Illustration by Bob AulMovies may be a dead art form, but awards for overindulged actors? Those'll live forever. That's why God created the Calleys—Orange County's cherished annual awards for outstanding achievement in motion-picture depravity, aberration and decadence.
As a self-appointed film authority, I have carefully reviewed this year's nominations with help from the hyperactively opinionated personal-injury attorney Jan Rainbird and ex-Balboa Cinema projectionist Mike Kaspar.
Now in its fifth glorious year, ladies and gentlemen, for your consideration: the Nathan Callahan Motion Picture Awards.
[Clap, clap, clap. . .]
The Rick Reiff Golden Straightjacket AwardAmerican Psycho
Cutthroat business and murder are interchangeable in this conspicuous-consumption classic based on Bret Easton Ellis' infamous 1991 novel. Reiff —executive editor of the Orange County Business Journal who, like Patrick Bateman (American Psycho's serial killer), sets his moral compass by free-market standards—did not attend the presentation . . . but sent his business card.
Worst Dinner Guest
Ed Harris, Pollock
As alcoholic-asshole, abstract-expressionist, drip-artist Jackson Pollock, Harris flips over dinner tables, bangs out Gene Krupa on the family china and pees in the fireplace. What delightful company.
Best Drug Concealment
Catherine Zeta-Jones, Traffic
We've heard of cocaine containers that resemble yams and stuffing ganja into pineapple cans, but Zeta-Jones hides the dope best in Traffic. One minute, she's an innocent caught in the drug trade; in the next scene, she's trying to deal a planeload of blow manufactured into tasteless, odorless, undetectable, hard-plastic toy clowns.
Kevin Costner, Thirteen Days
Costner's marketing degree from Cal State Fullerton didn't help him develop a believable Boston accent for this Kennedy Cuban Missile Crisis flick. Where did you pick up this West Coast brogue, Kevin? The Titan locker room?
Most Potentially Disappointing Oscar Moment
“And for Best Actor, the Oscar goes to . . . Tom Hanks, Cast Away“
Hanks has already won two Best Actor Oscars for Forrest Gump and Philadelphia. But simply yelling, “I have created fire!” and undergoing a physical transformation (which most Academy members confuse with good acting) does not qualify him for an unprecedented third—the first in history. If he does win, De Niro, Nicholson and Brando ought to simultaneously knock the snot out of him.
Britney Spears Award for PG PornCoyote Ugly
Director David McNally's previous work included Budweiser's “Lobster” TV commercial—and it shows. Coyote Uglyis the supreme cock-tease, naked-tummy, teen titillation for the postpubescent, inflatable-chair, whassup crowd.
Reverend Schuller Platitude AwardCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
“If it's going to be, it's up to me.” “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” So sayeth the Crystal Cathedral's Reverend Robert H. Schuller. But Crouching Tiger gives the Rev a run for his banality. “A faithful heart makes wishes come true.” “Sharpness is a state of mind.” “Everything has an opposite.” I'm feeling queasy. Pass the ginseng.
Best Reason to be UnpatrioticThe Patriot
Trite, melodramatic and dull as dirt, Mel Gibson's soap-opera history lesson makes it hard to honor our forefathers.
Worst Movie of the DecadeBattlefield EarthElvis Presley Award for Drug-Enforcement Arrogance
Sheen was the honorary chairman of California's No on Proposition 36 campaign, leading the Drug War cranks who claimed that hard time is the best rehabilitation for addicts. About jailing his addicted son Charlie, the eloquent Sheen said, “I risked his hating me forever and put his ass away.” Even The Orange County Register and Republican Senatorial candidate Tom Campbell had the good sense to snub Sheen and back 36. Fortunately, rehab won.
Most Authentic Newport Beach Tan
Karen Allen, The Perfect Storm
It was nice seeing Allen working again, but she should consider some SPF 15. You could upholster a booth with her hide.
Most Baffling Oscar Quote
“We're not here to create a show that panders to our celebrity-driven culture,” said Pavlik, a spokesman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a Feb. 9 Wall Street Journal interview. That makes it official: the Academy has no idea what it's doing.
Edison Field Award for Brand-Name RecognitionDisney's The KidMayor Christina Shea Voice Mail AwardCroupier
Irvine Mayor Christina Shea will forever be remembered for ignorantly leaving with a fellow council member a phone message that questioned the integrity of her own Irvine Police Department. The message was forwarded to the press, and the rest is local, bad political history. Perhaps she got her dumb idea from Croupier, whose lead character leaves a voice mail describing his upcoming crime. He's busted and run out of town. We can only hope the same fate is in store for Christina.
Worst TrailerCast Away
Pardon us for asking, but isn't the payoff to this movie whether Tom Hanks makes it off the island? And if it's not, shouldn't it be? Yet the Cast Away trailer walks us through the whole story in a couple of minutes, from snout to vent.
Mr. T AwardDr. T and the Women
We pity the fool who saw this movie.
Best Performance by an Icelandic Rock Star
Bjrk, Dancer in the Dark
Rumor has it that the working title for this splendidly depressing musical was Dead Bjrk Walking.
Best Reason to Hate the '60sSteal This Movie
If the '60s were as unfunny, stilted and overearnest as this biopic, the FBI would have found that Abbie Hoffman actually did put his penis in Spiro Agnew's daughter. Fortunately, they weren't and he didn't.
Most Auspicious Transition to TV
Pushing her halter-top career to the limit, the real Brockovich and her boss, Ed Masry, now have a reality-based courtroom program in development.
The Limp Dick AwardQuills
All promise and no payoff, this lightweight melodramatic look at the Marquis de Sade (history's role model for perversity) has more feigned promiscuity than a No Doubt concert —complete with sexually frustrated priests, clichd lunatics and necrophilia on the half-shell.
Jan Crouch Lifetime Achievement in Cosmetics Award
Tammy Faye Bakker, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Tammy Faye Bakker, the godmother of extreme, born-again makeup, inspired this enchanting RuPaul-narrated documentary. With her thick mascara dissolving in tears beneath an ever-changing pastel wig, Crouch, her glimmer twin, can be seen every night on Orange County's Trinity Broadcasting Network. When they were together at TBN, Bakker taught Crouch everything she knew about overkill. Now, with this award, the legacy runs full circle.
Most Likely to Win an Oscar Because the Academy Has Its Head Up Its Butt AwardGladiator
Though there were dozens of better movies (i.e. Requiem for a Dream, The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack, You Can Count on Me, Aimee and Jaguar, Girl on the Bridge, The Venus Beauty Institute, Ghost Dog, An Affair of Loveand House of Mirth), this WWF version of Roman times will win for its epic scale and self-importance. Why? Because these qualities best represent the Academy.