Breaking down the 2018 Golden Razzie nominations

WSS contributor Jack Harris offers his thoughts on this year’s Golden Razzies, an awards show that recognizes the worst films of the past year.

Every year the Oscars nominations roll around to recognize the “best” movies of the year. For the past 39 years, however, there has been another awards show that recognizes significant films of the past year, on the very same night no less. This awards show, known as the “Razzies,” exists to acknowledge the worst films of the past year. This year there are nine categories. I’ll be breaking down seven of them and talking about some movies that aren’t getting enough hatred.

First up would be the biggest “award” of the night: Worst Picture. The nominees are:


“The Happytime Murders”

“Holmes & Watson”

“Robin Hood”


“Gotti” is the clear favorite in this category. The movie is a biopic about the gangster of the same name and stars John Travolta of all people in the leading role. “Gotti” is by far the worst-reviewed movie of the year and was actually supposed to come out in 2017, but was delayed because of how bad the initial reception was. “The Happytime Murders” is a hard R “comedy” about someone who starts killing puppets in an alternate Hollywood where they are actual actors. The movie was sued by some of the creators of “Sesame Street” because of how vulgar it was and how it might taint how people see the puppets on that show.

“Holmes and Watson” is a buddy comedy movie starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as the famous duo. The movie initially had some hype because of other work the two stars have done together, mainly “Talladega Nights” and “Step Brothers.” The movie was panned for being incomprehensibly stupid and unfunny and had people walking out only 15 minutes in. The only humor in the entire movie was boring and mundane slapstick and uncomfortable sexual innuendos.

“Robin Hood” was just another big-budget retelling of the famous tale starring Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx. This movie just sort of came and went, garnering bad reviews and little money at the box office; it was surprising to see it get this much distinction from the Razzies.

The final nomination was for “Winchester,” a movie about a haunted mansion and “based on real life.”  This movie was most hated on for its terrible script, incompetent directing and absolute waste of the incredibly talented Helen Mirren.

A few movies that I would have wished to be included would have been trash heaps such as “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Cloverfield Paradox,” “Fifty Shades Freed,” “Death of a Nation,” “Death Wish,” “Show Dogs,” “Action Point,” “Truth or Dare” and “Slender Man.”

All in all, I would have it something like this:

“Gotti”- Winner

“Holmes and Watson”

“Slender Man”

“The Happytime Murders”

“Death of a Nation”

“Slender Man” and “Death of a Nation” were just too insulting to audiences to not include, one being about an online story and the other an insulting propaganda piece that stoops low enough to compare Barack Obama to Hitler.


The nominees for Worst Leading Actress are:

Jennifer Garner / “Peppermint”

Amber Heard / “London Fields”

Melissa McCarthy / “The Happytime Murders” and “Life of the Party”

Helen Mirren / “Winchester”

Amanda Seyfried / “The Clapper”

Jennifer Garner is bound to have some bad performances when she is in so many movies. Amber Heard can be a talented actress but her performance in “London Fields” is truly awful. She doesn’t show any emotion and has the exact same facial expression throughout the entire movie. Her body language in every scene in the movie is just telling the audience that she just wants to get the scene done and get her paycheck. Melissa McCarthy deserves her nomination for “The Happytime Murders,” but she wasn’t half terrible in “Life of the Party.” Someone like Amy Schumer for “I Feel Pretty” should have been nominated. Helen Mirren deserves better than to be nominated for a Razzie no matter what. Amanda Seyfried just gives a run-of-the-mill bad performance in “The Clapper.”

With some proper changes the nominees should have looked more like this:

Melissa McCarthy / “The Happytime Murders”- Winner

Amber Heard / “London Fields”

Jennifer Garner / “Peppermint”

Dakota Johnson / “Fifty Shades Freed”

Amandla Stenberg / “The Darkest Minds”

Amy Schumer / “I Feel Pretty”

Amandla Stenberg has proven herself to be a competent actor with good performances in “The Hunger Games” and “The Hate U Give,” however in “The Darkest Minds,” she acts completely bored and uninterested. Dakota Johnson being nominated for “Fifty Shades Freed” is only fitting after the series finally concluded. (She’s a good actress though. Check out “Suspiria (2018)” and “Bad Times at the El Royale.”)


The Nominees for Worst Leading Actor are:

Johnny Depp (Voice Only) / “Sherlock Gnomes”

Will Ferrell / “Holmes & Watson”

John Travolta / “Gotti”

Donald J. Trump (As Himself) / “Death of a Nation” and “Fahrenheit 11/9”

Bruce Willis / “Death Wish”

This is a very “strong” group of competitors. “Death Wish” deserves the nomination for how bad it was, and Will Ferrell might have given the worst performance of his career in “Holmes and Watson.” On the subject of Sherlock Holmes, Johnny Depp was nominated for “Sherlock Gnomes,” and him winning might be funnier than anything in either Sherlock Holmes movies. John Travolta deserves to win and probably will. I do object to Trump being nominated though. All that happened was two documentaries coming out that used footage of him, and I just don’t think that is enough to get him nominated. But being unqualified hasn’t stopped him before. He’ll probably win the Razzie. Despite that, he’s clearly shown he doesn’t need people to vote for him to win.

I would make one change to the nominations; it would be this:

John Travolta / “Gotti” – Winner

Johnny Depp (Voice Only) / “Sherlock Gnomes”

Will Ferrell / “Holmes & Watson”

Jamie Dornan / “Fifty Shades Freed”

Bruce Willis / “Death Wish”

I thought about the actors in the movie “15:17 to Paris” but decided against it due to the fact that none of them are professional actors, and the failure was on Clint Eastwood as a director for not casting actual actors or giving better direction to them. Jamie Dornan is a professional actor, however, and managed to give a performance even worse than in either of the previous installments of the “50 shades” franchise. Unlike Dakota Johnson, he isn’t even a good actor in other properties.


The nominees for Worst Supporting Actor Are:

Jamie Foxx / “Robin Hood”

Ludacris (Voice Only) / “Show Dogs”

Joel McHale / “The Happytime Murders”

John C. Reilly / “Holmes & Watson”

Justice Smith / “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

Jamie Foxx is a talented actor (“Django Unchained” and “Baby Driver”) who is in a lot of terrible movies (“Sleepless” and “White House Down”) and it only figures that he’d get a Razzie nomination eventually. His performance was boring and forgettable. Ludacris is not an actor, which likely helped him deliver such a bad performance. Joel McHale had an even worse performance than Melissa McCarthy in “The Happytime Murders.” John C. Reilly is a very talented actor (see “Stan and Ollie” and “The Sisters Brothers”) and his performance in “Holmes and Watson” was significantly better than Will Ferrell’s simply because he didn’t scream every line. Justice Smith was incredibly forgettable in the latest “Jurassic World” installment, and his line delivery was always a bit off.

There is one major change that needs to be made this year:

Deric McCabe / “A Wrinkle In Time”- Winner

Jamie Foxx / “Robin Hood”

Ludacris (Voice Only) / “Show Dogs”

Joel McHale / “The Happytime Murders”

Justice Smith / “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

Normally I would be against nominating a child actor because there are so many bad child actors, but I make an exception this time. Deric McCabe, who plays Charles Wallace in “A Wrinkle in Time,” should have been nominated simply because this is the worst performance I have ever seen in a professionally-made movie. The writing does not help him, but in every single scene Wallace is in, he is the absolute worst thing ever. His delivery is always off and his acting is very hammy. He always talks like he is on a children’s TV show where they talk to the audience. McCabe also fails to convey any emotion besides annoyance.


The Nominees for Worst Supporting Actress are:

Kellyanne Conway (As Herself) / “Fahrenheit 11/9”

Marcia Harden / “Fifty Shades Freed”

Kelly Preston / “Gotti”

Jaz Sinclair / “Slender Man”

Melania Trump (As Herself) / “Fahrenheit 11/9”

Marcia Harden probably gives the worst performance among a plethora of terrible ones. Kelly Preston seems like she knew she was staring hot garbage in “Gotti” and doesn’t ever really try. Jaz Sinclair is in “Slender Man.” I don’t really need to say much more other than that. I feel the same way about Kellyanne Conway and Melania Trump as I do for Donald Trump. They’re not really giving performances, unless you count Melania pretending to love her husband. Otherwise, I don’t think they really count.

The two I would swap them out for would be:

Reese Witherspoon / “A Wrinkle in Time”

Marcia Harden / “Fifty Shades Freed”

Kelly Preston / “Gotti”

Jaz Sinclair / “Slender Man”

Bonnie Aarons / “The Nun”

Reese Witherspoon gives us easily the worst performance of her career, one that is extremely unsettling and annoying at the same time. All of her line delivery is off and she makes the same facial expression throughout the entire movie. Bonnie Aarons was trying to give a performance that would scare audiences but instead just made them laugh uncomfortably at how terrible it was; audiences asked themselves why they paid actual money to watch the movie.


The nominees for Worst Director are:

Etan Cohen / “Holmes & Watson”

Kevin Connolly / “Gotti”

James Foley / “Fifty Shades Freed”

Brian Henson / “The Happytime Murders”

Michael and Peter Spierig / “Winchester”

Etan Cohen has made a career by having a name very close to one of the greatest directors of all time, Ethan Coen, and does possibly his worst job as a director since “The Garfield Movie.” Kevin Connolly is a horrible director and it shows in this movie, while not the worst part of the movie, it could not be said that the directing is good. James Foley does a terrible job in “Fifty Shades Freed” but does slightly better than in “Fifty Shades Darker,” so for now he gets a pass. Brian Henson is the worst when it comes to his ability to direct actors. In “The Happytime Murders” it feels like the actors and puppeteers would give better performances if he wasn’t doing any directing at all. The Spierig brothers are in a league of their own this year. They practically ruin this entire movie just through their directing and complete lack of knowledge in filmmaking. The Spierig brothers should win this award unanimously from the voters. I would really make no changes to this; I think the Razzies got it completely right.


The nominees for Worst Screenplay are:

“Death of a Nation” / Written by Dinesh D’Souza and Bruce Schooley

“Fifty Shades Freed” / Screenplay by Niall Leonard, from “The Novel” by E.L. James

“Gotti” / Screenplay by Leo Rossi and Lem Dobbs

“The Happytime Murders” / Screenplay by Todd Berger, Story by Berger and Dee Austin Robinson

“Winchester” / Written by Tom Vaughan and The Spierig Brothers

“Death of a Nation” is just a propaganda piece from a terrible filmmaker. It is a documentary that intentionally lies and bends the truth constantly, making how bad the movie is less impressive. “Fifty Shades Freed” is a horrible conclusion in a horrible series of movies. The script is adapted from a terrible book, so it just isn’t as impressively bad as some of the other nominees. “Gotti” is based on a real person and a real series of events, making it unbelievable how incohesive the scenes are. Nothing is really in order and none of the scenes are understandable. The characters never go through any development, either. “The Happytime Murders” has an interesting concept. It’s a hard R version of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” but with puppets. The screenwriters mess this movie up in gigantic ways. They make every scene excruciatingly uncomfortable and every line of dialogue feels weird and unnatural. “Winchester” is mostly ruined by the script. Every single character is one dimensional and boring. The lines of dialogue make the characters even worse because they are all cliche and boring, giving the characters zero personality.

The nominees for Worst Screenplay should have been:

“Gotti” / Screenplay by Leo Rossi and Lem Dobbs – Winner

“Slender Man” / David Burke, based on a character by Victor Surge

“The Nun” / Gary Dauberman and James Wan

“The Happytime Murders” / Screenplay by Todd Berger, Story by Berger and Dee Austin Robinson

“Winchester” / Written by Tom Vaughan and The Spierig Brothers

“Slender Man” is amazingly lazy, insultingly stupid and ridiculously tone-deaf. The movie relies completely on jump scares over atmosphere and actual terror. The explanations for the story and the characters actions are idiotic and unoriginal. The movie has no memorable characters and because viewers care about the characters so little they are never actually scared for them and therefore are never actually scared themselves. “The Nun” is completely nonsensical and fails on all levels of a horror movie. None of the characters are ever fleshed out or interesting. The dialogue is all horrendous, and the actual story is forced and nonsensical. This film fails even more when it comes to horror. Every single scare in this movie is just a jump scare, even in the advertising all that was shown is the main jump scare that gets repeated several times throughout the movie.

Overall this was a pretty competitive year for the Razzies in many categories, but all-in-all it seems like “Gotti” is the favorite to “win” the night. Unfortunately, “Gotti” isn’t nominated to take the record for most Razzies by a single film, which is currently held by “Jack and Jill,” with an unbreakable 12 wins back when the show still had that many categories. Some films got too much hate, some films didn’t get enough, but in the end I’m just hoping Melissa McCarthy can win an Oscar and a Razzie in the same year.