Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Golden Turkey Awards

1980, undated later edition, from Perigee
Harry and Michael Medved
The Golden Turkey Awards: Nominees and Winners-- The Worst Achievements in Hollywood History
Original price $7.95, purchase price unknown
Falling apart paperback

This is a better book than Fifty Worst Films, not only because it covers more movies (425 plus a hoax), but because the Medveditis is mostly under control.  Yes, there was a point early on when I wanted to give an award myself, the Rowling for Adverb Abuse, but the style is generally less cutesy.  I also didn't see any notable errors, and the sexism was minor. 

They got 3000 responses to their request of readers' nominees for worst films, and the various categories are shaped by this, even if they can come up with only three or four "finalists," as in "The Worst Two-Headed Transplant Movie Ever Made."  The timing of the polling makes a difference, as I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone that would choose The Exorcist II as the second-worst movie ever (or even of the late '70s), although obviously Plan Nine from Outer Space would still be many people's first pick.  Bear in mind that home video was still an exotic concept in 1980, and we were a long way from people watching an entire bad movie in chunks on Youtube.  (As I did with Soul Man, wondering if it was as bad as I remembered it being in the theater a quarter century earlier.  I ended up buying the DVD just for the commentary.)  People, including the Medveds to a lesser degree, were going to biased in favor of movies that were still fresh in their memories.  Unless an older movie became a staple of late night TV, or the burgeoning Midnight Movie circuit (1983's Midnight Movies will be one of the books I'll be discussing in the weeks to come), it faded into obscurity.

As for the hoax, I used to assume it was the "gay Jesus" movie Him, but that was apparently an actual porn flick, and the fake film was inspired by someone who lived for awhile in the Medved household.  No, it wasn't Kevin Allman, but Allman did go on to write TV Turkeys, which we'll get to in 1987.

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