(NOTE: If you want to skip right to the voting, just scroll down. We won’t judge. We’ll just egg your house later)
I was wrong. Put it on the record. Yesterday Austin Powers was nominated for the “Blockbuster Video” category of movie that doesn’t hold up well. During its run from 1997-2002, its hard to underestimate the massive cultural impact the Austin Powers franchise made. Things to think about with bizzaro James Bond:
- The numerous memes and gifs it would have produced if made in the 2010s,
- The (now very annoying) catchphrases it spawned
- The ability to launch Verne Troyer aka Mini-Me into celebrity-dom
- Pulling off casting Elizabeth Hurley, Heather Graham and Beyonce
- Giving the world our first big screen Will Ferrell experience
- Grossing over $676 million as a franchise
- And adding Mike Meyers to the “Most Successful SNL cast members as movie stars” list
That’s one hell of a resume. But as comedy has transitioned from the “Daily-Life haha’s” of Jerry Seinfeld and slapstick of the Jim Carrey/Chris Farely mold to the edgier, critical, more adult themed motifs started by Chris Rock and carried on by the likes of Larry David, Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, and most every other comedian not named Jim Gaffigan, the sophomoric and spoofy touch of Austin Powers would probably not hold its water in 2014. Or so I thought.
Austin Powers, a 12 seed, beat its opponent by a score of 14 to 11. And this wasn’t some fly by night teen riff raff it was up against. We’re talking a solid UNLV or Illinois level power in Meet the Parents. Released in 2000, Meet the Parents was a leap forward for Ben Stiller and a renaissance for Robert DeNiro. Stiller, playing his good-guy/overwhelmed/flustered role he’s perfected to a T, was a known commodity (thanks to Something About Mary) by this time, but MtP solidified his comedy credentials on a mass level. He appealed to 13, 30, and 83 year olds alike. The franchise eventually grossed over $1.1 BILLION (!!!!!) worldwide. Jack talk Thai, but Jack also talk Brinks Trucks. So yeah, we cannot understate the universal appeal of the Meet the Parents franchise.
So it’s not that we’re surprised that two heavy weights would garner near equal attention. It’s just that we underestimated the voters inkling for Austin Powers’s over the top, risky, goofball-ness more than Meet the Parents’s Good Times!…awww humor. Call it Second City vs. Suburban City.
Anyways, on to your Round 1 Highlights!
Your Powerhouse Flicks (Sponsored by AOL)
(1) Super Bad – 25 vs. Dude Where’s My Car (0)
I’ll be honest, I’m a Seann William Scott fan. Beyond his well known accolades of the American Pie universe, he’s done a more than decent jobs in The Rundown and Role Models, his cameo as Country Mac on Always Sunny was A+, and starred in the highly underrated hockey comedy Goon.
So while I’m sad to see his first post-American Pie vehicle “Dude Where’s My Car” get destroyed so early, there’s still Road Trip and American Pie to carry on his march. Then again, DWMC did spawn “ZOLTAN!” (bonus points) and a very early Jennifer Garner sighting (BIG bonus points). But it also spawned an entire scene involving a Chinese Drive-Thru with the pun involving the words And Then?!?!? (minus points) and of course…Ashton Kutcher (BIG BIG minus points).
(1) American Pie – 24 vs. (16) The Faculty – 1
Let’s just be thankful (for America) that Jon Stewart went on the bigger, better things.
(3) 10 Things I Hate About You – 20 vs. (14) The Notebook – 5
You all have no heart. But probably the right call.
(2) Cruel Intentions – 22 vs. (15) She’s All That – 3
The Rachel Leigh Cook Fan Club Meeting for 29 January has been CANCELLED (Mik whimpers…)
(3) Wedding Crashers – 23 vs. (14) Beer Fest – 2
Dammit. At least Broken Lizard still has Super Troopers. (Looks at the ESPN 52 under scroll: 40 Year Old Virgin 15 vs. Super Troopers 11). DAMMIT!
(1) Bourne Identity – 20 vs. (16) X-Men – 8
(5) The Matrix – 20 vs. (12) Star Wars – 9
(2) Independence Day – 21 vs. (15) Kill Bill – 7
(1) Saving Private Ryan – 25 vs. (16) Wild Things – 3
No vote tampering needed so far…
(6) Good Will Hunting – 24 vs. (11) Rounders – 3
DAMN YOU! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!
I would like to remind everyone that one or all of the writers of this article may have used a Rounders line as their HS Yearbook Quote. In other news, HS was a blast…
Your Upset Specials (Sponsored by Pepto Bismol)
(10) Boondock Saints – 15 vs. (7) Starship Troopers – 12
I had an entire 2500 word soliloquy on the subtle nuance of post-feminism revival within the context of militarism depicted in Starship Troopers. Oh well…
(9) Lord of the Rings – 16 vs. (8) Fight Club – 11
You nerds. 🙂
(10) Oh Brother Where Art Thou – 14 vs. (7) Almost Famous – 12
These two probably feature the best soundtracks of this entire bracket. Let’s reminisce a second for the oh to short run for Cameron Crowe’s ode to rock. Bill Simmons, take us away…
“Yet another reason I love “Almost Famous,” and this is crucial for the rewatchability argument: Only the rare cable movies have stretches when you will be flicking channels, stumble across the movie, know that Scene X or Scene Y is coming up in a few minutes, and you’ll dump anything else you’re doing to wait for that scene even if you already own the movie on DVD. Great example: the plane crash in “Cast Away.” I don’t know why, but I always have to watch it. Same with Andy breaking out of Shawshank. Same with the first pool party in “Anchorman.” You get the idea. Anyway, “Famous” has two of those “I have to park the remote until this scene comes up” moments — the last 10-12 minutes of the movie, and the “golden god” sequence in Topeka. My house could be on fire and I’m sticking with the entire Topeka sequence through the first minute of “Tiny Dancer.” Then I get mad that they didn’t use “Levon” and turn it. [Pause.] You’re right, this column needs to end soon.”
Bill Simmons, ESPN Writer, Grantland Founder & Editor, and All Around God
On to the 32!