Razzies on-the-scene: M. Night Shyamalan 'wins' big at last night's camp-fest

Watching a movie nominated for a Razzie may be one of the worst ways to spend a few hours, but actually attending the Awards turns out to be one of the best. Last night’s rousing, barb-flinging camp-fest handed Razzie repeat offender M. Night Shyamalan’s critically abhorred The Last Airbender the Worst Picture trophy (the movie led the pack with five “wins,” click here for a complete list of winners). But the actual wins were but a small part of what makes this annual pre-Oscars tradition such a fun, light-hearted pageant.

Given its tradition of embracing the best of the worst, the event’s self-aware kitsch is not only appropriate, it’s incredibly endearing. Forget the red carpet — the path to the door is dotted with “RAZZIES”-marked arrows scrawled on the pavement in fuchsia sidewalk chalk. Upon entry, the jovial staff hands you a program (two colored sheets folded in half) and directs you to the cozy, 299-seat Barnsdall Gallery Theatre auditorium. Hot pink spotlights shine on an onstage podium that displays the evening’s icon, self-proclaimed as “Tinsel Town’s Tackiest Trophy”: glimmering with an entrancing je ne sais quois, it’s the not-so-coveted Golden Raspberry. The paperweight-like trophies’ Hobby Lobby-infused charm comes courtesy of some plastic beads glue-gunned onto a clay ball and spray-painted gold. Manufacturing cost: $4.97.

“We’re like the kid at the back of the class with the spit wad while the teacher’s up at the blackboard,” said Razzies creator John Wilson. “We don’t take anything terribly seriously.”

The irreverent ceremony lampooned Hollywood’s highfalutin award shows. There was an opening musical number starring two guys in sparkly, New Year’s Eve top hats, lasciviously dancing with a Cher-styled mannequin. It sang “Welcome to the worst” to the tune of “Welcome to burlesque” as it flailed spread-legged with the dancers about the stage. Unflattering clips of Worst Picture nominees were peppered throughout, and there was even an “in memoriam” that lovingly abased greats like Dennis Hopper and Tom Bosley, running movie scenes from career low points. (The package ended with “M. Night Shyamalan’s career: 1999 – 2010.”)

The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation (GRAF) celebrated the Razzies’ 31st anniversary this year, honoring what they dubbed “an especially rancid string of movies.” The Last Airbender dominated with five awards out of a total of nine nominations, while septuple-nominated Sex and the City 2 (which the emcees regularly called “Sex and the City, Number Two”) was conferred three Razzies, landing as runner-up. Not far behind was “the ‘turd’ film in the Twilight series,” Eclipse.

“[The Last Airbender] is only an hour-and-a-half long, but it feels like a month.” Wilson said. “The dialogue was so unintelligible, it’s like a foreign film without subtitles.”

Comedian and guest star Russell Peters, who’s of Indian heritage, cracked some Airbender jokes after the final berry was bestowed, and took aim at floundering director Shyamalan: “So on behalf of my community, which spans the globe — in India alone at 1.3 billion people — way to disappoint over a billion people.”

“It’s one of those fabled things,” Peters said of his Razzie appearance. “You always hear about the Razzies, but you never know when and where they take place. You know they happen the day before the Oscars every year, but you never really see any coverage of it. It’s good to see the unicorn in real life.”

To make matters even more silly, the one and only Flavor Flav arrived toward the end of the ceremony, to support his friend, Eric Ortner, the Razzies Executive Producer. Said Flav: “I haven’t seen Sex and the City, but I’m always having sex in the city!” While none of the nominees pulled a Sandra Bullock this year, seeing the Flav, in all his clock-wearing glory, was almost as pleasantly surprising. (In addition to his developing chain of fried chicken restaurants, he says he’s also in talks for a new reality show, but he remained tight-lipped about that.)

“I don’t make fun of nothing,” Flav said. “The only thing I like doing is just watching. I would never make fun. There’s a lot of people putting their real, hard work into it. Who am I to make fun of somebody’s hard work?”

Though Flav may not agree with the Razzies’ churlish humor, Wilson is happy to see that the Razzies have become a durable Oscar weekend tradition that resonate with a lot of moviegoers. “I think that the general public has a certain element of revenge,” Wilson said. “With the 3-D thing, a single movie ticket is $14. The price keeps going up, and the quality keeps going down.”

With at least 27 sequels slated for release in 2011 — the most ever — along with remakes-a-plenty, exploitation of the superhero genre and more 3-D than your migraine propensity knows what to do with, it doesn’t appear that the Razzies will be slowing down any time soon.


Comments (42 total) Add your comment
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  • Marie

    Good article. I wish the Razzies were broadcasted on a show like TBS or something so that people could watch them. Not everyone has expanded cable…

  • DRG

    Twilight was robbed!

    • Fit

      I watched both. Eclipse wasn’t as bad as The Last Airbender believe me.

    • Tamar

      I don’t think so. Unlike the Last airbender, the Twilight fans loved the movie. The critical consensus was far more positive compared to various other crappy movies. Some of them didn’t even get named, like the Grown ups. The Twilight movies have created some animosity in some quarters, but it is more due to some sociological reasons I fear. May be the Fanboys are scared or something. I remember that Star Wars were getting a critical panning too when it was first released.

      • Rodd

        I agree. Eclipse stayed true to its Book, and it was in no way worthy of the Razzies.

      • jodipo

        For the love of all things holy, do NOT compare the Twilight franchise to Star Wars EVER AGAIN! Ok… maybe to the prequels, but never the originals. Twilight is trash

      • Ramubay

        Twilight fans are the ones that deserve a Razzie. The Last Airbender is a kids film. Though its not necessary to spend so much money making a kids film, all it really needs to do is entertain kids, and ultimately they decide if its any good. Twilight fans are older and too old to know better. The films are crap. Not escapism guilty pleasure crap, just crap. The movies are crap, the books are crap and their fans are crap. The movie was successful because it delivered crap to fans who love crap. So the audience deserves the Razzie for loving crap.

      • Ana

        My understanding is that most kids hated Airbender the movie as much as adults did. The TV series, btw, is excellent and I can’t recommend it enough. I only made it through about 2 minutes of the movie because the acting was sooo bad. There’s nothing that says that just because a movie is “for kids” that it’s okay for it to be crap.

    • Agreed

      Agreed. Twilight deserved to win all the awards it was nominated for.
      At least The Last Airbender managed to trick people into thinking it was good. Even I wanted to see it when I first saw the trailers. I knew the Eclipse film would suck based on it’s predecessors, the horrible actors, and the books it’s adapted from.

      • m1

        Anyone who saw the film would realize that it shouldn’t even have been nominated for anything. If the Twilight movies were some dumb action film or rom-com, it would not receive the lashing it does.

  • derf

    the last airbender was not nearly as bad as everyone makes it out to be. The only real dud he has made would be the happening and that is only if you were looking for more than a shlocky horror flick. watch lady in the water again, it is not a bad movie at all, it is a fairy tale that was mismarketed

    • Anon

      Obviously you didn’t see The Village.

      • derf

        i did see the village, thought it was fantastic, very gothic, very romantic, it was a great movie in my opinion

      • Nick

        I hated The Last Airbender, The Happening, and Lady in the Water (and it this point have given up anticipating a creative comeback for Shyamalan), but I’m one of the few people who liked The Village. I thoughts it was interesting.

      • T3chsupport

        The Village made me want to punch puppies. I tolerated Lady in the Water. I liked The Happening!… and I’m a little embarrassed to say it… but I liked Airbender enough to go see the sequels (if ever…).

  • SC

    A deserved win for that racist piece of crap.

  • Nicks

    I want this show televised. I bet if you were to dangle the idea of TV time, many more of these arrogant celebrities would show up, boosting ratings and profile. Come on, TNT- you can spare us just one airing of Saving Private Ryan to show the Razzies!

    • Ramubay

      I bet they could get Ricky Gervais to host.

  • Ma’at

    Thanks for the behind the scenes of the Razzies!!Cool to see a bit of what it’s like.

  • David

    Twilight Truly Trash! Too much curry on that Bombay head of Shamala-laikum methinks!

    • Mohini

      You are a bloody racist arrogant jacka** and it certainly shows!

  • Dave

    I don’t get why Airbender got the most Razzies. I thought it was an OK movie. Believe me, there were plenty of movies a lot worse. I think someone just has it in for Shyamalan, or they just don’t get his style.

    They should have a special category for the most bullets shot by professional killers that miss the target. I’m tired of all the shooting from close range that seem to miss the good guy.

    • Surpish

      Nope, I think it was totally justified.

      Terrible pacing
      Terrible adaptation
      Terrible casting
      Terrible acting
      Terrible Everything

  • ES

    they should broadcast the razzies on comedy central or tbs.i’d totally watch it

    • The Other Nick

      I’m honestly shocked no one has televised the Razzies yet. I’m not sure if that’s an oversight or if John Wilson specifically doesn’t want it televised, but you’d think this would be a fun watch, especially if anyone shows up to accept. I’m not a big Sandra Bullock fan, but good for her last year to own up to her awful movie and accept her prize with glory.

  • Noah Griffin

    what the hell they are smoking!?!

    the last airbender is a great movie and I enjoy it! It a fun movie to watch and it does perfectly match the cartoon in a good way, what the hell they are smoking against the last airbender for?! it a good movie!

    I am sorry but THIS IS ONE doesn;t make any sense at all, it a great movie! How can you expect that?!

    Sometime not right here…

    • Red

      Actually, it’s VERY right.

      Just because you liked it doesn’t make it a good film. The majority of film-goers who saw it HATED it. Not to mention critics. It seriously under-performed at the box office and it didn’t make anywhere near enough back it’s budget or even a decent profit.

      ‘Matched’? The actors looked NOTHING like the characters and acted even less like them! Not to mention how convoluted the whole thing was.

      ‘TLA’ DESERVED to win those Razzies.

      • duh

        it made over 300 million worldwide… it was considered a success.

  • fbdbpw

    Thought last airbender was worst film of they year. Then i saw vampires suck. Wish that woulda wob

    • Noah Griffin

      how can it be worst? it a great movie, what the complain in that movie? explain why it terrible?

      It doesn’t make sense! I don’t see anything wrong here

  • fbdbpw

    Sorry i meant won

  • MWeyer

    It’d be great to televise this. You can throw in an “In Memoriam” to actors who “killed” their careers with bad movies.

    • Nick

      LOL, yeah and they pretty much did just that by putting “Shyamalan’s career: 1999-2010″ at the end haha!

  • Gary Bowden

    Vampires Suck should have won.The people that are responsible for that and the others they’ve made(Meet the Spartans;etc) should ALWAYS get nominated! They don’t know how to make a funny movie.They need to stop making movies!

    • Prencer Peter

      couldnt agree more. They make the most non-funny comedy movies. garbage, pure garbage.
      Who funds those bums to make movies? Someone may ask, “what, do you think you can make a funnier movie?” and i say “YES…im sure tons of others can”

  • Pat from Madison

    My only question for “Twilight” fans is: did you every give normal a try? What is the attraction of a guy who sucks you dry or a guy whose behavior is irratic? An entire highschool and this dimwit has to pick the two head cases least likely to form a healthy relationship.

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