Every year, right in the middle of that grotesquely smug, garrulously sycophantic tradition known as movie award season, come the Razzies, gleefully pointing their finger right at the bottom of the Hollywood barrel to soothe the blackest hearts among us. But the Razzies aren't just here to make bitter people feel better — at this point, with 33 years in the game, they're a tradition-bound counterbalance that, through both their diligently chosen nominees and snubs, offer their own particular honorifics. In other words: The Razzie Nominations for 2013 were announced last night (and are posted below) — who's looking good?!
"The reviews say that Battleship is stupid fun!" I said, as we walked out of Hysteria (the vibrator movie) earlier this summer. "Well, let's go see it," he said. So we did. Mistake!
I love a stupid action movie — the stupider the better, in fact — but the combination of the obvious invading force (surprise! It's aliens) and PG-13 rating (consider my bloodlust unquenched!) make Battleship eminently missable. Oh yeah, there's also the movie's position as the meat in Taylor Kitsch's 2012 failure sandwich, right there between John Carter and Savages. So maybe it's worth seeing so that you can tell your descendants you were there the moment everything fell apart for him? But it's really boring. And no one even says "You sunk [sic] my battleship!" once, which is B.S.
Chris Ryan and I were both traveling over the weekend, which means our “Where Were You When You Heard the News About Dan Harmon Being Fired” stories will be extra vivid. Luckily, we have a podcast on which we can share our feelings about the after-hours whacking of the Community showrunner (1:00). That surprise dismissal led to another: America’s termination of Taylor Kitsch’s contract as Movie Star (13:00). We talked about the Battleship disappointment and tempered it with more than a little excitement for the Anchorman sequel (18:45). From there, we did our usual rundown of Sunday night shows, touching on the lack of main character on Game of Thrones (22:40) and the strange behavior of Mad Men’s protagonist, Don “Plate of Cold Spaghetti” Draper (32:50). We finished up with our take on the announced line-up for Jay-Z’s “Made In America” (42:30) festival before devolving into an out of nowhere argument about parking in West Philadelphia and the merits of Pearl Jam. (Which is to say, Chris thinks they have some. I disagree.) There was just enough time for the latest entry into the Double Down Summer Book Club (48:40), Charles McCarry, and his two masterpieces of CIA intrigue and sadness, Tears of Autumn and The Last Supper. Then Chris had to go spin the black circle and I had to figure out the difference between a barbershop and a salon, then wonder exactly who was washing my hair in 1993. Here’s hoping Siri can help.
It’s upfronts season in New York City, when all the networks are spinning their new fall shows as fast as they can. To celebrate, Chris Ryan and I took a first pass at a bunch of them (1:10), separating the maybe-winners (Fox’s The Mindy Project, NBC’s Revolution) from the kinda-losers (NBC’s Next Caller, Fox’s on-the-nose-like-bifocals-titled The Mob Doctor). We also touched on NBC’s returning Thursday-night lineup and what to expect when you’re expecting The Office to be bad and Community to be buried on Friday nights. Some conversation about our Sunday-night anchors, Mad Men (15:40) and Game of Thrones (22:10), helped ease the pain. Then it was off to the multiplexes, where Chris gushed with excitement over Battleship (27:30) while I rolled my eyes at The Amazing Spider-Man (32:45). We finished up by defending the honor of rapper Freeway (37:50), our fellow Philadelphian, and unveiling the latest entry into our Double Down Summer Reading Club (43:45), Alan Furst, whose stylish, atmospheric World War II thrillers (including The Polish Officer and The World at Night) should be more than enough to erase any painful memories of wisecracking Naval petty officer Rihanna. Boom, indeed.
Silver: I cannot wait to buy my ticket to Battleship. Even though the film looks like a vapid orgy of action and CGI, I have much more faith in Peter Berg, a director who’s made some good films and told actual stories (Very Bad Things, The Kingdom, Friday Night Lights), than I do in a new addition to the Michael Bay(hem) section of his résumé.
Earlier this week I had a conversation with a Jets fan. He told me he hoped the planes carrying both the Giants and the Patriots would crash before the game. It wasn’t clear if he meant that he wanted to see both teams be arduously delayed, but ultimately safe, on their journey to Indianapolis, or if he really wanted Vince Wilfork to die in a fiery explosion. Anyway, that guy might not have been watching the Super Bowl last night — which means he missed all the huge movie trailers that ran during the commercial breaks! For him, and for others full of hate in their hearts, below are the two best ones.
Dan Silver: The heavy use of Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian” makes it almost impossible for me to look at this trailer with anything but ire. As far as I’m concerned, that song should have been retired after Boogie Nights. It’ll always be synonymous with “Cosmo, he’s Chinese". But the film is directed by Hairspray’s Adam Shankman, and has assembled a noteworthy -- even for a non-musical -- cast. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Russell Brand aside, I am curious and pumped to see Alex Baldwin, Malin Ackerman, Paul Giamatti and Tom Cruise flex their vocal muscles. Despite its popularity, I’ve avoided seeing the Broadway musical this film is based on because I consider the sole use of previously produced music to be a lazy cop out to wrap a narrative around. But in a cinematic structure, where covers of library music flourish, and with the talent attached, consider me reservedly pumped for this film.
Rembert Browne: Silver, you need to dig up that platinum blonde curly wig and mesh tank top that I know you have in a box labeled "Speedwagon" and go see this film with me.
Each week, marketers release new movie posters, many for films whose releases are still months away. But for those who know where to look, one-sheets can reveal studios' hopes and insecurities about their products. In this space, we will attempt to decode the hidden meanings of the week's new posters.
The Dark Knight Rises
What the art says: Batman’s mask isn’t rubber. It looks rubber. The replicas they sell on Amazon are rubber. But the real one is obviously not rubber. Maybe it’s ceramic or something? As for Bane, consider this poster final confirmation that he’s going to be a complete badass (again). How do we know? Because turning your back to the camera in the rain proves it. Just ask Rambo. What the text says: A title, tagline, release date and website. Even for movie poster obsessives, there’s not much to read into there.
This young century has brought us many wonders, ranging from the iPhone to replacing bread with meat, but chief among them has been the explosion of parody films. What was once a trickle of Scary Movies and Loaded Weapons has blossomed in the 2000s into a gushing river of spoofs, the most recent of which include Superhero Movie (superhero movies), Vampires Suck (Twilight movies) and Up In the Air (critically acclaimed movies). Now the stakes have been raised yet again by the brilliant Peter Berg and his 2012 blockbuster Battleship. The trailer for the $200 million film, released today, reveals it to be nothing less than an elaborate, note-perfect parody of Michael Bay and his Transformers trilogy.