Celebrating 23 years of performing its valuable public service, the Razzie Awards once again helped to make up for the wasted time and insulted intelligence we as moviegoers were forced to endure in 2002. John Wilson, founder and Head Raspberry of the Golden Raspberry Awards Foundation, along with his merry band of muckracking mirthmakers, gave the worst of the worst everything they deserved in an hour-long ceremony complete with singing, dancing, and a firm belief in the power of the Bronx Cheer.
It was a year of firsts, as Sylvester Stallone’s name was absent from the list of nominees for the first time since the 1980s. And before we jump to any rash conclusions about that signaling a sea chance in Sly’s body of work, it should be noted that his only film in 2002 was released direct to video and the Razzie Award limits itself to films that played theatrically for at least a week in LA or New York and in a venue that actually charges admission. The fly in Sly’s ointment may well have been the last part of that stipulation. So few people these days are willing to pay for the privilege of being either bored or irritated, or both.
And yet there were films released that did just that, jaw-droppingly bad flicks, and you know it was a bad year for films when QUEEN OF THE DAMNED didn’t cut it for bottom of the barrel honors. Those that did make the cut included Roberto Begnini’s PINNOCHIO in which the 50-year-old actor played a putatively child-sized puppet. This, ahem, interesting artistic decision was enhanced by dubbing that Helen Keller could have done better. Then there was THE ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH, which sat on the shelf for several years before being released by a studio hoping to capitalize on the last gasp of soon-to-be ex-star Eddie Murphy’s career.
Oddly enough, Madonna’s latest desperate grab for screen stardom, the wretched SWEPT AWAY, didnt sweep the Razzies. The Material Girl was given a run for her money, or in this case, lack of money at the box office, by up-and-comer, or perhaps down-and-goer, Britney Spears in what was Razzie’s first-ever tie for the worst actress dishonor. Hardly a surprise, since CROSSROADS was such an astonishingly ill-conceived flick that it made GLITTER seem almost competent by comparison and made some of us long for the more polished performances of Razzie veterans, say Pia Zadora or Bo Derek. Derek herself was back this year as a nominee in the worst supporting actress category, but who could withstand the sheer Razzie-winning power of Madonna? In less than 10 minutes of actual screentime, her performance in DIE ANOTHER DAY so overpowered the Razzie voters that she was given a second gold-painted plastic statue worth $4.89 all her own. Not that she or any of the other nominees showed up. But after Tom Greene’s creepy appearance at last years ceremony, one that was not without at least one scuffle, perhaps that’s just as well.
SWEPT AWAY went on to win five Razzies, and became the first film to be voted worst film >and< worst remake. Only fitting considering that its chief perpetrator, Madonna, was voted worst actress of the whole entire 20th century by the Razzie membership in 2000. Something that hapless hubby and this year’s recipient of the Razzie for worst director, Guy Ritchie, should have seen for the omen that it turned out to be.
For a full list of the Razzie winners for 2002, including how Star Wars: Attack of the Clones stacked up, or rather didn’t, check out the link on this page. There you can also read a history of the Razzies and, most importantly, find out how you can become a card-carrying, voting member of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. Think of it as doing your part to keep bad cinema where it belongs.