Speed 2: Cruise Control Preview

We sit on our perch, chilling with the night security guard, Ed, while he protects the Ivory Socket. We discuss at length his hopes and dreams. His passions, his loves and his greatest fears. He asks if we would like a cracker. Ed, you devil, you always know just what would hit the spot. As we munch on our crackers Ed asks us when we plan to steal the Socket. We freeze… cracker crumbs spilling down out parrot costumes. How did he know? Of course, he always knew (the devil), for we are full grown adult humans in parrot costumes. But he enjoyed our company and thought he’d delay our arrest for as long as he could. Today was supposed to be the day he finally turned us in, but he just can’t. We’ve changed his life (and honestly, Ed has changed ours too). He hands us the Ivory Socket and tells us to go, throwing rocks at us to goad us on. “I never even liked you stupid birds!” He screams with tears streaming down his face and we squawk our way out of the Royal Library. When we attempt to use the Socket to destroy the Dongle we find it’s port jammed with a note. “Before you make two pieces one, a sacred liquid must be found. Venture to the isle of sun, and find it deep within the ground.” Wait… another MacGuffin? Or is the Socket still the only MacGuffin and the sacred liquid is like… part of it that helps power it? Regardless, the riddle is trash (suspiciously so, hmmmmmm) and obviously points to the Isla del Sol in Bolivia. Time to catch a boat and get some R&R on a relaxing cruise where nothing super crazy should happen along the way. That’s right! We’re watching Speed 2: Cruise Control. This is one of the most critically reviled sequels in film history with an well deserved place on our Calendar. We’ve obviously seen it before, but probably not since its release so I remember almost none of it. Let’s go!

Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) – BMeTric: 89.5

Speed2CruiseControl_BMeT

Speed2CruiseControl_RV

(Notorious, but I think it gets a bit of a pass as an action film with a charming and still-loved lead in Bullock. It’ll rise steadily with more votes, although I’m not sure it’ll ever actually get to 4.0 … I mean, it would need people to give it a 5/10 at least … are people giving Speed 2 ratings of 5 or above? That would be crazy.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Mind-numbingly stupid action yarn opens with a chase scene that makes no sense, and never improves. Bullock (whose character here is especially annoying) agrees to go on a Caribbean cruise with boyfriend Patric, an L.A.P.D. officer. When a madman Dafoe takes control of the ship, Patric feels it’s his duty to try and stop him. Did anyone read the script before signing on for this one?

(Keanu Reeves did. That’s why he then skipped out on it. The director had to do it, and I think Bullock was at an early point in here career where she still needed the job/money. Patric … well this kind of derailed whatever career he had I think, so yeah, he should have thought this guy through.)

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

(My word. Loud, choppy cuts, one liners out the wazoo. C’mon now, this is going to be amazing. Dafoe is also just completely ridiculous as well. Get hyped.)

Directors – Jan de Bont – (Known For: Twister; Speed; Future BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; The Haunting; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1998 for Speed 2: Cruise Control; and in 2000 for The Haunting; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: There is very little explanation as to why he basically retired after Lara Croft 2. He was a cinematographer for years before becoming, briefly, one of the most in demand action directors of the late 90s.)

Writers – Graham Yost (characters) – (Known For: Speed; Broken Arrow; The Last Castle; Future BMT: Mission to Mars; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Hard Rain; Notes: Writes and produces television now. Only credited because he wrote the original Speed screenplay.)

Jan de Bont (story) – (BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1998 for Speed 2: Cruise Control; and in 2000 for The Haunting; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: The only film he has a story credit for, presumably because it is based off of a dream he had (? Read the notes below).)

Randall McCormick (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Titan A.E.; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: This was his first screenplay after getting the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.)

Jeff Nathanson (screenplay) – (Known For: Catch Me If You Can; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; The Terminal; Rush Hour 2; Tower Heist; The Last Shot; Future BMT: Rush Hour 3; New York, I Love You; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: Apparently was an uncredited screenwriter on Twister (also directed by de Bont) along with Joss Whedon, which I imagine is how he got attached to this film. Is somewhat famous for uncredited rewrites of many notable projects.)

Actors – Sandra Bullock – (Known For: Ocean’s Eight; The Proposal; Gravity; Crash; Minions; The Heat; Miss Congeniality; Speed; While You Were Sleeping; The Prince of Egypt; A Time to Kill; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; Two Weeks Notice; Forces of Nature; The Vanishing; The Thing Called Love; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; Infamous; Wrestling Ernest Hemingway; Future BMT: Premonition; Love Potion No. 9; The Net; Stolen Hearts; Hope Floats; 28 Days; Murder by Numbers; Gun Shy; Practical Magic; Our Brand Is Crisis; Loverboy; In Love and War; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; All About Steve; Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous; Demolition Man; The Lake House; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress, Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for All About Steve in 2010; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Demolition Man in 1994; Notes: She’s opened up recently about sexism and other tough subjects in Hollywood. But she does give a good shout out to de Bont whom she credits with giving her her big break when no one else would.)

Jason Patric – (Known For: The Yellow Birds; The Lost Boys; Sleepers; The Losers; My Sister’s Keeper; In the Valley of Elah; Rush; Narc; Geronimo: An American Legend; The Confines; Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound; Your Friends & Neighbors; After Dark, My Sweet; The Journey of August King; Keyhole; Expired; Three Days of Rain; Future BMT: The Prince; Cavemen; The Outsider; The Alamo; Downloading Nancy; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Solarbabies; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: Was a sort of child actor in things like Solarbabies. His father was nominated for an Oscar for The Exorcist.)

Willem Dafoe – (Known For: Murder on the Orient Express; John Wick; Finding Nemo; Spider-Man 3; The Florida Project; What Happened to Monday; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Spider-Man; Finding Dory; American Psycho; Platoon; The Fault in our Stars; Inside Man; Spider-Man 2; Death Note; John Carter; Fantastic Mr. Fox; The Aviator; Antichrist; The English Patient; Future BMT: New Rose Hotel; Anamorph; Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant; The Great Wall; Tomorrow You’re Gone; Flight of the Intruder; The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; Fireflies in the Garden; Lulu on the Bridge; A Family Man; Adam Resurrected; The Reckoning; Miral; Odd Thomas; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; xXx²: The Next Level; Body of Evidence; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Body of Evidence in 1994; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: He’s playing the villain in the upcoming Aquaman film. There are tons of rumors about him as the Joker as well, although that obviously seems pretty unlikely … since he’s the villain in Aquaman.)

Budget/Gross – $110 million (official) $135–160 million (estimated) / Domestic: $48,608,066 (Worldwide: $164,508,066)

(That is pretty catastrophic. Ultimately that is likely in the $30-50 million write off range if my admittedly amateur box office math works correctly. Although, this movie was a pretty long time ago so who knows how this all worked back then.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (2/69): Speed 2 falls far short of its predecessor, thanks to laughable dialogue, thin characterization, unsurprisingly familiar plot devices, and action sequences that fail to generate any excitement.

(One of the worst reviewed films ever I would presume, 3% is quite low. Given the first has a RT score above 95% this also certainly qualifies as one of the worst sequels of all time (if not the worst sequel ever made). Reviewer Highlight: An ear-splitting amusement-park attraction posing as a movie. – Jamie Bernard, New York Daily News)

Poster – Speed 2: Sklog Control (D)

speed_two_cruise_control

(Wow. A true tragedy nearly on the level of 1998’s The Avengers, which has become my watermark for how bad a poster can be. Look at those two electric colors and… like, rain or something across everything. Truly misguided. Does have unique font though and it’s not super cluttered like some posters can be, so just above the bottom of the barrel.)

Tagline(s) – Rush hour hits the water. (D+)

(Ha! For some reason this is very amusing to me. The idea that this would deal with some kind of boat traffic or whatever. It’s got fine construction, but is just so stupid that it’s funny.)

Keyword(s) – time bomb; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.5 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 88.6 Street Fighter (1994); 85.4 Spice World (1997); 83.6 RoboCop 3 (1993); 78.9 Torque (2004); 78.0 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999); 70.3 On Deadly Ground (1994); 68.2 Double Team (1997); 64.4 Fair Game (1995);

(Awesome. We do have to go back and smash Street Fighter at one point. We stupidly didn’t do it when we did Legend of Chun Li or again when we inducted that into the Hall of Fame. Although that would have required a outside of the box Bonus, which we’ve never done … this is some pretty niche BMT behind the scenes talk)

Movie Stub – Speed 2: Cruise Control (GA-class) – Look at this beauty. There isn’t much in the talk page, although there is a pretty thorough review commentary which I plan on looking at as some point. No specific public notes on improvements, nor do I think it needs any, so I’ll leave it be for now.

Notes – The original script was intended to be the third film in the “Die Hard” series. After the success of the first film though, the script was reworked into a Speed sequel instead. (Huh. Vengeance is a much better idea for that (and Vengeance’s script was supposed to be a Lethal Weapon sequel)).

In a 2000 interview, Sandra Bullock jokingly referred to this movie as “the biggest piece of crap ever made.” (Not really, but it isn’t great)

Gary Oldman turned down the role of the villain, and instead chose to make Air Force One (1997). (Great choice)

Although the movie was close to being universally panned by film critics, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel were among the very few critics to give the movie a positive review. Before his death, Ebert stated that this was the review he had to defend more than any other he had written, and that it was the one most often cited as an example of him being a poor film critic. (Ebert was a rare critic who could make a convincing argument for “it’s good for what it is”. It worked for him because he rarely deployed it for really dire films and also didn’t tend to bump films up that much using the excuse. It is understandable he’d be criticized here though, it is quite a leap to call this movie anything but garbage IMO)

Keanu Reeves turned down the movie to go on tour with his band Dogstar. (FAKE NEWS. According to Keanu. See the note below)

Matthew McConaughey was one of the male stars considered once Keanu Reeves bailed. (Would have been 1000x better. Sorry Jason)

Sandra Bullock’s character Annie was not given a last name at all in Speed (1994). movie. Here, it is revealed to be Porter. (Coooool)

Sandra Bullock agreed to star in this film in order to get financing for her pet project Hope Floats (1998). (Get yo money Sandra)

Jason Patric only agreed to make the film contingent on some major script changes being made. However, when he eventually arrived onset three months later, he found that the script hadn’t changed at all and he was contractually obligated to make the film. He found the whole experience to be thoroughly miserable and depressing. (Awwwww)

Susan Barnes plays Constance in this film. In the first Speed film, she plays the frozen-in-fear female executive who is the last one out of the perilous elevator. In this film, her character is seen calmly sitting down smoking while being trapped among others in a life-threatening situation. This may allude to her character’s survival from the first film. She is one of four people to appear in both films. (Nooooooo)

Jon Bon Jovi, ‘Patrick Muldoon’, and Christian Slater were also considered for the male lead. (Jon Bon Jovi might have worked, especially if they recast Bullock as well)

The oil tanker bears the name “Eindhoven”, the Dutch hometown of director Jan de Bont. (ooooo fun fact)

The device labeled “Fiber Optic Converter” used by the hacker is really a mechanical KVM switch (a device used to operate several PCs with one set of keyboard, mouse and monitor). (Who knows these kinds of things?)

Keanu Reeves passed on the role to star in the horror film The Devil’s Advocate (1997), which was filmed at the same time as Speed 2, and subsequently toured with his band, Dogstar. Reeves said that Fox was “furious” with his decision and released “propaganda” against him, falsely claiming that he turned down the role to tour with his band.

The sequence where the Seabourn Legend rams into port was, at the time, the most expensive stunt ever filmed, accounting for $25,000,000 of the film’s $110,000,000 budget. (holy shit)

Director Jan de Bont initially felt that Speed (1994) had no sequel potential, but he was contractually obliged to direct a sequel when it was green-lit after the success of the first movie. Many ideas were pitched, including a plane which cannot ascend above a certain altitude without exploding. Finally, de Bont used an idea of his own after he had recurrent nightmares about a cruise ship crashing into an island. (Oooof. The airplane idea is much better. Should have also recast once Keanu dropped, would have made it a bit more believable maybe.)

When Annie is retaking her driving test at the end of the film, a bus identical to the one in the original Speed passes by on the highway. Annie notes to her instructor about the bus “going way too fast”.

When the oil tanker explodes, what looks like a cow can be seen flying out with the rest of the debris from the tanker, possibly a reference to the flying cow from Twister (1996). (Noooooooo)

A total of 3 different ships were used in this film: Seaborn Legend (actual cruise liner; used for most exterior shots of the ship) “Bridge Ship” (Sturgeon Atlantic freighter ship built with a false hull and bridge; used for bridge scenes and the boat crashes in the marina) “Rail Ship” (false hull built on an underwater rail; used for the island crash finale scene). All other shots of the ship were complete computer graphic effects. (Super interesting. This is what I live for)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Jan de Bont, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sandra Bullock, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Willem Dafoe, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Jan de Bont, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Randall McCormick, Jeff Nathanson, Jan de Bont, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (1998)

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Little Man Recap

Jamie

Calvin, a little person and criminal, and his partner in crime, Percy, steal a diamond but have it accidentally fall into the hands of a couple struggling with the idea of having kids. Calvin dresses up as a baby to infiltrate their house and get it back. Will he get the diamond (and perhaps change their lives for the better) before it’s too late? Find out in… Little Man.

What?! Calvin is a thief ready to get back in the game after serving some time in jail. His idiot partner picks him up with news that they already have a new gig: steal a giant diamond from a jewelry store. For some reason Calvin is under the impression that if you use guns or weapons to perform a heist that that somehow prevents you from going to jail… which is interesting considering he would clearly be on probation. So they pull off a clever little gambit to get the diamond but have to evade the police when their getaway goes wrong. During this evasion Calvin drops the diamond into the purse of Vanessa, who is struggling with the idea of having a baby with her husband Darryl. She wants to pursue a career while he… just wants to have a baby or something. I don’t know. It’s dumb. Anyway, because Calvin doesn’t want to use a weapon he decides to get the diamond back by pretending to be a baby dropped at Vanessa and Daryll’s doorstep. This of course leads to all kinds of antics like: making Vanessa’s father seem crazy, going to the park where toys fly into Daryll’s crotch, sexually assaulting several women, going to a hockey game, … what’s that? Did I say sexually assaulting several women? Why yes I did. That’s because Calvin is not just a thief but a sex criminal who literally gropes ladies in the guise of being a baby… it is unfortunate. Anyway, in the end the gangsters who hired Calvin for the heist come to get the diamond where Calvin basically Home Alones the shit out of them leading to their arrest. Despite Calvin’s criminal behavior through this whole adventure Darryl and Vanessa somehow because best friends with him. THE END.

Why?! Why indeed. Calvin just wants to get back in the game and stealing the diamond is part of that. They have to stretch a little to have Calvin not just want to steal the diamond from these people through force, but rather through an elaborate trick. In the end though we realize that all Calvin really wanted was a father figure in his life. Awwwwwwww. Darryl just wants a baby and so does Vanessa (though she doesn’t realize it yet).

What?! I’m actually a little surprised there wasn’t more product placement in the film. Some products in stores and some cereal boxes and stuff, but that’s about it. Instead I’ll highlight some prop work with the hockey game Darryl and Calvin attend. Obviously couldn’t be a real Blackhawks game so instead it seems to be some minor league event with the Chicago Chiefs (clever) and the Detroit Chargers. Oooo. Big rivalry.

Who?! Rob Schneider has an uncredited cameo as a television dinosaur, which is appropriate for one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Even more interesting is that there is a “In memory” credit at the end of the film for Arja Hannele “Honey” Lanning. I looked everywhere trying to figure out who this was eventually finding that she was a swim teacher in the LA area that apparently taught Keenan Ivory Wayans’ kids how to swim. She must have been a great swim teacher to get a credit at the end of a major motion picture.

Where?! Illinois license plates everywhere and they go to that Chicago hockey game late in the film. Sports events in films are truly special. Sometimes you get an actual arena or set of athlete’s getting a cameo. And sometimes you get them making up teams so they can keep the budget down. Both are great. C+.

When?! I’ve been slacking on trying to get these exact dates recently. I blame the films. They should be more clear on when things take place. Or better yet just set every film during a holiday. They go to a hockey game and yet are enjoying fun outside in Illinois? Probably Spring some time. F.

There was a legit argument whether this was worse than Strange Wilderness… which is quite something considering its place in BMT lore. This movie is unbelievable. It’s unbelievably offensive, unbelievably stupid, and unbelievably dog poo in our faces. Made all the more unbelievable by the fact that it followed up White Chicks, which we actually enjoyed! They went from a film where Marlon must fend off the advanced of a sexual predator, to being the sexual predator himself. It was horrible and I hated it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Little Man? More like “Stop slowly pushing dog poo in my face, man!” This was one of the worst comedies I’ve ever seen, but was it the worst? Read all about this catastrophe and find out. Let’s go!

The Good – Sigh. If I lived in an alternative universe where getting dog crap pushed into my face was good then I would have plenty to say. I do not.

P’s View on the Preview – This was a Wayans brothers productions (perhaps the last major Wayans brothers production) through and through. Out of the 7 entries in the director/writer/actor section of the preview, 6 were taken up by Shawn, Marlon, and Keenan Ivory Wayans. Having watched White Chicks which, while a terrible film, was incredibly amusing by how monstrous the makeup on Shawn and Marlon Wayans looked, there were obvious high hopes at BMT HQ. Were our hopes misplaced? … of course they were, this movie is dogshit.

The Bad – You know what was most surprising about this movie to me? How ill-prepared I was for it. I was not prepared for a Norbit, I was amped for a White Chicks. Norbit is a catastrophe because it makes light of spousal abuse and makes you sad throughout. Little Man makes light of sexual assault and makes you sad throughout. You are supposed to find people treating a grown adult as a baby, and that grown adult groping women indiscriminantly, funny … I do not. It upsets me. Whether this film is better or worse than Norbit is up for debate. I do think this is one of the worst comedies I’ve ever seen in my life … and I liked White Chicks reasonably well! I liked Haunted House reasonably well! I was ill-prepared, and that is on me. I should have been ready for the 96 mph fastball of dog poo in my face.

Get Yo Rant On – It is weird to rant on this since the rant is above. But let’s just discuss the CGI in this film for a second. It looks awful much of the time. And, to bring it back to Norbit once again, if you’ve never seen Norbit you might want to watch a second of it just to see the amazing makeup work in it. JUST LOOK AT THIS AMAZING FAT SUIT:

Someday I hope there will be an absolutely atrocious film that has an incredible CGI baby which wins the Best Visual Effects Academy Award just so people can make fun of the Oscars without realizing that sometimes even bad movies can do something right. Little Man? It did nothing right. Its CGI is terrible.

Welcome to Earf – Easy enough. Marlon Wayans is in Little Man and White Chicks with Terry Crews, who was in Blended with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

The BMT – Legendary, but not in a good way. Like … We occasionally induct movies like Strange Wilderness or Norbit into the Hall of Fame because of just how unpleasant they are to watch. Those are probably the two worst comedies I’ve ever seen. I think I can add Little Man as a solid number three (possibly, I would have to mull it over). And that is some distinguished company. I don’t think it’ll end up doing much beyond winning the Worst Viewing Experience Smaddies Baddie by a landslide, but maybe in five years we’ll think to ourselves “huh, I kind of want to experience the extremely unfunny and unpleasant Little Man again” and induct it. In five years we’ll be totally different people.

StreetCreditReport.com – I am genuinely shocked that this isn’t on the Worst Films Ever wiki as a removed film. I’m not surprised it isn’t on the main page, but I am a bit surprised someone didn’t throw a flier out on this piece of garbage at some point. Strangely there aren’t many articles about the worst films of 2006. There is this blog which explains my feelings pretty well. I’m annoyed by the lack of 2006 lists though since I’m sure this would be in the top three on most of them.

No homework (unless you count me watching 5 minutes of that Little Rascals short from the preview … movies were weird in the 30s), so I’ll leave it there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Little Man Quiz

Calvin is just trying to recover a diamond he stole for his employer. Darryl just wants to be a father. You watched the heartfelt comedy Little Man and against all odds you haven’t scratched your own eyes out, so let’s take a quiz!

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Calvin and Percy are hired by some evildoers to steal an enormous diamond from the jewellery store, which they are somehow amazing at doing. But what foils their escape?

2) Calvin pretends to be an abandoned baby on Darryl’s doorstep, unfortunately CPS is closed for the weekend! Better take Calvin immediately to a pediatrician. What are the three tip-offs that Calvin is grown adult that the doctor somehow dismisses?

3) After Calvin steals Darryl’s car and leads the police on a high speed chase resulting in Darryl’s car getting totalled … Darryl decides he still wants to go to the hockey game with the boys (as a normal adult person would do after their child is kidnapped and is involved in a car accident). They live in Chicago, which city is their team playing that night?

4) At the aforementioned hockey game Calvin swallows the enormous diamond in order to later pass it and recover it for the mob bosses he stole it for. Unfortunately this diamond instead just stops Calvin up. What is the remedy to this problem?

5) Finally, how much were Percy and Calvin supposed to be paid for stealing the diamond? How much does Darryl ultimately get as a reward from the insurance company for its recovery?

Answers

Bad Movie Twins Bad Movie Data Analysis #1

Welcome to a special Bad Movie Twins bad movie data analysis post. I haven’t done one of these in a while, but it was high time I started refining my machine learning / data viz creds again. Recently I have been going through the process of collecting a large data set of movie information for use in analysis. This is the first fruit of that labor.

First, the briefly describe the data set. Collected via the BoxOfficeMojo.com yearly box office listings (e.g. For 2010) I collected the top 200 movies by theater count (ultimately this is something like every movie Box Office Mojo has on record released to 300 or so theaters back to 1980). These are Box Office Mojo links. I then meticulously collected the Wikipedia, IMDb, and Rotten Tomatoes links for all of these films (around 7500 films in total). The set ultimately included Rotten Tomatoes review / fresh counts, consensus, etc.; IMDb title, year, genres, etc.; Box Office Mojo gross and theater count, among other things. Eventually I would like to develop a model out of this data, but I wanted to first test out some hypothesis testing on it just to see how it performs.

One of the main things I’ve always been curious about Rotten Tomatoes data in particular was how the review number / freshness has changed over time. My initial priors were: (1) There are far more reviews from 2000 onward than prior to 2000, this is just my anecdotal experience; (2) More recently there have been more reviews and in general, and reviewers have been kinder. Again, just anecdotal. So why not test these hypotheses? So first a quick visualization:

RTReviewPlusFresh

So the first plot here shows two things. First, the probability of a fresh review from a rolling 12 month window for movies that have at least one review, and were released to at least 600 theaters (black line, left axis). This is calculated by summing all fresh reviews and dividing by the total number of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes for that 12 month span (so not an average TomatoMeter, although that generally has the same shape, just shifted downwards). Secondly, it shows the total number of fresh (green filled area) / rotten (red filled area) reviews in the 12 month window (right axis).

The main thing that pops out to me is that when you move backwards and forwards in time from around the year 2000 the “freshness” of the reviews seems to increase. But interestingly the first reason I proposed for why this might happen, the number of reviews increasing, isn’t actually true when you move either way. The review count decreases as you move into the past, and moving forwards in time there is an initial increase, but for the most part the total number of reviews has been pretty stable over the last two decades. The plot does seem to suggest that, maybe, reviewers are getting kinder over time though, so what is happening?

My next though was that the trend is a manifestation of “review inequality”. As you move backwards in time the number of films getting after-the-fact reviews placed on Rotten Tomatoes dwindles, and thus an increasing number of reviews end up being submitted for the best films of the year for the most part, thus the reviews will become increasingly fresh. Alternatively, as you move forwards in time more and more of the “small” reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes are added and they will tend to only review a subset of the, mostly good, major releases. So again, as you move forwards the bigger and generally better regarded films will get a larger and larger share of the reviews.

And an easy test of this hypothesis is to look at something like a Gini Coefficient. There are a multitude of complaints about the Gini Coefficient (as outlined in the wikipedia page), but considering it is a general first step in income inequality analysis, I decided to toss a flyer out there and see if the Gini Coefficient could tell us anything about whether my hypothesis holds water:

RTProbPlusGini

And what do you know, the plots are eerily similar. I had figured that this was all a single phenomenon, but the two domains (before somewhere around 2000 and after) do seem to act different. Here is the same plot transformed a bit:

gini2DPlot

This actually looks like there could be a good partition around the year 2000. So where does the data partition? One (likely simplistic) way would be to develop a piece wise linear regression on the Gini plot and point out the spot where the two regressions meet:

giniPiecewiseFit

Now that’s pretty cool. July, 1998, was around the point in time (almost to the month) when Rotten Tomatoes was launched. As a matter of fact, for the analysis below I will treat the partition as specifically the launch month of August, 1998. I think the obvious hypothesis as to why the Gini coefficient correlates positively (and shockingly well) with the review probability is that the higher the number of reviews the higher your TomatoMeter tends to be. So when a high percentage of the reviews are distributed to a small number of movies that will drive the overall freshness of Rotten Tomatoes up. And just to hammer home the point as to why this partitioning is particularly interesting, here is a scatter plot of the Rotten Tomatoes reviews and the TomatoMeter for all of the films since 1980 which were released to 600 or more theaters and have at least one review on Rotten Tomatoes:

RTCompTogether

Super weird. The red squares are formed by grouping the data into 25 groups and taking the mean value. Note that this plot suggests that a movie is more likely to be good if it has around 50 reviews instead of, say, 100. Which without further testing you might think is due to independent movies or some other small-movies-are-better effect. But now let’s split the data by the Rotten Tomatoes launch date and treat movies which were released before (and backfilled) and movies which were released after differently:

RTCompSplit

And now you could come to a different conclusion. Both sides uniformly increase in quality with the number of reviews, it is just that backfilled films tend to have fewer reviews in total. Almost all movies released prior to Rotten Tomatoes launching have less than 100 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, a number which today would represent a fairly small release.

I’ll leave the analysis there (this is already incredibly long), but I found this all very interesting and I think it shows the power of analyses like this. If I were to make a model to try and predict a film’s TomatoMeter using the total reviews as an input, for example, and wanted it to apply backwards in time, this analysis strongly suggests that you either want to (1) treat a movie released before and after Rotten Tomatoes was launched differently, or (2) Build a time dependent factor that can build this partition in for you. Again, I like the analysis because this isn’t a totally obvious result in my opinion, and it gives a simple and easy to follow guideline for eventual use in modelling.

And as for my hypotheses? There are indeed fewer reviews prior to 2000 than after, drastically so. But interestingly if you look at the piece wise regression on the Gini vs. fresh review probability plot above it actually kind of suggests that given the amount of inequality with how the reviews are being allocated, that the films are actually getting worse reviews in the last 2 years than between 2000-2016. Which is something I think I’ll want to explore more in a second installment of this series.

Hopefully I’ll get that analysis up soon, but I’ll probably start looking at building a simple predictive model as well. I will say the data set I’ve collected, while it takes ages to update, has already been incredibly useful in finding and analyzing potential BMT films.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Little Man Preview

Having taken the studio note to heart regarding our script for Rich & Poe, we write a 25-minute climactic sex scene between Rich and a cartoon. This proves the key to wild success as the film opens to a boffo $450 million box office haul with headlines across the world exclaiming “Film features man having sex with cartoon!” We return triumphantly to purchase the Obsidian Dongle back from the beautiful Bosnian warlord and once it’s back in our possession we feel the Dongle’s power. It must be destroyed. We head to our local public library to research how we might accomplish such a feat and stumble across an ancient scroll. It reads: “The fated twins are ones that hold, the power to the Dongle’s fate. Only those most brave and bold, can find the Dongle’s ivory mate.” Of course! Like the Bad Movie Twins themselves, the Dongle is one of a pair. There is a yin to its yang. An Ivory Socket to its Obsidian Dongle! All of a sudden a little old library lady appears “Ah yes, the Ivory Socket. Legend says it is in Thailand hidden within the Royal Library, guarded by the ancient Order of the Librarians. But be careful Bad Movie Twins, only those pure of heart can use the power of the Ivory Socket to destroy the Obsidian Dongle.” With that the librarian is gone. “How convenient, that librarian sure knew a lot about us and what we were looking for … welp, let’s go!” We head to Thailand to case the joint and overhear the night security guard explain how much he would enjoy a parrot friend to keep him company while guarding the relic. Time to dust off our parrot costumes and put these bird-like features to good use, because we’re going undercover. That’s right! We’re watching Little Man, the Wayans brothers’ follow-up to White Chicks about a very tiny thief pretending to be a baby… you had me at “follow-up to White Chicks.” Let’s go!

Little Man (2006) – BMeTric: 80.2

Littleman_BMeT

Littleman_RV

(You know … the rise here shouldn’t surprise me, but it kind of does. This is a notoriously bad film. A film that people should be seeking out and watching because it is bad. And so the terrible sub-4.0 rating should have stuck I think. After 2008 even it has increased by over a full rating though. It is a little strange. Out of the norm for such a terrible film I feel like. 80+ BMeTric though, can’t argue with that.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Diminutive criminal drops a stolen diamond in a woman’s purse and is forced to disguise himself as a baby left on her doorstep to get it back. Idiotic gags involving breastfeeding, anal thermometers, and dirty diapers ensue. A running joke in which “the baby” molests unsuspecting women is particularly offensive. The three Wayans who wrote this admit they were inspired by the Bugs Bunny cartoon “Baby Bugs Bunny” – which is funnier (and shorter). See also the Our Gang comedy “Free Eats.” Rob Schneider appears unbilled.

(I swear to god if this gets anything other that a BOMB by Leonard … oh thank god. The only surprising and interesting thing about this review is how casually he drops the Our Gang reference … might have to check that out now. Ah sheeeet, it’s free online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lh3rqi2NkC4)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9STUnqrE_c

(The music in this film is going to be off the chain. Oh and the number of sexual assault and rape joke in THE TRAILER … this is like Norbit levels of uncomfortable. I know it.)

Directors – Keenen Ivory Wayans – (Known For: Scary Movie; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; Future BMT: Scary Movie 2; A Low Down Dirty Shame; BMT: Little Man; White Chicks; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Little Man in 2007; and Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for White Chicks in 2005; Notes: We’ve seen Scary Movie 2 actually (it just didn’t get a write up), which means we’ve almost completed the Keenen Ivory Wayans BMT slate.)

Writers – Keenen Ivory Wayans (written by) – (Known For: I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; Hollywood Shuffle; Future BMT: Dance Flick; Most Wanted; A Low Down Dirty Shame; BMT: Little Man; White Chicks; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Little Man in 2007; and Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for White Chicks in 2005; Notes: The eldest of the ten Wayans siblings. The Wayans brothers are probably most famous for In Living Color, which now does comedy tours as well.)

Shawn Wayans (written by) – (Known For: Scary Movie; Future BMT: Dance Flick; Scary Movie 4; Scary Movie 2; Scary Movie 3; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; BMT: Little Man; White Chicks; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Little Man in 2007; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2005 for White Chicks; and in 2007 for Little Man; and Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for White Chicks in 2005; Notes: It seems like he’s basically retired (beyond deejaying, see below). As a matter of fact his entire family is semi-retired outside of television it feels like. It is weird to think his nephew Damon Wayans Jr. is probably the most famous Wayans at this point.)

Marlon Wayans (written by) – (Known For: Scary Movie; Future BMT: Dance Flick; Scary Movie 4; Scary Movie 2; Scary Movie 3; Naked; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; BMT: Little Man; Fifty Shades of Black; A Haunted House 2; A Haunted House; White Chicks; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Little Man in 2007; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2005 for White Chicks; and in 2007 for Little Man; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for White Chicks in 2005; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra in 2010; Notes: Most of his recent work is in television and specifically on Netflix. The film Naked and his new series Marlon. I have seen neither.)

Actors – Shawn Wayans – (Known For: Scary Movie; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; Future BMT: Dance Flick; Scary Movie 2; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; BMT: Little Man; White Chicks; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Little Man in 2007; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2005 for White Chicks; and in 2007 for Little Man; and Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for White Chicks in 2005; Notes: Apparently he deejays now … at least all of the most recent news articles about him are about a set he did in Fort Myers.)

Marlon Wayans – (Known For: Requiem for a Dream; Scary Movie; The Heat; The Ladykillers; Above the Rim; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; Future BMT: Dance Flick; Scary Movie 2; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Naked; Mo’ Money; Senseless; The Sixth Man; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; BMT: Norbit; Dungeons & Dragons; Little Man; Fifty Shades of Black; Marmaduke; A Haunted House 2; A Haunted House; White Chicks; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Little Man in 2007; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2005 for White Chicks; and in 2007 for Little Man; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for White Chicks in 2005; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra in 2010; Notes: There isn’t much news about him weirdly, beyond being mentioned as being extremely nice in one article I found.)

Kerry Washington – (Known For: Cars 3; Django Unchained; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Save the Last Dance; Ray; The Last King of Scotland; The Human Stain; Lakeview Terrace; The Details; The Dead Girl; Mother and Child; Life Is Hot in Cracktown; Our Song; Night Catches Us; Future BMT: Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic Four; Bad Company; I Think I Love My Wife; She Hate Me; Against the Ropes; Peeples; Miracle at St. Anna; For Colored Girls; BMT: Little Man; A Thousand Words; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Little Man in 2007; Notes: Much more famous now for the show Scandal. Has a somewhat notable anecdote about being taught to dance by Jennifer Lopez in the Bronx back in the day.)

Budget/Gross – $64 million / Domestic: $58,645,052 (Worldwide: $101,595,121)

(That’s honestly pretty solid, and it is a little weird more of these types of comedies weren’t produced afterwards. Plausibly with Norbit coming out in 2007 and kind of destroying similarly styled comedies for a while the Wayans just couldn’t get things greenlit? Also,these might have been the first things studios cut to save money during the financial crisis as well.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (11/91): Another gimmicky comedy from the Wayans brothers, Little Man comes with the requisite raunchiness, but forgot to bring the laughs.

(I can’t believe this isn’t below 10%. This movie looks atrocious and just as unpleasant as something like Norbit (not to draw such comparisons, it is mainly the flippancy in which serious subjects like spousal abuse and sexual assault are treating the Norbit and, seemingly, Little Man respectively). Reviewer Highlight: It’s a concept, not a movie. – JM Tyree, Time Out.)

Poster – Little Sklog (D)

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(These are the types of posters I hate. Dominant white background and prominent characters (what I call human-colors… which is just a mishmash of skin tones and clothing). However, I have to appreciate the fact that this poster is almost a parody of posters… something that would be seen in Funny People or something to make fun of how stupid and derivative mass-market films can get.)

Tagline(s) – Big things come in small packages. (C-)

(While this is a totally reasonable tagline, it is also something that I would have made up as an example of the most cliched, least interesting tagline possible. So congrats on that I guess.)

Keyword(s) – dumb police; Top Ten by BMeTric: 80.2 Little Man (2006); 55.1 An American Werewolf in Paris (1997); 51.4 Bride of Chucky (1998); 43.8 The Watch (I) (2012); 39.2 That Darn Cat (1997); 36.1 Summer’s Blood (2009); 34.8 Friday After Next (2002); 33.0 P2 (2007); 20.7 Arachnophobia (1990); 20.2 Gruesome (2006);

(Ha! I can’t believe we’ve only seen one “dumb police” film. You can kind of tell the keyword is sparsely populated (with the lowest BMeTric being 20, it should be up in the 40s for something like this), but I’m going to leave it because it is hilarious.)

Movie Stub – Little Man (Start-class) – I liked the plot summary here, short and sweet. I personally think this is much closer to C-class than it seems, and perhaps it hasn’t been reviewed recently? I did add a reference for the DVD release date, so I eliminated one of the public notices requesting changes, so I’ve done my part. C-class here we come! I assume, I’m still not very sure how that all works.

Notes – The scenes with Calvin were filmed twice: once with dwarf actors Linden Porco and Gabriel Pimentel together with the other actors, and once with Marlon Wayans alone wearing a green bodysuit against a green screen. In post-production, Porco’s and Pimental’s heads were replaced with Marlon’s. Their bodies were also painted brown in order to match Marlon’s face. (Yeah … that is the only way they could do that so it makes sense. Fun fact I guess)

Percy’s song Butcher Shop is based on 50 Cent’s song Candy Shop they also use the same beat (WHAT)

Awards

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor of the Decade (Rob Schneider, 2010)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, 2007)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Shawn Wayans, Kerry Washington, Marlon Wayans, 2007)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Rip-Off (2007)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2007)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Rob Schneider, 2007)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Keenen Ivory Wayans, 2007)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Keenen Ivory Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, 2007)

Cool World Recap

Jamie

Writer Jack Deebs is released from prison only to find himself sucked into the world of the comic books he wrote while behind bars. There he is seduced by Holli Would, a sultry cartoon who wants to become human and enter the real world. Can Cool World detective Frank Harris stop her before it’s too late? Find out in… Cool World.

What?! Frank Harris is back from WWII and almost immediately accidentally kills his mom in a motorcycle accident. Nice going, IDIOT. Just as we think we are going into a drama involving Frank dealing with his grief and guilt, a hole randomly opens in space and time and transports him to Cool World thanks to a “doodle” doctor and his invention, the Spike of Power. We jump to present day where Jack Deebs, the incarcerated comic book writer who based his comic book’s world off of Cool World, is about to be released. We see him get pulled into Cool World where he sees Holli Would, a sultry femme fatale who wants to totes bone him (a “noid”) in order to gain power to enter the real world herself. Jack comes and goes from Cool World a couple more times where he learns from Frank that there are rulez that prohibit noids from boning doodles and that he better watch out for Holli… which he promptly ignores and the two have crazy noid-doodle sex. This turns Holli into a real woman and her and Jack flee Cool World for Vegas, baby! Holli immediately spurns Jack to try to find the Spike of Power in order to break down the barrier between Cool World and the real world and gain ultimate power. She kills Frank, gets the Spike, and breaks the barrier only to have a doodle-fied Jack take the Spike and reverse it all. Frank is then reborn in Cool World as a doodle and is super psyched because now he can fuck cartoons to his heart’s content. THE END.

Why?! The motivations that matter the most are that of Holli. She wants power and more than just what a cartoon life gives her. She has heard stories of a doodle who used the Spike of Power to enter the real world and wants to get there in order to get what she thinks she deserves: everything. Having sex with a noid is her way of doing this and she’s been bringing human men into Cool World to try to accomplish that. Jack’s just one of those dopes who thinks he’s created Cool World. When he finds that it’s actually a real place he ignores advice at every turn and just can’t resist having sex with Holli… which is pretty weird.

What?! Can’t recall any significant product placement. There is the mysterious object called the Spike of Power that was used to bridge the gap between Cool World and the real world. Holli Would seems to assume this object will also help her stay in noid form at the end of the film because… well, because it’s a MacGuffin I guess and you don’t really have to explain why it would have the power to do that.

Who?! Frank Sinatra Jr. makes a cameo appearance in a nightclub in Vegas. He was the son of a famous singer, a famous singer in his own right, and a famous victim of kidnapping. His daddio had to fork over a whole bunch of money to get him back. Cool stuff.

Where?! Vegas, baby! Seems like Cool World is somehow inexorably linked to Vegas as both Frank and Jack come from there. Perhaps it’s some meditation on Vegas as a cartoon world created by those who dreamt it up? Could have been an A- maybe if that was the case, but hard to know for sure. B+.

When?! We are given an intertitle setting us in 1992 for the main thrust of the film. While not exact it is still an intertitle so that pushes it to a B-.

What a strange, terrible film. I can understand the ambition and artistry here. The creator of this was obviously very much an artist in animation. The way that the doodles manically interact with each other and ghostly, half-drawn faces float around the world seems to indicate that he thought long and hard about what a world of cartoons would be and took it to the logical dark and twisted conclusion. But narratively this is a mess and just not worth watching. He even dropped the ball when it came to having real people interact with the cartoon and it looks like garbage. So I can’t even say that you could watch it for only the visual pleasure. Just an odd, weird thing that exists that maybe you can find aspects to appreciate (maybe?). Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Not-very-cool world is more like it, amirite? What if you could animate things and had a ton of cocaine? Let’s find out!

The Good – Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is a charming wonderful film, and this makes you appreciate the patience and skill it took the animators, director, and Bob Hoskins to make that film work. And then some jabronis made this … go figure.

P’s View on the Preview – The only thing this film had going for it was that it seemed like it could try and be a more mature (even r-rated) version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Once you read the preview though you realize the insane producer and Kim Basinger basically hijacked that vision, kicked the shit out of the director, and tried to force what was a fine (if misguided) idea into a PG box. To see them fail miserably and produce a steaming pile of shit was the only thing of interest here.

The Bad – This is a steaming pile of shit. The movie is scattershot and off from the get go. None of the acting or writing is good. The set design and direction is just … it takes the idea from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and basically did it on the cheap with cheap looking hand painted cutouts. Cool World isn’t fleshed out and instead comes across as merely a riff on the hard boiled detective cliche more than anything else. It is a marvel, but an unpleasant one, and one that never begs for a rewatch or showing anyone. It exists only to be put on worst of lists and to be compared to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Just terrible.

Get Yo Rant On – Cool World. Can anyone tell me what happens in Cool World? Who anyone is, what the rules are, the geography, the culture. They intentionally divide the Noids (humans) from the Doodles (cartoons), which basically hamstrings the entire thing as well, because the Doodle culture is not an amalgamation of human cultures of any kind, there is no riff on the oddity whereby age and mortality contrast with the humans that inhabit the same world. What was even the idea?! What did this movie have going for it that they would even consider making it?! Out of all of the films I wish I could read up on the background for this is either the most or least interesting one. Either there is a crazy story of how this was made … or the answer is simply “cocaine, hubris, and a dash of genuine insane people with power”.

Welcome to Earf – I admit, I had to look up Kimmy B’s filmography to remind myself. Kim Basinger is in both Cool World and Grudge Match with Sylvester Stallone, who was in Zookeeper with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

The BMT – This will live on a bit because of the obvious correlation to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. I would never ever recommend this to anyone to watch ever though. It is boring and unpleasant. So there isn’t much there. To put in on a BMeTric like scale I would give it a 35, just a shade below where you’d want to be before recommending it to someone I feel like.

StreetCreditReport.com – The movie is so lame people write entire articles about it these days. To say the least it has some serious cred and had been on our radar for years (and is on the Calendar, which holds it own sort of cache). I found it difficult to find actual lists from the time, but retrospectives seem to be a bit more kind to it at this point. Whatever, this movie is hot garbage.

And that’s it. I wish I had watched Who Framed Roger Rabbit? for this recap, but I didn’t. But that’s just because that movie is awesome. This movie is just trash, so let’s forget about it.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

Cool World Quiz

Are you having one of those days where you just got out of prison, but you keep on getting transported to an alternative dimension populated by cartoons which you thought had come from your mind? Wait … what?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film Brad Pitt is returning from where, and when does this sequence take place?

2) How is Brad Pitt’s character transported to Cool World (the parallel dimension populated by Doodles) in the first place?

3) During the course of the film Brad Pitt has a partner named Nails, an anthropomorphic spider. At one point Nails is semi-kinda-not-really killed? What is one way to kill a Doodle apparently?

4) In the end of the film Brad Pitt is killed after being shoved off of a Las Vegas casino by Holli Would. But, what is this? He lives! Why didn’t Brad Pitt ultimately die?

5) In the beginning of the film Gabriel Byrne is in prison … what was his crime?

Answers