The Razzies

Well. Today was great fun, and it’s not even time for the Oscars yet. I spoke with John Wilson, who founded the Golden Raspberry Awards in 1981. The Razzies, as per tradition, were given out last night in L.A., on what is sometimes referred to as Oscars Eve — or, The Night Entertainment Reporters Have Nothing to Do But Speculate. Or report on the Razzies. Clever scheduling.

You can take a look at the winners here and I’ll just let you know upfront that if you are a fan of The Last Airbender, a) you must be terribly lonely and b) you won’t like the results. Sex and the City 2, ladies, did not fare well either and I don’t know about you, Two Dear Readers, but I’m not losing any sleep over that.

Now, I can’t quite decide whether to call this guy John or Mr. Wilson, so I’m going to follow his lead and refer to him as Ye Olde Head Razzberry, or the HeadBerry for short. By day, he is a copywriter and publicist. He has also written two books: The Official Razzie Movie Guide and Everything I Know I Learned at the Movies (long subtitle omitted).

Now, it is a Sunday, and I’m putting in a six-hour workday for you, my Two Dear Readers, and I have to save some strength for the Oscars tonight, so I’m not going to give you a verbatim Q and A transcript. But I will dish.

The first thing I asked Mr. Headberry is whether he thinks the Raspberry’s 600-750 voters actually see these movies, or if they vote on reputation. He said he didn’t know, and isn’t that true of all the other awards shows too? He himself likes to go see bad films. So what makes a bad film? He said it’s the idea that not only is it ridiculous to you, but the idea that the cast and crew actually (I paraphrase) made this picture with a straight face. That it actually seemed to someone like it was a good idea.

I will stop for a second and just explain: anybody can join the Razzies’ voting membership for a fee of $35. The movies nominated must have come out in the past year. An actor can get a nomination based on more than one film. There is an award for an entire cast. There is an occasional career award, which Mr. Headberry says Nicolas Cage is campaigning for right now, and I agree with him. Mr. Headberry notes that Mr. Cage does have some back taxes to pay, but doesn’t have to take every script handed to him.

2011 was a banner year for the Razzies, as far as I’m concerned, because there were Supporting Actress nominations for the Three Divas: Cher, for Burlesque; Barbra Streisand, for Little Fockers; and Liza Minelli, for that Razzie jackpot winner Sex and the City 2. How did this happen? I ask. Well, says the Headberry, it’s not clear why any of these ladies took these roles. It’s not like they needed the money, and the work certainly didn’t showcase their talents. Based on their track records, he says, you’d think they would have put some thought into this.

I should also note that none of the winners showed up to collect their prizes this year. He says they’re used to that. You will probably remember that Sandra Bullock showed up last year –the venue is a theater in L.A. — to collect her Worst Actress award for All About Steve. She very kindly brought a little red wagon full of All About Steve DVDs. And the next night she won an Oscar.

Photo: AP

And then her husband cheated on her and then she revealed she had secretly adopted a son and then the tabloids went mad and had her secretly dating Ryan Reynolds and being abducted by aliens and going into witness protection . . .

In 2005, Halle Berry, also showed up for her award, and accepted her gold spray-painted (fake) raspberry glued to an 8mm film reel while holding her Oscar for Monster’s Ball in the other hand. (I swear, I will link these movies to IMDB later, Two Dear Readers, but for now I must save my strength for the Oscars.)

Mr. Headberry notes that getting a Razzie is something people in the film industry COULD treat as a warning sign that they’re doing something wrong. Then again, as established, at least two Razzie-winners are also Oscar winners, so you might just say that in the course of constructing a body of creative work, one is going to hopefully make a few really good pieces but may also expect some serious clunkers, because that’s how it goes with creative work. Also, getting noticed for ANYTHING in Hollywood means you’re doing something right, doesn’t it? Aside from getting arrested?

We did talk a bit about Lindsey Lohan and Charlie Sheen and that was a little sad. It’s hard to watch talent — and lives — being wasted. Oddly enough, though, I was quite cavalier about Lindsey and Charlie, and yet hated Ricky Gervais’ jokes at the Golden Globes, and Mr. Headberry was sympathetic to them but really liked Mr. Gervais’s performance.

I asked where the Razzies Walk of Shame would be, if there were one, and who’d be on it. Mr. Headberry says it would be in North Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley, because “the Hollywood snoots would never want to admit they’d been there.” We never reached an exhaustive list of honorees but among them, he said, he’d include Sylvester Stallone; Pia Zadora, who save for her rich husband would probably never have become famous; and Bo Derek. He also noted that it was a sad day for the Razzies when Madonna gave up on acting.

Other thoughts: “Somebody called Sex and the City 2 the lamest Grumpy Old Men sequel ever.”

[Of M. Night Shyamalan, the man behind The Last Airbender and a string of other post-Sixth Sense duds] “His next gig is either going to be a beer commercial in Japan or a TV series. He’s destroyed his credibility.”

“We can’t really razz everything that stinks or our show would be as long as the Oscars.”

My last question: I have, truly I do, a DVD of the horribly reviewed movie Valentine’s Day. How should I get rid of it? Mr. Headberry proposed sticking a marshmallow on either side of the hole in the middle, sticking a wire coat hanger through it, and roasting it over a fire.

How about you? Suggestions? What creative ways could I destroy this Razz-worthy monstrosity? What do you think of John Wilson, Headberry, and don’t you want to go to the Razzies with me next year? Such a lark, darlings. Even if it’s in North Hollywood.


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