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The worst movies of the year

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Talking all about the 2017 Razzie Awards

“Dishonoring the worst achievements of the movie year,” the winners of the 37th annual Golden Raspberry Awards - also known as The Razzies - were announced Saturday, Feb. 25.

The Razzies were established in 1980 by lifelong film lover (and self-described cynic) John Wilson, though his Hollywood credentials extend far beyond The Razzies. Wilson created marketing campaigns for the first three Star Wars films, Disney reissues - including “Pinocchio,” “Lady and the Tramp” and “101 Dalmations” - and for The Academy Awards among many others.

The 2017 Razzie Awards were determined by more than 1,000 voters in 49 states and 24 foreign countries.

Wilson says that he will be very interested to see the ratings from this year’s Academy Awards, which aired Sunday on CBS.

“They haven’t really nominated much that the general public actually saw,” Wilson told me during a phone interview last week. “Our stuff is at least high-profile enough that most people are aware that it came out.”

Included in the ballots for this year’s Razzies was one completed by Wilson.

“For worst actor, I voted for Robert De Niro in ‘Dirty Grandpa,’” he said. “I don’t understand an actor of that caliber reading that screenplay and saying ‘Sure, I want to do that scene where I’m pleasuring myself in a recliner.’ What the heck?”

“Dirty Grandpa” was brutally savaged by film critics but was actually a success at the box office, grossing nearly $100 million worldwide.

“I think this one film almost outweighs all of the stuff that he’s done because it’s so tasteless and so unrelentingly icky,” Wilson said. “I hope he got a good paycheck because he has damaged his reputation by doing this thing.”

Why would someone of De Niro’s stature in the industry agree to do a movie like “Dirty Grandpa”? I asked Grae Drake, Sr. Editor of Rotten Tomatoes.com, one of the web’s go-to movie review sites.

“The only people who could answer that question would be Robert De Niro and his team,” Drake told me. “My guess is that it’s because De Niro has chosen a more comedic path in recent years and “Dirty Grandpa” on paper probably seemed like it would be a really fun R-rated comedy that is really different from anything he’s ever done before.

“Unfortunately, things sometimes get lost in translation and movies change so much between conception to when they make it to the screen, sometimes they end up unrecognizable compared to what an actor thought the movie would be. I actually feel really bad for everyone involved when that happens because you know that something went really wrong somewhere.”

As it turns out, De Niro did not receive a Razzie. The Golden Raspberry for worst actor went to documentary filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza for “Hillary’s America.” D’Souza good-naturedly provided a video comment to The Razzies which was screened during this year’s awards announcement. D’Souza’s film was announced as winner of three additional Razzies, including Worst Picture.

For Wilson, one of the worst movies of 2016 was “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

“It was so poorly received in theaters that when they went to release it on video, they completely re-cut it,” Wilson said of the dueling superhero movie. “It ended up a half-hour longer and it’s still an incoherent mess.”

Wilson has a history with Superman, having developed publicity campaigns for a number of Superman films.

“I don’t understand how an audience who accept Batman and Superman as characters can accept this film because it violates the backstory of these characters,” Wilson continued. “It was just for the sake of that one scene where they are punching each other and knocking over buildings. That scene does not justify the existence of the rest of the movie.”

Should they choose to accept their Razzie award, “winners” will receive a gold spray-painted, golf-ball-sized raspberry perched atop a mangled Super-8 film reel. The award has an estimated street value of $4.97.

(To see a complete list of this year’s Razzie winners, visit www.Razzies.com.)

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