The 2003 MTV Movie Awards

Kirsten Dunst's cleavage.Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium is a 6,000+ capacity facility, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the 2003 MTV Movie Awards, held May 31st but only aired by the network last night. The event took place in a vacuum, seeming only to exist inside a right triangle stretching from the top of its elaborate superhero stage, to the back of a 6-deep bay of tables, and across the inevitable commoners’ moat back to stage front. Inside this triangle was the cream of young Hollywood, co-mingling with some music types looking to cross over – Puffy, Pink, and Queen Latifah, who already made the leap. As each “winner” made the short walk from his/her dinner table, through the clawing, outstretched hands of the disease-ridden peasants, and onto the chintzy stage, it seemed as if no one else was in the room besides Stifler, Justin, Kirsten Dunst, and aforementioned Mr. Diddy-bop. A talent show for all the neighborhood kids, thrown by the family with the biggest garage. The bling in this burg might’ve been a bit brighter, but the winners were still walking away with a meaningless piece of plastic. As it turned out, that wasn’t the only cheap thrill of the evening.

After an obligatory opening gag riffing on The Matrix, the summer movie plugs began, interspersed with forced comedy, goofy award themes, and shots of Paris and Nicky Hilton. The Ring‘s Daveigh Chase accepted the Future Hallie Eisenberg award, and represented scary as fuck stage kids everywhere with a frighteningly articulate acceptance speech that lasted two days. Famous gunshot victim 50 Cent performed a medley of “Up in Da Club” and “Wanksta” which according to MTV’s camera crew was only enjoyed by a sashaying Queen Latifah. What, Colin Farrell wasn’t digging it? He can certainly get behind 50’s decision to have sex, not make love. During postgame interviews, types who are down with the rap game – you know, Jessica Simpson, Sean Astin, Allyson Hannigan – gushed about Mr. Cent’s performance. After a few more minutes of award show jibber jabber, Pink performed her new song, fauxhawk in place and licking a butch dancer’s face. “Feel Good Time” was written by Beck (!) and will no doubt be inescapable this summer, as it’s the theme song to the Charlie’s Angels sequel. It’s not a bad jam – Pink has a strong voice, and the song’s bass-heavy underpinnings make her throaty growl even sexier. With the jazzed-up stage antics and crappy sound, it was hard to really get a handle on it, but if Beck’s writing songs for Pink, his long-awaited collaboration with Linda Perry might have finally arrived.

And then it was t.A.T.u. time.

Woo woo.Having failed to ignite America’s passion (or ire) with the initial spit-swapping of “All The Things She Said,” the tawdry Russian twosome took the superhero stage braless and brash, lip-synching furiously to the weak-minded laserbeam pop of “Not Gonna Get Us.” With breathless cut-ins of press clippings on the monitors – “Lock up your daughters”; “girls are doin’ it for themselves” – it seemed as if MTV would only flirt with the duo’s Sapphic marketing ploy. But then, before you could say “Ashton & Demi!”, the Shrine’s aisles filled with hundreds of teenaged girls, done up like schoolgirls and aping the multiple Slim Shady bit from MTV’s award show past. The army of estrogen surrounded its miniature queen bees, gyrating to one of the worst songs to get airtime since Outback Steakhouse started airing radio commercials. It was a bit risqué, but the network still hadn’t done anything more salacious than Colin Farrell’s average night on the town. Hold the phone, Boris. As the mechanized euro-rhythms climaxed, and t.A.T.u.’s principals embraced for a mouth inspection, the schoolgirl outfits started coming off. Hopping about in tighty whiteys and tank tops, the girls started handing jumpers, knee socks, and blouses to the table’d Hollywood guests. Intercuts caught Diddy and Danny Masterson reaching for the fabric; more close-ups found famous types wide-eyed and laughing, mouthing words like “I can’t believe it” and “Oh my!” The camera finally begged off, backing away from the exiting underwear models rapidly, but not too rapidly. If a camera lens was ever self-satisfied, this was that lens.

There was no reason for t.A.T.u. to even be at the Movie Awards. (Of course, the larger issue is why the network even sponsors a movie award show, but that’s neither here nor there). Their girl-on-girl power failed like their manager’s cheap Russian cologne. But what better way for MTV to promote its summer lineup (the return of Tom Green? Come on…) than with two fake lesbians and a bunch of girls in panties? Pay no mind to this snoozer of a party starter.


See Johnny’s article about t.A.Tu., The Year that Junk Broke. Also be sure to check out his coverage of the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards and the 2001 VMAs. He suffers through this shit, so you don’t have to.

32 thoughts on “The 2003 MTV Movie Awards”

  1. Bravo Johnny!! I don’t know how you do it, man. Unless masochism is your thing, sitting through the ten minutes of that show that I did (it was the Charlie’s Angels ass vignette, which would have made a funny two minute joke, not an excruciating ten minute bellyflop) is painful enough to make a person want to jump out the window shreiking, “No more, no more!!” What a masturbatory gesture from the industry on behalf of itself.

    The funniest thing about the tATu album is the cover of “How Soon Is Now”, shrilly screamed by one of the two Russky teenyboppers. Somewhere in Moscow, their manager is holding his head saying, “we made #1 in the UK, where did we go wrong with America?”

  2. I’m 100% serious when I say that “All the Things She Said” (or whatever it’s called) is one of my favorite songs of the year. I heard it at the mall the other day, and it’s really a great pop song. Remind me to download it when I get home…

  3. Jake, I hope that this year, when I see you at the summer bbq weekend at the cottage, you’re wearing a TATU t-shirt and not that Britney Spears thing you had on two years ago.

  4. Jake, you’re fucking nuts. That song is total crap. And my love of Alanis and 4 Non Blondes is nothing compared to your weakness for crappy synth-pop performed by Lolitas.

  5. I don’t know. I like it. Maybe I’m a sucker for teen pop, but there’s plenty of stuff like that that I hate. That song’s just kind of awesome. It’s true that I also love “Oops, I Did It Again” and “Baby One More Time.” I also like this one Justin Timberlake song I saw him perform on Letterman or Leno; he’s an excellent dancer as well. And that N*Sync song “Pop” is pretty good. I like the Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” because it has the “Not Just Knee Deep” bass line. I prefer the Moulin Rouge version of “Lady Marmalade” to the original Patti Labelle version (although the Happy Mondays’ “Kinky Afro” is the best version, albeit modified beyond recognition). The Christina Aguilera song “Beautiful” is pretty good. And I just finally realized how great that J-Lo “On the Block” song is. Can’t get it out of my head. “I’m still I’m still Jenny on the block.” The video’s dopey though (They were playing at a store in NYC when I was there).

    I definitely prefer the commercial pop dance songs I hear to the commercial “rock” songs I hear these days. Granted, I really don’t hear a lot of this stuff — usually just when I’m at the mall.

    I think this stuff is in the same vein as Abba, the Archies, and the entire tradition of bubblegum music. Whatever though. To each his own.

  6. Jake, is the Timberlake song “Dance With Me”? Has this kinda rubbery synthy strummy feel to it? I like that song too. I had no idea it was Timberlake when I first heard it, which was beneficial to my liking it.

    tATu- worst song in the history of the world. wait, well… at least it’s dramatic. maybe it would sound good if Johnny Marr could get a hold of it.

    and Tom Green, glad to have ya back old friend! I hope he gets to make another movie. Daddy would you like some sausage?

  7. Getting back to MTV, why does this shit seem to echo the Roman empire? Not to get all Old Testament, but the jaded presentation of lesbianism to move merchandise smacks of decedance to me. Or maybe I’m just old. Hey you kids, get off my lawn!

    And if the return of Tom Green isn’t a clear sign of the Apocalypse, I don’t know what is.

    Still, hats off to Johnny for wading knee-deep thru the muck for us once again.

  8. Terrible, rotton show the MTVMA is, that’s a given… BUT, I too think “All the things she said” and “Nothing can stop us”- (they’re different songs right?) are 2 of the best pop songs of the year. AND I don’t care too much about the fake-lesbianism angle. It’s great to have Trevor (ABC,Seal,FGTH, Buggles, Yes{errrr…})Horn producing disposable tunes again! Finally, the 50cent performance was a joke wasn’t it? Is there anything as bad as bad live hiphop?

  9. I personally love the song “Not Gonna Get Us.” I normally dont like teen pop but this song has a great techno feel to it. The people working on the mixing for the TATU song are extremely good. I really like both singles. They differ from the conventional teen pop.

  10. OK! so Tatu’s performance looked more like a publicity stunt rather than a “performance” I could lip synch and dance in my underwear anytime, they were just down right CRAP!!!

  11. I hate to admit it, but I liked Tatu’s music when I first heard it on the radio. Much the same as Britney wasn’t that bad the first 5 times you heard it and didn’t realize who she was.

    The reason people bash Tatu is because the two girls are just the front for a great techno mixing team. The DJ’s and sound mixers do the work off stage, and then they have these two Russian girls ( who sound American when they sing but can’t speak conversationally at the level of a native of Alabama ) come out and simper out words they were coached to sing and then make out in front of the camera. The best part is that they aren’t even lesbians, or so I hear.

    So kinda like one of those commercials that is funny but you have to watch so much that you want to vomit, think of Tatu that way.

  12. Tatu is actually pretty good when you listen to the original russian album.. they had to change a lot of the lyrics to get them to rhyme in English.

    Yes, their whole marketing and such is lame, but the music is upbeat and entertaining.

  13. You people are obviously close-minded, needless to say you don’t even try to understand the motives behind the getting undressed act, but rather you criticize them, because of reluctancy to appreciate the foreign pop, and probably because of your own insecurities.

    Here’s some points to consider:

    Self-expression is honored and encouraged in Russia, to counter the ‘containment’ effect

    produced by many years of Communist power. Self-expression does include showing off your body, and MOST American stars do not have a conservative performance. (Eminem in his movie was showing his naked butt). Actually, if you think looking at half naked female bodies is nasty, you’ve got serious insecurity issues.

    Lesbian couple? WHo cares? Is that supposed to make a band lesser? Why is this even an issue? The word lesbian is what drives me nuts. They can kiss or not kiss, it’s only a part of the song. The question is, why do they kiss? My answer to that is, what’s wrong with kissing on stage? It’s going back to self-expression.

    Throwing clothes on stage. The rock concerts are somewhat notorious for it, am I wrong? I’ve never heard any criticism regarding that untill I’ve encountered the poorly written , jaded review by Johnny Loftus whose energy is tunnened towards throwing flamboyant ridiculous comments in the air. I’d personally shoot him if I could

    And yes, their music contains simple electronic beats, but that’s true for 99.99% of dance music, inlcuding 80s and electro newwave.

    Tatu songs are very energizing and powerful, and have served inspiration for many teens around the globe. Go TATU !

  14. Sorry, i did not mean “I’d personally shoot him if I could” literally. Threatening is not my game.

  15. Yeah, there’s a lot of ambiguity in the statement “I’d personally shoot him if I could.” We really should have known you weren’t being literal.

    Second favorite Steve quote: “I’ve never heard any criticism regarding that untill I’ve encountered the poorly written , jaded review by Johnny Loftus whose energy is tunnened towards throwing flamboyant ridiculous comments in the air.”

    From now on, I pledge to channel my shitty writing abilities into run-on sentences.


  16. Well, we have to admit that this Russian Lesbo group is better than American pop singer such as Brtiney or Justin. “Not Gonna Get Us” is the best song ever!

  17. And i think the reason for “lip synch” is because at that time Julia had problem with her voice. I’ve watched their live performances so many times, and i think they are really awesome!

  18. Pink licking a dancer now thats strange. Like doesn’t she have a boyfriend to go lick or something? Its just so nasty seeing that nasty rusty tonge on a maniac that needs to know how to dance. She dances like Tom Green! Well I have just one thing to say……PINK, GO GET A BOYFRIEND TO GO LICK LIKE A PUPPY!

  19. Why don;t them nasty maniac dancers go strip thier body off somewhere else> I mean watching a pleasent Movie Awards and then these dumb dancers with boy underware on. Now that is not a pleasent moment or site for one thing and another thing…….TATU WHY DONT YOU 2 GET BOYFRIENDS INSTEAD OF KISSING EACHOTHER thats nasty!

  20. THIS IS FOR PINK THE LICKER…………. go get a lolly pop to go lick instead of a dancer thats trying to do her job.

  21. TATU’s music has a real good beat to it, but the whole fake lesbo thing is pissing me off. Cause there is no way in hell that they would ever got a contract by puting there tounges down each others throat.

  22. You ppl just need to get over it already and let ppl listen to whatever they want. I listen to t.A.T.u., does that make me “crazy”? Unable to listen to “real music”? Real music is what you like to listen to. And if you’re so sure they’re fake lesbians, go back and watch some of their earlier videos, see some earlier photos of them before they were famous, and then come back to me saying “it’s just a friendly thing to do to be intimate.” I have not seen one SHRED of proof that they’re NOT lesbians. An article? Give me a fucking video clip.

  23. well there is alot of controversey when it comes T.A.T.u. First of all they aren’t really lesbians, this was all a scheme thought up by their producer back in Russia. The girls also don’t write their own music. I agree that they focus too much on their gimmic but their music is just breath taking (except when it’s live). T.A.T.u has definetly got our attention though through their music and yes their music is nothing like your typical teen american pop. T.A.T.u is a very unique combonation of alternative rock, techno and vocal talent. I personally think T.A.T.u would do much better though if they didn’t focus so much on this lesbian image that they are trying to portray. The movie awards performance was very…alright it sucked. I mean the girls could absoulutely not sing live at all, they should spend less time kissing each other and more time rehearsing their songs! The over all energy of the performance was good and it got my attention. Another thing, T.A.T.u should probably practice singing more in english even on their album they just sound too foreign but none the less they have some kick ass chorus’. Thats all I got to say for right now…but “i’ll be back!”

  24. Acutally i’m russian and in russia we all know tatu are lesbians.And i also went to the mtv movie awards and on parts of the song they did sing live and on other parts they did not pink did not sing live at all and there were alot of tatu fans there cause after tatu perform alot of people left and the show was not over.And u said tatu should have not been there research bands before u make comments u r such a fucking crack head tatu album top the charts in 9 countrys selling 13 million records world wide so all the haters go fuck yourself!!!!!!

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