The Academy Awards were last night. But more importantly, I handed out the Second Annual Empty Balcony Awards for Movies I Saw From Last Year. Those awards are self-explanatory, but a quick rundown is in order. I did not see all the films that were nominated for Oscars. In fact, I only saw a handful, so there’s no way I could offer an honest opinion on the winners and losers. For example, the top categories are best picture, director, the acting categories, and the two screenplay categories. Of all the winners, the only film from last year that I saw was Gravity, for which Alfonso Cuarón won best director. So, I made my own awards. Cuarón didn’t win best director in my awards, but he was nominated, so that’s an honor, I guess.
The other winner of note was All Is Lost for best picture. Don’t think too poorly of me for passing over 12 Years a Slave. I haven’t seen it yet. That’s the whole point of having my own awards.
If there’s one award I handed out that I think the Academy missed, it was for Rooney Mara’s role in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. How good was she? I never want to watch that film again for fear that she won’t measure up to my memory of her performance. That shouldn’t stop you, though. Rent that film.
Here at Missile Test, we’ve long split reviews into two camps: The Empty Balcony and Shitty Movie Sundays. It only seems fair that while I honor the best of what I saw from last year, I should also honor the worst.
These awards aren’t going to be cut and dry like the others, though. No way. I made sure that only films released in 2013 were eligible for the Empty Balcony Awards, but why extend that restriction to Shitty Movie Sundays? It makes no sense. I have a vague recollection of all the dogs I saw in the last year or so, so I’ll be handing out awards to those films, in whatever category happens to strike my fancy. It doesn’t matter to me when the film was made, only that I first saw it some time within the last year. Maybe. Perhaps. These are my awards. I can do what I want. Anyways, to the awards!
The award for Worst Performance in a Film with Killer CGI Sharks goes to the entire cast of Sharknado. This flick is intentionally a joke, but it’s not fucking funny. It is just garbage. The only saving grace from the cast is that they knew it was a joke. But the least they could have done was show a little effort. Come on, Ian, liven it up some. Tara, darling, I understand your schedule is busy and you might not have time to learn your lines, but you should feel guilty cashing that check. John Heard, I hope you’re happy. I hope your new hot tub soothes all the wounds to your sense of professionalism as an actor. Good news, though. I have it on good authority that Harvey Weinstein and Quentin Tarantino are looking to do a sequel to C.H.U.D., and your name is on the shortlist of actors who will be reprising their roles. You’d better jump on this quick. The budget is quite small, and I hear Daniel Stern is commanding a big payout these days. For shame, Sharknado cast! Just because you’re in an intentionally bad movie doesn’t mean you get to mail it in, you hacks.
The award for Stupidest Use of Violence goes to The Expendables 2. I get this franchise. I really do. It’s all about paying homage to ’80s action flicks and all that. But Stallone has a real hard-on for blood these days, ever since the fourth Rambo flick from a few years back. I blame Steven Spielberg. He really raised the bar for blood and guts with Saving Private Ryan, and Stallone seems to have taken that to heart. Come on, Sly. You can’t have a cartoonish action flick with that much gore. It’s supposed to be fun, not give our veterans crippling flashbacks. I’m not looking for a PG-13 rating, but lighten up.
The award for Most Idiotic Idea that Managed to Spawn Not One, But Two Movies goes to Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down. Two Die Hard clones about terrorists taking control of the White House were released last year. What happens in Hollywood, seriously? Do producers all spontaneously come up with the same stupid ideas at once, or are studios just stealing each other’s garbage? I bet it’s the latter. I bet someone from Centropolis was rooting around in the dumpsters over at Millennium Films and found the screenplay for Olympus Has Fallen nestled underneath a pile of rotten, half-eaten kale sandwiches and empty containers of Activia and thought, “I’ve struck gold!” Then, when they greenlight their piece of shit with the exact same plot, the folks back at Millennium decide to, in turn, greenlight their piece of shit, because no one, especially not Centropolis-fucking-Entertainment, beats them to the punch. So what happens? Both studios crap out films from a 12-year-old boy’s fever dreams, only there are no tits anywhere. Fantastic. You know how many Academy Award winners for past acting were in these two awful movies? Three. Let that sink in some.
The award for I Saw Casper Van Dien’s Dick Once goes to Dracula 3000, starring Casper Van Dien. I’m not going to spoil this flick. There’s a review of it coming in this year’s October Horrorshow. This award is given to any film featuring Casper Van Dien, because he rarely stars in anything that isn’t shitty, and gets its name from the fact that Casper bared it all in Starship Troopers 3. You know, I bet he’s a nice guy. Either way, this is probably the only award Dracula 3000 has won, or ever will win.
The award for Too Many Creepy Men in a Film goes to Riddick. Okay, aspiring filmmakers, if you want to make an over-the-top, adrenaline-filled, masculine movie, do not take shortcuts by making all your male characters sexually aggressive. I would like to think that we have grown as a civilization since the Mongols were sacking cities and fucking anything that moved, but you wouldn’t know it by watching Riddick. This piece of shit plays like a prison flick. Stop with the rape, please.
The Boner Pill Award for Refusing to Go Gently Into That Good Night goes to Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger for Escape Plan. It’s movies like this that remind me it will be a good thing for this country when the Boomers get out of the way. This country has been all about them for fifty years now. Let it go. Set your self-inflated egos aside. Age gracefully. Let my generation mess things up for a change. Some of us are in our forties now, for crying out loud.
The award for What the Hell Happened to Their Career? goes to William Forsythe for The Rig, narrowly edging out John Heard in Sharknado. Forsythe was never an Oscar contender or anything, but he was always good, and used to work in good movies. The Rig was horrible. What the hell happened?
Finally, the award for Worst Piece of Shit I Saw Last Year goes to Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave. This movie was absolutely putrid. Once upon a time, I thought I would never see any movie as bad as House of the Dead. This dog comes close. Just how bad was it? It used nudity to increase its appeal. That’s not unusual, but all the tits were bared at a party or something like that. There were no scenes of real sexual intimacy. It was all chicks in bikinis yelling, “WOOOOO!!!!!” and flashing the camera. It was Girls Gone Wild with zombies. This is one of the few movies I’ve ever seen that made my life worse for having seen it. How could I give this award to anything else?
That is seven awards, and that is enough for this year. One final thought. Alien: Resurrection was better than this year’s Oscars broadcast. Stay tuned for next year, when I hand out the award for I Saw Casper Van Dien’s Dick Twice.