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TGRA

With all the fuss and hullabaloo that comes with the Oscars, where the best of 2015 is celebrated (…and celebrated…and celebrated…), it’s easy to overlook the awards ceremony that “celebrates” the worst of 2015. Held on February 27th, the annual Golden Raspberry Awards “honour” the movies that we’ve all taken to beating with a stick over the last year, movies that contain breathless lines of dialogue such as these:

“You’re here because I’m incapable of leaving you alone.” – Fifty Shades of Grey

“I had no idea I was so deep in Her Majesty’s hole!” – Mortdecai

“The end of your world… is the beginning of mine!” – Fantastic Four

For those who missed out on congratulating the winners on their timeless efforts, here are the nominees for the 36th Golden Raspberry Awards with the winners highlighted in bold. How many have you seen?

Worst Picture

Fantastic Four (20th Century Fox) – Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn, Hutch Parker, Robert Kulzer, Gregory Goodman
Fifty Shades of Grey (Universal/Focus Features) – Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti, E. L. James
Jupiter Ascending (Warner Bros.) – Grant Hill, The Wachowskis
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (Columbia) – Todd Garner, Kevin James, Adam Sandler
Pixels (Columbia) – Adam Sandler, Chris Columbus, Mark Radcliffe, Allen Covert

FSOG

Yes, it’s a tie, even though Fantastic Four was far and away the worst movie of 2015, the kind of movie you sit through wondering if it can get any worse – and then it does, repeatedly. Fifty Shades of Grey went for po-faced seriousness and in the process made Christian Grey’s BDSM tendencies more laughable than erotic. Both movies were examples of projects that seriously let down their target audiences, and it’s no wonder that the proposed sequels of both movies are now being looked forward to with the minimal amount of enthusiasm.

Worst Director

Josh Trank – Fantastic Four
Andy Fickman – Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
Tom Six – The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence)
Sam Taylor-Johnson – Fifty Shades of Grey
The Wachowskis – Jupiter Ascending

Fantastic Four

No one else came close in 2015 than Trank for ruining the hopes and dreams of superhero fanboys everywhere. That he defended those casting choices all the way to the movie’s release was either a sign of mental instability or the actions of someone carrying out a monumental dare. In either case, Trank’s direction was in a league all its own (and that’s not a recommendation).

Worst Actor

Jamie Dornan – Fifty Shades of Grey as Christian Grey
Johnny Depp – Mortdecai as Charlie Mortdecai
Kevin James – Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 as Paul Blart
Adam Sandler – The Cobbler and Pixels as Max Simkin and Sam Brenner
Channing Tatum – Jupiter Ascending as Caine Wise

Dornan’s oh-so-serious turn as Christian Grey was – and is – a very special performance requiring such a suspension of disblief in viewers he might as well have been flogging himself in lieu of the proverbial dead horse. Depp can count himself unlucky that his ersatz-Terry-Thomas portrayal didn’t have quite as much to unrecommend itself than Dornan’s slick turn. And as for Kevin James…

Worst Actress

Dakota Johnson – Fifty Shades of Grey as Anastasia Steele
Katherine Heigl – Home Sweet Hell as Mona Champagne
Mila Kunis – Jupiter Ascending as Jupiter Jones
Jennifer Lopez – The Boy Next Door as Claire Peterson
Gwyneth Paltrow – Mortdecai as Johanna Mortdecai

Thrust into the media spotlight, and finding her attributes exposed in more ways than one, Johnson’s tepid performance as Anastasia Steele was – and is – an example of an unknown being given an amazing opportunity… and not being ready for it at all. In fairness, she never had a chance, but it’s also true that in comparison with her fellow nominees, her lack of experience made her a dead cert for the award.

Worst Supporting Actor

Eddie Redmayne – Jupiter Ascending as Balem Abrasex
Chevy Chase – Hot Tub Time Machine 2 and Vacation as Hot Tub Repairman and Clark Griswold
Josh Gad – Pixels and The Wedding Ringer as Ludlow Lamonsoff and Doug Harris
Kevin James – Pixels as President William Cooper
Jason Lee – Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip as David “Dave” Seville

Eddie Redmayne

In a movie full of unrewarding sci-fi excess, it was Redmayne’s rasping, camp performace as the movie’s villain that acted as a kind of calm amid the storm, even if it looked and sounded like it should have been part of a pantomime rather than a huge, sprawling sci-fi disaster. And as for Kevin James…

Worst Supporting Actress

Kaley Cuoco – Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (voice only) and The Wedding Ringer as Eleanor and Gretchen Palmer
Rooney Mara – Pan as Tiger Lily
Michelle Monaghan – Pixels as Lieutenant Colonel Violet van Patten
Julianne Moore – Seventh Son as Mother Malkin
Amanda Seyfried – Love the Coopers and Pan as Ruby and Mary

Kaley Cuoco

Watching the former Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting on TV’s The Big Bang Theory is a satisfying experience that shows the actress has good comic timing and an endearing screen presence. Watching her on the big screen shows that being part of an ensemble is where her talents lie, and that striking out on her own should be avoided at all costs. And there needs to be a law that says phenomenal actresses such as Moore should be banned from appearing in silly fantasy movies (they should know better).

Worst Screen Combo

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson – Fifty Shades of Grey
All four “Fantastics” (Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell) – Fantastic Four
Johnny Depp and his glued-on moustache – Mortdecai
Kevin James and either his Segway or his glued-on moustache – Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
Adam Sandler and any pair of shoes – The Cobbler

With all the on-screen chemistry of a psychopath and his victim (not entirely an inappropriate idea), Dornan and Johnson made their scenes together feel and sound like contractual obligations (still not entirely inappropriate), and the culmination of minutes’ worth of introspection. This particular combo is still preferable by a mile to the “talented” cast that make up the Fantastic Four though.

Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel

Fantastic Four (20th Century Fox) – Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn, Hutch Parker, Robert Kulzer, Gregory Goodman
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (20th Century Fox) – Janice Karman, Ross Bagdasarian
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (Paramount/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) – Andrew Panay
The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) (IFC Midnight) – Tom Six, Ilona Six
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (Columbia) – Todd Garner, Kevin James, Adam Sandler

Absolutely spot on on all points, the enormity of Fantastic Four‘s failure is still hard to grasp sometimes – didn’t anyone know how bad it was? – but all these studios should be taken out to the woodshed and soundly chastised for their profligacy. And it’s great to see an indie movie in there, proving that individual vision is no guarantee that a movie will be any good.

Worst Screenplay

Fifty Shades of Grey – Kelly Marcel, from the novel by E. L. James
Fantastic Four – Jeremy Slater, Simon Kinberg and Josh Trank from the Marvel Comics characters by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Jupiter Ascending – The Wachowskis
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 – Nick Bakay and Kevin James
Pixels – Tim Herlihy and Timothy Dowling, story: Tim Herlihy, from the short film by Patrick Jean

An unsurprising win for E.L. James’s bonkbuster, but again, Fantastic Four should have won the award with ease; at least Fifty Shades of Grey had a recognisable structure, and whatever the Wachowskis were smoking when they wrote Jupiter Ascending is concerning on waaay too many levels.

The Razzle Redeemer Award

Sylvester Stallone – From all-time Razzie champ to 2015 award contender for Creed
Elizabeth Banks – From Razzie “winning” director for Movie 43 to directing the 2015 hit film Pitch Perfect 2
M. Night Shyamalan – From Perennial Razzie nominee and “winner” to directing the 2015 horror hit The Visit
Will Smith – For following up Razzie “wins” for After Earth to starring in Concussion

Creed

The award that seeks to redress the balance for previous nominations, the Redeemer Award goes to an actor whose career has been a triumph of populism over depth. The other nominees? Nowhere near as deserving of inclusion, and choices that reflect an acknowledgment that Stallone was in a class of his own in 2015 when it comes to making a comeback.

And there you have it: shorter and sourer than the Oscars, but even more entertaining. Whatever your feelings about the main winners, one thing is indisputably true: there’ll be plenty of 2016 movies in the firing line next year, and they’ll all be richly deserving of a Razzie.

 

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