The 13th Warrior Quiz

You have been chosen as the 13th person to take this quiz. Actually … thay is entirely possible given the number of people who read this website (heeeeeyyyyyoooooo, sick burn on us). Get ready for it, because it’s …

Pop Quiz Hot Shot

1) Why was Antonio Banderas’ character sent to the north in the first place?

2) And then why is he chosen as the 13th warrior to go on a short jaunt even further north to help handle a super tiny … cannibal problem? Super tiny. Don’t even worry about it, you’ll barely notice it.

3) And during the journey the northmen can’t help but make fun of this weirdo that is now tagging along with them. They specifically note his horse and sword. Why?

4) Why could Banderas drink alcohol even though he specifically says drinking is against his religion?

5) During the film there are four major battles. The first in the hall. The second is the big stand in the village against the calvary. The third is when they take the battle to the cannibals in their lair. And the final battle again is in the village. How many of the 13 warriors died in each?

Answers

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The 13th Warrior Preview

Patrick and Jamie are transported to the Top Hat Land, the land of the Top Hat Man. Their tale of how they met, battled, earned a grudging respect for, and ultimately became good friends with the Top Hat Man is a really exciting tale full of adventure and good humor. Maybe someday you’ll get to hear it… it’s really great. Too bad this is a different story. They walk into Top Hat Man’s kitchen where he is doing his morning sudoku over a warm cup of the blood of innocents. He looks at us with surprise. ‘Oh hi, guys. I didn’t expect you. You need something?” Boy howdy, do they. “I need to escape the horrorscape that I’m trapped in before I am destroyed by the many terrors I’m encountering,” says Patrick. “And I need to totally own this vampire in a dance-off,” says Jamie. The Top Hat Man ponders while consuming one of his recently captured souls of the damned. “Hmmm, I’m only a simple all-powerful demon my guys. I think I can maybe do one of those things. Which should I do?” When Patrick open his mouth to ask for rescue from his dire situation he is quickly interrupted by Jamie, “I want to learn the Top Hat Dance to put this piece of shit Vampiro to shame.” Patrick winks out of existence. When the Top Hat Man finishes the Top Hat Dance Jamie realized it’s not that much different than the patented Twin Dance he and Patrick have mastered. “Seems pretty obvious in retrospect, Top Hat Man. Guess I didn’t really need your help in the end. But nice seeing you.” Jamie winks out of existence.

Back in Dracula School, Jamie pulls out all the stops in performing his sensual yet classy dance routine. Vampiro is stunned. He falls to his knees and stammers, “Just as the Viking legend foretold…” That’s right! This week we’re watching The 13th Warrior. It is the classic story of a Middle Eastern emissary caught up in a Viking war that we know and love. It was well known at the time of release for being totally recut and reshot after test audiences responded poorly to it. It ended up sitting on the shelf for almost a year before finally being released in 1999. Let’s go!

Back in the alleyway set Patrick reappears. Now that he thinks about it he kind of wishes he had also asked to learn the Top Hat Dance, although he doubted it was better than their patented Twin Dance anyways. Nearby Sticks and Stones, unaware that he has returned, are finishing the end of a heated conversation. “Gosh dern it! We lost him! If our corrupt police captain who wrapped us up in all of that corruption with that corrupt city official finds out, that’s it! No more corruption money for us, Sticks and Stones, the most corrupt cops in the Z-Movie Multiverse.” At that moment Sticks notices Patrick. “He’s back” he growls, “how much of that did you hear?” That’s right, we’re also watching Edison (Force). Known either as simply Edison or Edison Force, this star-studded film (featuring Morgan Freeman, Justin Timberlake, and *cough* Kevin Spacey) was shelved for one year before being quietly released as a direct-to-DVD feature. Let’s go!

The 13th Warrior (1999) – BMeTric: 16.6

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(Wowza that 2011 inflection! It is so steep there! I think this kind of confirms one of the original theories I had about all of this. The 13th Warrior is exactly the type of film people outside of the US would end up voting a ton on. So it is very likely that is why the vote count increased so dramatically at that time.)

Leonard Maltin – 3 stars –  In ancient times, exiled Arabian nobleman Banderas travels with some Norsemen to their homelands, there to face possibly supernatural nighttime marauders, who eat their victims. Sturdy, action-packed adventure with horror overtones, realistic but in the heroic tradition, shot on spectacular Canadian locations. Based on Michael Crichton’s novel Eaters of the Dead, itself inspired by true travel writings and the medieval tale of Beowulf.

(A true rarity. Two and a half stars is pretty common in my opinion, Leonard Maltin is pretty gentle with a lot of reviews. But three stars points to this being possibly genuinely enjoyable. Maybe he just loves the visuals more than he hates the muddled story.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui7GUCzlBTM

 

(I. Am. Getting. Amped. Although you can totally see why this is considered a complete mess of a production, so … I guess we’ve got that going for us. It isn’t surprising that the critics tend to say it looks nice, but is thin on plot. This trailer proves that: it looked nice, but hey, guess what, you don’t need a plot in a trailer.)

Directors – John McTiernan – (Known For: Predator; The Hunt for Red October; Die Hard; The Thomas Crown Affair; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; Future BMT: Medicine Man; Last Action Hero; Nomads; Basic; BMT: Rollerball; The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Last Action Hero in 1994; Notes: Known for including unsubtitled foreign language dialogue in his films. Born into the biz, but basically retired after Basic.)

Michael Crichton – (Known For: Runaway; Westworld; Coma; The First Great Train Robbery; Future BMT: Physical Evidence; Looker; BMT: The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Twister in 1997; Notes: Basically stopped directing after the 80s. This is literally his only credit after 1989 for directing and it is via uncredited reshoots. Just nuts.)

Writers – Michael Crichton (novel) – (Known For: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; Jurassic World; Jurassic Park; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Twister; Jurassic Park III; Runaway; Westworld; Disclosure; Coma; The First Great Train Robbery; The Andromeda Strain; The Terminal Man; Future BMT: Congo; Sphere; Rising Sun; Looker; BMT: Timeline; The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Twister in 1997; Notes: Probably my favorite thing about Crichton is his kind of obvious hatred of scientists (at the very least his penchant for making them pure evil). They always know what is best, but their hubris ends up nearly destroying the world. What disasters!)

William Wisher (screenplay) – (Known For: Terminator 2: Judgment Day; The Terminator; Future BMT: Exorcist: The Beginning; I.T.; Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist; BMT: Judge Dredd; The 13th Warrior; Notes: Had bit parts in both Terminators and The Abyss … so probably knows James Cameron quite well.)

Warren Lewis (screenplay) – (Known For: Black Rain; BMT: The 13th Warrior; Notes: He is credited as contributing to the 1969 film Latitude Zero. This seems extremely unlikely as it is 20 years prior to his other credits and would make him 70 years old at the very very least. But I can’t find additional information on his birthdate or age anywhere.)

Actors – Antonio Banderas – (Known For: Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Shrek 2; Shrek Forever After; Shrek the Third; Spy Kids; Philadelphia; Desperado; The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water; Knight of Cups; The Mask of Zorro; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Acts of Vengeance; Frida; La piel que habito; Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams; Once Upon a Time in Mexico; The 33; Bullet Head; Puss in Boots; Black Butterfly; Future BMT: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D; Machete Kills; Play It to the Bone; Never Talk to Strangers; The Other Man; The Legend of Zorro; The Body; The Big Bang; Original Sin; Gun Shy; Two Much; Autómata; Assassins; Of Love and Shadows; Justin and the Knights of Valour; Four Rooms; Imagining Argentina; Black Gold; BMT: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; The Expendables 3; The 13th Warrior; Notes: Was married to Melanie Griffith for nearly 20 years. He looked pretty swanky with his new GF at the Starlite Gala though.)

Diane Venora – (Known For: Heat; Romeo + Juliet; The Insider; The Cotton Club; True Crime; F/X; Ironweed; The Substitute; Hamlet; Wolfen; Bird; The Young Girl and the Monsoon; Looking for an Echo; Future BMT: Megiddo: The Omega Code 2; All Good Things; The Jackal; Surviving Picasso; Stateside; Three Wishes; BMT: The 13th Warrior; Notes: Originally a theater actor. She even was reportedly fired from the show Thunder Alley because she was playing the part like she was on Broadway.)

Dennis Storhøi – (Known For: Zwei Leben; BMT: The 13th Warrior; Notes: Norwegian actor. Nearly all of his credits are productions in Norway. It is hard to tell, but it is possible this was his one foray into an American production.)

Budget/Gross – $85–160 million / Domestic: $32,698,899 (Worldwide: $61,698,899)

(Yeah the budget numbers are all over the place according to the IMDb notes. It is probably in the $115 million range prior to marketing. Regardless one of the largest bombs in history.)

#51 for the Adventure – Period genre

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(Only narrowly beats out The Three Musketeers (2011) which is … embarrassing. Had a bit of a lull, but it is kind of struggling to reassert itself. Kong: Skull Island and The Jungle Book suggest that there is still an audience for something like this … if it is attached to a known quantity.)

#15 for the Medieval Times genre

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(Our highest grossing. In kind of a lull now. Possibly because of things like Game of Thrones eating away a bit at its audience? Didn’t help that that King Arthur film bombed hard.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 33% (29/88): Atmospheric, great sets and costumes, but thin plot.

(Thanks Rotten Tomatoes, Jesus. Could you maybe give me less to work with here. So basically … eye candy with literally nothing behind it? Whatever, this movie is going to be boring I bet. Reviewer Highlight – With a budget said to be more than $100 million, it displays a lot of cash on the screen, but little thought. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – The Umpteeth Bore-ior (B-)

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(Did a little NYPost with that one. Not the best of the posters, but it’s what’s on IMDb so I default to that. I kind of like the spacing and all the pieces to this one including some font work. Should have played up the orange tones. Give it a little fire.)

Tagline(s) – Defy fear (C+)

An Ordinary Man…An Extraordinary Journey! (F)

(Two versions of the poster exist with these two different taglines. They should have burned one of them… I’ll let you guess which one. Defy fear is fine (although almost a tongue twister to say and mostly nonsense). The second one is… not good.)

Keyword(s) – arab; Top Ten by BMeTric: 62.5 Bitch Slap (2009); 61.7 Ishtar (1987); 54.9 Cannonball Run II (1984); 53.6 Best Defense (1984); 49.7 The Sin Eater (2003); 46.3 Legionnaire (1998); 44.3 American Dreamz (2006); 41.3 2012 (I) (2009); 38.8 Bad Kids Go to Hell (2012); 38.7 The Delta Force (1986);

(Oooooof what a keyword. Anyways, All of these sound awful and I want to see none of them. I also am unsure what 2012 has to do with arabs. Ishtar is fine, but Cannonball Run II is straight up racist. This keyword is bonkers.)

Notes – In accordance with the book, John McTiernan’s version of the Wendol’s mother was an old woman, which was filmed with veteran actress Susan Willis. When Michael Crichton took over and did the reshoots, it was decided that brutally killing off an old lady did not reflect very well on the heroes. Crichton decided after the fact to make her younger, sleeker and tougher. In the final released film, Wendol’s mother is played by actress Kristen Cloke (uncredited), but the final credits still list Susan Willis as the Wendol’s mother (although she is nowhere to be seen in the final cut). (This movie seems like a gem …)

Graeme Revell had composed a complete original score when the movie was slated to be released as “Eaters of the Dead” in 1998. But after the film was deemed unwatchable during test screenings, Michael Crichton took over the project and rejected Revell’s original score and brought in Jerry Goldsmith to rescore the film, renamed “The 13th Warrior.” (Unwatchable …)

Although rumors persist that ‘The 13th Warrior’ was one of the most expensive movie flops ever with a budget of $160m (the figure given on the-numbers.com for its combined production and marketing costs), the producers claimed that the actual cost of the film before marketing was $90m. In the U.S. The 13th Warrior grossed $32,698,900 and only $61,702,600 worldwide. (So a giant bomb, got it)

The film omits an explanation of who the “mist monsters” actually are. In the novel, author Michael Crichton reveals they were the descendants of the Neanderthals.

One of the Viking ships used in the movie is now to be found in the Norwegian pavilion in the EPCOT-center, Walt Disney World, where it is used as a playground for kids. The Disney-company is also the owner of Touchstone Pictures that made the movie. (Fun fact)

Since Michael Crichton published his novel “Eaters of the Dead” in 1976, the basis of this film, it has become regarded as one of the most notorious hoaxes in Librarianship Circles. The Ahmad Tusi Manuscript that Crichton referenced in his bibliography as being the source of this story, is completely made up. The name of the translator Fraus Dolus is in fact two Latin words meaning both ‘hoax’ and ‘fraud’. The University of Oslo, where this manuscript is supposed to be kept, have (since the book was published), on an annual basis had to send out letters telling enquirers that they have been the victim of a hoax. (That’s pretty good, have to give Crichton credit there, that is hilarious)

Adapting “Beowulf” for his novel and then for this movie, Michael Crichton changed some of the original names for ones that sounded similar: Beowulf is here named Buliwyf, Hygelac becomes Hyglak, the Grendel transformed into the Wendol, etc. (So yeah … this is just Beowulf?)

Originally titled ‘Eaters of the Dead’, the film went through several re-edits after test audiences did not react well to the initial cut. After re-shooting several key scenes with Michael Crichton taking over as director, the title was changed to ‘The 13th Warrior’. The budget, which was originally around $85 million, reportedly soared to more than $110-115 million before principal photography wrapped. With all of the re-shoots and promotional expenses, the total cost of the film was a rumored $160 million. (Wow. That is nuts)

When Ibn Fahdlan (Banderas) and Melchisidek (Sharif) enters the tent at the beginning of the movie the latter speaks Greek which eventually leads to a conversation with the viking Herger (Storhoi). Melchisidek speaks Greek, and though Herger obviously understands Greek he responds in Latin which Melchisidek fortunately understands.Though it is not stated why a Northman could understand both Latin and Greek as there were no official connection between Scandinavia and Byzantine in the 10th century, the logical assumption would be that Herger learned the languages due to him taking part in the viking raids/travels into modern day Russia (where the first scenes are filmed) and from there south into what was then the Byzantine Empire. The dominant language of the Byzantium realm was Greek with Latin as a second language. The vikings made at least one attempt at conquering the capital of the Byzantium Empire. (Whaaaaaaa, there are like a thousand notes like this on IMDb each one more confusing than the last)

Was filmed two years before its eventual release date, which had been pushed back several times. (And that is why we are watching it, for reals)

The idea of 13 warriors is taken from Scandinavian myths regarding the danish king Hrolf Kraki (Pole-Ladder). The legend goes that Hrolf Kraki had an entourage of 12 warriors (like Buliwyf in the film) and in some versions, one of them is Bödvar Bjarki, a hero who shares parallels with the hero Beowulf. Some scholars has suggested that the story of Bödvar Bjarki is simply another version of the story of Beowulf. (Very interesting stuff)

In John McTiernan’s original cut there was no final duel between Bulywyf and the leader of the Wendol. (Huh, then why add it in?)

Director Stuart Gordon first optioned the rights from Michael Crichton’s book in the early 1990s and generated a lot of interest in the project, before ‘Martha Coolidge’ (QV) got interested before John McTiernan was ultimately actually hired to direct it. (Sounds like a real prize …)

Slender Man Recap

Jamie

A group of teenage girls watch a video describing how to summon the Slender Man and (surprise surprise) accidentally summon Slender Man. Soon one of them is missing, another insane, and the remaining two are trying their damndest to stop the madness. Will they be able to stop the Slender Man before it’s too late? Find out in… Slender Man.

How?! A group of teenage girls stumble upon an online video claiming to summon a demon called Slender Man. Why do they click it? Because some guys they know claimed they were also summoning this Slender Fellow. Cool. They click the video and more or less watch The Ring starring Naomi Watts. Super spooked they decide not to talk about it ever again… that is until one of the girls goes missing, another goes insane, and the other two start to see Slender Chap lurking around every corner. They get in contact with someone online in order to try to make this weird Slender Dude go away (and bring back the other girl I guess), but it kinda gets them in even deeper and roping in one of the girl’s little sister. Eventually they realize that Slender Bloke is more of an idea than a real thing (you know?) and that they really can’t defeat him… so the whole movie is kinda useless other than to serve as a parable of sorts for the dangers of the internet. You wouldn’t get it cause you’re not young and hip like us. It’s an allegory and a metaphor, you know? Anyway, the one girl decides to sacrifice herself to Slender Man to save her sister and she gets absorbed into a tree. For real. THE END.

Why?! Wow… I’m rarely stumped by one of these questions. Ok, so… Slender Man is a demon so he’s just doing it because he’s evil. Easy enough. The girls summon Slender Man because… they hear that some other people are summoning Slender Man. Then they want to stop him so they don’t die. My God. The motivations in this film are tragic.

What?! I assume that they use certain phones and computers for all Slender Man activities but it’s hard to note those kinds of things in the theater. It wasn’t hard to remember the scene where Slender Man began to reach for one of the characters but then it turned out that he was just reaching for a nice refreshing Coca-Cola. That certainly was jarring, but not unexpected. Pepsi’s gross. Slender Man don’t play that.

Who?! I fully expected half the actresses in this film to be aspiring pop stars, but I was incorrect. Instead the most interesting thing about the film is the writing credit given to Victor Surge, the username of the guy who first submitted the Slender Man art to the website SomethingAwful back in the day. By all account this guy has no interest in engaging with his creation and more or less says that he doesn’t even really use the internet much… and yet there have been no less than four feature films made about Slender Man (this one obviously being the biggest) and a full season of a television show. He keeps getting credits. Weird and wild stuff.

Where?! Patrick pointed out to me that all the where and when details are actually shown in the trailer, which is pretty amazing. This film takes place in the small town of Winsford which is apparently in MA. We get some Revolutionary War talk in the middle of the film and also a 978 area code for a character’s phone number. Other than that nothing solid. My guess is that some license plates could be seen, just not easily in the theater where I can’t analyze each frame like it’s the Zapruder film. C+.

When?! Also in the trailer is a MISSING sign for one of the girls which clearly states that she went missing on May 30th, 2018. Makes sense as it’s near the end of the school year. This is a fabulous A-. I certainly wish they mentioned how much fun they had at their Memorial Day slumber party considering that is likely the weekend on which they first watched the video. But alas, guess they didn’t want an A.

This movie is straight terrible… I’m not sure I even need to say more. It feels like an unfinished film. Something that was recut or refilmed after bad previews or to get a PG-13 rating with little regard to the fact that the plot is straight garbage and bereft of any or all motivation or development for the characters. Not to mention that you have a movie monster with no interesting characteristics, no hope of being defeated, and no connection to the physical world… so why would I care about this Slender Guy? I want Bye Bye Man weird dog and coin shit. I want to have them find out that he’s the spirit of a guy who lost his daughter in a tragic boat accident and they have to go out on the misty lake to pull up her bones from the wreckage for a final burial (only to find that she was the demon all along!). I want a real horror film antagonist. Not this half-ass demon bullshit. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! This week we watched a modern day urban legend … what’s that? No, we didn’t watch Urban Legend. Naw, this is a horror film for the technological age … what’s that? No, we’ve already seen FeardotCom. No, you know, the one with the updated boogeyman character … what’s that? Goddamnit, no, we watched The Bye Bye Man last year! Whatever, we watched Slender Man, I was talking about Slender Man. Let’s go!

The Good – Oooooof. There are some shots which are well done. You can kind of see that the director is the most competent part of this film. It manages to keep the tension cranked up to about 8/10 for the whole movie, which is far more than The Bye Bye Man could say. If it could have managed a few more scares people would have probably given it a break at least.

P’s View on the Preview – Obviously the main thing here was the comparisons to The Bye Bye Man. Back to back years you have very not-scary thin men haunting people in rural America? I mean … yes please. The only thing we were hoping for was for the Slender Man to be hilarious. Because The Bye Bye Man looked goofy. Yo looked goofy!

The Bad – He did not look sufficiently goofy. The acting throughout was terrible. No moment in the entire film was scary, not even the jump scares. This film is entirely derivative of other horror films, it is effectively The Ring Ring Man, because it is just the plot of The Ring applied using the bad guy from The Bye Bye Man. The Bye Bye Man was hilarious while this is simply a tragedy, a not-scary nothing movie. Boo! I say boo!

Get Yo Rant On – So yo, first The Bye Bye Man, and now this? Why all the hate on libraries all of a sudden. Naturally when you summon a demon you need to go to the local library to see what you can find. Under “The Bye Bye Man” there should be plenty about the weird albino drifter killing people with his dog. In Slender Man they naturally need to find a book on … demons or something, so they head to the local library. Natch. What’s this, The Super Thin Get-outta Here Man is here?! Who could have guessed it. But seriously … local libraries are struggling enough without today’s youth being afraid of accidentally seeing The Ring Me Once Man or whatever making it all spooky and stuff. Leave the local library alone horror films. End rant.

The BMT – Nope. Merely a not-Bye-Bye-Man which hurts my heart. Get out of here Slender Man you piece of not-scary garbage. Come back when you look goofy. That would have been your saving grace … like if you had a top hat and a slender dog and some like … weird rusty bike sounds plays when you were near. Now we’re cooking with fire!

Welcome to Earf – I needed a little help on this. Joey King was in Slender Man, but I didn’t remember that she was in Independence Day: Resurgence, which also stars Jeff Goldblum who was in Mortdecai with Johnny Depp, who was in Transcendence with Morgan Freeman who was the narrator of Conan the Barbarian (2011), which also starred 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!

Theater reView – There isn’t much Street Cred yet so I’ll let that be for now, but I do think this will be the worst horror film of the year by leagues. As for my theatrical experience … uh, remind me never to go to a Cineworld again. Now, I thought that the one in Chelsea was just an anomaly. Overly expensive and dirty. Nope, that apparently is the norm. Vue is one million times better. First, Vue usually has sweet six pound viewings all of the time. It is clean, and nice, and their kiosks work. Cineworld is garbage. The audience was appropriately muted, and the theater was fine though, nice and packed for a Tuesday night showing of Slender Man.

And that is that. We did all our homework last year by watching The Bye Bye Man, so …

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Slender Man Quiz

I guess I could ask a couple of easy questions about Slender Man. Like … how would you describe the body type of Slender Man? (He is slender). And … what get gender is Slender Man? (He is in fact a man). But instead I’ll throw you a few curves.

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Why do our four heroines decide to bravely go onto the internet and watch a video about a very very slender man?

2) But wait … then why didn’t all of the guys start getting slenderized later in the movie as well?

3) The moment where things stopped being polite and started getting real was when Katie is kidnapped while on a school trip. Where did they go for this school trip?

4) In order to try and get Katie back the three remaining girls go into the local Spooky Forest and use some internet advice to try and get Slender Man off their backs (jeez dude, chill out, you have a real weird stalker vibe going on here). What do they have to do to escape insanity / kidnapping / death?

5) Why does Wren (Joey King) show Lizzie the Slender Man video? For the record their friend was already shown this video, everyone was being haunted, and their friend had gone missing … but yeah, show your friend’s little sister the video. By all means.

Answers

Slender Man Preview

In the guise of a big fat cat and craving lasagna, Jamie and his dog pal Odin are on their way out of Dracula School in an attempt to find Patrick. The plot to use the Ivory Socket waits for no cat and Jamie’s vampirism can be dealt with later. When they turn a corner they are confronted by Dr. Vampiro, the headmaster of the school! “Not so fast, fat cat! You’re not going anywhere until we know how to use the Ivory Socket.” They look for escape only to have their eyes alight on a Dance Dance Revolution machine in the corner of the student lounge. “Perhaps a dance-off to decide whether we can go or not,” Jamie suggests. “Ha,” Dr. Vampiro scoffs, taking off his coat, “that is super dumb… and not because it makes no sense that I would agree to such a thing, but because I’m a dance machine, don’t worry about it.” There isn’t anything kids and bored parents love more than a couple of animals boogying down and boy howdy do they. Jamie and Odin bip and bop across that machine with some seriously bodacious dance moves. But as Dr. Vampiro begins his seductive vampire dance Jamie realizes that he may not be a match for his supernatural dance powers. Could he lose a dance-off? He knows then and there that he must call upon his friend and ally, The Top Hat Man. “Top Hat Man I summon you and your Top Hat, man,” he states with eyes closed.

Stunned by what he’s just seen Patrick sits in the pile of garbage and contemplates the situation. A talking cat!?!? And what did it mean he didn’t belong there. Sweat beading on their foreheads Sticks and Stones turn around, finally completing the firebombing of the witch’s set, “What’s with that dern look on your face, it’s like you just saw a talking cat (!?!) or something,” Stones says. Patrick opens his mouth … but you know what, the experience wasn’t actually that remarkable, just kind of pointless and dull. “Where am I? Where is Jamie?” he says instead. “You listen to me punk,” Sticks growls, “all we know is what we were told: fetch the kid in the teenage witch set and bring him to the precinct set. You’re here alright, but we don’t know anything about any goddamned Jamie. Let’s move!” Sticks and Stones walk up to a series of doors in the false alleyway and whisper quietly to themselves. This had gone on long enough Patrick thought. What did he do the last time he lost Jamie? Oh yeah, he called on his friend and ally, The Top Hat Man. The Top Hat Man would know what to do. “Top Hat Man I summon you and your Top Hat, man,” he states with eyes closed.

That’s right! This week we’re watching Slender Man. After one of the slowest BMT years in history, we take a break from our Bring a Friend cycle to (finally) head back to the theater for some BMT Live fun. Ever since The Bye Bye Man stole our BMT hearts, we’ve been clamouring for something similarly dumb and not scary and hilarious. So when we saw previews for what looked like a terrible misguided attempt to cash in on what the kids are calling “The Internet,” we hoped and prayed for it to fail miserably with critics… and hoooo boy! It sure did. This film pits the Slenderest of Men against a bevy of teenage girls and I’m hoping that he has a tall slender top hat and like a slender greyhound friend. This better be the slenderest film ever released. Let’s go!

Slender Man (2018) – BMeTric: 51.0

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(Sometime I ignore “current” films in this section because the plot is somewhat boring … not so here! The rating of 2.9 is so absurdly low that I had to make note of it. If it stays that low this will be a 70+ BMeTric film soon enough which is pretty crazy. I think people just really hate the idea of the film, and it doesn’t help that the film is apparently a load of garbage.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  I should have been the exact right viewer for “Slender Man.” And yet my mind wandered to memories of better, similar films, and it was really only in the moments when “Slender Man” went terribly wrong that it grabbed my attention. After all, nothing is scarier than bad filmmaking.

(Noice. Kind of reminds me of The Bye Bye Man maybe? That somehow the redeeming feature of the film was just how laughably bad some moments of the film are. Otherwise films like this are a dime a dozen these days.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySy8mcceTno

(Uh, having watched the film already (spoiler) but … that trailer describes a different movie. Actually, I can exactly see what the storyline was supposed to be. Their one friend gets taken, the three other characters offer themselves in her stead, she returns but isn’t the same, The Most Slender Man is still spookifying them because of the deal they struck … better than the chopped up film you’ll get, be warned.)

Directors – Sylvain White – (Known For: The Losers; Future BMT: Stomp the Yard; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: He did the direct-to-video addition I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer before landing his breakout film Stomp the Yard. Mostly directs television more recently.)

Writers – David Birke (written by) – (Known For: Elle; 13 Sins; Dahmer; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: Announced as the screenwriter for an upcoming Picture of Dorian Gray adaptation.)

Victor Surge (based on a character by) – (BMT: Slender Man; Notes: Know Your Meme. Is still answering questions to this day about this thing he created nearly 10 years ago on a whim, which is bonkers.)

Actors – Joey King – (Known For: The Dark Knight Rises; The Conjuring; Crazy, Stupid, Love.; Oz the Great and Powerful; White House Down; Going in Style; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Horton Hears a Who!; Wish I Was Here; Ramona and Beezus; Quarantine; Reign Over Me; Future BMT: Wish Upon; Stonewall; The Kissing Booth; Family Weekend; The Sound and the Fury; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Slender Man; Battle Los Angeles; Notes: The Kissing Booth is actually having a moment as it (1) is not considered to be very good by traditional film standards, but (2) is incredibly popular in the pre-teen girl demographic (as stated on the Bill Simmons podcast on several occasions). She’s even dating her Kissing Booth co-star in real life.)

Julia Goldani Telles – (Known For: Most Likely to Murder; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: Studies at Columbia, and has a co-starring role in the show The Affair.)

Jaz Sinclair – (Known For: Paper Towns; Future BMT: When the Bough Breaks; Fun Mom Dinner; BMT: Slender Man; Notes: She is going to star in the re-imagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch which is coming out in October.)

Budget/Gross – $10–28 million / Domestic: $23,393,116 (Worldwide: $25,020,757)

(The gross is “so far” and I’m willing to bet the 28 million figure is with advertising, which isn’t usually included in these figures I think. It is going to be a modest success in the end I think, but I doubt we should be waiting for Slenderer Man … More Slender Man?)

#93 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

slenderman_supernaturalhorror

(This is, in a way, still the cutting edge of horror, although I assume that will change soon enough. Basically Blumhouse ushered in the current era with the Paranormal Activity franchise which was the first of the genre to break $100 million in over 5 years (and on a microbudget no less). Silent Hill, Thirteen Ghosts, Ghost Ship, The Fog (2005), The Bye Bye Man are either good or hilarious so far, so I’m quite excited to see what Slender Man brings to the table.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (4/48): Slender Man might be thin, but he’s positively robust compared to the flimsy assortment of scares generated by the would-be chiller that bears his name.

(Rough consensus right there. All I want in the world is for Slender Man to be hilarious like The Bye Bye Man. Please be hilarious. Reviewer Highlight – Slender Man feels as used up as any years-old meme, like trying to explain what’s funny about dat boi a decade late. – Andrew Whalen, Newsweek)

Poster – The Top Hat Man (A-)

slenderman

(Slender Man watching me through my foggy shower door. How creepy. I do like the simple artistry of it with the unique font and nice balance. A little more blue tint to the overall color, but otherwise this is pretty good to draw me in.)

Tagline(s) – None (F)

(Oooo, the slenderest of all taglines. Real meta, A+ tagline… psych! Unacceptable but not unexpected, Slender Man.)

Keyword(s) – woods; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 87.5 BloodRayne (2005); 86.0 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 85.9 Troll 2 (1990); 82.6 The Legend of Hercules (2014); 80.4 Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010); 80.0 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 78.4 Jason X (2001); 78.0 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 77.7 The Starving Games (2013);

(Birdemic is coming up, and I really hope We can do the Halloween franchise at some point. And who knows, maybe we’ll finally add the Twilight franchise to the list of BMT films.)

Notes – The father of the victim whose life was nearly claimed by two girls that worshipped the Slender Man spoke out against the film, citing how they felt disgraced by Hollywood making a film about events that led to tragedy. (I mean … fair)

During the post-production of Slender Man (2018), Sony and Screen Gems were reportedly extremely nervous about releasing the film, due to the ongoing court cases and negative publicity surrounding the Creepypasta legend. This caused the two companies to release the film with very little promotional materials to it, and it did not screen for critics. (I mean … fair)

The Slender Man first appeared on the “Something Awful” forums in a series of photographs edited to depict a tall, humanoid entity unnoticed by other people in the image but almost always surrounded by, or in close proximity to, children. Since then, many have speculated inspiration and origin of Slender Man in popular media, folk tales and ghost stories from hundreds of years ago, the earliest being a reference to Der Großmann in a German folk story written in 1702.

Both Chloe and Tom are shown dying in the trailer, yet neither death appears in the final cut of the movie. (Reshoots I guess. Interesting only because there aren’t very many notes, presumably because the film just came out)

Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Recap

Jamie

Garfield is back, Jack! And boy howdy does he get into some trouble when he ends up in England swapped with an identical fancy Lord cat, Prince. Will Jon be able to get Garfield back (and maybe disrupt the bad guy’s dastardly plot (and get the girl)) before it’s too late? Find out in… Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.

How?! When Garfield finds that Jon is preparing to propose to Liz he does everything in his power to stop it. When Liz is unexpectedly sent off to England to give a speech at a big symposium, Jon decides to be all romantic and surprise her there with a ring. Unbeknownst to him Garfield and Odie tag along in his luggage. At the same time a cat that looks exactly like Garfield named Prince inherits a manor instead of the expected heir, Dargis. Upset that he won’t be able to turn the place into a booming spa business, Dargis throws the cat in a river (seriously). When Garfield gets lost he is picked up by the caretaker of the manor, mistaking him for Prince and vice versa when Jon does the same with Prince. They both learn to love their situations with newfound appreciation of lasagna and dancing and shit. When Prince finally makes it back to the manor he teams up with Garfield to take down Dargis. Jon, Liz, Prince, and Garfield storm Dargis’ meeting with the manor’s lawyers only to have Dargis take Liz hostage… which ends fine when Dargis gets his dick chomped by a dog (yup). Jon then proposes to Liz, thus setting up the squeakuel where Jon and Liz are about to have a baby, which freaks out Garfield and Liz’s cat, Arlene. They attempt to throw a monkey wrench into their babymaking plans, but ultimately find that they love their expanding family all the same with the surprise twist when Arlene has kittens. That’s all made up. THE END.

Why?! Garfield’s main motivation is to disrupt Jon’s plans to propose to Liz. He seems to think that Jon getting married will result in him taking a secondary role in Jon’s heart and thus is scared. As for the antagonist, he just needs to get Prince out of the way so he can inherit the manor and turn it into the moneymaking luxury spa he’s always wanted. While it would seem like he should just wait a decade for the damn cat to die of natural causes, I think they imply that money was tight and this might be his only chance… I think. I may have made that up in my head because there is no reason to not just continue to freeload and wait for the cat to die.

What?! No major product placement and no MacGuffins. Instead I looked around to see if there was any interesting connection between this film and other films. Indeed I was surprised and delighted to find that somehow this has the exact same plot as Beethoven’s 4th starring Judge Reinhold (and a St. Bernard). This is why we’re here. To make sure you know this.

Who?! Twin Film Alert? Are Prince and Garfield twins? I mean they are certainly optical twins (in that they look exactly like each other) but I’m not sure it would be contended that they are actually genetic twins… perhaps relatives of some sort lost to time. Still, I think it’s fun that an argument can be made that both the Garfield films are twin films.

Where?! England, duh. And it is certainly central to the plot given not only the sights and sounds of London that we are provided with, but the fact that the Peerages of England plays a vital role in the plot. Gotta give this an A. Just the notch below calling this Garfield: A British Invasion or something.

When?! I. Do. Not. Know. God… why do you have to keep asking when Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties takes place. I don’t know, OK? Is that OK by you? Seriously, I didn’t really check when this took place and am definitely not going back through to see what I can find. Deary me, no. F.

Now this is the derivative piece of garbage that I kind of expected from the first one. Just putting Garfield in a different country with a twist on a classic (cliche?) tale and them eating beef pie and stuff. It is just not good. It also seemed like in the end they maybe got tired and stopped writing plot, because the latter part of the film is just littered with montages that are more or less meaningless. Still only 80 minutes though so that’s good. As for A Talking Cat!?!, a chill went down my spine when I started this film. I’m a little confused as to why and how the film actually exists. Was it a bet? It is straight up the level of filmmaking of high school productions. It was weird and unpleasant but I could see it being really fun to watch in a group because of how weird and unpleasant it is. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! You ever read Garfield and think “I wish this could be more like the literary classics of my youth!” Well guess what? If you just lift (oh so subtly) the plot of The Prince and the Pauper it can be! And we get Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. What does the classic Mark Twain novel to do with the classic Dickens novel? Well … nothing. Let’s go!

The Good – An absolutely devastating pun in the title. Again, I actually don’t think Garfield’s CGI looks too bad considering he (and Prince) are constantly surrounded by actual animals. Sweet London vistas.

Ps View on the Preview – After the innocuousness of the first film, this one … looked like they Marmaduked it. You see, in Marmaduke, instead of just telling children the story of Marmaduke (who, it would seem, lived in Kansas in the original strip) they instead started the film by having Marmaduke move to Los Angeles. This distracted from what is important (Marmaduke is a giant dog, and his unmanageable size gives his owner a headache!) and instead created a false story about Marmaduke trying to fit in in a new place. Going in I was poised to hate it.

The Bad – I felt that critics were a bit too harsh on the original Garfield which, in retrospect, served as a fine transition for a classic comic character to live action. It kept the movie isolated to the familiar Garfield world. The sequel throws all of that goodwill in the trash and goes straight for the oh-so-simple fish-out-of-water story as expected. You straight Marmaduked it, son! Every single thing that my mind was able to gloss over in the previous installment all of a sudden came into stark and horrific detail once Garfield is asked to interact with the unfamiliar. Everyone is a non-character with little to no depth … which is glaringly obvious once they are placed into real life London (and … really fake just-outside-of-London). Garfield becomes merely a joyless kids’ comedy. Poor show chaps, poor show.

Get Yo Rant On – Alright Jon Arbuckle you piece of garbage. You illegally imported two animals into the UK. I don’t think Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is going to believe your excuse of “my cat snuck into my bag and I didn’t notice”. And then, once there, you just basically let them run free? Is that hotel dog friendly? Did you even inform the cleaning staff that you had animals in the room and that they should be cautious when entering? You didn’t feel the need to pop a do not disturb sign on the door so they wouldn’t open it? And you lose your cat (and honestly, more importantly, your dog, which may contain parasites that could be ecologically devastating to the British dog population … you seriously are just unconcerned about heartworm you goddamn asshole?). Goddamnit, Jon! Get your life together! End rant.

The BMT – This can be filed under kids’ film with Marmaduke. I still don’t really like watching them, they are mostly dull, but I do appreciate the variety of kids’ films out there. You have the ridiculous B-plots. The fish-out-of-water fare. The just goofy for the sake of being goofy stuff. There is a kind of fun variety, and mostly the good ones are just heart warming and amusing enough to pass. This is in the fish-out-of-water field, and if you want to get more specific a fish-out-of-water sequel. I did manage to find a good version of this tale: Babe: Pig in the City, where they took the famous Babe and put him right out of that water.

Welcome to Earf – Jennifer Love Hewitt was also in Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties and I Know What You Did Last Summer with Freddie Prinze Jr. who was in Wing Commander with Matthew Lillard 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 (again)!

StreetCreditReport.com – Kind of shockingly I can’t find any lists with this on it. It did get nominated for two low-level Razzies which is cred enough I guess. It also bred this thing, which is a pretty standard experiment at this point (although I typically hear of it concerning someone watching the same film every week/day for a year). My favorite part is the guy ultimately marking out the general themes of The Prince and The Pauper. Why yes, this is a satirical take of “it’s the clothes that make the man” more or less.

Bring a Friend – This week we watched A Talking Cat!?! as part of the Bring a Friend cycle. Ultimately the film is one of the loosest interpretation of what a film can be that I’ve seen. The initial fright you experience realizing what you’ve gotten yourself into is somewhat amusing, and the third act is just ridiculous enough to warrant the cult status. The film is in no way entertaining though, mostly just pointless and dull. I could believe that one needs an audience to really appreciate it, or that the viewing experience ages a bit once you know how to pick up the odd beats the film is laying down. And I use the term film loosely. I think I want to give it a C-. This is basically the bare minimum I would expect from a cult bad film, and is borderline boring trash, saved only by the soothing monotonous line reading of Eric Roberts as Duffy the Cat. Mark it down based on the initial terrible impression the film gave.

Now you might ask: did you read The Prince and The Pauper? … Nope.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Garfield Recap

Jamie

Garfield is living it up with his owner Jon, eating lasagna and hating mondays. When Jon unexpectedly comes home with a new dog, Odie, Garfield is none too happy and aims to get rid of him. This ultimately leads to Odie going missing and falling into the clutches of the evil Happy Chapman. Can Garfield get Odie back before it’s too late? Find out in… Garfield: The Movie.

How?! Garfield and Jon are best friends even though Garfield is always making snide comments about what a loser Jon is. In another trip to the vet designed on wooing Jon’s crush, Liz, he misinterprets what he thinks is a request for a date and mistakenly adopts a dog, Odie. Oh no! Jon once again shows that he is a loving, caring owner of animals and seamlessly integrates Odie into his family, but Garfield is less than thrilled. He pushes Odie, smacks Odie, and embarrasses him in a dance-off in order to show dominance. This of course only leads to Odie winning a big dog show when he dances his little heart out to Hey Mama by the Black Eyed Peas (obviously). A judge at the show, the evil Happy Chapman, wants to use Odie to spring to fame, but Jon is having none of it. Soon thereafter though Garfield tricks Odie into running away and Happy is able to get his clutches on him as a result. Garfield kind of realizes that he was an asshole and goes to rescue Odie in Anonymous City. In a thrilling climax Garfield is able to stop Happy from taking Odie on a train to NYC and they all dance together as one big family. THE END.

Why?! I actually admire Garfield for keeping this story simple (and at a slim 80 minutes). No Garfield isn’t discovered by a Hollywood agent and whisked off to the fast-living ways of LA. No he doesn’t have to foil some jewel thieves trying to steal a diamond he accidentally ate. He just doesn’t like Odie (classic) and wants to get rid of him. When he succeeds at this, though, he realizes that what he did wasn’t right and aims to correct it.

What?! There are piles and piles of product placements in this film. The biggest is pretty easily Petco, which is the only one that plays a role in the pot. Not only does Jon come home loaded to the gills with solid Petco products when he adopts Odie, but the big dog show is also sponsored by the company. God there are so many more, though. A true smorgasbord.

Who?! Secret Twin Film! Yay! It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally we rack another one up for the good guys. Or I guess in this case the bad guys since the twins in question are the evil Happy Chapman and his news broadcaster twin brother. Also have to point out that if we had never seen Be Cool, where the Black Eyed Peas give a performance as part of the plot of the film, we would definitely have used this film to get Apl.de.ap for the map. All the members of the Black Eyed Peas are seen on TV showing a music video for Hey Mama. Fantastic.

Where?! Normally I would just say that this takes place in a purposefully unidentified Midwestern city that is likely a stand in for Indiana (given the origins of the comic), give it a D- for at least specifying the Midwest during a news broadcast and leave it at that. However, I do have to note that Wikipedia and many other places online seem to insist that this film takes place in LA. While it was obviously filmed in LA (duh), it very clearly states in the film that this is set in the Midwest. Two very different things. I just don’t know how such slanderous lies start on the internet.

When?! Ha, you think they’re going to specify a date in a film that goes out of its way not to identify where it takes place. No way. This is an F and I dare anyone to try to prove me wrong… seriously, if anyone else wants to close-watch Garfield and find when it takes place that would be helpful.

This movie is actually pretty much as good as one can expect from such a film. Sure it has dancing animals and lame product placement, but it’s also only 80 minutes long and stays pretty true to the snark of Garfield as a character. I could imagine having to go see this with my child and actually coming out not minding it all that much. While it is similarly derivative to Marmaduke, it more or less doesn’t fall into many of the same trappings that that film did. I give it a hardy “meh.” Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Garfield is a big old fat cat and Jon Arbuckle is his anti-body shaming owner. Will Jon get the lady? Will Garfield eat some lasagna? Will Stephen Tobolowsky’s eeeeeeevil plan to make Odie famous get foiled? I mean … yeah, we watched a kids’ film. Let’s get into it!

The Good – When they say a kids’ film is innocuous the movie they have in mind is Garfield. They introduce the character in his element, they focus the movie on Odie’s origin story (which fans have been clamoring for for years …) and really don’t venture out of Garfield’s Midwestern box. Good move. The actors are all game, and shockingly Garfield’s CGI looked fine most of the time IMO. It looks terrible when he dances obviously, but when he’s walking around he looks surprisingly good compared to what I expected.

Ps View on the Preview – In the preview I couldn’t help myself in wondering why Murray was even in the film. Sure, Lorenzo Music is dead and sounds a lot like Murray, but replacing voice actors is a somewhat trivial thing and it was still somewhat of a wonder that they decided they needed a big name when the Garfield character already had a distinct voice. But … I think Murray brought a lot to the role. His warmth, charm, humor whatever you want to call it, something about it worked really well. This ain’t a Owen Wilson in Marmaduke situation.

The Bad – I kind of still wish they had downgraded Garfield’s voice and upgraded Meyer, who is probably a weaker part of the film. The story is just on the cusp of being too light. Any and all dancing sequences are just awful and they are almost relentless, the entire story concerning Odie involves the animals dancing. I don’t really have other complaints about the film. Even the B story (Jon in love with the vet) is straight from the comics, and Tobolowsky’s eeeeevil twin (twin film!) is just low-level enough to work as an antagonist to a literal cat.

Get Yo Rant On – To be frank I don’t really think I have a rant this week. This film doesn’t really have one. I’ll just quickly note here that this franchise is probably one of the last good examples of the cartoon character thing where you can tell they have strings pulling boxes, or blankets around, and Breckin Meyer has to pretend to pet Garfield and stuff. It looks real bad. Like you can kind of see the seams of the film. If you watch something like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone you can see it too (BTW not a very good film, kind of weirdly old fashioned for the time it was made).

The BMT – Nope, but mainly because the film is too good. The 15% on Rotten Tomatoes must reflect the times more than anything else, because it is shockingly low. It’ll go hand in hand with the sequel, which is a kind of logical conclusion to the fish-out-of-water comic strip adaptation, but the first one I think can merely be thought of as better than one would expect.

Welcome to Earf – Jennifer Love Hewitt was in Garfield and I Know What You Did Last Summer with Freddie Prinze Jr. who was in Wing Commander with Matthew Lillard 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 – Probably the most cred you can find for the film comes from the anecdote about Bill Murray not realizing it wasn’t a Joel Coen film (it is a Joel Cohen film). Otherwise it usually gets on lists concerning movies based on cartoons, or bad CGI. But I stand by my point: at times Garfield looks surprisingly good all things considered, it only kind of looks bad when you reflect back on it or freeze the film.

We’ll save the A Talking Cat!?! chat for the sequels’ recap.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs