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.
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)