Hall of Fame Speech #25: Dungeons & Dragons

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. While Dungeons & Dragons isn’t Here on Earth, it is a gritty buddy cop film about Det. Dungeons, a laced up wall street type cop, who gets teamed up with Det. Dragons, a rogue scofflaw who doesn’t play by the rulezzz…. Alright, so I don’t remember much from this film, but trust me it’s great. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Dungeons & Dragons

Full disclosure, Dungeons & Dragons barely made the HoF. In fact I initially watched Stone Cold starring Brian Bosworth for this spot and finding myself more disturbed than thrilled, I turned to Dungeons & Dragons and my god… what a tragic mistake it would have been if this film had not made it. This isn’t just an HoF film, it is clearly one of the best films we’ve ever watched for BMT. It’s a HoF of HoF. No moment is not hilarious and it falls apart so profoundly by the end that it’s almost indescribable. I actually came very close to watching it again this weekend. I’m saying this right now: I will own this film. In some form I must be able to watch parts of this film at the push of a button. The only mystery left is how it’s possible I was ever on the fence about it.

It has been five years since we watched the film. But what did I remember?

  • Nothing! Alright, not nothing, but close to it. It’s the only explanation for why my memory of it was only great instead of amazing when we were considering nominees for this class.
  • One aspect I did remember was the monosklogs in the middle. At the time of first viewing we were all about dem sweet monosklogs and this does give you a doozy as a couple of the younger actors in the cast go back and forth yelling at each other on the verge of tears. It’s Aaaactingggg! And I loved it.
  • I vaguely remembered the ending taking place on a computer generated tower and it being real dumb. I’d say my memory was accurate except it totally undersells the climax of the film.
  • Marlon Wayans dies and he has a funny death scene and remember during my first viewing being like “that’s weird, you’d think of all the people they’d want to keep around for a potential franchise it would have been him” and then I thought how funny it would be if they just brought him back to life at the end and he was like “what up?”… and then it happens.

So I guess the point of my introduction is that nothing that I remembered about the film is actually the most important. I didn’t really remember what ended up being my favorite aspects of the rewatch. This could be a good sign or a bad sign. On the good side it means that there was so much HoF goodness in this film that I forgot more than I remembered and it still made the HoF. On the bad side it tells you the faults of memory. Could there be other HoF gems we are overlooking? Maybe, and so that’s why we are rewatching every BMT film starting today… JK (or am I?). But if I had to choose a favorite from the things I did remember it would be the monosklog as that at least still was something beautiful to behold. But, boy… this film had a lot to offer in the many things that I somehow forgot.

The film can be summed up in this way: everything that comes before the climax of the film and the climax of the film. Before the climax of the film I was a totally different person. I was a person that appreciated the earnest monosklogging of our young heroes. I enjoyed Wayans joking around with stupid looking props and Bruce Payne’s inexplicable silver lipstick. I enjoyed the tragic death of Wayans’ character even though I knew they would just bring him back in the same old stupid twist ending that I remembered from the first viewing. I really really enjoyed the double MacGuffin of the Rod of Savrille and the Eye of the Dragon (and no I didn’t just make that up). 

In fact, I think that’s the one pre-climax thing I would put a cut above the rest: the MacGuffin game is on point. The Rod of Savrille… that shit’s dumb. Like real dumb. Almost to the point of not believing that they didn’t know how dumb it was. And the rod even looks dumb. It’s perfect. A perfect MacGuffin. And all that is hall of fame worthy. It is amazing and I laughed and cried (from laughing so much) and learned and lived and loved again. But it pales in comparison to the thunder that is brought in the climax. The climax is one of the best twenty minutes in the history of BMT.

Deep breath. I get dizzy just remembering the climax of the film. Let me set the stage. A large number of golden dragons are attacking Jeremy Irons as he screams in rage about not having the Rod of Savrille (deep breath). The narrative structure of the film is breaking down along with the visual effects. So while the plot is becoming harder to follow, the world starts to melt into a series of shapes and colors. Characters literally spring through wormholes out of nowhere, likely to help edit together disparate scenes in a last ditch effort to get to the end of the film. The queen tells her dragons to stop fighting only to be seen seconds later riding one into battle. Nothing makes sense and Jeremy Irons continues to scream, this time in glee cause he’s now clutching the Rod of Savrille (deep breath). More characters jump through wormholes and there is lightning and dragons and shapes and colors and Jeremy Irons screaming, this time in terror as the Rod of Savrille is smashed and he’s eaten by a dragon. It is a beautiful expressionistic painting of an ending. It’s not about impressions of a physical world but rather the emotional experience of BMT. 

So in conclusion, while I think it’s easy to say that Dungeons & Dragons fits the all important high fantasy/hard scifi aspect of reach-for-the-stars disaster genre of BMT, home to In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, After Earth, A Sound of Thunder and Battlefield Earth, it’s so much more than just that. It’s almost a combination of all of those films. We have Jeremy Irons one-upping Ray Liotta as he stares through the screen at us, laughing maniacally at both his puny adversaries and our life choices. We have young actors channeling Jaden Smith with all their acting might. We have a man with silver lipstick who looks no less ridiculous than dreadlocked John Travolta. And finally we have a climax worthy of A Sound of Thunder. One that falls apart both visually and narratively to the point where I’m surprised it’s considered a completed film.

So Dungeons & Dragons, I’m sorry we came so close to the ultimate insult of not including you in the HoF in the first place. You are a worthy member of a stellar class that will bring us joy for years to come. In particular me… cause I will own this film… and I’ll watch it… a lot. Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Dungeons & Dragons.

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Dungeons & Dragons Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. But first it has to defeat Stone Cold in a head to head battle for the final spot! The Boz versus Jeremy Irons, the battle you’ve all been waiting for. Enjoy!

Dungeons & Dragons (2000) – BMeTric: 85.0; Notability: 27 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 0.4%; Notability: top 62.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 4.0% Higher BMeT: Battlefield Earth; Higher Notability: Gone in Sixty Seconds, Little Nicky, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Coyote Ugly, Mission to Mars, Ready to Rumble, Lost Souls, 102 Dalmatians, Rules of Engagement, Bless the Child, Proof of Life, Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Reindeer Games, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Scream 3, Supernova, Hollow Man, Isn’t She Great, Dude, Where’s My Car?, Final Destination, and 42 more; Lower RT: The in Crowd, Battlefield Earth, Bless the Child, Down to You, Lost Souls, Turn It Up, Urban Legends: Final Cut, The Skulls; Notes: Hooooooooooooo doggy, that is some impressive stuff. I’m actually most surprised by the notability bit. You’d think a CGI-heavy high fantasy story would necessarily have a large number of notable people in it, but apparently that is not the case. Being mentioned in the same breath as Battlefield Earth is always a good thing.

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – “Dungeons & Dragons” looks like they threw away the game and photographed the box it came in. It’s an amusing movie to look at, in its own odd way, but close your eyes and the dialogue sounds like an overwrought junior high school play. The movie tells the story of a power struggle in the mythical kingdom of Izmer, where a populist empress wants power for the common man but an elitist member of the ruling caste plans a coup. High marks for anyone who can explain the role that dragons play in the Izmerian ecology.

(Boom. Roasted. I think it is probably impossible for someone to seriously watch this film and go “meh good enough”. You either have to ironically enjoy it, or not enjoy it. There is no other possibility.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efSq9FF1r2Q/

(The first 20 seconds of this trailer is just nonsense. And the blue lipstick on the bad guy!! I love this film. It is just so funny. Jeremy Irons is just screaming in the middle, the protagonist drops to his knees and screams “Nooooooooooooooo!”)

Directors – Courtney Solomon – (BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Getaway; An American Haunting; Notes: Son of Fran Solomon, a maybe big producer from the 80s. It might explain how he bought the rights to D&D when he was 19, had a production company in his early 20s, and ended up directing the D&D movie when he was 29.)

Writers – Topper Lilien (written by) – (Known For: Low Down; Where the Money Is; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: He was oddly in Coneheads in a bit part. If I were to guess he is a lifelong screenwriter who was asked to do substantial rewrites or an initial treatment by the studio they were working for.)

Carroll Cartwright (written by) – (Known For: What Maisie Knew; Where the Money Is; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: Possibly was a writing partner with Lilien around 2000 as they both wrote Where the Money Is as well. Odd that neither have very many credits and very little information on IMDb.)

E. Gary Gygax (game) (uncredited) – (BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: D&D started as an extension of table top war simulators which have existed since the 1800s (used by European militaries primarily in order to practice tactics). It was one of the first, and amazingly is still likely the most popular game of its kind. And the popularity is only growing with the D&D play podcasts that now exist (like The Adventure Zone).)

Actors – Justin Whalin – (Known For: The Dead Pool; Serial Mom; Future BMT: Child’s Play 3; Super Capers: The Origins of Ed and the Missing Bullion; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: Won a Daytime Emmy for a children’s special in 1994. Is a certified scuba diver and seemed to have retired from acting in 2009.)

Jeremy Irons – (Known For: Red Sparrow; The Lion King; Lolita; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; High-Rise; Margin Call; Stealing Beauty; Inland Empire; The Mission; Beautiful Creatures; Their Finest; Dead Ringers; Damage; The Man Who Knew Infinity; Race; Casanova; Appaloosa; Reversal of Fortune; The Merchant of Venice; The French Lieutenant’s Woman; Future BMT: The Pink Panther 2; The Time Machine; Justice League; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; The Man in the Iron Mask; La corrispondenza; Better Start Running; The House of the Spirits; An Actor Prepares; The Words; Kingdom of Heaven; Love, Weddings & Other Disasters; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Eragon; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Won the lead actor Oscar in 1991 for Reversal of Fortune. His voice might be what he’s most famous for as he played Scar in The Lion King.)

Zoe McLellan – (Known For: Mr. Holland’s Opus; Imaginary Crimes; Future BMT: Inventing the Abbotts; One Fall; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: Starred in NCIS: New Orleans in their early seasons, 20 episodes of Designated Survivor, and a very good two-part episode of Star Trek: Voyager back in the day.)

Budget/Gross – $45,000,000 / Domestic: $15,391,970 (Worldwide: $33,978,694)

(Yeah, that isn’t what you want. This budget makes a bit more sense, given some of the big name actors and the money they must have spent on CGI (in 2000 no less). They were obviously hoping for that big fantasy money.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (9/92): Critics say this movie has a cheap look and is badly directed. Despite the presence of talented actors, the performances are really bad, and additionally, some people are offended at Marlon Wayans’ character, calling it a racist throwback to black stereotypes.

(Ooooof, officially below 10%. I’m surprised it isn’t more like 4%, but it seems that there was more appreciation for the spectacle than I expected. Reviewer Highlight: The average episode of Xena or Hercules offers a more compelling and imaginative photoplay. – Scott Foundas, Variety)

Poster – Faces & Sepia Tones

(As busy as this might seem I think that is standard for high fantasy and sci-fi (think of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars as examples). The only real complaint is the color scheme is just really boring. I would imagine the idea is that in the eventual series, I would guess they would color each a distinct tone, they just never go to do it. B. Love the font.)

Tagline(s) – This is no game. (B+)

(There isn’t anything else to be done. This had to be the tagline. It is short and sweet, goes to the roots, lays out the stakes. Deduction only because of how inevitable it feels.)

Keyword – dragon

Top 10: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), The New Mutants (2020), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Dolittle (2020), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Inside Out (2015), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Future BMT: 61.9 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 54.0 Balls of Fury (2007), 53.9 The New Mutants (2020), 53.2 The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990), 50.6 Your Highness (2011), 47.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie (2004), 40.1 The King and I (1999), 33.3 Just Visiting (2001), 27.4 47 Ronin (2013), 26.9 Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016);

BMT: Dolittle (2020), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), The Last Airbender (2010), Jupiter Ascending (2015), Hellboy (2019), Sucker Punch (2011), Gods of Egypt (2016), Eragon (2006), Dragonball Evolution (2009), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), The Golden Child (1986), Seventh Son (2014), Dungeons & Dragons (2000), Dragon Wars (2007)

(Really ahead of its time on “hey we can actually make dragons with CGI now kind of” films. And oh boy am I excited to watch the entire Mummy series eventually.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 21) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jeremy Irons is No. 2 billed in Dungeons & Dragons and No. 3 billed in Assassin’s Creed, which also stars Brendan Gleeson (No. 4 billed) who is in Turbulence (No. 3 billed), which also stars Ray Liotta (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 3 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 3 + 4 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 1 = 21. If we were to watch Passenger 57, Murder at 1600, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – When asked why he did this film, Jeremy Irons replied, “Are you kidding? I’d just bought a castle, I had to pay for it somehow!” (I love it when actors go and get their money, it is great)

Director Courtney Solomon’s first film. He acquired the exclusive rights from TSR (Tactical Studies Rules) in 1990, when he was 19. It took 10 years to raise the funds to make the film. (Jeez, is he involved in the new one then? Yup, he’s a producer on the D&D television show that is coming up.)

Courtney Solomon only intended to produce the film originally. However, TSR head Lorraine Williams vetoed every one of his choices (one of which was Francis Ford Coppola) and forced Solomon to direct the film since he held the rights.

The bones visible in Profion’s lair are real. These scenes were filmed in Sedlec Ossuary, a small chapel in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic. It is decorated with the bones of people who were buried in the surrounding cemetery, but had to be moved to make room for the chapel and for new burials.

Richard O’Brien parodies his own role from The Crystal Maze (1990) (TV Series). (I might have to check this out)

The film is not based on the classic 1980s cartoon of the same name, but it is based on the same source material. (Obviously, but the cartoon is actually pretty fun)

Based on the 1974 tabletop RPG game by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc.

Stone Cold Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. But wait, this is going in the Hall of Fame? Maybe, it’s going head to head with another film for the final spot in this year’s class. That preview will follow. Enjoy!

Stone Cold (1991) – BMeTric: 21.8; Notability: 35 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 27.6%; Notability: top 31.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 21.1% Higher BMeT: Cool as Ice, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Problem Child 2, Child’s Play 3, Suburban Commando, Nothing But Trouble, Mannequin: On the Move, Kickboxer 2: The Road Back, King Ralph, Double Impact, Zandalee, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, Hudson Hawk, V.I. Warshawski, House Party 2, The Butcher’s Wife, Curly Sue, Scenes from a Mall, Drop Dead Fred, Ernest Scared Stupid, and 21 more; Higher Notability: Hook, Hudson Hawk, Mobsters, Switch, Flight of the Intruder, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Life Stinks, The Five Heartbeats, Necessary Roughness, He Said, She Said, The Marrying Man, Oscar, Out for Justice, Rock-A-Doodle, Billy Bathgate, Teen Agent, Driving Me Crazy, F/X2, Another You, King Ralph, and 12 more; Lower RT: Nothing But Trouble, Cool as Ice, Mobsters, Problem Child 2, Drop Dead Fred, Pure Luck, The Marrying Man, Strictly Business, Another You, Oscar, The Hitman, Mannequin: On the Move, Curly Sue, Driving Me Crazy, One Good Cop, Suburban Commando, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, Ernest Scared Stupid, Life Stinks, Eve of Destruction and 11 more; Notes: It jumping to 6.0 is pretty weird. Overall, kind of middling on all counts, but that I think it is inevitable with smaller films from the 80s and early 90s. And this … is a small film.

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Football’s “Boz” infiltrates a gang of Mississippi bikers whose extortion antics have caught the attention of both the Feds and the Mob. Only some amazing stunts save this silliness from the BOMB scrap heap. Written and executive produced by Walter Doniger, who once directed Mantle and Maris in Safe at Home!

(Good to hear about the stunts. Maybe a bit foreboding that they don’t specifically call out the Boz for his acting. It means they either didn’t give him enough to do to embarass himself, or he is just so blandly boring it wasn’t notable.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bNfag1hosI/

(Oh my God … how is this a real trailer? It is the most 90s and worst thing I’ve ever seen. This is for a widely released film, correct? Not for a straight-to-DVD Billy Drago film? Absurd.)

Directors – Craig R. Baxley – (Future BMT: Action Jackson; Dark Angel; BMT: Stone Cold; Notes: A legendary stunt coordinator, and part of the three generation Baxley stunt coordinator family. His grandson is a stunt performer, so it is very possible they will be a four generation stunt family, coordinating stunts for over 70 years.)

Writers – Walter Doniger (written by) – (BMT: Stone Cold; Notes: Nominated for a Golden Globe in 1949 for Rope of Sand. Worked for Universal in the 40s and made U.S. Army films during the war. Directed 173 episodes of Peyton Place.)

Actors – Brian Bosworth – (Known For: What Men Want; Three Kings; Future BMT: The Longest Yard; Do You Believe?; BMT: Stone Cold; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Stone Cold in 1992; Notes: Was a huge college football star and is considered to be somewhat of a bust in the NFL playing for Seattle. Maybe most notable for being trucked by Bo Jackson in a high profile game.)

Lance Henriksen – (Known For: Aliens; The Terminator; The Quick and the Dead; Falling; Jennifer’s Body; Dog Day Afternoon; Alien³; Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Network; Tarzan; The Right Stuff; Near Dark; Hard Target; Dead Man; Powder; Mom and Dad; Jagged Edge; Appaloosa; Pumpkinhead; Omen II: Damien; Future BMT: Piranha Part Two: The Spawning; When a Stranger Calls; Harbinger Down; Scream 3; House; House III: The Horror Show; Man’s Best Friend; Phantom; Jennifer Eight; Nightmares; The Slammin’ Salmon; Excessive Force; The Next Man; Modigliani; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Color of Night; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; Stone Cold; Notes: Just saw him in X-Files, as he plays Frank Black in the spin-off series Millenium (for which he was nominated for three Golden Globes).)

William Forsythe – (Known For: Once Upon a Time in America; The Rock; Dick Tracy; Cold Pursuit; Raising Arizona; The Devil’s Rejects; American Me; Extreme Prejudice; The Substitute; Cloak & Dagger; City by the Sea; Patty Hearst; Hell’s Kitchen; Weeds; The Waterdance; The Hollow; Palookaville; Lethal Vengeance; Future BMT: Freedomland; Virtuosity; Hard Ca$h; Halloween; Awake; Career Opportunities; Out for Justice; Blue Streak; The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag; Loosies; War on the Range; Dead Bang; Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead; The L.A. Riot Spectacular; Run with the Hunted; BMT: Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; Firestorm; 88 Minutes; Stone Cold; Notes: Firestorm also stars an NFL player, Howie Long. You probably know him from John Doe, the Fox series starring Dominic Purcell … no, you don’t remember that series? 10PM on Fridays, absolutely killer time slot, right after Firefly.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $9,151,887 (Worldwide: $9,151,887)

(Ooof, that budget can’t be right though can it? Unless the Boz was getting paid a ton. No matter how you cut it I don’t think $10 million is what they were hoping for as a return.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 33% (3/9)

(Another consensus for me: The Boz is serviceable in a rote actioner which ends up being too dumb to be fun. Reviewer Highlight: Brian Bosworth’s acting debut in Stone Cold carries about the same wallop The Boz did in the late stages of his very brief career in professional football. – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – Frosted Tips

(First, I’ll say I like the custom font and I like the color scheme. Maybe a bit on the nose with stone/cold = blue, but I still think it works. It is advertising the film in the only way it knows how: The Boz, front and center, something about bikes. The only odd bit is the tagline is soooo small and just floating in the sky, and it looks a bit cheap. B+.)

Tagline(s) – A cop who enforces his own brand of justice. (C+)

(Generic. That describes about 100 films since the early 80s unfortunately. I don’t think it is necessarily bad, it just doesn’t do anything to add to the film itself, so it gets a medium grade.)

Keyword – undercover cop

Top 10: The Departed (2006), Bad Boys for Life (2020), Batman Begins (2005), Baby Driver (2017), BlacKkKlansman (2018), Scarface (1983), Point Break (1991), The Fast and the Furious (2001), American Gangster (2007), Sin City (2005)

Future BMT: 58.7 The Mod Squad (1999), 49.1 Showtime (2002), 46.7 Cop Out (2010), 44.7 Tomcats (2001), 42.1 Sleepless (2017), 41.6 Boiling Point (1993), 40.7 Brick Mansions (2014), 38.8 Action Jackson (1988), 37.1 Fled (1996), 36.9 Bulletproof (1996);

BMT: Fast & Furious (2009), Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), Gangster Squad (2013), Ride Along (2014), Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), Exit to Eden (1994), Ride Along 2 (2016), Stone Cold (1991), Exit Wounds (2001), No Mercy (1986)

(I have to say, not super into most of the films available with this keyword. Action Jackson is maybe notable for having the same director as this film though. He certainly had a type.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: William Forsythe is No. 3 billed in Stone Cold and No. 5 billed in 88 Minutes, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 5 + 3 + 1 = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Michael Douglas was executive producer of the film but received no credit, according to his wishes.

Brian Bosworth has said in an interview that as a keen biker, he had previously built the bike that his character rides in the film and suggested that it be used instead, since he was more comfortable with it.

Lance Henriksen wrote his own lines for every scene.

In a Q&A with the audience after a special screening of the film in Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse in 2014, Brian Bosworth talked about how original director Bruce Malmuth was fired due to some “personal issues that he couldn’t control which poured out on set”, and his firing caused all the original backstory for Bosworth’s character to be removed and changed after Craig R. Baxley was hired to direct. About four weeks was spent filming scenes with Bosworth’s character and his family (wife, child and sister), which in the end were completely axed out after $4 million was spent shooting them.

The meal Brian Bosworth makes for his Nile monitor (the big lizard) is not at all suitable for that animal.

Shooting began June 4, 1990. Craig R. Baxley replaced Bruce Malmuth as director in late June 1990. Production was halted due to an IATSE dispute, resulting in the departure of director of photography John R. Leonetti and other IATSE members of the crew. Completed shooting September 26, 1990. (IASTE = International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees)

Chains states, “God forgives, The Brotherhood doesn’t.” This is based on the slogan of The Outlaws Motorcycle Club, an actual outlaw motorcycle club.

The United States Military Academy’s Army football team had adopted GFBD as a team slogan for many years, players having first heard it in this film. The Academy officially removed the slogan in 2019 after learning that the phrase originated with the Aryan Brotherhood.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brian Bosworth, 1992)

Confessions of a Shopaholic Recap

Jamie

Rebecca Bloomwood has a problem. She’s deep in debt and she just got a job at a financial magazine. The irony! While doling out advice and trying to overcome her crippling shopping obsession, she’s also trying to evade her debt collector. Can she avoid public embarrassment (and perhaps get the guy) before it’s too late? Find out in… Confessions of a Shopaholic.

How?! Rebecca Bloomwood has big dreams. She wants a place in the world of fashion, writing for the top magazine Alette. Unfortunately she’s stuck at a gardening magazine while blowing all her money (and more) on the latest trends (that honestly and objectively look hideous). When she fails to get an interview at Alette she settles for an interview at the financial magazine Successful Saving helmed by Luke Brandon. She blows the interview and while drinking to forget that (and her crippling debt) she writes two letters: one to Alette telling everything she wished she could, and a second to Successful Saving raking them over the coals. Unfortunately in her drunken stupor she mixes up the letters! Uh oh! Or not so ‘uh oh’ as her spunk gets her a job at Successful Saving after all. Despite the irony of her position, Rebecca immediately charms everyone around her and starts churning out a wildly successful column tying sensible financing to the financial troubles she’s experiencing under the pseudonym The Girl in the Green Scarf. Soon she’s falling for her boss, booking appearances on TV, and trying everything to avoid her debt collector. Unfortunately on her big TV interview day disaster strikes and her debt collector is in the audience. The fallout is immense as not only does she lose her job, but her boss is also forced out. Realizing that her shopaholic tendencies have ruined all the relationships around her (including the one with her best friend), Rebecca declines a job offer from Alette to work on herself. Through Shopaholics Anonymous she organizes an auction of all her clothes (including her signature scart) and pays off her debt. Rebecca mends her relationships and finally runs into Luke, who reveals that he in fact bought her scarf and that he wants her to work with him at his new company. They then smooch a bunch probably. THE END.

Why?! Love, duh. Actually I take that back. This film is probably one of the least love-centric rom coms I can remember. Luke is very much a side character and they barely kiss before her addiction derails things. The film is much more interested in exploring the root of her addiction than love… at least on the surface. So I guess the motivation is, uh, shopping.

Who?! Funny cameo in this one as one of the members of Shopaholics Anonymous is John Salley. Yes, 4-time NBA champion and 0-time all-star John Salley. Not nearly his only BMT film, either as he also appeared in the film Eddie and Bad Boys II. I learned from wiki that he was friends with Eddie Murphy and used to do some stand up when he was on the Pistons. He was funny in this.

What?! Uhhhhhhhh, I mean, the film is a giant advertisement. It would actually be hard to list anything of particular significance as so many brands were spotlighted that they kinda washed each other out. The only thing I’ll reiterate is that I thought that a fair number of Fisher’s outfits were objectively terrible to the point where I wondered if the point was that she would realize that she was meant to be a financial writer rather than a fashion writer.

Where?! Big time NYC film, which is interesting as it’s not till the second book that the Shopaholic series went to America (and even then, just for that entry). A little weird they changed the setting and made Rebecca America, but whatever. Sprinkled in a little Miami too for good measure. A-. Could have been London.

When?! Another film, another purposeful dodging of the temporal setting. There are multiple parts where they could easily have dropped a “Sale of the Century, March 2nd” in there but they didn’t. Clearly this took place in winter and into the early Spring just given the general attire and mood of NYC. But never specified. D.

This is a hard film to review. On the one hand it’s a generic rom com that has some charming actors, some nice to look at locales, and literally no surprises (if you’re into that kind of thing). On the other hand, it takes everything good about the book and throws it in the trash in favor of shameless and mostly off-putting consumerism. I guess as far as a straightforward rom com my biggest gripe is the lack of love. There doesn’t seem to be much building of the Isla Fisher/Hugh Dancy love connection and can we get more than just a very PG-rated smooch? As far as the consumerism goes, I think this suffers mostly in trying to fit a not-very-generic rom com book into a generic rom com package. The idea of the book is kinda that Rebecca is actually very qualified for financial writing because she sees through all the lies that everyone is fed by the financial institutions because she herself has been duped into debt by them over and over. That’s a very prominent part of the book, her snide remarks as she listens to financial PR campaigns. They threw that all away in favor of someone who seemingly just bumbles and stumbles her way to success by mostly looking at her shopping bags and being like “credit cards are like… empty shopping bags…” and people are like ‘Brilliant!’ That being said, I also didn’t like the book very much. Rebecca is a giant liar in the book and it’s hard to take at times as she just keeps lying and lying and lying. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! A film about rampant consumerism literally moments after the financial collapse? What is this, Sex and the City 3?! Kind of, yeah. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I swear to god I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how to not do this film. It just is one of those films I didn’t really have an interest in. I figured it would be boring, and if not boring it would just be Sex and the City, and if not that it would be like … a bad adaptation of the book or something. Hugh Dancy was the only thing that gave me hope, he tends to be in weird secretly-good BMT films like the weirdo animated Oz film where he was a nutcracker. What were my expectations? An unfunny film that mostly people hated because of the rampant consumerism which was unbecoming in 2009.

The Good – Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy are very charming and play their roles well. Actually, all of the actors do a serviceable job in the film. Outside of the context of the financial collapse the consumerism is probably not quite so disgusting. Really good NYC film with a very out of place excursion to Miami. Very much felt like they left NYC solely because that’s what Hollywood films are supposed to do. Best Bit: Isla Fisher.

The Bad – Much like Sex and the City the comsumerism is really gross feeling in 2020, and the film isn’t funny. The humor is actually mostly like The Office, which I guess makes sense considering this came out in the middle of its most popular run, but the awkwardness is a bit of a shock watching in 2020. The main character is also quite unappealing. If she was just a shopaholic that would be okay, that’s something she needs to learn to get over, good for her. But she’s also a compulsive liar, and the lies are what actually gets her in trouble. Why anyone would ever believe a word she says is beyond me. Fatal Flaw: Dated humor.

The BMT – Well, I don’t think I’ll ever think of this film again. Probably, the main issue is the film is kind of okay? I didn’t mind it. Isla Fisher saved it to a large degree. I can’t imagine a single situation in which I would recommend anyone watch this film … huh, usually at the very least people could marvel at a bad-BMT film for its blandness, but this is just not really much of a film if you don’t care for the book series. Did it meet my expectations? Kind of, I do think that the rampant consumerism is why the film got terrible reviews. It would get terrible reviews today as well though for its dated awkward humor, so nothing has changed for it unfortunately.

Roast-radamus – This might actually be the greatest Product Placement (What?) in the history of BMT. Is “all fashion brands” a valid product placement? Do you think any of them had to pay for their placement? Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for New York City. I won’t count Miami, but that is one of the worst uses of a city in a film I’ve ever seen. And a small Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that Dancy was both bidders for the green scarf at the end. Like why both? Why not outbid the actual people there? Whatever. Closest to Good in my opinion with some distance from the financial collapse.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – This is obviously prime for a Netflix streaming remake. It is already a book series so you have built in stories for multiple seasons. From what I can tell the movie isn’t super faithful to the book, so you have an opportunity to draw in fans there as well. And you move it to London (with Rebecca still being from the US) and you have some real Emily in Paris energy going. I can see it now, a woman, trying to escape her financial obligations in the US, moves to the UK to try and turn her life around. Initially lying about her experience and her financial situation (to employers and the UK government alike), the first series would basically be like the movie except you replace the debt collector with a government employee trying to unravel Rebecca’s web of visa application lies! I would actually probably watch that.

You Just Got Schooled – Final week for the suspension of You Just Got Schooled for the Hall of Fame rewatches. This week I rewatched both Endless Love films. Those previews and the Endless Love (2014) induction are all now live. Stay tuned as this section returns next week.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Confessions of a Shopaholic Quiz

Oh boy, I am in some serious debt. So serious in fact that to even bear to look at my bills I had to get mega-drunk and now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Confessions of a Shopaholic?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) At the beginning of the film they go through Rebecca Bloomwood’s debts. Approximately how much does she owe?

2) What magazine does Rebecca originally work for? And what magazine does she go to work for and why?

3) Where does Rebecca say she is from (and is fluent in the language of) multiple times during the course of the film and why?

4) Throughout the film Rebecca is trying to avoid Derek Smeath, a debt collector. Who does she tell people he is?

5) How much does Luke buy the green scarf for at the end of the film? 

Bonus Question: How long does it say that Luke’s business, Brandon Communications, last?

Answers

Confessions of a Shopaholic Preview

With bated breath Jamie and Patrick slowly turn to page 473 in the book. This could be the key to confronting their cyborg doppelgangers and saving Rich and Poe. They lean in close to read the all important words: “Fuck you, dweebs.” Gah! The only words on the page and they leave them just where they started. “I don’t get it,” Jamie says slowly, “what’s so important about calling us a couple of dweebs? Cause we aren’t… we aren’t dweebs.” Patrick assures him they aren’t and looks past page 473 for any clue. The half-cyborg terminator has finished bible class for the day and is walking with Mary out of the church.

“Oh, Cyborg, you’re so handsome and cool,” sighs Mary, “We just need to find you a nice lady to keep your mind off all those dweebs that need crushing.” The half-cyborg shakes his head, embarrassed. No woman would like a ¾ man like him… could she? He dares to dream. He imagines meeting a sweet gal who shares many of his passions. They crush dweebs together, but also crush cans of Diet Crush during their down time. She would be a rising star at the salt mines while he wrangled bounties in the Pit Station of Zaal. They would raise a couple of ⅜ boys and… sigh… but no. “Beep boop clothes,” he says sadly motioning towards his ratty battle armor. Mary laughs, “You know what? I’ll set up a hot date with Rachel down at the Pretzel Stand and then I’ll help you improve your style. And you know what that means.” Cyborg smiles, “beep boop shopping.”

Shopping? What does that help? “That’s funny,” says Jamie, “I used to know a Rachel down at the Pretzel Stand.” Suddenly Patrick knows exactly what to do. That’s right! We’re watching Confessions of a Shopaholic. You may be wondering why we are doing that. Well, against all odds it was the only BMT qualifying film we could find to connect back to The Skulls in the Chain Reaction. So congrats. Let’s get shopping. Let’s go!

Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009) – BMeTric: 36.2; Notability: 56 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 29.6%; Notability: top 12.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 22.2% Higher BMeT: Dragonball Evolution, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, S. Darko, Stan Helsing, Dance Flick, Year One, The Unborn, All About Steve, Halloween II, Bitch Slap, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Obsessed, The Final Destination, Madea Goes to Jail, G-Force, Survival of the Dead, Sorority Row, Miss March, and 27 more; Higher Notability: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 2012, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Angels & Demons, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Fast & Furious, The Lovely Bones, Terminator Salvation, Nine, Halloween II, Surrogates, G-Force, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Land of the Lost; Lower RT: Old Dogs, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Miss March, All About Steve, Whiteout, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Echelon Conspiracy, Post Grad, Driving Aphrodite, Malice in Wonderland, The Unborn, Couples Retreat, Bride Wars, The Stepfather, The Pink Panther 2, S. Darko, I Love You, Beth Cooper, The Ugly Truth, Stan Helsing, Year One and 27 more; Notes: That notability is amazingly high. I guess that is what happens when you create a film chock-a-block with high fashion product placement? An IMDb of 5.9 is basically exactly what I would have expected of this.

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – Look. “Confessions of a Shopaholic” is no masterpiece. But it’s funny, Isla Fisher is a joy, and — of supreme importance — it is more entertaining to a viewer with absolutely no eagerness to see it (like me) than “Sex and the City” was. Also, no movie can be all bad where the heroine attends a Shopaholics Anonymous meeting and meets a former Chicago Bulls star.

(Spoilees. We are on an interesting streak of films here. 3.0, 2.0, 2.5 stars by Ebert in the last three. This is the second one he seemed to genuinely enjoy. He seemed lukewarm on Message in a Bottle, but he liked The Rite and this it seemed. Nice to hear Isla Fisher was good in it though.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npFBRp716Qw/

(Her fashion is so in your face and crazy. Not at all what is in fashion now. Seems like an easy breezy comedy … so basically it is going to turn out that it is aggressively not-funny right? The only possibility sadly.)

Directors – P.J. Hogan – (Known For: Peter Pan; My Best Friend’s Wedding; Muriel’s Wedding; Unconditional Love; Mental; The Humpty Dumpty Man; BMT: Confessions of a Shopaholic; Notes: Australian. Was nominated for a BAFTA for Muriel’s Wedding which he also wrote.)

Writers – Tracey Jackson (screenplay) – (Known For: The Guru; The Other End of the Line; BMT: Confessions of a Shopaholic; Notes: Created the series Babes for Fox in 1990 which is kind of wild. Seems to have made multiple Bollywood inspired films in the 00s.)

Tim Firth (screenplay) – (Known For: Kinky Boots; Calendar Girls; Blackball; The Wedding Video; BMT: Confessions of a Shopaholic; Notes: Pretty big name in British theatre, he won an Olivier award in 2003 and has made a few productions which have been nominated as well. Kinky Boots itself became a huge British musical.)

Kayla Alpert (screenplay) – (BMT: Confessions of a Shopaholic; Notes: Mostly a producer, producing Ally McBeal and LAX among other shows. A good number of television writing credits as well.)

Sophie Kinsella (books) – (Known For: Can You Keep a Secret?; BMT: Confessions of a Shopaholic; Notes: Her sister is also a novelist. Both credits are for adaptations of her books.)

Actors – Isla Fisher – (Known For: Blithe Spirit; Tag; The Great Gatsby; Nocturnal Animals; Now You See Me; Godmothered; Rango; Greed; Wedding Crashers; Rise of the Guardians; Horton Hears a Who!; The Beach Bum; Definitely, Maybe; I Heart Huckabees; London; Bachelorette; The Lookout; Life of Crime; Wedding Daze; Burke and Hare; Future BMT: Scooby-Doo; Grimsby; Hot Rod; BMT: Confessions of a Shopaholic; Keeping Up with the Joneses; Notes: Scottish, but born in Oman and raised in Australia, she considers herself Australian. Has been Married to Sasha Baron Cohen for ten years.)

Hugh Dancy – (Known For: Martha Marcy May Marlene; Black Hawk Down; Ella Enchanted; Our Idiot Brother; Late Night; Savage Grace; Hysteria; The Jane Austen Book Club; The Sleeping Dictionary; Adam; Shooting Dogs; Tempo; Future BMT: Blood & Chocolate; King Arthur; BMT: Basic Instinct 2; Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return; Confessions of a Shopaholic; Evening; Notes: British. For me at least he’s most famous for playing Will Graham in the Hannibal series which is quite good if a bit gross.)

Krysten Ritter – (Known For: El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie; 27 Dresses; She’s Out of My League; Big Eyes; Margaret; Search Party; Veronica Mars; The Hero; Vamps; Animal Attraction; Killing Bono; Listen Up Philip; L!fe Happens; How to Make Love to a Woman; Frost; Asthma; Refuge; Slingshot; Heavy Petting; Future BMT: Mona Lisa Smile; BMT: Confessions of a Shopaholic; Notes: The B in apartment 23 and Jessica Jones. She was also in Breaking Bad for a bit.)

Budget/Gross – $55 million / Domestic: $44,277,350 (Worldwide: $108,394,089)

(Not bad. I imagine they were, as usual, hoping for that unlikely $100 million hit. Didn’t get it, but I bet it came out even.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (44/169): This middling romantic comedy underutilizes a talented cast and delivers muddled messages on materialism and conspicuous consumption.

(Uh oh. Middling. So unfunny and kind of boring. But maybe we’ll get some hilarious 2009-level “whoops, we made this gross materialistic film as the economy is falling apart, sorry” storylines going. Reviewer Highlight: Not only is it an unfunny movie shrilly told, it probably is the most ill-timed and appallingly insulting movie in recent memory. – Claudia Puig, USA Today)

Poster – Confessions of a Sklogaholic

(I like the artistic leap they took on this one, even if it doesn’t entirely work. I hate white space on posters, so I wish they could have avoided that, and the font on the bag is real boring. But gotta give credit when they take a risk. B.)

Tagline(s) – All she ever wanted was a little credit… (A-)

(I do like this. It’s clever in that special tagline type of way. The biggest problem with it is that the double meaning doesn’t totally work with the film itself. I wouldn’t describe her character as someone who doesn’t get the credit she deserves… but that’s besides the point really. It’s solid.)

Keyword – department store

Top 10: Wonder Woman (2017), Catch Me If You Can (2002), Prisoners (2013), Superbad (2007), Ocean’s Eight (2018), Baby Driver (2017), Love Actually (2003), Suicide Squad (2016), The Terminator (1984), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Future BMT: 60.4 Maid in Manhattan (2002), 49.3 Mannequin: On the Move (1991), 46.1 Sleepover (2004), 44.7 Simply Irresistible (1999), 41.3 I Think I Love My Wife (2007), 38.2 Masterminds (2016), 35.6 Indecent Proposal (1993), 34.5 Suicide Squad (2016), 32.8 Mannequin (1987), 31.9 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991);

BMT: Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016), Left Behind (2014), The Darkest Hour (2011), The Women (2008), Proud Mary (2018)

(Probably follows the growth-collapse of the department store through time. This film didn’t have very many good keywords in my opinion. Mannequin: On the Move is definitely the pinnacle of department store film.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Kristin Scott Thomas is No. 7 billed in Confessions of a Shopaholic and No. 2 billed in Random Hearts, which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 7 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 16. If we were to watch Toys, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – At the end, Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) pays off her entire debt in coins, saying that she was doing it in the most inconvenient way possible. In real life, Derek Smeath (Robert Stanton) could have refused to accept it. While coins are legal tender within the Federal Reserve System, no law requires a merchant or anyone else to accept them. However, if he had refused payment, the debt would legally be considered paid off. (So … he couldn’t have refused? If the debt is paid off if he refuses or not what is the point in refusing?)

The novel is set in London. The movie changed it to New York City to connect with an American audience. Following the success of Sex and the City (1998), New York City was seen as a selling point to female audiences.

Dame Kristin Scott Thomas revealed in 2014 that she didn’t like the experience of filming. “I thought it would be quite good fun. But I spent my entire time waiting. I hated it, hated it, hated it, and I said that I wouldn’t do another one. Funnily enough, I haven’t been asked to.” (I don’t know what this means … she didn’t direct it or anything. She’s been in plenty of films prior and since. Weird.)

Isla Fisher researched her role by visiting some overspend/under earner groups, people whose lives have essentially become unmanageable because of their compulsive shopping.

Isla Fisher wore five-inch stilettos during filming.

Isla Fisher is only fourteen years younger than Joan Cusack, who played her mother.

In the book Rebecca Bloomwood wishes she was ‘someone really cool like Kristen Scott Thomas’ who stars in the film. (Fun)

Hall of Fame Speech #24: Endless Love (2014)

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. Well, we might just have found the sequel, Here on Earth 2: Endless Lurv. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Endless Love (2014)

Earlier this week I was shaken to my core. Because I prepared the preview for this film and I just couldn’t quite figure out how we ended up picking it as a Hall of Fame candidate. All the reviews say it is boring. Even our own reviews from five years ago say the movie is worthless if you don’t watch the original film. I was preparing for the worst: a realization that we made a horrible mistake and would have to go and find another candidate for the Hall of Fame. But then … I watched the film. And I saw Alex Pettyfer and a bunch of other British people trying to specifically not do a southern accent in a film set in Georgia and I realized that we didn’t make a mistake. No, we merely matured into the correct and indisputable BMT opinions: this is a Hall of Fame film, you just need to know where to look.

It has been five years since we watched the film. But what did I remember?

  • Right there up front. Much like Billy Zane’s insatiable desire to go to Fashion Week, this film ended up becoming something of a catchphrase for BMT. Endless Lurv, always stylized as Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuurv, hit us right at the perfect moment where we were becoming more rigorous in our BMT reporting and definitely watching the 1981 film as a bonus. I think Jamie even read the book? The whole thing was a new paradigm for BMT and well well worth it.
  • The more I think about it and the endless blandness of Endless Love (2014) I can’t help but think we’ve made a mistake … but no, that can’t be possible, we never make mistakes. Instead, I have to assume that this film is basically Here on Earth 2.
  • And then I realized … wait, is Bruce Greenwood, BMT legend, the father of the leading women in both Here on Earth and Endless Love (2014)? Yes, he indeed plays both Earl Cavanaugh and Hugh Butterfield. Now those are some names!
  • And the film stars Alex Pettyfer of Beastly fame. This year’s class is definitely very actor driven. He’s an interesting actor just in that we watched all of his leading man BMT films at a good clip, Beastly in 2011, I Am Number Four in 2013, and then this in 2015. He hasn’t been in another (although he has a small role in In Time with JT, so we can still get our BMT fix if we wanted).

So which do I think is the most important? I think there is only one thing that could possibly be important here and that is just how much it evokes the feeling of Here on Earth. That combination of “I am not the audience of this film”, and “this film is amusingly cheesy” and “I kind of dig this in the same way I did The O.C. except The O.C. is good, fight me IRL.” If there is even the tiniest nugget of that in the film it will be well worth the rewatch. There is the outside shot that our enjoyment was completely driven by Endless Love (1981) and how unabashedly crazy that film is as well, so I might have to watch that again.

The genre of the film might as well be called Here on Earth, and it is an important micro-genre for BMT history. There are only so many hits. Here on Earth, of course, but this seems like it definitely was a hit, and I would argue that Midnight Sun and After both hit just the right note of teen melodrama to be an incredibly fun ride. Initially when looking through the preview a bit I had a moment of wondering whether I would watch this film and be sad realizing that we had overblown how good it is. Now I’m getting excited thinking of all the teen romance films we’ve watched and how good most of them are.

How did the rewatch go? Wonderfully. As Alex Pettyfer’s generic American accent washed over me and held me close I knew I was home. Is this Here on Earth? No, primarily because unlike that film the kids somehow aren’t the main characters. Instead, the main character is Bruce Greenwood. Come for the Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde teen romance, and stay for Bruce Greenwood being the biggest dick in the universe 100% of the time. There isn’t even a single moment where Bruce Greenwood isn’t a colossal dick to Alex Pettyfer. Alex Pettyfer, who, by the way, is the nicest, most down to earth teenager on the planet in this film. Here’s my impression of some dialogue:

Alex Pettyfer: “Hi, Mr. Butterfield. I just really appreciate you having me over to your house. I just want your daughter to have a good summer before going off to college, and gee, I sure do like her ever so much!”

Bruce Greenwood: “You got some goddamn nerve breaking up my family like this! I will ruin you and your father’s lives for what you’ve done.”

Alex Pettyfer: “Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?”

He is one bad sad dad.

In the original recap for this film (which was email-only at the time, we were technological marvels) I stated matter of factly that you could not enjoy Endless Love (2014) without watching Endless Love (1981). I think as my BMT skillz have matured I disagree with that, there is plenty to enjoy from the 2014 film (see below). But the original certainly makes the 2014 film more confounding. You see, the original and the book are about obsessive love between two teenagers. This … is about just teenage love. Run of the mill teenage love, and tragedy, and … that’s it. I will declare this now: this is the worst adaptation of a book ever created. And that is hard to know without seeing the original which, it turns out, did an okay job at adapting the book. So it wasn’t impossible to adapt, instead the writers took a look at the plot and decided “but what if it was The O.C. instead?” Obviously, being the worst book adaptation of all time is some serious street cred.

But this film stands on its own, outside of the source material and original film, via a multitude of amusing little things you’d only really notice after multiple viewings. The fact that the main cast is basically all British and are constantly struggling to keep their non-southern American accents together. The fact that this film is the second BMT film in which Alex Pettyfer breaks into a zoo (I rediscovered that fact and now feel ashamed for not considering Beastly for the Hall of Fame as well). And finally, possibly the funniest prop in the history of filmmaking, the mugshot of the very obviously 25 year old Alex Pettyfer where it states matter of factly “age: 14” … if I saw a 14 year old who looked like this I would flip out, my mind would break. It makes no goddamn sense!

So no, Endless Love (2014) isn’t Here on Earth 2. But nothing can be. Instead it is maybe the most confounding adaptation of a book ever created, with the biggest dick of a dad ever put to film, and Alex Pettyfer looking like a 25 year old cross fit coach on the worst prop in movie history. Welcome to the Hall of Fame Endless Love (2014).

Endless Love (2014) Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. Well … that is the only possible reason Endless Love 2014 is being inducted, it has to be Here on Earth 2 … right? Enjoy!

Endless Love (2014) – BMeTric: 22.7; Notability: 32 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 46.0%; Notability: top 40.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 12.2% Higher BMeT: Left Behind, The Legend of Hercules, Ouija, God’s Not Dead, The Pyramid, Tammy, Sex Tape, A Haunted House 2, I, Frankenstein, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Outcast, Dying of the Light, Tokarev, Annabelle, Everly, Annie, Pompeii, The Carrier, Vampire Academy, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and 41 more; Higher Notability: Transformers: Age of Extinction, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Exodus: Gods and Kings, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Dracula Untold, Transcendence, Think Like a Man Too, Dumb and Dumber To, Annie, The Monuments Men, A New York Winter’s Tale, Horrible Bosses 2, Ride Along, The Expendables 3, Need for Speed, Men, Women & Children, Lessons in Love, Vampire Academy, Blended, I, Frankenstein, and 6 more; Lower RT: Left Behind, The Legend of Hercules, Outcast, I, Frankenstein, Ouija, Lessons in Love, Addicted, A Haunted House 2, Dying of the Light, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, Just Before I Go, Search Party, The Best of Me, The Cobbler, The Carrier, Tokarev, No Good Deed, God’s Not Dead, The Nut Job, A New York Winter’s Tale and 7 more; Notes: This, I think, is right in that Here on Earth zone. Perhaps that is what Here on Earth really is. A film that critics are like “blah” and normal people are like “what? I haven’t seen that” … but we aren’t normal people.

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Feste’s sanitized version seems like it’s aimed not at high-school kids but rather at those who are even younger: girls who can leave the theater and peruse the mall for just the right boho-chic clothes to emulate Wilde’s fashionably wild look.

(Sanitized. That really is what it is all about. It feels odd that a sanitized film could be, in actuality, a BMT Hall of Fame film, but perhaps with just the right amount of “wait … this is what they adapted the book about a crazy stalker boyfriend into?” it could work.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRXGch6675Q/

(I think the trailer makes David out to be more dangerous than he actually is in the film. They must have realized they screwed up in you know … not actually adapting the book.)

Directors – Shana Feste – (Known For: The Greatest; Boundaries; Future BMT: Country Strong; BMT: Endless Love; Notes: She writes almost all of what she directs. Currently writing and directing the mini-series Dirty Diana with Demi Moore.)

Writers – Shana Feste (screenplay) – (Known For: The Greatest; You’re Not You; Boundaries; Future BMT: Country Strong; BMT: Endless Love; Notes: The plotline for The Greatest: “A drama that is centered around a troubled teenage girl, and a family that is trying to get over the loss of their son.” … that’s this movie! WHAT THE HELL?!)

Joshua Safran (screenplay) – (BMT: Endless Love; Notes: Writer/producer on Gossip Girl and Quantico among others. My guess is they brought him in to adapt the book into something more palatable for 2014.)

Scott Spencer (book) – (Known For: Waking the Dead; Future BMT: Father Hood; BMT: Endless Love; Endless Love; Notes: Wrote the book. The book is interesting. It was considered to be one of the quintessential stories written about young love at the time, but it feels like it has been completely overshadowed by, oddly, the song made for the 1981 film.)

Actors – Gabriella Wilde – (Known For: Wonder Woman 1984; Carrie; Future BMT: St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold; BMT: The Three Musketeers; Endless Love; Notes: British and descended from actual genuine royalty. She was originally a model and artist but switched to acting.)

Alex Pettyfer – (Known For: The Butler; Magic Mike; Wild Child; Back Roads; Elvis & Nixon; The Strange Ones; Tormented; Future BMT: Stormbreaker; The Last Witness; In Time; Echo Boomers; BMT: Beastly; I Am Number Four; Endless Love; Notes: Kid actor, he got the part in the Alex Rider series when he was 15 years old. Also British.)

Bruce Greenwood – (Known For: Doctor Sleep; Kingsman: The Golden Circle; Star Trek; The Place Beyond the Pines; The Post; Gerald’s Game; Deja Vu; Flight; Super 8; Star Trek into Darkness; First Blood; The Core; Gold; I, Robot; Dinner for Schmucks; Spectral; Eight Below; Capote; Kodachrome; I’m Not There; Future BMT: Swept Away; Wild Orchid; Racing Stripes; Fathers’ Day; Disturbing Behavior; Passenger 57; The Captive; Firehouse Dog; Rules of Engagement; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Double Jeopardy; Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House; And Now a Word from Our Sponsor; Cell 213; For Greater Glory: The True Story of Cristiada; Donovan’s Echo; Fathers & Daughters; BMT: Hollywood Homicide; Here on Earth; Devil’s Knot; Endless Love; Notes: Yup, he’s the father in both Here on Earth and Endless Love. Currently starring in The Resident, a medical drama on Fox.)

Budget/Gross – $20,000,000 / Domestic: $23,438,250 (Worldwide: $34,718,173)

(Quite bad. That big name energy coming from 1981’s smash hit Endless Love didn’t do much for it it seems.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (15/95): Blander than the original Endless Love and even less faithful to the source material, this remake is clichéd and unintentionally silly.

(I. love. cliched. And I love unintentionally silly. Bodes well. Reviewer Highlight: This remake has almost nothing to do with Spencer’s novel. It’s the kind of film you make when you’ve run out of Nicholas Sparks books. – Wesley Morris, Grantland)

Poster – Endless Lurv (2014)

(Honestly, this poster would be 400x better if it didn’t have the scratched lettering in the center. I’m fine with the “you hot leads” as the poster for a film like this, but I think this, like the trailer, is selling a more thriller-y film than it actually is. Were there massive reshoots or something? The marketing seems strange. C.)

Tagline(s) – Say Goodbye to Innocence. (B)

(I think I get what they are selling to a degree: Dad’s worst nightmare? Except in the film David isn’t that. The dad is actually a colossal dick to David at every moment and the entire film is “bad dad broken dad gets fixed by naive high school boy who doesn’t know what love is”. It’s a wild film. Anyways, I think for what they are likely selling it is fine, even though it doesn’t describe the film.)

Keyword – remake

Top 10: Beauty and the Beast (2017), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), The Invisible Man (2020), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Cinderella (2015), The Jungle Book (2016), Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), The Departed (2006), The Grinch (2018), The Lion King (2019)

Future BMT: 83.1 Inspector Gadget (1999), 82.8 Prom Night (2008), 74.3 Psycho (1998), 72.0 Grudge (2020), 68.8 Black Christmas (2006), 68.8 The Shaggy Dog (2006), 67.8 Poltergeist (2015), 67.3 Scooby-Doo (2002), 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 65.6 Pulse (2006);

BMT: Fantasy Island (2020), Baywatch (2017), Just Go with It (2011), The Last Airbender (2010), The Mummy (2017), Fantastic Four (2015), Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), The Hustle (2019), Point Break (2015), Poseidon (2006), Godzilla (1998), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Friday the 13th (2009), Wild Wild West (1999), Conan the Barbarian (2011), Thir13en Ghosts (2001), Endless Love (2014), Death Wish (2018), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), The Lone Ranger (2013), Super Mario Bros. (1993), CHIPS (2017), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Flatliners (2017), Red Dawn (2012), The Haunting (1999), Jungle 2 Jungle (1997), Left Behind (2014), The Avengers (1998), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), The Big Wedding (2013), The Fog (2005), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), The Wicker Man (2006), Get Carter (2000), The Women (2008), One Missed Call (2008), Are We Done Yet? (2007), The Musketeer (2001), Bangkok Dangerous (2008)

(So. Many. Remakes. The plot is interesting. I think it points to smaller cast/crew productions taking over some of what used to be fairly large productions. Like if this film was made in 1999 it would have been huge with like … Matt Damon in talks to star. But instead they are like “just how many British people who can’t really do accents can we put into this production?”)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 9) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Bruce Greenwood is No. 3 billed in Endless Love and No. 6 billed in Here on Earth => 3 + 6 = 9. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Both lead roles are British. (So is the mother, and the brother is Australian. And yet … the only person in the entire film who even attempts a southern accent is Robert Patrick, despite the entire film being set in Georgia)

Emma Roberts turned down the lead role of Jade Butterfield. (Would have been more interesting with her I think, shame)

The trailer for the film included scenes that were either altered or not included in the actual film. (Reshoots?)

Remake of the 1981 film. (Not really, it isn’t even an adaptation of the book … are we sure they even asked permission to use the title?)

In the original film, Jade was 15, David was 17, and they started dating after her brother Keith introduced them to each other; and a subplot involved Ann becoming infatuated with David and living vicariously through him and Jade after watching them have sex one night. Also, David’s surname was Axelrod; here it’s been changed to Elliot; and Ann’s name is spelled Anne. (Yeah … they changed a bit of the story).

Endless Love (1981) Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. This actually isn’t one of those five films. This is a bonus preview I’ve made because Endless Love (2014) is being inducted. That preview will follow directly. But if you end up watching Endless Love 1981, here’s your one stop shop for preview information. Enjoy!

Endless Love (1981) – BMeTric: 46.5; Notability: 31 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.3%; Notability: top 28.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 8.6% Higher Notability: Halloween II, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, The Cannonball Run, Looker, All Night Long, The Devil and Max Devlin, The Final Conflict, Death Hunt, Caveman; Lower RT: Final Exam, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Deadly Blessing, Death Hunt, The Devil and Max Devlin, Student Bodies, Caveman; Notes: The BMeTric bit is obviously the most impressive. To understand what it is saying, consider that only films with Rotten Tomatoes scores below 40% are counted in the percentiles (so it is the top XX% for qualifying films). So basically it is saying there are 20ish such films in 1981 and of those this film has the highest BMeTric. That’s pretty amazing. Sub-5.0 IMDb, and very notable for having an Oscar nominated song. Hit it! Endlesssssss Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve.

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Is there anything good in the movie? Yes. Brooke Shields is good. She is a great natural beauty, and she demonstrates, in a scene of tenderness and concern for Hewitt and in a scene of rage with her father, that she has a strong, unaffected screen acting manner. But the movie as a whole does not understand the particular strengths of the novel that inspired it, does not convince us it understands adolescent love, does not seem to know its characters very well, and is a narrative and logical mess.

(I 100% agree with Ebert on all counts here. I think the film, with a few years of distance, is slightly better than the two stars he gave it. But I think Shields is the strongest bit of a pretty okay adaptation of a difficult book.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33msTt1jAu8/

(Pretty intense stuff. This trailer makes me wonder whether it was recut due to confusion by test audiences. Because it is really explicit that he set the fire, so the scene (which isn’t in the movie) of him admitting he set the fire doesn’t make sense. But, if the film was originally non-linear … then it would be easy for the movie to be shown in such a way where the “you’re just jealous of our love compared to your failing marriage” idea holds a lot of water.)

Directors – Franco Zeffirelli – (Known For: Tea with Mussolini; Romeo and Juliet; Hamlet; Jane Eyre; The Taming of the Shrew; Brother Sun, Sister Moon; Callas Forever; Future BMT: The Champ; BMT: Endless Love; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars, one as director for Romeo and Juliet, and the other for La traviata as a set designer. Was a member of the Italian parliament in the 90s for the rightist party Forza Italia.)

Writers – Scott Spencer (based on the novel by) – (Known For: Waking the Dead; Future BMT: Father Hood; BMT: Endless Love; Endless Love; Notes: Apparently adapted someone else’s book into the Charles Bronson film Act of Vengeance.)

Judith Rascoe (screenplay by) – (Known For: The Bang Bang Club; Dog Soldiers; Future BMT: Terror Train; Havana; BMT: Endless Love; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Daughter of critic Burton Rascoe, she is a writer who taught fiction at Yale. She was tapped to adapt a series of novels in the late 70s and early 80s.)

Actors – Brooke Shields – (Known For: The Other Guys; Pretty Baby; The Midnight Meat Train; Chalet Girl; Freeway; Hannah Montana: The Movie; The Muppets Take Manhattan; Alice, Sweet Alice; Freaked; King of the Gypsies; Daisy Winters; Future BMT: The Bachelor; Black and White; Cannonball Fever; The Hot Flashes; The Greening of Whitney Brown; BMT: Furry Vengeance; Endless Love; The Blue Lagoon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for The Blue Lagoon in 1981; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Sahara in 1985; Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Speed Zone in 1990; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1982 for Endless Love; and in 1985 for Sahara; Nominee for Worst Actress of the Century in 2000 for Endless Love, Sahara, and The Blue Lagoon; and Nominee for Worst Actress of the Decade in 1990 for Cannonball Fever, Endless Love, Sahara, and The Blue Lagoon; Notes: Was a model and 15 at the time of filming this film. She stopped acting in 1983 to attend Princeton where she graduated in Romance Languages. She was the star of the television show Suddenly Susan.)

Martin Hewitt – (Future BMT: Two Moon Junction; Yellowbeard; BMT: Endless Love; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Hired as part of a nationwide search. Is a home inspector in California now.)

Shirley Knight – (Known For: As Good as It Gets; Our Idiot Brother; Sweet Bird of Youth; The Private Lives of Pippa Lee; Picnic; The Salton Sea; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; The Rain People; Juggernaut; The Group; Petulia; Redwood Highway; A House on a Hill; Future BMT: Beyond the Poseidon Adventure; Angel Eyes; Diabolique; The Centre of the World; Grandma’s Boy; Little Boy Blue; P.S. Your Cat Is Dead!; BMT: Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2; Paul Blart: Mall Cop; Color of Night; Endless Love; Stuart Saves His Family; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Endless Love in 1982; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars in the 60s for Sweet Bird of Youth and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs. Was a Warner Brothers television contract star in her early career.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $31,184,024 (Worldwide: $32,492,674)

(Obviously hard to tell, but $31 million seems pretty alright for an adaptation of a novel in 1981. I can’t imagine people were thinking in terms of beaucoup bucks on the Endless Love IP at the time. There are also not really any actors in it. It was probably fine.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 28% (5/18)

(I get to make a consensus: Notorious for its poor understanding of the character and melodramatic tones, the film mainly fails to live up to its much more profound source material. Reviewer Highlight: A Cotton-candy rendition of Scott Spencer’s powerful novel, Endless Love is a manipulative tale of a doomed romance which careens repeatedly between the credible and the ridiculous. – Variety Staff, Variety)

Poster – Endless Lurv

(I like it. I like the color, I like how creepy he looks. The literally endless Endless Love is maybe a bit on the nose, but otherwise it is a pretty solid poster for the film. A-.)

Tagline(s) – She is 15. He is 17. The love every parent fears. (B)

(I think it could have done without the first bit. I understand that part of the point is that she is far too young to be dealing with this obsessing young man … but I think the short and sweet “The love every parent fears” gets the point across while clashing with what otherwise might seem like a generic romance to work well.)

Keyword – obsessive love

Top 10: The Great Gatsby (2013), Batman (1989), Fear (1996), There’s Something About Mary (1998), Ghost (1990), The English Patient (1996), Fatal Attraction (1987), Far from the Madding Crowd (2015), Walk the Line (2005), The Reader (2008)

Future BMT: 60.5 Obsessed (2009), 51.0 Eye of the Beholder (1999), 50.9 Mr. Wrong (1996), 37.3 Enough (2002), 36.0 Hush (1998), 33.3 Mad Love (1995), 32.4 The Crush (1993), 25.1 The Phantom of the Opera (1989), 24.0 To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday (1996), 23.0 A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996);

BMT: The Boy Next Door (2015), Swimfan (2002), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), The Roommate (2011), Perfect Stranger (2007)

(They’ve loved obsessive love in Hollywood for years. I think I’m most intrigued by eventually watching Obsessed, although I do believe Jamie has already seen that one.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Brooke Shields is No. 1 billed in Endless Love and No. 3 billed in Furry Vengeance, which also stars Brendan Fraser (No. 1 billed) who is in Escape from Planet Earth (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 4 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Extraordinary Measures we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – During the lovemaking scene, director Franco Zeffirelli squeezed Brooke Shields’ big toe off camera to provoke a reaction that would look like an orgasm. (Gross)

Movie debuts of Tom Cruise, Ian Ziering and Jami Gertz. (I don’t remember Ian Ziering)

Tom Cruise’s very brief appearance in the movie is critical to the movie’s plot. (I guess … )

Brooke Shields’ mother and manager Teri Shields nearly turned down the movie after first reading the script, as she felt the role of Jade Butterfield had no substance. She said “It was just going to be Brooke standing around looking beautiful.”

Martin Hewitt was the subject of a high profile talent search. Despite considerable media attention, his career failed to take off. Both Leonard Whiting and Graham Faulkner experienced similar career slumps after appearing in Romeo and Juliet (1968) and Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972) for Franco Zeffirelli.

Meg Ryan auditioned for the role of Jade Butterfield before Brooke Shields was cast. (That could have been interesting)

The MPAA awarded the initial cut of the movie an X rating. Franco Zeffirelli subsequently made several cuts in the love scenes between Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt to achieve a lower rating. The movie was resubmitted to the MPAA five times before they awarded this an R rating.

The movie was noted to have one of the most spectacular one-man stunt displays when Hugh Butterfield gets run over by a car in New York City. The stuntman does a high end-over-end flip in mid-air. (It is very impressive)

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song (Lionel Richie, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Dyson Lovell, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brooke Shields, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Shirley Knight, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Franco Zeffirelli, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Judith Rascoe, 1982)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Martin Hewitt, 1982)

Message in a Bottle Recap

Jamie

When Theresa finds a message in a bottle with a beautifully sad love note in it, it piques her interest in the writer. She tracks down Garrett, a widower and boat restorer and they embark on their own love story. But Garrett’s inability to move on from the death of his wife threatens to end it all in tragedy. Will they find love before it’s too late? Find out in… Message in a Bottle. 

How?! It’s a message in a bottle, baby. Come… come… come on and let it out. And that’s exactly what divorcee Theresa does when she finds such a bottle on a Cape Cod beach. Inside is a beautiful and yet sad love note to a long lost love. Theresa brings it back to her Chicago newspaper office and her boss subsequently publishes it in his column. Initially angered by this, the response to the letter and the fact that it results in the discovery of two other letters by the same writer make Theresa all the more excited to find the author. Tracking him down to North Carolina, she heads there and meets Garrett, a soft spoken widower who lost his wife three years prior. Taking care of his alcoholic father, Garrett’s life has stalled as he has attempted to preserve the memory of his wife in every aspect. But sparks fly when he meets Theresa and suddenly he’s taking her sailing and doing all kinds of things that he would have thought impossible. When Theresa heads back to Chicago she fears it’s the end of the affair, only to be surprised when Garrett decides to visit. They have a wonderful time, particularly in regards to Garrett’s ability to relate to her young son, but on their final night together he discovers the copies of his letters in her nightstand. He is shocked and wonders whether this was all a scheme by a journalist to get a story, but is even more shocked when it’s revealed that there are three letters… he only wrote two! The other was the final note written by his wife before her death. With this closure he is able to move on with his life and finish building a sailing boat that he designed for her. After seeing him complete the boat, Theresa tells him to call her when and if he feels ready to move on. Shortly thereafter he writes a final letter to his wife telling her he’s ready to move on with Theresa and heads out into a storm. Before turning back, though, he finds another boat in distress and tragically dies attempting to rescue the sailors. Theresa and everyone, including the viewer, are real sad because this is Sad Love by Nicholas Sparks. THE END.

Why?! Love… or more accurately getting over love. Both Theresa and Garrett are getting over lost loves in different ways. Theresa has recently divorced, while Garrett lost his wife. Now they kind of have to heal each other with the power of love. Unfortunately for them this is also a Nicholas Sparks novel so death is always right around the corner to snatch that sad love away.

Who?! There are a couple great little casting tidbits in this guy. First off there is a kinda nerdy looking dude that a friend of Theresa’s is like “yo, girl get on that accountant… he’s a real successful accountant or something,” and Theresa is like thanks but no thanks. That guy is the Director of Photography, Caleb Deschanel… yes, that Caleb Deschanel. The father of Zooey and Bones. Then the little girl that Garrett saves from the sinking boat at the end (before tragically dying) was played by a young Hayden Panettiere.

What?! This is a Budweiser film. Full Stop. Paul Newman plays Garrett’s father and he’s a recovering alcoholic who is allowed a beer a day. His beer of choice: Bud, of course. They are so delicious and refreshing that Garrett has to count them daily and pay the local kids to watch his father so he doesn’t slake his thirst a little too much.

Where?! North Carolina meet Chicago, cause we get some pretty sweet settings in this guy, particularly in the many sights and sounds of Chicago. Funny because the novel had Theresa based in Boston, which makes a little more sense in her finding the bottle, but I think I get why they made the change… it seems a bit odd in the book that Garrett seems totally unwilling to move to Massachusetts. It’s not that different from North Carolina given his passion in life is sailing. B+

When?!  I couldn’t really find a specific date for this one, although I think it runs similar to the book. She discovers the message in the bottle during the summer when her son is off with his father during summer break. Then she heads down to NC at the tail end of summer. After that it’s a couple months of distance dating before sometime in the winter he launches the boat. We know from his note that he launched “on the 25th.” I presume January as Theresa’s first article in the paper appears next to a couple articles from early January 1998… so it’s tenuous, but that’s where I place it. C-.

Saaad Love. I guess I appreciate the fact that the film didn’t pull the punch of the book and have Garrett live or something. But it is pretty rough stuff to have the whole book be like “isn’t love grand… until it’s shattered by death?” and then expect the reader to be like “but at least she loved, right?” I don’t know… still pretty sad. The book was fine and the film was fine. I guess I wish there was more to it than that. I thought Robin Wright was pretty good and charming, but Kevin Costner probably needed to give me a bit more than mumbling along and looking like he’s carved out of wood. Make me feel that Draft Day Jennifer Garner spark, Kevin Costner. Anyway, Nicholas Sparks was just starting out and didn’t yet have the clout to throw around his “yes, there is a ghost in Safe Haven and we’re keeping it in the film” weight. So pretty straight forward. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! He’s a message in a bottle baby, come on and let Kevin Costner out. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – The OG Sparks, it is a little stunning to realize that basically every Nicholas Sparks adaptation has gotten bad reviews besides The Notebook (and even that only got 53% on Rotten Tomatoes). We’ve seen his most recent for BMT already as well, The Choice. He seems to have slowed down with writing, he only wrote two novels since 2016. Can’t have bad adaptations if you don’t write novels I suppose, real 3D chess moves. What were my expectations? It is a bit weird, because prior to watching the trailer I legit thought the film was just about a lonely dude who threw bottles in the ocean. But it is about a broken dude who just needs that one special lady to mend his broken heart. Awwwwwww. I expected to weep uncontrollably in my living room.

The Good – I’ve seen quite a few Kevin Costner films over the past few months and years, both good and bad. And unlike something like Wyatt Earp (where his acting is almost a joke, especially as “young” Wyatt Earp), I feel like Message in a Bottle is directly in his wheelhouse. You can moan about the writing and ridiculous situations good actors are put into, but the actors themselves I think are doing their best with what they are given. The vistas are nice, always love a good Cape Cod / NC crossover, real Dawson’s Creek vibes. Best Bit: Setting.

The Bad – I can see why critics hated this film. It is a total waste of a decent story and some decent actors with situations and a plot which gives them nothing to really work with, and at worst (like in the end) launches itself into pure melodrama. I know they need to be like “I’m sad and forever broken, vague allegories about religion and forever love” because it is a Nicholas Sparks novel, but, again, I think the critics are mostly right in that the ending of the book and thus film let down what is otherwise a decent story. I will say that the “man’s man who never speaks and is so broken he lives with the ghost of his dead wife” doesn’t age well. The guy doesn’t need love, he needs a therapist and to actually work through his feelings instead of bottling them up (and throwing them in the ocean). Fatal Flaw: Poor ending.

The BMT – We’ll work through all the Nicholas Sparks novels, even if they are done one Based on a Book cycle at a time. There is also something about Kevin Costner here. Something magical about just how 90s his stardom was. You can watch him anchor a three hour epic in JFK and be completely lost in his character come to life, and then watch Wyatt Earp and be like “what the hell is he doing with his mouth … is he wearing fake teeth, what is happening?” Did it meet my expectations? Not really. I found Costner’s character so closed off and broken that I actually started to become concerned about his mental state. Surely this is just a changing mentality towards depression over the past 25 years, but still, it made it difficult to fully invest in the tragic love story which was so obviously being force fed to me. I didn’t shed a single tear. Now, that’s a tragedy.

Roast-radamus – Big Product Placement (What?) energy as both Costner and Newman guzzle Budweiser while giving each other haircuts and whatnot. That’s how you know Kevin Costner was made in America, he drinks all-American delicious Budweiser. Great Setting as a Character (Where?) for Chicago (where Robin Wright lives), Cape Cod (where she finds the bottle), and North Carolina (where every Nicholas Sparks book is contractually obligated to be set). At least part of this film is secretly during July 4, but nary a firework is to be seen. Disappointing. Closest to Good.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – This is an easy Netflix series. The first four episodes are from two different periods of time. Flashbacks to the two years prior and two years after Catherine’s death in North Carolina. And simultaneously the discovery of the first bottle, and then hunt for the other two bottles he sent out dealing with his love and loss of Catherine. Then the trip to North Carolina and a recap of that last year of his life mid-season. The final six episodes are then effectively the movie. The meet cute, dating in North Carolina, the trip to Chicago, one episode which is just the sex scene over and over in black and white (this is directed by David Lynch) … fine it is the big dramatic blow up about the story, the big dramatic finale, and then a closing episode wrapping things up. Boom, beautiful. Why aren’t there more Nicholas Sparks television shows? They seem really easy and cheap to make overall.

You Just Got Schooled – We are still working through the Hall of Fame. This week? Oooooooo Endless Luuuuuuuuuurv (the 2014 one, but of course I rewatched the 1981 one as well, get right on outta here!).

Cheerios,

The Sklogs