Ask 411 Movies for 09.23.13: Getting Totally Razzied
Posted by Chad Webb on 09.23.2013
Will Breaking Bad have one the best series finales ever? Which show had the worst? How far in advance are the Razzie winners notified and are the trophies sent to every winner? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Movies!
An "Ask 411 Movies" column would be nothing without questions, so please toss them my way. Why should you ask me instead of using Google? Well, perhaps I'll tell you something you can't find there, or maybe you just like my conversation and soothing words. You can post any questions or thoughts below in the comments section, email me at email@example.com, or send me a tweet using the links below:
It was a busy week for me. I got a chance to watch a bunch of different films. The best of which was Short Term 12, which I urge everyone to see. Disconnect recently hit stores and that was very good. Behind the Candelabra has been sitting on my DVR for months. The wife and I finally watched that and enjoyed it. Great performances. I also saw Paranoia and Twixt, which I was not crazy about, along with Pawn Shop Chronicles, which had positive and negative points. I'll be writing about each of these soon on Letterboxd. Speaking of…
If you liked what you just read and want to know more about my movie tastes, check out my page on Letterboxd by clicking right here. Also, make sure to look at all the great articles and writers at 411, particularly in the Movie-zone because that's where I predominantly am, but all of the zones.
Here are some questions I have for you (BTW, I tend to accumulate my questions while reading your column so some questions might reference past ones)
About the Razzies, I know that some actors made appearances, like Sandra Bullock and Halle Berry. When an actor decides to make an appearance, do the Razzies producers get notified or how long in advance? Or as it ever happened that they were really surprised by the actor?
What about the trophies? I'm guessing that the producers do not send the trophies to the winners and must keep them? Have you ever heard of someone requesting to receive their trophy after they learned they won?
Now, here are some questions about the cooking shows/competitions. I learned that on Iron Chef America, the chefs learn about the mystery ingredient and have about 45 minutes (I think) to start thinking about the meals before the actual competition starts? Any truth on that? Is this the same with every cooking competition like Chopped, Masterchef, etc?
Also, how do they keep the food hot and fresh when the judges are tasting? Do they just remake the dish? Sometimes it seems to take a long time between tasting.
How do the judges manage to eat that much? I know some people can eat a lot, but sometimes I see some judges finishing almost every plate. It seems to be a lot of food.
Last subject, Canadian networks. This one might be a tough. Here in Canada, we have access to all 4 major networks with the same shows and everything, but we also have our own networks. For example, in Quebec we have CTV and Global. My question is about their content.
Both channels have shows from different US networks. For example, on Sundays, we get Fox animation and on Mondays we have Under the dome (a CBS show). How does this work? Do each show sells individually or does the network take care of that? Do networks sell packages ie both NCIS with another show to promote it? Maybe our own networks contact each US network for a specific show they want?
A: Ok, I'm going to divide your questions into three sections as it will make it easier to tackle them that way. Some of these answers require lengthy responses, so readers will have to forgive me if I refer to links to avoid rambling.
1) These questions were not easy to answer, and it resulted in a 1st for Ask 411 Movies. I got the answers directly from Head Razzberry himself, the creator of the Razzie Awards, John Wilson (via phone by the way). My regular research wasn't cutting it, so I emailed John and he was more than happy to oblige. Before I go any further, here is a bit of background on the Golden Raspberry Awards:
These awards are presented in recognition of the worst in film for a given year. The annual ceremony was founded by copywriter and publicist John Wilson in 1980. The ceremony is held in Los Angeles and precedes the Academy Awards by one day. The term raspberry stems from the action of "blowing a raspberry." The award consists of a golf-ball sized raspberry sitting atop of a Super 8 mm film reel.
According to John, they try to let the person know as much ahead of time as possible, but few winners respond. The general reactions to the Razzie Awards are extreme hatred or loving them. On occasion, there will be indicators as to who will win. For instance, if one person receives many more votes than the other just to get nominated, chances are they or that title will emerge victorious (or you might say the loser). What will happen is that someone will reach out to that performer's agent, manager, publicist, etc to determine if they would be interested in attending. Mr. Wilson and his staff make sure it's understood that if the winner will be angry and pissed off with their speech, or just embarrassed, that it might not make sense for them to show up. If they're going to be cool about it, they are more than welcome.
As far as being surprised by an actor, there have been some instances where the awarded party notifies them at the last minute, but none that popped up totally out of the blue. For example, Halle Berry and her entourage informed them that she would attend within the last 24 hours prior to the ceremony. Apparently Halle Berry was extremely nice and her appearance resulted with a great clip that I'm sure many of you have seen. John did say that director Paul Verhoeven was literally a last-minute notification. He was there to accept the award for Worst Director for Showgirls. John provided a lot of fascinating stories, one of which involved Sandra Bullock, who made it clear during interviews before the winners for that year were announced that if she won both she would definitely attend. The fact that Bullock made this known to the public could have possibly skewed the voting according to John. I can safely say that Bullock did indeed deserve the Razzie that year for All About Steve no matter what. She was terrific in The Blind Side, but All About Steve was my #1 worst for 2009.
As far as the awards/trophies are concerned, they are not sent to every winner. Basically, for each ceremony approximately a dozen or so are kept on hand. If an actor, writer, director plans on attending and wants one, an engraving will completed. If not, they are stored for use another year. John added that they aren't exactly the easiest things to have made. He also stated that not many actors have requested an award after the ceremony. The people who usually do are creative crew members such as writers and directors or people along those lines. Famously however, Bill Cosby was the first to accept his award. He was not at an official ceremony, but he did accept them on a Fox late night show. He said he would only take them (he won 3 for Leonard Part 6) if the awards were made out of 24-karat gold and Italian marble. So that occurred, at a price of around $30,000, and he eventually showed them off on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. FYI, Verhoeven was the first to show up in person at the ceremony to accept his award. He initially was unsure of how warmly he'd be received, but was soon assured that John and the Razzie committee would love to have him.
The best story John told me was of Ben Affleck. In 2003, Affleck won two Razzie awards. One was for his combined performances in Daredevil, Paycheck, and Gigli, while the other was for Worst Screen Couple for himself and Jennifer Lopez for GIgli again. At one point, Affleck said he would be interested in attending if he won and initially seemed okay with the idea. John Wilson sent word through Affleck's publicist that if he did feel that way they would love to have him there. But the publicist never notified Affleck of this message and if I recall correctly, once he was announced as the winner, his tune changed. Affleck then criticized the Razzies and said that they didn't invite him or want him there. As it turned out, Affleck was at an interview on Larry King Live and John sent his Razzie to the show for King to present to him. When it was opened, the award was unfortunately broken. Affleck called it a "hunk of junk" and that was that. The award later was placed on Ebay and garnered a significant amount of money.
I want to thank John Wilson for taking the time out of his schedule to speak with me and answer these questions. I sincerely appreciate it and had a fabulous conversation.
If you want to watch any YouTube videos of Razzie Awards, check out their channel by clicking here.
If you want to visit the official Razzie website, click here.
2) Iron Chef America: The Series is an American cooking show based on Fuji Television's Iron Chef, and is the second American adaptation of the series, following the failed Iron Chef USA. The show is produced by Food Network. In each episode, a new challenger chef competes against one of the resident "Iron Chefs" in a one-hour cooking competition based on a secret ingredient or ingredients, and sometimes theme.
I'll address two of the cooking shows you mentioned. Before I get to that, as a general rule of thumb, reality television isn't reality. I can't say for a certainty that all "reality" show are the same, but most of them are indeed scripted and the contestants, people, characters are aware of many aspects beforehand. If the show is trying to convince you that it is 100% genuine, chances are it's not. There have been numerous cases of people going on record after the fact and revealing the secrets of how these shows are handled.
First we have Iron Chef. The secrets behind this series were uncovered in a 2008 report from Nightline. The secret ingredient is not secret. The chefs have been told it's one of three possible things. This is done so the show can buy the pantry items the chefs will need. But it also means that they can practice beforehand and when they do see the pantry items, they immediately know what the secret ingredient is. Unfortunately for fans, this means that the contestants then turn into actors, which kind of contradicts the label of "reality TV" doesn't it? Here is a link to an article on all the secrets behind Iron Chef. To read this interesting piece, click here.
Chopped is an American reality based cooking television series created by Michael Krupat, Executive Produced by Linda Lea, and hosted by Ted Allen that pits four chefs against each other competing for a chance to win $10,000. New episodes air every Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET on Food Network.
As for Chopped, it's not nearly as fake from what I found. Host Ted Allen answered any and all questions if you click here. I will sum up some of the answers that apply to your questions though. These contestants/chefs do not know what is in the basket beforehand. The judges and Mr. Allen do, but the cameras are put right in their faces so the genuine reactions can be observed. In terms of how long the food stays hot, well it doesn't. The judges have to get used to the fact that they will be eating cold food sometimes. The way they try to do it on Chopped is that when the dishes are finished, the judges will get up and go over to taste the stuff that is hot. Because these are experts, they know how to rate the food despite how hot or cold it is and the contestants are told that they will not be penalized. Nevertheless, Ted Allen says they are always worried about it.
So it's not the same with every show. As far as how they eat that much, I don't think it is consistent with every dish and every episode. If something is particularly good, they might eat it all. I notice on Chopped (my wife watches it so by extension I do as well) that sometimes they do indeed keep eating, while other times they don't. I guess if you're a food critic you get accustomed to eating a lot. Otherwise why enter that profession? In the case of Chopped, Ted Allen occasionally eats some of the dishes too. And btw, by all accounts, Masterchef is as artificial as Iron Chef.
Below you can see the first of a 5-part series on food critics. Great stuff. Thanks to Erik Luers for sending it my way:
3) The questions on US television content in Canada could be a bit more complicated to answer, or easier depending on your perspective. The easy response is that Canadian networks like CTV or Global must purchase the rights to each individual show. I doubt that the networks offer packages at a discount or something like that, but it's possible. The only people that would know that are the employees involved in the negotiations. The Canadian networks would have to contact whoever owns the rights of the shows in order to obtain them. In the case of Under the Dome, it would be CBS. The same goes for the others.
Two related topics that you might be interested in. If a non-Canadian channel wishes to broadcast in Canada it must first listed by the CRTC on the listed as authorized on the "List of non-Canadian programming services authorized for distribution." Cable and satellite companies are only allowed to carry the foreign services that are contained in the list.
You mentioned more current shows in your questions, but if we get into older shows and the subject of syndication, the discussion becomes increasingly complex. For all the information on syndication that you can fathom, click here. For a Yahoo Answers thread you might like to read, click here.
Q: With the failure of "Lone Ranger" this year and "John Carter" last year, do you think that there are characters/concepts/ideas that are simply too outdated to succeed today, or can anything be revived with a little revamp?
A: By "failure," I'm assuming you just mean from a financial standpoint. I actually thought John Carter was enjoyable to a degree. The Lone Ranger bombed in every manner possible. I do think that character leans more toward the "outdated" concepts for sure, but I think many books, characters, or ideas just need the right director and cast. I think a filmmaker exists that could turn The Lone Ranger into an entertaining effort, but Gore Verbinski wanted it to be Pirates of the Caribbean Version 2.0. On a side note, we did discuss Buck Rogers being outdated in a previous issue.
This sort-of goes along with your question, but in general, if it is a game, whether that be a video game or a board game, it should not be made into a movie. I'm not saying that the perfect game adaptation will never happen, but I think they make crappy movie ideas. Obviously there are many outdated games that would fit these criteria: Monopoly, Candy Land, etc. Yes, believe it or not, Milton Bradley sold the rights to most, if not all of its games and several of them have been in developmental hell for years. But to reiterate, many ideas or characters that seem too hokey or old-fashioned (possibly even games), could be resurrected by someone who knows what they're doing, has respect for the property, and turns it into gold. I'd be hard-pressed to conjure specific things, but I would say that there are plenty of western shows and characters, similar to The Lone Ranger, that are either outdated or would be too awkward to adapt for today's audiences.
The problem is, studios often try to modernize westerns and heighten the action because they think viewers will be bored with the surroundings and the traits of the universe. In order to make a Bonanza movie, or :insert western show: here, you'd have to hire a director that could make it work. Could that happen? Sure, but it's not likely in most cases, which is why you don't see many westerns from year to year now.
Q: Lastly, what is the most underrated movie or tv show? A movie in your personal opinion that should be considered a classic. You can say the same about actors or directors.
A: Just as a reminder, I haven't forgotten about this, but I want to make sure I give you proper lists, so check back next week!
Q: 1) With the end of Breaking Bad and Futurama, what are the greatest TV shows with the best series finales? What are the greatest TV shows with the worst series finales?
For me the worst series finale is I love Lucy. You have an iconic TV show and the show is turned into the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour and that show ends because the 2 can't stand each other anymore. Thus, they had 2 opportunities to truly end the show right and it never had a proper series finale. Ditto for All in the Family which turned into Archie Bunker's Place (which was cancelled abruptly).
2) On the same train of thought, why do so many classic TV shows have bad finales? Seinfeld, Roseanne, St Elsewhere, Sopranos, just to name a few. None of those were unexpected cancellations. I can remember more horrible finales than great ones.
A: I agree that it feels like many series finales have been disappointing. Just how it stacks up in terms of acclaimed finales vs. panned ones is a study for someone else to dive into. In my opinion, the risk if disappointment for finales increases because there is so much pressure on the show to deliver. We need to face facts, not every creator/writer is capable of exceeding expectations when it comes to concluding a TV series. On the same note, perhaps they just don't know how to properly close it off. I'm sure it's a difficult task in most circumstances. In others, I have no doubt that the writers could have thought of numerous ways to end certain shows and just dropped the ball. You never know.
I will say that the finale of Futurama was quite beautiful, and one of the best in recent memory. I also have faith Vince Gilligan will not let us down with Breaking Bad. As far as some of the bad finales you listed, it should be noted that this is a subjective argument. Initially, many fans reacted harshly to the series finale of The Sopranos, but that has since died down a bit and it now appears on many lists of the best finales. Personally, it didn't bother me like it did with others. I'm wouldn't put it on my "Greatest Finales" list, but I didn't hate it either. I want to watch it all again soon. Entertainment Weekly actually had Seinfeld and St. Elsewhere on their "Best" lists. Check that out by clicking here.
The list below is not strictly comprised of my opinion. Basically I mixed some generally accepted "best" and "worst" finales with a couple that I liked. As usual, these are in no particular order.
*Generally regarded as one of the best series finales of all-time is Newhart. Newhart is an American television situation comedy starring comedian Bob Newhart and actress Mary Frann as an author and wife who owned and operated an inn located in a small, rural Vermont town that was home to many eccentric characters. The show aired on the CBS network from October 25, 1982 to May 21, 1990. In the series finale, Bob Newhart is seen playing the role of Bob Hartley from The Bob Newhart Show and wakes up next to Suzanne Pleshette (his wife from that series). It is revealed that Dick Loudon's entire existence was a dream of Bob Hartley.
*Another acclaimed finale is The Fugitive. The Fugitive is an American drama series created by Roy Huggins and produced by QM Productions and United Artists Televisionthat aired on ABC from 1963 to 1967. David Janssen stars as Richard Kimble, a doctor who is falsely convicted of his wife's murder and given the death penalty. En route to death row, Kimble's train derails and crashes, allowing him to escape and begin a cross-country search for the real killer, a "one-armed man" (played by Bill Raisch). At the same time, Dr. Kimble is hounded by the authorities, most notably dogged by Police Lieutenant Philip Gerard (Barry Morse).
*Yet another that is commonly roped along with the better finales in history is that of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (also known simply by the name of the show's star, Mary Tyler Moore) is an American television sitcom created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns that aired on CBS from 1970 to 1977. The program was a television breakthrough, with the first never-married, independent career woman as the central character: "As Mary Richards, a single woman in her thirties, Moore presented a character different from other single TV women of the time. She was not widowed or divorced or seeking a man to support her." In the end, the news station manager takes action for the low ratings and fires everyone, except Ted Baxter, the person likely most responsible for the low ratings. Eventually there is a group hug with all the central characters and they shuffle together to grab a box of tissues.
*One that I definitely agree with is The Wire. The Wire is an American television crime drama series set and produced in and around Baltimore, Maryland. Created and primarily written by author and former police reporter David Simon, the series was broadcast by the premium cable network HBO in the United States. The Wire premiered on June 2, 2002, and ended on March 9, 2008, comprising 60 episodes over five seasons. Each season of The Wire introduces a different facet of the city of Baltimore. In chronological order they are: the illegal drug trade, the seaport system, the city government and bureaucracy, the school system, and the print news media. A lot happens in this final, but the best parts involve McNulty of course. Here is a scene from that episode:
*One that rarely gets discussed, whether it be on a best or worst list is The Wonder Years. It remains my favorite show and its finale was bittersweet but amazing in my eyes. The Wonder Years is an American television comedy-drama created by Neal Marlens and Carol Black. It ran on ABC from 1988 through 1993. The pilot aired on January 31, 1988, following ABC's coverage of Super Bowl XXII. The show achieved a spot in the Nielsen Top Thirty for four of its six seasons. TV Guide named the show one of the 20 best of the 1980s. After only six episodes aired, The Wonder Years won an Emmy for best comedy series in 1988. In addition, at age 13,Fred Savage became the youngest actor ever nominated as Outstanding Lead Actor for a Comedy Series. The series depicts the social and family life of a boy (Kevin Arnold) in a typical American suburb from 1968 to 1973, covering his ages of 12 through 17. Each fictional year in the series takes place exactly twenty years before airing (1988 to 1993). Again, a great deal happens in this finale, but here are the final moments:
*Roseanne is an American sitcom that was broadcast on ABC from October 18, 1988, to May 20, 1997. Starring Roseanne Barr, the show revolved around the Conners, an Illinois working-class family. The series reached #1 in the Nielsen ratings becoming the most watched television show in the United States from 1989 to 1990, and remained in the top four for six of its nine seasons, and in the top twenty for eight seasons. In the end, it is revealed that the entire series is actually a story written by Roseanne Connor about her life. She twisted major elements of her life for the story, which the audience did not find out until the finale. It was odd and dumb.
*I will preface this by saying I have not watched the following show, but it is listed with the worst series finales on many websites, so I will put it here. Hopefully Ben Piper does not decide to hunt me down. Lost is an American television series that originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, over six seasons. Lost is a drama series containing elements of science fiction and the supernatural that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean. The story is told in a heavily serialized manner. Episodes typically feature a primary storyline on the island, as well as a secondary storyline from another point in a character's life. Lost was created by Jeffrey Lieber, J. J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof. I know that there is much debate on what actually happened at the end, so I won't elaborate, but to read a summary of it, click here.
*Dinosaurs is an American family sitcom that was originally broadcast on ABC from April 26, 1991 to July 20, 1994. The show, about a family of anthropomorphic dinosaurs (portrayed by puppets), was produced by Michael Jacobs Productions and Jim Henson Productions in association with Walt Disney Television and distributed by Buena Vista International, Inc. The show utilized voice actors for the characters, which are performed by different actors and puppeteers. In the series finale, everyone basically dies due to the Ice Age, or at least that is what is implied. If I recall, most, if not all that goes down is a result of Earl's actions. Yay.
*Little House on the Prairie is an American Western drama television series, starring Michael Landon, Melissa Gilbert, and Karen Grassle, about a family living on a farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in the 1870s and 1880s. The show is an adaptation of Laura Ingalls Wilder's best-selling series of Little House books. Television producer and NBC executive Ed Friendly became aware of the story in the early 1970s. He asked Michael Landon to direct the pilot movie, who agreed on the condition that he could also play Charles Ingalls. In the series finale, a developer buys the town of Walnut Grove, so the people revolt against him by blowing up their own homes. One of the biggest "WTF?" moments.
*This is one not everyone will agree with, but I'm putting it here anyway. Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998. It lasted nine seasons, and is now in syndication. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself. Set predominantly in an apartment block in Manhattan's Upper West Side in New York City, the show features a handful of Jerry's friends and acquaintances, particularly best friend George Costanza (Jason Alexander), former girlfriend Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and neighbor across the hall Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards). If this were just a random retrospective episode, I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it, but as a send-off, this was bizarre, not very funny, and didn't exactly leave the best taste in our mouth.
"The plural of Chad is Chad?"
--From the movie Recount