Predator 2 Preview

When Jamie and Patrick enter the Police Academy they are immediately approached by the officer in charge. He says that given their perfect physiques and solid references he thought they could keep an eye on the jokester recruits until they quit. Just as Patrick beings to politely decline (they ain’t no snitches) a strong gust of wind results in the freak pantsing of the officer. Looking around he sees Jamie laughing with the rest of the party animal recruits. “You’ll regret this!” screams the officer in charge. “I’ll make sure both of you are run out of this Academy!” Oh yeah? Not when they are the best recruits the Academy has ever seen. They backflip their way through obstacle courses and use their years of experience with heavy weaponry to blow through the simulations. One day as graduation nears they return to their bunks to find 50 kgs of cocaine sitting on our beds. God damn sabotage! “How can we get rid of a shitload of cocaine?” Jamie wails. “Hold on,” says Patrick thinking, “Shitload… load… load of laundry. I got an idea!” Recalling the tight writing of Exit Wounds, Jamie and Patrick quickly soak 3,000 t-shirts in a vat of cocaine water. When the police arrive all they find is Jamie and Patrick and a shitload of t-shirts. “What’s going on here?” Asks the commander, “we got a tip for a drug bust.” “Nope,” responds Patrick, “Just us and our t-shirt business inventory.” The commander is impressed and we graduate first in the class for our mad skillz and entrepreneurship. In disbelief the officer in charge gets wind of a pretty tough first assignment. Precinct 16 has a Predator problem and he’s pretty sure he knows who’s going to be on Predator Duty. That’s right! This week we are taking the opportunity of the Franchise-zzz cycle to finish (?) the Predator franchise with Predator II. We really jumped around that franchise but somehow never got around to the film set in the far crime-ridden future of 1997 that co-starred Gary Busey. Seems like an oversight. No more! Let’s go!

Predator 2 (1990) – BMeTric: 24.4

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(There is almost no logical eplanation in my mind why the Predator 2 IMDb rating would be above 6.0, almost none. The movie is a joke that sidelined quite an impressive idea for a franchise for a decade.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Fast-paced (if too derivative) sequel, minus Arnold. This time, cop Glover and cronies take on the title alien in 1997 L.A. Good production design and lots of hit-’em-across-the-face action, but don’t looke for anything resembling inventive dialogue or character development. Then again, you wouldn’t expect either from a film with Morton Downey, Jr., in its cast.

(Wow Morton Downey Jr. was basically a morning zoo guy, but more trash TV. His filmography was dire. Was a weirdly pro-cigarette advocate right up until he got cancer and had to have a lung removed. Sounds like a delight.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yPdBVUP5Zw

(Ha “With a few days to kill” classic. Seems just okay. It certainly seems ludicrous. Honestly, they didn’t need to make it a heatwave and have everyone sweating profusely the entire time. Its gross.)

Directors – Stephen Hopkins – (Known For: The Ghost and the Darkness; Race; Under Suspicion; The Life and Death of Peter Sellers; Future BMT: Lost in Space; A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child; The Reaping; Blown Away; Judgment Night; BMT: Predator 2; Notes: Directed most of the first season of 24, including the pilot for which he was nominated for an Emmy. Won an Emmy for The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. Has a hilarious quote about Predator 2 where he said that his main mistake was taking it too seriously and trying to add too much depth to the film. Sure man, whatever you say.)

Writers – John Thomas and Jim Thomas (characters & written by) – (Known For: Predator; Predators; Executive Decision; Future BMT: Mission to Mars; BMT: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem; Wild Wild West; The Predator; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; Predator 2; Behind Enemy Lines; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: God I kinda love all these films and cannot wait for Mission to Mars now. These two are writing partners and brothers. Just like us… exactly like us… with the exact same level and success as us.)

Actors – Danny Glover – (Known For: The Old Man & the Gun; Sorry to Bother You; Saw; Shooter; The Rainmaker; Lethal Weapon; Witness; Silverado; The Royal Tenenbaums; The Prince of Egypt; Escape from Alcatraz; The Color Purple; Blindness; Dreamgirls; Lethal Weapon 2; Antz; Lethal Weapon 4; Maverick; Lethal Weapon 3; Future BMT: The Shaggy Dog; Rage; Gone Fishin’; Age of the Dragons; Operation Dumbo Drop; Diablo; Barnyard; Andron; The Cookout; Monster Trucks; Pure Luck; Angels in the Outfield; Flight of the Intruder; Supremacy; Switchback; Legendary; Wild America; LUV; Gospel Hill; BMT: Alpha and Omega; Proud Mary; 2012; Dirty Grandpa; Predator 2; Notes: In 1984-5 he appeared in three Best Picture nominated films, Places in the Heart, The Color Purple, and Witness. He never got a nomination, though. He did get nominated for four Emmys throughout his career.)

Gary Busey – (Known For: A Star Is Born; Point Break; Lethal Weapon; The Firm; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Lost Highway; Under Siege; Silver Bullet; Thunderbolt and Lightfoot; The Player; The Buddy Holly Story; Big Wednesday; Bounty Killer; Straight Time; Insignificance; Barbarosa; The Gingerdead Man; Cloud 9; Wild in the Streets; Carried Away; Future BMT: Piranha 3DD; Behaving Badly; Chasers; Drop Zone; Homo Erectus; Rookie of the Year; D.C. Cab; Black Sheep; Surviving the Game; Entourage; The Gumball Rally; BMT: Soldier; Predator 2; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for The Buddy Holly Story. Father of Jake Busey who was actually in the latest Predator film. Nearly died in a motorcycle accident in 1988 when he crashed while not wearing a helmet. Strangely not long before the accident he had appeared at a rally aimed at preventing a law requiring people to wear helmets when using a motorcycle. Sad.)

Kevin Peter Hall – (Known For: Predator; Harry and the Hendersons; Future BMT: Big Top Pee-wee; BMT: Predator 2; Notes: Sadly died very young after contracting AIDS from a blood transfusion received following a car accident.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $30,669,413 (Worldwide: $57,120,318)

(Eh. If you squint your eyes you can only kind of tell that this lost millions of dollars for the studio. Yeah, killed any hopes for a franchise for a while.)

#46 for the Creature Feature genre

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(Right in the original creature feature boom from the 80s, although given it looks like dogshit compared to Jurassic Park it isn’t that much of a surprise it would take a while to figure out how to transition from mega expensive animatronics to CGI like that film did. Alien Vs. Predator is the highest grossing BMT film we’ve done.)

#45 for the Future – Near genre

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(Right in the sweet spot where the genre was punching above its weight a bit. Predicting the future in film has been around for about as long as film and follows the technological advancements as well. A Sound of Thunder is the lowest grossing, but probably most entertaining example we’ve done)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (7/26): No consensus yet.

(A lot higher that I personally would have expected, but people do love Predator. Reviewer Highlight: [T]he film’s greatest loss is one of spirit. We live on a speck in a corner of a vast universe, and what makes us human is our ability to wonder about what’s out there. Since we do not know, the fables we create serve only to inspire our dreams. “Predator 2” is a movie whose dreams are angry and ugly. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Alium Hunter 2: Aliums in the City (D-)

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(My eyes! My god, my eyes! Almost The Avengers (1998) level but that weird slanted predator blocks out most of the jarringly bright colors to mitigate the damage. At least it got that classic Predator font. Last Year’s reboot forgot that to its great detriment.)

Tagline(s) – He’s in town with a few days to kill. (Ha, no.)

Silent. Invisible. Invincible. The Ultimate Hunter. (Warmer.)

This Time… Los Angeles, 1997. (Yes… and…)

(Cocaine is the only explanation for any of this. From the poster to the three wildly different taglines. They must have typed out like 500 taglines in an all night bender and then began yelling and punching each other because of how genius they all were until they fell unconscious from exhaustion and the producers just used all of them because fuck it. They got a party to go to.)

Keyword(s) – alien; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.6 Battlefield Earth (2000); 93.9 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 90.3 Alone in the Dark (2005); 82.5 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 82.2 Skyline (2010); 81.9 Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959); 78.1 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000); 76.3 AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem (2007); 74.8 Species II (1998); 74.8 After Earth (2013);

(My god. Who would have thought the last “alien” film we’d have to do to polish off this keyword is The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas. No I.)

Notes – The filming of the alley scene was very troublesome for the filmmakers, due to it being filmed in a very rough neighborhood. The alley was littered with garbage, most of which was used in the film, and plagued with large rats. Local residents angered by the noise created by the film crew, would throw bottles and paper bags filled with feces from windows at the crew in the alley below. Worst of all, the film crew found a dead body hidden amongst the garbage. (This does not sound real. They found a dead body in an alleyway filled with trash that they chose as a filming location? Come on.).

The Jamaican voodoo posse gangs, seen in the film, were based on actual gangs that were terrorizing New York City and Kansas City in the mid to late 1980s.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said no to Predator 2 (1990), because he didn’t like the new director, or the new script.

In the backstory behind why Dutch, the main protagonist of the first film did not return for the sequel. Keyes had learned of Dutch’s encounter with the Predator, and he tracked Dutch down to a hospital, in which Dutch was being treated for an illness from radiation sickness, thought to be a result of exposure of the Predator’s Self-Destruct Device. After hearing Dutch’s account of events, Keyes and the O.W.L.F. team were sent to the jungle to investigate, and studied the site where the Predator detonated it’s Self-Destruction Device, and discovered evidence of a spaceship launch in the jungle, and that the deceased Predator’s ship had automatically returned to the Predator homeworld, and Dutch later escaped from the hospital and vanished, and Keyes personally believed he was still alive. (Ugh, it would have been perfect for The Predator this year, to have him having been abducted and then returned to Earth as its savior)

With more time than the original Predator (1987), Stan Winston, Stephen Hopkins, and Lawrence G. Paull came up with ideas and designs with more exotic weapons (the retractable spear, the detachable pincers, the Smart Disc, the net, et cetera.) for the Predator to use, to differentiate this film from the previous one.

The spear weapon, that was used in the film, disappeared and was reported stolen after filming was completed.

The plot underwent a few changes in its earliest stages. Gary Busey’s character, Keyes, was actually intended to be Dutch, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character from the first film. Schwarzenegger was very outspoken against the sequel’s concept, feeling that taking it into the city was a bad idea, and declined the role. (I don’t think he’s right, I just think it would have been smarter to go Cambodia 1967 first as that was already mentioned, would have allowed to make LA 1997 not take place in the future as well)

Kevin Peter Hall had studied African tribal dances, in order to get into the feel and flexibility of the Predator, and to give him a personality.

Stephen Hopkins was given the task of directing Predator 2 (1990) after greatly impressing the studio when directing A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989). He had been given just four weeks to shoot, and a further four weeks to edit the film. This meant that he had to shoot on one stage, while the crew dressed the other, allowing them to shoot almost continually.

The film was re-cut over twenty times, according to Stephen Hopkins, because of more graphic shots of mutilated bodies and decapitations by the Predator.

Rubén Blades was giving a live television interview to Good Morning America (1975) from the set of this movie. During the interview, Stephen Hopkins walked on camera, and ordered Blades back to work very loudly. The incident was so embarrassing, Blades and Hopkins did another interview a few days later to apologize.

King Willie (Calvin Lockhart) is said to practice Voodoo, yet Voodoo is not commonly practiced in Jamaica and actually comes from Haiti. King Willie is more likely a Rastafarian, which is a common religion in Jamaica and would explain his dreadlocks and the fact he calls Harrigan “Babylon” (a Rastafarian term for the justice system which they see as oppressive and corrupt).

Elpidia Carrillo, who played Anna in the first film, has her name listed in the sequel’s credits, yet doesn’t seem to appear in the actual film. Look carefully during the scene inside Peter Keyes’ mobile headquarters, and you will spot her. When Keyes (Gary Busey) describes how the creature activated a self-destruct device in Predator (1987), you can briefly spot Anna on one of the video screens. Carrillo filmed a debriefing scene, in which she talks to the camera and describes the events of the first film, but it was cut from the sequel.

The subway attack scene was directly adapted from the first Predator comic book series. The producers thought it was cool, and wanted to use it in the film. (Huh, I honestly didn’t realize the comics came before the second film)

Respirators were required during the slaughterhouse sequence, due to the debris and chemicals that had filled up inside the set.

John McTiernan’s fee after Die Hard (1988) was two million dollars. That’s why he declined to direct this movie, because the executives wanted to keep the budget the same as on the first film.

Keyes is the only character to ever use the word “predator” to refer to the Predator on-screen the word “predators” is also used by Isabelle in Predators (2010) but she uses it to refer to the human characters in the film not the Predator creatures.

According to Screenwriters Jim Thomas and John Thomas, a Predator sequel had not been planned, and they had to wait to see how successful the Predator comic book series would be. After the series was a hit, Producer Joel Silver was finally able to convince Fox to make the sequel, which was immediately greenlit.

The original storyline of the film was to have taken place in New York City, but Jim Thomas and John Thomas quickly changed it to Los Angeles, because of budget concerns. The scene where the Predator raises the skull during the lighting storm, was to have taken place atop the Chrysler Building.

This was the first film to be given the newly instituted NC-17 rating in the U.S. for its graphic violence, before it was re-cut to its final theatrical length. (Huh. I was actually rather skeptical of this when I read it, but as it makes sense it was the first. You’d need a load of violence these days to get NC-17 and it would have to be a lot more graphic than this)

Several of the hunting party members were played by players from the Los Angeles Lakers; Danny Glover was a big fan, and when the production needed several very tall people to play the background Predators, he asked them to help out. (Awesome)

The first film Gary Busey made after his nearly fatal motorcycle accident. (He looks good)

The brief scene with the hunting party was the most expensive to make in the entire film. Stan Winstons effects team had to build nine additional, unique Predator suits for just a few minutes of screentime. (That sounds dumb … but weirdly worth it)

John McTiernan was offered the chance to direct, but turned it down to work on The Hunt for Red October (1990). (Smart)

[There were a bunch more notes mostly with info gleaned from either the novelization or comics, but you can go to IMDb for those]

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Hall of Fame Speech #11: A Sound of Thunder

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a third class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly eight years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. This is the first installment leading up to the sixth (eighth?) Smaddies Baddies bringing you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. One of America’s greatest science fiction writers brought us a tale of time unravelling due to a few flaps of a butterfly’s wing. And with the tiny problem of bankruptcy, the film adaptation unravels becoming a quintessential example of what happens when you run out of money for CGI in the middle of post-production. A true blue embarrassment. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for A Sound of Thunder

What would happen if a film was made that should, by all accounts, be buried or released direct-to-DVD was, instead, released to 800 theaters? The answer is, oh what’s that? It’s a SOUND OF THUNDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! What I’m sure started as a perfectly fine plan to adapt a Ray Bradbury classic quickly turned into a debacle as the production company went under in the middle of post-production. So what do you do when half your CGI isn’t complete and you have no money? Pay interns to fill it with 90’s era video game cutscenes I guess. As The Bad Movie Twins, we have to keep our standards, we can’t just go watch any old piece of garbage. Lucky for us, some people decide to release their garbage to theaters. This is possibly the worst CGI I’ve ever seen in a wide release film, and that is plenty to get it into the Hall of Fame. Let’s get into it.

It has been over five years since I watched this thing, so what do I remember?

  • The CGI is literally insane. From what I remember the cars are like … blocks, and the dinosaur looks like an Adventure Company cutscene. The entire thing should have been shelved for a few years while they got an extra million together because …
  • At times the movie isn’t all bad. It is at the very least an interesting idea. Obviously. I mean, it is a Bradbury story after all.
  • Not all the CGI is terrible, the monkeys I remember at one point were okay.
  • There is a specific scene in which the main character walks into a building holding a bag of dirt over his face … I don’t know why, but I need to see this scene again, because the way I remember it is crazy.
  • OH IT’S A SOUND OF THUNDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! For years we have said this to each other. This morning when I mentioned to my brother that I was doing the rewatch he said it to me. He said it to his roommates back in the day. It’s what we remember.

As has become tradition I put the most important one first and last. The first because honestly that is why this is here. This is the worst CGI in an otherwise wide-release and genuine film I’ve ever seen. It is unfinished and somehow the production company thought that it was better to release than just wait to get more funding together. It is very very weird obviously. Have we seen others since? Sure, Atlas Shrugged Part II comes to mind. That was also a film that was barely released to 1000 theaters and looked like garbage. But this was one of those very Hollywood stories. These people weren’t fanatics who needed to release their film to satisfy their pride. They went into bankruptcy and somehow this film just kind of … got released. That is amazing.

The last is just something to mention about how BMT films can have a very profound impact on our lives. For years we’ve said “oh … it’s a sound of thundaaaaaah” to each other. Things like that is why I love BMT, and why this movie belongs in a personal Hall of Fame. As much as the astonishingly bad CGI which really sets it apart. It is arguably why we created the Hall of Fame, to remember the films that have shaped BMT through the years. And this one certainly did.

So how did it go? Let me start by saying that I was concerned about this rewatch. I was concerned that the CGI wouldn’t be as terrible as I remember, that the story would be fine, and all the weird bits I loved at the time just wouldn’t pop now that I have more bad movies under my belt. I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, the cars look a little better, but nearly everything else looked as bad or worse than I remembered. The CGI is not only terrible, but it is unrelenting. It is constant. Every scene that takes place outside it just complete green screen and looks very bad. I genuinely saw better CGI in video game cutscenes. It really is truly insane.

The story doesn’t make much sense, and I think with having watched more bad movies since I can also tell what the director went for (and ultimately failed). There is a very strange set of characters, the two assholes who mess up the past, where you can see him tip his hand. The entire film takes place in 2055, but it is supposed to, basically, be 1955 but kind of updated in a fun way. They are wearing fedoras, they slag on their wives, and they talk about their big brass balls a lot. It is really an interesting idea. Whether that is all in the original short story, I don’t know, but I think it was an interesting idea either way. That would be both a good and a bad for me. It is an interesting idea, but it is sloppy and weird, but I don’t remember noticing it way back when.

And the bag scene? Not that weird. The only weird bit is that he walks into the apartment and just kind of … hangs the bag of soil on his shoulder. It is a weird choice by Edward Burns, but I’m pretty shocked we both noted it at the time. Clutch note in my opinion.

So there you have it. If you are ever in the mood for watching a genuine movie with bar none the worst CGI I’ve ever seen in a wide release, you now know the movie. And I honestly think that is plenty for the Hall of Fame. Some films just deserve it. They’re unflashy, but they check those boxes. Congrats A Sound of Thunder (oh, it’s a SOUND OF THUNDAAAAAAAAAAAAH), you put in the work and it was all well worth it.

A Sound of Thunder Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the first in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

A Sound of Thunder (2005) – BMeTric: 72.0

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(Oh those sweet summer children who gave this good reviews initially. It is a bit shocking that it is that high actually. The CGI alone I would have imagined would have dropped it into the 3’s.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In Chicago, 2055, a company takes expeditions back in time to hunt dinosaurs. Precautions are taken, but (of course) something goes wrong, and a tiny change in the past sends alterations down through time that our heroes try to set right. Misguided expansion of Ray Bradbury short story with mediocre effects and a confusing script. It’s easy to see why this stayed on the shelf so long. Filmed in 2002.

(“Mediocre effects” is extremely kind even in 2005. Final Fantasy: Spirits Within was released in 2001 and this is like … five years prior to that level of quality. And they had full creates in CGI. It is too much. It just look like garbage. It sat on the shelf, I believe, because they were trying to finish the really bad looking CGI.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTmKsKhMcIg

(The beginning is pretty crazy. I understand why they put it in there, but that isn’t part of the film. And weirdly the CGI doesn’t look that bad in the trailer. Which makes sense, you’re trying to trick people into seeing the film.)

Directors – Peter Hyams – (Known For: 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Stay Tuned; Sudden Death; Outland; Timecop; Capricorn One; Running Scared; The Star Chamber; The Presidio; Enemies Closer; Hanover Street; Narrow Margin; Future BMT: The Musketeer; End of Days; The Relic; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for End of Days in 2000; Notes: One of the few writer/directors of major films who also serves as his own cinematographer.)

Writers – Ray Bradbury (short story) – ((Known For: Fahrenheit 451; Moby Dick; Something Wicked This Way Comes; King of Kings; It Came from Outer Space; The Illustrated Man; The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit; Future BMT: Fahrenheit 451; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: A close friend of both Ray Harryhausen (who was best man at his wedding) and Gene Roddenberry. Perhaps the greatest American Science Fiction writer.)

Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (screen story & screenplay) – (Future BMT: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night; Sahara; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Conan the Barbarian; Notes: Penned a first draft of the long-awaited and always-upcoming Uncharted film based on the Playstation video game.)

Gregory Poirier (screenplay) – (Known For: Rosewood; Future BMT: Tomcats; The Spy Next Door; See Spot Run; Gossip; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; A Warrior’s Tail; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: Born in Hawaii, and apparently wrote a draft for Superman Returns.)

Actors – Edward Burns – (Known For: Saving Private Ryan; The Holiday; 27 Dresses; She’s the One; The Brothers McMullen; Friends with Kids; Confidence: After Dark; The Fitzgerald Family Christmas; Sidewalks of New York; The Groomsmen; Newlyweds; Future BMT: Life or Something Like It; Echelon Conspiracy; 15 Minutes; Man on a Ledge; Ash Wednesday; No Looking Back; BMT: One Missed Call; A Sound of Thunder; Alex Cross; Notes: Has a brother Brian Burns with whom he owns a production company called Irish Twins … presumably because they are, in fact, brothers born within a calendar year.)

Ben Kingsley – (Known For: Schindler’s List; The Jungle Book; Iron Man 3; Shutter Island; Operation Finale; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Hugo; Ender’s Game; The Dictator; Knight of Cups; War Machine; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Dave; Lucky Number Slevin; Gandhi; The Walk; Sexy Beast; Transsiberian; House of Sand and Fog; Future BMT: BloodRayne; Thunderbirds; The Last Legion; War, Inc.; The Ten Commandments; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Collide; Suspect Zero; Slipstream; Rules of Engagement; Self/less; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; An Ordinary Man; The Ottoman Lieutenant; BMT: The Love Guru; A Sound of Thunder; Species; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2007 for BloodRayne; and in 2009 for The Love Guru, The Wackness, and War, Inc.; Notes: Ferdinand Kingsley, his son, is a notable television actor, including an appearance in Doctor Who.)

Catherine McCormack – (Known For: Braveheart; 28 Weeks Later; Spy Game; Dangerous Beauty; Shadow of the Vampire; Magic in the Moonlight; The Tailor of Panama; The Journey; The Land Girls; Strings; Renaissance; Dancing at Lughnasa; Born Romantic; Future BMT:The Weight of Water; BMT: A Sound of Thunder; Notes: A British actress who appears to have more recently been performing in the theatre, including work with the Royal Shakespeare Company.)

Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $1,900,451 (Worldwide: $11,665,465)

(A truly catastrophic bomb. As a matter of fact, if you dug into it, it might actually be one of the worst box office bombs in history, or at least since 2000)

#78 for the Creature Feature genre

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(The lowest grossing film we’ve done in the genre. After this it is pretty obvious everyone looked around at each other and said “yup, that’s about enough of those for now, we should wait a bit before tricking people into watching more of these.”)

#77 for the Future – Near genre

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(2012 is by far the most successful BMT film of the genre. It has blown up since 2010, plausibly because we still are in a dystopian kick. I’m surprised Hunger Games doesn’t qualify as Near Future as I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what actually kick started things in 2012.)

#48 for the Time Travel genre

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(Only Timeline and this amazingly. There are plenty in the future though (heyyyyooooo, get it?). Unfortunately Timecop doesn’t qualify, but we do get to watch The Time Machine again …)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (6/99): Choppy logic and uneven performances are overshadowed by not-so-special effects that makes the suspension of disbelief a nearly impossible task.

(Somewhat oddly most of the reviews don’t seem to mention the special effects. Which makes me wonder if they actually watched the film. It is literally the craziest thing you’ll see (unless you watch hundreds of bad films … it is still top ten craziest thing I’ve seen in a BMT film, no joke). Reviewer Highlight: So perfect in its awfulness, it makes one seriously consider a theory of unintelligent design. – Scott Brown, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – A Sklog of Thunder (C+)

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(I hate the font. It looks super silly and I don’t think it gets across anything important about the film. The red hand and butterfly is interesting, although perhaps feels more like a horror film? I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. I like the style outside of the writing, so I’ll go above average for it., even if it looks a bit cheap)

Tagline(s) – Some Rules Should Never Be Broken. (D)

(First, it sounds like a tagline, but it isn’t. It is a tautology. Of course there are rules that should never be broken. They are rules. Second, what is even the rule being broken here? The butterfly effect rule? The sound of thunder rule? Neither. The actual rule broken? Don’t turn off the biofilter on your time machine … yeah, I’m not sure the tagline is getting that across. But it sounds nice, so it isn’t an F.)

Keyword(s) – time travel; Top Ten by BMeTric: 73.8 The Butterfly Effect 2 (2006); 72.0 A Sound of Thunder (2005); 71.4 S. Darko (2009); 67.7 Black Knight (2001); 65.8 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993); 62.9 Lost in Space (1998); 62.6 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 59.1 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015); 58.1 The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007); 53.1 Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996);

(The Seeker doesn’t have time travel according to Box Office Mojo, but whatever. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III though, now that is a ridiculous and pointless film.)

Notes – Renny Harlin was fired from the production, because he made a creative decision that made Ray Bradbury very unhappy, and this film’s producers decided to support Ray Bradbury.

One major reason for the film’s long delay is that the original production company went bankrupt during post-production, and there simply wasn’t money to finish the film. (Which is why the CGI is absolutely the worst thing you’ll ever see)

Production was slowed when severe floods in the summer of 2002 in the Czech Republic caused considerable damage to the set.

This film was originally set for release in 2003.

Spota’s supermarket is a reference to director Peter Hyams’s wife’s family name.

The T.A.M.I. acronym stands for “Time Alteration Manipulator Interface”

When Hatton (Ben Kingsley) receives his clients after their time safari, he likes to compare them with great explorers: Marco Polo, Columbus, Armstrong… and he also says “like Brubaker on Mars”, remembering a future (past for him) conquest of the Red Planet. Brubaker was the name of the commander of the Mars expedition in the film Capricorn One (1977), also directed by Peter Hyams. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?)

Based on the short story A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury

Pierce Brosnan and director Renny Harlin were originally attached to this film. (See above note about Harlin)

The film takes place millions of years in the past and in 2055. (I can’t wait to see if that 2055 is made explicit, I honestly cannot remember)

A video game based on the film was released for the Game Boy Advance. It also had been considerably delayed, and ended up coming out slightly before the film, in March 2005. It was an overhead shooter with some driving stages, and included support for co-op and deathmatch multiplayer via link cable. A third-person action-adventure shooter based on The Thing (2002) engine was being developed by Computer Artworks for BAM! Entertainment for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, but ended up being cancelled. Its plot differed from that of the film: the changes in the course of evolution were not an accident, but acts of terrorism caused by a Luddite cult. The “present” time was also changed to 2038. The game was to have nine missions taking place in both the past and present. Real-life bands would have been hired to provide the music. (I have to definitely never play that game because that would be a huge waste of time)

The change in the timeline is caused by a single butterfly. This probably alludes to the so called “butterfly effect” in which a small change in one state of a system can result in large differences in a later state.

Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment Recap

Jamie

The police captain of the 16th Precinct is in some hot water and needs to get gang violence under control before it’s too late. Begging for more manpower he is given the best recruits in The City, our friends from Police Academy. Can they clean up the streets and perhaps have a good time doing it before it’s too late? Find out in… Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment.

How?! All our favorite characters (minus half of them) from the first film are back, Jack! And they’re ready to crush some criminals on the streetz. When the toughest precinct in The City is under scrutiny for their inability to control a dangerous street gang, the captain asks the academy for some extra manpower. The top graduates from the latest class are all called in for duty. Unbeknownst to them, though, Mauser, a sycophant ladder-climber, is hoping to sabotage the effort (*gasp* a saboteur!) as he is next in line to be captain. Hilarity ensues, of course, as our heroes botch investigations, razz Mauser with some zany pranks (classic Gutes), and perhaps even fall in love. Things come to a head when the captain orders the recruits to deal with the gang by any means necessary and they do a valiant job taking out a whole bunch of them. Enter Mauser, though, who purposefully allows them to walk free on technicalities. Feeling like his job is on the line, the captain puts on a community street fair as a last ditch effort but it backfires when the street gang, led by Zed, disrupts the affair. The captain is fired and Mauser is promoted leading to the firing of Mahoney as well due to his many well-planned and executed pranks against Mauser. In a final effort to take out the gang the captain and Mahoney organize an undercover operation to infiltrate the gang headquarters. They are able to locate the HQ, take them all out, and get back their jobs. Hooray. THE END.

Why?! Now this is an interesting question. This time Mahoney and the rest of the recruits don’t really have motivation. They are just doing their job come hell or high water. But as is usually the case the bad guy, Mauser, does have motivation. He wants to see the new recruits fail (along with the current captain) because he’s next in line for being promoted to captain. He doesn’t even care if that means putting some bad guys back out on the street. He’s just hungry for power, baby.

Who?! This will be a first as there is actually a very famous truck featured in the film. When Tackleberry and Kirkland get married at the end of the film they drive off in a monster truck. That monster truck? Bigfoot 3. I believe this is the only film that particular iteration of Bigfoot was featured in, but hard to say. The best is Bigfoot 7 that was built for Road House and then featured in Tango & Cash. Word up.

What?! Miller High Life is still the late-night drink of choice for our main characters but now that they are serious police officers they need the refreshment and energy provided by a nice cold Pepsi. Need to stop a street gang of anarchists? Grab a Pepsi. Much like the institutional staying power of a well-run government, Pepsi give you the staying power to keep the streetz clean of anarchists.

Where?! Still set in the city. Would be interesting if in the future they actually break and let slip where this is all set. Obviously far in the future Mission to Moscow will have a true setting, but I could imagine a director coming along and being like “this is kinda supposed to be Los Angeles anyway, right. Slap some CA license plates on those cars.” Anyway, the only added thing here is that at the beginning of the film Mahoney is on beach duty, so we know The City is on the coast somewhere. D-

When?! I also wonder whether there will come a time where they hit a holiday… like a July 4th riot or something just so I have something to say here. Much like the last film this seemed to not be concerned with the temporal setting. The officers are too focused on their job to note that the Memorial Day is coming up or anything like that. Lame. F.

You can tell that narratively the series will be in a slow descent downwards from a not particularly high starting point. It’s already a little looser and sloppier with how things are put together, particularly concerning Zed’s entire gang and the ending at an abandoned zoo which is lame. But speaking of Zed, I don’t say this lightly. I actually liked Bobcat Goldthwait and his character in this film. He is supposed to be a crazed and dangerous anarchist but given what he says and how he acts he’s actually seems like a nice person who just doesn’t know or adhere to norms of society and thus scares people. I actually found his entire character pretty funny and interesting. What I’m saying is that I can see why his character was brought back as a new recruit in the third film (oh you didn’t know that? Yes the main criminal in this film is then a police recruit in the next). Anyway, I felt like the film also lost a little of its edge in this one. A lot tamer which in some ways was good (less offensive) but also not quite as interesting as the first one was. Kinda settling in for the long haul. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Remember that film Police Academy? What if we did it again? No I mean, literally, what if we did it all exactly the same way again, but with Bobcat Goldthwait? Cool, Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – It is quite obvious that Kim Cattrall managed to sneak away from the franchise at this point, but it was a bit surprising they so suddenly took it to the streets instead of staying in the more comfortable confines of the Academy this early in the franchise. That was the main interesting thing. Making a film mostly on a single set is one thing, but how would everything translate when they were driving around an actual city?

The Good – Oof, this film might feel identical to the first film, but somehow that makes it all the worse that it is a complete garbage film that I hate. It was a pleasant surprise that they brought back most of the cast still. And there were a few solid call backs to the original film. But mainly Bobcat Goldthwait is the one and only bright spot in this horrid film. His character is weirdly nice, but obviously, to a degree that he lives as an anarchist, but seemingly accidentally? It is kind of nuts and I kind of love it.

The Bad – Ugh, most everything. The film feels like it doesn’t have a plot. It recycles one of the main ideas (the antagonist is tasked with sabotaging the Police Academy crew) when there is little to no reason to do so. The fact is that the crew sucks. They are objectively terrible police officers, at least for intercity work (I did like the idea that The Gutes is a fantastic beach cop). So why couldn’t the antagonist have just been Bobcat? Like … why do they need to battle both Bobcat and their own captain? Muddles the whole thing unnecessarily.

You Just Got Schooled – In the last recap I watched the pilot for the 1997 live action police academy television show. So why not watch an episode of the 1988 cartoon? For one it is horrible. Like downright terrible. Holy smokes. There were a few fun things. Like how all the voices aren’t even close to the actors in the films. And also the choices of which characters would be represented. Even just watching two films you actually see all of the characters but one, Thomas “House” Conklin who debuts in the fourth film and is fat and loves to eat. There is also a wacky professor character, but he is naturally only in the animated series (missed opportunity in my opinion). But really dire stuff. On the level of the Star Trek animated series, which was just as embarrassing.

The BMT – Again, just working our way through the franchise. At the moment the third does not qualify for BMT, so I would guess it’ll take two or three more rounds to finish off. That will be a great day indeed.

Welcome to Earf – Steve Guttenberg was in this and Police Academy, with Kim Cattrall who was in Bonfire of the Vanities with Morgan Freeman, who was the narrator for Conan the Barbarian (2011) with Ron Perlman, who was in In the Name of the Kind: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – The lists of worst films from the 80s are hard to come by in the end. So I’ll say that I enjoyed the first Police Academy much much more than the second which immediately felt tired and overdone outside of Bobcat. This list, however, disagrees. Makes me rather intrigued by the third film. That could end up being the only one of the franchise I actually like? Maybe it’ll just the the one I don’t hate. Either way, it could be better.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

Police Academy Recap

Jamie

When our hero Mahoney is given a choice between jail and entering the Police Academy he is dead set on flunking out as quickly as possible. When that is made impossible he is dead set on having as much fun and raising as much hell as possible. Can he have a super fun time before it’s too late? Find out in… Police Academy.

How?! Alright so that really isn’t the plot of this film. Really what happens is that The City has a new mayor who wants to bring down crime and part of that plan is to open up the police academy to all comers (and not just white straight macho males). The police don’t like this. They don’t want women or minorities being police officers and lament the days of yore where they couldn’t be (it’s all obviously very offensive). The police decide to force these misfits out of the academy by making their lives a living hell and forcing them to quit. Enter Mahoney. He is a slacker extraordinaire who specializes in razzing authority. When he has another run in with the law he is given the choice between jail and the academy. He obviously says yes to that dress and enters the police academy with the aim of getting kicked out (fat chance). The rest of the film is the zany antics of these kooky recruits as they run amok on campus and the police officer try to get them to quit. Too bad because these recruits have got guts and won’t give up because they legit want to be officers. Even Mahoney at a certain point realizes that he kinda like his pals and the potential love interest he has met there. Maybe he actually does want to be a police officer after all. Just at that moment though he ends up getting kicked out at the same time that a major riot breaks out downtown and the recruits are sent in as part of the peace keeping crew. Mistakenly sent to the heart of the riot Mahoney and a similarly dishonored recruit Hightower end up playing the heroes and are able to stop the ringleader of the riot. They end up graduating top of the class and gearing up for their First Assignment. THE END.

Why?! There is actually a very clear motivation in this film, which surprised me. Most of the characters truly want to be police officers and have finally been given this chance by the new mayor’s policy. The police officers mostly want to see these recruits quit because they don’t look or sound like the police officers of yesteryear (catch up with the times, bro). These two motivations are the driving force of a lot of the film. But really our main character is Mahoney and he doesn’t care about any of that. He floats around life with a smile on his face just looking to not be too serious and perhaps smooch with a lady here and there. When something gets in the way of his slacker lifestyle he tries to get out of it and quick by pranking people. His only clear motivating factor is to avoid jail and it’s only at the end of the film that he finally realizes that in fact he just might like this police business after all, thus setting up six sequels (duh).

Who?! The most obvious thing is that former NFL star Bubba Smith is one of the main characters in the film and is actually pretty good. Otherwise there are a couple uncredited things on IMDb that are throwing me for a loop. I saw that it was claimed that John Hawkes was in this film in an uncredited part and I was like “I don’t believe you.” But indeed there he was driving a truck and laughing like a maniac. Wow.

What?! Given that the sequel was chock full of product placement it’s a bit of a surprise that the first is not. When they do get the opportunity to get their party on about halfway through the film though the choice is obviously a refreshing Miller High Life. And that stays consistent in the second one as well, so that pretty much turns it around for me. I’m just really into narrative consistency. So now I guess I like Police Academy.

Where?! It’s been a while since we had one but this is purposefully no set anywhere. It is set in The City. None of the license plates have state names on them and it was all filmed in Canada so there isn’t even a place in the US you could say it looks like. There is a weird aspect to the sequel, but I’ll get to that in the other post. F

When?! You think this would be specified by the location would be totally hidden. What I think we’ll come to learn is that the Police Academy series exists outside of space and time. You can never pin down when for time is a flat circle for the police academy. It just is and will ever be. Over and over and over for all eternity.

This film was just as incredibly offensive as pretty much every 80’s comedy is at this point. A number of the established police officers are outspoken racists and sexists. The film is rife with gay panic. Even our hero Mahoney throws around a few homophobic slurs here and there. A major plot point is that the head of the academy mistakenly gets a blowjob from a prostitute hiding within a podium while he’s giving a speech (for real). It’s already crazy but then when he looks back at the podium Mahoney pops out and he goes into a tailspin. The thought that he received a mistaken blowjob from Mahoney makes this otherwise dumb and loveable character insist that they figure out some way to kick him out of the academy. It’s a bizarre and long gay panic joke. Anyway the only redeeming thing you could say about the humor was that generally the bad qualities are confined to the antagonists. The recruits are all colors and creeds after all, so they are pretty much fully tolerant of each other. Still, though, Mahoney does come off poorly as he spies on ladies in the shower and sexually harrasses a fellow cadet. Always strange to watch an 80’s comedy now. Other than I laughed a couple times and I can see why at the time some people liked it I guess. Funny enough it reminded me a lot of the film CHIPS… except that was made today and boy did it not work anymore. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Remember when the mayor allowed anyone into the police academy and we all became gross misogynists and homophobes? No? Well in the alternative universe of Police Academy we did apparently. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – When I told my father-in-law I was watching this film he was somewhat aghast. Because in his estimation Police Academy was on the same level of Airplane! The reviews disagree obviously, but it is definitely interesting. Bill Clinton apparently loves all of these films. Growing up things like Spaceballs (58% on Rotten Tomatoes) and Robin Hood Men in Tights (43% on Rotten Tomatoes) were films I watched multiple times a year, so it has to just be the times we live in. I guess I was ready to see why Police Academy because such a hit in that it spawned 6 sequels.

The Good – Guttenberg is very charming in the film, to the point where despite him being an objectively terrible person you still kind of like him. The ensemble cast is put together well and is well used top to bottom it feels like, they all serve a somewhat interesting purpose in the original film. This is less of an Airplane! and more of a discount-Stripes in reality. If you like Stripes, then this is a pretty good version of that type of movie I think. I also secretly love how Guttenberg plays to blowjob gag … you’d have to watch the movie to know what I mean, but that part holds up surprisingly well.

The Bad – My god, the homophobia, the misogyny. I know I shouldn’t be shocked, but it is shocking. Guttenberg sexually harasses and (possibly) assaults ladies throughout the film (but they love it don’t they? You salty dog you), everyone just cannot believe that there are gay clubs in Big City USA (and if you don’t watch out the big burly gay men will dance with you! The horror, the horror). It is on occasion played for a solid laugh, but mostly is just really dated and gross. The main issue otherwise is that the film just doesn’t seem to really have a plot. It is a cut rate Stripes. A bunch of jokers go to the Police Academy, shenanigans etc. etc., they are semi booted from the program, they have a big (somewhat self-inflicted) adventure where they become heroes. It just doesn’t have nearly the comedic chops to pull it off (and Stripes nearly doesn’t, the third act is an honest to god catastrophe!).

You Just Got Schooled – Did you know that they made two Police Academy television shows? Did you know you can watch the pilot for the 1997 live action one on YouTube complete with commercials? My main takeaway: Commercials from 1997 were wild, and also I watched too much television when I was like 10 because I remember every single one of these commercials (literally). Oh the show? Not shockingly terrible. I’m not surprised it got cancelled, but it isn’t actually as brutal as you might think. It is silly, but also kind of funny if you aren’t too concerned with it having any kind of continued story … well, except for the entire pilot hinging on the cadets beating a motorcycle gang in a ice hockey game. It is an hour long, the acting all sucks, the gags all suck, and the writing sucks. It is shocking what people would put on television in the 90s. This is 1997! Let’s just say it isn’t exactly competing with Frasier and Seinfeld for the Comedy awards.

The BMT – Of all of the franchises we could do, this is the one I think that is the most important. In the 80s there were plenty of franchises that were driven into the ground. The most notorious were horror franchises, like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. But comedy film franchises usually don’t grow so large. The Earnest films and Beethoven films are kids films and thus logically transition nicely to straight-to-DVD. The only equivalent I can think of is the American Pie franchise in the 2000s. Even then, it is beyond crazy that Guttenberg in particular is in the first six of these films! They were cash cows and everyone knew it and have openly stated that that is why they acted in them. It is kind of fantastic.

Welcome to Earf – Kim Cattrall is in both Police Academy and Bonfire of the Vanities with Morgan Freeman, who was the narrator of Conan the Barbarian (2011) with Ron Perlman, who was in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – While not actually in the list Police Academy gets a shoutout in this 10 worst list of 1984, which suggests it is a possible borderline honorable mention. Its real claim to fame is as a franchise where it basically redefined what a “franchise” meant. The fact that it is on that list which is obviously heavily skewed towards recent films still mentioned it at number three says everything you need to know about how important Police Academy is as a bad franchise.

Still got one more of these to do. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment Quiz

You were all still distracted by the three B’s: Beer, Boobs, and Bobcat Goldthwait. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t figure out the non-plot of this plotless garbage film.

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film we see poor poor Sweetchuck locking up his shop and then getting assaulted by Zed and the gang of hoodlums at an ATM. But … what does Sweetchuck sell?

2) To take care of the hoodlums the city decides to try something difffffferent, and calls up the Academy for a batch of their best and brightest. Which of the recruits from the first film make the cut and what are their stereotypes … er, I mean defining characteristic?

3) Meanwhile the eeeevil Lt. Mauser is tasked with running the new recruits out of town. How does the gang get back at him twice?

4) As a final desperate act what does Lassard do in order to try and regain control of the streetz?

5) In a very Never Never Land Lost Boys type of situation Zed and the gang are holed up somewhere outside of the city. Where?

Answers

Police Academy Quiz

I know y’all were distracted by the three B’s: Beers, Boobs, and Buffalo Wings (fine, only the first two were in the film I think), but try desperately to remember what this plotless film is actually about.

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) What did Mahoney do to get himself trapped in the Police Academy, either committing to complete the training, or get thrown in jail?

2) How many of the police academy crew can you name and their defining stereotype … er, I mean characteristic?

3) In one of the weirder gags the head of the Academy gets a blowjob while standing behind a podium giving a presentation. He thinks it is from the Gutes (he wishes), but it was actually by a prostitute. Why was there a prostitute in the Academy though?

4) Prior to the big finale both Hightower and Mahoney are kicked out of the Academy. Why?

5) In the grand finale a giant riot breaks out and Hightower (who had returned to his florist job in the area) and Mahoney save the day. How did the riot start?

Answers