This weekend, one movie divided America like no other. Though Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn’s film Drive finished a solid No. 3 at the box office, it seems audiences weren’t as enamored of this inaction thriller as critics (or the Cannes jury, which awarded Refn their Best Director prize). While Drive’s Tomatometer stands at 91 percent, its Cinemascore audience-approval rating is a dismal C-. (By way of comparison, even I Don’t Know How She Does It got a Cinemascore of B-.)
But which score matters more to the Razzies? Could Drive take audience disappointment on a fast ride to Razzie glory? Let’s take a closer look.
Moviefone’s MIke Ryan compared Drive to last year’s The American, another movie whose ad campaign promised a traditional action movie but which delivered something artier, slower — and, not incidentally, more critic-friendly. The American, with its D- Cinemascore and 66 percent Tomatometer, also tested American audiences’ tolerance for slow, European-flavored drama cloaked as familiar action fare; like Drive, a reasonable number of cinemagoers were sufficiently intrigued (or fooled) by the ad campaign to check out the film on its opening weekend, before poor word of mouth stopped the picture in its tracks.
So that means there was some chance of angry audiences pushing The American to Razzie nominations, and yet — zilch. The Bounty Hunter (B-), The Last Airbender (C), The Expendables (B+) — all these action-oriented movies received multiple nominations, despite their higher Cinemascores.
Let’s take a look at one of the most notorious such films (call them Art-House Surprises) in recent memory: Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris. Starring George Clooney, and with an ad campaign that promised a sci-fi romance, Solaris opened soft, and thanks to its CinemaScore of F (!), things went downhill from there. What a golden opportunity for the Razzies to honor a movie that aimed high but which audiences completely despised!
But nope: zero Razzie nominations, overshadowed by more traditionally “bad” movies like Daredevil and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Which just goes to show: Just as a movie needs to be the right kind of bad to win an Oscar, so too do you need to the right kind of bad to be nominated for a Razzie. The Razzies seem mostly immune to films that sacrifice populist appeal for artsy cachet; you’re better off betting on the big blockbusters or studio comedies that also happen to suck.
So what does that mean for the Razzies? It means Drive’s Razzie chances are dimmer than this guy’s eyesight after hanging out with Albert Brooks.
New This “Weak”
Abduction, on the other hand, has bright Razzie hopes! It’s a stupid-looking thriller, not screening for critics, with a star who’s already — at the tender age of 19 — been nominated for three Razzies. Mark it down as a contender in Worst Actor; depending on the reviews and the box office, Abduction could make some noise in Worst Picture as well.
On the “Bore”-izon
“The fetus isn’t compatible with your body!” Oh, man, the first Breaking Dawn trailer sure didn’t make us less excited for this Razzie powerhouse-in-the-making.
Dan Kois is a longtime Razzie guru. His signature cologne, The Scent of Failure, will be unveiled at a gala event at Ross Dress For Less, 3033 South Sepulveda Boulevard, on October 18.
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