We had a bumper year for terrible movies in 2015. From Mortdecai to Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 to three entire Adam Sandler films, there were so many stinkers that we’d already forgotten most of them even happened. Fortunately, the Razzie Awards are here to remind us.
Presented on the night before the Oscars, the Golden Raspberries commemorate the very worst that Hollywood has to offer. Like any set of film awards, they’re not without controversy, but isn’t arguing over nominations part of the fun?
As you might expect, the 2015 Razzie nominations are dominated by overblown blockbusters and critically panned comedies. Fantastic Four picked up five nominations, and Fifty Shades of Grey, Jupiter Ascending, Pixels, and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 all got six. There were some disappointing snubs, however. The Razzie voters somehow forgot both the cameo-strewn douchebag hellscape of Entourage, and the FIFA-funded United Passions, which hired Gérard Depardieu and Tim Roth to make corrupt soccer executives look like heroes.
As ever, the Razzies are governed by a bro-y kind of humor. Adam Sandler and Paul Blart are perennially easy targets, like making fun of Nickleback while the band continues to make bank. As for films like Jupiter Ascending and Fifty Shades, it seems unfair to nominate them and ignore the nonsensical Terminator Genisys or Sean Penn‘s grotesquely masturbatory action thriller The Gunman. While attempting to poke fun at Hollywood’s flaws, the Razzies tend to engage in some very traditional Hollywood sexism.
Just look at Fifty Shades of Grey. Most critics agreed that it was a bad movie, but Dakota Johnson was frequently praised for giving her character as much depth as humanly possible. Not exactly Worst Actress material. As for Jupiter Ascending, its slate of Razzie nominations continues the trend of people misunderstanding the film’s real strengths.
Jupiter Ascending may not be a masterpiece, but it holds an important place in a year that witnessed the rise of female-led sci-fi movies including Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Despite moments of risible dialogue and a rather messy plot structure, Jupiter Ascending is hardly any more ridiculous than The Matrix. Arguably, the main reason it received such widespread mockery (compared to, say, Batman or Avatar) is its unselfconsciously girly brand of wish-fulfilment fantasy. Perhaps we’re taking the Razzies more seriously than they deserve, but Jupiter Ascending is hardly on the same level as Paul Blart.
Screengrab via Universal Pictures UK/YouTube