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Golden Raspberry Awards: 1998

Razzies 1998

The Golden Raspberries started off as an informal joke.  Something for a publicist and his friends to do after the Oscars had ended.  Over time, it has become and enduring and irreverent tradition.  In theory, The Razzies poke fun at the worst movies of the year.  But like any awards ceremony, the Razzies frequently make the wrong call.  We’re going back and looking at the history of the Golden Raspberry Awards one year at a time.

The nineteenth annual Razzies nominated the movies of 1998.   Saving Private Ryan and Armageddon were the highest-grossing movies that year.  Shakespeare in Love was a controversial Best Picture winner while Steven Spielberg took home Best Director for the odds-on favorite, Saving Private Ryan.  Roberto Benigni wore out his welcome almost immediately when he won Best Actor for Life is Beautiful and Judi Dench won Best Supporting Actress for her cameo appearance in Shakespeare.  Hollywood cried foul over Harvey Weinstein’s Oscar campaigning and its surprising effectiveness, but the Razzies were comparatively scandal free as no one was taking out full-page ads in Variety to get the Spice Girls nominated.

Worst Original Song

  • “Barney, the Song” from Barney’s Great Adventure: The Movie, written by Jerry Herman
  • “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” from Armageddon, written by Diane Warren
  • “I Wanna Be Mike Ovitz!” from An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, written by Joe Eszterhas and Gary G-Wiz
  • “Storm” from The Avengers, written by Bruce Woolley, Chris Elliott, Marius deVries, Betsy Cook, and Andy Caine
  • “Too Much” from Spice World, written by the Spice Girls, Andy Watkins, and Paul Wilson

Winner: “I Wanna Be Mike Ovitz!”

I want you guys to know how dedicated I am to my readers.  The only clip I could find for “Barney, the Song” included the first fifteen minutes of the movie.  Nobody should have to sit through that.  The best use of Barney’s Great Adventure: The Movie is as a babysitter.  So unless you are putting it on so you can leave the room and do chores, there is no reason you should by subjected to that nonsense.

So here’s what I did.  I edited that clip down to just the song as performed by Bernadette Peters so readers can listen to the legendary performer extol the virtues of a purple dinosaur while some kids complain about being dropped off at their grandparents’ house.  Enjoy the clip.  Or more importantly, be glad this is all you’re getting.

This next song, you are probably more familiar with.  It was Aerosmith’s first #1 hit song after 28 years in the music industry.  Here it is in case you aren’t still sick of hearing it from 1998:

“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” was written by Diane Warren who also wrote the slow-jam from Con Air, “How Do I Live”.  That hit song was nominated for both an Oscar and a Razzie last year.  Warren repeated that feat with “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”.  The song was also nominated for Best Original Song which it lost to “When You Believe” from The Prince of Egypt.

Our next song comes from the 1998 movie, The Avengers.  This is the one that doesn’t have Hulk or Captain America in it.  In other words, the one that sucks.  The movie was an adaptation of the 1960’s spy show The Avengers.  The TV show actually predates the first James Bond movie starring Sean Connery, but its popularity was definitely tied into the Bond phenomenon.  Which is why the movie’s title song, sung by former Bond villain Grace Jones, sounds like a discarded Bond theme song.

In 1997, the Spice Girls took America by storm.  They were already popular in the UK, but American pop fans quickly fell in love with the girl group and their catchy ditty, “Spice Up Your Life”.  A year later, most Americans were ready to ship the girls back to Britain.  This didn’t bode well for the Spice Girls movie, Spice World, which relied heavily on the band’s popularity.

This song, the aptly titled “Too Much”, proved to be the Spice Girls’ fourth and final top ten single in the US.  We’ll talk more about the Spice Girls later.  This isn’t their only nomination this year.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a clip for the winning song.  “I Wanna Be Mike Ovitz!” was written by Joe Eszterhas and Gary G-Wiz.  But we’re just getting started with Eszterhas’ showbiz satire, Burn Hollywood Burn.

Next: Worst New Star

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Posted on February 18, 2016, in Awards, Movies, Razzies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. Good Bad Flicks: Spice World (1998)

    This is not an April Fool’s joke, I love Spice World.

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  2. Now I’m fascinated why Maria Pitillo in Godzilla was hated so

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    • I remember really disliking her character. I didn’t like anything about the movie, but I remember especially disliking the character she played. I don’t think it was a reflection on the actress necessarily. The thing is, I’m not about to go back and revisit the movie to figure out why she annoyed me as much as she did. I hated Godzilla and I’m just not that curious.

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  3. Re: Joe Eszterhas. In the 1990s, he was often put up against Shane Black in the “how much can one sell a screenplay for” sweepstakes. That was when Black was writing Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight. Estzerhas was writing Basic Instinct and Showgirls. Eszterhas went on to flame out in an orgy of ego. Black took a few years in the Hollywood wilderness and came back with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3 and has The Nice Guys coming up. Plus, his 90s films holds up way better than the ones Eszterhas wrote. I re-watched The Long Kiss Goodnight a few weeks ago for the first time in years and found it still enjoyable.

    Looking over the movies that got nominated and didn’t get nominated in the worst sequels and adaptations category, I find myself considering two: US Marshals and Lost In Space. US Marshals was released the same weekend as The Big Lebowski and buried it. Lost In Space came form the same studio that had previously released dark City and it did way better at the box office. 18 years later, The Big Lebowski and Dark City are cult classics. US Marshals and Lost In Space are pretty much forgotten.

    1998, while probably the worst year of my life personally, was decent as far as cinema goes. Not a banner year like the one that preceded it or the one that followed. But decent.

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    • In some ways, Black and Eszterhas couldn’t have been more different. Black expressed regret about being overpaid and the fact that other writers resented him. He had friends who were as talented as he was who were nowhere near as successful and he felt bad about that. Eventually, he stepped back from Hollywood for a time. Eszterhas, on the other hand, seemed to think no matter what he was paid, it wasn’t enough. He always deserved more control of his projects, bigger paychecks, more admiration. Nothing was ever enough.

      I actually kind of agree with Eszterhas. Not that he specifically was being shortchanged but that all writers in general should be higher on the Hollywood totem pole. It’s not that Black and Eszterhas were overpaid (although arguably they were) it’s that everyone else was underpaid and undervalued. Hollywood pisses all over screenwriters, but that’s nothing new and it will never change.

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  4. Very fine writing there Lebeau. I lost track of how many of your humorous observations I was going to comment on. There were many!

    1998 was actually a good year in my life, I was able to take time off and spend lots of that time with my baby who was born in 1997. Attended zero movies. Clearly missed out on a few gems; caught up with a good number of them later on, a few remaining to make up.
    I still contend 1993 was one of the better movie years of all time.

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  5. Nostalgia Critic: Chairman of the Board (1998)

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  6. It was suggested on my Letterboxd bottom 10 of 1997 that since the 1998 razzie’s article was up I should do one for 1998. Did so.

    http://letterboxd.com/jeff_wilder/list/10-worst-films-of-1998/

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  7. Two of the Worst Picture nominees that year also helped ruined their directors’ careers as well.

    Prior to Burn Hollywood Burn, Arthur Hiller had an established career ranging from the likes of Love Story, The Hospital, Silver Streak, The In-Laws and Outrageous Fortune among many others. But after Burn Hollywood Burn which he later disowned, Hiller has only directed one other film since, a forgettable National Lampoon vehicle called Pucked in 2006 which starred Jon Bon Jovi.

    And prior to The Avengers, Jeremiah S. Chechik was beginning to build up his resume following a promising start with Christmas Vacation and Benny & Joon. But then he scored two flops with Tall Tale and Diabolique, before The Avengers eventually shattered his career for good, and has gone on to direct various TV work ever since.

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  8. We collectively thank you for your fine work editing that Barny song. That’s something no grown man should suffer through.I made myself sit through the two minutes you posted. Great post as always.

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  9. I’ve actually never viewed “Armageddon” (I do like the song “Armageddon It” by Def Leppard though), and I sure do remember the Aerosmith song, as it was everywhere that year (later, it was placed on the soundtrack of the 2013 video game “Saints Row IV” seemingly as a gag). Not a bad song, but WAY overplayed.
    I didn’t spend too much time thinking of The Spice Girls. First time I heard of them was when someone was mocking them. A few years ago, I did view “Spice World” on TV. It was what I expected. I mean, they had their fans, so I’m sure a few people liked it.
    I’ve seen bits and pieces of “An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn”. I heard it was bad, and I caught it on Encore or something when flipping channels a few years ago. I really couldn’t get into it; from what I viewed, it seemed flat.
    I never viewed “Godzilla”, but I heard it was a real floater (Godzilla’s not really my jam, in any form of media). “The Avengers” was another one that I wasn’t interested in either.
    “Psycho” was discussed on this site before; like Lebeau said on this writeup, it was a bad decision by Gus Van Sant to do a near shot-for-shot remake, especially since audiences weren’t clamoring for it. Wow, I guess even directors get the blues.
    As “Lost in Space” goes, I had no interest in the 1960’s series, therefore I had for interest in the film.
    I don’t know, I guess I’m pretty indifferent about the nominations and wins in this year of The Razzies since I wasn’t expecting much or forward to the majority of these projects.

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    • A year like 1998 kind of makes you miss a craptastic year like 1996. At least when you’re looking at it from a Worst of the Year perspective. The Razzies had to resort to movies that either no one had seen or movies everyone expected to be bad.

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  10. I have a strangely humorous memory of 1998’s Godzilla. I went with a buddy to see the movie, and having actually enjoyed Independence Day two years earlier (I know, I should be ashamed) I hoped Devlin and Emmerich would present another cheesy but fun popcorn movie. On paper Godzilla seemed like it could be that. Instead, Godzilla wasn’t just bad, it wasn’t just cliched, it was that worst of cinematic sins…… it was boring. I remember about halfway through the movie just wishing the damn thing was over with already, and despite not being the least bit tired I actually just closed my eyes and kind of forced myself to nod off for a bit, because I couldn’t stand what I was seeing any longer. Oh, look, now they’re ripping off Jurassic Park! Yawn. I’ve never done that before or since on any movie, and now I think it’s kind of funny that I just willed myself to sleep because the movie was just so damned lame and boring.

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    • It’s really amazing how badly they miscalculated on Godzilla. If you buy a ticket to a Godzilla movie from the guys who blew up landmarks in Independence Day, you want to see a giant lizard laying waste to New York City. That was the very simple selling point of the movie and something Emmerich was certainly capable of delivering. Instead, you get way too much screentime for Matthew Broderick who clearly doesn’t want to be in the movie and a subplot poking fun at movie critics.

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      • You know what comes to mind? The teaser trailer for Godzilla from the year before was actually very clever. A museum guide is giving a tour for a group of kids, and he presents the T-Rex skeleton. “The most dangerous predator that ever existed”, the guide declares as the kids stare in awe, and then the ground starts rumbling, then Godzillas’ gigantic foot stomps down through the roof and smashes the T-Rex skeleton to smithereens.

        This wasn’t just a trailer. This was a declaration of war. Godzilla was going to demolish Jurassic Park and its famous T-Rex handily in the first round. May God have mercy on the T-rex’s soul.

        Sadly, that 90 second teaser trailer was more entertaining and clever than the two hour film itself. Did I mention I forced myself to fall asleep because I was so bored?

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        • That reminds me of the Godzilla-Phantom Menace smacktalk. Godzilla ran the tagline “Size matters” for a year before the movie’s release. When it flopped, The Phantom Menace started running ads that proclaimed “Plot matters” poking fun at Godzilla. It turns out, you shouldn’t talk smack about other movies when the movie you are touting isn’t as good as you seem to think it is.

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  11. Had another thought about Worst New Star I’m surprised they didn’t take a crack at. Former NFL defensive end Howie Long in Firestorm. Then he was known as a sports broadcaster and had an appearance as one of John Travolta’s henchmen in Broken Arrow, but Firestorm was his attempt at movie stardom, but safe to say he got burned.

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    • Wow, I forgot about Howie Long’s turn at being an actor. I’ve never seen “Firestorm”, but I remember it advertised. Looks like you’re right: Howie Long steeped into the firestorm and got burned. He did have a fantastic pro football career though, and his two sons are very good players in their own right.

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  12. Yeah, I am really surprised that Blues Brothers 2000 never even got nominated. That movie had so many things wrong with it that i’m surprised that they didn’t even get it nominated for worst sequel.

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