A mostly pleasant surprise in a year that has produced a lack of stellar animated outings.
Can it possibly be that time again? Can 12 months have passed since the last ceremony? Are the crowds gathering, ready to boo and hiss and sit on their hands? Then let’s bring out the 15th annual Movie Disaster Awards! May I have the envelope, please? (The one marked “Postage Due.”)
Does anybody here remember these movies, all of which were released in 1984? “Reckless,” “Frightmare.” “Ice Pirates,” “Misunderstood,” “Purple Hearts,” “Alphabet City,” “Finders Keepers,” “They’re Playing with Fire,” “Flashpoint.”
An’ I would like to say thankshh to my bartender:
Four of the five 1984 Oscar nominees for best actor played drunks. The exception was Albert Finney, who is expected to be nominated again this year, for his performance as the drunk in “Under the Volcano.”
With directors like this, who needs friends?
Asked if Finney was actually drunk during some of his drunk scenes in “Under the Volcano,” director John Huston told a Cannes press conference, “No, he always waited until after the shooting was over to get drunk.”
The 1984 Pia Zadora Award is given in honor of the apocryphal story that Zadora once played the role of Anne Frank so badly that when the Nazis arrived, the audience shouted, “She’s upstairs!”
The funniest movie story of the year:
Unfortunately, it isn’t funny in print, only when you say it out loud. So sound it out and then tell it to a friend. The story: A foreign tourist walked up to a candy counter in a Loop theater, looked at the display, and asked, “How much are the Mmmmmmmmm’s?”
The Golden D’Or Award, given in honor of the film festival least likely to challenge the supremacy of Cannes:
To the first Insect Fear Film Festival, held in March at the University of Illinois, with cockroaches as special guest stars.
For this one, can we re-impose the import quotas?
The Japanese are remaking “Godzilla.”
Well, I’ll be a son of a Brown:
The Vazak you say!
Fired from “Greystoke,” Robert Towne changed his name on the screenplay to “P. H. Vazak.” Spelled backwards, it’s ka-zavhp!”
No wonder the porno boom is over:
In "Where the Boys Are" four college girls practice foreplay with an inflatable doll, which explodes during an experiment in nipple biting.
Some people could learn a lesson from Vazak and Brown:
The first Gene Shalit Prize, given to the television show that figures out the best way to avoid showing a film clip every time a movie star plugs a film:
To NBC’s “Late Night with David Letterman,” which often substitutes a clip of a scene in an obscure porno movie, showing anonymous actors making small talk around a barbecue grill.
Maybe he was just happy they finally got his order right:
Shirley MacLaine told the Oscar audience that she had wanted to work with Jack Nicholson ever since his chicken-salad scene in “Five Easy Pieces,” and now, she gushed, “to have him in bed with such middle-aged joy!”
Sometimes you can just push a guy too far:
After filming a documentary under fire in Nicaragua, famed German director Werner Herzog (who was honored in last year’s Disaster Awards for vowing “I would go down into hell itself and wrestle a film away from the devil, if necessary”) elaborated on his policy of non-violence: “If we had been directly attacked by bayonets, we would have shot back.”
Another promising youngster gets his start in Chicago before moving on to Tinseltown:
All kidding aside, was the year’s worst movie really “Dune”?
Well, yes and no: Yes, if you didn’t see “Windy City.”
Leave it to Arthur C. Clarke, father of the space satellite, to come up with the year’s best title for an unproduced “B” movie:
“Attack of the Killer Dentures.”
Sounds like a script for Dr. Ruth:
So much for the TV dinner:
Reviewing “Bolero” on Channel 2, Gene Siskel said that when Bo Derek licked honey off her lover’s body, it looked like snot.
Come on, Harry, lighten up! At least you’re working steady:
Harry Dean Stanton complained, “I am sick of playing trash, and negative characters, and heavies and killers and scum bags.”
With stars like these, who needs a movie?
She’s a real all-around actress. Versatile. She can play anything. Total Showmanship. No, really: a fantastic human being!
Would you say Shirley has the movie industry surrounded?
MacLaine thus appeared in 1983’s second-best picture, and 1984’s third-worst.
Some people don’t know how lucky they are:
Sting refused to give interviews about “Dune” because he was upset by how little time his character was on the screen.
How about "Sheena" meets "Bolero"?
It could have a great plot. Bo Derek falls in love with a man who rides a horse painted like a zebra, and Tanya Roberts plays a bullfighter who… oh, the hell with it.
A look at the work of John Williams outside of his greatest hits.
Stop watching movies made by assholes. It'll be OK.
A special edition of Thumbnails focusing on the women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...