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The Revenge of the Duies – The second annual Duie awards.

By Bert Ehrmann

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Fort Wayne Reader


About this time last year I introduced Fort Wayne to the Duie awards. The Duie, or better known as the Duies, are an attempt to give out awards in lesser-known categories of moviemaking. For example, last year Uma Thurman won the “Best use of a tracksuit in a non track and field movie,” while the award for “Movie aided by Alan Alda in a starring role” once again went unclaimed.

2004 gave us a wide array of movies, some of which were very good; Collateral, Spartan and Garden State to name a few, while others were very bad. (Let’s just say that Dodgeball didn’t do much to further Ben Stiller’s career.) But the glory of the Duie is that it makes no distinction between the good, bad and ugly movies. Any movie can win a Duie, even if that movie stars Lindsay Lohan.

Movie title that literally played out on screen.

This award goes to Man on Fire starring Denzel Washington. The title of Man on Fire is literally played out on screen when Washington ties a man to the bumper of a car, pours gasoline on him and sets him on fire. And somehow I thought that the title to Man on Fire was referring to an inner turmoil going on in the Washington character. How wrong I was!

After watching the movie I feel that a more descriptive title might have been Sub-par action-thriller set in the criminal underworld of Mexico City. But would Sub-par thriller set in the criminal underworld of Mexico City bring in the crowds? Then again, the title Man on Fire didn’t either.

The sequel which destroyed a good franchise. (Previous honorees include the The Matrix sequels, Alien 3 and American Beauty II: Lester’s Back.)

Sequels are a tricky business that should never star or co-star Richard Pryor. (See Superman III.) In 2004, one sequel killed a franchise that had potential for better things into yet another Star Wars clone. This movie I’m talking about is The Chronicles of Riddick, sequel to 1999’s moderate hit Pitch Black. Pitch Black had everything that most sci-fi movies lack; a basis in reality. After watching the movie I felt as if the future could conceivably be like that depicted in Pitch Black where religion still played a central theme in character’s motivations and just because these same characters are masters of technology doesn’t mean that they’re able to fare any better in a barren desert than our ancestors.

However, this realism was turned on its head in the follow-up, The Chronicles of Riddick. Just about everything that was established prior movie was trashed in The Chronicles of Riddick in attempt to create a fantasy. I was as disappointed as I have ever been in a movie while watching The Chronicles of Riddick and I went into the theater with so much hope.

The, “Movie that made Satan appealing” award.

When I was little, the devil was a really, really bad guy. The kind of guy who was out to slowly take over the world one soul at a time. I’m sure no one would have wanted to spend an afternoon playing darts with “The Lord of Darkness” in the movie Legend (1985). But lately, the devil’s been getting the “Extreme Makeover” treatment, being made into a not-so-bad kind of guy. Case in point, Hellboy where the spawn of the devil is made out to be a muscular super-hero out to rid the world of evil. (Evil fighting evil!? What are the odds?)

Coming in second for this award was the movie Mean Girls, starring Lindsay Lohan. Because if Lohan isn’t proof positive that when Satan visits Earth he does so in the form of a voluptuous barely legal teen I don’t know what is. Now, where did I place my rosary? Where’s Paul Callan when you need him?

The vampires can’t do math award.

In last summer’s stinker Van Helsing, it is established that Dracula and his three wives kill between one and two Transylvanian villagers a month for food. (And why don’t these people move away?)

The whole plot of Van Helsing revolves around the vampire hunter Van Helsing trying to stop Dracula from reanimating his tens of thousands of vampire babies he’s had with his wives. (The whole dead vampire baby thing is convoluted, confusing and not all that interesting.) When any sane person does the math, figuring that these vampire babies would be killing several tens of thousands of people per month, how long would it be until the vampires would be out of food? Either vampires aren’t all that smart or they’re counting on finding another source of nutrition when they force mankind down the path of extinction.

Maybe that was Van Helsing’s plan all along, to destroy Dracula by going after his food. If so, he’s a genius!

Movie aided by Alan Alda in a starring role.

Last year, Alda co-starred in The Aviator garnering himself an Oscar nomination while at the same time throwing off years of Hawkeye Pierce and being the host of PBS’ Scientific American Frontiers baggage. In The Aviator, Alda played conniving Senator Brewster bent on the destruction of Howard Hughes and the world domination of Pan American Airlines.

However, this award once again goes unclaimed, since Alda was in a co-starring role and not a starring one.

Hopefully next year Alda will be able to step up and begin stealing roles from the likes of Colin Farrell and Ryan Gosling. Good luck next year, Alan!

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