3 Mar 2013

The 33rd Annual Razzies and Their Implications

While most of Hollywood gathered to see and be seen at the Oscars on Sunday, a different set of awards got handed out earlier that day.  The RAZZIES announced their worst of 2012.  The list of "winners" can be seen here, but I wanted to make note of a few, since there's some overlap with Lost in Translation.

First up, Worst Supporting Actress.  Rihanna got the "honours" for her role in Battleship.  I've gone on about the movie, both at Lost in Translation and elsewhere here.  The movie itself was in parts fun, disappointing, and frustrating, for reasons pointed out in my reviews.  Rihanna's role in /Battleship/ was to pull in her fans.  Her character could have gone to anyone and the same amount of impact would've been felt.  The character was an extra promoted to a speaking role.  I wouldn't be surprised that the first few drafts of the script only had the character listed as "Gunner's Mate" or just "Gunner".  But, the role had screen time.  Rihanna's win might have been close, given the other nominees, including co-star Brooklyn Decker (in a meatier role) and Jennifer Lopez.

Next, Twilight.  Just as with the Oscars, where Return of the King won not for itself but the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 2* won for the full Twilight series.  Twilight was expected to sweep the awards, but Rihanna, above, and Adam Sandler (Worst Actor, Worst Screenplay) prevented it.  Still, snaring 70% of the awards is no small achievement.  Special mention to Kristen Stewart for getting Worst Actress for both Twilight and Snow White and the Huntsman.

So, Rihanna's not so hot as an actress and Twilight was a series of bad movies.  So what?  And, indeed, so what?  Oh, if only it were just that.  There were worse movies in 2012.  The problem isn't quality; it's the high price for the lack of quality.  Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 2** was made for $120 million.  Battleship's budget was $209 million.  Both movies made a profit, Breaking Dawn 2*** moreso than Battleship.  I went into some detail about Rihanna's problems above.  The short version is that she was in a role that had screentime but was expanded to a speaking part to accommodate her.  The writer even added a catch phrase for her that, well, comes from nowhere.  Rihanna should really share her Razzie with the writers and casting director.

Twilight, though . . ..  Many of its problems stem from the original books.  Pro tip, if your romance can check off every sign of an abusive relationship, you are a frantic 911 call by a neighbour away from appearing on /Cops/ as a domestic disturbance.  As a character, Bella is a blank.  She reacts.  She's caught up in the plot.  She has little agency of her own.  The Twilight movies improved on her by the necessity of giving her a personality.  I was willing to give Kristen Stewart a pass - she didn't have much to work with as Bella - but Snow White and the Huntsman gave us more of her emotional range from A to the outskirts of A.  The quality, or lack thereof, of the original work probably gave the one vote edge to That's My Boy for Worst Screenplay****.  Twilight, the full series, since this was its last shot at Razzie history, did get Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel, despite the issues with the original novels.  Though, that does create an interesting dilemma.  If the script cleans up the worse problems if the novels, including the adult werewolf imprinting on a newborn for a lifeling mate, fans could be outraged.  The adaptation wouldn't be as accurate.  But, the story could improve as a result of the meddling.  Or should the studio just adapt faithfully and pander to the audience, despite the issues?  Making a change would risk $800 million***** in gross receipts.

In general, the Razzies serve a role beyond popping a hole in Hollywood's collective ego.  The awards give people a chance to stop and take a good look at the direction pop culture is going, at what the studios think is important, and at what point too much is too much.

* Electric boogaloo.  Really, that title is an eyesore.
** The Sparkling.  The title really annoys me.
*** See?  Most people would know what franchise Breaking Dawn is, and the ones who don't will figure it out from proper advertising.
**** Being an Adam Sandler movie didn't hurt.
***** But will the fandom persists, like the ones for Star Trek and Star Wars?  Or will the fandom move on and abandon Twilight?


  1. You made a great point when you noted that these movies wouldn't have been so terrible if they also hadn't been so costly. What other industry can waste so much money across so many iterations of product?

    1. There were probably worse actresses than Rihanna, worse movies than Battleship (and it isn't a bad movie; it's disappointing). But those actresses and movies weren't promoted heavily. They didn't have all the money invested in them. Then you get to Twilight, the full series, with scripts that may be accurate to the original novel that has the main character be an object that speaks.

      It's frustrating. There's a lot of stories that could be told, even if adapted, but the money is going into works that fall flat. Worse, those stories are popular. The studios don't have to work harder to get an audience.