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One of the films listed here is the Worst Film of the Year

Zhang Ziyi wants to wish you an even happier Lunar New Year!

Ziyi LNY
“This stuffed cow has seen me naked, too!”

In other news, the annual LoveHKFilm Awards will be announced Sunday, March 15th, 2009. I would tell you to mark your calendars, but because these awards are less important than the day-old donut sale at Dunkin’ Donuts, I won’t presume to do so. Instead, I ask that you drop by to see the results if you would be so kind as to deign us with your presence. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t deign.

Eason LNY
“Deign? I don’t deign to do anything!”

Like last year, a bunch of like-minded individuals are participating in the LoveHKFilm Awards, meaning this is a group effort and not some annoying monument to the Webmaster’s tyranny. Voting is currently underway for the initial nominations, and they should be up on the regular LoveHKFilm site pretty soon. The criteria are eligibility for the awards are nearly the same as last year, but here are the specifics.

1. The film must premiere theatrically or on home video in Hong Kong within the calendar year of 2008. Also, it must be readily available for screening, e.g. not only at a festival or a screening for potential buyers. The LoveHKFilm Jury consists of people with regular jobs and lives that are only tangentially related to the film industry, so if we can’t see the film, we won’t count it. Either way, I’m sure the studios won’t lose any sleep.

“Gee, I hope they don’t nominate me for anything!
Really, DRAGONBALL is way better than
that silly RED CLIFF thing I was supposed to do!”

2. The film must fulfill three of the following four criteria:

a) The director should be Hong Kong-based or possess a career largely associated with Hong Kong Cinema. Probably Chen Kaige would not make the cut here, nor would Ang Lee. The Pang Brothers would absolutely count, though. John Woo is a no-brainer. Kevin Chu Yen-Ping would count, thanks to his nineties onslaught of Hong Kong-Taiwan co-productions featuring Hong Kong stars.

b) The lead actor or actors in the film should be Hong Kong-based or possess a career largely associated with Hong Kong Cinema. This is open to tons of interpretation. For example, does Sun Honglei count here? Or Jay Chou? I would argue yes in Jay’s case, but would be on the fence for Sun Honglei. Vicki Zhao, Gong Li and Zhou Xun would probably make the cut for their work in Hong Kong films, though it’s clear they’re Mainland actresses. Ge You is pretty much Mainland, and everyone from F4 would be Taiwan. We might make an exception for Vanness Wu, because of STAR RUNNER and DRAGON SQUAD. You get the idea. I hope.

Karen Mok
“Whoops, I can’t find my clothes!
It’s a good thing these New Year Couplets are so damn big!”

c)  The film should predominantly feature either Mandarin or Cantonese language. This is the “BLUEBERRY NIGHTS Rule”, which prevents Wong Kar-Wai’s English-language Norah Jones-starrer from getting inclusion, despite actually qualifying in most every other way. Anyway, even if it had been deemed eligible it would probably not have been considered among the year’s ten best. I sure as heck wasn’t going to consider it.

 Wong Kar Wai
“Let me tell you: I could give two sh*ts
about your LoveHKFilm Awards!
like you would not believe!”

d) The film should contain Hong Kong investment. The actual percentage is not that big a deal because we’re rather lax about this rule, plus nobody could obtain official figures if they tried. It’s not like Media Asia is beating our door down to enter IF YOU ARE THE ONE into the competition. Oddly, it qualifies anyway.

Shu Qi
“They better not be expecting me to, like,
show up to their stupid awards.
My lips can only take so much.”

With all of the above factored in, here are the eligible films:

All About Women
The Beast Stalker
Beseiged City
Breeze of July
Butterfly Lovers
City Without Baseball
Dangerous Game
A Decade of Love
The Deserted Inn
An Empress and the Warriors
Fatal Move
The Forbidden Legend: Sex & Chopsticks
Forever Enthralled
Forgive and Forget
Happy Funeral
High Noon
Hong Kong Bronx
If You Are The One
Ip Man
Kung Fu Dunk
Kung Fu Hip Hop
L For Love, L For Lies
La Lingerie
Legendary Assassin
Lost, Indulgence
Love is Elsewhere
The Luckiest Man
My Wife is a Gambling Maestro
Nobody’s Perfect
Ocean Flame
Only the Way
Painted Skin
Playboy Cops
The Pretty Women
Red Cliff
Rule No. 1
Run Papa Run
scare 2 die
See You in You Tube
The Sparkle in the Dark
Storm Rider - Clash of Evils
This Darling Life
Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon
True Women For Sale
Two Stupid Eggs
The Way We Are
The Vampire Who Admires Me
Wushu - The Young Generation
Yes, I Can See Dead People

Some quick notes to the above:

- FOREVER ENTHRALLED made the cut despite being released on January 1st, 2009, because it was screened the previous weekend. LADY COP AND PAPA CROOK was not so lucky. Or maybe it was lucky, because lack of inclusion means we have a whole year to forget that it could be called the Most Disappointing film of the year.

- There were some regrettable omissions. The largest one that comes to mind is CLAUSTROPHOBIA, which counts as a 2008 film at all official awards, but is getting counted out here because it was only screened twice at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival and not everyone on the Jury was able to see it. Its theatrical release is coming on February 12th, 2009 so it’ll compete next year.

Ekin and Karena
“Really? We get to compete at next year’s
awards? Wow, you LoveHKFilm people are so nice!”

- Also competing next year will be THE EQUATION OF LOVE AND DEATH, which is really a Mainland film but qualifies anyway if we count Zhou Xun as a Hong Kong Cinema actor. It’s arguable that she isn’t, but I don’t hear anyone arguing so we’ll count her anyway.

- The Hong Kong-Japanese women-in-prison flick SASORI doesn’t count because it still has not seen any screenings in Hong Kong outside of Filmart. It did play at various international fests, but that still doesn’t cut it. The same situation kept SHAMO out of last year’s awards, but it’s being counted this year. The link between these films is that they’re both produced by Sameway, who apparently view local theatrical release as an afterthought. Who can blame them? There isn’t much money to be earned from Hong Kong audiences.

- Thanks to the RED CLIFF 1 and 2 split, John Woo has the chance to win twice for basically the same film. It almost sounds like cheating, but again nobody is arguing.

Shidou Nakamura
“Thanks for seeing our movie! We worked very hard on it!”

We’ll see what everyone decides by March 15th. As usual there will also be your assortment of tongue-in-cheek or borderline mean-spirited awards to be handed out, and I’m hoping everyone out there can take those with a grain of salt. If this site ever does achieve some sort of recognition beyond just that of my parents, I’d be glad to remove the negative categories and go all positive.

Regardless, however, I’m keeping the Career Suicide Award. This year, the winner is all but guaranteed:

“Aw man, can’t you guys just give me a break?”

Sadly, probably not.

11 Responses to “One of the films listed here is the Worst Film of the Year”

  1. glenn Says:

    Why did I let out an audible “Ugh” after reading half of those titles on that eligible list?

    Even if the ones that I’ve not yet seen turn out to be winners, it’s a pretty sorry crop of films, isn’t it?

    And I say that as someone who’s been reading this site since its inception and who paid money for the legal DVD of Nine Girls and a Ghost.

    Another Kung Fu Hip Hop just might be the nail in the coffin of my fandom.

  2. lumpdechunk Says:

    If Kung Fu-Ugh! Dunk and Butterfly Lovers win anything, I might stab my eyes. …not literally.

    Maybe I’m wrong. There is an award that they could win ‘The Best Popstarsss Suicidal Movie’.

    My 90’s was Dragonball. Still hoping against all hope that the movie will vanish into thin air. WHY Chow Yun Fatt?? Why the tacky Hawaiian shirt??? (At least he is not bald with a turtle shell on his back..)

  3. V Says:

    I’ve only seen half of the nominated movies, but sadly, there wasn’t any among them that felt truly outstanding. I did like The Way We Are a lot, but none of the 2008 movies stood out in my mind as exceptional. Perhaps I should watch the rest to see if that changes. Or deign to set lower expectations for award-worthy movies.. hehe.. I am looking forward to the results- gotta wait a month, eh?

    Kozo, your Mismatched Couples review is very entertaining. I am totally sold on the idea of watching Ip Man and Mismatched Couples back to back :) Enjoy your break!

  4. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Hi Glenn, 2008 for Hong Kong movies was pretty bad - possibly even worse than 2005. There are still some good films in there, but with the reduced production from the territory (plus shrinking budgets and China censorship), everything was rather bleak. Wong Jing has said that this is the year for turnaround, and I’m crossing my fingers that he’s correct.

    lumpdechunk, Kung Fu Dunk and Butterfly Lovers are already guaranteed spots on the “Worst Films of the Year” list. So, they will win something.

    V, the extra month gives the jury members time to rethink their choices. I hate to admit it, but lower expectations do help. It’s what allowed me to enjoy Champions.

  5. Gabriel Says:

    I was very disappointed with “Kung Fu Hip Hop”. Kozo’s review was better than the film, & I was misled!

  6. Munin Says:

    Already asked on Kevin’s blog, but, again, where is SPARROW? What were you guys thinking?

  7. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Gabriel, sorry you did not enjoy Kung Fu Hip Hop. Trust me, you are not alone.

    Munin, Sparrow did receive some support but obviously not enough. The nominations process for Best Picture is weighted; a film scores more points if it’s ranked higher, and in Sparrow’s case, most people ranked it in the 8-10 range and not 1-5. Math is not always our friend.

    Personally I’m not surprised that it wasn’t slotted for Best Picture because I seldom hear people talk about it outside of the English-speaking online haunts. I think people liked it, but they just liked other movies more.

  8. Munin Says:

    Well, the world in which CONNECTED gets a Best Picture nomination but SPARROW doesn’t is truly a mysterious one..

  9. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Hi Munin, in truth my top 10 ranked SPARROW and not CONNECTED, so I hope that’s some consolation. I’ll print my personal list after the LoveHKFilm Awards get announced in March.

  10. Gabriel Says:

    And I’ve also just seen “Invisible Target”. Another instance of Kozo’s review being way more fascinating that the film. Still Shaun Yue, Wu Jing & Andy On were pretty interesting to watch. Kozo, I’m sure you were dying to know my opinion.

  11. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Hey Gabriel, I’m a little late in saying so, but I’m happy to hear ANYBODY’s opinion - that is, unless the opinion is that I’m a loser, hater or jerk. While I all hear all three a lot, it’s still never fun to be called names.

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