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The Razzies Are Coming, Too

This week John Wilson, “Head RAZZBerry” of the Golden Raspberry Foundation is madly preparing for the 29th annual Razzie Awards, held this Saturday night at Hollywood’s Barnsdall Theatre Gallery. The results, tabulated from the votes from 688 Razzie members in 20 countries, will ricochet around the global media on Sunday, heaping ignominy on 2008’s biggest cinematic losers.

Wilson took time out of counting last-minute ballots and spray-painting props gold to give us the heads-up on the world’s premier thumbs-down awards show

Oscar’s preparing “surprises” this year. How about the Razzies?

They say that every year and every year it’s the best argument for euthanasia! As for us, we’re trying to get a direct response from Uwe Boll about his career-achievement award. Someone doing a documentary on him was trying to get him to send a video but he’s in Africa making another movie. I can’t believe he’s making another movie! We’d like him to do a video if he were willing to do one.

Uwe told me he’s thrilled with his career achievement award because it’s the first time one has been handed out since 1987, when the rubber shark got it for Jaws: The Revenge.

[Laughs] To be honest, I was thinking it was going to be Stallone and I was shocked that Rambo got nothing in terms of votes. I think our voting membership is shifting younger because of the website and many of those people have no idea who Sylvester Stallone is!

Is there anything the Oscars can learn from the Razzies?

Be shorter. We always keep our show under 90 minutes. They also might do the tech awards off-site. Sound editors coming up and naming their aunts and uncles and grandparents is not that interesting.

Have you had any reaction from nominees? From Mark Wahlberg for ‘The Happening’ or from Paris Hilton for ‘The Hottie And The Nottie’?

No, the usual reaction from the industry is no reaction. But it gets harder and harder for them to pretend we don’t exist because it’s such a simple idea: everybody gets it, everyone knows the Oscars, everyone knows they’re pompous and everyone wants to see them made fun of. It’ll be interesting to see, if she’s a winner, what reaction Paris Hilton has. I thought that Internet thing she did where she claimed she was running for President – in response to the John McCain ad – was very funny. Once the winners are determined, if she’s one of the winners, we will invite her.

So are there any big names attending?

We don’t know yet. Every year, we make a concerted effort to get hold of the publicists for the main winners. Generally speaking, I think they never tell their clients we called, that their job is to keep their little feelings from getting hurt. But, I would think, knowing that this is coming at you would be a better position to be in than reading that you’ve won in the newspaper. If you come, like Halle Berry and Paul Verhoeven, it shows you’ve got a sense of humor and can take it in stride.

What do you think of this year’s nominees?

Because it got so many nominations, I went back and watched "The Love Guru" again. If you’re into Bollywood stuff, what he was doing with that material was very funny. The rest of it – the accents, cotton-candy beards, dwarf jokes – I can see how people didn’t think it was funny. I don’t think "The Love Guru" sucked as bad our members did. If it was me, I’d pick In "The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale" as the Worst Picture. When we did our event coinciding with nominating ballots being due, the members revolted, saying, ‘We’re not going to sit through an entire movie with Paris Hilton!’ And they voted instead to watch the Uwe Boll film, which, with that group of people, was wonderfully funny and entertaining.

Disaster Movie and Meet The Spartans were to me the worst.

I would guess that [Jason] Friedberg and [Aaron] Seltzer think that they are to the movies what we are to awards shows. But the difference is that I don’t think they’re funny. I very rarely laugh at anything they do because it’s so obvious. Or they come up with, ‘What if we put Britney Spears next to the pit of death and we threw her in?’ Well, what’s Britney Spears doing in Ancient Sparta?

Were there any movies you thought deserved top be nominated but weren’t?

A comedy I thought was worse than The Love Guru was the Eddie Murphy movie Meet Dave. I did not laugh once. It’s very frantic, very shrill, very doody-humor oriented, but it’s just not funny. Eddie Murphy going back one more time to do multiple characters? I thought we were done with that… And Eddie, following up Dreamgirls with first Norbit and then Meet Dave? Hey, he’s committing career suicide.

Him and Mark Wahlberg both. What did you think of The Happening?

I loved it for all the wrong reasons. It was so convinced it was brilliant and it was so not brilliant. And Betty Buckley as the crazy lady in the isolated house who puts her head through the window should have been nominated. And Mark Wahlberg, who used to be an underwear model, as a science teacher? On the face of it, it’s like casting Judi Dench in Showgirls.

Or Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist. My favorite bit was the guy who fed himself to the lions.

[Laughs] In the ceremony, we’ve got the most hideous joke. We say that when the villain is finally unveiled, it turns out that America is under attack from enemies both fern and domestic!

And in giving Uwe Boll so many nominations are you worried he might challenge you to a boxing match, like he did with “haters” in 2006?

[Laughs] I don’t think I’d be stupid enough to accept that challenge. I’m no more a boxer than he is a filmmaker!

For the complete list of nominees – www.razzies.com


Michael Adams is an editor with the international movie magazine Empire and his writing has also appeared in Rolling Stone, FHM, Interview, Men's Style, Top Gear and Jobson's Mining Year Book. His upcoming comic memoir Schlock Around The Clock (HarperCollins, 2010) follows his year-long quest to find and watch the worst movie ever made.