If you cannot recognize the films from their posters, here are the titles written out (Worst Picture nominees are bolded):
C/C- (MEDICORE): House of Gucci
D+/D (BAD): Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Woman in the Window, Infinite, Tom & Jerry
D- (TERRIBLE): Dear Evan Hansen
F (ABYSMAL): The Misfits, Diana, Vanquish, Karen
Before I begin, I want to let you all know that I am not here to personally attack any of the nominated actors and filmmakers. While not a filmmaker – or even a film expert – myself, I understand that the creation of a film, regardless of its final quality, requires a lot of hard work and strong talent. For example, most of the acting nominees are extremely talented and, in my opinion, only gave “bad performances” because of poor direction and badly written dialogue, which themselves might not be reflective of the talent of any directors or screenwriters. It’s for this reason that I found quite a few of these nominations to be mean-spirited and unfair, so please keep that in mind.
I’ve Heard of, Like, Three of These Movies Beforehand…
First and foremost, everyone, I just want to say that it feels great to be back!
After finally finding some time and energy to get back into this blog, I couldn’t have thought of a better way to return than to predict two of my favorite annual awards ceremonies – the Oscars and, for this post, the Razzies.
As many of you already know, the Razzies, a nickname for the Golden Raspberry Awards, is a parody of film award shows like the Oscars. While typical film awards are designed to recognize the best in film each year, the Razzies annually gives “honor” to what is considered the worst in cinema.
Infamous films, often considered the worst of all time (i.e. – Gigli (2003), The Last Airbender (2010), and Cats (2019)), have historically walked away from a Razzies ceremony with quite a few trophies, but who exactly is voting for these “prizes”? An organization of film critics? A fellowship of people from within the film industry? The open public?
The “open public” is probably the closest idea of who votes for the Razzies because anyone can become a member of the Golden Raspberry Foundation with a small fee. I don’t know the details for how a film can get nominated, but based on what I’ve been seeing in lists of nominees, it seems that popularity – popularity among the voters – plays a large role.
I emphasize “among the voters” because I think this year’s nominations (1) entirely missed, or gave few nominations, to some of the most well-known, critically panned films this year and (2) nominated relatively unknown films, mainly forgettable, direct-to-video action-thrillers.
For example, He’s All That got 0 nominations. I personally thought this film, given its popularity (i.e. – becoming the #1 most-watched movie on Netflix when it released), should have easily gotten nominated in every category, ultimately winning Worst Director (Mark Waters – yes, the director of the classic, Tina Fey-penned Mean Girls), Worst Supporting Actress (Kourtney Kardashian), Worst Screen Combo (Addison Rae and Tanner Buchanan), and maybe Worst Actress (Addison Rae).
On the other hand, there is an entire category dedicated to Bruce Willis’s performances in EIGHT action movies that collectively average a 7% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (yes, I did the math)! I am willing to bet that the 7% is generous, but I wouldn’t know – and I don’t want to know – because I did not watch any of these movies. Last year, I had a difficult time getting through 3 of these extremely boring Bruce Willis action films that got nominated and didn’t win anything, so for this year, I’m not going to waste my time on any more of these barely marketed, quietly released movies that will remain on direct-to-video because no streaming service wants to add them. Sorry for anyone who wanted my thoughts on Midnight in the Switchgrass, which also starred Megan Fox and…uh…*checks description*…Machine Gun Kelly?
Folks, I’m losing my train of thought here, and I don’t want to ramble for too long. Here are some other overall thoughts I had on this year’s Razzies nominees:
- Again, I think some better-known films are missing here.
- I don’t like this year’s “Worst Screen Combo” category. Most of these are just extensions of the acting categories, where it’s basically “[ACTOR] and the rest of the cast”. Isn’t this category supposed to be a parody of “Best Couple”-type awards?
- The only nominated “combo” that works this year in my opinion is Tom and Jerry from their eponymous film.
- They even had the nerve to refer to these cartoon legends as “aka Itchy & Scratchy”, as if the Simpsons parody eclipsed the original in relevance at some point. Not cool.
- The only nominated “combo” that works this year in my opinion is Tom and Jerry from their eponymous film.
- I’m sad because there aren’t really any “so-bad-it’s-good” movies this year. The closest is probably Karen, but any ironic humor it has does not make up for its more frustrating elements.
- Taryn Manning and Amy Adams are incredibly talented actresses whose films and performances have unfortunately led my predictions this year. I want to reiterate that this post is not a personal attack on anyone and that these acting nominations are more to do with poor direction and writing than with actual bad acting.
- Dear Evan Hansen….ooh wee…shocked that it wasn’t a Worst Picture nominee…
- I’m so disappointed with the list of nominees that I might actually sign up to join the Golden Raspberry voting committee.
- Keep in mind that I did not see the following films due to time constraints:
- Dangerous (nominated for Worst Actor (Scott Eastwood) and Worst Supporting Actor (Mel Gibson))
- Midnight in the Switchgrass (nominated for Worst Actress (Megan Fox) and Worst Performance by Bruce Willis in a 2021 Movie)
- The second half of The Last Duel (shockingly nominated for Worst Supporting Actor (Ben Affleck) despite the film’s overall positive reception)
- Every Last One of Them (nominated for Worst Supporting Actress (Taryn Manning))
- Twist (nominated for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel and Worst Screenplay)
- American Siege, Apex, Cosmic Sin, Deadlock, Fortress, Out of Death, and Survive the Game (the other nominees for Worst Performance by Bruce Willis in a 2021 Movie)
Moving on, here are my thoughts on the Worst Picture nominees.
The Supposed Worst Films of 2021
The Woman in the Window
“The book was better.”
This film does not deserve to be a Worst Picture nominee. Don’t get me wrong, though. This is a bad movie – the dialogue is unnatural, the pacing is bad, the direction is overall poor, and acting is too melodramatic for anyone to take seriously. I read the book its based on, and it honestly could have lent itself to a decent psychological thriller film á la Alfred Hitchcock, especially given the numerous Hitchcock references in both the book and movie.
Nonetheless, I’ve seen far worse modern thrillers (i.e. – Tyler Perry’s A Fall from Grace and Acrimony), and at least The Woman in the Window had an interesting premise and some decent acting performances. However, this is probably the most popular Worst Picture nominee next to Space Jam: A New Legacy, and I have a strong feeling it’s going to get a not-at-all deserved win here.
My Grade: D+
Space Jam: A New Legacy
As a fan of classic cartoons, especially Looney Tunes, and as someone born after the release of the original Space Jam, it pains me to agree that Space Jam: A New Legacy is worse than the original.
Several people in my life, around my age and older, would often tell me that the original Space Jam is a great movie, but the praise was often justified by childhood nostalgia, which I don’t think makes for a fair assessment of the quality of a film. Having seen some of the most iconic Looney Tunes shorts, I don’t think the original Space Jam did a good job of showcasing the potential of the cartoon characters and their humor, and I think Michael Jordan, despite having a compelling backstory as to why he quit basketball, lacked charisma, which resulted poor chemistry with the Looney Tunes. In my opinion, Space Jam is saved from being a terrible movie due to its solid premise, few moments of good cartoon comedy, a phenomenal soundtrack, and great performances from Bill Murray, Wayne Knight, and Danny DeVito. I’d probably give Space Jam a C or C-.
Nonetheless, there are several movies like Space Jam that I enjoyed as a kid, and still enjoy as an adult, that I also know aren’t “good”, but I was hoping, especially with a new generation of children who may not have been exposed to the Looney Tunes ,as well as some excellent revival series from recent years like The Looney Tunes Show, that Space Jam: A New Legacy was going to be just as fun as the original Space Jam but also a legitimately good film.
On paper, LeBron James offers a more charismatic performance than Michael Jordan; the voice acting of most of the Looney Tunes characters sound more in line with the original mid-20th Century cartoons; the animation looks great given an obviously high budget; and Don Cheadle is more than capable of being a strong villain character. However, all these good things come together in what ultimately became an overlong, sloppy, meme-fueled advertisement for HBO Max (topped off with a mostly generic soundtrack).
My Grade: D+
Ah, the missed potential.
What if there were a group of people who regularly reincarnate and can remember their past lives? What if these people were divided into two opposing factions: one that uses their immortality and memory for good and another that wants to exterminate all life on Earth because they don’t want to witness humanity destroy itself? What if there was a way for both parties to get what they want without having to fight each other or destroy the world, but such a way is completely ignored because then, the film’s plot would make sense? What if the story of these people could make for a decent TV miniseries but is instead overly fast-paced film that thinks it’s as clever as something from Christopher Nolan or the Wachowskis? What if they didn’t make the best casting decisions, like having a protagonist that looks much older than his character is supposed to be? What if there were an obvious twist that worsens an already convoluted and messy plot? What if I just stopped asking these wordy questions since you now have an idea of how bad Infinite is?
My Grade: D
Diana the Musical
“Harry, my ginger-haired son. You’ll always be second to none.”
An upbeat, musical comedy about the late Princess Diana, in my opinion, is a conceptually bad idea unless it is a dark and clever satire of how the story and image of former Princess of Wales have been exploited in the media throughout her life and after her tragic death. Unfortunately, this play does not have the wit, charm, or insight to suggest that it is such a satire. Instead, Diana, the first filmed stage performance to receive any Razzie nominations, is full of unfunny humor, a bad soundtrack, and poor writing that doesn’t say anything we don’t already know about its subject. Diana the Musical, in its attempt to explore the exploitation of its namesake, unintentionally makes for exemplary exploitation.
My Grade: F
Coke Daniels, you probably meant well, as did your cast and fellow crew members, so please don’t take what I am about to say personally.
People, let’s get straight to the point here. Karen is the worst movie of the 2020s so far. It deserves to win every award it was nominated for, and after this blog post, I hope I never have to write about this movie again.
I wanted to stop watching it 5 minutes into its somehow slowly paced, 89-minute runtime.
As you may have already seen from its trailer, Karen attempts to illustrate the phenomenon surrounding the name-turned-pejorative/meme “Karen”, a term given to well-to-do, middle-aged, white women perceived as entitled and typically racist. It does so by being a “horror” tale about a definitive “Karen” and her attempts to get her new Black neighbors to move away.
This sounds like the plot of a rejected Saturday Night Live sketch that was accidentally made into a feature film that audiences are supposed to take seriously.
Not only is the film’s premise a conceptually bad idea for a serious film, but it was probably executed in the worst manner possible for a studio picture. This film takes place in a world where there are no real-life humans due to poor chemistry among the cast and painfully unnatural dialogue. There are few, if any, distinguishable traits among the characters except for their race, gender, socioeconomic status, occupation, and education level. Yes, it’s quite a shallow way to depict people, but it is not as shallow as this film’s social commentary, which lacks any ounce of subtlety for this film to be realistic. I legitimately wonder if this all the research for the script was done entirely on Twitter – not only because several lines sound like out-of-place tweets, but also because the film’s impact is a powerful as a retweet.
While it’s neither entertaining nor insightful, it is not enough to simply dismiss this film as a cheap rip-off of Get Out. In fact, if given more public attention, Karen can ironically provide a huge, positive impact.
In this world where the divisions among ourselves are becoming more apparent than ever before, can we not come together and unite to discuss our collective distaste for Karen? We won’t even have to set aside our political, social, or ideological differences; in fact, there might just be something beautiful in how we have our different reasons for not liking this movie. (Then again, that would mean more people would have to watch this movie, which I don’t recommend.)
The real horror of Karen is not the extreme caricature that sensationalizes a serious topic into a farce, but it’s the fact that a film like this got greenlit.
My Grade: F
And the Razzie Goes To…
- Should Win: Karen
- Second Choice: Diana
- Will Win: Diana
- Second Guess: Space Jam: A New Legacy
- Also Nominated: Infinite and The Woman in the Window
- Should Win: Coke Daniels (Karen)
- Second Choice: Christopher Ashley (Diana)
- Will Win: Stephen Chobsky (Dear Evan Hansen)
- Second Guess: Christopher Ashley (Diana)
- Also Nominated: Renny Harlin (The Misfits) and Joe Wright (The Woman in the Window)
- Should Win: Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen as Evan Hansen)
- Second Choice: Mark Wahlberg (Infinite as Evan McCauley and Heinrich Treadway)
- Will Win: Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen as Evan Hansen)
- Second Guess: LeBron James (Space Jam: A New Legacy as Himself)
- Also Nominated: Scott Eastwood (Dangerous as Dylan “D” Forrester) and Roe Hartrampf (Diana as Prince Charles)
- Should Win: Taryn Manning (Karen as Karen Drexler)
- Second Choice: Ruby Rose (Vanquish as Victoria)
- Will Win: Amy Adams (The Woman in the Window as Dr. Anna Fox)
- Second Guess: Taryn Manning (Karen as Karen Drexler)
- Also Nominated: Jeanna de Waal (Diana as Princess Diana) and Megan Fox (Midnight in the Switchgrass as Rebecca Lombardi)
Worst Supporting Actor
- Should Win: Nick Cannon (This Misfits as Ringo)
- Second Choice: Gareth Keegan (Diana as James Hewitt, the Muscle-Bound Horse Trainer)
- Will Win: Jared Leto (House of Gucci as Paolo Gucci)
- Second Guess: Gareth Keegan (Diana as James Hewitt, the Muscle-Bound Horse Trainer)
- Also Nominated: Ben Affleck (The Last Duel as Count Pierre d’Alençon) and Mel Gibson (Dangerous as Dr. Alderwood)
Worst Supporting Actress
- Should Win: Judy Kaye (Diana as Queen Elizabeth II and Barbara Cartland)
- Second Choice: Erin Davie (Diana as Camilla Parker Bowles)
- Will Win: Amy Adams (Dear Evan Hansen as Cynthia Murphy)
- Second Guess: Judy Kaye (Diana as Queen Elizabeth II and Barbara Cartland)
- Also Nominated: Sophie Cookson (Infinite as Nora Brightman) and Taryn Manning (Every Last One of Them as Maggie)
Worst Screen Combo
- Should Win: Ben Platt & any other character who acts like Platt singing 24/7 is normal (Dear Evan Hansen)
- Second Choice: Any klutzy cast member & any lamely lyricized (or choreographed) musical number (Diana)
- Will Win: Ben Platt & any other character who acts like Platt singing 24/7 is normal (Dear Evan Hansen)
- Second Guess: Any klutzy cast member & any lamely lyricized (or choreographed) musical number (Diana)
- Also Nominated: LeBron James & any Warner cartoon character (or Time-Warner product) he dribbles on (Space Jam: A New Legacy), Jared Leto & either his 17-pound latex face, his geeky clothes or his ridiculous accent (House of Gucci), and Tom & Jerry (Tom & Jerry)
Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel
- Should Win: Karen (Inadvertent Remake of Cruella)
- Second Choice: Space Jam: A New Legacy (Sequel to Space Jam)
- Will Win: The Woman in the Window (Rip-off of Rear Window)
- Second Guess: Space Jam: A New Legacy (Sequel to Space Jam)
- Also Nominated: Tom & Jerry (Film Adaptation of the Theatrical Cartoons of the Same Name and/or Remake of the 1990 Film of the Same Name) and Twist (Rap remake of Oliver Twist)
- Should Win: Karen (Coke Daniels)
- Second Choice: Diana (Joe DiPietro, script; David Bryan and DiPietro, music and lyrics)
- Will Win: The Woman in the Window (Tracy Letts; adapted from the novel of the same name by A. J. Finn)
- Second Guess: Diana (Joe DiPietro, script; David Bryan and DiPietro, music and lyrics)
- Also Nominated: The Misfits (Robert Henny and Kurt Wimmer, screenplay; Henny, story) and Twist (Sally Collett and John Wrathall)
Worst Performance by Bruce Willis in a 2021 Movie
I told y’all, I ain’t doing this one.