Introducing the Lead Balloon

Here we are at the beginning of a new year. And, of course, that means it’s time for the entertainment industry to look ahead to all the great things they will create, while cranking out awards for themselves in recognition of all the incredibly fabulous stuff they painstakingly have crafted over the last year.

It’s in that light that we here at Plugged In wish to introduce the Lead Balloon. This is our award-focused attempt to remind the public that for all of Hollywood’s laudable films that floated to the top of the cinematic swell last year, we mustn’t forget the truly abysmal tripe that gushed out of that same entertainment wellspring.

Why are we hatin’ on Hollywood? We’re not. Really. We here at Plugged In really do love good movies. Seriously. But unlike the other 99.99% of reviewers out there, we’re more focused on informing viewers about the content they might slosh into, than with just the simple aesthetics of the cinematic packaging. That’s why we’re not dishonoring pics with these awards that are just generally bad, like Zoolander 2 or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s the real movie muck we’re out to rake here. Besides, after counting a gazillion f-bombs, well, we feel like venting.

And so, let’s get on to the winners … if you want to call ’em that.

The Lead Balloon winner for worst holiday movie of 2016 is a lump of coal called Bad Santa 2. Here’s a pic that only reviewers (who have decent psychiatric analysts) and masochistic holiday haters should ever have tortured themselves with. A stocking full of stinking coal, one might say.

The worst animated movie Lead Balloon award goes to Sausage Party. The animators who made this (in Plugged In’s words) “anti-religious parable masquerading as a comedic sex cartoon,” look potentially funny and cute in the trailers should be prosecuted for perpetrating foolish-family fakery. As reviewer Paul Asay put it: “This movie features lots of animated food having sex, doing drugs, murdering people and defaming religions of every kind.” Oooh, Honey, get the kids.

Worst action/adventure film? That Lead Balloon has to be awarded to The Brothers Grimsby, a film about two brothers, separated in childhood, who reunite in the midst of spy action. This Sacha Baron Cohen film is actually too rancid and gag-worthy to fully describe. Reviewer Adam Holz attempted to put it tactfully by saying: “The Brothers Grimsby pushes the boundaries of what can be shown on mainstream movie screens in unimaginably graphic ways. Except for the fact, of course, that the filmmakers not only imagined these things, but filmed them.”

The Lead Balloon for most despicable film spoof in ‘16 is awarded to Fifty Shades of Black. In fact, this nasty flick earns multiple copies of the award—enough for everyone involved in the production to be able to proudly put a Balloon up on their mantel. “To truly describe this movie, one must invent new words that mean ‘ridiculously foul,’ only worse,” wrote Asay. “Something like radiridifo. Say it 50 times in a row, and it still won’t be enough.” And he was our reviewer for Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie this pic was spoofing. (Man, this guy needs a vacation.)

Our last Lead Balloon is rewarded for the absolutely worst superhero flick of 2016. And that goes to none other than Deadpool. Now, I know, you’re thinking, “Wait. Didn’t that film get a lot of critical praise and earn, like, gazillions of dollars?” And the answer is, “Sure did.” And that only proves that you can create a Marvel-based actioner that will call to kids like an island made of soda pop and candy bars, and still pack it to the brim with crass and über-foul content.

So, there’s our initial award tiptoe into this vast domain of the cinematically contemptible. We’ll keep an eye out for whatever dribbles your way in ’17.

Who wrote this?

Bob Hoose is a senior associate editor for Plugged In, a producer/writer for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, a writer of plays and musicals and one-half of the former comedy/drama duo Custer & Hoose. He is a husband, father of three and a relatively new granddad.

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