Pass the popcorn
Was 2003 a great year for movies? We’ll have to wait for the Oscars to find that out. Instead, we give you this year’s Popcorn Awards.
When you see a lot of movies, you notice things.
Some of those observations fit neatly into a movie review. Others are more difficult to place; they remain scribbled in notebooks, awaiting their chance to bedazzle the world. If only.
Jim Lane and Mark Halverson, the two resident film critics here at SN&R, sat through an entire year’s worth of movies. They filled their notebooks with personal awards, more laughing-academy-ready than Oscar-worthy.
Here’s what they saw:
Kings Fans Go to Movies, Too, Award: To the sneak-preview crowd that loudly booed both times Los Angeles Lakers small forward Rick Fox made an appearance in Holes.
Biggest Set of Balls Award: To Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, for daring to fall from the sky naked at the age of 55, before running, off-screen and presumably with clothes on, for governor.
Anti-Kahlil Gibran Award: To The Matrix Reloaded, in which characters share such priceless philosophical gems as “You do not really know someone until you fight them” and “If we don’t ever take time, then how can we ever find the time?”
True Love May Not Equal Box-Office Chemistry Award: To Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, for their involvement in Gigli. Say no more.
And You Thought Latrine Duty Was Bad Award: To the Finnish army officers in The Cuckoo who chain a reluctant soldier to the top of a rocky hill and then instruct him to shoot at passing enemy forces.
Best Addition to the English Language Award: To the surfer in Step Into Liquid who refers to a monstrous wave as being “gimungous.” Whoa.
I Love a Man in Uniform Award: To the horny barmaid in Bad Santa who has a Kriss Kringle fetish.
Now That Diet’s Extreme Award: To the husband and wife in Camp who have their daughter’s mouth wired shut so she will drop a few excess pounds.
Guns Don’t Kill People; People Kill People Award: To the young wannabe photographer Rocket in City of God for saying: “To be a real hood, you need more than just a gun. You need ideas.”
Phone Sex with a Policeman Award: To Meg Ryan and Mark Ruffalo in In the Cut.
Physician, Heal Thyself Award: To Dr. Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany) in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, for using a scalpel to remove a bullet from his own body.
Film at 11 Award: To the captured eurotrash mobster (Olivier Martinez) in S.W.A.T., who announces into a news camera that he will give $100 million to anyone who will free him from custody.
The Cup Is Half-Empty Award: To the crusty, compassionate Father Harlan (Nick Nolte), who neatly sums up his theological theories in Northfork: “It depends on how you look at it. We’re either halfway to heaven or halfway to hell.”
Just Try and Make Me Award: To the stubborn elderly man, also in Northfork, who foils the attempt of government agents to evacuate him from his home, by literally nailing his shoes to his porch and arming himself with a shotgun.
I Can’t Believe This Is Not Comedy Award: To Kevin Costner as a western ranch hand in Open Range, who somehow keeps a straight face as he tells a fellow saddle rat, “Let’s rustle up some grub.”
Common Sense Award: To the cattleman (Robert Duvall), also in Open Range, who scolds one of his trail hands: “My God. If you’re gonna pick your feet like a monkey, then do it downwind.”
Stick a Fork in It Award: To the buccaneer in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl who does just that to an artificial eyeball rolling around on the floor of a ship’s hold.
Big Bladder Award: To the cameraman of Russian Ark, who shot this film in one record-breaking, 96-minute take through 33 rooms of the famous State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
In Your Face Award: To IMAX’s Bugs! 3-D, in which insects are magnified up to 250,000 times their normal size.
You Can’t Go Home Again Award: To the South American hotel proprietor (Rita Moreno) in Casa de los Babys, who is fed up with her lazy terrorist son who has moved back into her home: “First, the government wanted to kill him. Now I do.”
Land Shark Award: To the South American attorney, also in Casa de los Babys, who says, “I will do my best, but I promise you nothing.”
All’s Fair in Love and War Award: To the special-forces assassin in The Hunted who flicks his own blood into the eyes of his foe to blind him temporarily.
Here We Go Again Award: To the opening line in the remake of Willard, starring Crispin Glover: “Willard!” bellows the shy loner’s mother from her bed. “There’s rats in the basement!”
Birds of a Feather Award: To Winged Migration, in which watching birds flying from north to south and back again is turned into 89 minutes of amazing visual grandeur.
Scary Frigidaire Award: To Wrong Turn, for showing us what isolated, inbred hillbillies really keep in their refrigerators.
Fictionalized Version of a Fictionalized Autobiography Award: To Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, in which goofy game-show host Chuck Barris hunkers down naked in a Manhattan hotel room and pens an “unauthorized autobiography” that features him doubling as a Dating Game chaperone and a CIA assassin.
Bass Ackward Award: To the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, for giving the Best Actress Oscar to Nicole Kidman for her supporting role in The Hours—and the Best Supporting Actress Oscar to Catherine Zeta-Jones for her lead in Chicago.
Oldie but Baddie Award for Worst Use of a Rock Classic: To Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, for their low-camp duet of “You’re So Vain” in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (while a horrified Marvin Hamlisch looks on).
Bad Idea, Good Movie Award: To Down with Love, starring Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor in a confectionary pastiche of the Doris Day-Rock Hudson sex farces of the 1960s.
Good Idea, Bad Movie Award: To writer-director Ronald F. Maxwell, for Gods and Generals, the misbegotten prequel to his 1993 Civil War classic Gettysburg.
Golden Rebound Award: To director F. Gary Gray, for following the flat, scummy A Man Apart with the snappy, gleaming The Italian Job.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job Award: To shock-rocker Rob Zombie, for writing and directing the atrocious House of 1000 Corpses.
Casting Gimmick of the Year Award: To It Runs in the Family, starring Michael Douglas as a lawyer wrangling with his father (played by his real father, Kirk), mother (his real mother, Diana) and son (his real son Cameron).
Best Performance That Will Never Get an Oscar Nomination Award: To Eugene Levy, for his poignantly hilarious portrayal of mentally ravaged folk singer Mitch Cohen in A Mighty Wind.
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night Award for the Worst Dialogue of 2003: To Martin Brest’s Gigli, with its dueling monologues about penises and vaginas.
Dumb and Dumberest Award: To the perpetrators of Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, for making a follow-up without any of the people (Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels) who made the original worth seeing.
Why Can’t Life Be Like the Movies? Award: To Disney’s animated feature Brother Bear, whose technical adviser, Timothy Treadwell, was eaten by an Alaskan brown bear in September, just before the film was released.
Leaden Vandal Award for the Worst Remake of 2002: To Cheaper by the Dozen, a heinous sullying of both the original book and the 1950 movie.
Edsel Award for the Biggest Flop of 2003: To The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (budget: $78 million; domestic gross: $66 million).
Adam Sandler Award for the Worst Performance by a Saturday Night Live Alumnus: To David Spade, for Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.
Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen Award: To Andy and Larry Wachowski, who, in only six short months, saw The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions go from the most anticipated to the most disappointing sequels of the year.
No Stone Unturned Award: To Universal Pictures and DreamWorks SKG, for arranging 6 billion or so commercial tie-ins—including a U.S. mail postmark!—for The Cat in the Hat.
Business Is Business Award: To the producers of Runaway Jury, for changing the defendant in the movie’s trial from big tobacco to the gun industry—and then inserting a subliminal plug for Marlboro cigarettes.
Lon Chaney Award for Impenetrable Disguise: A tie between Mel Gibson in The Singing Detective (bald head, thick glasses and lab coat) and Steve Martin in Looney Tunes: Back in Action (red fright wig, thick glasses and cheap suit).