At risk of putting too fine a point on it, complaining about the crassness and low entertainment value of the MTV Movie Awards is somewhat akin to complaining about the impersonal touch at your local whorehouse. While the show has yielded a few memorable moments over the years, it’s usually a vapid exercise in Twilight and Transformers recognition, wrapped up in the by now pro forma technical clumsiness and vaguely directionless air of any MTV live show. The 2013 MTV Movie Awards, which went out live (or not quite live, considering the number of Samuel L. Jackson’s “motherfuckers” that didn’t make it to air) last night, was about what we expected it to be: non-stop shilling for this summer’s big movies, back-patting for last summer’s big movies, awards for those who showed up (which is about the only way we can explain, as one example, Tyler Lautner beating Channing Tatum for Best Shirtless Performance), a few laughs and more than a few winces for host Rebel Wilson, and endless, endless vaguely patronizing thank-yous for “all the faaaaans” who voted for the winners. But beyond the expected yuckiness, there was awkwardness a-plenty, and our picks for the night’s most peculiar moments await you after the jump.
Bradley Cooper’s Best Male Performance Acceptance: The evening’s king of dour cutaways, Bradley Cooper, took a Serious Turn in his MTV Movie Awards acceptance speech to talk about PTSD, and to mumble that “more people have committed suicide in the last year than in the field of battle, and it’s an epidemic.” His character in Silver Linings, by the way, did not have PTSD, and was not a veteran. It’s a serious cause, and worth spotlighting (and hey, maybe offering a solution or two for), but maybe the Rebel Wilson Vag Joke Show wasn’t the best place to offer it up, Coop.
Aubrey Plaza’s Weird, Failed Soy-Bombing of Will Ferrell’s Speech. Even Ferrell knew poor Aubrey’s unscripted stage crash was an epic fail: “Just like we rehearsed it. Perfect, it was perfect.” (Also, total coincidence that Ferrell’s Anchorman sequel is from Paramount, also owned by MTV parent company Viacom.)
Adam Sandler and Chris Rock’s Award Presentation: As we saw in Grown-Ups and The Longest Yard, Adam Sandler’s unfunny is so cripplingly powerful that he can even infect Chris Rock with it.
“Django Unchained” Wins “Best WTF Moment”: It was an ill-defined category to begin with, but the clip shown from Django was, inexplicably, the big ending. Aside from being a giant spoiler for a movie not yet on DVD, what exactly was so WTF about a climax in which the film’s hero wins and its villain loses? What was up with that crazy shit, am I right?!!1!
Professional On-air Talent: Following a preshow that makes the Oscar red carpet looked polished and snazzy in comparison, someone named Christina Garibaldi, while going to a commercial, literally flubbed the name of the awards show that she was at.
Snoop Lion and Ke$ha Introducing Macklemore and Ryan Lewis: “These guys do things their own way and don’t let anybody hold them down.” Yes, nothing says fierce, uncommercial individuality like a performance at an MTV awards show. Pretending to smoke weed at said show is a close second!
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s Performance/Selena Gomez’s Performance: This one was more awkward for your film editor than anyone else. Nothing like watching a live event on MTV to realize how completely out of touch you are with pop music.
Paul Walker’s Classification of the Original The Fast and the Furious: When the cast of Fast and Furious 6 appeared to present the Breakthrough Performance award, Mr. Walker called up the series’ scrappy beginnings as a $38 million summer studio movie thus: “We were a small movie way back when, and we crushed it.” Somebody mind asking, say, Shane Carruth if he thinks a $38 million Universal release is a “small movie?” (Also, total coincidence that this award went to the host of the show.)
Seth Rogen and Danny McBride: These guys are funny. This is the End looks funny. But nothing in this evening—not the koala bit, not Rebel Wilson’s “deleted scenes” montage, not Melissa McCarthy’s surprisingly unfunny award intro—was as painfully, awkwardly laugh-free as their comparison of bikini areas.
The “Exclusive Teaser Trailer” for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”: This was a night of endless flackery, less an award show than a two-hour Summer Movie Preview. There was McCarthy’s clumsy hawking of The Heat; the goofy combo ad for Pain and Gain and MTV’s The Show with Vinny; the much-hyped, twenty-second, context and mostly dialogue-free Iron Man 3 “exclusive clip”; Jamie Foxx’s acceptance-speech pimping of his upcoming SyFy anthology series; the giant World War Z logo behind Brad Pitt’s Best Picture presentation; an award presented by two screeching MTV show stars no one’s ever heard of; and on and on. But if there were a moment’s doubt what the MTV Movie Awards is really all about, it came when Liam Hemsworth appeared with a full stage of fake pyro behind him, as though introducing another music performance (by Hagar-era Van Halen, from the looks of the stagecraft), and instead presented a commercial for the new Hunger Games movie. Some award shows tread the line between self-congratulation and promotion; the MTV Awards laugh at that line, and then tell you which shampoo brand sponsored it.