If you weren't annoyed to be missing Game of Thrones last night, then chances are you were the target audience for the 2015 MTV Movie Awards, which bravely aired against the HBO series premiere. Fortunately, the hilarious Amy Schumer made the sacrifice worthwhile and took to the stage swinging — or, more accurately, misfiring an arrow. (So much for the hours of archery lessons.) But the gag went on, and so did the show. Here were the best and worst moments from the pop-celebrity, blockbuster-promoting, popcorn-statuette extravaganza that didn't have anything to do with some seriously P.O.'ed dragons.
Opening with a Boyhood gag in which the Comedy Central star lies on the grass and muses that she's statistically likely to get HPV, Schumer immediately set the tone: This gig was going to be her brand of comedy (irreverent, feminist, and very, very funny). After running through some similar plot perversions of Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, and, best of all, Whiplash in the opening film montage, the comedienne took a few clever shots at the network during her monologue. The winners don't have to worry about being cued off the stage, she joked, because MTV "refuses to play music," and that the best movie is decided on "by the same people who keep Catfish and Teen Mom on the air." It's always refreshing when the hosts don't sublimate their humor for the sake of getting asked back. Besides, any award show that wouldn't want Schumer to host should just hang on to those trophies.
Woodley kicked things off with such a warm and sincere acceptance for her Best Actress win (the first of many), that it was surprising to see her stumble here. She vaguely quoted Emma Stone, who won the same award three years ago, and then got a little tongue-tied when trying to sort out something to the effect of being "pillars" in one's community. It was a word she repeated three more times before concluding with a corny joke that she'd road-tested on the red carpet about not being allowed to say "blaze on." (Is she watching the same show as the rest of us?!) Anyway, hey, everybody gets nervous, and it was clear the young actress had something meaningful she wanted to say. It just would have been nice for Woodley to share more articulate, perhaps slightly more prepared thoughts up at the podium.
Leave it to Downey Jr. to show up the rookies. If we're to imagine RDJ's internal stage directions, it would sound like: Convey a sense humility that is both effortless and genuine, with just the right amount of derision. Like when the 50-year-old Iron Man star joked, in reference to the show's set design, that he's been waiting 10 years to "emerge from a massive, trippy cat head to receive the recognition I've so desired." As his Avengers costars Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth kneeled before him, Downey Jr. admitted that in the 34 years since MTV's birth, he has "squandered, resisted, surrendered, repented, [and] labored." No doubt some people in the audience (and elsewhere) will want to look to this speech in a few years to see how comebacks are done. "Keep your nose clean," he added, without pausing for the laughs.
Clearly, as The Hunger Games wind down and the memory of Twilight fades like a far distant memory, the awards are lacking for the big clip that will satisfy just one rabid fan base — so instead the show is appealing to all of them. Robert Downey Jr. actually had to boil his career down to a promo for Avengers: Age of Ultron by wrapping up his lifetime achievement award speech with a scene from the movie. MTV has a new series called Scream that no one would have been able to remain unaware of, and Dwayne Johnson presented the last award of the night against a flaming San Andreas set piece. Is shameless self-promotion the only way to secure the stars' attendance these days? Either way, MTV will not get Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect 2) at these shows for anything.
It didn't look like it could get any more ribald than Amy Schumer saying that at least two of her fingers disappear every time she watches Magic Mike — but it did. It really did. The host later referred to herself as a "celebrity leak" (think about it) before devoting an entire skit to friends bumping into each other at the movie theater — where they have come to masturbate, aided by washing machines and gourds from Trader Joe's. Elsewhere, J. Lo coaxed a little twerk from the always-game Channing Tatum. Is it possible that an entire awards show passed without a single woman being degraded? For once, the tables were turned for a whole evening.
Schumer killed it in the beginning, cracking that if the actor, who was honored with a Comedic Genius award, saw his shadow it meant we got six more Kevin Hart movies. (She also cracked that he played the fake baby in American Sniper. Ha!). But by the time Jimmy Kimmel took the stage to present the statuette and make "Eddie Smurfy" jokes, the punch line had worn thin. Adding insult to the one-note roast, the cameras cut away from Hart's clearly rehearsed acceptance handshake/dance with his son Hendrix for a Scream promo. The guy's a good sport, at least.
Woodley and Teller both gave breakout performances in 2013's undersung The Spectacular Now, but for the moment it appears the actress has broken out just a little more. (Still, wait until Fantastic Four hits this summer). Nonetheless, Teller was superb in Whiplash, and has even made total garbage movies like Two Night Stand more tolerable, thanks to his irrepressible charisma. He gave a very sweet introduction to Woodley's Trailblazer award, calling his Divergent costar "an incredible force of nature" and playfully acknowledging her eccentricities, like showing up to their first meeting with a Mason jar full of water. Later he took the stage with his FF costars Michael B. Jordon, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell, who seemed to have enough chemistry to convince us that this superhero-franchise reboot might not have been a terrible idea. In short: More Miles (and Michael), always, please.
First, to whoever had the idea to put these two together in a movie (the upcoming buddy comedy Hot Pursuit): very innnteresting. Vergara is great on Modern Family, and Witherspoon has been a welcome presence in a comedy ever since that 1996 indie Freeway. But women kissing hasn't been worth talking about since Madonna and Britney in 2003, and then only because it wasn't clear whose bid for relevance that was. It's just not funny, and it would be nice if Vergara didn't have to partake in a confusing bit about someone taking advantage of her every single time she presented an award. A close second: The uncomfortably awkward banter about English accents between Mark Wahlberg and Jessie J, whose fame remains confusing.
This was a contested one, and while we would argue that Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen were the Best Duo in Neighbors, we were happy to see Franco and Efron come dressed as the dueling Robert De Niros, from Meet the Parents and Taxi Driver respectively. (Also, kudos to the well-behaved cat who stood in for MTP's Jinxy.) There wasn't necessarily any payoff here, other than a crotch-grabbing joke that fell a little flat, but Franco and Efron committed, for which we give them all the credit in the world.
Sure, by the time these awards roll around, people are pretty familiar with the source material — but Scarlett Johansson is in a lot of movies. Doesn't it make sense to at least acknowledge that the clip we're watching is from Lucy and not Under the Skin? Did MTV just assume everybody knows who Annabelle Wallis is and what movie she's nominated for? It's like the network is more of less admitting that this part — the movies and whatnot — didn't really matter. For all the time they spend on trailers, they should at least create a category for that next year.