Hall of Fame Speech #15: Here on Earth

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a third class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly eight years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. This is the last installment leading up to the sixth (eighth?) Smaddies Baddies bringing you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. The one film in BMT history that every other film is compared to, every other film dreams of being a mere shadow of, is Here on Earth. Never heard of Here on Earth? Don’t worry, neither have most people it seems. Oh ho ho … you are in for a treat! I’ve posted a preview, but also a very special original recap for the film. I would very much recommend it, I think it holds up incredibly well nearly six years later. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Here on Earth

When the Bad Movie Twins were young lads we saw a vision. A vision of a film that would come and teach us the way of bad movies. For years we searched in vain, certain that Battlefield Earth, or Norbit, or Jack and Jill could teach us the bad movie gospels. But we were wrong. Only St. Josh, St. Leelee, and St. Chris could show us the way. The other day I wondered how we even chose to watch Here on Earth. The only real explanation is that we had seen The Wicker Man, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, 88 Minutes, and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li and loved all of them. And the constants there? Leelee and Chris. And what a fortuitous viewing it was. The current long-form recap probably gets most of its DNA from the very impromptu recap I made for this film, which will have been posted just prior to this speech. We’ve shown this film to multiple people and no one understands our love for it. Sometimes we don’t even understand it … but we are drawn back to it. It is BMT. Let’s get into it.

It has been five years … fine I’ve watched it more recently than that. But let’s still try and list what we remember:

  • What don’t I remember? Robert Frost valedictorian speech. Chris Klein acting like a sexual predator in Mable’s Table. Chris Klein’s rock hard abs. Harnett built like a scarecrow. Harnett acting circles around everyone. Leelee’s terrible running. The baseball date. Fuck cancer. Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.
  • This film defined what we dreamed of in bad movies. It basically created the email.
  • And yet no one else that watches it seems to find it as enjoyable … that’s weird. No, it isn’t us that is weird, it is everyone else, surely.
  • Leelee Sobieski and Chris Klein are the BMT power couple. There are only two other people who have influenced it more: Sly Stallone and Kurt Russell in Tango and Cash.
  • Hell … we have an entire game in the email called Welcome to Earf based on connecting all of the bad movies back to Here on Earth!!!! What more is there to say.

How do you parse out the most important aspect of a film that has it all? I think this is more about just re-experiencing it than anything else. If I was going to choose one thing about the film I was excited to re-experience it would be the context of Leelee and Chris Klein’s relationship. Much of the original recap was devoted to how Leelee doesn’t come across too great in the film. Her disregard for Harnett does, as some characters point out, seem cruel. But has that changed with age, experience, and one fresh rewatch?

So how did the rewatch go? Besides the fact that we seriously discussed making a podcast where we would watch the movie ten times and did a full deep dive dissection of the film? So yeah, I think it went pretty well. For me the thing that really popped this time was just how top tier certain aspects of the film are. You can break this into three different pieces, monologue-montage-monologue, that provide you with a little meat to sink your BMT chompers into. Conveniently these are also found early, middle, and late into the film. The first is Klein’s solid Robert Frost inspired valedictory speech spoken from a hilltop overlooking the graduation he has been barred from attending. Leelee looks on with awe as the complete asshole she just met also turns out to be insufferably pretentious. How could she resist? Later Klein is barred from the local Fourth of July fair (probably because he kinda sucks) and we are treated to a cow-dancing, heavy-drinking montage of our boy contemplating the consequences of attending the fair. Happy Fourth of Jooooly to us. Finally, after Leelee has seen the errors of her ways she accompanies Klein on a short jaunt to his mansion in Boston. Once there Klein lays down his masterpiece. His pièce de résistance. One of the original Monosklogs (and in my opinion the greatest of all time) where Klein talks at length about his mother and the roses that she used to grow before running into the rain to makeout with Leelee. In my youth the cow dancing montage was my favorite. With age comes wisdom and I think the final monologue is the guy. It’s the single moment of the film I would put in a time capsule so that future generations could see the beauty that is Here on Earth.

I was also quite surprised at how much differently I interpreted Leelee’s various relationships in the film. Leelee can, to put it kindly, kind of come off as a dick. Which is fine, Chris Klein is a stone cold dick for like 75% of this film. But in the first few viewings I distinctly remember thinking that Leelee was being an asshole stringing Harnett along like that (there are entire swaths of the original recap devoted to just that!). In the Hall of Fame viewing though, I saw through it all to the core of Leelee’s being. She had cancer. She feels certain this cancer will reoccur and kill her someday. She’s floating slowly through life, her best friend as her boyfriend, and they seemingly have no real plans. And then someone exciting enters her sleepy little town. A boy who despite all of his bluster seems terribly alone. And a boy who, for the first time in a long while, makes her want to really live! She explains this to Harnett: you’ll always be my best friend, but don’t you see, we were never in love. We were just there for each other, and you can still be there for me as a friend, but I’m in love with Chris Klein. *Sniff* You see why we love this terrible amazing movie so much?

If you want to understand BMT. Like … truly understand BMT, there really is only one film to watch. Here on Earth. Maybe you won’t really get it the first time. Or the second. But eventually I think anyone will start to realize that with every earnest dramatic monologue by Chris Klein, every stumbling run by Leelee, and every pained awkward stare by Hartnett, you’ll understand. You’ll understand why we are such bad movie weirdos.

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Here on Earth Recap

NOTE: This was an original recap from 2012 for the film Here on Earth. In a way it started the modern BMT recap, although it would still be another year before our email recap was more than a few notes. It originally included a good number of self-hosted video bits, but I’ve removed them to avoid any possibility of legal issues, and tried my best to get across the intent of each of them. But … just look at how long it is! Yeah, I had a job back then and everything. I think I wrote this in an hour long manic state of ecstasy. Enjoy!

Recap

Well boys and girls, it is with sadness that I have to report that Bad Movie Thursday has ended. What you all didn’t know was that BMT was just a pretense for me and Jamie’s search for the perfect movie, the one movie to unite the world in peace. That search ended last Thursday when we watched Here on Earth, nay! When it allowed us to view its beauty, its majesty … its message. Guided by LudaChris Klein himself we walked the shores of heaven and laughed in childlike wonder as he gently explained how the world can be, how it will be, once we pass along his message to the unconverted. Robert Frost said it best when …

Now that that is over, BMT has not ended, but it might as well have because all others can only hope to be a shadow of its greatness. It had everything, a soundtrack that reads like Best of the 90s: Vol 12, constant unnecessary slo-mo, a rich versus poor dynamic that never quits, and some of the absolute worst (read: best) performances put forth by Chris Klein and Leelee Sobieski. Meanwhile, Josh Harnett acts circles around everyone involved and they close by (spoiler alert!) Notebooking us with a surprise cancer diagnosis and death. Holy shit, needless to say it’s all I’ve been thinking about for the past couple of days. Buckle your seatbelts, and if you didn’t watch it they you should pencil in some time.

“Story”line

So we open with a little acoustic guitar riff and shots of a sweet car getting driven through the quaint town of Putnam, Massachusetts. You immediately know the dynamic of the town because as it passes through poorville Sobieski’s says: “somebody’s lost” because none of us Poory McPoors are buying a car like that. Rolston is a prep school that is, on the other hand, extremely wealthy as one can see from the fact that people row there.

The car arrives are Rolston and whoooooweeee is the principal mad. He tries to relate to Chris Klein because his father isn’t coming to graduation, but Chris goes all screw-you-old-man-you-don’t-know-me and pretends he doesn’t care because his father is making mad stacks of cash for him. He also puts down his whole class by calling them whining children. They conclude with Klein strutting about and riffing with his friends about how many ladies they’d all get with his car. With a flourish he reveals that he stole his car keys from the principal and they are going to take a little joy ride that night.

This is where things get interesting. Klein decides they’re all going to Mable’s Table where all the townies are hanging out. For some reason all the Rolston kids are terrified of going into this diner. Reminds me of my home town where all of the tourists are afraid to come to the local bar because the townies will beat the shit out of them. You know what I’m talking about Jamie. Leelee’s there with Hartnett and his friend (dubbed Mathew Lillard Jr. for his sweet bleach blonde hair and extreme sidekickness). Leelee basically tells Hartnett that it’s ovah babyyyyyy by not writing their name on the Lover’s Wall and instead takes over for her sister waiting tables. Her fear of commitment is disconcerting to Hartnett, but he’s in high school so he rolls with it.

Klein and his friends enter and Klein proceeds to verbally accost poor Leelee. Like no joke he pretty much sexually assaults her. She immediately falls in love with him (natch). We are later led to believe that Leelee falls in love with his heart, in reality we can read between the lines and I think she just kind of likes assholes and Hartnett was just too nice for her. Plus just hear these smoove lines by Klein: “What’s good here besides the help?” “Do you really make your own ice cream” “How does one make you own ice cream” Note the accent on cream in those last two. I thought Klein was just saying it weird … now I’m wondering whether it is sexual innuendo. If it is that is supremely creepy. Harnett conducts his first acting lesson of the night and Chris Klein responds by calling all the townies poor. It is quite a speech. But hey guys …. He has a good heart.

A scuffle ensues and Klein basically tells Hartnett his girlfriend is probably going to dream of him tonight. The actual word is “fantasy file” which isn’t a real phrase. Klein speeds off and Hartnett, on principle, decides to race him. This inevitably results in a huge explosion that destroys Mabel’s (no one is hurt). It would have been a much different movie if someone had died, like Sleepers style. Klein and Hartnett go to prison. They are enemies, but for survival they become reluctant allies and then friends. I’m going to call it Shawshank Redemption 2: Rich and Poe. In this version of the script Klein’s character is ironically called Poe and Harnett’s is ironically called Rich. This may also be a Fox Family series in which Poe is forced to move in with Rich and comedy ensues, they’re such an odd couple!

Anyways. Now we get to see how justice is really served in small town USA … the same way as everywhere else, in a courtroom. Klein has Nerd Alert McGee as his lawyer (complete with bow tie) who’s all like: “excuse me, but can’t my client just pay everyone a ton of money and we can lay this matter to rest?” And the judge basically responds “what world do you live in where what you said makes any sense?” Regardless, the judge decides that they’re going to have to do something different with these boys and makes them rebuild Mabel’s Table and thus Klein must live in Hartnett’s house! Everyone seems satisfied although it does seem to dawn on them that Mabel’s Table is one of the dumbest restaurant names they’ve ever heard in their life.

As an aside: the movie would have been better if Hartnett put his and Leelee’s name on the Love Wall. In the movie Leelee just kind of gets all grumpy and starts cheating on Hartnett with Klein and generally acts pretty terribly towards him. In my version Hartnett tries to make up with her and when he claims they’re on the Love Wall she can say “you burned the Love Wall down.” I never got the sense she drifted from Hartnett because of that incident (which would have made more sense), but rather out of boredom making her intentions, while perhaps more real, a bit muddied. Whatevs.

Klein moves into Hartnett’s house and his disgust with the poor accommodations is palpable. He sees a rat and everything and we feel for him because of the sheer poorness of the house. Hartnett tries to make Klein milk some cows but Klein doesn’t do peasant work and walks out. Good call by Klein, if his servants every found out he milked a cow they would probably demand wages and whatnot. Meanwhile, Leelee has inexplicably made up with Hartnett because he fails adorably at making noises with a blade of grass and then a mysterious knee injury is revealed. Afterward we get some sermon from a priest and Matthew Lillard Jr. grosses everyone out by making out with his girlfriend who runs her hands through his frosted tips never realizing how much she will regret her high school choices in the future.

And then we get it. Chris Klein monologue #1. I think it is in his contract that he gets at least 2.5 monologues a movie, so the director made up a valedictorian speech he had to miss because he’s a dipshit. It is … well it’s just Birches by Robert Frost basically. Are you kidding me? How did I not know about this when I graduated high school, this would have definitely been my speech, and no one would have been the wiser (although I would have been booed off stage …. Worth it). Leelee sees the whole thing and is intrigued to say the least.

Leelee macks the mack by bringing Klein a sandwich, everyone enjoys some solid 90s Yo Mother jokes, and then Hartnett and Klein get into a scuffle. You know it is a movie because Hartnett, who sports some sweet bird arms and is built like a scarecrow, defeats Klein, who appears to have just finished up a really worthwhile cycle of anabolic steroids. Hartnett has a heart to heart with his mother who points out that Klein might as well be an orphan so cut him some slack. In this scene Hartnett “plays” the piano. In reality piano noises just play during a close up shot of his face. It’s pretty funny how little they tried here, but if Hartnett can actually play the piano they did him a disservice.

And then we get two amazing scenes in a row. First, Leelee pretty much jumps Klein. This flirty banter is amazing. Two notes. One, Klein is shirtless which was inevitable. Two, the beginning of that scene was ridiculous. Leelee stares lustily at Klein’s bod and says “I’m hot … … … … … I’m going to get something to drink.” It sounds like she’s drunk. It actually reminds me of that video of the Brady Bunch where the one kid was stoned for a scene. The scene is similar to how me and my wife met. I was working hard during college orientation (shirtless, natch). She came over to get a drink and that was all the opening I needed. Hook-line-and-sinker. I call that move the Charlie Nash Interpol because it makes the girls go crazy.

The second scene is then their date, which is also amazing. It’s in a ballpark and they pretend to play baseball and stuff. Sobieski is the worst and also cannot even fake throw a baseball which is hilarious. They talk about life and love and then make out. Klein’s clinching line is the inexplicable: “I was just wondering if there was mustard or …” referring to the sandwich she gave him hours ago. Oscar snub that year for sure. Since my wife doesn’t read these recaps she doesn’t know that this is happening, this is going to be a date we have. And I’ll force her to read lines with me and reenact the whole thing. We’ll break up for a bit, but she’ll forgive me. I’ve trapped her.

We move quickly from here. Leelee’s family is super concerned Klein is a hit-it-and-quit it guy from Rolston. Ironically, after they do have sex, it is Leelee who ends up dying almost immediately after. Sobieski breaks it to Harnett that … well nothing really. Not great life choices here for m’girl Leelee. Poor Hartnett is just getting dragged along. This is followed by a revolting scene in which Klein kisses a bunch of Leelee’s body parts (a creepy focus is on the feet) and calls them states. Florida is her feet, North and South Carolina the knees. The belly button is Maryland. And, because he’s a classy guy, he skips over New York and New Jersey, her breasts, for New England, her face. The closing line “Massachusetts welcomes you” by Leelee completed the amazing performance.

The following scene gives us our first glimpse of Sobieski running which she is somehow worse at than throwing fake baseballs. Upon seeing this Klein’s response should have been “Are you sure you were a track athlete? Didn’t focus on the ‘field’ aspect of those sports?” Sobieski then explains to Klein that she’s going to the dance with Hartnett. Klein naturally doesn’t understand, and neither do we. There is a very confusing schedule outlined here as well: The dance has fireworks. Klein wants to meet up after but Sobieski is going to Cape Cod. So let me get this straight. The fireworks, which probably start around 9pm, will end and then Sobieski will immediately drive to the Cape from Western Massachusetts …. Yeah that isn’t happening. Lucky for everyone this plan is never mentioned ever again. Regardless, it is assumed by everyone that Leelee is attracted to Hartnett’s superior acting skills because anyone could see that Klein is objectively more attractive.

Klein is upset about this development, but accepts his fate gracefully … Oh wait … nevermind. Instead he gets shitfaced and dances with a bunch of cows. The dance sequence could only be trumped by Sobieski trying to dance, but they wouldn’t let that happen would they? Klein goes to the dance drunk and gets wrecked by Hartnett. Classic. This time the fight is a bit more fair since Klein is absolutely falling-down drunk at this point. Klein instantaneously sobers up and decides to pack it in and leave. He asks Leelee to go with him. She practically burst out laughing, but he saves it by tacking “for the weekend” onto the end. Sobieski is mulling it over when Hartnett shows up. She makes the unfortunate decision to break the news in this fashion “I can’t go … *Hartnett looks happy, 3 more beats* … With you [Hartnett]” Hartnett then bursts into tears. After this particular scene everyone should have stopped filming because Hartnett is too good. He is a legit actor. Leelee and Klein should have felt embarrassed and just called off the rest of the shoot while they recast the leads. Sobieski then hops on the bus and drives off to Boston.

At the Klein Estate Sobieski pokes fun at Klein by asking about the Butler. Klein nonchalantly explains that it is Fourth of July so he’s not here. No joke, just kind of says Jeeves got the night off. Klein wants to see if there is food in the house (there obviously is … you live in a mansion), but Sobieski runs off to embarrass herself by lying in Klein’s mother’s suicide tub. Lucky for the world that action results in this monologue which I call “Mi Mama”. It is a heartfelt display by a very alone and all but abandoned young man. I’m all in now, you’ve hooked me finally. There is only one thing you could do to screw this up, but you wouldn’t do that, right? WRONG. Sobieski dance sequence to bumping 90s tunes. They have a nice fake rain going in the monologue scene. You can always tell a good fake rain, it comes in weird sheets. Must have only had the mansion for the night.

And now for the conclusion, Klein’s absentee father returns and tells him to get his act together before he heads off to Princeton. Princeton alums shake their head in shame. MIT gets Buschemi from Armageddon and Nic Cage from National Treasure, Princeton gets ………. Chris Klein in Here on Earth. Leelee arrives home and they find out she’s been hiding doctor appointments. Leelee meets up with Klein and challenges him to a race. In the real world Klein would defeat her easily, in this movie she takes a substantial lead (there is evidently something magically efficient about swinging her arms wildly from side to side). All of a sudden the movie goes into slo mo and she falls. Klein carries her back and she gets the surprise cancer diagnosis. Klein accuses her of quitting when she can’t get treatment. “You’re just going to die?” Her response of “I’m going to live …. Just not as long as you” doesn’t help.

Hartnett tells Klein to get it together (I agree). We get a sweet montage with Sobieski dying, and Klein looking forlornly at some roses and a picture of Sobieski. We finally conclude at the grand opening of Mable’s Table where Klein shows up, sweeps Sobieski off her feet, and carves their name on the new Lover’s Wall. As Jamie pointed out, it would have been much better if he instead carved in “Fuck Cancer”, but it dawned on me later that I don’t think the movie was intended to be a comedy. Klein gets to give the eulogy. I think he just ended up giving his graduation speech, but it was hard to tell.

Conclusion

What is there left to say. This goes into the pantheon for sure. Chris Klein once again showed himself to be worthy of the Nic Cage Jr. crown. All he needs is an Oscar so that he’ll be able to get jobs for the rest of his life. Sobieski plays a character who is most notable for making poor life choices and getting cancer … they could have given her a bit more to work with in my opinion. Josh Hartnett was amazingly good, didn’t really falter despite having Chris Klein chewing the scenery during every take. There really isn’t anything else to say. Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, Battlefield Earth, Here on Earth. Those are now my top three of BMT history. ‘Nuff said.

Here on Earth Preview

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

Here on Earth (2000) – BMeTric: 43.4

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(I find it pretty astonishing that the rating is just so low. There aren’t very many votes (which certainly plays into it), but it still is pretty amazing for what is at its core a fairly innocuous teen drama film … that is outside of the fact that we are obsessed with this film.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Spoiled preppy Klein falls for small-town girl Sobieski while rooming with her boyfriend’s family for the summer. Fateful teen romantic triangle is strictly by-the-numbers. Sobieski gets points for radiantly dangling two hunky guys along; if she were any more angelic she’d explode.

(Ha! Leonard identified one of the main sticking points of the entire film (Leelee’s character is kind of a dick for stringing Hartnett along when it was clear their relationship was done at the beginning of the film), and then dismisses it as a positive for Leelee. Go for it Leonard. Yeah, why shouldn’t Leelee get hers?!)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t8WI3bW8NA

(“Hey rich boy, come and get it!” Oh snap, that is some real sidekickness. And Klein looks jacked, I almost forgot just how jacked he was in this film. EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS TRAILER IS AMAZING. I’m having reverse Vietnam flashbacks here … does that make sense? Like I’m flashing back to the ecstasy of watching this film for the first time. Phew, I cannot wait.)

Directors – Mark Piznarski – (BMT: Here on Earth; Notes: Primarily a television director. Directed the first two episodes of Veronica Mars. The character of Stosh “Piz” Piznarski was named after him.)

Writers – Michael Seitzman (written by) – (Known For: North Country; BMT: Here on Earth; Notes: Basically immediately transitioned to television. Ultimately created Code Black which just ended this year.)

Actors – Chris Klein – (Known For: American Pie; American Reunion; We Were Soldiers; Just Friends; American Pie 2; Election; American Dreamz; Future BMT: Authors Anonymous; Day Zero; BMT: Rollerball; Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Say It Isn’t So; Here on Earth; Notes: He had a pretty public substance abuse issue which, it seems, he has kicked (good for him). Just had his second child.)

Leelee Sobieski – (Known For: Eyes Wide Shut; Never Been Kissed; Public Enemies; Deep Impact; Joy Ride; Walk All Over Me; Max; A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries; My First Mister; Future BMT: Jungle 2 Jungle; Branded; The Glass House; Finding Bliss; BMT: The Wicker Man; In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Here on Earth; 88 Minutes; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 2009 for 88 Minutes, and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Notes: Wow, all BMT films we’ve seen her in are now in the Hall of Fame. Her mother was a film producer and then became her manager when Leelee went into acting.)

Josh Hartnett – (Known For: Black Hawk Down; Sin City; The Virgin Suicides; The Faculty; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; 30 Days of Night; Lucky Number Slevin; O; Oh Lucy!; Resurrecting the Champ; Stuck Between Stations; Future BMT: The Black Dahlia; 40 Days and 40 Nights; Town & Country; Time Traveller; Wild Horses; Pearl Harbor; August; 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain; Bunraku; Blow Dry; The Ottoman Lieutenant; BMT: Hollywood Homicide; Here on Earth; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Pearl Harbor in 2002; Notes: Effectively retired ten years ago when he moved back to his native Minnesota, but broke back onto the scene with Penny Dreadful.)

Budget/Gross – $15 million / Domestic: $10,522,168 (Worldwide: $10,873,148)

(Unfortunately a disaster. So unlikely we’ll see a Here on Earth Expanded Universe (HoEEU). Which is too bad. I want to see what happened to … like, Leelee’s ancestors in the same town? I’m actually somehow selling myself on this idea … Netflix? Call me.)

#102 for the Romantic Drama genre

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(This is like a teen version of Nicholas Sparks film, which obviously the most enticing three words in Hollywood: teen Nicholas Sparks. Why would this genre die in the 2000? I don’t know, I think this comes up every time we do this plot. Maybe they got pushed out by some other genre or big budget fare?

#47 for the Teen Romance genre

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(Oooooooooh Endless Loooooooove is my second favorite of this genre. Was a late 80s genres, which surged again in the 2000s and is now sitting pretty these days. What happened in 2007ish? Twilight.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (12/69): Critics say Here on Earth’s weakness comes from its script. The story may appeal to young teenage girls, but it suffers from being overly sentimental and formulaic. The cinematography, however, is lovely in how it captures its Minnesota setting.

(It is impossible to be overly sentimental. Also … Oh I’m stewing now. It is obviously not set in Minnesota! It is set in Massachusetts. Ridiculous oversight. Reviewer Highlight – Makes the similarly themed Love Story seem positively sophisticated by comparison. – Lou Lumenick, New York Post)

Poster – Here on Sklog (A+)

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(I have this poster hanging in my house. It is like a beautiful watercolor, a dream. Zero complaints.)

Tagline(s) – NONE! (FFFFF)

(I’ll make one! Uh … “Earth’s the right place for love” there I did it! Phew, that was … much harder than I thought it would be. The logic is that that is a line from Birches by Robert Frost which plays a big role in the film. The film is a love story and thus illustrates a main plot, while sounding somewhat okay. It also takes place on the planet Earth.)

Keyword(s) – diner; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.5 The Wicker Man (2006); 84.8 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011); 78.0 Grease 2 (1982); 76.2 AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem (2007); 76.0 Ouija (2014); 73.7 Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993); 73.1 Howard the Duck (1986); 72.2 Cell (I) (2016); 71.5 Bewitched (2005); 69.2 Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (2011);

(Grease 2 has somehow completely avoided our scrutiny despite, obviously, being one of the worst of an entire decade. Diner is also a nonsense keyword, but whatever.)

Notes – Melissa Joan Hart was considered for the role of Samantha.

This movie is mentioned in the song “Wonder (If She’ll Get It)” by the band Superchick.

Ernest Goes to Jail Recap

Jamie

Ernest is back, Jack! Right? It’s the same guy each time? Anyway, unbeknownst to Ernest he has a doppelganger on death row. A fateful turn on jury duty unexpectedly gets them switched and his whole life is turned upside down when he’s stuck in jail. Can he escape, stop the criminal, and get the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… Ernest Goes to Jail.

How?! Meet Ernest P. Worrell. A dim but well-meaning janitor at a bank. Everyone there loves him and wants him to succeed as a future bank teller except the cranky president of the bank. Booooooo. Oh and he also becomes magnetic whenever he is electrocuted instead of dying. Not sure why. Anyway, in a wild coincidence he is called to jury duty for the trial of a toady for a local crime lord, Nash, who is just days away from his time in the electric chair and is an exact doppelganger for our poor Ernest. Realizing an opportunity the criminal convinces the judge to allow the jury to tour the prison during which the crime lord pulls the ol’ switcheroo and leaves poor Ernest in his place. Double boooo. While Ernest tries to navigate the hilarious world of maximum security prison, Nash is planning to rob the bank, sexually assault Ernest’s very kind female coworker (and love interest?), and probably do a whole bunch of other nasty stuff. Ernest attempts to escape to no avail, only to find that when they try to electrocute him it merely imbues him with super electromagnetic powers. With said powers he blows that joint (with the help of a prisoner with a heart of gold, Lyle) and gets to the bank just in time to try to stop Nash from blowing the vault and killing his coworkers. An all-out brawl ensues ending with Ernest once again getting electrocuted, gaining the ability to fly via polarization, and flying the bomb into the night sky where it appears he is killed. However, he falls back to Earth right on top of Nash, incapacitating him for good and then smash cut. THE END.

Why?! I’m actually not sure… I think it has something to do with the American dream. Like sure Ernest is dumb, but he’s nice and works hard, so shouldn’t that count for something? Interestingly they don’t make any claim that Ernest is actually good at his job despite his shortcomings. In fact they make it clear that he is quite bad at it. A convicted killer on death row comes straight out of jail and is so much better than Ernest at his job that he is immediately offered the promotion that Ernest has been trying hard to get. It’s actually kinda sad when you think about it.

Who?! Big time shout out to the true friend Ernest met in Jail, Lyle. He’s a big enforcer type who turns out to have a heart of gold (and an unrivaled mane of hair). The actor was actually former professional kickboxer and heavyweight boxer Tex Cobb. He’s probably best known for getting absolutely destroyed by Larry Holmes in an unlikely title fight. Some interesting rumors surrounded his career, including some drug and gambling stuff that was allegedly connected to his sudden retirement from the sport in 1993 and a claim that he was supposed to be the opponent for Muhammad Ali’s last fight but broke his arm saving a friend from a bar fight and had to back out.

What?! In some ways you can think of the entire franchise as a product placement. Ernest started as a character used in a number of commercials and eventually he himself became the product. Ironically once that became the point all the products in this film are cartoon versions and not real product placements.

Where?! Unsurprisingly, given Ernest’s roots, this film is set in the great state of Tennessee. Even if it weren’t predictable, it’s made clear at the very least by the Tennessee license plates on some of the main characters’ cars. C.

When?! This is actually a funny question. There is a calendar in Ernest/Nash’s cell with dates being crossed off, but there doesn’t seem to be much indication of what month the calendar is supposed to represent. Likely this is just a prop calendar, but I like to think that it is actually a nonspecific generic calendar that they give prisoners. You do see a January 1990 calendar hanging in the bank. Again likely just grabbed a prop and hung it up to the first page, but gotta assume the bank is actively using the calendar and it’s accurate. KnowhutImean? B-

So I watched Ernest’s “friend” Escape Plan: Hades first and that film is a whole bunch of nonsense. At times I thought they were speaking a different language or something because it was hard to follow exactly what was happening. It looked nice, though, with its fancy robots and fancy prison and fancy fight scenes. But it’s all fluff and was actually pretty boring. As if they didn’t really care to make a comprehensible film, but rather just an entry in their visual portfolio so they could try to get an even bigger and fancier job. I can certainly see why it didn’t go to theaters. As for Ernest, I daresay I actually kinda enjoyed myself. Ernest is just a silly character and his schtick lands quite often as he mugs and goes off on some overly-serious monologue on acting or business or the like. I can understand why I liked the films as a kid even if I almost definitely didn’t understand how crazy the attempted sexual assault by Nash is or the fact that Ernest is nearly executed via electric chair. Probably a full twenty minutes where the film starts to venture into the twilight zone away from the harmless fun that otherwise makes the franchise what it is: enjoyable stupidity. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Sometimes I forget that the Ernest films were a real thing. Like … if my parents had told me that it was some Canadian TV movie and that no one else had seen it I would have just shrugged and said “yeah makes sense”. But it isn’t … this was released to over 1000 theaters in 1990. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I watched the trailer, and made the notes, and read the reviews … but I still had a sneaking suspicion I would like this film. Why? First because I watched it as a kid. Something about Ernest must just remind me of simpler times. But more important I’ve watched Ernest Goes to Camp more recently, about 7 years ago, and I thought that was actually a lot better than you might think. I was sure I was going to think the same thing here.

The Good – Ernest is goofy harmless silliness. Varney himself is top notch, with both the physicality necessary for a kids’ movie character and the ability to do some goofy impressions. As the heart and soul of the film there is little more I would ask him to do. I dig the surrealist atmosphere this movie takes, the bright pink guard uniforms, the completely open prison cells with twenty foot ceilings, a world filled with goofy caricatures. It all kind of works on a straight-to-video level.

The Bad – The film is aggressively dumb, and in that sense all of the reviews are totally justified. The love story comes across as creepy now I think as it is abundantly obvious Ernest had either a learning disability or has serious emotional issues he should be working out with a therapist. The film is crazy dark with Ernest going to the electric chair and basically killed while the prison warden looks on in glee. Super nuts. The film is extremely derivative, relying exclusively on the doppelganger / Prince and the Pauper trope to drive the story forwards.

You Just Got Schooled – The story of Ernest is pretty interesting, at least what you can glean from IMDb notes and elsewhere. This article seems like a pretty good roundup. Short story: Varney wanted to be an actor, but struggled to establish himself on the stage in NYC. Bouncing between his home in Kentucky and New York he ended up landing a spot with Cherry, an ad man. They ended up doing hundreds of commercials together, and then got a four picture deal (which Ernest Goes to Jail is part of). Afterwards they settled into a more lucrative straight-to-video deal, but unfortunately Verney died in 2000 prior to filming Ernest Goes to Space and Ernest and the Voodoo Curse (which I would have called Weekend at Ernest’s 2, but whatever). Fascinating stuff, a really really unique only-in-the-90s type franchise I think.

The BMT – Do I think Ernest is a BMT franchise … no. I don’t. Despite the fact that I would say that I’m fairly objective when it comes to films I saw when I was a kid (Hook, I’m looking at you), I can’t help but like Ernest. I think he’s harmless fun, so there. The character is sweet, and naive, and always tries to do what’s best. What’s wrong with that? Nothing I think … although they are pretty bad. I reserve the right to change my mind, but for now Ernest is pretty okay nonsense.

Sklogwords – After moving Welcome to Earth to the preview I needed a new game, and noticing that The Movie Database is a little light on keywords what bigger service could I provide the world that filling in entirely too accurate keywords for BMT films. For Ernest I chose the following ten in order: Prison, prison break, magnetism, bank robbery, janitor, electric chair, Tennessee, doppelganger, impersonation, animal actor. The funniest one is probably either doppelganger (where the film Southland Tales tends to come up a lot) or Tennessee which, fun fact, is also the setting of the Hannah Montana Movie! And now I’m the number one editor of the film Ernest Goes to Jail on TMDB. So there.

StreetCreditReport.com – There is really nothing here, which isn’t that surprising. Do you know what is surprising? That one of the main reasons listed in reviews as to why Ernest was unbearable was that he was either “too nerdy” or “too geeky”. Like, say what? It doesn’t feel like he is either of those things. At the very least he has a learning disability, but geeky? Nerdy? What was up with the early 90s yo?

Bring a Friend Analysis – As the number of wide release bad movies has dropped in the past few years I’ve often thought that it is likely that at least some of them are going direct to VOD. And Escape Plan 2: Hades seemed like a perfect test of this theory. Wrong! Wrong! The first film was surprisingly good, a decent team-up in Stallone and Arnold, a classic 80s actioner really. This? This is trash. This is dog poo thrown forcefully into my face. It has robots, and terrible actors, and AI, and … it is gibberish. It makes you feel like you are taking crazy pills. And then there is a ton of guns and killing … I just wanted some prison escapes man! This is worse that Prison Break season 2 when they forgot the show was about breaking out of prisons! On the one hand I’m glad to hear that, no, not all VOD features are suddenly on BMT’s radar. On the other I watched Escape Plan 2: Hades in real life, that is something I spent some of my short time on Earth doing. So that’s depressing. B as a friend, F- as an actual movie fit for human consumption.

Phew, long one, but I have a feeling the Bring a Friend cycle will tend to be that way. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

Ernest Goes to Jail Quiz

So you’re Ernest. You’re a janitor, you’re kind to a fault, you got friends and maybe (oooooooo) a girlfriend, and fine … you might be a bit slow. But gosh darn it you want to be a bank clerk! Well you can’t … until you take this quiz that is!

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) As was explained Ernest is a janitor at a bank (but he wants to be a bank clerk). The night we meet this kind misfit he’s busy innocently trashing the bank. What unfortunate action by our hero sets off the chain of events whereby the bank is messed up?

2) Like normal human beings Ernest, when electrocuted, becomes magnetic (and much hilarity ensues). How many times did Ernest become magnetically charged?

3) Ernest is very very excited to serve on Jury Duty. What case does he very coincidentally and inconveniently get to be a juror for?

4) After a little switcheroo with Bizarro Ernest (i.e. Nash), Ernest ends up in prison. Whoops! Afterwards Ernest attempts to escape three times prior to his execution. Describe each attempt.

5) Why is Ernest able to fly in the climactic battle scene with Bizarro Ernest?

Answers

Ernest Goes to Jail Preview

Creeping silently down the corridors of the Super Duper Commando HQ, Jamie and Patrick are quaking in their boots. They never thought the ancient scroll would turn out to be true. They never thought that only one of them may survive. Turning a corner they confront the Commando wielding the Sword of Destiny. “Poor children,” he laughs, “So ill-equipped. So pathetic.” Suddenly he throws a samurai sword and a mesh tank top to Patrick. “To give you a chance,” he scoffs and takes a fighting stance. Patrick drops both to the side, “it doesn’t have to end this way, Commando. We are all humans. You were once too. Remember what it was like to feel the grass between your toes, the wind in your hair, the smell of fresh baked bread?” The Commando begins to break, licking his lips nervously. “Heh, right. I have power, though. Better than all that.” Patrick steps forward, “Is it? Is it power? Or is power the love between a mother and her child, the ocean’s tides, or a fresh squeezed glass of lemonade?” He steps forward again and he embraces the Commando who is now weeping. The Commando steps back wiping his eyes and throws his sword away. “Thank you,” he says quietly, “for everything.” Suddenly a powerful gust of wind blows through the hallway and sends Patrick’s sword flying through the air and decapitates the Commando. “Jesus Christ!” Both Jamie and Patrick scream and they are surrounded by police. “Freeze, dirtbags!” The Commander shakes his head sadly. “I’m sorry lads, this is the end of the line. And you had such a promising career in t-shirt sales.” He puts them in handcuffs and leads them to jail. That’s right! We’re watching Ernest Goes to Jail! And not only that but we’re watching it as part of a new segment in the cycle as of 2019. We loved Bring a Friend so much that it is now a permanent part of the cycle. It replaces the Games segment since we just gotta make it our beeswax to work on our games 24/7/365. For this entry Ernest is bringing along an unexpected Jail Break Friend in Escape Plan 2. It’s the sequel to the Sly Stallone original and came and went without making it into theaters. This gives us a chance to see just how shitty it turned out. Let’s go!

Ernest Goes to Jail (1990) – BMeTric: 37.2

ErnestGoestoJail_BMeT

ErnestGoestoJail_RV

(Honestly? Shockingly high. I’m quite surprised that it has nearly 10K votes. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I was told that Ernest Goes to Jail was some fever dream of mine from when I was a kid and literally no one else knew about it …)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Third in the surprisingly successful series about Ernest P. Worrell finds out hero in prison as a result of a switch set up by an evil inmate look alike (also played by Varney). Harmless, predictable, and hokey.

(That review … doesn’t sound like a 2-star film. But yes. It is harmless and hokey for sure. Basically, if you read the reviews for the other films it boils down to this: this series is for literal dumb people. He’s not wrong …)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4zNSx42aEo/

(That … isn’t a real trailer, but whatever. These films are a lot more surreal that you would think given the character. Ernest Goes to Camp is the same way, a very weird film. I’m extremely interested in seeing just how terrible this film is.)

Directors – John R. Cherry III – (Known For: Ernest Goes to Camp; Future BMT: Ernest Saves Christmas; Ernest Scared Stupid; Ernest Rides Again; BMT: Ernest Goes to Jail; Notes: He developed Ernest at his Nashville advertising agency. He apparently based it on a person who had worked for his father.)

Writers – Charlie Cohen (written by) – (BMT: Ernest Goes to Jail; Notes: Apparently was an executive producer of Justin Bieber’s Believe.)

Actors – Jim Varney – (Known For: Toy Story; Toy Story 2; Atlantis: The Lost Empire; Ernest Goes to Camp; Daddy and Them; 100 Proof; Future BMT: 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain; Ernest Saves Christmas; Ernest Scared Stupid; Ernest Rides Again; Wilder Napalm; BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; Ernest Goes to Jail; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Ernest Goes to Camp in 1988; Notes: Given how famous he eventually became, it is crazy to think that Ernest was his actual starting point. He began portraying Ernest in 1980 in local commercials in Kentucky.)

Gailard Sartain – (Known For: The Outsiders; The Replacements; Mississippi Burning; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Ali; The Jerk; Nashville; The Grifters; The Buddy Holly Story; The Big Easy; Ernest Goes to Camp; All of Me; Blaze; Made in Heaven; Guilty by Suspicion; Choose Me; Trouble in Mind; The Moderns; Songwriter; Love at Large; Future BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; The Patriot; Getting Even with Dad; The Real McCoy; Ernest Saves Christmas; RocketMan; Speechless; Clean Slate; Elizabethtown; Roadie; The Hollywood Knights; Equinox; BMT: Wagons East; Ernest Goes to Jail; Notes: A regular on Hee Haw, he was only in the first three Ernest films, eventually being replaced in his role.)

Bill Byrge – (Future BMT: Ernest Saves Christmas; Ernest Scared Stupid; BMT: Ernest Goes to Jail; Notes: Worked at the Nashville library (what what!). He retired in 1995 at the age of 63. IMDb claims he did it to focus on acting, but he didn’t appear in anything else, not even the subsequent Ernest films.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $25,029,569

(Hmmmm. Let’s see what The Numbers says … nothing. My guess is this film cost literally nothing to make. The entire franchise made less than $100 million at the box office. Four theatrically released films, at least six overall. Less than $100 million. Yeah, these things cost nothing.)

#24 for the Comedy – Bumbling genre

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(By far the worst we’ve seen in the genre which should just be renamed Kevin-James. Just a shade below Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol … which is an embarrassment.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 13% (1/8): No consensus yet.

(My fake consensus is pretty short: Ernest is an obnoxious and I hate him. It pretty much sums up the consensus. The one good review is pretty hilarious though. Reviewer Highlight: Jim Varney at the peak of his comedic powers, playing two instantly distinctive roles. If you only ever see one Ernest movie, make it this one. – Luke Y. Thompson, New Times)

Poster – The Sklogs Go to Jail (B+)

ernest_goes_to_jail

(Certainly interesting. I like the artistic perspective and the special font they used. It’s also just kind of funny and makes me want to see the film, which is obviously a good thing. Only wish the coloring was better.)

Tagline(s) – Guilty of Maximum Fun in the First Degree! (F)

(Oh noooooooooooooooooooo! This may actually be the worst tagline I’ve ever seen. Fortunately I don’t see it on the poster. I wonder where they used that atrocity. Looking around it seems like maybe the kicker on the description on the back of the VHS box… so phew, not really a tagline, but I’m keeping it because it’s ridiculous.)

Keyword(s) – jury duty; Top Ten by BMeTric: 57.1 Jury Duty (1995); 38.2 The Juror (1996); 37.2 Ernest Goes to Jail (1990); 17.1 Trial by Jury (1994); 16.1 Illegally Yours (1988); 13.4 Leslie, My Name Is Evil (2009); 11.4 Suspect (1987); 10.5 Fantozzi alla riscossa (1990); 7.6 Runaway Jury (2003); 3.4 Murder Most Foul (1964);

(Holy shit. For reals the top three are incredible … and then it just drops off. You’d think more bad movies would involve jury duty. It does at least remind me that we should watch Jury Duty.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists  using only BMT films is: Jim Varney is No. 1 billed in Ernest Goes to Jail and No. 1 billed in The Beverly Hillbillies, which also stars Lea Thompson (No. 6 billed) who is in Left Behind (2014) (No. 3 billed), which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 6 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – There were a few extended and deleted scenes that were not featured in the original version of the movie, but were in some made-for-TV versions. 1. There was an extended scene where Ernest was washing himself in a washing machine, and was staggering after he stepped out. 2. A scene where Ernest was trying to sneak out of jail and was found by the searchlights. Then, he was making shadow puppets. 3. An extended scene where Nash (as Ernest) was in Mr. Penalsmythe’s office negotiating the clerk job. 4. A deleted scene where Ernest was working as a bank clerk. (I … think the version I watched as a kid had at least a few of those. Definitely first scene was there)

This is the last Ernest movie to have the character Chuck played by Gailard Sartain. (Yup, he’s replaced in Ernest Scared Stupid)

Among the famous eccentric actors whom Ernest imitates in jail when trying out for “Mr. Nash”, are James Cagney, Walter Brennan, Humphrey Bogart, Barry Fitzgerald, Sylvester Stallone, and James Mason. During the impression of Sylvester Stallone the line that Ernest says is “Hey you, Murdock, you’re the guy who shot my brother…” The character of Murdock was played by Charles Napier in Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), which starred Stallone. Charles Napier plays Warden Carmichael in Ernest Goes To Jail. (FUN FACT)

Gailard Sartain, Charles Napier, and Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb appeared on the TV series “Walker, Texas Ranger” (1993-2001), with Napier playing a prison warden on that show as he did in this film.

Before Ernest is put in the electric chair, he is asked if he wants a blindfold or a cigarette. Ernest responds with, “I’m afraid of the dark, and cigarettes’ll kill you.” Ironically, ten years later Jim Varney died of lung cancer that was brought on by a lifetime of smoking. (Yeah, his Nash voice is I think his natural smoker’s voice)

Hall of Fame Speech #14: Cobra

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a third class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly eight years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. This is the fourth installment leading up to the sixth (eighth?) Smaddies Baddies bringing you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. There was a time in this world in which Sylvester Stallone was the biggest star in Hollywood. And one of his most iconic character was a tough as nails cop who took down the baddest of bad guys. No, not Judge Dredd, this one acted as judge, jury, and executioner for super criminals who terrorized innocent civilians. No, still not Judge Dredd. This guy was the law! NO STILL NOT JUDGE DREDD. We’re talking about Marion Cobretti, aka Cobra! Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Cobra

Cobra fits into the Battlefield Earth mold of BMT films. If someone came to me and said “Hey, I’m trying to create a fun bad movie night for my friends. What do you recommend?” I would have Cobra on the list of solid choices. You’re not diving deep with something like Here on Earth where your friends and family will watch with concern as you roll on the floor laughing at Chris Klein dancing and stripping off his shirt. That’s our specific bad movie disease. This is the cure.

The top things I remembered from our first viewing:

  • It opens with a crazy 80’s super criminal grocery store hostage situation that basically sums up the film.
  • Sly Stallone cuts his pizza with a pair of scissors for reasons unknown.
  • Sly Stallone talks about other people’s dietary choices at least five times throughout the film. Lest you think this is a quirk of the script he also does this in the film Over the Top… so it’s all him, baby.
  • Brigitte Nielsen does a photo shoot or music video involving robots and it’s the most 80’s thing that has ever been created.
  • It is as far as I know the earliest example of a Secret Holiday Film as it very noticeably takes place during Christmas. Great answer for the question “What’s your favorite holiday film?”

I like to think that the most important aspect of the film is the Super Criminal idea. This is a pretty rare big budget film that allowed some of that grindhouse flavor leak into the stew. I specifically recall my mind being blown about what I was seeing on screen. The bad guy is an Unstoppable Force (complete with murderous crime spree through a hospital a la Halloween 2). He even speaks like the crazed student in Class of 1984, declaring himself the future, which is sure to be a bleak dystopia rules by super criminal sociopaths that cannot be controlled by normal cops who play by The Rulez. But Cobra don’t play by no Rulez. It has informed a huge part of the Bad Movie Twin lore.

As far as how the rewatch went this film really is special in that Tango & Cash kind of way. So earnest in what it set out to do. No sense of irony at all. Sly Stallone is cool. People step to him and he calmly rips their shirt and they’re like “oh shit, right. I respect this guy.” He lets people know that their diet is shit and they won’t ever be as ripped as he is even though he eats ‘za cut with scissors because he doesn’t have time or patience for a pizza cutter, bro. Brigitte Nielsen dances around with some robots and we aren’t supposed this think “ha, that’s funny.” We’re supposed to be like “that’s cool and hot and I have no chance with her, but Sly does.” The bad guys bang axes together, clench their teeth until sweat is popping out of their already popping veins, and look like crazed serial killers at all times. This wasn’t the age of the broken, damaged antihero. This was the age of Sly Stallone perfection against a gang of ruthless cult members overrunning a city.

Speaking of that it’s hard to talk wistfully about the age of the dystopian crimescape film, particularly when we’ve had to endure some particular horrid (and racist) examples of this like Death Wish. Once again we are treated to a hero who believes that you gotta shoot to kill to rid the streets of subhuman filth. Did they deserve to die? Of course. Didn’t you see how they were being criminals? This is obviously problematic on a whole bunch of levels. At least in this case you can cut Sly a little slack since the criminals he’s after are actually an insane cult and not just an extreme portrayal of gang crime run amok. In fact this cult seems to accept all ages and genders and the such. They simply believe themselves to be the next step in evolution. Unbeknownst to them they are simply a parasite and Sly is the exterminator.

Finally, as noted in what I remember about the film, this is a prime example of the Secret Holiday Film. Pretty much started that trend for us and it’s even more noticeable on a rewatch. Everything points to it being Xmas. What I didn’t totally remember was the extreme product placement. Sure we have Sly swigging a Coors in a grocery store before blowing away a bad guy. Make sense. He’s in a grocery store and cleaning up the streets makes one thirsty (I imagine). But why does our hero also endure a gigantic neon Pepsi sign glowing just outside his apartment? And being such a Pepsi head why doesn’t he say something when his partner sates his own thirst with a refreshing Coca-Cola. Need a place to rest? Lean against these boxes of 7up. You got time, right? Let’s treat you to an entire commercial for Toys-R-Us. It’s pretty impressive just how much they pack into a svelte 87 minute run time.

In conclusion, this film is fun. It is every Stallone film distilled into an easily digestible package. It’s like Tango & Cash except that film is actually good and this is for dumb people (and everyone needs to be dumb every once in a while). Battlefield Earth, Cobra, and The Wicker Man. That’s the trinity. In the name of John Travolta, Sly Stallone, and Nic Cage. Amen.