Saturday, February 18, 2006

The First Annual Chuck Awards!


Ladies and Gentlemen, it's been a big, big year of bad, bad movies here in our little corner of the Internet. As the first anniversary of Bitter Dregs approached, I thought that the best way to celebrate would be to have a slack-ass awards show, rehashing some of the best and worst of the films I've reviewed in the past twelve months. I'll be handing out little gold Chuck Norris statuettes for outstanding achievements in the field of badness. And so, without further ado, please join me in a round of applause for all of tonight's honorees.

In the category of Least Special Effects...
Several of this year's films displayed an impressive commitment to crappy special effects. There were the snake hand-puppets and Richard Chamberlain action figures of Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold. There was the world's worst stop-motion animation and Christmas-light galaxy of Star Crash. And who could forget the extremely fake yet totally disgusting goblins of Troll 2? However, Dark Universe, with its alien creature that resembled nothing so much as a tower of feces, continually pushed itself to come up with special effects it had neither the budget nor the creativity to adequately realize.
And the Chuck goes to: Dark Universe!

In the category of Best Death From Rocket Launcher...
There were two heavy contenders for this award: evil terrorist leader Rostov from Invasion U.S.A. and evil gang leader Fraker from Death Wish 3. Both met their makers thanks to rocket-propelled grenades, and both made funny faces while doing so. While Fraker wore the more humorous expression as he was exploded, Rostov's existential cry of anguish before his impromptu cremation truly made the climax of Invasion U.S.A. unforgettable.
And the Chuck goes to: Invasion U.S.A.!

In the category of Most Traumatizing Freudian Moment...
No contest here - when little Joshua Waits of Troll 2 stumbles upon his naked mother being eaten by goblins, the award was in the bag. It's like the "primal scene" times four. I'm not sure what the underlying psychoanalitic meaning of such a scene is, but I'm guessing the screenwriter needs some serious therapy. And not just lying on a couch for some analysis, I'm talking about old-school electric shock or something. Even with my admittedly twisted appreciation for bad cinema, this scene had me thinking, "man, I would have been happier if I'd never seen that."
And the Chuck goes to: Troll 2!

In the category of Worst Screenplay...
Seemingly written by someone who spent their life in a dark basement on a steady diet of bad action movies and cheap skin-flicks with no exposure to what we might call "reality," the screenplay for Hell Squad is the year's most nonsensical. You can imagine the original copy, written in crayon, stained with cheeseburger grease and damp from spilled beer, being passed excitedly among the emotionally stunted chronic masturbators who produced this film. If you've ever wondered how many scenes of Vegas showgirls in a giant bathtub is too many, here is your answer.
And the Chuck goes to: Hell Squad!

In the category of Biggest "Huh!?!" Moment...
In a movie saturated with "huh!?!" moments, the climax of Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold took things into another dimension of badness. I can still recall sitting there, mouth agape, eyes staring, brain shutting down, as one of the most unbelievably ill-conceived sequences in film history sullied my t.v. set forever. Watch for yourself and you too will find yourself uttering a five-minute stream of "huh? What? But that's not... No, no, no... Huh?!? Wait a minute... How did... What!?!..."
And the Chuck goes to: Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold!

In the category of Worst Score...
A good score can really enhance a film, providing a sense of mood and adding to the emotional content in a subtle way. If a score is bad enough, however, it can undermine the intended mood and even distract from the action. This was definitely the case in Spacejacked. I can't think of another film whose music so completely disregards what is happening onscreen. You wouldn't hire Rammstein to score your tender and heartwarming coming-of-age film for the Lifetime Movie Network, and likewise, if you are producing an action-packed outer-space movie you should NOT hire your cousin's amateur jazz trio to do the music.
And the Chuck goes to: Spacejacked!

In the category of Most Revolting Screen Romance...
There was an all-you-can-eat buffet of repulsive romances in our films this year - one need only think of Vanilla Ice slobbering on his prim paramour in Cool as Ice to experience a shudder of nausea. The on-screen pairing that made my skin crawl more than any other, though, was that of the "Skinny Guy" and his reasonably attractive girlfriend in Dark Universe. When ol' Skeletor peels off his shirt to reveal his cadaverous ribcage and smirks as he makes flirty remarks to the poor woman acting opposite him, I could barely contain my bile. I know it's a bad movie and all, but they crossed the line with this one.
And the Chuck goes to: Dark Universe!

In the category of Best Bad Actor...
This award goes to the bad actor with the year's most memorable and/or entertaining performance. It seems only fitting that we award this Chuck to the man for whom the award was named. He had four brilliantly bad performances in our films this year, the most outstanding no doubt being his portrayal of swamp-dwelling badass Matt Hunter in Invasion U.S.A.. Of course, there was also his role in Forest Warrior, in which he performed brilliantly in both human and animal forms. He is truly a craftsman of the rough-hewn, action-movie hero.
And the Chuck goes to: Chuck Norris!

In the category of Best Bad Actress...
It was a bit harder to make the selection for this one. There were several bad actresses who turned in memorable performances this year. In the final analysis, the one that has stuck with me the most is Mary Beth Rubens, who played the over-sexed grease monkey Jill in Firebird 2015 A.D.. She brought a certain grubby eroticism to a role that could easily have been totally forgettable (much like the rest of the movie).
And the Chuck goes to: Mary Beth Rubens!

In the category of Worst Good Actor...
This award is the flip-side of Best Bad Actor, and is intended for the "reputable" actor with the most atrocious performance of the year. We can argue over the definition of "reputable," but I consider an actor who has worked in respectable films and is known to at least be capable of a decent performance qualified for this award. Admittedly, there weren't that many of these guys in our movies this year, but I feel I must punish James Earl Jones for his work in Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold. He's such a good actor - he should know better than to take roles like this. Umslopogaas is an even worse character than his Thulsa Doom from Conan the Barbarian, and you can tell he knows it. Shame, James Earl Jones, shame.
And the Chuck goes to: James Earl Jones!

In the category of Worst Good Actress...
To find the worst "reputable" actress of the year, we don't have to go far - she and James Earl Jones share the degradation in Allan Quatermain.... Sharon Stone, playing Quatermain's sidekick/girlfriend Jesse Huston, instantly begins to grate on the nerves. She seems to scream every line, either in terror or frustration depending on the situation. Stone can throw down a pretty good performance, but after this one it's surprising she ever got another chance.
And the Chuck goes to: Sharon Stone!

In the category of Worst Bad Picture...
You might think that this would be the hardest choice of all to make, but I have a simple litmus test in this category that made the decision relatively clear-cut. I asked myself which movie I would least want to see again, and one film stood out above all the rest. That film was Alien Warrior. As someone who actually likes bad movies, I can appreciate incompetence in filmmaking. Alien Warrior had plenty of incompetence, but its inner spirit - its "soul," if you will - was so malignant that I wanted to hose down my VCR after watching it. It was the one movie this year that I was actually kind of sorry I watched.
And the Chuck goes to: Alien Warrior!

In the category of Best Bad Picture...
On the other end of the spectrum, the film that I would be most likely to watch again was also easy to determine. With its wacky imagination, upbeat spirit, and sexy heroine, Star Crash was by far the most enjoyable film of the year. It could never be mistaken for a "good" movie, but it was so much fun that you can't help but love it. I feel sure I'll be watching this one many times in the years to come.
And the Chuck goes to: Star Crash!

In closing, I'd like to thank everyone for all the support I've gotten over the past twelve months. I always appreciate it when you let me know you're reading this stuff. In the new year, there will be a plethora of new bad movies, and I'll be adding more images to the reviews to help you faithful readers get a true sense of the badness. I also encourage all of you to get out there and watch some bad movies for yourselves. Pop the popcorn and let's all share the pain!

3 Comments:

At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Squid Girl said...

I think the Chuck Academy has made an error. In the category of Worst Good Actor, James Earl Jones may seem like the obvious choice. But whereas Jones' eyes registered embarrassed awareness as he backed slowly out of AQATLCOG, the elegant Christopher Plummer never seemed to notice that Star Crash was an awful movie. He delivered his lines in his trademark William-Shatner-With-Class murmur and looked nothing but happy and satisfied with his surroundings. Some say it was the drugs, but I say Plummer was simply deploying his one-time A-list acting skills. Climb Ev'ry Mountain, Chris - next year for sure!

 
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At 3:36 AM, Blogger Al-mamun said...

Who can talk about bad movies without having SLOANE (1984) as a reference point? Track it down and I promise you'll be happy you did. I've always wanted to know what another review would say, but no film critic will admit to having actually watched it . . .

 

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