Remember all the furor over the American Film Institute's list of the Best 100 Movies of the Century? (Many film buffs were miffed that their favorites weren't included.)
Well, for film aficionados there soon will be an online antidote -- one to help get the bad celluloid taste out of your mouths.The Hastings Bad Cinema Society, those wiseguys responsible for handing out the Stinkers -- those annual "awards" devoted to the worst filmmaking and acting Hollywood has to offer -- is busy compiling what could be the ultimate list of dreadful cinema.
"100 Years, 100 Stinkers: The 100 Worst Films of the Century" will be released on the Stinkers Web site www.thestinkers.com on Jan. 1. The site will also feature a "Wall of Shame," a display of poster artwork or video covers from the 100 films receiving the dubious honor of inclusion.
The list isn't quite finished yet, but some of the films you can expect to be on it are "Heaven's Gate," "Waterworld," "Howard the Duck" and "Bonfire of the Vanities," as well as the nudie-flicks-posing-as-cinema selections "Showgirls" and "Striptease."
Older Stinkers are also under consideration for inclusion, starting with "Plan 9 From Outer Space," the 1959 Ed Wood science-fiction movie that is considered by many to be the worst film ever made.
More recent contenders include "Batman & Robin," "The Avengers," "The Postman" and "Speed 2: Cruise Control."
Like other lists the Hastings Bad Cinema Society has compiled (as well as awards it has given out), "100 Years, 100 Stinkers" is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. However, Stinkers founders Mike Lancaster and Ray Wright felt they needed to respond to the AFI list.
Or to put it more succinctly (using Lancaster's words): "The AFI doesn't have the guts to publish a list of the 100 worst films, but we do!"
Unfortunately, writing descriptions for all 100 movies has kept Wright and Lancaster so busy that they haven't been able to compile vote totals for the 1999 Stinkers Awards. But Lancaster noted that the 1998 cinematic year "has been torture, and we love it."
Besides, the delay will give the duo an opportunity to release their Stinkers nominees the same day that Academy Award nominations are announced (Feb. 9). And, as always, the Hastings Bad Cinema Society will award its Stinkers when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences hands out the Oscars.
By the way, there are 14 separate categories for the 1999 Stinker Awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Sense of Direction, Worst On-Screen Couple, The Sequel Nobody Was Clamoring For and the Founders Award, an honorable mention for films that should never have been made.
You can view all the categories and nominees so far on the Web site, and can vote for your favorite Stinkers on the site, or by e-mail [email protected], or by mail (The Stinkers, P.O. Box 91114, Pasadena, CA 91109-1114).
MORE 'PHANTOM' WHININGS: By the heading for this item, you might think I'm about to go off on another rant about diehard "Star Wars" fans, some of whom are upset about the name for the upcoming prequel, "The Phantom Menace." But you'd be wrong.
Instead, it's time to go off on a rant about Michael Crawford fans, who have orchestrated a "campaign of terror" against Warner Bros. Pictures, which has announced plans to make a film version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Phantom of the Opera."
What really has these "Crawford-heads" in a tizzy is that Warner Bros. officials haven't said whether the singer-actor will reprise his infamous stage role on celluloid.
In fact, there are some rumblings that the film may reunite "Broken Arrow" director John Woo and actor John Travolta, who could be under the mask.
"(Warner Bros.) produced a string of flops by ignoring the voice of the public," said Genie Stelnicki, campaign manager for The Michael Crawford Phantom Movie Campaign. "It's time they realized that the audience pays their bills. Hollywood has a track record of snubbing actors who make a stage production a sensation, then blaming the audience when the movie bombs."
While Stelnicki has a good point (remember studio executives replacing Richard Burton and Julie Andrews with Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave in "Camelot"?), Crawford hasn't been in a film since 1981's "Condorman." Also, at 56, he'll be much older than his proposed co-stars (among them, Nicole Kidman).
But, obviously, that's just my opinion.
For those who are interested, there's a Web site devoted to the campaign www.phantommovie.com. But don't be surprised if Warner Bros. ignores all the pleas anyway.
After all, this is the same studio that cast Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman in "The Avengers."
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "You never know if that magic chemistry is going to strike again. But two people falling in love -- especially these two people -- has international appeal. If there's such a thing as a perfect couple, Tom (Hanks) and Meg (Ryan) are it. They're like Mr. and Mrs. World." -- Warner Bros. Pictures co-chair Terry Semel, talking about the reunion of Hanks and Ryan in "You've Got Mail."
Deseret News movie critic Jeff Vice can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]