This year I saw almost all of the Razzie nominees for Worst Picture of 2015.  I’d rented a copy of Fantastic Four only to have to return it unwatched when other library patrons put it on hold, which seems to prove that I’m not the only glutton for punishment around.  I also saw several movies in other categories, and I wanted to briefly mention two movies that I saw that were nominated in the Worst Actress category.

Months and months ago, before I even realized it would be a Razzie nominee, I saw The Boy Next Door starring Jennifer Lopez.  And yeah, it was about as ridiculous as the trailer would lead you to believe.

The Boy Next Door poster

Truth be told, I sought out this movie after reading this little NPR article about the hilarity of the trailer.  The fact that the movie was coming out in January added weight to the idea that it would probably, indeed, suck.

Jennifer Lopez isn’t great in the movie, but truth be told, she’s no more ridiculous than the movie itself.  She plays a sexy young mom who connects with, and then sleeps with, the sexy teenage boy next door.  He then goes all Fatal Attraction on her, and things go downhill from there.  I saw this movie quite a while ago, so my memories are pretty hazy at this point, but here are the things that stuck out in my mind:

  • The sexy scenes were pretty sexy.
  • The scary scenes alternated between being violent, laughable, and pretty gruesome.
  • The product placement was unintentionally hilarious.  Yeah, I know that when a car company sponsors a movie, that usually means that every single car in the movie is made by the same company.  But for some reason, the only time I ever noticed the logo was whenever the kid was stalking her in traffic, weaving in and out of lanes to follow her.  Which, to my mind, implies that INSANE STALKERS DRIVE CHEVROLETS!

 

I also decided to check out Home Sweet Hell starring Katherine Heigl, knowing almost nothing about it.  Well, I’ve heard terrible rumors about how terrible she is to work with.  And I also saw that Patrick Wilson was in it, and I’d just finished watching him in the second season of Fargo, so I felt a kind of emotional connection with him because I cared about his character so much.  While watching this movie I also cared about him, although now my caring was tinged with remorse, having lots of thoughts like YOU POOR THING!  WHY ARE YOU EVEN IN THIS MOVIE? running through my mind.

Home Sweet Hell Poster

Patrick Wilson plays a henpecked husband in what looks to be a happy marriage from the outside, although he’s actually miserable living with his beautiful but controlling wife.  He has an affair with a sexy young employee, and things go downhill from there.  I will only point out that Katherine Heigl is holding a knife in the movie poster, and that the tagline is “Psycho Wife, Unhappy Life” and let you make your own deductions.  I think a big part of the problem with this movie was that the mood was all over the place.  Sometimes it played like a straight comedy, sometimes like a dark comedy, sometimes like a gruesome horror movie, and sometimes like a … morality tale?  It led to some confusing feelings while I was watching the movie, like Am I supposed to be laughing here?  But I feel like I’m going to throw up!  Something this bloody and disgusting isn’t supposed to be funny, is it?  I mean, yes, THAT PART was funny, but then the thing that happened five seconds later was totally disgusting!  What kind of movie IS this???

But let me get to that “morality tale” aspect, because that was the part of the movie that I found even more bewildering than the rest.  So, we understand that Patrick Wilson’s character is basically a good guy.  The movie seems to like him.  No, he isn’t perfect, and he does have that affair, but the feeling you get is that he basically deserves some happiness because he’s so miserable at home.  And yes, I know that “not being able to murder someone in cold blood” is kind of a low bar in terms of morality.  But still, he’s COMPARATIVELY good.  Katherine Heigl plays someone who appears to be good and who appears to be leading a happy life, although her intense need to keep everything under control is her eventual undoing, and she does lose to her husband in the morality department.

And then … I’m not sure how to explain this … I was watching the movie, and I thought I understood how the movie was treating its characters.  I thought I understood the mindset of the invisible implied narrator of this world.  Then the movie ends, and I’m about to hit the stop button on my DVD player, when there is a sudden auditory development that happens after the screen goes black, which twists the ending from what it was just a moment before.  It was honestly one of the strangest things I’d even seen in a movie, and thinking back on it now I wondered if it was added afterwards because the ending didn’t test well with audiences, or something.  I double-checked IMDB, but they didn’t mention it, so I suppose it was in the original script.  Anyway, the whole movie was kind of unsettling, but the very end was ESPECIALLY unsettling.  Perhaps that was the point?  To pull the rug out from under us one last time?  To throw moral ambiguity out the window and make a more definitive ruling instead?  I have no frigging idea.

 

Overall, I mostly enjoyed the Razzie nominees I watched this year.  There is, as always, a difference in my mind between the “so bad they’re good” movies and the “I will never sit through that again” movies.  Of the movies I saw this year I would most recommend watching Jupiter Ascending.  Because yes it was insane, but it was entertainingly insane.  I would least recommend Mortdecai, because I would be hard-pressed to find any redeeming features of that film.  And I’m not going to watch it again to try to find any.  One of the better signs this year was that there were several movies that were supposed to be terrible but which turned out to be not as awful as I expected, like Pixels and (God help me) Paul Blart Mall Cop 2.

Anyway, the Razzies are going to be announced on Saturday, so let’s see how that goes (and if any of the winners are willing to accept their honors!)

Advertisements