Drew: Welcome, dear readers! Grab some popcorn and a drink, pull up a seat, and get comfortable while we start the festivities. As hard as it may be to believe, it’s been a full decade since our noble patrons Justin and Kym set out on this crazy experiment called “Mutant Reviewers.” In that time we’ve seen movie stars marry and divorce, box office records broken and broken again, and the rise and meteoric fall of the Matrix franchise. But perhaps most important of all, during that time we’ve witnessed the growing acceptance of the indie film in modern society.
So without further ado, let’s get on with the show. We’ve got maybe our best selection of categories ever this year, presented by our usual cast of lunatics and ne’er-do-wells. Plus we’ve got not one but two Lifetime Achievement recipients, and to celebrate the ten years (God, has it been that long?) that this awards ceremony has been in existence, a reexamination of the greatest cult film of all time. So buckle your seatbelts, gang, and hold on to something, because this will be one to remember.
Abuse of Fantasy Creatures
Lissa: For a genre that has such potential to be creative and should be unhampered by rules, fantasy shames itself by consistently abusing the same old critters. Unicorns (a horse with a horn on its head. Whee). Elves (can we all stop ripping off Tolkien now?). Dragons (how can people make a flying, fire-breathing reptile lame? I’m not sure, but they manage.). Vampires (sex fiends in leather who drink blood. Ew.). Say what you like about The Dark Crystal, but at least they came up with some new critters for a change.
Nothing was as annoying as the Eruotrash vampires of Underworld, who won out with 29% of the vote. You know you’re doing something wrong when you make vampires boring, I suppose!
Most Unnecessary Remake
Mike: They’re superfluous, they’re gratuitous and they reek of Hollywood’s insatiable need to cash in on any franchise that does even a modest amount of business. Whether it be a ‘reimagining’ of a classic film that stands just fine on it’s own, or a misguided attempt to make a better movie than the original, the remake is a staple of modern cinema… no matter how much we wish it wasn’t.
And the winner is: Psycho 1998! Well, Vince Vaughn, it would appear that your flick has been distinguished as an exercise in extraneous futility. Take a bow!
Best Sequel Title
Justin: We have a tie! Out of 268 votes received, both Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly each garnered 21.4% of the votes. GBU’s name has entrenched itself into popular lore (I think Kyle uses that title to refer to his unmentionables), and JF2 is pure awesome. Not to mention that its title sounds suspiciously like the original name for this site, Revenge of the Mutant Reviewers From Hell VIII.
Best Training Montage
Drew: MONTAGE! Is there any other word that more stirs the blood, that better gives voice to the fire and passion of all that is good in each of us? The answer, of course, is no.
And thus it comes to pass that your duly elected greatest montage of all time is… the “Montage” song from Team America: World Police. It’s hard to argue with the people’s decision: for all that we tend to accept them without question, all movie montages are pretty much the same, and the immensely satirical self-deprecation of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s last movie really hammered that point home. It also illuminated one other valuable tip, that if you’re ever stuck for a catchy tune for your action movie parody, just reuse a song you created for your hit TV show, in this case the “Asspen” episode of South Park.
Rewriting History Award
Sue: Whether it be for dramatic effect, better storytelling or even just fun with props, Hollywood rewrites history more often than it gets liposuction. Yes, really that often.
Our very clear winner, with 21.4% of the vote was the (and I quote): “Highly accurate portrayal of life during the Middle Ages as presented in the Army of Darkness“. Wait, I don’t get it. You mean… it wasn’t really like that?
Biggest Little Person Award
Al: According to the Screen Actors Guild, no actor may be nominated more than once for any given category during each Academy Awards season. We here at the Mutant Reviewers From Hell humbly submit this as just one more reason that Hollywood can take a long walk off a short tree and get out of here. We nominated Warwick Davis THREE TIMES this year! Three! He, uh, didn’t actually win, but three darn times and he deserved each one of them.
With 23.8% of the vote, You have chosen our winner for The 2007 AMA Biggest Little Person Award: Kenny Baker, whose performances as R2D2 in all six of the Star Wars films imbued more feeling and character in a little silver trashcan than the entirety of Industrial Light and Magic managed to pump out in seven hours of prequel filmage. Stand tall, Kenny, and be recognized!
Worst Theme Song
Shalen: We’ve all heard a great theme song. The bad ones can be even harder to forget. They stick in your head and will not go away.
Apparently many of you readers out there also know the fascination of a song with a catchy tune and bad lyrics, because 44.4% of you voted for “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic as Worst Theme Song. I can only say I sympathize. It seemed like an OK song the first ten times I heard it, but then every radio station seemed to be playing it every five minutes for the next six months, and it wasn’t long before I would not have ruled out a tactical nuclear strike on Canada to prevent Celine Dion from releasing any more records, ever. No doubt many of you felt the same way.
Best Cult Film of All Time
Kyle: We the Mutants wanted to see just what you would answer if we held a ballot to your head and demanded “What’s the Best Cult Film of All Time?!?!”
As expected, things were kind of all over the place. But it wouldn’t be fun without confusion and intrigue, yes?
We gave you nine reasoned choices, with the unspoken admission that there are certainly many more potential films that could contend for such a prize (depending on which part of world and whose meeting place/basement you might find yourself in), although such a list might have destroyed your computer display. In return, you gave us results that were all over the place: reassuring us all that although there are a handful of films that might spring to mind as frontrunners there remains and will always be passionate (and hopefully polite) argument as long as movies last.
But when the spotlight turned on and the plaque came out, it went directly into the hands of Army of Darkness (25%). Is the zombies? The slapstick? The Bruce Campbell? All of the above and more? That’s where the debate comes in.
Cult Lifetime Achievement Award: Frank Oz
Lissa: I’m delighted to see Frank Oz get the Cult Lifetime Achievement Award this year, because a.) darn it, I’m glad someone I nominated finally got it! and b.) Frank has been with us since childhood – quite literally.
Most Americans of my generation knew Frank Oz from their earliest days (even if they didn’t know it) as the puppeteer that performed Bert, Cookie Monster, and Grover. Now, Sesame Street isn’t exactly cult, but Lord knows the Muppets have achieved true cult status, and Oz also performed Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Animal, Sam the Eagle, and the hands of my all-time favorite, the Swedish Chef. So many of us (well, at least in my generation) grew up with Frank Oz, and he inhabits some of our geekiest childhood memories.
However, furry monsters and sexually-charged pigs weren’t Frank Oz’s only puppets. Oh, no. Aside from the cult classics Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, we all know that Oz was the mastermind behind one of the greatest sci-fi mentors ever, Yoda. Granted, by the prequels he was just doing the voice (I think), but still. He’s Yoda. But even outside of puppets, Frank Oz has had an impact on the cult world, even if his offerings haven’t been as well received. He’s done voices for Pixar, appeared with the Blues Brothers, and works frequently with Steve Martin.
He’s directed, acted, produced, and written. But most of all, he’s introduced millions of children to memories that they geek out about in college, and there’s nothing more cult than that!
Cult Lifetime Achievement: Tom Savini
Justin: Some of you may not know who Tom Savini is, and others of you might crumple your foreheads at our decision to hand this award to a guy who’s specialized in gory makeup and effects. This should not sell him short! Only I can sell short these days!
Long before computer graphics made special effects a relative whiz in the park, Mr. Savini was pioneering some of the most incredible movie make-up effects with items as simple as latex, corn syrup and foam. He gained quite a bit of fame through his work in Friday the 13th (arrow through the throat, anyone?) and doing the makeup for Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, creating zombie looks that instantly became THE standard for the field. He’s also done a spot of acting in other cult films, such as Planet Terror.
I’m happy to give Tom Savini his due here on Mutant Reviewers because it’s often so easy to idiolize the directors and actors, without giving much credit to the “other” people who make the films happen: the scriptwriters, the composers and (yes) the effects artists. Mutant Reviewers loves zombies, and we love you, Tom!