Countdown Preview

As Jamie and Patrick turn the corner of Square HQ with the intruder alarm blaring they are forced to come to a stop. At the end of the hallway Sticks and Stones stand. They flip the switch on some heavy-duty weaponry attached to their backs and immediately flex glistening muscles. “This is where this has always led. To us. We are the rightful champions. We are relegated to the Z-universe no more. Once you die we will be BMT,” they scream in challenge. But Jamie and Patrick aren’t cowed. Not now when their mission is so clear and their twin powers so strong. They fist bump and immediately fly into a choreographed fight dance. Legs flying, abs shimmering in the light, they backflip over Sticks and Stones, who are momentarily stunned by the pure beauty of the movements. Using that hesitation to their advantage Jamie and Patrick use a couple of patented Twin Chops to disable the weapon packs. “Noooooo,” Sticks and Stones scream, “This can’t be happening.” But it is and they stand no chance against the Bad Movie Twins. Using a triple deke maneuver, they fake out Sticks and Stones and render them vulnerable to a final double kick to their groins. Falling to their knees an alarm begins to blare and a countdown begins, “10… 9…” They must have had some kind of self-destruct trigger on their persons in case of just such an ass-whooping. Looking at each other Jamie and Patrick curse and flee the building leaving Sticks and Stone quivering on the floor holding their battered groins. They will never be able to get out before the building explodes and are certain to die… or will they? Bum bum bum! That’s right! We’re finishing up the final BMT Live of the year just in time for the start of the 2019 cycle by watching the newly released horror film Countdown. Excellent. And just in time for Halloween! Let’s go!

Countdown (2019) – BMeTric: 16.1; Notability: 20

(It isn’t worth posting the plot this early, but this is sitting well below 6.0 on IMDb, which is rather below average. Having said that, horror films tend to have fans who are, in general, critical of the genre they love. Which is good. But it isn’t a surprise a bad horror film opens that low. The hardcore fans watching this film are just the people who will be quick to rate it low online. Notability is a new metric which I will write about soon, but it is basically just the number of people involved in the project (from IMDb) who have a wikipedia page. That’s it. For horror 20 I think is not uncommon, but you’ll see all the way up into the 200s for the big releases of the year. I think it is an interesting proxy for basically budget / theatrical release without being subject to the whims of 3rd party data sources. So stay tuned for upcoming analyses related to that.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars –  “Countdown” pretty much fails on every level that a horror film can—the characters are uninteresting dullards, the story is idiotic, and the scares are nonexistent.

(Absolutely eviscerating review there. Unfortunately horror without scares is usually boring, so I’m not sure I’m going to be super into it, but I like that someone who appreciates horror (clearly) just hated this film. It is promising.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqvWtC2ae3M/

(Genuinely looks terrible. Terrible concept, and even the scares look cheesy and weird. Usually horror film trailers get to be quite well because I find horror films spooky scary, but this just looks dumb … I’m excited.)

Directors – Justin Dec – (BMT: Countdown; Notes: His first feature directing job. Was a second second assistant director on Bart Got a Room, which is a film I’ve heard of.)

Writers – Justin Dec (screenplay) – (BMT: Countdown; Notes: Also his first major writing job. He wrote all of the shorts he directed to some acclaim, and otherwise was a production assistant for years.)

Actors – Elizabeth Lail – (BMT: Countdown; Notes: Somewhat notably was Anna in Once Upon a Time, and starred in You which also stars the guy from Gossip Girl. Was considered for the role of Supergirl.)

Jordan Calloway – (BMT: Countdown; Notes: Was in Riverdale and Black Lightning. When he was young he starred in the Nickelodeon series Unfabulous.)

Talitha Eliana Bateman – (Known For: Robert the Bruce; Annabelle: Creation; Love, Simon; So B. It; BMT: The 5th Wave; Geostorm; Nine Lives; Countdown; Notes: She has eight siblings, of which Leah and Gabriel are both fairly well-established actors. Appeared in Hart of Dixie.)

Budget/Gross – $6,500,000 / Domestic: $18,102,635 (Worldwide: $21,802,635)

(Not this is as of the 6th of November, 2019. Obviously, releasing a horror film is like printing money at this point. People love watching horror films in theaters, and you can make them for nothing. It is incredible.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 24% (13/55)

(Again, as of November 6th, 2019. The consensus appears to be: rote thriller which relies too heavily on jump scares. You’ll feel cheated despite the two excellent lead actors. Reviewer Highlight: Rather than screaming for them to go the other way, you’ll be urging them to accept fate and die instead. – Benjamin Lee, Guardian)

Poster – Killer App (C+)

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(I like the font. I like the red to highlight the zeroes of the countdown. But everything else is just a little clean. Looks a little cheap and not artistic enough. But fine.)

Tagline(s) – Death? There’s an app for that. (FFFFF—-)

(Noooooooooooooooooooooooo. This is the worst! The worst tagline of all time! I want to hide from it. It’s scarier than the movie is (probably).)

Countdown_characters-killed-one-by-one

Keyword – characters-killed-one-by-one

Top 10: Countdown (2019), Halloween (2007), The Cabin in the Woods (2011), Child’s Play (2019), Scream 2 (1997), Happy Death Day (2017), The Thing (1982), House of 1000 Corpses (2003), Friday the 13th Part III (1982), Happy Death Day 2U (2019); 

Future BMT: 82.4 Prom Night (2008), 77.8 Shark Night 3D (2011), 69.0 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), 68.0 The Darkest Hour (2011), 65.0 Seed of Chucky (2004), 60.5 The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999), 60.0 Pet Sematary II (1992), 56.5 See No Evil (2006), 54.4 Sorority Row (2009), 46.7 Saw 3D (2010); 

BMT: Countdown (2019), Friday the 13th Part III (1982), Ghost Ship (2002), Truth or Dare (2018), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Anaconda (1997), Ouija (2014), AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Sabotage (2014)

(This is the new and improved keywords section. Brought to you by: Box Office Mojo eliminated their genres section. I’ll be messing around with the process over the next few weeks, but I’m hoping to focus on keywords which are narrow (100-1000 films), but also illustrative of the films they represent (here, mostly horror films). Notability will be explained more in another post, but basically it is just the number of people involved in the film with a wikipedia page. A major release in the 2010s tends to have around 80-120 notability last time I checked. The data is windowed and weighted, so if the notability is something like 300 it could be because there are two very notable films released on the same weekend, or a lot of films released within a single year. One small bit on this particular keyword: I think you can basically see how horror films have gone from major releases (large notability) to smaller releases (small notability) from 2000-2020.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 26) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Tichina Arnold is No. 6 billed in Countdown and No. 11 billed in Wild Hogs, which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 6 + 11 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 26. If we were to watch Supernova, The Watcher, Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 20.

The Intruder Recap

Jamie

After scoring the big deal at work, Scott and Annie go looking to buy a house in Napa. They meet Charlie, who is looking to unload his million dollar family home and it seems like a match made in heaven. But soon it becomes clear that it’s a match made in hell because Charlie is a total nutso psycho. Can they stop Charlie before it’s too late? Find out in… The Intruder.

How?! Scott and Annie are the perfect couple. They are smart, beautiful and super rich and so we all identify with them and love them. They are looking to make their perfect lives complete by buying a multimillion dollar mansion in Napa and lo and behold Charlie is selling his dream house at this very moment. They pull the trigger and soon they are making that mansion their home. One problem though, Charlie is totally nuts and super weird and shows up at the house all the time being nuts and weird. Soon he’s doing all this creepy stuff around the house and Scott starts to suspect that Charlie may not be all that he seems. This paranoia puts stress on their marriage and soon it becomes clear that Charlie is seeing a little opening to get his house back and it involves wooing Annie and giving Scott the boot. Fed up, Scott confronts Charlie and then almost immediately gets run off the road while jogging (hmmm, wonder who did that?). Now totally freaked Scott insists that his friend go and make sure that Charlie isn’t wooing his wife while he’s laid up in the hospital. Wrong move, bro! Cause he gets an axe in the chest courtesy of Charlie. At this point, Annie is even a little creeped by Mr. Murder over there and it all culminates with her realizing that (spoiler alert!) he actually never left the house at all! He was living in some tunnels under the property like some Rambo. What a twist! In a final confrontation, Scott and Annie do battle with Charlie Rambo and totally blow him away in a ripoff of Sleeping with the Enemy (topical). THE END. Big Question: Was Charlie like… eating their food? I just really want to know more about how exactly he was living under their house for months… like… did he have a working toilet? Wouldn’t they have heard it? Lots of questions.

Why?! Well, Scott and Annie just want to live and have a happy marriage. Charlie… now that guy has a plan. What we learn is that he had a failing business built on lies that put him millions of dollars into debt. In order to pay off his debts he had to sell his house. But he’s not leaving (oh no) instead he’s gonna hang around long enough to woo Annie despite giving off sexy grandpa vibes (at best) and then marry her (?) and get his house back (???). It’s all very vague because he’s nuts.

Who?! While I was obviously tempted to use Dennis Quaid here as an actor-turned-musician, I restrained myself and will instead highlight Alvina August, a minor side actress in the film, who is also an aspiring singer… … never forget, though.

What?! One of the side characters sure does love his Audi, but really the star of this film is Recover 180°. Scott works on advertising for the drink several times in the film. They even show a full commercial for it. It’s actually a clever idea. Make your main character an advertising executive and then you can literally show entire commercials without anyone batting an eye. 

Where?! Superb San Fran/Napa setting. I think they could have gotten away with a New York City/NYC suburb dynamic. But that might be it. If they really wanted that A they would have probably had to have the house be a vineyard or something. Or have Scott be a tech entrepreneur rather than in advertising… you know, still giving it an A.

When?! Secret Holiday Film… kinda. This is like a roadtrip through time because after Scott and Annie buy the house we get a clear Thanksgiving scene and then some preparations for Christmas. If I had to choose I would say that Thanksgiving is the dominant as we get a rare thanksgiving dinner scene. Not a huge number of those in BMT films. A-.

This movie is mostly a pile of cliches built around rich people with rich people problems… alright, well maybe having Dennis Quaid living in some tunnels under your house isn’t exactly a rich person problem, but still. Really the only thing that this had going for it was that Dennis Quaid is off the hook and is snacking on scenery left and right. I’d also argue that the twist is fun, but also pretty standard, being in the same vein as “the call is coming from inside the house.” Except in this case it’s “the Quaid is coming from inside the house.” I personally felt like the film is more watchable than really thrilling or scary… but that still means it’s watchable. As for P.U.N.K.S., standard kids film made only mildly interesting by continual product placement, Randy Quaid putting on a full “nerd” character, and some wild character work by a couple of the kid actors… like one of the kids was super into health food… I have no idea why or what the joke actually was. It was pretty bizarre. As if Sly Stallone wrote the film or something, amiright? Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I do remember when I rented my new apartment and discovered the landlord living under the house in a weirdo crawl space … I mean, it’s fine I still lived there, have you seen the rental market recently?! It’s as insane as my weirdo landlord! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I legit barely remembered this film existed when we chose it for the 2019 cycle. But Dennis Quaid as a psycho? I’m in. The cast did make me wonder if I was the target audience for the film … so did all the reviews which suggested it was made for people who wanted to shout at the characters in theaters. But I’m game, I’m always game to try new things. What are my expectations? I expect to see Dennis Quaid as a psycho. The more of a psycho he can be the better. I’ll probably be pretty unsatisfied if people aren’t like “Why is this pyscho around all the time?” though, I don’t know if I could bear it.

The Good – I liked Dennis Quaid. No offense to the other actors in this film, but Quaid seemed like the only genuine “film” actor in the film … we’ll get to that in the Bad section, sorry. I liked the creepy hole Dennis Quaid apparently lived in, that was a fun reveal. I kind of wish that reveal plus battling Quaid in this house he knows inside and out was more like 50% of the film, but the end is pretty fun for as short as it lasts.

The Bad – First, the film isn’t very thrilling, just kind of eerie. Second, the actors aren’t really that good, like they are all television actors, which is fine … for a thriller that is fine I think. Third, the actual last second ending in which the main character killed Dennis Quaid in cold blood after totally unarming him is a bit unsavory. It isn’t like The Call level offensive, but it is a bit bothersome. But hey, it was pretty much the only thing the film had going for it. It is quite literally going to be the only thing I’ll remember from this film in two weeks … well, that and Dennis Quaid screaming “NO!” which will haunt my dreams forever.

The BMT – Hmmmm, no. I think I like the idea of the film more than the film itself. I like this as the future mold for streaming titles. You make like … 100 of these films and a bunch of them are going to be good. Keep them a-comin’ is what I think. I’ll watch all the bad ones too. Did it meet my expectations? Sadly, much like all of the bad reviews for this film, I have to agree with the critics: the female lead in the film, Meagan Good, is just waaaaaaay too calm with Charlie wandering around and pretending he has anything to do with this house anymore. Every moment he shows up everything he says and does screams “I am a lunatic who is trying to steal your life/house/family” and yet she keeps on being like “He’s harmless”. If not for that I would say yes because I like Dennis Quaid’s psycho, people just needed to not pretend he wasn’t the biggest creeper in the world.

Roast-radamus – He isn’t a Planchet, but Scott’s friend Mike is something else … he’s the guy who’s such a doofus that you just don’t care when Dennis Quaid kills him, and he’s kind of great at it. I’ll give a shoutout for some great Product Placement (What?) with the main character driving his sweet Audi around all of the time. Very minor, but very a propos Setting as a Character (Where?) with the start-up scene in San Francisco and the solitude of Napa playing a huge part in the film. Obviously this ends up up for a Live Smaddies Baddies, but I doubt it’ll actually get any of the big awards in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – This film came out long enough ago that it is on a few worst of lists already. Looper agrees with the critics in saying Quaid is good but the film is bad. Something called iDaily has it at 9 … and possibly is just aggregating Rotten Tomatoes data? I think this will go down as one of the worst … creepy homeowner selling his house, but still living in it and being creepy films ever made. For real, it’ll be number one.

Bring a Friend Analysis – Phew, the final friend of the year. The Intruder stars Dennis Quaid. And everyone knows his much more famous older brother Randy. I’m only kind of joking, that was probably at one point true. Randy Quaid started to slip a bit into obscurity after Independence Day in 1996. By 1999 he was staring opposite Henry Winkler in the genuine straight-to-video children’s film called P.U.N.K.S. In this film the son of Randy Quaid is worried about his genius father (Randy acting like a nerd-alert) having a heart attack while testing his super-strength machine for the eeeevil Edward Crow (Winkler). So he assembles his friends (the P.U.N.K.S.) to steal the invention and take Crow down. It has a decent anti-bullying message, but is cheesy with some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen. A young Jessica Alba was fun to see as Samantha, as was Patrick Renna whom some would know as Ham in The Sandlot. C+, I found it a pleasant enough watch, but ultimately kids’ films are just a bit too weird to stomach routinely.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Intruder Quiz

Oh man, so last night I discovered that my landlord was living under my apartment like a weirdo. But then … the last thing I remember was him attacking me and then nothing. Huh. Do you remember what happened in The Intruder?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Scott and Annie are living the high life in the start-up scene of San Francisco. Killing it, natch. What does Scott do for a living?

2) But Annie wants to start a family (natch) and she’s got her eye on moving out of the big city to the quiet life of Napa Valley. That’s where they meet Charlie and his beautiful home. What is the name of Charlie’s estate?

3) One of the many things that Scott does that annoys Charlie is that he won’t abide by guns, whereas Charlie loves to hunt. Why doesn’t Scott like guns?

4) During the course of the film Charlie claims he is or will be living in two different places. Name them, and also where has Charlie actually been living this entire time?

5) While investigating the age old question “what’s the deal with Charlie, the weirdo who used to own my house?” Scott discovers that Charlie had gotten into two major bits of legal trouble culminating in him having to sell the house to Scott. What did Charlie do? What’s the deal with Charlie?!

Answers

The Intruder Preview

“Let’s blow this joint,” Patrick says, approaching Jamie’s glass prison, but he’s greeted with a shush. The Baldwins are acting out their favorite roles for him and they just got to his favorite part of Bio-Dome. But the moment is ruined and the Baldwin’s ask who the dope with the Rambos is. “Fine,” Jamie says peeved, “we can go.” The Baldwin’s laugh. “No one leaves here, bro,” they say, pointing to the lock on the door, “It’s the latest BMTNSA encryption tech.” It’s Jamie and Patrick’s time to laugh. With that they look at the lock and their faces go slack. The Baldwin’s and the Rambos look on in wonder as symbols flash across their glassy dolls eyes as their twin brains crush the encryption software. They punch in a series of numbers and the lock falls to pieces on the floor. Jamie steps out of prison and they predator high five. “With our twin powers combined,” Jamie says. Patrick nods and in that moment they realize that only together can they solve the Rich and Poe problem. “You… you forgot your cable-knit sweater,” Patrick says. Jamie responds by pulling the sweater over his head as the prison erupts in cheers. But just as they start to head out an alarm goes off. “Oh no! I forgot about my magnetic prison boots!” Jamie says pointing to his incredibly heavy boots. “They must be rigged to a separate alarm,” Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert! It wails. That’s right! We’re watching the last of the Bring a Friend cycle, which also means we are transitioning to the final cycle of the year *gasp*. This is of course the current year cycle and so we chose the Dennis Quaid thriller The Intruder that looks just dumb enough in its thrills for our liking.

Meanwhile, Sticks and Stone look at the security feed with Vampiro. “What are we going to do?” Vampiro whines but Sticks and Stones slam their fists down on the table to silence him. “You know exactly what we’re going to do. We’re gonna stop those punks.” That’s right! We’re also watching the Randy Quaid kids film P.U.N.K.S. where he plays a major nerdy whose kid steals from top secret advanced weaponry. I always like to know what kind of stupid backronym they used to make the title P.U.N.K.S. but alas. It’s just a collection of all the characters’ last names. Booooo. 

The Intruder (2019) – BMeTric: 33.4 

TheIntruderIMDb_BMeT

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(Actually pretty impressive that it opened sub-6.0. Possibly there is a bit of something going on there, because usually rating open high because hardcore fans see it in theaters and review it well. But I choose not to read too much into it. A 30 BMeTric sounds about right.)

RogerEbert.com – 1 stars –  Like director Deon Taylor’s abysmal last film, “Traffik,” it takes forever to get to what would be considered “the good parts” in a better movie. It is also completely devoid of suspense despite numerous jump scares. Worst of all, its heroine not only does mind-numbingly stupid things, this film is so retro that it requires that she get rescued by her husband.

(Yeah sounds about right. Looking through the reviews it seems like it was designed as a “participation” film (plausibly a first of its kind? It is unclear whether a director has ever designed a film with that specifically in mind))

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKXvex7b1Ew/

(Meh. Looks kind of boring and predictable to be honest. And also, like the review, that all of the thrills are just from jump scares which are boring. Plus when the jump scares from from a lurking Dennis Quaid I’m not sure I find them thriller per se, but rather they seem more silly.)

Directors – Deon Taylor – (Known For: Black and Blue; Future BMT: Meet the Blacks; Chain Letter; Traffik; Supremacy; BMT: The Intruder; Notes: Black and Blue almost got bad reviews as well and was also considered predictable and boring. Notable for his Nitetale Series.)

Writers – David Loughery (written by) – (Known For: Nurse 3-D; Dreamscape; Lakeview Terrace; Future BMT: Obsessed; Money Train; Tom and Huck; Passenger 57; The Three Musketeers; Flashback; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; The Intruder; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Notes: Went to Iowa State and grew up in Chicago.)

Actors – Michael Ealy – (Known For: Think Like a Man; Last Vegas; About Last Night; Margaret; Barbershop; Kissing Jessica Stein; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; Unconditional; Future BMT: Bad Company; Think Like a Man Too; The Perfect Guy; Takers; Miracle at St. Anna; Jacob’s Ladder; November; Underworld Awakening; For Colored Girls; BMT: 2 Fast 2 Furious; The Intruder; Never Die Alone; Notes: Does a lot of television work including the new show Stumptown with Cobie Smulders.)

Meagan Good – (Known For: Shazam!; Don Jon; Friday; Brick; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; Think Like a Man; Eve’s Bayou; Jumping the Broom; A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.; Roll Bounce; Deliver Us from Eva; Future BMT: You Got Served; The Unborn; Biker Boyz; Venom; D.E.B.S.; Stomp the Yard; Saw V; The Cookout; 3 Strikes; Think Like a Man Too; Waist Deep; LUV; BMT: The Love Guru; One Missed Call; The Intruder; Notes: Has been acting professionally since she was four starting in commercials. Her sister is La’Myia Good who is in the hip hop group Bad Gyrl.)

Dennis Quaid – (Known For: A Dog’s Journey; The Day After Tomorrow; The Parent Trap; Traffic; Stripes; Footloose; Soul Surfer; Any Given Sunday; The Right Stuff; I Can Only Imagine; Frequency; Innerspace; Wyatt Earp; DragonHeart; Breaking Away; Far from Heaven; Enemy Mine; The Rookie; In Good Company; Dreamscape; Future BMT: Legion; Cold Creek Manor; Beneath the Darkness; American Dreamz; Yours, Mine & Ours; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Horsemen; Something to Talk About; Kin; Flight of the Phoenix; The Alamo; Caveman; Undercover Blues; Vantage Point; Switchback; Wilder Napalm; Pandorum; All Night Long; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Movie 43; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Playing for Keeps; The Intruder; A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: Y’all know Dennis Quaid. Or at least, you know his band The Sharks. I always forget he is actually the younger brother to the initially much more successful Randy Quaid.)

Budget/Gross – $5–8 million / Domestic: $35,419,122 (Worldwide: $36,599,361)

(Huuuuuuge success. Now you won’t see a sequel, but you might see another faux-remake of a 90s/00s thriller with a non-white cast and an older actor like Quaid.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (30/94): The Intruder might appeal to fans of shout-at-the-screen cinema, but this thriller’s ludicrous plot robs it of suspense — and undermines Dennis Quaid’s suitably over-the-top performance.

(Ohhhhh yeah. When this film came out all of the reviews all said it was basically created to be yelled at in theaters. I forgot about that. That actually kind of makes me love it more. That it is so specifically that. Reviewer Highlight: Nearly every scene is practically an invitation for the audience to talk back to the screen and ask these people if they’ve lost their minds. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Get Paid, Get Quaid, Gatorade (A)

intruder

(Yes, yes, yes. Artistic, font has straight up people in it, and bold red in my face. Oh, and lest you think this doesn’t tell you a little about the plot of the film: check out those creepy Quaid eyes watching those people. I love it.)

Tagline(s) – Your House. His Home. (A)

(I also like this. It’s not impossible for a terrible film to have a good poster and a good tagline, but a pretty rare treat for us. Short, sweet, clever wordcraftsmanship, and tells me what’s up. It’s good.)

Keyword(s) – couple; Top Ten by BMeTric: 80.2 A Wrinkle in Time (2018); 79.4 Feardotcom (2002); 69.1 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 65.7 Chernobyl Diaries (2012); 60.9 Legion (2010); 59.7 Truth or Dare (I) (2018); 50.6 Couples Retreat (2009); 47.4 By the Sea (2015); 40.2 I Give It a Year (2013); 39.5 Life After Beth (2014);

(The twilight saga … when the hell are we going to do that now?! That is going to be brutal, those films suck. Not that they are particularly bad (the acting at least is fine), it is just a lot and shiny … nothings. They are all shiny nothings.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Meagan Good is No. 2 billed in The Intruder and No. 5 billed in The Love Guru, which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 2 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) => 2 + 5 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch Legion we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – In this movie Dennis Quaid plays the psycho terrorizing the couple who bought his old house. In Cold Creek Manor (2003), Quaid plays the husband of the couple who bought Stephen Dorff’s old house and are then terrorized by Dorff. (… this genuinely seems like a remake of that film. Too bad I can’t watch this one as a bonus at this point.)

Michael Ealy and Meagan Good also starred together in the Think Like A Man series.

This isn’t the first time Dennis Quaid played a Napa Valley resident. He previously played Nick Parker in The Parent Trap (1998), a Napa Valley resident who owned his own vineyard.

When Charlie is carrying Annie upstairs he says, “We’ve had this date from the beginning.” This is what Stanley Says to Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) just before he rapes her. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?)

Mercury Rising Recap

Jamie

Simon Lynch is an autistic child with a brain to solve puzzles. Art Jefferies is an FBI agent on the outs with the bureau. Their worlds collide when Simon inadvertently cracks a top secret government code and ends up in the crosshairs of government assassins. Can Art keep Simon safe and take out the bad guys (and maybe get the girl)? Find out in… Mercury Rising.

How?! Art is an FBI agent extraordinaire and he don’t take no guff from nobody. This of course gets him in hot water with his boss after a big undercover job goes south in South Dakota. Sent to desk duty he refuses to quit and boy howdy are we glad he did. That’s because poor little Simon, a boy with autism, is about to crack a new uncrackable government code that a couple of very smart dopes decide to put in a puzzle magazine for funsies. But when Simon cracks it with his beautiful mind, shit hits the fan and the bad guys start coming after Simon. A government hitman kills his parents but is spooked before getting Simon. Enter Art who uses his own beautiful mind to find Simon and figure out that something just isn’t right. Dead set on protecting the kid he foils the government hitman at every turn while dealing with a kid who he doesn’t understand and who doesn’t understand him (it’s touching). Soon people are dropping like flies and Bruce Willis builds a group of friends and strangers who realize that what seemed like paranoid delusions might actually be real and might actually go all the way to the top of the NSA. Oh no! In a climactic final scene they are able to foil the head of the NSA as he tries one last time to kidnap Simon and he totally murders him and everyone is like “good.” Soon Art finds himself visiting Simon in his new school and scores that big hug from Simon. Awwww. THE END. Big Question: How big a news story would this be? The head of the NSA is killed by police and falls off a skyscraper in Chicago… or would they use their spooky powers to hide it? GASP.

Why?! Our boy Bruce just can’t stay out of the action. He just does what’s right and what’s necessary without all that bureaucratic bullshit. The bad guy is just covering his ass and the child is just a child who loves puzzles (I identify).

Who?! Huh… how weird. I mean, we watched this film for Alec Baldwin and his bevy of brothers, but without realizing it we also picked a film with a sibling of another famous actor in it. Believe it or not John Travolta’s sister Margaret has a speaking role in this film! She’s a nurse that explains autism to Bruce Willis. We see you working Margaret Travolta.

What?! There is a shocking amount of product placement in this guy (Swiss Miss, sip it slowleeeeeee). Probably my favorite is the number of times that Starbucks shows up, culminating in the Starbucks meet-cute between our boy Bruce Willis and Stacy. What’s even crazier is that the Starbucks that they meet in is still in that exact same location in Chicago! It feels like there is still an opportunity to corner the market on Mercury Rising walking tours.

Where?! This is a super Chicago setting, although the film could be set almost anywhere. Lots of sights and sounds of Chicago. We also have part of the film set in DC and some brief scenes in South Dakota and Thailand. If we had done the mapl.de.map when BMT was more mature I am almost certain that this would have been the South Dakota setting. Not major, but very clear. B+.

When?! They botch the timing of this slight as we get a clear “June 9” on a security camera that Bruce Willis looks at, but then we also get a “June 9th” on the whistleblower letter one of the characters writes… but those two things can’t possibly have happened the same day. So basically an F… JK. Solid B.

We occasionally claim a BMT film is not that bad (not that bad), but it’s much rarer for us to make the call that a film is not just not that bad, but in fact maybe even kinda sorta good. I’m making that call! I think Mercury rising is a good thriller (and it’s got a little heart to boot). I enjoyed Bruce Willis. I enjoyed Alec Baldwin. I enjoyed the concept. Is it perfect? No. It lags a bit in the middle, goes heavy on Willis trying to connect with Simon, and shoehorns in a completely unnecessary love interest at the last minute. But it made me feel some emotions and thrilled me at all the right time. At the very least we can all agree that the 17% RT score it holds is a crazy underestimation of the merits of this film. As for the Bring a Friends we brought along, we really ran the gamut this week. Fallout was actually kinda a fun, dumb space action film that seemed at times like Daniel Baldwin was edited in from a different movie. Weirdly, it also had a shockingly strong female lead… better than almost all Hollywood films you’d watch. Backdraft 2 is a sad joke given that the original film is quite enjoyable. It feels like a two-part pilot for a television series that never got off the ground, but by all accounts it was always intended to be a film… not sure I believe it. Laughably inadequate. Finally, Dead Weekend… oh Stephen Baldwin… did you lose a bet? This is barely a film that is excruciating and at times uncomfortable to watch. There are only three explanations: 1) Stephen read the script and saw the words “sex alien” and was like “I’m in.” 2) Stephen knew the director and did him a favor after hashing out the plot over beers. 3) Stephen overheard someone talking about the upcoming film Species and thought “I gotta get in on that sex alien action” and found whoever would let him make a sex alien picture ASAP. It is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! So I have all of this mercury, and the darnest thing is happening to it … its rising! We watched Mercury Rising, let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Watching the trailer and reading up on the film made me wonder … is this actually a bad film? It seems like critics were just annoyed that it was so predictable and Bruce-Willis-y. But does that a bad thriller make? It was a big question, I was ready to be annoyed by Bruce-Willis-ness. What were my expectations? Honestly, I figured this would end up being a fine thriller which I would like. The 90s thriller is pretty good, and that might be a bit of nostalgia speaking, but hey, maybe I just like 90s thrillers.

The Good – I think this is a fine 90s thriller. Bruce Willis is silly, but if you like Bruce Willis it is fine. Alec Baldwin is a scene-chewing villain who might as well have had a giant moustache, but again, if you like Alec Baldwin it is fine. The storyline is silly, but if you let it wash over you and not think about it too much then (say it with me) it is fine. You picking up what I’m putting down? This movie is a fine 90s thriller. I would gladly watch it again right then. Fight me. I did genuinely like the Chicago setting. Just works for thriller, reminded me of The Fugitive.

The Bad – Having one of the two main characters be a severely autistic child makes the film a bit tough to handle, just because there isn’t much of a dialogue for extended periods of time. The directing kind of sucks, and it relies a bit on flashbacks and characters expositing at you every few scenes. It is a bit sad that the main female lead is just a random person Willis finds in a coffee shop an hour into the film. It would have been a decent opportunity to introduce an ex-girlfriend / ex-wife character for Willis, but maybe that would make it too close to Die Hard.

The BMT – I mean … it’ll go down as a good film in BMT basically. An example of how critics can sometimes fatigue on a particular lazy style of storytelling, and they just ruin a film for being tired and boring. But I liked the film and would gladly watch it again, what can I say. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, but that is kind of a bad thing. Something being surprisingly good is amusing (e.g. Freddy Got Fingered), but something being 90s-Bruce-Willis-Thriller is just a film I would show someone if they wanted to watch a film like this. Nothing more, nothing less.

Roast-radamus – Very minor Setting as a Character (Where?) for Chicago. It is a very Chicago film, but it could probably be set in NYC as well. Some great Product Placement (What?), but my personal favorite is Swiss Miss (It’s hooooooot, sip it slowleeeeeeeeeeee) which our autistic boy hero drinks every day when he gets home from school. You can make a decent argument the child himself is a MacGuffin (Why?) as well which is pretty fun. And finally, it will definitely be on my shortlist for Good, not least because I think good BMT film examples are pretty few and far between.

StreetCreditReport.com – There is really nothing about this film beyond that critics really didn’t like it. It actually seemed like some reviews enjoy the premise (and Alec Baldwin in particular), but then find it not very thrilling and pretty dumb. Agree to disagree. I do think this could be the worst film with a severely autistic main character, and it’ll be in the mix for an extended list for worst films set in Chicago (maybe).

Bring a Friend Analysis – Alongside Mercury Rising we watched (gasp) three other Baldwin brother films! First up was Dead Weekend starring Stephen Baldwin. And this film is wild. A sci-fi art film all dressed up as a straight-to-Starz erotic thriller of some kind? Legend has it Alec told Stephen not to do Bio-Dome because it would destroy his career … but this came out a year prior. Something tells me Stephen’s career was already in trouble. Second was Fallout starring Daniel Baldwin. This film, on the other hand, is one of the classic straight-to-video films focusing on “one cool thing”, in this case “spaceships”. Baldwin plays a down and out astronaut who ends up having to save the world from a group of Russian separatists (kind of, let’s not get into the politics) who have taken over an international space station and satellite network. It was actually really good looking. The main issue is Daniel Baldwin who is genuinely out of shape and a bad actor. A random guy like Michael Dudikoff would have been less distracting. But maybe the best one-cool-thing videos I’ve seen thus far, which is saying something. And finally we watched Backdraft 2 starring William Baldwin. Somehow they managed to get Donald Sutherland and William Baldwin to come back for this ill-fated direct-to-VOD sequel to the Kurt Russell classic. Jamie nailed it on this one, it is more like a television pilot than anything else. Complete with the streetwise partner and the magic-mathematian girlfriend for our main character to utilize in all his arson hunting glory. As a pilot it is passable for an 8pm CBS drama, as a film it is a sad example of the worst that streaming has to offer.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Mercury Rising Quiz

Oh man, The last thing I remember I was helping this autistic child run away from assassins and murders most foul. But then I must have gotten quite the blow to the head because I can’t remember anything else. Can you remember what happened in Mercury Rising?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) What group is Bruce Willis asked to infiltrate and what traumatic event occurs in the eventual FBI standoff right in the beginning of this film?

2) After punching out his superior Bruce Willis is relegated to grunt work … but what kind of grunt work?

3) Little Simon is autistic and he’s about to solve an NSA encryption puzzle in a game magazine. Where does he get the magazine, and why? Bonus if you can name the number of the puzzle he solves.

4) Why is Alec Baldwin so concerned about Mercury and the ability of this kid to decrypt it on sight?

5) How many people are killed during the course of the film?

Answers

Mercury Rising Preview

Patrick and the Rambos climb through the air vents of The Square. The Rambos bodies are well-greased and gleaming as they slip and slide their way around. “Here,” the eldest grunts pointing through an opening and Patrick gasps as he sees Jamie being carried by Vampiro and some scantily clad ladies. Patrick puts on his glasses to take a closer look and confirms that they are some bodacious babes. Patrick looks to the Rambos for help but they’re already moving. They drop into an area filled with glass cages. The Rambos start knocking on a few of the cages. “My god,” Patrick whispers, “The Baldwins.” Stephen, William, and Daniel Baldwin peer out from deep in their cages but they don’t recognize those names. They are Brian McCafferty, J. J. Hendricks, and Weed. Patrick is truly through the looking glass on this one. “Where?” grunts the youngest Rambo and the Baldwins look on with fear. Weed’s teeth chatter as he points to the ground, “Here.” Suddenly the door opens.

Buford Vampiro and his Beach Bunnies lead the way with Jamie in tow. Things were already looking dire, but they get even worse when Sticks and Stones join them with… Alec Baldwin? But he introduces himself as Kudrow. Jamie shakes his head. They all seem agitated about Patrick, but Sticks and Stones insist that he’s somewhere here and they could use Jamie as a trap. Not likely, Jamie thinks as he flexes his biceps. They enter a room full of glass cells and Jamie is left alone. He sees even more Baldwins around… he must be in some kind of Baldwin jail. Jamie smiles. Do you know what’s better than waiting for Patrick to save him from jail… waiting for Patrick to save him from jail with a whole mess of Baldwins. That’s right! We are going into a Baldwin extravaganza for the Bring A Friend entry in the Bring A Friend cycle. We are partaking in the classic thriller Mercury Rising. Big time thriller for Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin and I’m pretty excited because it’s about puzzles and we’re puzzle maniacs. As for the friends we tried to pick the worst of the worst from the other Baldwin bros. We settled on the truly terrible looking Dead Weekend for Stephen, Fallout (about space ships) for Daniel, and Backdraft 2 (yes they made a sequel) for William. Why are we doing this to ourselves? Let’s go!

Mercury Rising (1998) – BMeTric: 29.4 

MercuryRisingIMDb_BMeT

MercuryRisingIMDb_RV

(I remember when this came out. I don’t remember it being particularly poorly received … and 6.1 is pretty high for a 30 BMeTric film. 60K votes! That’s a lot.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  An autistic nine-year-old boy innocently cracks a top-secret government code; cold-eyed bureaucrat Baldwin orders him killed, while over-the-hill FBI agent Willis tried to protect him. Except for the boy’s autism, a routine suspense thriller, but well made and interesting throughout. Willis’s standard action hero character shows a softer side here, while Baldwin plays out-and-out heavy.

(Sounds like kind of a boring rote thriller, but with maybe a boring performance by Willis and an insane performance by Baldwin … which is basically all I could ask for.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-L7Gbh4u0I/

(Yeah looks potentially pretty boring. BUT … I do like both Willis and Baldwin, especially in 1998, so sock it to me. Let’s do it.)

Directors – Harold Becker – (Known For: Sea of Love; Taps; Malice; Vision Quest; The Onion Field; City Hall; The Big Town; The Black Marble; The Boost; Future BMT: Domestic Disturbance; BMT: Mercury Rising; Notes: He started out as a still photographer, and was mainly a commercial and documentary filmmaker through the 70s. Most of his feature films were made in the 80s. He’s 90 years old.)

Writers – Ryne Douglas Pearson (novel) – (Future BMT: Knowing; BMT: Mercury Rising; Notes: Apparently Art Jefferson, the character Bruce Willis plays, is part of a series he wrote. Mercury Rising is the fourth Art Jefferson book.)

Lawrence Konner (screenplay) – (Known For: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Planet of the Apes; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; The Legend of Billie Jean; The Jewel of the Nile; Mighty Joe Young; Flicka; Future BMT: Desperate Hours; The Concierge; Mona Lisa Smile; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; The Beverly Hillbillies; Mercury Rising; Notes: Wrote on The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire as he’s mostly done television work since around 2000.)

Mark Rosenthal (screenplay) – (Known For: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Planet of the Apes; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; The Legend of Billie Jean; The Jewel of the Nile; Mighty Joe Young; Flicka; Future BMT: Desperate Hours; The Concierge; Mona Lisa Smile; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; The Beverly Hillbillies; Mercury Rising; Notes: He’s the long time writing partner of Konner, although he hasn’t done the same amount of television work, and mainly seems to work with Konner on features.)

Actors – Bruce Willis – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Motherless Brooklyn; Split; The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part; The Fifth Element; The Sixth Sense; Sin City; Die Hard; Twelve Monkeys; Unbreakable; RED; Looper; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Moonrise Kingdom; Ocean’s Twelve; The Expendables; RED 2; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; Die Hard 4.0; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Too; Vice; The Cold Light of Day; The Prince; Extraction; Lay the Favorite; Precious Cargo; Breakfast of Champions; First Kill; Reprisal; Cop Out; Once Upon a Time in Venice; Acts of Violence; The Bombing; Marauders; Fire with Fire; Perfect Stranger; Striking Distance; Rock the Kasbah; Rugrats Go Wild; The Story of Us; Blind Date; Billy Bathgate; Loaded Weapon 1; Surrogates; Sunset; The Jackal; Last Man Standing; Tears of the Sun; Hostage; Glass; Grand Champion; Four Rooms; 10 Minutes Gone; BMT: North; A Good Day to Die Hard; Color of Night; The Whole Ten Yards; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Hudson Hawk; Mercury Rising; Death Wish; Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Winner for Worst Actor in 1999 for Armageddon, Mercury Rising, and The Siege; and Nominee for Worst Actor in 1992 for Hudson Hawk; in 1995 for Color of Night, and North; and in 2019 for Death Wish; Notes: Apparently Ashton Kutcher (who married Willis’ ex Demi Moore) apparently was convinced his then-girlfriend January Jones had an affair with Willis on the set of Bandits in 2001 … they have a really weird relationship.)

Miko Hughes – (Known For: Tropic Thunder; Pet Sematary; Apollo 13; Kindergarten Cop; Wes Craven’s New Nightmare; Zeus and Roxanne; Future BMT: Spawn; Clockstoppers; Cops and Robbersons; BMT: Baby Geniuses; Mercury Rising; Notes: Still vaguely makes appearances, but not many. He was the son of a gynocologist in Kindergarten Cop who says a bunch of inappropriate stuff and has acted since he was 22 months old.)

Alec Baldwin – (Known For: Beetlejuice; A Star Is Born; Mission: Impossible – Fallout; Motherless Brooklyn; The Departed; BlacKkKlansman; The Aviator; Notting Hill; Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation; The Hunt for Red October; The Good Shepherd; The Royal Tenenbaums; My Sister’s Keeper; Rock of Ages; The Boss Baby; Concussion; Glengarry Glen Ross; Blue Jasmine; Rise of the Guardians; Working Girl; Future BMT: Aloha; Thomas and the Magic Railroad; Andròn: The Black Labyrinth; Hick; Along Came Polly; The Juror; My Best Friend’s Girl; The Getaway; Fun with Dick and Jane; Pearl Harbor; The Shadow; Running with Scissors; Heaven’s Prisoners; Elizabethtown; Blind; BMT: The Cat in the Hat; Pluto Nash; Mercury Rising; The Marrying Man; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Cat in the Hat in 2004; Notes: He is going to have his sixth child soon. He had one child, Ireland, with Kim Bassinger, and now will have five children with his second wife.)

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $32,935,289 (Worldwide: $93,107,289)

(That is pretty rough given the budget, an out and out disaster financially.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (6/35)

(I’ll have to make a consensus! Here goes: Boring without much action between the two leads. Only a scenery chewing heel-turn by Alec Baldwin saves this from complete disaster. Reviewer Highlight: If a 9-year-old kid can break your code, don’t kill the kid, kill the programmers. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Mercury Sklogging (B+)

mercury_rising

(Gah! If only they had some interesting font. Otherwise I think this is what we’re looking for. We got the stars of the film presented in an artistic way with a bold color scheme… maybe a little hint at what the film was about would also help. Not bad though. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I think this is the best one I’ve done. The color on the face isn’t quite right, and neither is my eyeline. Great fake tagline from Jamie though. A-)

Tagline(s) – Someone knows too much. (D)

(Terrible. So vague. Almost sounds like they did it as a joke but then forgot to replace it before printing the poster. At least it’s short.)

Keyword(s) – autistic child; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.0 The Darkness (I) (2016); 29.4 Mercury Rising (1998); 24.4 Dear John (I) (2010); 16.1 Silent Fall (1994); 15.6 Redwoods (2009); 10.6 Triangle (2009); 9.6 Hurry Sundown (1967); 8.6 Tully (2018); 6.8 X+Y (2014); 6.1 El faro de las orcas (2016);

(It is plausible this is the best example of this keyword ever made! I’ve never seen The Darkness though, so maybe an autistic child is a major part of that film as well … Wait, doesn’t Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close feature an autistic child?)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Bruce Willis is No. 1 billed in Mercury Rising and No. 1 billed in The Whole Ten Yards, which also stars Natasha Henstridge (No. 4 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 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 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Last Man Standing, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – Actor Miko Hughes spent time with many autistic children at a special school to understand how to portray an autistic child. Bennett Leventhal, head of the child psychiatry department at the University of Chicago, spent six weeks before the shoot tutoring Hughes at a school for autistic children. Leventhal, a big doctor on autism, complimented Hughes at the film’s premiere and said “Even I believed you.”. (Good for him, it was a much more unknown thing at the time I feel like)

The plot bears a striking resemblance to a real event in history as reported by Bruce Watson on DailyFinance’s Website on 24 December 2009: ‘…In December 1955, Sears Roebuck ran a newspaper ad with what they claimed was Santa’s direct number. Unfortunately, the phone number they offered was one digit off; instead of Sears, it linked to a top secret line at CONAD, the Continental Air Defense Command. When Colonel Harry Shoup, the command’s director of operations, answered the phone, he expected to hear about a missile strike against the US. Instead, he got a little kid who wanted to talk to Santa. Although the conversation ended with the child crying and Shoup fuming, the Colonel eventually came around and began giving the children updates on Santa’s travels through the night sky. The following year, CONAD offered a new, non-secret, phone number that children could call. In 1958, when CONAD became NORAD, the new command continued the tradition…’ (Holy shit, I’ve heard of that! That is a crazy origin story if it is true)

Alec Baldwin appeared in this film due to a contractual obligation to Universal Pictures. Baldwin had previously backed out of a film for Universal and signed an agreement promising the studio another film. Years later, this film was presented to him and he did it to avoid further litigation.

The wine that Art opens in Kudrow’s basement is Chateau Petrus from Pomerol (identifiable by the red seal at the bottom left corner of the label), is probably the most expensive Bordeaux red wine, and contrary to what Art said in the movie, even young Petrus costs much more than 75 dollars per bottle. (Fun fact)

This movie marks the second time Bruce Willis has battled a soldier believed to have died years before the events of the movie take place. The first was “Die Hard 2” (1990).

Chad Lindberg, who plays James, would go on to appear in The Fast and the Furious (2001), another movie from Universal Pictures, three years after this movie was released. Also, like his character in this movie, Lindberg’s character in The Fast and the Furious, Jesse, also gets killed. (Ha!)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Bruce Willis, 1999)