The Oscar/Razzie Project

It’s Oscar season once again, folks, and boy, oh boy, is there ever a lot of deserving nominations for the categories. 12 Years a Slave was a potent tale about, um, slavery, American Hustle…. Had a…Good cast, Nebraska had brilliant shots of…Nebraska, I guess, and The Wolf of Wall Street was one hell of a monster movie.

“Oh, shit! Run!”

As you probably guessed, I haven’t actually seen any of the nominees for best picture. Every year, I make a promise to myself that I’m going to watch all or most of the Oscar-nominated movies, and each year, I stay home and watch a nineties superhero cartoon on Netflix.

In my defense, I think the majority of the Oscar-watching population doesn’t actually watch any of the movies. That’s okay, because there’s so much else going on. You can (Hopefully) laugh at the host, you can see all your favourite actors and actresses wear beautiful clothes and pretend they don’t loathe each other, and you may have the chance to see somebody richer and more successful than you embarrass themselves on live TV! It’s a win for everybody, really.

However, for whatever reason, this year, I feel like watching all the best picture nominees, if only because I hate being out of the know if something is supposed to be really good. So, this year, I’ve decided to watch all of the Oscar movies (That is, the Best Picture Nominees) and, after watching, each one, I’ll post a short review on this blog.

There’s more, however.

See, I’m not content with only doing the nominees for the best in film-making. I’m also insanely curious to see what the WORST in film was like this year. Therefor, in addition to the Oscars, I will also be following the little known awards show known as the Golden Raspberries (Also known as the “Razzies”).

To give you an idea of what these short reviews will look like, here is a short review on a movie I watched last night that also happens to be a nominee for ten Razzie awards:

 Grown Ups 2 

 Directed by: Dennis Dugan (Of course)

 Produced by: Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo

 Written by: Adam Sandler, Tim Herlihy, Fred Wolf

 Genre: Gross-out Comedy

  Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade (Yuck), Nick Swardson (Ick) Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph, Alexander Ludwig, Taylor Lautner

  Golden Raspberry Nominations: Worst Picture, Worst Director (Dennis Dugan), Worst Actor (Adam Sandler) Worst Supporting Actor (Taylor Lautner) Worst Supporting Actor (Nick Swardson) Worst Supporting Actress (Salma Hayek) Worst Screenplay (Adam Sandler, Tim Herlihy, Fred Wolf) Worst Screen Combo (The entire cast) Worst Prequel, Rip-off or Sequel

Plot: A sequel to 2010’s Grown UpsGrown Ups 2 tells the continuing story of Lenny Feder, his wife (Salma Hayek) and kids, his best friends, Eric (Kevin James), Kurt (Chris Rock) and Marcus (David Spade) and their respective families, who have all moved back to their Connecticut hometown where they all grew up. I have no idea if I have any readers from Connecticut, but if so, I must ask: How often do deer break into your homes and urinate on you? Because that happens in the first two minutes of this movie.

Actually, “plot” is a bit of a misnomer. There is way too much shit going on in this movie, and none of it is the least bit interesting or funny. Adam Sandler movies have never been much for sophisticated plot crafting, but there was still at least some semblance of heart in movies like Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison and Click. I like to think of him as the poor man’s Will Ferrell. They’re two SNL alumni who make comedic movies with tons of heart under the somewhat lowbrow humour. Unfortunately, while Will Farrell is still hilarious, coming off critical and financial successes with Anchorman 2 and The Campaign, Sandler has not been even remotely near the top of his game for a few years now. Jack and Jill, That’s My Boy and now this.

But, I digress. Anyways, long story short, they decide to throw a party, hi-jinks and questionable cameos ensue.

Acting: Oh, Jesus, where do I even start?

I know that movies like this aren’t made to be Oscar-worthy, but seriously? These performances were God-awful, even by Happy Madison standards There are actually some damn talented people involved in this movie, but none of them even tried to do the best they could with what they got (Though, admittedly, there wasn’t exactly much to work with in the first place). Obviously, I wasn’t expecting too much from people like Nick Swardson, David Spade, Taylor Lautner, Kevin James or Shaquille O’Neal (Seriously), but I was at least expecting people like Adam Sandler, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock and Steve Buscemi to show a goddamn pulse, at least!

Worst of all are the portrayals of the women. They’re all depicted as shallow, overly nurturing and/or hormonal. Actually, they’re maybe not quite as offensive as this kid…

…But it’s still bad.

Oddly enough, the best performance was by Stone Cold Steve Austin. This is, however, nowhere close to being a credit to the incredible acting range of Mr. Austin.

Which Razzie nominations does it deserve?: 

  • Worst Screenplay: Absolutely. There was nothing funny about this movie, and it fails even when trying to be serious.
  • Worst Director: Yes. Dennis Dugan may be the furthest possible thing from Martin Scorsese.
  • Worst Sequel: Yup.
  • Worst Screen Combo: Absolutely. There wasn’t a single good performance in this movie.
  • Worst Supporting Actress (Salma Hayek): Yes. She may be one of the best actresses to come out of Latin America ever, but she sure as hell didn’t show it here.
  • Worst Supporting Actors (Taylor Lautner and Nick Swardson): Again, yes. Taylor Lautner sucked, and Nick Swardson has never once made me laugh. Ever. For all I know, he may be a nice person (Although if he’s anything like his characters, I doubt it), but honestly, at this point, I just hate the guy. (I would have also nominated David Spade, though)
  • Worst Actor (Adam Sandler): He definitely deserved the nomination, but I don’t know if I’d consider him as bad as Lautner, Swardson, Spade or O’Neal.
  • Worst Picture: Oh yeah, this was a disaster, through and through.

   Overall Score: 2/10 

Bad Movie Bi-Monthly (BM₂): The Benchwarmers

So, in order to fulfill my endless need for masochism, I have added a new segment to my poorly disguised outlet for schizophrenic ramblings. In this segment, named, “Bad Movie Bi-Monthly” (Or, “BM₂” for short) I pretty much do a  review of a movie that was deemed by critics and/or audiences to suck. I define criteria  for “sucking” as at least two of the following:

  1. Having a “Rotten” rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes (That is, 59% or less)
  2. Having less than a 50% approval rating from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes
  3. Being nominated for one or more Golden Raspberry Awards (Any movie that wins or is nominated for Worst Picture is pretty much a shoo-in for a review.)
  4. Having anything to do with the following people: Adam Sandler, Nick Swardson, Rob Schneider, Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich, post 90’s George Lucas, Two and a Half Men– and-beyond-Charlie Sheen, Lindsey Lohan, post-insanity Nicolas Cage, Brett Ratner, post Dreamgirls Eddie Murphy,  Kristen Stewart, Tyler Perry, the Wayans Brothers Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.

Why am I willing to put myself through this torture? Well, because I, like every other self-proclaimed critic, love yelling at bad things. Also, I’ve had my fragile self-esteem broken by various childhood traumas.

Yeah, that’ll do it.

Also, I should probably mention that it probably won’t be bi-monthly despite the title. I just really wanted to call a column about shitty movies “BM₂”.

“You see, because “BM” stands for “Bowel Movement”, which is-“
“I see they’re letting just anyone write blogs these days.”

Anyways, for the very first edition of “BM₂”, I have chosen to review a movie that I actually had a ton of fun with when I was little, but was brutalized by critics, earning a 11% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Ladies and Gentlemen, give it up for…

Benchwarmers poster.jpg

Directed By: Dennis Dugan

Genre: Sports Comedy, Gross-Out Comedy

Starring: Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder, Jon Lovitz, Nick Swardson, Craig Killborn, Molly Sims, Tim Meadows, Amaury Nolasco, Reggie Jackson

Legacy: Joy at hearing Reggie Jackson speak, nausea at hearing David Spade speak, and an end to any relevance for Jon Heder.

Quick Plot Summary:

Gus, Clark and Richie (Rob Schneider, Jon Heder and David Spade, respectively) are three thirty-something lovable losers. (Wow, you can barely tell this movie was produced by Adam Sandler!) Gus is a married landscaper who is trying to have a kid with his wife (Molly Sims). Richie is a video store employee whose hobbies include being completely useless around girls and handing out lesbian porn to women at the video store (Actually, those two go hand in hand). Clark is a paper boy who still lives with his mother, who makes him wear a bike helmet at all times. He is also a man-child who eats his own boogers. Needless to say, both Richie and Clark were picked on as kids.

One day, Gus and Clark witness a bunch of nerdy little kids attempt to play baseball be harassed by a bunch of Little League bullies. They chase the bullies off and decide to get together with Richie to play ball. However, the same bullies appear and challenge them to a game. Despite the fact that there are only three of them and that Clark and Richie both suck horribly, the three adults win thanks to Gus’s excellent hitting and pitching performances.They are challenged by another team’s bully coach, but they win again. I can’t help mentioning that this would be a hell of a lot more impressive if they weren’t three times older then their opponents.

Jamie Moyer should have their luck.

The three friends are approached by one of the nerdy kid’s father, Mel (Jon Lovitz). A billionaire and a nerd himself, Mel reveals to them his plan to have the three men (Henceforth known as the Benchwarmers) play in a tournament against all the meanest, most competitive Little League teams. The winners of the tournament will get a new baseball stadium all to themselves, and if the Benchwarmers win, it will be designated as a place for nerdy kids to play ball. With the help of the nerdy kids and Reggie Jackson, the Benchwarmers start their journey to the finals of Mel’s Tournament.


When I first saw this movie at age 11 or something, I loved it. I was a baseball fan, and this was a baseball movie that included nut-shots. I really couldn’t have asked for any more.


Needless to say, I am dissapointed by this movie now. It’s not like I ever expected much from Happy Madison Productions, but I was at least expecting something that was a guilty pleasure like Van Wilder or The Expendables. There are just too much things wrong with this movie for me to really recommend it. My three main problems are the premise, the acting and the unfunny offensiveness.

The premise doesn’t bother me so much as it confuses me. Three older men defeat ten year olds at baseball in order to take a stand against bullying? That seems a little bit too much like trying to wrench somewhat of a love story out of a movie about a gigolo.


Well, we all saw this one coming.

No one expects a Adam Sandler-produced movie to have memorable acting, but it bears saying that the acting in The Benchwarmers is, at best, bad, and at worst, atrocious. I don’t actually have too much of a problem with Rob Schneider in this movie. He’s pretty mediocre, but not Little Man or European Gigolo bad. I really have nothing good to say about David Spade or Jon Heder in this movie. Spade just all-around sucks, while Heder is just milking his Napoleon Dynamite character. And as someone who thinks that Napoleon Dynamite is one of the shittiest, most overrated pieces of trash ever to be called a comedy, I REALLY hated Jon Heder in this movie.

Perhaps my biggest problem in this movie is the offensiveness. Now, I am a believer in the South Park philosophy that there should be no safe targets for ridicule. However, I also believe that a joke has to be funny to justify it’s offensiveness. This movie makes fun of agoraphobics, homosexuals, Latinos and midgets, and in none of these instances can I think of a funny moment.

As a person of Hispanic descent, I was probably most offended by the walking stereotype of Carlos (Amaury Nolasco’s character), a 50-year old Dominican alcoholic who plays against the Benchwarmers by bribing the umpire. He cheats, he drinks on the field, and he is a divorcee. The only way to make him a more clear stereotype is to give him a fear of border guards and a cocaine habit.

Now, I will be the first to admit that there is comedy gold to be had with the age-tampering that goes on in Latin America (That is, baseball players desperate to make some money for their families falsify their birth certificates in order to appear younger, therefore more attractive to big league scouts). However, this is not the way to do it. The filmmakers fall short of the handful of chuckles they would have needed to make this character worthwhile, and instead end up with incredulous stares.

This image is the reason why we can’t have nice things.


While it does have some semblance of a heart, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t find myself almost cheering for the Benchwarmers, the absence of consistent laughs, and lack of a premise or a justified offensiveness leave the movie dead in the water.