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52 weeks of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson: Week 9

'Baywatch' is cruelly overlooked at the Oscars

52 weeks of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson: Week 9
07 March 2018

A word on humility this week from Dwayne Mr The Rock Johnson. In May of last year Dwayne Mr The Rock Johnson took the lead role in a feature-length reboot of the Baywatch franchise, this time entitled Baywatch. Despite my best efforts to help Paramount to promote the film – including my donation of the following quote to the marketing team: “UTTERLY RIDICULOUS, UTTERLY SUBLIME” – in critical terms the film was mauled like an infant deer tiptoeing into a cave full of psychotic bears.

On the night of 4 March all of my pleas and all of my finger-crossing were to no avail: Baywatch did not win the Academy Award for Best Picture. (In retrospect I was wasting my time; the film had not been nominated.) 

Elsewhere it was, however, vying for numerous Razzies: the awards that pinpoint and publicise the worst films made over the previous year. By the end of the night, Baywatch walked away with an award that managed to give the film the last laugh: the ‘Razzie Nominee So Rotten You Loved It!’

There are two things to take from this information:

1. More of the Academy Award categories should contain exclamation marks. A far more enjoyable evening would be had by all if presenters were forced to shout the nominations thus: “And the nominees for Best Picture! are…”

2. Can a film truly be a Razzie – i.e. a shit film – if people can confidently be said to have loved it? Your answer: “Hmm, I’m not sure, that’s an interesting point.” Mine: “No, absolutely not, no.”

Anyway. Point is, the next day The Rock ‘took to Instagram’ almost immediately – of course he did – to, in his words, “graciously accept” his Razzie. 

“Look,” he said in the video, “We made Baywatch with the best intentions and it didn’t work out like that, but I humbly and graciously accept my Razzie and I thank you critics and thank you fans.”

It may be almost a year since the film came out, but this soon after the event it is still rare to see any actor so candidly acknowledge that one of their projects was a disappointment. Perhaps the post says as much about the man’s constant need for attention and approval as it does about his humility; perhaps The Rock needs to see the thousands of likes come streaming in in order to convince himself that he’s not a failure, however bad a recent film of his might have been. 

“They like me,” he says, seeing the hearts build up on the screen. “They forgive me!” Perhaps.

But really, I believe that what we learn from this entire affair is something more profound than ‘The Rock hopes he can salvage something from an embarrassing car-crash of a film’. 

And I think it is this: yes it is important that we learn from our missteps with a serious and sober face, but it is equally important to simply move on, move up, and move on again, laughing at the version ourselves that existed a year hence. 

It can’t be easy to do this, when the memory is still vivid in the brain. What a healthy sense of self-esteem The Rock has. Would that we – and by we, I mean I – were more like him!

Stay hungry and – this is important, reader – please do stay humble.


(Illustration: Dan Evans)