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Golden Raspberry Awards: 2011

Razzies 2011

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 thirty-second annual Razzies nominated the movies of 2011.   Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon were the top movies of the year.  The silent comedy, The Artist, took a lot of the top prizes including Best Picture.   And Meryl Streep won her third Oscar for The Iron Lady.  At the Razzies, every single award was won by one of two movies starring Adam Sandler.

Jack and Jill

Worst Screenplay

  • Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (written by Adam Sandler, Allen Covert and Nick Swardson)
  • Jack and Jill (screenplay by Adam Sandler and Steve Koren, story by Ben Zook)
  • New Year’s Eve (written by Katherine Fugate)
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (screenplay by Ehren Kruger)
  • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer)

Winner: Jack and Jill

This is the 32nd Golden Raspberry Awards ceremony.  After 31 articles, I think we all have a pretty good idea of how the organization operates.  They are not necessarily looking for the worst movies of the year.  Razzie voters are out to achieve two things.  First, they need to get publicity.  If the Razzies stop getting headlines for their little ceremony, they will turn into the The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards (which actually predated the Razzies by two years).

Beyond continued relevance, the Razzies are looking to send a message.  Typically, the Razzies will fire off a few warning shots before giving a performer an award.  Sure, there are cases like Tom Green or Elizabeth Berkley where the Razzies disapprove of someone so strongly that they just go ahead and give them an award right out of the gates.  But more often than not, there is a build-up to Razziegeddon.

The Razzies first targeted Adam Sandler in 1996 just as his movie career was taking off with Happy Gilmore.  Since then, he has been on and off voters’ radar.  Sandler’s box office success has kept him from being a perennial nominee like Sylvester Stallone.  Although Sandler and his Happy Madison friends have never been far from Razzie voters’ minds, there were frequently bigger targets that needed to be taken down first.

2011 was the year in which the Razzies decided to come down on Sandler hard.  Typically the former Not Ready For Prime-Time Player could be counted on to star in one a lazy comedy just about annually.  More often than not, his movies were box office hits despite being derided by critics.  Additionally, he was always producing movies starring his less successful friends.  But in 2011, Sandler upped the ante with two starring vehicles for himself and co-writing and producing a movie for his nobody pal, Nick Swardson.

Who?

Exactly.

Let me say up front I have never been a fan of Adam Sandler.  I didn’t think he was all that funny on Saturday Night Live.  I don’t consider Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison to be comedy classics (although the fight scene with Bob Barker was funny.)  I have been mystified by Sandler’s continued status as a box office draw which has endured for over a decade.  Sandler’s comedies appeal to the lowest common denominator.  No one in them appears to be trying very hard.  Or trying at all.  They are all just hanging out.  Which I guess is what some audiences are looking for in a comedy.

My point is that over the course of his career, Adam Sandler has set the bar very low.  His movies aren’t supposed to be good.  At best, he aims for “good enough”.  And yet, his output in 2011 came in below even the low expectations of Sandler’s fans.  These movies were so bad that people who like bad movies said “No, thanks.  I’ll pass.”

This year, it’s a really tight race to the bottom of the barrel.  Jack and Jill is the worst movie of Sandler’s career – a career filled with terrible movies.  And yet, Bucky Larson is just as bad and made on a shoestring budget.  Trying to pick between them is a real “pick your poison” situation.  I choose whatever is behind curtain #3.  I don’t care if it’s Twilight or Transformers as long as Sandler’s fingerprints aren’t on it.

Just Go With It

Worst Director

  • Michael Bay for Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • Tom Brady for Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star
  • Bill Condon for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1
  • Dennis Dugan for Jack and Jill and Just Go with It
  • Garry Marshall for New Year’s Eve

Winner: Dennis Dugan

I glossed over the other nominees in Worst Screenplay because we’re going to be talking about these same movies in almost every category.  The five Worst Screenplay nominees are also the nominees for Wost Director and Worst Picture.  Dennis Dugan directed both of Sandler’s 2011 releases, so Just Go With It got thrown into the mix as well.

We’ve got some Razzie regulars nominated in this category.  This is Michael Bay’s fourth Worst Director nod.  He won previously for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2011.  Dennis Dugan had been nominated twice before.  In 1999, he was nominated for Big Daddy by lost to Barry Sonnenfeld for Wild Wild West.  And he was nominated for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry in 2007, but lost to Chris Sivertson for I Know Who Killed Me.

The other three nominees are all newcomers.  No, Bucky Larson was not directed by the quarterback for the New England Patriots.  This Tom Brady directed Rob Schneider movies like The Animal and The Hot Chick.  Kind of puts Deflategate into perspective, doesn’t it?

Gary Marshall is an exceptionally accomplished guy.  As a TV producer, he was responsible for hit shows like Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork & Mindy and Joanie Loves Chachi.  Okay, he had some clunkers in there too.  As a film director, Marshall had a smash hit with Pretty Woman.  But his sitcom sensibilities didn’t always serve him well on the big screen.

In 2010, he had a hit with the mawkish rom-com, Valentine’s Day.  Marshall followed that up with New Year’s Eve which tried and failed to duplicate the formula that made the previous movie a hit.  This year, Marshall stepped back up to the plate after a five-year hiatus with Mother’s Day which is bound to be a front-runner at the Razzies when the nominees are announced.

That leaves Bill Condon who directed the final two installments of the Twilight Saga.  When the first movie in that franchise was released, it was shut out of the Razzies.  But as the saga approached its conclusion, Razzie voters paid more and more attention.  This is another year of Twilight nominations with no wins.  Those will come next year.

Next: Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel

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Posted on May 26, 2016, in Awards, Movies, Razzies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. Bad Movie Beatdown: Jack and Jill (2011)

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  2. Cinematic Excrement – Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (2011)

    WHY???

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  3. jeffthewildman

    Looking at the Razzies for that year and considering other releases lends credence to my personal view that 2011 was a very weak year cinematically,

    Sure it did give us a few good ones (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Margin Call, The Descendants) and one of my all-time faves (Drive). But most of the blockbusters that year blew (exceptions include Super 8 and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Thor and X-Men First Class i enjoyed at the time. But I don’t really feel the need to go back to them). The prestige pictures weren’t much better. The jury’s still out on the Tree Of Life for me and while I enjoyed The Help and The Artist, they’re not ones I find myself with any real desire to see again. Don’t even get me started on Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Spielberg;s two entries for that year found him coasting.

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  4. The only good things about JUST GO WITH IT were Jennifer Aniston and Brooklyn Decker in bikinis. The movie stunk, but I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as JACK AND JILL or BUCKY LARSON. I didn’t see either of those because I was already on to Sandler’s mediocrity. The dude phones it in. He doesn’t care as long as he gets PAID. I kind of love HAPPY GILMORE, and BILLY MADISON is stupid fun. THE WEDDING SINGER was fun too. I have not enjoyed an Adam Sandler movie since FUNNY PEOPLE though. He seemed to actually try and possibly care in that one, One movie, which is completely counter to Adam Sandler’s career goals, and one that he was really good in, was PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE. Paul Thomas Anderson got a compelling, well-acted performance from Adam Sandler. I’m almost certain we’ll never see its like again.

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    • Of the Happy Madison productions I have seen, I like The Wedding Singer quite a bit. The others range from watchable (Happy Gilmore) to wretched (most everything in the last 10 years).

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  5. I remember not long after Bucky Larson came and went without a trace that Nick Swardson bashed the people that gave the film bad reviews in this interview he gave with Splitsider. Warning guys, this is what Swardson really had to say about it:

    “I knew the critics were going to bury us because of the acting, how it was written and directed… None of those reviewers was psyched to see Bucky Larson and laugh. They go in with the mentality ‘f— these guys for making another movie’. They go in there to kind of headhunt. It makes me laugh because it’s so embarrassing. It makes them feel like such morons.”

    Burn! Talk about a sore loser am i right?

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    • It fits my image of the Happy Madison guys. They hang out in this protective bubble on Sandler’s dime. They are shielded from the reality that if they weren’t friends with a guy who had money to burn who was willing to support the careers of his friends, they wouldn’t have movie careers to support.

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  6. Phil Coghill

    Just Go With It could have been included in the Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off or Sequel category as it’s a remake of the 1969 film Cactus Flower. Makes me wonder why it wasn’t since they had it in for Sandler this year.

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    • That’s a good point. It just shows how seriously the Razzies take their categories. They’d rather make up a connection between Jack and Jill and Glenn and Glenda than nominate an actual remake.

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  7. A Tom Brady was a director? I didn’t know that.
    Seriously, Adam Sandler is so inexplicable to me. Sure, I love “The Wedding Singer” (I guess I’m captured by the 1980’s vibe, and the story seems to have some heart), and I’m okay with 2007’s “Reign Over Me” but other than that, Adam Sandler doesn’t click for me, even when his does a film using a remote control.
    Yeah, and as “Saturday Night Live” goes, for me maybe Tim Meadows was funnier in that era. Overall, I just don’t understand what joke Adam Sandler is telling.

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    • I didn’t know about Tom Brady the director either. I Googled just to make sure the NFL player wasn’t moonlighting.

      The Wedding Singer stands out to me as a legitimately good movie. Sandler tones down the shtick a little and allows himself to be vulnerable. He and Drew Barrymore had an easy chemistry that they couldn’t quite duplicate in 50 First Dates. I am not a fan of romantic comedies, but The Wedding Singer is a solid rom com.

      From what I have observed, Sandler’s popularity stems from the idea that his fans would like to hang out with him. They were young when he was on SNL and grew up with his movies. They went with their friends. Even though the movies were never very good, they kept going because it was a party. You saw Sandler movies with your bros. Sometimes some cute girls might come along. It was more about hanging out than the movie itself. One of my younger brothers went to all the Sandler movies despite not really liking them very much. But his friends were going, so he went. Now, those guys are settling down. They don’t get to the movies as much and when they do it’s probably for a family film. I think that’s why Sandler tried Pixels last year. It was an attempt to play on Dad’s nostalgia for old video games and make them appealing to the kids.

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  8. Apparently Screen Ensemble was nearly won by Breaking Dawn. And this marked the first time the vote was open – to visitors of Rotten Tomatoes – showing general audiences were equally split on bashing Twilight and Adam Sandler (http://web.archive.org/web/20120402231531/http://www.razzies.com/history/12winners.asp).

    Of course Jack & Jill cost way more than Bucky Larson, it was one of those movies Sandler used as an excuse to bring friends on vacation (because Jill shows the make-up\effects budget couldn’t possibly be that high). And the not-Gisele’s-husband Tom Brady must be the only guy who could say “When Adam Sandler called and said “I just wrote a new script, do you want to direct it, my instinctive answer was ‘hell yes!’” (http://www.harvardwood.org/mp201111)

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  9. You say Adam Sandler’s success mystifies you, but then you supply the reason for it yourself: “his films appeal to the lowest common denominator”. The lowest common denominator is very, very popular. The US is not an intellectual country. What sells best here is tripe. It’s my opinion that Sandler knows that perfectly well, which is why his films tend to be so lazy: he’s proven that he can do better when he choses to, but why be bothered when he can make millions of dollars with a minimum of time and effort? I don’t think he’s as dumb as his movies, I just think he doesn’t respect his audience.
    I was thinking about how no one seems to complain about him routinely casting his friends, like Rob Schneider and David Spade, who would not be very successful if they couldn’t count on their ol’ buddy Adam to make vehicles for them. People seem to think it’s loyal and sweet. I’ve heard a lot of grousing from people about Lena Dunham frequently casting friends and family as though that were unique and uniquely bad, but it seems to be a criticism reserved uniquely for her. If I’m going to fault someone for giving the world more Jemima Kirke or more Rob Schneider, I’m going to be inclined to lean towards the latter than the former. Everyone is Hollywood relies on connections to get a foot in the door, but only Sandler routinely employs people no one really wants to see.

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    • I’ve been reading a lot more about Happy Madison since their productions have featured so prominently in recent Razzie articles. One of the things that strikes me is that they are very thin-skinned. They think critics are out to get them. To hear them tell it, they work very hard coming up with all these great jokes. Dennis Dugan talks about how Sandler and his buddies workshop every script to pack it with stuff they think is funny. The problem is that what these kinds find funny is gay panic humor, fart, dick and poo-poo jokes. Also, Sandler rewrites everything to stroke his own ego. He always plays characters that you would find deplorable in real life. But in his movies, everyone thinks he is the coolest guy in the world and the ladies love him. He has admitted before that he makes his movies so that he and his friends can take expensive vacations and charge them to the studios. I’m not going to hate on that. I guess if you can pull it off, go for it.

      I do think he gets some grief for casting the same chuckleheads in all his movies. On the one hand, he seems like a good friend. On the other, we could have been rid of Rob Schneider ages ago if not for Sandler.

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      • I don’t hate Rob Schneider; I just kind of feel sorry for him. But it’s an awfully strange thing to have a career because people feel sorry for you. I don’t think I’d want that to be the basis of my livelihood, but some people don’t need dignity as long as they get the money.

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        • Personally, I don’t actually mind nepotism. It make perfect sense to work with people you trust and feel comfortable with. Lots of directors work with an established “set” of actors: Tim Burton, obviously. Christopher Guest. Woody Allen (though not as much lately). Hal Hartley. I don’t mind Mick Jagger casting his son on “Vinyl”, for instance, because James Jagger happens to be a good actor and right for the part. Nepotism is only bad when you hire people who can’t do the job because it’s someone you have a relationship. If I had money and power, I’d give my friends a break too…but only if they are not going to embarrass me. However, I think Sandler is nearly immune to embarrassment.

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        • No, I don’t mind either. Unless we’re talking about Sofia Coppola in Godfather III.

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        • Well, Jennifer Lynch being allowed to direct “Boxing Helena” at 18 ‘cuz she’s David Lynch’s daughter is worthy of grudging as well. That’s a movie that ended or seriously derailed careers.

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        • I imagine Kim Basinger is still holding a grudge. That movie was horrid. But Lynch has shown that she has some talent. She directs TV these days including our favorite show, The Walking Dead.

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        • Yes, I know; I’ve noted her in the credits. Her career gradually rebounded. Don’t suppose there’ll be any feature films in her near future, though. Although for whatever it’s worth, ‘Boxing Helena’ was, at least, epically bad as opposed to run of the mill bad; you don’t forget it. That much can be said. I kinda sorta enjoyed it a little for reasons I can neither explain or justify; feel bad for Julian Sands, though. Do you reckon he’s a ‘what the hell happened to…’ or was he never big enough?

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        • Sands is more of a supporting actor. He flirted with leading man status right around the time of BH. That movie didn’t do him or anyone else any favors.

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        • Well, it didn’t seem to effect Bill Paxton’s career one way or another, and he was bad in that too. But nobody seemed to notice he was in it, even though he was one half of the dumbest sex scene I ever saw.

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        • Honestly, I forgot Paxton was in it. I haven’t seen it since it first hit video. Since then, I have just watched the clips that I have used for various articles. I may have to revisit it some time.

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        • I don’t really have an opinion on Schneider as a person. I just know that when I see him in a movie, my enjoyment usually takes a nose dive.

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      • The real reason Adam Sandler’s career is falling apart

        http://www.looper.com/17788/real-reason-adam-sandlers-career-falling-apart/

        He refuses to give print interviews

        Sandler himself does not appear to be interested in challenging his unfavorable media portrayal. Long before his career took a sharp nosedive, the actor stopped granting interview requests. After press junkets for Billy Madison, he apparently read some unfavorable descriptions of himself and decided to stop talking to print journalists altogether. This was a bold move at the time, and it’s certainly a risk today, during an era in which social media and the blogosphere make film publicity a highly competitive game. Sandler’s Twitter feed, perhaps his best means of reaching fans, is hardly engaging. He rarely tweets, and when he does, it’s generally to promote his own work.

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  10. Bad Movie Beatdown: The Hangover Part II (2011)

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  11. Jack and Jill is a dreadful film, but Just Go With It is strangely mean spirited – when I watched it I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Brooklyn Decker’s character. I’m conviced that’s why the break up happens offscreen, because Sandler realised there was no way to show out without losing audience sympathy for his ‘hero’.

    This is probably quibbling but I don’t think The Hangover II is a bad film as such. In terms of quality (acting, dialogue, etc.) it is about on par with the original which I love. It is an uneccessary film however. It is definitely a lazy, lazy film but there is a bit of a difference there.

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