batman Begins (2005)


34 comments:

  1. This is a good list, and while I am not a fan of all of the films on here, I think we can agree that the Razzies don't really mean much of anything anymore. Sure they began as a way to balance the awards, but I'd say they haven't been worth paying attention to in a long time. All they really do is go after cheap shots. I think I've already mentioned I'm not a huge DePalma fan, but the films you listed on here that were nominated were certainly not bad.

    Just a note, I really, really like Last Temptation, but god damn it if Keitel didn't annoy me in it. I don't have qualms with his accent, but while everyone else (at least in my recollection of it) had non regionally specific accents, Keitel always sounded like he walked out of a New York bar. Maybe the man could be Judas but his non-accent bugged the crap out of me.

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    1. Thanks man. Oh yeah, the reason I made this list was to prove that the Razzies are irrelevant, and pretty much always have been. The only thing I can give them credit for is having the balls to nominate some genuinely excellent films back in the day. But today... I mean, do we really need the Razzies to tell us Grown Ups 2 is crap?

      Aaaanyway. I get what you're saying about Keitel in Last Temptation. I think that's fair criticism. Honestly, I gave up scrutinizing accents a few years ago, just to maintain a level of sanity. Nearly all performances with accents have faults at some point during the performance, you know? But Keitel's in that flick is pretty funny, for sure.

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  2. I had no idea The Shining was nominated, that surprised me. I normally get a kick out of the Razzies, but one that actually kind of annoyed me was the little girl that played Christina in Mommie Dearest. Sure that movie was campy, but she was like 10 and I think she tried her best.

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    1. Aren't those Shining noms silly? Aww you're so nice to defend that little girl in Mommie Dearest. Man, that film really cleaned up at the Razzies. Shame... I really think it could've been intense in that Baby Jane sort of way.

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  3. Nice list... Who knew that so many great films had been nominated? Crazy stuff!

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  4. I had no idea a number of these were nominated for Razzies, especially The Shining, Scarface, and Basic Instinct. I did know about Indecent Proposal. I like it, but it became a victim of its own hype. There was way too much for it to live up to. When that happened, it became cool to hate it, hence the Razzie nom. I'm actually glad The Blair Witch Project got a nom. I always thought it was boring with long stretches of nothing and an overrated ending. The concept, then vaguely original, was far better than the actual movie, in my opinion.

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    1. I see what you're saying about Indecent Proposal... a Razzie nom as a means of scaling back the hype. I can see that.

      Okay, I gotta ask... did you see Blair Witch in a theater before the chatter surrounding it had reached its peak? Sure, a movie should be effective no matter how or where or when you see it, but that one was best served in a dark, crowded theater.

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  5. The Razzies aren't even fun. They make terrible decisions and then just stomp things into the ground at an unnecessary rate. One of my most reviled Razzie nominations is the score for The Thing. That score is fantastically creepy and memorable. I'd even consider it iconic as far as horror films go. The fact that they nominated The Shining is ridiculous! Get outta here Razzies.

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    1. No, they're not fun. They're damn silly and rather worthless. That nomination for The Thing is absurd... I mean really, that was one of the WORST scores of 1982. Really?

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  6. "The Shining" rocked--and scared the shit out of me. I saw it when it came out. I was 10 and it only added to my reasons to sleep with the light on.


    I'm a DePalma fan so I just don't get how he's Razzie-worthy. I really liked a lot of the movies on your list...kind of have the same goofy love for "Cliffhanger" as I do for "GI Jane".


    Once in a while the Razzies get it right, but some of these nominations/wins are crazy!

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    1. So crazy! I love that you saw The Shining when you were 10. I can't imagine how badly that freaked you out! Also love that you appreciate the silliness of Cliffhanger and GI Jane. I really do love those movies!

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  7. The Shining nomination is embarrassing enough but my favorite awful nomination they gave is DiCaprio being nominated for the Beach which is one of his better performances.

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    1. Yeah I almost included that film here. Honestly, I haven't seen The Beach in a damn long time. Probably due for a rewatch.

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  8. These probably felt like inspired choices at the time given how well-respected the filmmakers were. On top of that, most of these were among of the most outre of their respective careers.

    In some ways, I wish the modern Razzies were so daring. There's a reason the newest films in your top ten were from 2001. Today, the Razzies only go after low-hanging fruit. Did anyone think Grown Ups 2 would be any better than the first?

    I kind understand, although not necessarily endorse, Shelley Duvall's nomination. Her performance seems like it was pulled from a completely different, far less cerebral film.

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    1. I know what you mean... the Razzies would probably be a little more fun if they took more risks. Because, yeah, who needs to be told how much Grown Ups 2 sucks? Still, I think they are pretty useless awards overall.

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    2. Agreed. I don't think Renny Harlin or David Dobkin ever used Razzie nomination morning as a moment of reflection on their mediocre careers. Similarly, I don't think I even read the Razzie noms this year. (I was just guessing Grown Ups 2 made the list because duh.)

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  9. OK, the Razzies were wrong on these films though I still have mixed reviews towards Vanilla Sky as Abre Los Ojos (that I saw afterwards) was a way better film. I like a lot of these films including the ones in your honorable list though the ones I haven't seen are Dressed to Kill andCruising.

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    1. Ahh it's tough for me to choose which I like better, Abre Los Ojos or Vanilla Sky. I prefer Abre in terms of story and acting, but I do love how "Americanized" Vanilla Sky is. Which is probably the only time I'll ever say that about a movie ever. But what can I say, all the pop culture references won me over a little bit.

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  10. AW sticking up for Cliffhanger? F--king awesome. Kind of the end of Stallone's glory days, but that movie is ridiculous(ly?) fun.

    As for the rest of this list, I feel like these choices are made by someone (or a group of people) who simply didn't get it. Hey, I'm an idiot too, but nominating movies like The Shining, and to a much lesser degree, The Blair Witch Project, seem to suggest that they filled their ballots after talking to my grandmother. I don't get this movie. It's horrible. Yech.

    Or something.

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    1. I love the absurdity of Cliffhanger! Movie rocks ass.

      I'm with you man... we're not being elitist by saying these people didn't get those films. Because, well, you know... they didn't. Ha.

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  11. The Shining? Damn, that's crazy. There's a lot of sexual thriller type films on this list...me thinks the Razzie committee is a little anti-sex? Speaking of, I really need to finally check out Indecent Proposal!

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    1. You know, I never thought about that anti-sex aspect... you could be on to something there. Good call. I really like Indecent Proposal!

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  12. Very interesting. I have to admit I only follow the Razzies from afar so I had no idea that some of the films were nominated. A couple I don't care for but a few I really like and it's a surprise to see them mentioned (especially considering the amount of crap that comes out ever year).

    Fun post!

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    1. Thanks man. That's kind of the thing... was The Shining really one of the worst directed films of 1980, or were they just trying to be bold for the sake of being bold? Either way, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

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  13. Yeah, the Kubrick nomination is ridiculous. Honestly, I could understand a nomination for Eyes Wide Shut (and I LOVE that film), but The Shining?!

    I forgot about The Blair Witch Project's nominations. Bummer. I still dig that film.

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    1. I know what you mean... I could see them boldly giving Eyes Wide Shut a nom (I love that film too), but The Shining is just absurd. I love Blair Witch!

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  14. THE SHINING!!! I can't believe it. Great top 10 Alex.

    I can see why Body Double would be nominated but I still have lots of fun with that one. Another in a long line of movies by De Palma that is underrated (heck, what is Scarface doing getting a Razzie nomination!).

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    1. Thanks Dan! I can see why Body Double was nominated too, but man, I just love that film. The Shining being nominated is ridiculous.

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  15. The Razzies are ridiculous. I recently watched The Guilt Trip, which wasn't very good. Barbra Streisand got a nomination for it, she wasn't amazing or anything, but she definitely didn't deserve a nomination for worst actress. Lindsay Lohan in The Canyons too.

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    1. Yep, agree. Those two actresses weren't great in those films, but the WORST of the year?! No way. Silly shit.

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  16. I agree with The Shining nomination for worst director just because people can't get the film just if they see it twice.

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    1. That's a good point. But it's crazy to think it was nominated.

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