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Lost in Cyberspace

Bad Movies Online

© 2001 by H.B. Koplowitz
It may have been a bad year for good movies, but it's been a great year for bad movies. So as the likes of "Gladiator," "Traffic" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" battle for supremacy at the 73rd annual Academy Awards <>, the nominations are also in for the biggest bombs of the year. And both the Razzies and the Stinkers agree: The worst movie of 2000 is John Travolta's sci-fi fizzler, "Battlefield Earth."

In Tinsel Town's tackiest trophy derby, the "Golden Raspberry Awards" <>, "Battlefield Earth" was dis-honored with eight Razzie nominations, including co-producer and star John Travolta for Worst Actor, and his wife Kelly Preston as Worst Supporting Actress. Forest Whitaker and Barry Pepper both earned Worst Supporting Actor nods for their roles in Travolta's homage to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's paranoiac sci-fi novel. Voted on by a foundation of 450 film fans, the big budget box office blip easily out-polled its rivals for Worst Picture, which included the rushed into oblivion "Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2," the cartoonish "The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas," the hellacious "Little Nicky" and the Madonnish "The Next Best Thing."

Joining five-time Razzie nominee Travolta in the Worst Actor category were 1998 Razzie Winner Leonardo DiCaprio for his romp in "The Beach," 1999's Worst Actor winner Adam Sandler as the clueless son of Satan in "Little Nicky," Arnold Schwarzenegger for "The 6th Day," and last year's Worst Actor of the Century winner Sylvester Stallone with his 25th Razzie nomination -- and counting -- for "Get Carter."

In the Razzies Worst Actress category, last year's Worst Actress of the Century, Madonna, was nominated for playing herself in "The Next Best Thing," Melanie Griffith for playing herself in "Cecil B. Demented," Bette Midler for playing Jacqueline Susann in "Isn't She Great," Demi Moore for "Passion of Mind," and Kim Basinger for both "Bless The Child" and "I Dreamed Of Africa." The Razzies were founded in 1980 by John Wilson, a UCLA Film School  graduate and author of "Everything I Know I Learned At The Movies." The winners of Hollywood's least coveted trophies are to be announced March 24, which is the day before the Oscars.

With nine nominations, "Battlefield Earth" also leads the pack in the annual "Stinkers Bad Movie Awards" <>. The Hastings Bad Cinema Society, a group of movie buffs dedicated to honoring the cream of the crap, bestowed eight nominations on "Dungeons & Dragons," and seven on "Little Nicky," "Viva Rock Vegas" and "Blair Witch 2." "102 Dalmatians" took in six nominations and "Coyote Ugly" five, while "Get Carter" and "Charlie's Angels" garnered four noms.

"Stinkers" lets Web surfers vote in several categories, including Worst Sense of Direction, Worst On-screen Hairstyle, Worst Fake Accent, Worst Actor, Actress and On-screen Couple and Worst Film. You can also vote for the Worst Films Of The 20th Century at the Web site's "100 Years, 100 Stinkers" parody of the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Movies." There's also a section on future disasters called "2001: A Bad Movie Odyssey."

"It was another especially good year for bad movies," noted society co-founder Michael Lancaster, 42, who, with Ray Wright, 39, started the Pasadena-based Hastings Bad Cinema Society in 1978, while working as movie theater ushers. The Stinkers are to be announced March 23, which is the day before the Razzies.

Meanwhile, for those who missed the deadline for entering "The 2001 Lee Atwater Invitational Dead Pool" <>, there's still time to enter The Lee Jr., a six-month death dash from March 1 through Aug. 31. Basically, for $5, you pick 10 famous people you think will croak before the end of the game, and the list with the most dead celebs wins a grand. The macabre contest is named after crafty Republican political operative Lee Atwater, who in 1990 died of a brain tumor at age 39. With 10 months to go in the senior competition, those who had basketball legend Al McGuire and cowgirl Dale Evans on their lists had the early lead.'s Select-O-Matic ("If You Build It They Will Die") has a comprehensive ballot, from Aaron Spelling to Zsa Zsa Gabor. The site also maintains a "Sick Ticker" with celebrity health updates, like that Johnny Cash had pneumonia or Kurt Cobain is still dead.

Speaking of the nearly departed, Napster <>, the Internet music service, has lost another round in court. But the free online trading of MP3 music files continues unabated, at least for now. On Feb. 12, a federal appeals court in San Francisco affirmed a district judge's finding last July that Napster was aiding and abetting music piracy. But some legal experts called the decision a stay of execution, because instead of reinstating the judge's injunction, the court ordered her to modify it, which could take weeks or months, while Napster files further appeals.

Artists Against Piracy issued a statement supporting the court's decision. "We hope the message is clear: Artists' rights must be respected online," said Executive Director Noah Stone. "We hope that Napster will further develop and implement a business model that not only serves music fans but provides fair and appropriate compensation for the creators of that music."

Napster creator Shawn Fanning issued his own statement, saying he was proceeding with development of a subscription-based service that makes payments to artists. "I'm focused on building this better service and I still hope to have it in place this year," he said. "The new technologies we are developing are amazing; I hope that, by further court review or by agreement with the record companies, we can find a way to share them with the community."

copyright 2001 by H.B. Koplowitz, all rights reserved.
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