Once you pop

The 2004 Popcorn Awards honor stunning acting and Greek puns and bad cosmetic surgery and Colin Farrell’s lucky underpants and …

“Not another Ben Stiller comedy!” Film critics Jim Lane and Mark Halverson drown in the corniness of this year’s movie crop.

“Not another Ben Stiller comedy!” Film critics Jim Lane and Mark Halverson drown in the corniness of this year’s movie crop.

Photo By Larry Dalton

The Oscars are so predictable. It’s the same categories every year: Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Cinematography. Oh, look! Nicole Kidman’s wearing Jean Paul Gaultier on the red carpet. Peter Jackson doesn’t know where he’ll put all those statuettes. Michael Moore is being drowned out by the segue music. Yawn.

Back in the real world, our film critics have consumed hundreds of movies between them this year, and they’re not hiding behind some fancy Academy identity or 77 years of televised tradition. Once again, Jim Lane and Mark Halverson bring you SN&R’s annual Popcorn Awards—the only cinema awards show in which the categories change on a whim, no one wears Vera Wang, and there isn’t actually a show. Pop on!

Mark Halverson’s awards

Be Careful What You Wish for Award: To the stranded and soon-to-be-shark-bait vacationers in Open Water who wanted an ocean view.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleuth Award: To the FBI profiler (Angelina Jolie) in Taking Lives who beds down in the grave of a murder victim in an attempt to telepathically receive clues.

And You Think You’re Having a Bad Day Award: To the weary North London pub dweller in Shaun of the Dead who, after 24 hours of fleeing from zombies, sighs, “I don’t think I’ve got it in me to shoot my mum, my flat mate and my girlfriend all in the same day.”

Drug Dealers Are People, Too, Award: To the dope pusher in Woman, Thou Art Loosed who brazenly validates his profession with “My kid has to get bicycles and PlayStations just like everyone else.”

Take This Job and Shove It Award: To the scam artist (John C. Reilly) in Criminal who thinks that straight nine-to-five jobs are pretty lame: “On top of taking shit all day, they can fire you.”

Human Pipeline Award: To the drug mules in Maria Full of Grace who ingest dozens of heroin capsules made from the severed fingertips of surgical gloves, fly to an international destination and literally excrete the packets onto the drug market.

Millions of Pennies for Your Thoughts Award: To the heavy-metal group Metallica, which shelled out $40,000 per month for group therapy under performance-enhancement coach Phil Towle during the making of Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.

Like Father, Like Son Award: To filmmaker Mario Van Peebles for starring as his filmmaker father, Melvin Van Peebles, in Baadasssss!

Thanks for Sharing Award: To the human guinea pig Morgan Spurlock in the documentary Super Size Me for mentioning that he got a weird feeling in his penis while eating only at McDonald’s for an entire month.

Trivia Award: To Super Size Me itself for noting that there are 48 teaspoons of sugar in a Big Gulp.

Downsize Me Award: To Christian Bale for losing about 63 pounds to star in the eerie psychological thriller The Machinist.

Splish, Splash, I’m Taking a Bath Award: To the Taliban elder in Osama who vividly talks to his young male pupils about wet dreams and instructs them in how to wash their genitals without removing their garments.

Most Questionable Cosmetic Surgery Award: To Meg Ryan in Against the Ropes. Though she denies having surgery, her apparently collagen-enhanced lips now look like Gummi Worms.

The Freddy vs. Jason Award: To Alien vs. Predator.

Photo By Larry Dalton

You Say Toomato, I Say Tomaato Award: To Malcolm McDowell as the autocratic artistic director in The Company, who toys with his Italian accent the way a melodramatic villain curls his handlebar mustache.

Waterbed Skin Diving Award: To the wayward honeymooning wife (Debra Messing) who has sex with her French scuba instructor (Hank Azaria) while wearing her swim flippers in Along Came Polly.

I’m Only Gonna Say This Once Award: To the charter-boat captain in Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid who warns, “This is the jungle. Everyone gets eaten.”

These Boots Are Made for Walking Award: To the paleoclimatologist (Dennis Quaid) in The Day After Tomorrow who attempts to walk from Washington, D.C., to New York during a freak blizzard.

The Rich Little Award: To Matt Damon for his brief but dead-on impersonation of Mike Tyson in Stuck on You.

There Goes My Grammy Award: To the 1930s Budapest composer and pianist in Gloomy Sunday whose most popular song is linked to numerous suicides.

Size Does Matter Award: To the clique of 10 California surfers who ventured to Hawaii in the 1950s and ignited America’s surfing craze as they pursued the largest walls of water on the planet in Riding Giants.

Judy, Judy, Judy Award: To Kyle MacLachlan for nailing the suave essence of Cary Grant in Touch of Pink.

Eeny Meeny Miney Moe Award: To the mountain climber in Touching the Void who must decide to either cut the rope that connects him to a fellow climber who is dangling over a sheer ice cliff in the Peruvian Andes or quite possibly be pulled to his own death.

Why I Love My Job Award: To the elderly East Indian janitor (Kumar Pallana) in The Terminal who passes time by watching travelers slip on his freshly mopped floors in the John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Jim Lane’s awards

Fool for Love Award, Part I: To Britney Spears, who celebrated the new year by getting married to a high-school pal … for 55 hours.

Fool for Love Award, Part II: To Britney Spears, who followed her 55-hour marriage in January by marrying You Got Served dancer Kevin Federline in September.

Martyred Artist Award: To actress Chloë Sevigny, who got dumped by the William Morris Agency after performing oral sex onscreen in Vincent Gallo’s The Brown Bunny. (Sevigny says she quit the agency on her own.)

Bad Idea, Good Movie Award: To Kitchen Stories, a quirky, sensitive character piece about a Swedish efficiency study.

Good Idea, Bad Movie Award: To De-Lovely, the musical biopic of Cole Porter that falsified both his life and his music.

Forgotten, but Not Gone Award for the Most Overexposed Star of 2004: Ben Stiller.

Photo By Larry Dalton

Best Performance That Will Never Get an Oscar Nomination Award: A tie between Maia Morgenstern, stunning and heartbreaking as the Virgin Mary in The Passion of the Christ, and Robin Wright Penn as a flamboyant East Village hippie in A Home at the End of the World.

Seeing the Hand-Drawing on the Wall Award: To The Walt Disney Studios for finally pulling the plug on their ink-and-paint animation division after years of declining quality and dwindling revenue.

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish Award: To The Walt Disney Studios for letting the gang at Pixar Animation Studios get away.

One Big Happy Family Award: To the Walt Disney Co., censured by the Securities and Exchange Commission for handing cushy jobs to relatives of Disney’s board of directors.

Most Likely to Burn out by 2006 Award: To Lindsay Lohan for being just about the only asset left at The Walt Disney Studios.

“It Was a Dark and Stormy Night Award” for the Worst Line of 2004: To the anonymous extra in Troy who uttered the immortal howler, “Queen Helen has run off with the Trojans!”

Too Much Information Award: To Irish actor Colin Farrell for revealing that he always wears his “lucky underpants” when he begins work on a movie.

“Hey! Get a Room, You Two!” Award: To one-time celebrity sweethearts Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhaal for reportedly having sex in the changing rooms of a London dress shop in May.

Hollywood or Bust Award: To actress Christina Ricci who scoffed at reports that she’d had breast-reduction surgery to advance her career, saying, “Why would having smaller boobs get you bigger roles?”

Leaden Vandal Award for the Worst Remake of 2004: To Around the World in 80 Days for a double act of vandalism—one against Jules Verne’s original novel and the other against star Jackie Chan.

Broken Promise Award: To Michael Moore for vowing that Fahrenheit 9/11 would drive George W. Bush from office.

Money Where Your Mouth Is Award: To Mel Gibson for financing The Passion of the Christ out of his own pocket (budget: $30 million; domestic gross: $370 million).

Edsel Award for the Biggest Flop of 2004: A tie between The Alamo (budget: $107 million; domestic gross: $22.4 million) and Alexander (budget: $155 million; domestic gross: $33.6 million).

Third Time’s a Charm Award, Part I: To Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for finally capturing the spirit of J.K. Rowling’s books that the first two movies just missed.

Third Time’s a Charm Award, Part II: To Peter Jackson, who finally landed “best picture”—and 10 other Oscars—with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Golden Goose Award: To Napoleon Dynamite for earning $44 million at the box office (budget: $400,000; return on investment: 11,000 percent).

Better Late Than Never Award: To promoters Ken Walker and Thor Eaton for finally releasing Festival Express, the documentary of their 1970 Canadian concert tour with Janis Joplin, the Band, the Grateful Dead, Delaney & Bonnie, and others.

Is It Live, or Is It Memorex? Award: A tie between Jamie Foxx for the reincarnation of Ray Charles in Ray and Kevin Spacey channeling Bobby Darin in Beyond the Sea.

Try, Try Again Award: To Warner Bros. Studios and Morgan Creek Productions for junking Paul Schrader’s Exorcist: The Beginning and starting over with a new script, a new cast and a new director. It flopped anyway.