Oh, how the mighty have fallen! And by mighty, I mean Halle Berry, who won a Best Actress Academy Award in 2002 for her performance in "Monster's Ball."
Just three years removed from that career triumph, Berry is coming off "Catwoman," a movie regarded by many including yours truly as possible the worst superhero picture ever made.
Worse, she's now receiving awards on the opposite end of the critical spectrum. This week, "Catwoman" was dishonored with five Stinkers Bad Movie Awards from the California-based Hasting Bad Cinema Society.
Among the movie's Stinkers "wins" were nods for Worst Film, Worst Sense of Direction (to the single-named director Pitof), Worst Supporting Actress (to Sharon Stone) and Least "Special" Special Effects.
Berry also was named as Worst Actress, though given how often her character appeared in CGI form in the movie, perhaps that award should also be shared with the special-effects team.
To be fair to "Catwoman" and to Berry, hers wasn't the only movie receiving multiple Stinkers. Oliver Stone's overblown movie biography "Alexander" won two Most Intrusive Musical Score and Worst Fake Accent, Female, shared by Rosario Dawson and Angelina Jolie.
Elsewhere, the remake "Around the World in 80 Days" also won two Stinkers Most Unwelcome Remake and Worst Supporting Actor (Arnold Schwarzenegger). As did "Christmas With the Kranks" Worst Screenplay and Worst Christmas Movie.
In that last category, "Kranks" bested or "worsted" the Ben Affleck vehicle "Surviving Christmas," though his performance in that movie and "Jersey Girl" won him Affleck his second consecutive Worst Actor Stinker (last year's trophy award was for his work in "Gigli," "Daredevil" and "Paycheck").
The Stinkers also gave out a new award this year, The Spencer Breslin Award for Worst Performance by a Child, named for the obnoxious, wisecracking co-star of such films as "Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat."
Ironically, Breslin was up for that award, thanks to his performances in the supposed comedies "Raising Helen" and "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement." However, he lost out to Soren Fulton, whose irksome supporting turn in "Thunderbirds" seems to indicate that Affleck may have competition in years to come.
The fact that Breslin failed to win his namesake award only shows what a competitively awful movie year 2004 was. Or to quote Hastings co-founder Ray Wright, "It was one of the worst years I've ever experienced at the movies. We agonized over the ballot and could have had 10 solid nominees in most of the categories."
Wright's cohort Mike Lancaster is equally optimistic or pessimistic about the movie-year-in-progress: "As bad as 2004 was, if 'Son of the Mask' and 'Alone in the Dark' are any indication, it looks like 2005's going to be a lot worse."
While there are other like-minded bad movie-award organizations out there, including the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation (the Razzies), I've always been more partial to the Stinkers. And not just because their award is a miniature commode that makes actual flushing noises, though that helps.
The Hastings Bad Cinema Society was started in 1979 by Lancaster and Wright when they were working at a movie theater. As Lancaster recalls, the two were looking for a way to "honor" Hollywood's big studio blunders, which they would see for free as a company perk.
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