Halloween III: Season of the Witch Preview

“Mr. Wrong,” Patrick finishes. With that he presses a button and the gigantic, useless box explodes to reveal its very not useless contents (what a twist!). Hundreds of Obsidian Dongles pour out. “You see,” Patrick explains, “once I saw the Rich & Poe book in the bookstore window I knew the Dongle wasn’t safe. I slipped it in the mail to my wife and told her to pack it up in this crate with numerous replicas. One of which you so conveniently stole from us.” He looks around in satisfaction, the Dongle nicely obfuscated by the sea of false Dongles. Manfred backs up in panic, attempting to use his false Dongle. “No, but… I quickened!” He screams in rage, still trying to use a power he never possessed. Patrick shakes his head. “Wrong again, Mr. Wrong.” At this point Manfred is picking up Dongle after Dongle, each one faker than the last. He sobs, lamenting his lost power as Patrick shakes his head in disgust. Time to wait and hope that Jamie triumphs over the cyborgs, but something told him that everything would be OK.

Jamie lifts the Obsidian Dongle from the safe and Kyle asks in a whisper how this could be. This world was a microcosm in and of itself and after decades living here it had carved itself into their image. Delivering unto them a Digital Dongle (all rights reserved). As the cyborgs bust into the back room their eyes widen for a moment before Jamie blasts them away.

Suddenly Jamie and Kyle wink into existence in the apartment, the power of cyberspace delivering them once again home. A tear trickles down Kyle’s face. “Never forget me,” he whispers. Patrick and Jamie embrace and then turn to Manfred. Sadly Patrick delivers justice, “Trick or treat, Manfred.” That’s right! As we head out of our 90’s extravaganza of friends we are transitioning to the year in retrospection. Just like 2020, this year proved difficult to collect an adequate roster of films, so we will be mixing in anniversaries (the first of which was 1996’s Mr. Wrong). But before that we will watch a Holiday Edition of BMT Live. While not a 2021 film, this Live is still with the spirit of the now in that it’ll celebrate Halloween with a film that just recently re-qualified for BMT. That would be Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Let’s go!

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) – BMeTric: 64.5; Notability: 33

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 0.4%; Notability: top 6.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 13.1%; Higher BMeT: Grease 2; Higher Notability: Young Doctors in Love, Firefox, Trail of the Pink Panther, Movie Madness, Hanky Panky, Grease 2, Monsignor, Making Love, Lookin’ to Get Out, The Man with the Deadly Lens, Death Wish II, The Toy, Yes, Giorgio, Fighting Back, Megaforce; Lower RT: Megaforce, Class Reunion, The Dorm That Dripped Blood, Movie Madness, Monsignor, The Toy, Zapped!, Friday the 13th: Part III, Five Days One Summer, Amityville II: The Possession, Parasite, The Beast Within, Losin’ It, Vigilante, Fighting Back, Summer Lovers, Trail of the Pink Panther, Young Doctors in Love, The Man with the Deadly Lens, Lookin’ to Get Out, and 6 more; Notes: The graph makes sense because I think this is a film which is slowly becoming more cult-classic as it ages. Weirdly high BMeTric while also barely qualifying.

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – There are a lot of problems with “Halloween III,” but the most basic one is that I could never figure out what the villain wanted to accomplish if he got his way. His scheme is easy enough to figure: He wants to sell millions of Halloween masks to the nation’s kiddies and then brainwash them to put them on at the same time, whereupon laser beams at the base of the neck will fry the tykes. Meanwhile, he runs a factory that turns out lifelike robots. What’s his plan? Kill the kids and replace them with robots? Why?

(Actually I know this. He is an ancient member of a cult. And every certain number of years they need to make a sacrifice (using things like Stonehenge as a way to focus power) to continue their eternal life I’m pretty sure. The bad guy plans the ultimate sacrifice. To kill hundred, thousands, millions (?) of children across the United States at just the right moment. So no, nothing really to do with robots. The robots are, I think, just to make it all not need to be a large conspiracy. The bad guy is effectively doing it all himself.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCNSJO24dvE/

(Sufficiently mysterious. Loving the classic Carpenter synth track. Just … the masks look pretty dumb. It is a fundamental issue with the film I think.)

DirectorsTommy Lee Wallace – ( Known For: Fright Night Part 2; Vampires: Los Muertos; Aloha Summer; BMT: Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Notes: Allegedly has a movie he wrote and is directing in production. It seems like that is always the case, and as usual I’m skeptical.)

WritersTommy Lee Wallace – ( Known For: Fright Night Part 2; Vampires: Los Muertos; Far from Home; Future BMT: Amityville II: The Possession; BMT: Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Notes: Was married to Nancy Kynes (who starred in Halloween and was in this as well), and worked on multiple Carpenter films around this time.)

John Carpenter – ( Known For: Halloween; Halloween; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; The Fog; They Live; Prince of Darkness; Escape from New York; Assault on Precinct 13; Escape from L.A.; Dark Star; Assault on Precinct 13; Eyes of Laura Mars; Black Moon Rising; Future BMT: Halloween Kills; Halloween; Halloween: Resurrection; Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers; Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers; Lockout; BMT: Halloween II; Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Ghosts of Mars; The Fog; Notes: Y’all know Carpenter. This was his attempt to move Halloween away from the trashy horror franchise quagmire of the 80s and into an anthology idea. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.)

Nigel Kneale – ( Known For: The Abominable Snowman; Quatermass and the Pit; The Quatermass Xperiment; First Men in the Moon; The Witches; Quatermass 2; Look Back in Anger; The Entertainer; H.M.S. Defiant; BMT: Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Notes: A ton of his credits are for various versions of Quatermass. A cursory glance suggests quite a few similarities between that original story and this film which is interesting.)

ActorsTom Atkins – ( Known For: The Fog; Escape from New York; Creepshow; My Bloody Valentine; Lethal Weapon; Night of the Creeps; Trick; The Detective; Maniac Cop; The Ninth Configuration; The New Kids; Two Evil Eyes; Bob Roberts; The Owl and the Pussycat; Encounter; Bruiser; Where’s Poppa?; Amazing Racer; Special Delivery; Lemon Sky; Future BMT: Striking Distance; BMT: Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Drive Angry; Notes: A horror icon of the era. Still works at the age of 85, he has a movie coming out next year, Final Summer.)

Stacey Nelkin – ( Known For: Bullets Over Broadway; Up the Academy; Get Crazy; Serial; California Dreaming; Going Ape!; Everything Relative; Future BMT: Yellowbeard; BMT: Halloween III: Season of the Witch; Notes: Apparently she was the person who went out with Woody Allen as a teenager which inspired the plotline of Manhattan.)

Dan O’Herlihy – ( Known For: RoboCop; The Last Starfighter; Imitation of Life; Waterloo; Fail-Safe; 100 Rifles; The Dead; Macbeth; Odd Man Out; Robinson Crusoe; The Tamarind Seed; The Desert Fox; MacArthur; One Foot in Hell; The Cabinet of Caligari; The Black Shield of Falworth; Love, Cheat and Steal; The Blue Veil; Home Before Dark; Larceny; BMT: Halloween III: Season of the Witch; RoboCop 2; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Robinson Crusoe in 1955. His son Gavan was also an accomplished actor.)

Budget/Gross – $2.5 million / Domestic: $14,400,000 (Worldwide: $14,400,000)

(That is fine, but also obviously not what you are looking for at the time. At the time you are probably looking to get a huge multiplier on your budget for the classic low-budget franchise horror schlock. This merely made “some money”.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (11/28): Its laudable deviation from series formula not withstanding, Halloween III: Season Of The Witch offers paltry thrills and dubious plotting.

(For the record, this barely qualifies and didn’t only a few months ago. But we jumped on it before it (inevitably) became unqualified again. Amazing how high the critical rating is at the moment for a film with terrible IMDb ratings.)

Reviewer Highlight: This movie is a dirty trick on all Halloween fans. – Aja Romano, Vox

Poster – Baller-ween III: Season of the Sklog

(Most of this poster is terrible. It’s just a random shot from the film that makes no sense. I like the bit at the top though. Just make that the poster. If that was the poster I think it might have been like a B+. As it is, it’s just a C.)

Tagline(s) – The night no one comes home. (C-)

(These are words. I’m not sure they totally make sense. Certainly not in the context of the film, which is predicated on everyone gathering in their homes to watch a commercial at 9pm PST (midnight EST??). It’s short… that’s about it.)

Keyword(s) – halloween

Top 10: Halloween Kills (2021), Halloween (2018), Hocus Pocus (1993), Halloween II (1981), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), The Addams Family (1991), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), The Crow (1994), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Scary Movie (2000)

Future BMT: 83.9 Halloween: Resurrection (2002), 72.1 Bewitched (2005), 70.4 Halloween II (2009), 70.0 Texas Chainsaw (2013), 67.6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 64.6 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 61.3 Skinwalkers (2006), 60.4 Pet Sematary II (1992), 60.0 Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), 56.9 The Next Best Thing (2000)

BMT: Halloween II (1981), Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), Thir13en Ghosts (2001), Batman Forever (1995), The Predator (2018), Deadly Friend (1986), Son of the Mask (2005), Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016), Made of Honour (2008), Town & Country (2001)

Matches: Halloween Kills (2021), Halloween (2018), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), The Crow (1994), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Scary Movie (2000), Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), Halloween II (2009), Trick ‘r Treat (2007), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Hubie Halloween (2020), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019), Monster House (2006), Haunt (2019), Terrifier (2016), Idle Hands (1999), The Haddonfield Nightmare (2021), A Cinderella Story (2004), Hell House LLC (2015), Night of the Demons (1988), Tales of Halloween (2015), Once Bitten (1985), Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018), Night of the Demons (2009), All Hallows’ Eve (2013), Fun Size (2012), When We First Met (2018), Ghost Squad (2015), Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween (2017), Pet Sematary II (1992), C.O.R.N. (2021), Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016), Bad Candy (2020), Fear PHarm (2020), Candy Corn (2019), Stan Helsing (2009), …

(Sooooo many films have the keyword matches, I limited it to just up to the last one I definitely recognized by name. We really need to start working through the franchise though, that would fill out the plot well.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Tom Atkins is No. 1 billed in Halloween III: Season of the Witch and No. 8 billed in Drive Angry, 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 + 8) + (1 + 1) + (5 + 1) = 17. If we were to watch Striking Distance, The Jackal, Nights in Rodanthe, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 22.

Notes – John Carpenter didn’t plan on having Michael Myers in every Halloween movie, only the first. He wanted a different Halloween related story each time. But after the first Halloween (1978) was a success, producers forced him to use Myers again. He did, but killed off Myers and Loomis to be done with them. Then he produced Season of the Witch to get back to his original plan. But at that point people were expecting Myers again so it failed. Carpenter then dropped the franchise and sold the rights years later because he wasn’t interested in doing more Myers. The new owners then brought Myers and Loomis back in 1988 with no explanation how they survived.

The movie’s novelization was published in 1982 by science-fiction writer Dennis Etchison under the pseudonym Jack Martin. Despite the movie’s critical failure, the book became a best-seller and was even reissued two years after the movie’s release, in 1984.

The song “London Bridge is Falling Down” was chosen as the Silver Shamrock jingle because this was in the public domain.

Using the original molds, the skull, witch, and jack-o’-lantern masks seen in the movie were mass-produced by Don Post Studios and sold in retail stores to promote the movie’s release.

During a reunion panel for the cast and crew of the movie in the Summer of 2015, Tom Atkins and Stacey Nelkin confirmed that the bedroom scene was one of the very first things that they shot together. Both found this humorous because Nelkin had been quickly cast as Ellie Grimbridge due to time restraints on the studio’s part and the two had barely gotten acquainted beforehand.

In an interview with the Pittsburgh Press newspaper shortly before the movie’s release, Tom Atkins told the hometown publication that he didn’t know how the movie was going to end because they “shot a couple of different endings”.

Tom Atkins and Garn Stephens (who played Marge Guttman) were husband and wife at the time.

The tagline “The night no one comes home” is a play on the original Halloween movie’s tagline “The night HE came home”.

Director Tommy Lee Wallace credits the concept of witchcraft in the computer age to producer Debra Hill.

Executive producer Irwin Yablans was against not using Michael Myers in this sequel, even though Myers and Loomis were killed off in the previous movie. He has said in interviews he had little to do with the finished movie, and basically received credit for his minor involvement. He also said he did receive a “fat cheque” for his trouble.

The cartoon playing on television in the bar is The Cigarette and the Weed (1981), directed by Ralph Bakshi, the director of Fritz the Cat (1972), Heavy Traffic (1973), Wizards (1977) and The Lord of the Rings (1978).

The movie is included on the film critic Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list.

“Season of the Witch” was the original working title of Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets (1973). “Season of the Witch” is also the name of a song by Donovan and the name for George A. Romero’s movie Season of the Witch (1972). Also the name of Nicolas Cage’s movie Season of the Witch (2011).

In “Halloween Kills” (2021), three of Michael Myers victims are displayed wearing the Silver Shamrock masks on a merry-go-round.

Mr. Wrong Recap

Jamie

Martha is a successful woman who is feeling a lot of pressure to find a husband. Doesn’t help that she’s also lonely. So when she happens to meet a successful, handsome, lonely guy in a bar on Valentine’s Day it all seems too good to be true. And it is, cause he’s def Mr. Wrong. Can she get out of his clutches before it’s too late? Find out in… Mr. Wrong.

How?! Martha runs a big time morning show in San Diego and everyone is making a big deal that she’s single. Not to mention that the only guy giving her any attention anyway is an early twenties assistant at the show, Walter. So when Valentine’s Day rolls around she finds herself lonely in a bar and woah, hold on a sec, a handsome guy happens to pick the same song she was going to pick on the jukebox? And this dude Whitman’s a poet/financial whiz?! They soon embark on a torrid love affair where everyone in Martha’s life is charmed by Whitman and Martha gets increasingly suspicious. First his poetry seems… not great. Also, there is a wildly crazy ex-gf harassing her. One day, when his weird interactions with people get to be too much, she tells him that he should really just be himself around her. Freed by this revolutionary idea Whitman instantly becomes his true self: a total maniac. He is stealing stuff and throwing garbage at homeless people and reveals that in fact his world revolves around his crazy rich mother. It is a total nightmare and yet everyone around her is kinda like “come on, it’s fine, you could do worse.” After hiring a private eye, who reveals loads more terrible things about him, Martha tasks him with getting rid of Whitman. But alas, Whitman is able to charm the PI who tries to take Martha back to Whitman. She flees and is hit by a van. In the hospital she wakes up to find that Whitman put a ring on her finger and claimed they are engaged. She flees again, but is kidnapped by the crazy ex-gf. Whitman rescues her from them only to kidnap Martha all over again, drug her, and drive her to Mexico for her wedding. Martha is able to get word to Walter for help and in a crazy climax Whitman is shot as Martha attempts to flee her own wedding. It is thought that Martha shot Whitman (she didn’t, the crazy ex-gf did) but Walter rescues her and they ride off into the sunset. THE END.

Why?! Love… kinda. I mean Martha wants to find love. She rightly thinks that she is a successful woman who shouldn’t settle just because her family and friends think she’s getting old. But she obviously also wants to be loved. So those two pressures unfortunately push her into Whitman’s arms. Whitman is crazy and everyone else in the film is dumb. That’s about it.

Who?! This has a whole bunch of interesting people in it. There are a few cameos of celebs appearing on the fake show that Ellen works on (e.g. Louie Anderson and Casey Kasem). A minor side character, Bob, is played by Brad William Henke who was briefly in the NFL. But obviously most notable is Robert Goulet who plays the host of Ellen’s show, Dick Braxton… he really barely appears in the film, but you better believe he got a full name.

What?! This is the movie that 1-800-FLOWERS bought and paid for. Hooooo weeeeeeee. It is substantial. Every time you turn around someone is getting flowers from 1-800-FLOWERS. Ellen is even put in the hospital after getting hit by a 1-800-FLOWERS truck. I started to wonder if I misremembered it being a real company. Maybe it was made up for the movie and then someone was a huge fan and started the company.

Where?! Really great San Diego setting. It’s a rare setting… other than the fact that we pretty recently watched K-9, which is also randomly set in the *checks Wikipedia* City in Motion. This eventually plays a fairly important role in the film as it allows for the characters to run off to Mexico and then plausibly head into the desert to cross back over the border to San Diego. A-.

When?! Secret Holiday Film Alert! This film is set up entirely by Valentine’s Day and the sadness that Ellen feels on that day. It really doesn’t matter from there on out as that is perfection. I would assume that there are a large number of Valentine’s Day films out there, but this is by far the funniest to claim is your favorite. A

Man, this is a weird and wild movie. I can see how someone would read the script and think it’s pretty good and want to do it. I mean, the complete u-turn that the Whitman character takes is pretty amusing. Martha basically is just like “be yourself” and it’s like Whitman never heard of such a thing and loves it. That could have been OK, if a little dark, given that Whitman is a sociopath. But they hobble the movie in three ways. First, they have some real bad side characters that are unpleasant and cartoonish, most notably Joan Cusack’s crazy ex-gf character. I usually find Cusack charming in an off-beat way, but it really doesn’t work here. Second, the director shot it like a kids movie, which isn’t surprising since he just came off Major Payne and Dennis the Menace. Finally, they muck up Whitman’s character with a whole “you are old, you have to settle” storyline for Martha. So instead of Whitman coming off like a sociopath able to charm and deceive everyone, it almost seems like everyone just doesn’t care about Martha’s well-being and just wants her to get married, even to a total crazy person. So a good concept with several major flaws. Makes for a bizarre viewing experience. As for Holy Matrimony. Wow… I mean… wow. First of all, Leonard Nimoy seems like an actually good director. The film looks great and he got some fine acting from the cast. But, come on. You can’t possibly actually think a film about a woman getting married to a ten-year-old could ever work, right? Also it’s blatantly offensive in its unrealistic portrayal of Hutterites. Clearly the writers knew nothing about the community and didn’t care at all. All they needed was a group they could pretend would have someone marry a ten-year-old. Terrible. I cannot believe it exists. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’ve got a psycho stalker! We got Ellen as a leading lady! We’ve got Mr. Wrong! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I think Mr. Wrong must have floated onto our radar every so often because it is, amazingly, lower than 10% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is obviously extremely impressive and rare. For the most part I just knew it as the Ellen Degeneres vehicle, but otherwise I basically knew nothing about it. What were my expectations? Well, the trailer suggested it was one of those switcheroo comedies. The ones where Ellen thinks Bill Pullman is this awesome guy, and then, whoops! He’s actually an insane person and she’s trapped! Usually, these are really stressful and aggravating … so, unfortunately, that is what I expected.

The Good – It wasn’t that! Stunningly, the actual story is, sure, Ellen thinks Pullman is this great soft spoken guy she meets out one day and he’s rich and awesome. But then she’s like “You can be yourself!” and he’s like “really? Awesome!” and it turns out “himself” is actually an insane person who is a liar, petty criminal, and general miscreant. The way the twist comes about is excellently direct and sudden, and for that I have to at least give the movie a bit of credit. Best Bit: The twist, which happens about half way through the movie and is amusing by itself.

The Bad – I’m going to get a bit deep here, watch out. The conceit of the story, which you can almost forget as you get so lost in the insanity of the film, is that Ellen’s younger sister got married, and everyone is like “awwwwww, you’ll be next Ellen.” And she’s like, whatever. Then she meets Pullman, and he becomes crazy, and the rest of the film you could be forgiven if you forgot that that is probably the reason everyone is like “you are crazy Ellen.” Because while Pullman is a genuinely insane person, the underlying theme is that everyone else in her life is like “This is by far the best you are going to do Ellen, yeah, he’s a bit eccentric, but he loves you and is rich, c’mon!” If you accept that reading of the film as correct then there is a very sinister gaslighting undertone to the whole thing which is pretty gross. Also the movie isn’t funny, so that is obviously going to be an issue with any comedy. Fatal Flaw: In my opinion the only way this movie makes sense is if you accept that in the 90s people thought 30-year-old women should just accept the love of an insane stalker Bill Pullman because that’s the best they are going to do, deal with it. And that is terrible. Just terrible.

The BMT – I think I’ve already forgotten this film. But it is notable for being a very rare Ellen as a leading lady film. That’s interesting. It also has an interesting twist with Pullman, who is pretty great in the film as well. It is diverting, but forgettable though. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, it was a switcheroo comedy, but in a better way than I was expecting. That’s fun.

Roast-radamus – Really, really good Product Placement (What?) for 1-800-FLOWERS which is all over the film constantly. Also very good Setting as a Character (Where?) for San Diego, which is rare when Los Angeles is just up the coast. And decent Not-so-secret Holiday Film (When?) for Valentine’s Day which is when Ellen and Pullman meet since she is out at a bar being sad. Closest to Bad I think, unfortunately.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Definitely a sequel. And here’s the set up, it starts as a kind of normal comedy. A meetcute and people meet the new guy, etc. And then boom! Just like in Mr. Wrong, he goes off the deep end. And here’s the twist, he takes his lovely girlfriend home and there is Whitman! He’s Whitman’s son. White bearded Pullman is back! And he’s macking the girlfriend’s mother, and only the main character seems to see the sinister undertones of this psycho family. As things unravel it is revealed that Whitman knocked off his own mother to get her money, self-published a bunch of terrible poetry, and still holds a flame for Martha (with Ellen appearing in a small cameo). I mean, I think you just call it Mr. Wrong again, and run it back like a semi-reboot (but secret sequel once Pullman shows up). Here’s the key though … make it funny.

Friend or Fiend – Oh boy, this was a weird one. In the early 90s Leonard Nemoy was directing all kinds of movies. And one of those movies was about a ten year old Hutterite who marries the wife of his recently deceased brother who stole a bunch of money from a fair in Iowa … yup. It is a really weird film, but I have to say the 13-year-old Joseph Gordon Levitt is really good, as is Patricia Arquette. The story is just really weird. A 20-year-old marries a 10-year-old in order to try and get a bunch of stolen money, all while learning the ways of the Hutterites. It is a real fish out of water story with the added disturbing undertones of forced child marriage … yeah, this movie was a mistake. It kind of has to be a Fiend just because it really is just too dull to recommend on any level. A good match with Mr. Wrong though.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Mr. Wrong Quiz

Oh man, so here’s the thing. I really wanted that perfect bro to hang out with, and I found the guy! He was amazing … well, right up until he went insane and became a stalker. The last thing I remember is he bopped me on the head and I was trapped by him in a hospital! Do you remember what happened in Mr. Wrong?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film Martha’s friend Walter asks her out. What does Walter do on Martha’s show? Bonus points for naming the show.

2) How does Martha meet the titular Mr. Wrong, Whitman?

3) What does Whitman say he does for a living? What does he actually do?

4) Once Whitman decides to “be himself” what things does he decide to do?

5) How many people does she shoot on her wedding day and how does she get the gun?

Bonus Question: So how long does Martha’s and Walter’s relationship last?

Answers

Mr. Wrong Preview

“Wait!” says Patrick, just as it appears that that piece of shit hack Manfred Long is going to destroy him with the power of the Dongle. “You don’t understand. I’m not just hard to kill, I’m impossible to kill. If you try to use the Dongle one me it will destroy the world.” Manfred squints his eyes in suspicion. “Explain,” he says slowly, still not entirely believing. Patrick launches into an elaborate story about how through the power of eastern medicine he established an unbreakable bond between him and the Dongle. Thus if the Dongle destroys him, then the Dongle itself is destroyed and thus cannot destroy him. “It’s a singularity, you see?” Patrick finishes, wiping chalk from his hands and looking with satisfaction at the blackboard full of equations. Manfred scoffs, “As if I care. Destroying you will be worth destroying the world, just to see the look on your face.” Patrick stumbles backwards again telling Manfred to wait. “I… OK… to save the world I can break the bond. I just… I need some tools from my apartment.” Manfred sighs and nods. Save the world, destroy the world. It’s all the same to him as long as Patrick ends up dead. After arriving at the apartment Manfred looks around. “So where is this so-called ‘tool’ you need to break the bond? Don’t tell me it’s in this giant, unwieldy, obviously useless box.” he says, thumping his hand on the giant crate still taking up 95% of the apartment. Patrick turns with a twinkle in his eye. “Ah, I see,” Manfred says with a smirk, “there never was a tool. Just buying some time. Am I right?” But Patrick’s smile only gets bigger. “No, you’re very wrong. So wrong they might even call you…” That’s right! We are watching the 1996 black comedy Mr. Wrong starring Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Pullman. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year we get to find out if perhaps 25 years later it’s better than people thought (hint: probably not). Let’s go!

“And always keep a safe!” Kyle says. He sweeps a very patriotic American flag aside to reveal a safe. “But we never kept anything in it,” Kyle says confused. But Jamie shakes his head, “I don’t think we ever had to… it’ll contain what we need, when we need it. This is Party Town, USA remember,” he says with a wink. With a turn he opens the safe and Kyle’s mouth falls open in shock. “Holy…” That’s right! We’re pairing Mr. Wrong with another misguided marriage-centric comedy called Holy Matrimony where a woman ends up being forced to marry a literal child… so… you can see why that never made it to theaters. Let’s go!

Mr. Wrong (1996) – BMeTric: 52.7; Notability: 40

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.4%; Notability: top 17.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 2.9%; Higher BMeT: Barb Wire, Kazaam, Striptease, Bio-Dome, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace, Ed, The Crow: City of Angels, Hellraiser: Bloodline, The Stupids, Mr. Wrong; Higher Notability: Eraser, The Fan, Jingle All The Way, Spy Hard, Chain Reaction, Daylight, The Associate, Eddie, Mulholland Falls, Up Close & Personal, Dear God, Sgt. Bilko, Eye for an Eye, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Adventures of Pinocchio, The Crow: City of Angels, Space Truckers, Larger Than Life, In Love and War, Joe’s Apartment, and 23 more; Lower RT: The Dentist, Ed, Big Bully, Adrenalin: Fear the Rush, Ripe, Bio-Dome, Kazaam; Notes: Just about top ten BMeTric of the year which is pretty amazing for a film I’ve barely heard of. That makes sense though since the IMDb rating is below 4.0! And this isn’t some recent thing either, it has always been below 4.0. Incredible edible cred.

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Single DeGeneres finds the perfect man in Pullman … or so she thinks. Not the light, funny romantic comedy you might expect, but a dark-humored attempt at satire on stalking. DeGeneres, in her starring debut, turns in a fine performance opposite the always reliable Pullman, but an uneven script works against the cast.

(Huh, interesting. Two out of four stars is a lot higher than I would have expected for a bad comedy. I also like Pullman, so maybe I’ll also kind of dig it.)

Trailer –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKuR9Npr1bY 

(Haha the Honey I Shrunk Your Kids theme straight into Now That’s What I Call Music soundtracks. The movie looks wild. Maybe just a people-change-after-getting-married situation, but we’ll see.)

DirectorsNick Castle – ( Known For: The Last Starfighter; The Boy Who Could Fly; Tap; Tag: The Assassination Game; Delivering Milo; The Seat Filler; Future BMT: Major Payne; Dennis the Menace; BMT: Mr. Wrong; Notes: He played The Shape (i.e. Michael Myers) in Halloween, and has reprised the role in the recent films. Wrote Hook.)

WritersChris Matheson – ( Known For: Bill & Ted Face the Music; Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure; A Goofy Movie; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; Imagine That; Rapture-Palooza; Evil Alien Conquerors; Future BMT: Mom and Dad Save the World; BMT: Mr. Wrong; Notes: Had cameos in all three Bill & Ted films as an Ugle Waiter, Ugly Seance Member, and Ugly Demon.)

Kerry Ehrin – ( Future BMT: Inspector Gadget; BMT: Mr. Wrong; Notes: Has produced a ton of television and wrote on many of the shows as well, including Friday Night Lights. She was nominated for Emmys for that and The Wonder Years.)

Craig Munson – ( BMT: Mr. Wrong; Notes: His only other credit is a single episode of Cold Feet which ran for 8 episodes in 1999.)

ActorsEllen DeGeneres – ( Known For: Finding Nemo; Finding Dory; Doctor Dolittle; Edtv; Future BMT: Coneheads; The Love Letter; Goodbye Lover; BMT: Mr. Wrong; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Mr. Wrong in 1997; Notes: Famous stand-up comedian who notably came out in the late 90s. She had one of the biggest talk shows around until it somewhat abruptly ended amid controversy.)

Bill Pullman – ( Known For: Casper; The Equalizer; Independence Day; A League of Their Own; Spaceballs; The Equalizer 2; Dark Waters; Wyatt Earp; Sleepless in Seattle; Lost Highway; While You Were Sleeping; Lake Placid; Battle of the Sexes; The Guilty; The High Note; Singles; American Ultra; The Last Seduction; Malice; Ruthless People; Future BMT: Scary Movie 4; The Grudge; Newsies; Brokedown Palace; The Favour; Lucky Numbers; Sibling Rivalry; Nobel Son; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Mr. Wrong; Notes: Was I think somewhat notably a “Baxter” in romantic comedies in the 90s (the bland guy who the leading lady left for the leading man). Was most recently in the anthology series The Sinner.)

Joan Cusack – ( Known For: Addams Family Values; School of Rock; Sixteen Candles; The Perks of Being a Wallflower; Toy Story 4; High Fidelity; Toy Story 3; Toy Story 2; Say Anything…; Klaus; Instant Family; Working Girl; Grosse Pointe Blank; My Sister’s Keeper; Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; In & Out; Let It Snow; Runaway Bride; Friends with Money; Future BMT: Class; Chicken Little; Snatched; Where the Heart Is; Raising Helen; Nine Months; Mars Needs Moms; The Allnighter; Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil; Corrina, Corrina; Martian Child; BMT: Confessions of a Shopaholic; Toys; Mr. Wrong; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars for In & Out and Working Girl. Was also notably in a recent anthology series called Homecoming.)

Budget/Gross – $19 million / Domestic: $12,825,141 (Worldwide: $12,825,141)

(Pretty rough. Probably one of the main reasons Ellen wouldn’t get another leading role and instead end up being just a heavy hitter on television.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (2/29): A mean-spirited joke without a punchline, Mr. Wrong is so painfully unfunny that Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Pullman’s lack of chemistry feels like a total drag despite being the point.

(Wow, that is a low score! I didn’t realize just how poorly it was received. Well, I don’t like unfunny comedies, so this should be a delight.)

Reviewer Highlight: As directed sloppily by Nick Castle, this comedy barely lets its main characters develop, even though either of them could be great fun. – Janet Maslin, New York Times

Poster – Mr. Sklog

(Very 90’s. I can imagine the poster hanging in the theater hoping to entice people. Bad font and weird framing, but at least a bit fun and obviously conveys something about the movie. C+)

Tagline(s) – He loved her from afar. It wasn’t far enough. (B)

(Makes almost no sense with the plot of the film. This reads like he’s a crazy stalker when that’s not really the case… or at least for a big part of the film. Anyway, could be shorter, but clever enough.)

Keyword(s) – date

Top 10: Free Guy (2021), Venom (2018), American Psycho (2000), The Departed (2006), Deadpool (2016), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Game Night (2018), Lolita (1997), Good Will Hunting (1997), Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Future BMT: 71.2 The Animal (2001), 65.4 102 Dalmatians (2000), 62.7 My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), 52.3 Just My Luck (2006), 49.0 Blank Cheque (1994), 48.2 Employee of the Month (2006), 45.8 The Perfect Man (2005), 41.4 Boiling Point (1993), 40.3 Head Over Heels (2001), 39.1 Good Burger (1997)

BMT: Police Academy (1984), Batman Forever (1995), Blended (2014), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), A Walk to Remember (2002), Jack and Jill (2011), Crossroads (2002), Untraceable (2008), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Jade (1995), Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011), Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), Welcome to Mooseport (2004), Never Talk to Strangers (1995), Bangkok Dangerous (2008), Mr. Wrong (1996), Bye Bye Love (1995)

Matches: It Follows (2014), The Notebook (2004), Office Space (1999), Megamind (2010), The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005), The Wedding Singer (1998), The Blob (1988), Blended (2014), One Day (2011), The Ugly Truth (2009), Holidate (2020), Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (2016), St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), The Voices (2014), A Goofy Movie (1995), Better Off Dead… (1985), The Funhouse (1981), Terms of Endearment (1983), The American (2010), Employee of the Month (2006), The Ides of March (2011), Man Up (2015), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), License to Drive (1988), Secret Admirer (1985), I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007), Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995), A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004), Blue Steel (1990), My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! (2004), Nightmare Sisters (1988), Must Love Dogs (2005), … (and a bunch more)

(Funny that so many of them seemed to have some out in 1995 specifically. And yeah, there was a date (probably) in all of these films. What a weird keyword. Does show how decent the matches are though, a lot of those do seem like they are focused on dating in a way.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Joan Cusack is No. 3 billed in Mr. Wrong and No. 3 billed in Toys, which also stars LL Cool J (No. 6 billed) who is in Rollerball (No. 2 billed) which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => (3 + 3) + (6 + 2) + (1 + 2) = 17. If we were to watch Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – Lisa Kudrow screentested for the role of Annie.

Ed McMahon screentested for the role of Dick Braxton.

David Arquette, Adrien Brody, Ben Affleck, and Noah Wyle screentested for the role of Walter.

Most likely, the inspiration for this title is S01-E03 of the Ellen sitcom, where she dates Mr. Perfect off personal ads & Adam tells her the date sounds creepy and must have something wrong with him.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Ellen DeGeneres, 1997)

Hard to Kill Recap

Jamie

Mason Storm is… hard to kill. That’s right! After an attempt on his life kills his wife and leaves him in a coma, things are looking bleak for Mason. But seven years later he’s awake and ready to take out the scumbags that are trying to finish the job. Can he get the baddies (and maybe even reconnect with his son) before it’s too late? Find out in… Hard to Kill.

How?! Mason Storm is a police officer extraordinaire (and Academy Awards aficionado) hot on the trail of a corrupt bigwig looking to use the mob to take out a political opponent. After fleeing with evidence of the plot, Mason is ambushed at home. His wife is killed, his son flees into the night, and Mason is left in a coma. Knowing that he’s a target, a friend of Storm’s help fake his death and keep him safe at the obviously not fake LA Coma Center. Seven Oscar ceremonies later and Mason awakens to a changed world… mostly changed by the fact that a hot nurse is now super into him. Nice. The nurse, Andy, tries to contact Mason’s friend but inadvertently alerts a group of corrupt cops that Mason is alive and awake. They storm the hospital, but even in his weakened state Mason is able to escape with the help of Andy. She takes him to a friend’s house where he recuperates through martial arts, acupuncture, meditation and sweet sweet lovemaking with Andy (that also makes him sad, so he goes to pray at his wife’s grave… like for real). One day Mason recognizes the voice of big time Senator Trent as the voice of the corrupt bigwig from seven years ago. Mind like a steel trap! Realizing that this goes extremely high up, Mason recruits his friend to get his long lost son while he gets the evidence needed to put away Trent. They are supposed to meet at the train station, but things start to get crazy as Trent’s forces close in. Mason is snapping necks and taking no names, eventually arriving at Trent’s mansion where he dispatches a whole mess of people before confronting Trent. As the police stream in it becomes clear that Mason already sent them the evidence against the Senator and he’s arrested. Mason wins again! THE END

Why?! Mason Storm just wants justice… and his family to be safe… and to totally get with Andy. But mostly justice. Senator Trent wants power by any means necessary. At the beginning of the film he’s like some lowly city council member who needs someone dead to move on up in the world. So with seven years having passed and Trent becoming a Senator you’d think he’s got at least four or five assassinations under his belt when Mason wakes up.

Who?! We got a Senator… too bad he wasn’t VP Trent by the end. They even show a newspaper where he’s touted as VP for 1992. Gah! Just hold off for a second Seagal! Really I have to give a shout to the local LA newscaster Jerry Dunphy who legitimately plays a role in the plot of the film. This is his second BMT film after Beverly Hills Cop III.

What?! There is a fair amount of Miller High Life in the film. Like sodas, it’s always fun to find what brand a film represents. Patrick also noted a crazy thing where there is just a bunch of spearmint gum in a character’s briefcase. It’s things like that where I wish every movie had a ten part podcast or was required by law to have several DVD commentaries made… we need to really drill down into why the gum was in the briefcase.

Where?! Good LA picture, particularly since we get the legendary intertitle telling us that Seagal has spent seven years in the “LA Coma Center.” That… that’s not a thing. There is no such thing as a coma center and again… I want to know if everyone involved knows how crazy that is. Bring on the ten part podcast! B+.

When?! While the LA Coma Center is legendary, the 1983 Academy Awards setting for the beginning of the film is off the charts. Pretty easily my favorite setting I can remember and I’m only sad they didn’t have him later watch a bunch of movies during his recovery and then express dismay when Dances With Wolves wins Best Picture. A++++++

This is a pretty borderline BMT film in the end, but we felt like it was appropriate to start from the beginning with his first BMT qualifying film. Boy, we weren’t disappointed. Even his first, better regarded film, Above the Law is totally crazy and he continues his descent into martial arts mayhem with this entry. This starts out like a normal film (minus a truly hilarious setting centered around the 1983 Academy Awards) but then we wake up in a coma center (what?) to a totally changed world ourselves. That’s because Seagal is back, Jack, and he’s snapping necks left and right. It’s a pretty entertaining film in the end as long as you’re just looking for a whole mess of action and some pretty dumb stuff. Oh and I’m pretty sure the entire sequence where Mason has sex with Andy and then sadly visits his wife’s grave to pray is spoofed in MacGruber. You gotta be doing something right if you’re what a spoof film is spoofing. As for The Patriot… wow. I mean… that is basically not a movie. On occasion this happens. We will watch something so terrible that it is simply not a film. The Patriot is pretty much not a film. Sure there is an outbreak of a deadly flu and they ultimately solve it with flower power (literally), but most of the film is spent meandering around with Seagal specifically not fighting people. It’s almost like it was in his contract that they couldn’t have him do anything cool or interesting the whole time. It feels like you are peering into Seagal’s mind and it doesn’t feel good. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’ve got Seagal! We got ponytails! We’ve got seven year comas! He’s Hard. To. Kill. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Hard to Kill baby! We’re finally on our way to watching all of Seagal’s 90s releases, and this week we hammered out three of them. In no way is that depressing. I definitely didn’t have a ton of better things to do this week … anyways, funny that Seagal was a cop in his first three films. What were my expectations? I just hoped Seagal actually did some sweet Aikido in his early films. It is a bit sad later on that he mostly shoots people.

The Good – Aikido babyyyyyy! He was genuinely good at it. And he also showed off a bit of how it worked. Early on he basically has to goad the guy we just saw in Wishmaster II into attacking him so he could Aikido him. Yeah, that is basically how it works, using your opponent’s momentum and body weight against them. At least that is a part of it. And a halfway decent storyline as well. The film (and his first film as well) are surprisingly good, despite Seagal not being a particularly good actor. Best Bit: AIKIDO.

The Bad – It is juuuuuuuuust a tad self-indulgent. Having your wife say “Steven Seagal has a giant penis” directly into the camera is just a whole other level of writing a film for yourself. Then he goes to someone else’s house and fucks up all of their trees and makes their guest bedroom into a Buddhist temple? And don’t get me started on how much he was exercising in Los Angeles with a blazing fire burning. Everything Seagal-y in the film is a little bit off, although fun to some degree. Oh, and the first two Seagal films he runs on screen and it is Leelee Sobieski level perfect. He cannot run. Fatal Flaw: Steven Seagal just cannot run, there is no way he was a track star like they suggested in the film. Took me right out of it.

The BMT – The first two Seagal films (and probably all of them up through Under Siege) are quite good. I understand why the critics were skeptical of the new brand of action hero, which tended to take rote storylines and insert whomever was available at the time, but even being not very good this was at least fun on a “police procedural two-parter from 1993” level. Did it meet my expectations? Yes. I finally managed to watch a Seagal film where he did Aikido, looked fit, and it wasn’t all played as a comedy (I’m looking at you Under Siege with your random Playboy Playmate running around cracking jokes).

Roast-radamus – I have to give the Product Placement (What?) to Spearmint Gum which you can see multiple packs of in a briefcase at one point. Why? Who knows, he never chews on the gum, he never offers it to someone. Presumably it was a character choice, like he was planning on quitting smoking. Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for Los Angeles, and specifically you seem them venture out to Malibu and Venice Beach among other locales. Closest to Good for sure.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – There has never been a movie that was better suited for a BMT Crossover Episode than this. Sasha Petrosevich has found himself outnumbered and outgunned. Only a person as good as him at Aikido could get him out of this jam. But surely in this universe, such a person couldn’t exist! “Not in this universe,” Sasha says. Taking his infinity gauntlet he opens a portal to an alternate universe and pulls out Mason Storm, who (as luck would have it) is also half past dead. They aren’t twins, but they can kick some ass. Aikido-ing around like whirling dervishes they dispatch the bad guys and save their terrified families. “Hey brother, you can come to my universe anytime.” Once back in the world of Hard to Kill Mason Storm starts his own agency, Hard Past Dead. “That’s a portmanteau.” Mason Storm says with a smirk. Oooooooooh boy, the ladies love cool Mason. These crossover episodes are starting to really get deconstructed. Very dadaist.

Friend or Fiend – We went for a curious one, a Seagal film that was released straight-to-video, but which was released prior to his last film to be released theatrically, The Patriot (1998) (yeah not the Mel Gibson one). The film is about Seagal (a Montana rancher and *checks notes* leading military doctor for infectious diseases?) as he tries to find the cure for a military-developed virus when it is intentionally released by an eeeeeevil militia leader. Yep … that’s the storyline. And guess what the cure is that they take literally forever trying to develop? Flowers. Just some of the Eastern / Native American medicine that these idiot doctors would never think of. But Seagal does, and then the military drops flowers on the town and everyone is saved (I’m not joking, that’s the conclusion to the film, here’s some flowers, it is the best anti-viral in the world?). The film is a joke. It is so so weird. And in a way that is interesting and pretty funny, but those moments are few and far between. And the Eastern medicine is better than Western medicine garbage, and also the characters being mealy mouthed about condemning the violent ideology of the militia left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m putting this squarely in the Fiend territory.

You Just Got Schooled – Uh oh, turns out that the first ever Seagal film (which was just prior to Hard to Kill) was (vaguely) good! That’s right, I watched Above the Law (that’s three Seagal films this week, may God have mercy on my soul). The film is fun, as expected. Seagal is looking fit, and he’s hitting people hard and they are falling hard and you can immediately understand why he was such a magnetic character/actor at the time. The first hour of the film operates mainly as a normal buddy cop film, except the one of the buddies is Steven Seagal and all of the weird whispering baggage that entails. The last thirty minutes of the film? Pure comedy. Actually one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. Seagal can’t run in this film either, and everything devolved into pure lunacy right when he sends his wife away to protect his family from his poor decision making skills. I think if you watch Above the Law, Hard to Kill, Under Siege, and Fire Down Below you’ll know exactly what Seagal was bringing to the table in the 90s. B+. Enjoyed watching it despite it ultimately being very very Seagal at the end.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Hard to Kill Quiz

Oh man, so I just woke up from a coma and I need to take down the guy who put me into it … one second, I need to go through years of physical therapy to heal my atrophied body. Also I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Hard to Kill?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film Seagal catches a criminal conspiring with a city assemblyman to commit a crime. What crime were they planning on committing? And why didn’t Seagal get them arrested?

2) How long was Seagal in a coma? And where does he hide out while getting into shape?

3) How did Seagal’s old buddy O’Malley find him in the end?

4) How was Seagal’s hideout discovered?

5) Before their plans were waylaid, what was the plan for Seagal and his son to get away?

Bonus Question: How long does Mason and Andy’s relationship last after the events of the film?

Answers

Hard to Kill Preview

As Clutch parachutes into the VP’s residence he asks himself whether he has any chance of changing the man his brother has become? A booming voice tells him to stop. “My my my, Clutch. I never thought they’d dig you up for this job,” McGuire Guthrie says, applauding sarcastically. “Last time I heard you were drunk off your ass in Peru.” Clutch clenches his fists and sneers, “Last time I heard you were an asshole.” McGuire laughs, “Same old Clutch. Now where’s my gold?” Clutch shakes his head and McGuire frowns. “Pity,” he says and takes his signature samurai sword. Facing certain death Clutch reaches up his hand and catches a sword of his own, perfectly thrown from the shadows by Kat. A super sweet battle ensues ultimately ending with them both knocking the sword from the other’s hand. “Twin chop,” they shout and the blows land in unison. They fall into each other’s arms, mortally wounded. “I… I…” McGuire stammers, but Clutch shushes him. “I know,” and the power of their twin love heals their wounds and McGuire realizes the error of his ways. Clutch’s ex-wife hugs him and tells him she’s glad he found love with Kat. VP Jack Parrot shakes his hand and tells him he’s going to win the Nobel Prize for Heroism. But he brushes past all of them to lift McGuire from the ground and reach his hand out for a twin Predator high five. THE END.

Patrick closes his novel. It’s amazing, obviously. When he looks up that piece of shit hack Manfred Long is out of his quickening. “I knew I’d never win,” he says sadly, “but with the power of the Dongle I know I can kill you.” But Patrick shakes his head. “I think you’ll find I’m a little…” That’s right! We are going way back to 1990 to watch the first qualifying Steven Seagal film ever, Hard to Kill. It barely qualifies, so that would seem to indicate it’s actually not that bad, but I doubt it. Let’s go!

With a snap of his fingers Kyle fills the dance floor with bodacious babes and he and Jamie flee to the back room while the cyborgs are preoccupied. “What was all that about a cyber jack?” Kyle asks, but Jamie shakes his head. “Just a distraction, Kyle. Remember when we bought the club we had two rules.” Kyle nods, “Every night starts with the national anthem and…” suddenly his eyes light up. That’s right! We are pairing the first BMT qualifying Steven Seagal film with his first straight-to-video fare. The Patriot where he plays a *checks notes* doctor. Oh, come on! Let’s go!

Hard to Kill (1990) – BMeTric: 36.1; Notability: 35

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 7.2%; Notability: top 12.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 23.3%; Higher BMeT: Captain America, Look Who’s Talking Too, Rocky V, Ghost Dad, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Repossessed, Graveyard Shift, Soultaker, Problem Child, Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection, Wings of the Apache, 3 Men and a Little Lady, The Bonfire of the Vanities, RoboCop 2, Loose Cannons, Navy Seals, Ernest Goes to Jail, Death Warrant; Higher Notability: RoboCop 2, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Predator 2, Days of Thunder, Jetsons: The Movie, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Air America, Captain America, Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory, Marked for Death, 3 Men and a Little Lady, The Rookie, Stella, Rocky V, Revenge, Bird on a Wire, Another 48 Hrs., Ghost Dad, Mr. Destiny, Havana, and 11 more; Lower RT: Problem Child, Death Warrant, Graveyard Shift, Repossessed, Madhouse, Loose Cannons, Coupe de Ville, Funny About Love, Soultaker, Ghost Dad, Spaced Invaders, Wings of the Apache, Heart Condition, Meet the Applegates, Where the Heart Is, Ernest Goes to Jail, Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection, Captain America, Opportunity Knocks, Air America, and 35 more; Notes: I’m a bit surprised at how high the rating is, I wouldn’t think that it would have necessarily followed the usual trend.

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Police detective Seagal uncovers a major political corruption ring and is shot and left for dead; when he awakens from a seven-year coma, he’s ripe for revenge. Full of the usual violence and shades for this genre, but Seagal is fun to watch. LeBrock, who nurses him back to health, was then the real-life Mrs. Seagal.

(This is also pretty high … wait … is this film good? I’m down to the usual violence from Seagal. I assume by “usual violence” they don’t mean an obese Seagal shooting people in the face with a high powered rifle. I assume he does actual Aikido in this one.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy54Q4rcJuk/

(The slow motion is excessive in this trailer. So apparently Seagal saying “take that to the bank” is only in the trailer because in the original Seagal kills the bad guy in the end … yeah that would have been a nuts ending.)

DirectorsBruce Malmuth – ( Known For: Nighthawks; The Man Who Wasn’t There; Where Are the Children?; Pentathlon; Foreplay; BMT: Hard to Kill; Notes: Started in commercials. Put on a play in Los Angeles that starred the yet-unknown Toby Maguire.)

WritersSteven McKay – ( Known For: Midnight Sting; BMT: Hard to Kill; Notes: Bookended his career with The Magic of Christmas and its sequel nearly 30 years later.)

ActorsSteven Seagal – ( Known For: Under Siege; Machete; Executive Decision; Above the Law; Beyond the Law; Sniper: Special Ops; Code of Honor; General Commander; The Patriot; China Salesman; Attrition; The Onion Movie; The Foreigner; Mercenary: Absolution; Killing Salazar; Maximum Conviction; Contract to Kill; Gutshot; The Perfect Weapon; The Asian Connection; Future BMT: Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; Out for Justice; Marked for Death; BMT: Hard to Kill; Exit Wounds; Fire Down Below; On Deadly Ground; Half Past Dead; The Glimmer Man; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for On Deadly Ground in 1995; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1995 for On Deadly Ground; in 1998 for Fire Down Below; and in 2003 for Half Past Dead; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Executive Decision in 1997; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple, and Worst Original Song for Fire Down Below in 1998; Notes: Allegedly is starring in a sequel to his first film Above the Law over 30 years after the original … yeah, I’ll bet a dollar that doesn’t happen.)

Kelly LeBrock – ( Known For: Weird Science; Zerophilia; 10 Days in a Madhouse; Hard Bounty; Betrayal of the Dove; Gamers; Future BMT: The Woman in Red; Wrongfully Accused; BMT: Hard to Kill; Notes: Was married to Seagal at the time and ultimately had three children with him before they divorced in 1996.)

William Sadler – ( Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; The Green Mile; The Mist; Iron Man Three; Bill & Ted Face the Music; Die Hard 2; The Highwaymen; The Hot Spot; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; Kinsey; Rush; Freaked; The Duel; Being Flynn; Project X; Trespass; Freeheld; The Good Student; Ava’s Possessions; Freedom; Future BMT: The Unholy; Eagle Eye; Grudge; Machete Kills; August Rush; Disturbing Behavior; Man on a Ledge; Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight; Bordello of Blood; RocketMan; Hanky Panky; BMT: Hard to Kill; K-9; Solo; Notes: The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist are all directed by Frank Darabont and all originally stories by Stephen King.)

Budget/Gross – $11.5 million / Domestic: $47,410,827 (Worldwide: $47,410,827)

(That’s pretty good. You see, this is why martial arts films were booming in the late-80s/early-90s, easy money.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 36% (5/14)

(The consensus is pretty positive: Undoubtedly one of Seagal’s best, and a decently entertaining actioner.)

Reviewer Highlight: With his ponytail and velvet voice, Steven Seagal makes an ironically gentle kamikaze gunslinger — he’s like a cross between Clint Eastwood and Mickey Rourke. For all that, his presence is paper thin. He’s part of a new breed of action hero: the nonstar star. These lightweight vigilantes — they include Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme — have zero charisma and sell millions of tickets. Why? It must be because they’re exactly as generic as their movies. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Poster – Hard to Sklog

(My god. If I asked someone to make a joke poster that hit every poster grading point on my rubric this very well might be it. It’s got a weird artistic sketch thing going. A nice overall red tone and black and white for the people. The font is legit. What is there not to like?! A.)

Tagline(s) – He’s L.A. Detective Mason Storm. Three hired assassins left him for dead. And he’s waited seven years to even the score. (D-)

(Well that’s something not to like. No way. Not into it. I started reading it and then stopped and just jumped straight down here to write this. I’m calling it right here: Steven Seagal wrote this tagline.)

Keyword(s) – coma

Top 10: Nobody (2021), Soul (2020), A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Suspiria (2018), Jack Reacher (2012), Insidious (2010), An American Werewolf in London (1981), Annihilation (2018), Batman & Robin (1997)

Future BMT: 76.8 Superhero Movie (2008), 56.0 Ghost Dad (1990), 54.2 Hanging Up (2000), 51.3 Kickin’ It Old Skool (2007), 43.6 Life of the Party (2018), 42.8 The Brothers Solomon (2007), 39.5 Jigsaw (2017), 37.2 Saw IV (2007), 35.0 Paparazzi (2004), 28.1 Dragonfly (2002)

BMT: Batman & Robin (1997), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Vanilla Sky (2001), Angel Has Fallen (2019), Countdown (2019), Death Wish (2018), The Choice (2016), The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), Replicas (2018), Hard to Kill (1990), Monkeybone (2001), Swimfan (2002), Miss March (2009), Soul Survivors (2001)

Matches: Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Jack Reacher (2012), Insidious (2010), Fast & Furious 7 (2015), The Cell (2000), The Big Sick (2017), Fracture (2007), The Descendants (2011), While You Were Sleeping (1995), The Dead Zone (1983), Unknown (2011), If I Stay (2014), Dave (1993), Forever Young (1992), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), Columbus (2017), Reversal of Fortune (1990), Hard to Kill (1990), Amityville: The Awakening (2017), Monkeybone (2001), Sex and Death 101 (2007), The Brave One (2007), Miss March (2009), You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010), Possession (2009), 18 Again! (1988), Bad Dreams (1988), The Brothers Solomon (2007), Catfight (2016), Pit Stop (2013), Paparazzi (2004), Kickin’ It Old Skool (2007), Timeless Love (2019), The Safety of Objects (2001), Until Death (2007), Lonesome Jim (2005), Touched (2005), BrainWaves (1982), Wonderful World (2009), The Dark Place (2014), Lying in Wait (2001), Black Eyed Dog (2014), Seven Hours to Judgment (1988), Forgiving the Franklins (2006), To the Other Shore (2020), Will and Testament (2012)

(Only one more from 1990, Ghost Dad (ooooooof). I can’t wait to watch through the Saw series, it is going to be awful.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Steven Seagal is No. 1 billed in Hard to Kill and No. 1 billed in Exit Wounds, which also stars Isaiah Washington (No. 3 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 5 billed) which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => (1 + 1) + (3 + 5) + (2 + 3) = 15. If we were to watch Out for Justice we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – Steven Seagal and Kelly LeBrock were married at that time.

Kelly Le Brock had pretty much retired from acting at the time and only did the movie as a favor for her husband.

Steven Seagal did not get along with Bruce Malmuth and considered him to be a very poor director. Chief among Seagal’s complaints included dissatisfaction with filming the action scenes and being excluded from the editing process.

Was filmed with the title “Seven Year Storm” and publicized in several trade magazines with that name. Warner Bros. decided to re title the finished pic “Hard to Kill” to make it sound more like a slam-bang action film.

Reportedly, an alternate ending was also filmed where Storm kills Trent and says “Take that to the bank”. Storm is shown saying this line in the theatrical trailer, which indicates that there indeed was an alternate ending where Trent dies.

The 17 February 1989 draft of the screenplay credits Steven Pressfield & Ronald Shusett & Steven Seagal as writers. Pressfield & Shusett are not credited in the final film and Seagal only received an acting credit. (YES I knew he had to have written this film! And it had to have been written by him and two friends because it is so Seagal-y)

Craig R. Baxley was offered to direct it by Steven Seagal. Baxley passed because he didn’t want to work with Seagal.

Based on several references to the Academy Awards being broadcast on the same night, the events in the first part of the film would’ve taken place on April 11, 1983.

Seagal’s pistol is a Colt Series 80 1911 with a commander hammer and Herrett skip checkered grips. Similar grips are seen in the movie poster but the gun is a Colt Series 80 Gold Cup.

Master Pistolsmith Terry Tussey built a number of custom 1911’s for Steven Seagal.

The inside of the mansion was also used in the Cohen Brothers comedy The Big Lebowski

Seagal’s gun handling and technique strongly suggest that he may have spent some time at Gunsite in Paulden, AZ. His use of the 1911, the press check, weaver stance, finger on trigger, are indicative of legacy training techniques at Gunsite, which was founded by Col. Jeff Cooper as the American Pistol Institute in 1976. When he began making his films in the late 80’s, there were only a mere handful of civilian firearms training centers in the U.S. and Gunsite is widely credited with being the first.

Freejack Recap

Jamie

Alex Furlong has just died… only to awaken in the far future of 2009 where the rich buy the bodies of young whippersnappers of the past. Now he’s a freejack and he’s on the run. Can he find the man who had purchased his body (and perhaps get the girl he lost in 1991?) before it’s too late? Find out in… Freejack.

How?! Alex Furlong is a racing superstar on the rise with the love of his life at his side. Everything is going great until he perishes in a fiery car crash. THE END… psych! Just as he is about to perish his body is transported to the dystopian future of 2009, where the very rich have concentrated wealth and power and the rest of the world has descended into disarray. In this future the rich and powerful are able to buy bodies from the past and so Alex Furlong is spoken for. Not so fast! He breaks free and goes on the run as a (bum bum bum) freejack. With the help of a kindly nun he tracks down his old manager who in turn helps him find his ex-girlfriend, Julie (just before he double crosses him and almost gets him killed). Alex then runs off to find Julie, who happens to now be one of the top executives at McCandless, the company that runs the whole bodies-from-the-past business. She can’t believe he’s alive and quickly chases him away. Confused by his reappearance, Julie finds Alex and gets him to safety. She then asks Mr. McCandless to help get him safe passage out of town and he agrees. But when they all go to the boat he is meant to board it turns out to be a trap. And not only that, a double trap! Even Mick Jagger, the honorable bonejacker, doesn’t know everyone who is pursuing Alex. After earning Mick Jagger’s respect, Alex and Julie head to McCandless HQ and confront McCandless’ right hand man, Michelette. He reveals that McCandless has been dead the whole time (what a twist!) and he’s quickly approaching the moment when his mind needs Alex’s body or else it will die. Michelette wants that to happen so he can seize control of the company. Alex has other ideas and heads to the spiritual switchboard where he confronts McCandless. Ultimately McCandless attempts to take Alex’s body from him. Julie disrupts the process just in time, but no one can tell if Alex is still Alex or if he’s McCandless. Mick Jagger confirms that he’s now McCandless and kills Michelette. In the end we find that Mick Jagger knew the whole time that Alex was still Alex, but decided to let him continue to live as McCandless, hoping he can change the world for the better. THE END.

Why?! I could write a whole book on how as a movie becomes more generic the motivation of the hero is the first thing to shrivel up and die. Alex just wants to get his girl back and not be a freejack (in that order). The bad guy wants to live forever. There is this whole other explanation given about McCandless being in love with Julie, but I can’t tell if that’s just a ruse to get his hands on Alex’s sweet, sweet body.

Who?! Did I mention that Mick Jagger is in this? I won’t even say that he was a bad actor. In fact I thought it was pretty impressive that he took such a substantial role in what I thought was his first and only major film role… I was wrong. He actually acted a lot more than I thought and was apparently supposed to be a main character in Fitzcarraldo. Anyway, a distracting example of a musician-turned-actor.

What?! I can’t tell if the thousand times they show Estevez crash into a giant banner reading Nissan is a product placement or not. Sure it looks super rad, but also the main character of the film dies in a fiery crash as he plows into a sign for your car company. Also gotta love futuristic movies where everything has to look weird and futuristic… even the Miller Lite you are drinking.

Where?! Futuristic NYC in this film isn’t nearly as dystopian/prison island-y as other depictions of future NYC. I do like how they zip around to different parts of the city and tell you some of the characteristics and stuff. Even for a totally unrealistic version of the city it’s still a pretty solid setting. B+.

When?! They are pretty exact. Estevez is transported from 1991 at the time of his death aaallllll the way to the far future of 2009 bum bum bum. Thursday, November 23rd, 2009 to be exact (which oddly, wasn’t a Thursday in real life… dystopia messed up the calendar). Weird, I don’t remember having a celebration of Freejack Day when November 23, 2009 rolled around. But I guess we were busy prepping for TGivs. A.

This has a reputation for being very dumb and predictable, with blame being dumped on the director. It’s certainly a bit slow and the main twist was airmailed. So I could see people feeling a little let down by a big gaudy production delivering a particularly predictable product. But I don’t know, it was kooky enough to hold my attention. Like at one point Estevez makes a run for it in a champagne food truck… like literally a food truck that appears to be made specifically to deliver expensive champagne to rich people. That’s fun. Really this is what I imagine a film like Babylon A.D. would have turned out like if it had been made in 1991 and there is something fun in that at the very least. I also enjoyed Rene Russo (despite her looking exactly the same in 1991 and 2009). Overall I’d say I’d watch small parst of this again… just not the whole thing. As for Cyberjack, hooooo weeee. Now that’s what I’m talking about. I love me some dumb Dudikoff action. I mean, this film has to be seen to be believed. Dudikoff’s character is such a hilarious mess and Brion James is so far out there that I dare you not to be entertained. I loved it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’ve got singers who can’t act! A twist that never quits! And crazy future set designs straight out of the 60s! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – This, Johnny Mnemonic, and Chain Reaction all kind of meld together into 90s era future cyber nonsense. This is the one with Emilio and apparently it is about time travel and involves Mick Jagger actually trying to act? That’s a bit odd. What were my expectations? Much like anything that resembles this I imagine it is a mess that looks like crap and tries to float on its futuristic setting. A bit like Highlander 2.

The Good – The storyline is a lot better than I would have initially given it credit for. It is a pretty fun film if you like the set design style. I do. It kind of feels like a British television movie from the 80s in some weird ways. Odd whiffs of A Clockwork Orange or something as well. I very much liked the twist (or even double twist) at the end as well. The initial twist and motivations by Hopkins were obvious. The second twist (and ultimate conclusion) less so and also I think pretty fun. Best Bit: The ending probably.

The Bad – It feels more old school than I think it should have aimed for. It immediately feels dated, and makes the setting of around 2009 even stranger to witness 12 years on from that “future” time period. As I said the first twist is a bit too obvious and they could have made that reveal a lot sooner. And Mick Jagger, not surprisingly, is pretty rough, although I liked what all of the other actors are doing for the most part. Fatal Flaw: Feels outdated and a bit slow.

The BMT – I like this film a little too much for this to actually be a BMT film really, but it is a pretty funny 90s time travel film, and also very notable for singer/actor Mick Jagger in a rare role. There are a bunch of films of this era (like Time Cop) which feel the same way and collecting them together into a film festival would be amusing to me. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, although it is far more competent than I would have expected. I would have guessed more Double Dragon, less Demolition Man.

Roast-radamus – Solid futuristic Setting as a Character (Where?) for NYC where the entire film is set in a dystopian world where Japan won the trade war (I think). And a hilarious Super Secret Holiday Film (When?) as the film is literally set on TGivs 2009. Even though they do not acknowledge this in any way, it is literally November 23, 2009, which is Thanksgiving Day. That’s wild. Closest to Good I think.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – We’re back baby with a sweet BMT Crossover Episode! Emilio is running things and freejacking people all over the place. Naturally, when the half past dead Sasha Petrosevitch is heading towards becoming full past dead, he’s pulled into the future to help Emilio extract a dangerous freejack who is trapped in Alcatraz v3.0 (the one after the one from Half Past Dead). Entering into the ultra-futuristic prison Sasha does a bunch of Aikido, shoots some laser beams, and gets his man (and a boatload of time crystals the criminal hid as well!). As thanks Emilio uses his laser beams to send Sasha and the time crystals back to his original timeline. At the end of the film Sasha uses the time crystals to pull Billy the Kid from the back right before he is killed in New Mexico to join the half past dead team. He is also played by Emilio Estevez obviously. One and a Half Past Dead is the name of the film because it is set in the future.

Friend or Fiend – This week we watched one of the other “major” “Jack” films, Cyberjack (also known as Virtual Assassin) starring Michael Dudikoff. And boy howdy, this film is nuts. There are three levels to this. First, Dudikoff films in my experience are mostly rote action drama flicks and can be a bit touch and go. Here, this is literally just Die Hard, down to the hardscrabble police detective taking down hostage takers with his wit and wiles. BUT (and this is the second point) it is set in the future. Immediately you’ve kicked it up a notch by having some laser beams and holograms and other things they could barely do in the mid-90s. AND (and this is the third point) during the entire film Dudikoff is listening to a baseball game, and his love interest is also obsessed with baseball … that’s the best shit I’ve heard all day. So there. First level, you got a rote straight-to-video Dudikoff fiend. Second level, you are cooking a bit and right on the friend/fiend threshold because at least they mixed it up. But with the baseball? You get right to Friend territory because it is now officially charmingly weird. Anyways, Brion James is in this and he is off the hook insane, it is great. And the love interest is also funny since she gets a ride home with Dudikoff who is the janitor in her lab and drinking from a flask the entire time, but then is like “man, this guy likes baseball? What a catch!” and seems to immediately fall in love with him. The 90s man.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Freejack Quiz

Oh man, so I was really going super fast in my definitely regulation size F1 car, when I crashed and thought I was dead for sure. But then I woke up and instead just had a massive concussion and can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Freejack?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film Emilio Estevez is Freejacked or whatever. Why and how?

2) During the course of the film Emilio meets three people who recognize him from back before he “died”. Who?

3) When Emilio meets up with Rene Russo she turns him in to the authorities. Why?

4) Well, Emilio and Rene Russo strike a deal. Anthony Hopkins is going to help them out … but what a twist, it is a set up! They are confronted by two groups of armed men. Who are these groups and who hired them?

5) Who actually wants Emilio’s body and why?

Bonus Question: What is the first act of business for Emilio-turned-neo-McCandless as head of the corporation?

Answers

Freejack Preview

Patrick carefully looks over his manuscript. It’s near perfection. Definitely a professional novel by a professional writer who does everything very professionally. And yet his eraser is poised in mid-air, waiting to take near perfection all the way to no ‘bout-a-doubt it, John-Travolta-Jamie-Lee-Curtis perfect. “Aha,” he thinks and lowers the eraser to the phrase, ‘Not a spinning flying double scissor kick!’ He deftly replaces it with ‘Not a spinning flying twin scissor kick,’ making it obvious why this is the only weakness of The Wishmaster. He then takes a moment to shake his head at the piece of shit hack Manfred Long, still caught in his quickening while his page remains blank, before jumping back into the main thrust of his narrative.

With The Wishmaster defeated by their very logical spinning flying twin scissor kick, Clutch Guthrie smooths back his hair and compliments Kat on her scissor kick form. She scoffs at the obvious pick up line but also admits that Clutch’s glutes were in fine form on the landing. With bated breath and a moment to ponder their mutual attraction they soon find themselves in the midst of a passionate make-out session for the ages. You best believe they are frenching hard. In between kisses they agree that since the Wishmaster has been dispatched the only logical thing to do is to team up and free the Vice President. “You mean it?” asks Clutch and Kat nods. “Yeah,” she says breathlessly, “Let’s go free Jack Parrot, the Vice President of the United States.” 

Patrick wipes a tear from his eye as he details how the anthem of the United States swells in the background and then proceeds to treat his readers to a very patriotic and tasteful sex scene. That’s right! We are watching Freejack, the Emilio Estevez/Mick Jagger futuristic thriller that somehow didn’t totally work. Who would have thought? Let’s go!

Back in Party Town, USA Jamie waits several years for Kyle and the cyborgs to arrive. “You thought we couldn’t hack jack into your puny party town?” they cackle, but Jamie just smirks. “No, we thought you could hack jack in, but we’re pretty sure you can’t cyber jack your way out. Hit it, Kyle!” That’s right! We are pairing Freejack with the Michael Dudikoff classic Cyberjack. Classic Dudikoff, am I right? Let’s go!

Freejack (1992) – BMeTric: 44.1; Notability: 62

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.0%; Notability: top 2.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 11.3%; Higher BMeT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Body of Evidence, Cool World, Pet Sematary II, Toys, Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice, The Lawnmower Man, Sleepwalkers, 3 Ninja Kids, Poison Ivy; Higher Notability: Toys, Cool World, Newsies, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Tom and Jerry: The Movie; Lower RT: Once Upon a Crime…, Love Crimes, Folks!, Live Wire, Year of the Comet, Frozen Assets, Cool World, Man Trouble, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them, Body of Evidence, Mom and Dad Save the World, Passed Away, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Claire of the Moon, Ladybugs, Mr. Baseball, The Distinguished Gentleman, The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, and 5 more; Notes: I’m liking the look of that Notability, 60 is crazy high for 1992, especially for a movie like this. Look at those higher BMeT films as wall! Seen a lot of those, but Poison Ivy is a particularly exciting prospect.

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Good cast is wasted in this mindless actioner, in which race car driver Estevez dies in 1991 and finds his body snatched into the year 2009 so that it may house the soul of ruthless tycoon Hopkins. Tiresome, superficial fare. Based on the novel Immortality, Inc. by Robert Sheckley. Jagger plays a bounty hunter; it’s his first screen acting role since Performance in 1970.

(Based on a book huh? I wonder how long it is. Do you think I could read it in a day. That is tempting. Interesting to call it an actioner. It probably fits that definition, but it feels weird to call what must be a real deal sci-fi film an “actioner”.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Zxr-Y-5YyA/

(My god, it looks incredible! The graphics, the kind of crappy dystopian near-future, the guitar licks. Mick Jagger out of nowhere barely acting. A bunch of race cars. What racing circuit is Estevez competing in? Looked like a junior Indycar or something, the cars looked tiny.)

DirectorsGeoff Murphy – (Known For: The Quiet Earth; Fortress 2; Utu; Goodbye Pork Pie; Never Say Die; Spooked; Future BMT: Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; BMT: Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory; Freejack; Notes: Right, we just watched a film by him in Young Guns II, where I mentioned he’s from New Zealand and got what amounted to a knighthood for his contributions to film there.)

WritersRobert Sheckley – (Known For: The Tenth Victim; Condorman; The Prize of Peril; Dead Run; BMT: Freejack; Notes: Wrote Immortality Inc. which is what the film is based on. In his later life he wrote a bunch of movelizations of television shows and stuff, like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Laertian Gamble.)

Steven Pressfield – (Known For: The Legend of Bagger Vance; Above the Law; Joshua Tree; Separate Lives; BMT: Freejack; King Kong Lives; Notes: Apparently wrote drafts of Hard to Kill and Total Recall. He was born in Trinidad.)

Ronald Shusett – (Known For: Alien; Aliens; Prometheus; Total Recall; Alien: Covenant; Alien³; Alien Resurrection; Dead and Buried; Above the Law; Campsite Massacre; Hemoglobin; Phobia; W; Future BMT: Total Recall; BMT: AVP: Alien vs. Predator; AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem; Freejack; King Kong Lives; Notes: The writing partner of Pressfield, although he ended up with a ton of other (character) credits since he has a story credit on the original Alien.)

Dan Gilroy – (Known For: Nightcrawler; Kong: Skull Island; The Fall; The Bourne Legacy; Real Steel; Velvet Buzzsaw; Roman J. Israel, Esq.; Future BMT: Chasers; Two for the Money; BMT: Freejack; Notes: Son of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Frank D. Gilroy. Was nominated for an Oscar for Nightcrawler. His two brothers are also in the business, with Tony Gilroy nominated for Oscars for writing and directing Michael Clayton, and John Gilroy an editor (of things like Rogue One).)

ActorsEmilio Estevez – (Known For: The Outsiders; The Breakfast Club; Mission: Impossible; St. Elmo’s Fire; Young Guns; Badlands; The Way; Repo Man; Stakeout; The Public; Bobby; Tex; Wisdom; The War at Home; Never on Tuesday; Sand; The L.A. Riot Spectacular; Los reyes magos; Future BMT: The Mighty Ducks; D2: The Mighty Ducks; Men at Work; Arthur and the Invisibles; D3: The Mighty Ducks; Loaded Weapon 1; Judgment Night; That Was Then… This Is Now; Another Stakeout; Nightmares; BMT: Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory; Maximum Overdrive; Freejack; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Maximum Overdrive in 1987; Notes: The son of Martin Sheen and brother of Charlie Sheen he declined to take the stage name Sheen like they did. A fairly accomplished director, he’s apparently making a third Young Guns film.)

Mick Jagger – (Known For: The Bank Job; The Burnt Orange Heresy; Fitzcarraldo; Performance; Enigma; Bent; Ned Kelly; The Man from Elysian Fields; Running Out of Luck; BMT: Freejack; Notes: The lead singer of The Rolling Stones. He has eight children, he was nominated for an Emmy for the documentary Crossfire Hurricane, and very rarely acts (and his scene in Fitzcarraldo was cut out).)

Rene Russo – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Thor; Nightcrawler; Thor: The Dark World; The Intern; Major League; In the Line of Fire; The Thomas Crown Affair; Velvet Buzzsaw; Outbreak; Lethal Weapon 3; Lethal Weapon 4; Get Shorty; Ransom; Tin Cup; Big Trouble; The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle; Frank and Cindy; Future BMT: Two for the Money; Yours, Mine & Ours; Major League II; Showtime; Just Getting Started; Mr. Destiny; One Good Cop; Buddy; BMT: Freejack; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle in 2001; Notes: Very accomplished actress, she married Dan Gilroy, the writer of the film, in 1994. They are still together.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $17,129,026 (Worldwide: $17,129,026)

(Oh that ain’t good. You want more than that. These always seem like a tough beat because making a futuristic film costs money, but then you look at it and wonder if they actually thought they’d make $30 million let alone a profit? It seems like a bit of Hollywood accounting to a degree.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 18% (3/17)

(ooooo, I get to make a consensus. Mostly a string of chase scenes and smashing up sets, Freejack does a disservice to the actors with its lack of wit.)

Reviewer Highlight: The trouble with low-rent science-fiction movies is that beneath all the futuristic gimcrackery — the video phones and laser guns and hyperspace leaps, the obligatory time-travel setups — you realize, at some point, that you’re watching a routine urban chase thriller: Lethal Weapon 2000. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Poster – Freejack Attack is Back, Jack

(I’m giving them an E for effort, but this is… not a good thing they have done. Funny, too, that Hopkins is so high up on that poster. He barely appears in the film while Rene Russo does all the heavy lifting. The font and the soft blue tone rescue it a bit, but it hurts my eyes. C-.)

Tagline(s) – Alex Furlong died today. Eighteen years from now, he’ll be running for his life. (D)

(Again, this is bold. If I had to create an impossibly confusing tagline for a film to ensure that a) no one would read it and b) no one would understand it, this would be it. The only thing this tells you is that it’s set in the future. That and to steer clear of the film.)

Keyword(s) – bounty-hunter

Top 10: Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood (2019), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Django Unchained (2012), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019), No Country for Old Men (2007), Birds of Prey (2020), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Future BMT: 58.7 Suburban Commando (1991), 44.1 Identity Thief (2013), 40.7 Pink Cadillac (1989), 37.3 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), 35.9 Domino (2005), 32.5 Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), 30.8 Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983), 30.4 Mortal Engines (2018), 29.2 All About the Benjamins (2002), 20.6 The Three Musketeers (1993)

BMT: Jupiter Ascending (2015), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), Ghost Rider (2007), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory (1990), The Darkest Minds (2018), Jonah Hex (2010), The Bounty Hunter (2010), Barb Wire (1996), Freejack (1992), One for the Money (2012), Critters 2 (1988)

Matches: The Hateful Eight (2015), Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), The Chronicles of Riddick (2004), Raising Arizona (1987), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Ghost Rider (2007), Midnight Run (1988), Mud (2012), Critters (1986), Identity Thief (2013), Dead Man (1995), Jonah Hex (2010), Welcome to the Jungle (2003), The Bounty Hunter (2010), Domino (2005), Barb Wire (1996), Home on the Range (2004), Freejack (1992), One for the Money (2012), The Hunter (1980), Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000), Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983), All About the Benjamins (2002), Trancers (1984), Last of the Dogmen (1995), Dragon Warriors (2015), Scorched Earth (2018), Wanted: Dead or Alive (1986), The Night Crew (2015), Phoenix 2 (1995), Hard Bounty (1995), Future Force (1989), The Retrieval (2013), Coast to Coast (1980), Neon City (1991), Grim Prairie Tales: Hit the Trail… to Terror (1990), The Blue Iguana (1988), Future Zone (1990), Moving Target (1996), Space Rage (1985), The Other Side (2006), Meaner Than Hell (2009), The Mandalorian Legacy (2009), Street Hunter (1990), L.A. Bounty (1989), White Wall (2010), Galaxy Hunter (2004), Big Mistake (2014), The Bounty Hunter (1989), Revengeance (2016), Blackhats (2015), Sin’s Kitchen (2004), Six Gun (2008), The Big Bang (2003), Boston Nightly: Long Term Parking (2015)

(So many bounty hunter films. It feels like maybe you could make a cycle? Identity Thief (Comedy), Suburban Commando (Action), The Three Musketeers (Romance), Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Horror) … yeah I think it wouldn’t be that hard, although too bad we already did The Bounty Hunter since Romance is a stretch with The Three Musketeers.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Anthony Hopkins is No. 4 billed in Freejack and No. 1 billed in The Rite, which also stars Ciarán Hinds (No. 5 billed) who is in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (No. 2 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) => (4 + 1) + (5 + 2) + (1 + 1) + (5 + 1) = 20. If we were to watch Two for the Money we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Rene Russo (Julie Redlund) met her husband, co-writer Dan Gilroy, during production. They have been married since 1992.

According to reports at the time of the production and interviews with some members of cast and crew, the test screening was disastrous. Producer Ronald Shusett was brought in to re-shoot almost half of the movie, and add more character scenes and humor. Emilio Estevez said that director Geoff Murphy let them down by focusing too much on action.

The film was loosely based on the 1959 science fiction novel “Immortality, Inc.” by Robert Sheckley.

On an episode of ‘How Did This Get Made?’, it was revealed that Mick Jagger was offered this movie one week before shooting was scheduled to begin, and he decided to do it on the spot, based on a short description of the plot. He also said that if he had been given a few months to read the script and think about it, he probably would have declined.

Mick Jagger’s first dramatic movie as an actor since the mid-1980s with ‘Running out of Luck’ and ‘Laughter in the Dark’. He was cast in the wake of The Rolling Stones’ lucrative 1989-90 Steel Wheels tour, which was accompanied by their album of the same name.

The film’s premiere event was held nearly a month after it had already been released in theaters.

The film takes place in November 2009.

The racing footage was filmed at Road Atlanta using Formula Atlantic cars.

On VHS copies of this movie, the music video for Scorpions “Hit between the Eyes” is included. The video contains concert footage and scenes from the movie.

Cinematographer Amir Mokri’s first experience shooting a movie with anamorphic lenses. He did not do so again until Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011).

The hat that Emilio Estevez wears when in disguise was intended to be the same hat used in Young Guns 2 (1990), but the iconic prop had already been claimed by Lou Diamond Phillips on completion of principal photography.

Alex tells Boone that they’ve had it and Boone says, “What do you mean ‘we’, white man?” This is a nod to an old Lone Ranger joke about the hero and his Indian friend Tonto being surrounded by Indians.

Jerry Hall: Mick Jagger’s then-wife plays the television reporter who interviews Alex.