2017 Golden Raspberry Awards

*indicates winner

Worst Screenplay

Nominations

 

Baywatch

Fifty Shades Darker

The Emoji Movie*

The Mummy

Transformers: The Last Knight

Did it deserve it?

Hard to say really. The issues with it are ones which you could easily imagine being ones which were mandated by the studio. So I wonder whether the actual scriptwriters are to blame or whether it was mandated from up above. There were A LOT of issues with this film, but the plot was actually relatively consistent. Out of the films nominated I’d say The Mummy had the worst script in terms of consistency and storytelling, with at least the opening 20% being completely worthless, repetition of the origin (they must go over it at least 3 times during it), and WAY too much narration. If I include films which weren’t nominated I’d go with either Geostorm (because I’m pretty sure the script for that was just “Science! Explosions! Romance!”), or The Dark Tower, for being an incomprehensible mess.

Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel

Nominations

Baywatch

Boo 2! A Madea Halloween

Fifty Shades Darker*

The Mummy

Transformers: The Last Knight

Did it deserve it?

No idea. I try to see as many films as possible, but if I know a film will be diabolically awful, I will avoid it, doubly so if it’s a sequel to a film I haven’t seen/disliked. As such, I didn’t watch 50 Shades (or Transformers for that matter). In terms of films that were nominated: The Mummy was a much worse film, but Baywatch was a more confusing film in terms of brand identity. Fans of the original would not like it, so why bother making it? So I’d say Baywatch should have won, for that reason, and because I get the feeling The Mummy is going to be winning a lot more before this blog’s out, and if I say it should win any more I’m going to begin to feel like I’m kicking a wounded dog. If it was extended to films not nominated, I’d go with Rings. A film so bland I’ve almost forgotten it existed.

Worst Screen Combo

Nominations

Any combination of two characters, two sex toys, or two sexual positions – Fifty Shades Darker

Any combination of two humans, two robots, or two explosions: Transformers: The Last Knight

Any Two Obnoxious Emoji’s – The Emoji Movie*

Johnny Depp & his worn-out drunk routine – Pirates Of The Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Tyler Perry and either the ratty old dress or worn out wig – Boo 2: A Madea Halloween

Did it deserve it?

As the only one of those films I’ve actually seen, I can’t say I entirely disagree with it. Although I’m not really sure it counts as a combo, I feel this award isn’t being taken seriously (weird, I know). but in terms of actors who had absolutely zero chemistry, I’d have to consider Power Rangers. This film is dependent on their being tremendous chemistry between the group, and that’s not there. Which is a shame, I’m not saying it would make the film brilliant, but it would improve it. But the winner, by a country mile (or a city mile, whichever is longer), is Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan in Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets. If you were somehow able to witness a complete vacuum, where nothing existed inside it, there’d still be more chemistry in that than between these two actors.

Worst Supporting Actress

Goldie Hawn – Snatched

Kim Basinger – Fifty Shades Darker*

Laura Haddock – Transformers: The Last Knight

Sofia Boutella – The Mummy

Susan Sarandon – A Bad Mom’s Christmas

Did It Deserve It?

Again, no idea as didn’t see it. This category represents a problem I have with these awards in general, they don’t distinguish between a bad performance and a bad film. The Mummy was not a good film, but Sofia Boutella is not the reason for that. They weren’t great performances, but they weren’t noticeably bad, the problems were with the films themselves, or the way the characters are written, not the performances. Plus, considering she’s the title character, is Sofia Boutella really a “supporting” character in that movie? If anything, Annabelle Wallis’s character is the supporting one. For sake of clarity, I’d suppose I’d give this to Kate McKinnon for Rough Night, mainly because of her accent.

Worst Supporting Actor

Nominations

Anthony Hopkins: Collide, and Transformers The Last Knight

Javier Bardem – Mother, Pirates Of The Carribean

Josh Duhamel – Transformers: The Last Knight

Mel Gibson – Daddy’s Home 2*

Russell Crowe – The Mummy

Did It Deserve It?

No. Russell Crowe did. His performance was over-exaggerated and not in a good way. It was so hard to take seriously as a performance that it was almost laughable. I didn’t see Daddy’s Home, but I cannot believe the performance was worse. If it was down to any film: Matt Passmore from Jigsaw. A performance so flat it’s almost 2-dimensional.

Worst Actress

Nominations

Dakota Johnson – Fifty Shades Darker

Emma Watson – The Circle

Jennifer Lawrence – Mother!

Katherine Heigl – Unforgettable

Tyler Perry – Boo 2! A Madea Halloween*

Did it deserve it?

I didn’t watch any of these (luckily). But I’m going to say yes, purely because I’m bored of typing that title out again and again. Find it hard to believe Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for this, I’d heard her performance was really impressive, albeit in a divisive film. If it was down to any film: Cara Delevingne in Valerian. I defended her performance in Suicide Squad (the first half of it anyway), but I won’t in this.

 

Worst Actor

Nominations

Jamie Dornan – Fifty Shades Darker

Johnny Depp – Pirates Of The Carribean

Mark Whalberg – Daddy’s Home 2, Transformers: The Last Night

Tom Cruise – The Mummy*

Zac Efron – Baywatch

Did it deserve it?

Yes. Although I think the choice to cast him was worse than any performance choices he made in this film. He is completely the wrong actor for this type of role at this stage in his career. If I included films that weren’t nominated: Jamie Foxx in Sleepless. As a fan of professional wrestling, I understand the importance of selling when it comes to performances. For example; if a character gets hit in the leg, acts hurt for a few seconds, but then in the next scene is running and jumping perfectly normally, it ruins the illusion of what happened. It doesn’t matter if in the next scene you show his leg hurting again, that moment where the audience realised it was fine completely ruins it, even on a subconscious level. That was the issue with this film; Jamie Foxx plays the character as a normal action hero, as opposed to one who is tired, oh, and GOT STABBED IN THE ABDOMEN IN THE SAME DAY! If you don’t watch the opening scenes, you wouldn’t notice the character is in pain. Completely takes you out of the film. I’m not sure if that’s down to him, or the director, but either way it’s a terrible decision.

Worst Director

Nominations

Alex Kurtzman – The Mummy

Darren Aronofsky – Mother!

James Foley – Fifty Shades Darker

Michael Bay – Transformers: The Last Knight

Tony Leondis – The Emoji Movie*

Did it deserve it?

Fuck it, I’m going with The Mummy again. For how they made the villain look ridiculous, and for the length of the opening narration. As a director, he should have questioned that moment in the script and refused to do it. If it came down to any film, The Bye Bye Man. The script let it down for sure, but the directing choices didn’t help. Completely ineffective at building any tension at all. As such it didn’t work as a horror movie, actually, I’m not entirely sure it worked as a movie either.

Worst Picture

Nominated

Baywatch

Fifty Shades Darker

The Emoji Movie*

The Mummy

Transformers: The Last Knight

Did it deserve it?

No. It was not as terrible as it seemed. Although to be fair, nothing could be as bad as the reviews made this seem. And I’m really surprised Baywatch was nominated, there was nothing terribly notable about it in terms of terrible films, and if that was nominated, why not CHiPS? That was far worse in every way and had an extremely problematic approach to its female characters. Out of the nominees, again, The Mummy is the (un)lucky winner. In terms of any film: Wish Upon, for reasons I go into here.

So there it is, the best of the worst. Surprised that The Book Of Henry wasn’t nominated, neither was The Space Between Us, The Mountain Between Us, or Shut In. They were notable in how bad they were. The worst you can say about a lot of the nominees this year is that they were bland.

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets

Ok, I’ll open this with the good: the opening for this is superb. It starts off with a (very) brief history of space travel in the past, then continues on to the future. This sets up the universe brilliantly. We see humans develop anti-gravity, set up a colony, then meet other species from the universe, all whilst Space Oddity plays. This scene is the highlight of the film, and the quality of it is never matched again.

I went into this with low expectations, and it couldn’t even meet those. I expected it to be the best looking film I’ve seen all year, but kind of bland in terms of story. Let’s start with the visuals; yes, I know it’s all very impressive what it looks like, it’s all very colourful and majestic, but you know what else it is? Sterile and cold. There’s no warmth to the visuals, nothing looks lived in. Everything in it looks like a computer generated movie setting, even the “seedy” areas of the spaceship don’t look quite dirty enough, they just have more neon than the other parts. As such nothing seems real, you can’t imagine anybody living in this world. They spent so much time making it look impressive, they forgot to make it look real.

Valerian-And-The-City-Of-A-Thousand-Planets
Okay it’s not quite THAT bad

Not just the visuals that let you down though. Their’s numerous devices and technologies which are used once then never mentioned again despite how useful they would be. For example; there’s a gun which when you fire it at someone, it means you can control them via remote control. This is used exactly once in the over two hours of the film. There are also two moments where someone’s mind gets read, both times by different things, which are never ever mentioned again.

valerian-and-the-city-of-a-thousand-planets.jpg

I don’t mind bad films, they can be amusing to watch, and can at least sometimes be fun. But a dull movie? That I can’t forgive. And this is dull. It’s not so much that “nothing happens”, more “nothing of consequence” happens. There are entire 20-30 minute sequences which could be cut completely from the film and it wouldn’t affect the story. You know how when you’re playing a video game, you get one door away from the final boss, then suddenly you get “now go collect all these scattered artefacts from around the world”, and you realise that was only done to increase the playing time so they can advertise it as being better than it actually is? That’s what watching this film is like. It’s a shame as it could have been good, maybe if it was released in the 80’s, so it would have had different lead actors. I like Dane DaHaan, a lot, I thought he was fantastic in Life After Beth, and near perfect in A Cure For Wellness. But he is woefully miscast in this. It doesn’t help that his character is kind of a dick; and not a redeemable loveable one. One where when you see him in danger you don’t think “oh no, save him Super Jesus”, you just think “meh”. It doesn’t help that the characters’ introduction consists of him in a weird “I think this is supposed to be sexual chemistry but just looks like sexual harassment” scene.

So, in closing; a film with potential, that is too long, too pointless, and just, well, just not good enough for the budget.

A Cure For Wellness

Some films you see them and you have an automatic visual reaction, for example when I saw Gone Girl for the first time, after the film ended there was spontaneous applause (something I’ve only ever seen for about 4 other films), but occasionally the most interesting part is when nobody does anything. Sometimes this is bad, it can indicate disappointment or a feeling of being short changed, you have a room full of people sitting there thinking “was that it? That was so boring it almost sent me to sleep”, but sometimes the silence says more than any other reaction possibly could. For example when I saw Buried at cinema in Portsmouth, it ended and the reaction was complete silence, everyone was too depressed to move, the silence lasted for at least 20 seconds (which doesn’t seem long, but sit there and time it, it’s longer than you think) until it was broken by somebody saying “I think I need to self-harm now”. That was pretty much the reaction to this, just a sense of unease among everyone in the cinema, when we left there was a feeling like we’d all just gone through a shared trauma. Yet it was by no means a horrible film, there was beauty in the ugliness. The beauty of the way shots were composed meant the ugliness was more striking. Haven’t seen a film like this since Nocturnal Animals, and even that wasn’t as unrelenting as this was. This film starts off making you feel slightly uncomfortable and uneasy, and never gives you pause throughout the (some would say “slightly excessive) 146 minute runtime.

ACureForWellness-1200x520.png

Oh yeah, I suppose I should mention that, this film is very very long, and I feel it doesn’t really need to be. There are moments where characters do things which they should have done earlier (for example, the main character is constantly woken by a knocking noise, this happens throughout the film, yet he doesn’t investigate it until very late on in the film). There’s also scenes which are slightly repetitive, the film wants you to think something and doesn’t want to risk you not realising certain things. A lot of the supporting characters are also woefully underwritten, Celia Imrie’s character for example was interesting in what we saw, but we needed a bigger investment into her for certain things to have narrative weight. Not the only flaw in this film, in fact this film is deeply flawed in many areas, particularly in terms of pacing, yet (for me anyway) those flaws can be ignored because of how great the film is.

I can see a lot of people really hating this film, it’s an easy film to dislike, and not just “not my thing” dislike, more “I want to harm everybody involved in making this piece of shit” dislike, but I can also see people who like it really loving it. It’s divisive, like marmite, Batfleck, or Fantf4stic.

screen-shot-2015-08-07-at-3-26-36-am
The “”Was it “bad” or “irredeemably awful”” debate rages on

What this film does well though, it does very well. The aforementioned feeling of dread throughout is remarkable, it feels like the characters spend the entire film with a sword dangling over their heads, and you’re waiting for it to drop (yes, that is occasionally exactly as frustrating as that sounds). It could be argued that when it does drop it not only spends forever making it’s journey, but it also doesn’t seem to live up what it promises, it promises excalibur dropping and all you get is a sewing needle. Yet for me it worked, it won’t be for everybody but I kind of dug how they ended it.

The performances in this were also superb, I haven’t seen Chronicle, so all I know Dane DeHaan from is the woefully under appreciated Life After Beth, a film which he is good in, but the performance he gives is just kind of standard. He is amazing in his, you really feel his fear throughout the film, you feel his anger and frustration at what’s happening, if you don’t buy the characters reactions, the entire film crumbles as theres no jeopardy. Jason Isaacs is as good as you expect him to be, coming off as an English actor who was created by someone attempting to draw Jon Hamm from memory. Just realised he has never won a BAFTA, how is that possible? He’s amazing and obviously talented, it’s about time that was realised. The best performance in this film; Mia Goth. I’m not familiar anything she’s done before, was truly a revelation in this. The vulnerability of the character is shown very well in her performance, not just vocally but the way the character moves adds to the performance, you see her walking across a room and automatically feel fearful for her. Interested to see what she does next.

download
Ah, a remake of this. Interesting

Is there an obvious improvement that could be made to this film? Only one I can think of is it could have been nicer. If there were more moments of joyful bliss and serenity then the underlying creepy nature would have more weight when it eventually emerges. It wouldn’t have taken long, just a few scenes of idyllic comfort at the building, make it seem more like a genuine place of joy. As it is, everything is so obviously creepy that the fact there’s an underlying creepiness isn’t really surprising. It would be like finding out “Dave The Axe Murderer” is a killer, you’d be like “well, yeah, kind of guessed that”.

signs-your-date-is-an-axe-murderer814199632-jun-28-2012-600x399
I was more confused why she was called “Dave” tbh

Which brings me on to my next point: the marketing. There was nothing special about, and I feel that was a problem. Batman Vs. Superman did a lot wrong (that’s an understatement) but one thing I loved is that they tied an advert for an airline company into the advertising for the film, it was a unique way of marketing it and I kind of dug it. I’d have loved to have seen marketing materials not about the film, but about the wellness facility featured in the film. Just a short teaser about the facilities there, with a slight underlying creepiness implying the real intentions. Even the website for it is magnificently mediocre;

screen-shot-2017-03-06-at-08-51-47

I mean, look at that, that doesn’t set you on edge, it doesn’t do anything emotionally to you. It’s dull. Nothing about it is unusual or unique. A massive disappointment. They had a perfect opportunity to have a really unique marketing campaign and they blew it. They should have a website for the facility, adverts for it etc, maybe youtube testimonials about how “there’s something in the water” which means you “never want to leave”. Maybe have an alternate reality game that allows you to delve into the mythos, maybe a quick 5 minute walking simulator released online I don’t know. I don’t care what you do, just DO SOMETHING!

fullsizeoutput_48cc-e1485355181904
“Why don’t we do the poster for Slither, but sexy?” “Genius! More cocaine”

So, in summary. Should you watch this film? I’d say yes. This is a film that deserves to be seen, there’s a chance you’ll hate it, but there’s a chance you’ll love it, but either way you’ll have strong reactions to it.

Cure

  • Great performances.
  • Masterfully shot.
  • The two teeth-based scenes (not spoiling them here, but trust me they’re horrific).

Sickness

  • Glacial pacing.
  • Underwritten supporting characters