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THE MC4TR SUMMER MOVIE AWARDS
By Noel Wood
Well, in a desperate attempt to get more material for this site, Iíve decided to do something a little different. You know, at the end of every year it seems everyone and their brother wants to put on some pretentious little awards show to recognize the most critic-friendly films and ass-kissing studio pictures of the past twelve months. Unfortunately, all too often this means that overrated junk like CHOCOLAT, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, or FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL wind up walking off with awards just because theyíve got some British accents on board. And even more unfortunately, the chances of your film winning something are increased greatly the later in the year itís released, because award show voters apparently have memories shorter than hamsters. This means that while stupid crap that comes out in December has a good shot at winning little golden statues while stupid crap that comes out in July has to be labeled as stupid crap for eternity. So today we are here to honor those movies that may or may not have been stupid crap, but deserve a little respect in their own right.
So, on to the awards:
I really expected this to be among the worst films ever made. Especially when I saw the trailers alongside such crap as JUWANNA MANN on television. And some of the jokes used for the trailer were just inherently bad. I mean, come on, ďI see white people?Ē How many times has that joke been used now? So anyway, I wound up seeing it at a random night at the drive-in, and was pretty impressed. A pretty nice little spoof of 70ís blaxploitation, spy movies, Hong Kong action films, and several other genres rolled into a funny little package. No, it wasnít groundbreaking, but it was pretty entertaining, and a fairly smart little movie. Billy Dee Williams and Neal Patrick Harris stole the show.
Best use of John Turturro:
Those of you who, like me, enjoy seeing Adam Sandler acting as inherently stupid as he can possible be without affecting some really annoying accent in the process were likely delighted to see the trailers for MR. DEEDS. Finally, Sandler is back to doing what he did so well in BILLY MADISON, HAPPY GILMORE, and BIG DADDY: Playing an average everyday guy who is forced to deal with some monumental responsibility. Of course, this movie was nowhere near as charming as any of the aforementioned, but it DID feature the talents of John Turturro as Deedsí foot-fetish-having manservant. Turturro is the highlight in this otherwise unmemorable little film, at his comic best.
Best Job of Recycling Props from Your Previous Films:
I really loved this movie. I should have probably devoted an entire article on it when I first saw it, but since I donít really follow any specific rules regarding how I do this thing so I may wind up reviewing it later. But Steven, if youíre going to recycle props from one of your previous movies, donít you think you could have at least waited more than a year? The whole time I was watching this I kept seeing certain futuristic elements that I swore Iíd seen recently Ė as recently as his last film, AI. No, the two movies were nothing alike other than the fact that they both take place in a distant future, but at least the props looked the same. Take a look at the car that android boy Davidís mother takes him out to the woods in and tell me how different it was than the product-placed Lexus that Tom Cruise rolls out of the factory in MINORITY REPORT.
Best Gratuitous Cameos by Rock Stars
Alongside cameos by folks like Tony Hawk and David Hasselhoff, this movie delivers a slew of musical celebrities as well. Gene Simmons appears as a Reverend, Henry Rollins appears as a prison warden, Vanilla Ice shows up as a record store clerk, Kool Moe Dee has a bit part, Tommy Lee appears as himself, and even Lyle Lovett even gets in the mix as the main protagonistís father. Other than that, this ainít much to write home about. Generic nerdy-kid-tries-to-be-cool teen flick with some pretty forgettable performances that I would have never seen had it not been the double feature alongside MEN IN BLACK II. But it does have a midget in it, which is never a bad thing. And Eliza Dushku.
Well, the field was a little limited here, and I didnít really want to throw ATTACK OF THE CLONES In as a sequel just for prosperityís sake, so I guess this wins by default. You can see a full review of the movie here. A lot of it worked, a lot of it didnít.
Some friends of mine went to see this movie on opening night. Originally I was scheduled to go with them, but had other plans and decided to wait to see it. The following day, I called up my friend Jay and asked him how the movie was. His response, as best as I can quote: ďIt was horrible. A perfect example of how NOT to make a sequelĒ. I didnít put much thought into this statement, and wound up seeing the movie on my own a few days later. Much to my surprise, it wasnít nearly as bad as Jay had made it out to be, but it did set a pretty bad precedent for sequels to enjoyable movies. Thing is, MEN IN BLACK was a great movie mainly because it was so original. Unfortunately, MIB II winds up recycling the exact same plot as the first, with barely any original gags or characters to speak of.
The first time I saw the trailer for this movie, I thought it was a joke. I mean, the concept looks terrible as it is. Seriously, why is it that Hollywood makes just as many, if not more, movies where the female is the stalker than the man? Anyway, apparently in Hollywoodland beautiful young girls like Alicia Silverstone and Drew Barrymore and Erika Christensen get psychopathically obsessed all the time. Anyway, the movie looked bad enough, but I think at least half of the theater was somewhat taking it seriously until the title popped up on the screen. SWIMFAN! I mean, come on, itís inherently bad on so many levels, but man, is it memorable. The whole theater broke out in laughter at the title.
Jesus, what a long-winded mouthful of dreck that just screams out ďchick flick that no man with any balls to speak of would ever get caught dead watching.Ē
Most Ironic Film Title
While I liked this film a lot better than a lot of people seemed to, I did see it with my ex-girlfriend who promptly fell asleep about 15 minutes in and didnít wake up until near the end credits. Most people I talked to were bored with it as well, but whether or not they physically fell asleep during it is an altogether different story. I thought it was a decent little film, although I could have done without the ending.
Most Recycled Title
Letís see how many times this title has been used in the past so-many years, according to the good olí IMDB:
1. Bad Company (2002)
THIRTEEN instances of movies named BAD COMPANY. And every time I heard this movie mentioned, I kept thinking of the Lawrence Fishburne/Ellen Barkin thriller from 1995. Or the rock band from the 1970ís. Too bad they didnít use ďFeel Like Making LoveĒ in the trailers. Or got someone other than JOEL FUCKING SCHUMACHER to direct.
Worst Trailer (Tie)
Wow. Could Dana Carvey and Eddie Murphy be any less funny? I mean, I look back at stuff like TRADING PLACES and COMING TO AMERICA and THE GOLDEN CHILD and it almost brings a tear to my eye to think that heís been doing shit like this and VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN and DR.. DOOLITTLE for the last several years. Then I go back and watch the stuff Dana Carvey used to do, and realize that he really was never funny. At all. I really thought he was the best thing in the world when I was 13, but damn he sucked then and sucks now. I mean, he STILL does George Bush (senior) imitations, and theyíre still as horrible now as they were when they were remotely relevant.
Best Argument Against Basing Movies on TV Shows (Tie)
Not that I saw either of these movies, but I think this goes without saying. Can we stop making bad movies based on TV shows that jumped the shark eons ago? Yeah, there are the exceptions to the rule (MISSION IMPOSSIBLE is the only conventional example I can think of, because Iím not counting canonical stuff like THE X-FILES or TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME) but for the most part they all suck the donkey.
Man, whoever the hell is responsible for coming up for the idea of a modern/futuristic movie featuring a bunch of fire-breathing dragons needs a raise. And whoever decided to portray the film in a completely serious light should be exalted. I havenít seen this, but I donít think I really need to. The trailers say it all. This is one of those things that just rules in concept alone and you just know it would suck if you saw more than five minutes of it. Itís almost like one of those movie premise parodies you see on ďThe CriticĒ or in a Kevin Smith movie. Except this oneís real. Hey, remember when Matthew McConaughey was being pegged as the next big thing in Hollywood? Well, then he made a whole bunch oí bad movies.
Best Jack Ryan Impression:
What, you expected me to mention Ben Affleck in THE SUM OF ALL FEARS here? Nah. Harrison Ford basically gets his comeuppance for not being able to play Ryan in THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER by doing pretty much the same thing in a different submarine movie.
There were a lot of films that just didnít make the cut, but these stand out. I eliminated STAR WARS AOTC and SPIDER-MAN because they came out a little too early, and frankly Iíve written enough about them already. So anyway, thereís my take on it, and a little tip of the cap for all the otherwise-forgotten fare to come out in the warmer months of 2002. No, none of these will get those shiny little gold statues (except maybe in technical achievement, but we all know those arenít REAL Oscars) except for ROAD TO PERDITION, which looks just absofrickinlutely dull. But itís a period piece and it has Tom Hanks in it so itíll probably sweep up at the awards shows.
So until next Summer, when the next batch of mindless garbage starts rolling in. Oh wait, thereís always a bunch of garbage around January too. So maybe Iíll do this again in the winter.
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