Blonde bombshell Olivia Newton-John twirls and whirls around after her wonderful success with Grease, roller skates on and magical, mystical beings appear – okay, you get the picture. Now, as you know, John J.B. Wilson started the Golden Raspberry Awards in 1981, a year after this film was released. But the kicker is, this was the film that inspired it all!
Following an excruciating back-to-back viewing of Xanadu and Can’t Stop the Music, that was when Wilson knew he needed to create the dis-honorary Razzie awards. So, we suppose we should thank Olivia Newton-John for being part of a film that set the wheels in motion for a rather unceremonious awards ceremony.
1983: The Lonely Lady
Winning the Golden Raspberry for 1983, this is a disastrous film about the unraveling of a screenwriter’s starred career, revealing the truth of how she reached the peak of her fame during an awards ceremony. Some have gone as far to say that it is the “worst film of all time”– the film poster, for example, shows a naked couple during an intimate scene, with the caption “from the sensual world of Harold Robbins comes the story of a woman’s struggle for fame in Hollywood.”
There are so many things wrong with that situation that we don’t even know where to begin. The main character, Pia Zadora cozies up to toxic men to sleep her way to the top, basically. We’re with Ebert on this one: “If The Lonely Lady had even a shred of style and humor, it could qualify as the worst movie of the year. Unfortunately, it’s not that good.”
Sure, the idea seemed swell. The cast seemed even better. With the cinematic presence of Laurence Olivier and the beautiful Jacqueline Bissett, all set in a war-time drama, what could possibly go wrong?
Based on the amphibious invasion of Inchon during the Korean War in 1950, the only thing that bombed was the film. With an estimated budget of $46 million, it was appallingly received, bringing in less than $2 million. As per Rotten Tomatoes, “this big-budget epic re-creation of the battle of Inchon proved too ponderous to save itself from certain death…plagued with problems.”
1981: Mommie Dearest
Ah, the inaugural year of the Golden Raspberry Awards. A biographical film, the glamorous yet lonely Joan Crawford is brought to life by Faye Dunaway. And we’re going to stop describing the film right there. All you need to know? Well, it’s succinctly put by our favorite critic, Roger Ebert.
Enjoy the following: “Mommie Dearest is a painful experience that drones on endlessly, as Joan Crawford’s relationship with her daughter..” (blah blah), “it is…depressing, not to any purpose of drama or entertainment, but just to depress. It left me feeling creepy.” Dear oh dear. Let’s skip viewing that one!
1980: Can't Stop The Music
Loosely based on the banding together of the Village People, it seems that this film was rather far from the truth of how the fabulous troupe came to be. Released as a musical comedy, unfortunately, there were more laughs had AT the film rather than in the film.
It’s not surprising that Wilson also found this movie to be disturbing enough to his theatrical sensibilities that it earned a Razzie. Did you know that Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Mr. Bruce Jenner, also an Olympic athlete, made a brief appearance in the film?