The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst

The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst

by John Wilson

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Library Journal - Library Journal
For the past 25 years, Wilson's Golden Raspberry Award Foundation has given the ignominious Razzie Awards to Tinseltown's best schlock. Appropriately, the anti-Oscars are awarded the night before the Academy Awards with all the sump-pump and circumstance that films like Roller Boogie and Barb Wire warrant. Wilson skewers 100 kitsch-kabob flicks divided among 11 thematic chapters, e.g., "Can't Stop the Musicals" and "Disasters...In Every Sense." For each film, Wilson provides cast and crew credits, a wonderfully droll review, dialog excerpts, and his own acerbic plot summary. Among Wilson's Pantheon of the Pathetic are Razzie winners like Madonna vehicle Body of Evidence, Showgirls, and all-time stink bombs like Trog and The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield. In the same vein as Harry Medved's hilarious Golden Turkey Awards and The Fifty Worst Films of All Time, Wilson's text is a surfeit of saccharine Goobers and gooey Ju Ju Bees, empty calories but fun to eat.-Barry X. Miller, Austin P.L., TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Grand Central Publishing
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The Official Razzie Movie Guide

By John Wilson

Warner Books

Copyright © 2005 John Wilson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-69334-0

Chapter One


It all started in my tiny living room alcove, in what People magazine would later call "a run-down apartment in a seedy section of Hollywood." Twenty-five years later, the Razzies have grown into an annual media event that is covered by television, radio, newspapers, and magazines, amusing millions of people all over the world.

The Razzie Awards began at an Oscar-night potluck I hosted on Tuesday, March 31, 1981. You may recall that was the year the Oscars were postponed for twenty-four hours because John Hinckley shot newly inaugurated president (and retired B-movie star) Ronald Reagan. Immediately following that year's 53rd Annual Academy Awards, my potluck party guests were hauled up to a hand-painted cardboard podium and asked to present or accept "awards" in eight categories. Both of the films that had inspired me to create the Razzies won "dis-honors" that evening. Olivia Newton-John's roller-disco disaster Xanadu "won" Worst Director, while the Village People's Can't Stop the Music took Worst Screenplay and Worst Picture. The evening ended with an audience sing-along of lyrics I had written for "Dead Entertainers," a tribute to all the stars who died in 1980, rhyming their names to the tuneof "That's Entertainment." Every one of those guests later told me how much fun they'd had-and what a great idea I'd come up with.

The next day, more out of curiosity than expectation, I sent a press release to a handful of newspapers and radio and TV stations, announcing the "winners" of what I was already calling the 1st Annual Golden Raspberry Awards. A few days later, the L.A. Daily News ran a story with the headline "And the Winners Aren't." The Razzies were officially launched.

The following year, we moved the ceremony to a mansion in Bel Air and I sent out an advance press release announcing nominations in nine categories. While the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chose Chariots of Fire as Best Picture that year, Mommie Dearest swept the 2nd Annual Razzies with five dis-honors, including Worst Picture. Two Los Angeles newspapers, a TV station, and a radio station ran stories. And for the first time, a "winner" was informed of her award: A London newspaper claimed that when they told Mommie herself Faye Dunaway that she was named 1981's Worst Actress, she "flew into a litigious rage"!

Speaking of mothers, I realized by our fourth year that if the Razzies were ever going to get major media attention, they couldn't go head-to-head with the Mother of All Awards Shows. So we moved from Oscar night to Oscar eve-and the coverage suddenly exploded: UPI, CNN, and USA Today all did stories on us. Pia Zadora swept the 4th Annual Razzies with her hilarious Harold Robbins vehicle The Lonely Lady, and my creation went overnight from being a private Oscar party joke to being the logical antidote to Hollywood's annual orgy of self-congratulatory, over-the-top awards show hype.

Over the years, only a handful of "winners" have graciously accepted Razzie Awards. They include Bill Cosby (who had us flown up to Lake Tahoe, where his three Razzies for Leonard Part 6, made of 24-karat gold and Italian marble at a cost to Fox Television of more than $27,000, were presented to him), Showgirls director Paul Verhoeven (who became the first "winner" to actually attend our ceremonies and accept his dis-honors in person), Robert Conrad (who cleverly used our 20th Annual ceremonies to express just how much he despised Barry Sonnenfeld's movie remake of Conrad's TV series Wild Wild West), and Tom Green (whose Freddy Got Fingered swept the 22nd Annual Razzies, where he ended up accepting Worst Picture while holding a rubber dead rat).

As big a media event as the Razzies now are, it's surprising that the publicity-hungry movie business has yet to embrace or accept them as part of the annual avalanche of awards overkill. But the fact that the public and the press seem to appreciate us makes it worthwhile. And the fact that the so-called Industry loathes us ... actually makes the Razzies all the funnier.

The Joy of Bad Movies

One of the secrets to the ongoing success of the Razzies is Hollywood's knack for making horrible movies. Unlike all those 357 other awards purportedly honoring "The Best," we've never lacked for contenders for Worst Achievements.

But in a quarter century of presenting the Razzie Awards, I've also learned that every once in a while a movie somehow gets made that is so bad it's actually wildly entertaining. The acting in these movies isn't merely wretched, it's laughable. The writing is deliriously dunderheaded. And the direction sails beyond the mediocre into the stratosphere of meteoric misfires. There aren't many of these Berry Funny Movies out there, but for this book I've compiled 100 of my personal favorites.

By the time you finish The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst, you too will be an expert on the Worst Movies Ever Made-and how the right attitude can make watching truly terrible movies one of life's best and most entertaining pleasures.

Hey, these days, you've gotta take your entertainment however you can get it!


Excerpted from The Official Razzie Movie Guide by John Wilson Copyright © 2005 by John Wilson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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