Heavy on the popcorn

SN&R’s Annual Popcorn Awards 2000 Edition

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Oscars? Golden Globes? Palms d’Or? Yeah, sure—they’re prestigious trophies, and if you’ve been awarded one, you pretty much know you’ve arrived. A bit lower on the totem pole of cinematic achievement are the annual Popcorn Awards, bestowed by this weekly paper’s resident film critics, which celebrate the good, the bad, the awful and the downright mystifying.

Jim Lane

Glutton for Punishment Award: To John Travolta, for going ahead with plans for a sequel to Battlefield Earth, the worst movie (so far) of the 21st century.

Don’t Bother Me, I’m Working Award: To Helen Hunt, who made five movies in 2000 and has two more coming in early ’01.

It’s What’s Up Front That Counts Award: To Julia Roberts, for letting her cleavage do her acting for her in Erin Brockovich.

This Is Strictly Between You and Me Award: To John Cusack, for spending most of his time in High Fidelity talking directly to the camera—and giving the best performance of his career.

Good Idea, Bad Movie Award: To Isn’t She Great, the low-camp bio of novelist Jacqueline Susann and the career nadir for writer Paul Rudnick, director Andrew Bergman, and stars Bette Midler and Nathan Lane.

Bad Idea, Good Movie Award: To director Mary Harron and co-writer Guinevere Turner, for turning Bret Easton Ellis’ infamous, despicable novel American Psycho into a surprisingly intelligent satire of 1980s consumerism.

Second Thoughts Award: To Julien Temple, whose documentary about the Sex Pistols, The Filth and the Fury, contradicts much of The Great Rock ’n’ Roll Swindle, his 1978 film on the same subject.

Take Your Time, I’ll Wait Award: To Bob Zemeckis, for suspending shooting on Cast Away for a year while star Tom Hanks grew a beard and lost 40 pounds for his Robinson Crusoe-ish role.

If at First You Don’t Succeed Award: To Paramount Pictures, for re-releasing the underrated and overlooked

Wonder Boys at year’s end for Oscar consideration.

That’ll Be the Day Award: To Warner Bros., for re-releasing Space Cowboys at year’s end for Oscar consideration.

How Very Tactful of You Award: To director Taylor Hackford, for sparing the feelings of Dennis Quaid by cutting a sex scene between Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe out of Proof of Life.

We Got Here As Soon As We Could Award: To Reindeer Games, a heist film set on Christmas Eve, for finally hitting theaters in February.

Oh! Ha! Ha! I Just Got It! Award: To Shanghai Noon for the cleverest title of the year.

Who Was That Masked Man? Award: To director Walter Hill, for wisely taking his name off the final release version of Supernova.

Better Late Than Never Award: To United Artists Pictures, for finally giving Michael Ritchie’s musical The Fantasticks a limited release after five years on the shelf.

Cut and Paste Award: To the producers of Gladiator, for using computer graphics to complete the last few scenes with actor Oliver Reed, who died while shooting on location in Malta.

For an Encore, He Walks on Water and Makes Blind Men See Award: To Richard Dutcher, writer/producer/director/star of the Mormon recruiting film God’s Army.

Kids, Don’t Try This at Home Award: To Tom Cruise, for hanging backwards by his fingernails off a cliff in Mission Impossible 2.

Worst Dialogue of the Year Award: To the Revolutionary War epic The

Patriot, for this brilliant exchange: Mel Gibson: “Mind if I sit here?” Joely Richardson: “It’s a free country—or it will be.”

No Show-Offs Were Harmed in the Making of This Picture Award: To Tom Green for (seemingly) swallowing a live mouse in Road Trip.

Guess That Best-Song Oscar Will Have to Wait Award: To Sting, who saw all his songs cut from Disney’s Kingdom of the Sun when the plot was jettisoned, singing characters eliminated, and the title changed to The Emperor’s New Groove.

Team Player Award: To Sting, for agreeing to write two new songs for The Emperor’s New Groove.

Change of Pace Award: To writer/director Mike Leigh, for departing from his usual modern blue-collar dramas to make Topsy-Turvy about Victorian showmen Gilbert and Sullivan.

Galloping Madly Off in All Directions Award: To Mike Figgis, for his

four-screen, single-take, semi-improvised experiment Timecode.

Some Men Would Give Their Right, Uh, Arm Award: To Liam Neeson, for being on the receiving end of a barium enema from Sandra Bullock in Gun Shy.

Mark Halverson

Take Two Aspirins and Call Me in the Morning Award: To the doctor in the re-release of The Exorcist, who prescribes Ritalin for the demonically possessed 12-year-old Regan (played by Linda Blair).

Maybe I Should Have Been Nicer Award: to Hitler in Little Nicky, who spends his time in Hell dressed in a French maid outfit while Satan (Harvey Keitel) shoves such foreign objects as a pineapple up his butt.

Clinton Is Not Alone Award: To the 1970s groupie in the rock valentine Almost Famous, who shares the President’s grasp of the English language: “No sex, just blow jobs …”

They Shoot Rock Bands, Don’t They? Award: To Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio in the rock documentary Bittersweet Motel, who reads aloud a review of his band: “Phish is now able to urinate into the ears of their listeners and they will bring tape recorders and call it music.”

Kentucky Fried Disclaimer Award: To Claymation genius Nick Park, for saying that “the only animals harmed during the making of Chicken Run were the ones devoured by the crew at lunchtime.”

It’s a Small World After All Award: To Return to Me, a storybook romance in which an architect (David Duchovny) who loses his wife in a car wreck and then unknowingly dates her heart transplant recipient (Minnie Driver).

Kids Love This Stuff Award: To the makers of 102 Dalmatians, who have the cutthroat Jean Pierre Le Pelt (Gérard Depardieu in a leopard-head codpiece) display a set of skinning knives and talk about the pleasures of both skinning and strangling “zee poopies.”

Tao of Steve Award: To Ginger, the feathered heroine in Chicken Run, who bounces a baseball against the wall and catches it in a glove while in solitary confinement.

Get a Life Award: To the novice karaoke singer Todd (Paul Giamatti) in Duets, who says: “I can’t go back to who I was. I’m different now. I sang.”

Laundry 101 Award: To the kickass title character in Gladiator (played by Russell Crowe), who explains why he would rather be a farmer than a warrior: “Dirt cleans off a lot easier than blood.”

Is That a Kirby Vacuum Cleaner in Your Pocket or Are Just Glad to See Me Award: To the alien (Garry Shandling) in What Planet Are You From?, who is outfitted with a penis that makes a humming sound when stimulated.

Come Again Award: to Me Myself I and Me Myself and Irene, Where the Money Is and Where the Heart Is, and East Is West and East-West.

Surely We Could Have Lived Without This Award: To the makers of The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, for the dinosaur fart.

Genre Buster Award: To Jim Jarmusch, for making the marvelous Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai—which he describes as “a kind of Samurai gangster hip-hop Eastern Western.”

Viva le Difference Award: To Dr. T and the Women, for this quote about females: “If a gynecologist says there’s not two alike, I guess there’s no two alike…”

I Am Spartacus Award: To the compatriot Highlander heroes of the TV (Adrian Paul) and movie (Christopher Lambert) series, who must decide who will decapitate the other in Highlander: Endgame so the survivor gains enough strength to battle a renegade Immortal.

Mother Teresa Conga Line Award: To Pay It Forward, for the concept that everyone should perform three acts of unsolicited kindness that are reciprocated into a global daisy chain of Good Samaritans.

Hollywood, We Have a Problem Award: To the makers of Mission to Mars and Red Planet, who seem bent on making outer-space movies as popular as Westerns.

Really Bad Hair Day Award: To Scary Movie, for introducing us to shrubbery-size pubic hair.

The Hell With Dramamine Award: To the female chef (Penelope Cruz) in Woman on Top, who offsets her chronic motion sickness during sex by assuming the position of the film’s title.

Human Care Package Award: To the English junkie soccer hooligan (Danny Nussbaum) in Beautiful People, who nods off in an airport freight area and is airlifted into the war in Bosnia.

I’ll Be You and You Be Me Award: To Girlfight and Billy Elliott, in which, respectively, a Brooklyn girl becomes a boxer and an English lad exchanges his gloves for ballet shoes.