Dazed and Amused

Illustration by Bob AulMovies are the opiate of America's dumber-than-dirt masses. As a people, we know more about Brad Pitt than our congressional representative and spend more time scrutinizing Cameron Diaz than the Bill of Rights. That's why God created the Calleys—Orange County's revered annual awards for outstanding achievement in motion picture depravity.

As a self-appointed film authority—there's no credentialing what I do—I have carefully reviewed this year's nominations with help from the hyperactively opinionated personal-injury attorney Jan Rainbird, Costa Mesa's own acerbic literary critic Karlene Miller and ex-Balboa Cinema projectionist Mike Kaspar.

Now in its sixth ironic year, ladies and gentlemen (ahem), for your consideration: the Nathan Callahan Motion Picture Awards.

Chuck Norris

If President George W. Bush thinks Chuck is our nation's finest screen talent, so do we. Ten hut. Forward march. United we stand. HOT LESSBIAN SEX AWARD
Mulholland Drive

We would have called this the Most Obvious Disguise for a Bad TV Show Award, but we figured there'd be more of a pop if hot lesbian sex was involved. That's exactly what director David Lynch thought, too. Lynch originally presented Mulholland Drive as a television-series pilot to ABC. The network's executives pissed on it, so Lynch took his "dark epic nightmare" and turned it into a feature film by adding hot, naked lesbian sex. Critics lapped it up. MOST INSPIRED FOREIGN POLICY ADVICE
Johnny Depp

Despite his stink-up-the-joint performance in From Hell, Depp outmaneuvered National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice when he told the London's Sun, "The U.S. should have saturated Afghanistan with liquid LSD and got everybody goofed out of their minds. Then they should have sent the military in dressed as Teletubbies." Giving a whole new meaning to smoking 'em out, Depp concluded, "Bin Laden would have been in a blond wig and eight-inch-high heels, singing 'These Boots Are Made for Walking.'" WORST APPROPRIATED SOUNDTRACK
Moulin Rouge

Just kidding. This was the best soundtrack ever, if you like soulless overamped synthetic remakes sung by weak-voiced Hollywood hipsters. PR BLOWBACK AWARD
The Man Who Wasn't There

When the Coen Brothers filmed their latest homage to pretentious emptiness at the Orange Circle near Chapman University, detours and backed-up traffic stressed out thousands of commuting students and residents. The location shoot ran over schedule, so the Coens' crew, in a stroke of marketing genius, arrogantly trash-talked the locals. That's one way to shape public opinion about a film. DO UNTO OTHERS AWARD
Omega Code Lawsuit

May God's wrath fall upon the Trinity Broadcasting Network. In 2001, TBN's Jim and Tammy Faye wannabes settled a plagiarism lawsuit charging they ripped off the plot of Sylvia Fleener's book, The Omega Syndrome. When a movie promo for The Omega Code obliquely claimed, "The final battle between good and evil will take place here," we wondered, "Where? In the courtroom?" THE REARVIEW MIRROR AWARD

Go Tigers!

A documentary view of fat, brutal and stupid high school life, Go Tigers! pivots at a keg party when an underage football player shoots an incredible funnel of Bud and finger food on the carpet. Count 'em: one, two, three, four massive money shots of carbonated chunks. Cinema verit was never this good. U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY DONALD H. RUMSFELD MISINFORMATION AWARD
Black Hawk Down

The Oct. 3, 1993, raid on Somalia, in which 18 soldiers were killed as two Black Hawk helicopters went down, was a fucked-up mess. But in Hollywood, facts are stupid things. "It's not America's darkest hour, but America's brightest hour," said Joe Roth, head of Revolution Films, the makers of this new wave blood-and-guts war movie. Roth has probably been sporting wood since the U.S. began readying troops to fight evildoers in Somalia again. The only trouble is one of our chief allies is Hussein Aideed, the son of the principle evildoer in Black Hawk Down. PATRIOTIC DISPLAY MOST RESEMBLING A CHEVY TRUCK COMMERCIAL
"America the Beautiful—Pass It On"

Christian 'NSync clone Plus One provide the saccharine harmonies in this evil remake of our quasi-national anthem for a feel-good trailer in which patriotism earns the kind of respect we usually bestow only on the most reliable four-wheel drive on the market. This post Sept. 11 tribute to "Like a Rock" advertising caused a minor controversy when the words "God shed his grace on thee" were initially deleted to fit the one-minute time limit. Monotheistic voices protested, and the spot was recut to include God. Personally, we'd rather watch chundering underage drinkers. NO ACCOUNTING FOR BAD TASTE AWARD
Afghani Titanic Fans

After watching black-market copies of James Cameron's wretched 1997 epic Titanic, all the young dudes in Afghanistan wanted do's like Leonardo DiCaprio's. The result: by January 2001, the Taliban's Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice had jailed barbers in Kabul because they trimmed men's hair in a style that has become known as "the Titanic." For a while, long hair and beards prevailed. But now, thanks to America's fighting elite, Kabulians can have Titanics once again. Thank God Lethal Weapon didn't hit Kabul's black market; the mullet could have overtaken the Middle East.

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