2004’s Seventh Annual Mutant Awards

Kyle: There are approximately 20,098 different award ceremonies every year. The sad fact that is dawning on most of the world, however, is that 99.9% of those award ceremonies aren’t held to give out the awards. They’re held so that the presenters can be rewarded with baskets o’ swag, ranging from electric razors to iPods and U2 albums to Nerf basketball hoops encrusted with gold and diamonds. It’s sick. It’s a sham, it’s a mockery, and it lessens the prestige of the awards themselves. Often, presenters like Colin Farrell and Mischa Barton only half-heartedly read the nominees and then mumble the name of the winner, because they’re already thinking ahead to their presenters’ baskets and wondering if they’ll use the Personal Back Waxer or Nuclear-powered Revlon nail file with flesh broiler first. What sort of message does that send to the makers of film? I ask you.

Here at MRFH, though, the emphasis in placed firmly and completely on the films themselves. For each member of the staff, the year between each Annual Mutant Awards is spent in quiet contemplation, watching endless films while contorted in advanced yoga positions and compiling huge lists of potential AMA categories. Loved ones cry and fear for our safety as we stop whatever we’re doing at any given time to scribble down “best use of breakfast cereal” or “most disturbing crotch shot” on the nearest writable surface, hoping against hope that one of our category ideas will be used and that Justin will subsequently reward us with a delicious happy pellet for our hard work and dedication to creative film worship. It’s a tough gig, but someone’s got to do it.

Craziest Musical Number

Clare: This year’s craziest musical number category ran the gamut of human emotion, turmoil and struggle related to every human being’s plight to understand his (or her) place in the universe. Who’d have guessed that singing and dancing and acting afool would take on such profound and meaningful connotations? But really, we’ve got Jesus, Satan, revolution, vaguely homoerotic confessions of love and desire, the struggle to overcome the confines of jail walls and a plea for the world at large to “shake it up baby”. And that’s to name but only a few of the entries in this category.

In the end though, it was the zany, blindly optimistic, deeply ironic and profoundly hilarious contribution from Monty Python’s Life of Brian that slew all the competition. By a giant percentage lead (we suspect a get out the vote push from the religious right ourselves), Jesus reminding all of us to “always look on the bright side of life” was deemed to be the craziest musical number of all time.

Most Whining

Lissa: This year’s nominees are certainly well versed in the art of whining. Wow. I have to admit, when I suggested this category, I fully expected Luke Skywalker to win. In fact, he was the first one I thought of. But Luke Skywalker only came in 3rd, with 20.6% of the vote. Coming in at a solid second was Hudson from Aliens, whom I pretty much blocked out because I thought he was annoying. And winning the category with 27.4% of the vote was Dante from Clerks, going on and on (and on and on) about he’s not even supposed to be here today.

Worst Traumatic Moment in a Kiddie Flick

Sue: We’ve all been there. Huddled under our blankies, tears rolling silently down our cheeks, gnawing ol’ Teddy’s furry ear half off to keep from breaking out in howls of despair while remembering that moment… that hideous moment… when our innocence was butchered on the alter of dramatic effect. Anyway, while everyone’s gone through this traumatic rite of passage, there’s been some speculation about which cinematic assassin of childhood naiveté packed the most wallop to the pre-adolescent set. Well that’s what we’re here for! Wonder no more.

With an overwhelming 33.6% of the vote, first place is posthumously presented to Bambi’s loving mommy who took a bullet way back in 1942 (yes, even before my time!) and turned generations of viewers away from venison forever. Yes indeedy, ripping children’s hearts out for sixty-two years and counting! Thanks Walt!

Best Use of a Severed or Artificial Limb

Poolman: It turns out there’s a LOT of movies that involved severed or artificial body parts. I can think of some classics that didn’t even make the nomination list that EACH rock the house on their own… don’t cry just because Ghost in the Shell didn’t get the nod! Still, when one guy gets nominated twice into the list for SEPARATE reasons, you have a good idea who’s probably going to walk away with it. Unless they lost a leg.

Last year’s lifetime award winner Bruce Campbell got a healthy nod in the severed limb department because hey, let’s face it, there’s not a lot of movies whose heroes are forced to hack off their own demonic hands and watch them scuttle around the floor (the “bad” hand was nominated). But one better than that? What good old Ash did with that poor stump of his: strap on a nice, functional gas chainsaw and go to town on the forces of evil in Evil Dead 2. It’s a long-standing favourite of ours around here when Ash first straps the saw on, and was pretty much a shoo-in for the win.

Prequel or Sequel That Should Have Never Happened

Justin: I’m probably not the best person to be presenting this award. See, I sort of LIKE sequels. And prequels. And spin-offs. And pretty much every opportunity to dilute a brand name by cheapening it with a new project. Bad sequels pay for my non-existent bread and butter on MRFH, and I might well be the only person in the world anxious to see Dungeons & Dragons 2 when it releases.

Still, for the honor of me and my snoring pug, I will present to the best of my abilities. What shocks me to the core of my being, and questions all that I hold most dear, is that somehow Dumb & Dumberer topped the list. Topped. The. List. Sure, we couldn’t nominate every horrible sequel out there — Revenge of the Nerds IV was cruelly unrepresented this year — but while noone can argue that Dumb & Dumberer was actually watchable, it was so much of a non-event that I figure people voted based on the awkward pronunciation of that title alone. In any case, it won.

Sidekick Most in Need of Being Boiled in Oil

Drew: By and large, most sidekicks are just, well, really annoying. The sad truth is that no matter what, sidekicks are here to stay. That doesn’t mean we have to like it, though, and this category allowed us to finally determine just which talentless, hero-endangering hanger-on truly is the suckiest of them all.

As for the winner, though… well, to be honest, I was expecting a rout. I truly was. It takes a hell of a lot to make Indiana Jones seem uncool, and while he had help, I felt sure that Short Round’s constant whining demands to call him DOCTOR Jones, combined with general uselessness, assured him the crown. It was not to be, however, as voters reminded me of the one thing even more difficult than ruining an Indy movie — making Star Wars lame. It takes a special mix of unfunny ineptitude, bad dialogue, and a horrifyingly irritating voice to achieve that rather dubious honor, and to date, only one sidekick in the history of film has pulled it off. So for that, Jar-Jar Binks, and for shutting down the competition with 68.9% of the vote in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, we… er, salute you. And hope you die. Congratulations!

Best Movie Scene Taking Place in a Bathroom

Rich: Of all the categories in this year’s Annual Mutant Awards, this one I feel is the one that truly shines a beacon into the dark crevices in Hollywood more conventional award shows don’t reach. When the nominations we’re announced for this category, there were so many excellent choices (apart from my own, of course) that I was struck by exactly how many pivotal film moments do, in fact, take place in bathrooms. There were even several scenes I though were guaranteed to make the list which didn’t — the “Toilet Breaking” scene from Boondock Saints, for instance, or the Zipper Scene from There’s Something About Mary.

Finally, it’s now time for us to pull the flush and see who is left floating!

Unsurprisingly, you voted for possibly the most famous bathroom related scene in all of film. It’s been referenced so many times in so many different places, that even today just the act of pretending to stab someone overhand while going “REE! REE! REEE! REEE!” can conjure images of Janet Leigh’s bleeding chocolate sauce down the plughole of her shower. It’s Psycho!

Most Memorable Destruction of Extras

Kyle: The MRFH staff tossed out the best film scenes they could think of where a whole bunch of extras get butchered, blown up, shot, sprayed comically with water, eaten, or just plain destroyed. Either due to poor memories or the fact that old films treated their extras with a bit more respect, the films that got the spotlight for this category were all relatively recent. Of course, Hollywood can always be counted on to be constantly devising new methods of destroying hordes of extras, so it make sense that recent films feature some of the most memorable wasting of those nameless buggers.

The loyal MRFH readers clearly voted their consciences, and displayed their true cult roots in doing so. Because nothing before or since tops the gloriously bloody destruction of deadly yet hapless zombies in Dead Alive, which garnered 25.4% of the votes. And whether it gets you barfing or cheering, you’ll never forget the first time you watched Lionel burst onto the zombie-infested scene with a lawnmower attached to his chest and took care of business. Zombies never went down faster.

Cult Lifetime Achievement Award: Kevin Smith

Sue: Ah yes, an engaging, humorous, delightfully subversive and scruffily bearded champion of the common folk. But enough about Justin. Today we’re here to pay homage to the wit, style and splendiferous cultitude of Kevin “Silent Bob” Smith. Aside from the fact that Drew the Enforcer (aka “Jersey Boy”) kept making meaningful comments about how easily bodies can be lost in the Pine Barrens during the selection process, there was very little debate on Kevin as this year’s winner. And that’s fine with me. But while I adore Clerks and guiltily giggled through Dogma, what made me a fan for life was watching a long chunk of “An Evening With Kevin Smith” where our Mutie recipient traveled to several college campuses and answered the questions of the masses with good humor, razor wit, and some serious quick draw cell phone action. (You can’t help but like a guy who tries to save a fan’s job by calling his boss from the podium.) In any case, Kevin has the unique talent of taking mundane scraplets of life and wrapping them up in shiny bits of hilarity, obscenity and even philosophy. Or maybe it’s duct tape, I don’t know. So, for the man who made New Jersey something more than just the page between New Hampshire and New Mexico in atlases across North America, and who recognizes that cult can come from… I salute you!

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