Congratulations to this year’s 2012 nominees for the annual ‘Golden Raspberry Award’, affectionately known as the “Razzies” (“the foremost authority on all things that suck on the big screen”) announced last night on the eve of the “Oscars”.
To some, an insult on top of the injury of a silver screen dud, but others have embraced the good humour, and free publicity like the gracious presentation by Sandra Bulock. Actually, Boston Globe writer Nathan Rabin’s argues that such turkeys are healthy for the industry and art form in his piece “The Case for Total Failure”, subtitled “Why flops are good for the movies” (thanks again Dad)…
- “I have come to see flops not as mere camp amusements, or as cautionary tales, but as a necessary component of the whole enterprise of filmmaking. Flops, in other words, are vital to cinema. What is a flop? I’m not talking about films that failed during their original run but have picked up a huge cult following in the years since then, like ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show.’ Nor do I mean classics like ‘Citizen Kane’ that bombed the first time around yet are now considered masterpieces. I’m talking about films that did paltry domestic box office, got mixed-to-negative reviews, and never found an audience at all. These are the real thing: films that failed in just about every way a film can fail. When they do, they can have weirdly positive effects. Alcoholics often need to hit rock bottom before turning their lives around. This is the role that flops play for some actors. Take Ben Affleck, whose early rise was the stuff of show business legend.”
- “It’s hard to know what actually happened at that moment, but you have to wonder if Affleck’s friends staged an intervention. After the world violently rejected ‘Jersey Girl’ and ‘Gigli,’ Affleck recommitted himself to being taken seriously as an actor and filmmaker. He eschewed big paychecks for quirky, engaging character turns in offbeat fare like ‘Hollywoodland’ and ‘Extract.’ He proved his Oscar wasn’t entirely a fluke by writing and directing the terrific genre movies ‘Gone Baby Gone’ and ‘The Town.’ Without his flops, Affleck might currently be sleepwalking his way through ‘Daredevil 3’ today — great for his bank account, maybe, but a genuine loss for those of us who now actually like his movies. But flops have uses beyond pulling handsome actors out of downward spirals. They are sometimes the cinematic equivalent of loss leaders; films that take huge chances and risk colossal failure so that future filmmakers can succeed where they failed. They martyr themselves, consciously or unconsciously, so that others might live.”
It seemed appropriate to introduce the post with a nominee for Lifetime Achievement in film failure, Heaven’s Gate. Good luck to all of this year’s nominees and feel free to join in the failure embrace by voting for your ‘favourite’ on the Razzie site (winners announced 1st April).