2002’s Fifth Annual Mutant Awards

The 5th Annual Mutant Awards. Golly. Every year we nearly go insane counting up the votes and trying to think of pithy things to say, eventually throwing the computer monitor to the ground and saying several bad words. But it’s worth it, because no two years have been alike. We’re the snowflake of award shows. All new categories. Voted on by you (maybe not you, personally, but a you near you), the readers. And statistically guaranteed to make 73% of everyone mad that their choice didn’t win. This year we saw record-breaking numbers of votes, and it made for some rather interesting races. Join us now as we visit the winners, the near-winners, and everyone else who shall be deemed Loser.

What The Hell? Ending

This category is devoted to movies that delighted in bringing about twist endings to the plot, a la The Twilight Zone. Nominees ranged from really cool mind-bogglers, or a twist ending that just made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

It was a twist that made re-watching David Fincher’s dark Fight Club an absolute must… and the coolest part was that this twist wasn’t even the centerpiece of the film. What made this a winner was that the question “Who is Tyler Durden?” wasn’t just thrown in as a last-minute idea; the entire film was peppered with clues (particularly if you went frame-by-frame for a couple scenes) that led up to the climax. The voters obviously thought that this ending had most of them scratching their heads and going, “What the hell?”

But the runner-ups weren’t lacking in support either. Crime caper powerhouse The Usual Suspects immortalized the name Keyser Soze with its shocking ending. Planet of the Apes gathered a lot of votes, but probably because its ending made no sense whatsoever to anyone. And finally, that backwards flick Memento stunned the lucky viewers who saw it with a dark twist that came not at the end of the film — but the beginning.

Pint-Sized Power

Pint-Sized Power covered two types of actors: little people and children. Whose small stature brought in the knock-out blow in a film?

While we expected Austin Powers’ Mini-Me to take the sweeps, obviously the readers had another favorite in mind. Those odd orange munchkins of Willy Wonka, what with their freaky songs that gave us nightmares, stormed the Mutant Reviewers offices in a powerhouse that even we couldn’t deny. The Oompa Loompas are here, and we’re leaving.

Mel Brooks’ Yogurt from Spaceballs used the power of the Schwartz on voters to land in second place. We were happy to see Wednesday from both Addams Family movies place strongly, and Mini-Me from Austin Powers 2 didn’t fare too badly either.

Boo! Who? Villain

This category was dedicated to horror film bad guys that were a mite bit… underwhelming. Either not scary at all, or too over-the-top ridiculous to be considered frightening.

WOW. This was the most intense race we had this year, and it had us guessing until the last ballot on who would be crowned the winner. With over 50% of the votes going to one of two choices, it was clear that no other movie bad guy compared. But in the end, David Bowie’s over-made-up Goblin King from The Labyrinth took home the honors. He might have been scary, but his idea of being evil included babynapping and singing a bunch of boring songs… yawn!

South Park’s Satan is the other big mention, with a quarter of the voters throwing their weight behind the sentimental wimpy Prince of Darkness. Strange how both the first and second place winners had musical roles — hey, and the fourth place as well! To finish it out, third place went to that stabby Ghostface from Scream, followed by the Man-Eating Plant from Little Shop of Horrors.

Bad English

Me fail English? That’s unpossible! Not every screenwriter or actor is proficient in speaking, and here we present the most creative mangling of the English language.

Okay, no matter how weird the voting on the last category went, this is more bizarre. Folks, we get hundreds of votes for the AMA, and yet every year we have exact-vote ties in a couple categories. Highly unlikely, but in this category, we have a three-way tie. I can’t explain it. But two are Star Wars and one is Monty Python, so maybe that is a reason.

In any event, the award is split between Yoda sentence fragmenting (most notably in The Empire Strikes Back), the Monty Python and the Holy Grail DVD (which featured horribly translated Shakespearean and Japanese tracks), and Jar-Jar and various aliens and whatever they turned English into for The Phantom Menace. Which means our second/fourth place winner is poor Fenster from The Usual Suspects, who mumbled his way into our hearts before being buried in the sand to rot.

Creepiest Relationship

This wasn’t for “awww” love relationships; this was for “dude, that’s messed up!” relationships on film.

Finally, a clear and powerful leader! There was never any doubt, as the muddled and messed-up relationship in Being John Malkovich — which involved tones of mind control, lesbianism, and three-ways — took home top honors this year. In fact, this category had the largest majority of leading votes than any other category, over 18%!

Which is grosser: that Marky Mark fell in love with the monkey girl, or that she fell in love with him in Planet of the Apes? I’m not sure, but it landed second place as readers thought it mildly disturbing. The incestual relationship of The House of Yes got third, and Jabbaesque Dr. Moreau and his midget monkey assistant danced into fourth.

Rock-Bottom Living

We asked the voters to choose which movie scenario they would least want to live in. This might cover a wide variety of movie character settings, but they all tie in with a common thread – we just wouldn’t want to be them, live there or do that.

More terrifying than being the sole survivor on a planet invaded by acid-bleeding aliens, more horrible than having a demon invade your very soul, even MORE skin-crawlingly awful than having to work for Carrot Top was something many of us face on a daily basis: being trapped in corporate hell, a la Office Space. I can’t tell you how happy I am that Office Space won — this highly underrated film finally gets its dues!

Which isn’t to say that there were other bad film living scenarios. Nobody wanted to be the little girl possessed by Satan in The Exorcist, only suicidal deaf-mutes would even think of working for Carrot Top in Chairman of the Board, and a couple might just brave soloing it alone against the Aliens like Newt did.

Weird Nudity

Boobs, butts and knees – sometimes film goes overboard on giving us more naked flesh than is really necessary for the plot. Voters decided which film had the most gratuitous nude shot where none was needed.

Because gross nudity isn’t funny, just shocking, the Wayans brothers delivered more tasteless nude shots in Scary Movie than you could find anywhere else. Coming in second are Halle Berry’s nonsensical topless scene in Swordfish (and the voting on this was extremely close, with Scary Movie only topping it with a couple votes). Perhaps the funniest of the weird nudity was in There’s Something About Mary, as a perverted private detective accidentally spies on the chestal region of a 70-year old woman. In fourth place was the “haunted dreams for life” butt shot of Donald Sutherland walking around the house in Animal House.

Best Parody

The Best Parody category set out to elect a satire, farce or straight-out blatant parody of a film or film genre.

This was another category that had a primarily two-film race. Although they jockied for first and second, Mel Brook’s sci-fi spoof Spaceballs came away the clear victor. Harping largely on Star Wars for material, Spaceballs also lampooned everything from Star Trek to Aliens to Planet of the Apes. Good to know an eighties flick can still win the hearts of the masses.

Speaking of which, the late ’70s/early ’80s movie Airplane! garnered a respectable 27% of the votes, as many readers considered this the first and best of the parody genre. In a distant third was the spy spoof Austin Powers, and in an even distant…er fourth was the sly slasher satire Scream.

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