It's Time To Retire The Razzies Forever

Once upon a time, film criticism and entertainment journalism were even more difficult industries to break into than they are now, and only the chosen few created the canon. This self-congratulatory and insular way of doing things rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, including Golden Raspberry Awards founders John J. B. Wilson and Mo Murphy. They created the awards as a satirical opposite for the Oscars, a way to take the industry down a peg and get a few laughs while doing it. Things have changed quite a bit in the 42 years since the first Razzie was given out, and snarky ribbing has given way to mean-spirited bullying for the lowest common denominator. 

Making movies and covering them has become significantly more democratized since 1981, and any disgruntled person with an opinion has plenty of outlets for their frustration. The Razzies are no longer some kind of counter-cultural spoof to be embraced by non-conformists but have become an excuse to be petty, cruel, and sometimes even misogynistic and transphobic. The Razzies, as they exist now, serve only to cause division and upset people, completely losing sight of any individualist spirit they might have once had.  

It's Just an Excuse to Be Mean

Negative criticism has its place. In order for creatives to learn and grow, they have to assess what did and didn't work in any particular piece of work, and criticism can help with that. Anyone who's ever taken an art or creative writing class has learned about the importance of constructive criticism: explaining how and why an element doesn't work so it can be improved, not just flatly proclaiming that it doesn't. Simply shouting "this sucks" isn't criticism, it's just an opinion, and the Razzies are nothing but negative opinions. In order to vote for the Razzies, one simply must pay a $40 fee, so any person with a grudge can make their voice heard. It's not funny, it's just kind of sad. 

Good satire requires finesse, and there's none of that going on at the Razzies. The official website looks like it was made on Geocities circa 2006, complete with an announcement video guaranteed to kill brain cells. In a thread on Twitter, /Film contributor Kayleigh Donaldson outlined the lazy, cruel, and downright bigoted behavior exhibited by the Razzies over the years. For example, they nominated Britney Spears as herself for worst actress in "Fahrenheit 9/11," which is in no way critical or satirical. It's just mean. They've also made fun of actresses' weight, repeatedly used a transphobic slur while poking fun at the "Transformers" franchise, and more. They even nominated Shelley Duvall for a Razzie for her performance in "The Shining," which is next-level nasty given her experiences making the film. 

There are a million keyboard knights out there posting this kind of vitriolic filth all over their feeds, so there's really not even a demand for the Razzies at this point. Some of the kids over on YouTube and Twitch are making better, funnier critiques of Hollywood than the Razzies ever did, so maybe it's time to put away the awards and retire once and for all.