"The Lone Ranger" got a mess of Razzie nominations this year, because of course it did. Credit: Disney
The Oscars can always be counted on to miss or even snub great films, filmmakers and actors. But one can always predict the Razzies.
Formed in 1980, the Golden Raspberry Awards were meant to act as the flipside of the Academy Awards, highlighting the worst of the movie industry. But even moreso than the Oscars, which traditionally reward safe prestige over genuine innovation, the Razzies are boringly timid. And now that aggregating popular opinion is easier than ever, thanks to sites like Rotten Tomatoes, the Razzies do little more than repeat whatever everyone already said.
So guess what? The Worst Picture nominees include “The Lone Ranger,” because of course they do. The film tanked and garnered terrible reviews, therefore it’s on there. Ditto “After Earth,” because that bombed, too. Lindsay Lohan got nominated for “The Canyons,” because she’s Lindsay Lohan and isn’t she crazy? Lady Gaga got a supporting actress nom for the roughly three minutes she spent in “Machete Kills” because a) she’s a musician acting and b) her latest album didn’t do so hot, so backlash time.
Did the Razzie committee even see these films? Did they even have to? Their nominations, as every year, are based on what has already been deemed terrible by the masses. Perhaps if they saw “The Lone Ranger” divorced from the bad press that mounted months before its release, and maybe even ignored its admittedly excessive length, they might have seen that it was actually doing something interesting, even subversive, with the Western genre. But that would require independent thinking.
Maybe if they watched “After Earth” half a year after its release, they might see that it’s a nifty (if often problematic) old-school adventure. They might even realize the truly bold thing to do would be to ignore the massive backlash against director M. Night Shyamalan, especially as “After Earth” is the least M. Night movie of his career.
If watching films removed from their reputations is hard, then watching “The Canyons” should be easy. Lohan’s entire performance is a commentary on her well-publicized real life. Her character has made a lifetime of bad mistakes that have kept her moneyed but abused. She oozes a weariness that you can’t fake. It’s the most moving performance of her career, including her earlier work before her lifestyle made her a living joke that entertains people like the Razzie voters.
In 1987, “Ishtar” came out in the wake of months of terrible press focusing on its ridiculously large budget and various production hiccups. The film was set up for failure, and it got it, including Razzie nominations for Picture and Director. (Alas, a little movie called "Leonard Part 6" proved to be an even worse contender that year.) But in the last few years its reputation has turned. Critics have reevaluated it, long removed from the original consensus. Even Gary Larson, who put boxes of it in a video store in hell from “The Far Side,” admitted that he enjoyed it — after he actually saw it. Its writer/director, the brilliant and beloved Elaine May, quipped, “If all of the people who hate ‘Ishtar’ had seen it, I would be a rich woman today.”
Thing is, “Ishtar” isn’t a great movie. Nor is “The Lone Ranger.” Nor is “After Earth.” But the severity of their reputations, made worse by dittoheads like the people who make up the Razzies, force those who reevaluate them to go too far the other way. The new fans are still more correct than the original audiences: “Ishtar,” “The Lone Ranger” and “After Earth” are all very interesting, often entertaining pictures that had the misfortune to be targeted by the lazy.
If the Razzies were worth anything, they would have gone against the grain and nominated Meryl Streep, who goes grotesquely overboard in “August: Osage County.” But they would never do that. That would require nerve. Instead, Streep will get an Oscar nomination for her work and the myth that a great actress can do no wrong will perpetuate.
Instead, the Razzies nominated Kim Kardashian in “Tyler Perry’s Temptation” and — hey, whaddaya know? — Lindsay Lohan again for “In-App-Propriate Comedy,” a movie we can safely assume no one saw, not even the Razzie voters. I mean, she has to be terrible in an app comedy, right? The Razzies are good for a couple light chuckles that will be enjoyed by people who will immediately forget them, then move onto whatever becomes the next minor distraction. Many of the people they razz deserve it, but none of them are as consistently worthless and bad at their jobs as the Razzies.
Anyway, if you're curious or you hate yourself, here are their nominations, none of which are as ugly as the Razzies' website:
WORST PICTURE After Earth Grown Ups 2 The Lone Ranger A Madea Christmas Movie 43
WORST ACTOR Johnny Depp: The Lone Ranger Ashton Kutcher: Jobs Adam Sandler: Grown Ups 2 Jaden Smith: After Earth Sylvester Stallone: Bullet To The Head, Escape Plan, Grudge Match
WORST ACTRESS Halle Berry: Movie 43, The Call Selena Gomez: Getaway Lindsay Lohan: The Canyons Tyler Perry: A Madea Christmas Naomi Watts: Diana, Movie 43
WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Lady Gaga: Machete Kills Salma Hayek: Grown Ups 2 Katherine Heigl: The Big Wedding Kim Kardashian: Tyler Perry’s Temptation Lindsay Lohan: In-App-Propriate Comedy, Scary Movie 5
WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR Chris Brown: Battle Of The Year Larry the Cable Guy: A Madea Christmas Taylor Lautner: Grown Ups 2 Will Smith: After Earth Nick Swardson: A Haunted House, Grown Ups 2
WORST DIRECTOR The 13 People Who Directed Movie 43 Dennis Dugan: Grown Ups 2 Tyler Perry: A Madea Christmas, Temptation M. Night Shyamalan: After Earth Gore Verbinski: The Lone Ranger
WORST SCREEN COMBO The Entire Cast of Groan-Ups, Too The Entire Cast of Movie 43 Lindsay Lohan & Charlie Sheen: Scary Movie 5 Tyler Perry & EITHER Larry the Cable Guy OR That Worn-Out Wig & Dress: A Madea Christmas Jaden Smith & Will Smith on Planet Nepotism: After Earth
WORST SCREENPLAY After Earth: Screenplay by Gary Whitta and M. Night Shyamalan, Story by Will Smith Grown Ups 2: Written by Fred Wolfe & Adam Sandler & Tim Herlihy The Lone Ranger: Screen Story & Screenplay by Ted Elliott, Justin Haythe & Terry Rosso A Madea Christmas: Written by Tyler Perry Movie 43: Written by 19 “Screenwriters”
WORST REMAKE, RIP-OFF or SEQUEL Grown Ups 2 Hangover III The Lone Ranger Scary Movie 5 Smurfs 2