The Wizard Preview

Jamie and Patrick walk the streets of New York City. “We need rulez,” Patrick says, pounding his fist into his gloved hand and pulling his coat tight against the winter chill. No matter how many crisp, cool Bud Lights they drink they keep arriving back at the standard 9 rulez of BMT. Jamie stops and pulls out the laminated BMT rule card they carry around. Number 1 was “Full Body Burns = Rad.” He considers this rule but can’t find fault with it. “They are rad,” he mumbles, disappointed. Suddenly Patrick has an idea. He takes out a marker and uses it to cross out Rule #1 in order to write “CGI.” Jamie frowns, but has to admit that pretty much everything great now has lots of CGI. “So you’re saying we just have to come up with equal but opposite rulez for GMT. OK. Well what’s rule number 2?” Jamie asks, hoping this one works out better. Patrick looks at the card again, “Uh, let’s see. Rule #2 – Settings = Awesome” Now they’re both frowning. Settings are awesome. Who doesn’t like a big time film set at Christmas, New Years, or the Fourth of July? Who wouldn’t want to watch a Hawaii vacation, a glamorous Hollywood night, or a crazy time in the Big Ap… suddenly they stop. They look around at winter in NYC. The cold skyscrapers. The slushy streetz. The salt strewn sidewalks. “Too gritty,” Patrick says. “Too grand,” Jamie agrees. “We need to get out of this dump. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Patrick asks. Jamie nods his head and croons, “Delaware,” extending the word for real effect. With that they cross off Rule #2 and replace it with “Settings = Boring.” Patrick puts on a pair of real cool sunglasses and smirks, “That’s wizard.” That’s right! We’re not heading to Delaware, we’re heading to Caaallliiifffoorrrnniiiaaa for a viewing of the cult classic (at least in our cult) The Wizard. Starring Fred Savage (but let’s be real, mostly Super Mario Bros 3) this was a staple of our childhood. It’s time to revisit it and see what all the hubbub was about. I’m sure it’s wizard. Let’s go!

The Wizard (1989) – BMeTric: 27.2; Notability: 22

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 12.8%; Notability: top 21.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 18.3%; Higher BMeT: Police Academy 6: City Under Siege, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, Wild Orchid, Cyborg, The Karate Kid Part III, The Fly II, No Holds Barred, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Cutting Class, Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland, DeepStar Six, Pink Cadillac, The Toxic Avenger Part II, Shocker, The Punisher, The January Man, The Horror Show, Leviathan, and 12 more; Higher Notability: Tango & Cash, Troop Beverly Hills, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Fletch Lives, Harlem Nights, Leviathan, Listen to Me, Lock Up, Pink Cadillac, Family Business, Police Academy 6: City Under Siege, Millennium, Three Fugitives, Dead Bang, Let It Ride, Renegades, Slaves of New York, The Karate Kid Part III, and 34 more; Lower RT: Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, Police Academy 6: City Under Siege, Worth Winning, The Toxic Avenger Part II, The Horror Show, Stepfather II: Make Room for Daddy, Night Game, Second Sight, Wired, Dream a Little Dream, No Holds Barred, Rooftops, Wild Orchid, She’s Out of Control, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Millennium, Chattahoochee, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland, The Blood of Heroes, and 23 more; Notes: I mean, those scores look right for a not-so-bad masterpiece right? For a film where I knew at the end I would say “sure me I liked it.”

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – “The Wizard” is one of those movies that provokes the Hey, Wait a Minute Syndrome – you know, the kind where you keep saying things like, “Hey, wait a minute. How could a 9-year-old boy walk miles along a desert highway without being noticed?” Or “Wait a minute. Do you mean to say a trucker wouldn’t even stop if he saw two little kids coasting down an interstate highway on a skateboard?” Or “Wait a minute. Do businessmen on their lunch hours really gamble on video games with little kids?” Or “Wait a minute. Could three little kids (for their ranks have swelled by now) really make it from Utah to Los Angeles without anything terrible happening to them?” But wait a minute. I know, I know, “The Wizard” is only a silly Christmas kiddie movie, and we aren’t supposed to ask questions like that. But we must. In an age when child abduction is the subject of half the TV docudramas and all of the milk cartons, how are we supposed to blind ourselves to the central fact of this movie, which is that a 13-year-old boy and his 9-year-old brother, accompanied part of the way by a 13-year-old girl, manage to walk, hitchhike and con themselves all the way from Utah to the National Video Game Championships in L.A.? The movie is filled with shots of these little kids walking down highways, and hitching rides, and walking into bars and video parlors and Reno gambling casinos, and there wasn’t a moment when I didn’t question the sanity of the film and fear for their safety. It was only after the three kids arrived safely at the championships that I began to question the ethics of the film, which is, among other things, a thinly disguised commercial for Nintendo video games and the Universal studio tour.

(Honestly, Roger Ebert nailing it. This film reads much much much differently as an adult than as a child. Much like Dutch, you see the penultimate scene in that film and think about the kid walking along a highway and think that Dutch is a psycho. This is the same. As a kid it seems like magical nonsense. As an adult it is a harrowing tale of three children almost getting killed on the highways of America. And yeah … it is all under the guise of a commercial specifically for Super Mario Bros. 3.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UL39WARA8lQ/

(A touch of romance? Kids’ films are so weird. And this one especially. It is a real trip, traveling a thousand miles across the country is just very stress inducing. And then this trailer being maybe the first real life footage of Super Mario 3 people saw? Wowza.)

DirectorsTodd Holland – ( Future BMT: Krippendorf’s Tribe; Firehouse Dog; BMT: The Wizard; Notes: Mostly a television director. He created and wrote Wonderfalls, including directing 5 episodes.)

WritersDavid Chisholm – ( BMT: The Wizard; Notes: Wrote a show called Over My Dead body which has 51 votes on IMDb … dare me to watch all of it? I’ll make a podcast about it. Mostly wrote TV movies.)

ActorsFred Savage – ( Known For: The Princess Bride; Austin Powers in Goldmember; The Rules of Attraction; Little Monsters; The Boy Who Could Fly; Vice Versa; The Last Run; Future BMT: Super Troopers 2; BMT: The Wizard; Welcome to Mooseport; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Daddy Day Camp in 2008; Notes: Was nominated for two Emmys for The Wonder Years. Does a ton of television directing now. Too bad we can’t watch Little Monsters for BMT. Only 9 reviews though so … maybe someday.)

Luke Edwards – ( Known For: American Pie 2; The Super; Malicious; Mother’s Boys; Guilty by Suspicion; A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff; Future BMT: Newsies; Jeepers Creepers 2; Little Big League; BMT: The Wizard; Notes: Still acts a ton on television. Including an episode of NCIS, noice.)

Jenny Lewis – ( Known For: Bolt; Pleasantville; Don’s Plum; Foxfire; Big Girls Don’t Cry… They Get Even; Little Boy Blue; Trading Hearts; Future BMT: Troop Beverly Hills; BMT: The Wizard; Notes: A genuine rock star, she was lead vocals for the band Rilo Kiley and even apparently did some backup vocals for The Postal Service.)

Budget/Gross – $6 million / Domestic: $14,278,900 (Worldwide: $14,278,900)

(Actually, that’s fine. A $6 million dollar commercial and certainly they got their money’s worth. And guess what? Super Mario Bros. 3? Huge game. So yet more proof that The Wizard was indeed wizard.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (6/22)

(Oooo a consensus: This can join Mac and Me and Leonard Part 6 as one of the great movies-that-are-actually-commericals. And it’s also the best of the bunch.)

Reviewer Highlight: Video-addicted kids may well find this exciting, but for anyone old enough to stay out later than 9 P.M. it’s a distinct bore. – Janet Maslin, New York Times

Poster – The Sklizzard

(Hell yeah. I love my Wizard poster. It’s so bad. That’s so bad, in fact, that its come back around and is now an A. Too much nonsense to really comment on. Besides Mario are the other video game images from games? What game is that snake from? A+ font work. When I’m teaching my poster analysis class this will be the font example.)

Tagline(s) – They’re on a cross-country adventure to the world’s greatest video championship. It’s more than a game…it’s the chance of a lifetime. (C)

(Nope. I’ve already stopped reading. Why not just that last sentence. It’s more than a game… it’s the change of a lifetime. That’s good. You ruined it with all those other words.)

Keyword(s) – good

Top 10: Good Will Hunting (1997), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), The Great Gatsby (2013), Hot Fuzz (2007), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Man on Fire (2004), The Nice Guys (2016)

Future BMT: 67.3 Phat Girlz (2006), 63.2 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015), 60.6 Like a Boss (2020), 56.2 The Fly II (1989), 51.7 Playing with Fire (2019), 51.6 The Boss (2016), 51.0 Johnny Be Good (1988), 50.6 The Hot Chick (2002), 49.9 Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988), 48.4 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), 47.1 Barney’s Great Adventure (1998), 45.1 Fly Me to the Moon 3D (2007), 44.9 Fantastic Four (2005), 40.4 No Good Deed (2014), 39.4 Good Burger (1997), 37.2 The Great Wall (2016), 37.0 Stroker Ace (1983), 36.3 Milk Money (1994), 34.6 Mad Money (2008), 34.3 Mo’ Money (1992)

BMT: Epic Movie (2007), Fantastic Four (2015), The Ridiculous 6 (2015), Cool as Ice (1991), Cool World (1992), A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), Hot Pursuit (2015), One for the Money (2012), Fire Down Below (1997), Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998), Fire Birds (1990), Good Luck Chuck (2007), Be Cool (2005), Chill Factor (1999), Money Train (1995), Hot to Trot (1988), The Golden Child (1986), Righteous Kill (2008), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), The Wizard (1989), Hunter Killer (2018)

Best Options (Comedy): 67.3 Phat Girlz (2006), 63.2 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015), 60.6 Like a Boss (2020), 51.7 Playing with Fire (2019), 51.6 The Boss (2016), 51.0 Johnny Be Good (1988), 50.6 The Hot Chick (2002), 49.9 Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988), 47.1 Barney’s Great Adventure (1998), 39.4 Good Burger (1997), 37.0 Stroker Ace (1983), 36.3 Milk Money (1994), 34.6 Mad Money (2008), 34.3 Mo’ Money (1992), 32.1 Good Deeds (2012), 31.3 The Nude Bomb (1980), 28.8 A Good Man in Africa (1994), 27.1 The Wizard (1989), 24.5 Money Talks (1997), 24.0 Isn’t She Great (2000), 22.3 Hot Pursuit (1987), 21.9 Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995), 21.6 For Love or Money (1993), 19.1 Other People’s Money (1991), 14.3 Hot Rod (2007), 10.6 A Good Year (2006)

(So many good options here, but you best believe we weren’t giving up an opportunity to use the word “wizard” as slang for good. Also, The Wizard is a film I’ve seen four or five times and I kind of unironically love it as a kids’ movie.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Christian Slater is No. 5 billed in The Wizard and No. 4 billed in Mindhunters, which also stars LL Cool J (No. 3 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) => (5 + 4) + (3 + 2) + (1 + 2) = 17. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – The movie has developed a cult following, with movie-themed retro gaming tournaments hosted across the country. Luke Edwards, Fred Savage, and Jenny Lewis have made appearances at these events.

Beau Bridges and Christian Slater both admitted they had little to no interest in video games when they were cast. They played during filming, and became fans.

The dinosaurs in the film are a real-life tourist attraction at what was once the Wheel Inn Restaurant in Cabazon, CA, near Palm Springs. They also appeared in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985) and in the music video for Night Ranger: Sing Me Away (1983).

Participating theaters distributed issues of “Pocket Power,” a pocket-sized version of “Nintendo Power” magazine.

The original pitch for the movie was “The Karate Kid (1984), but with video games.”

The literal translations of some of this film’s foreign language titles include: “Joy Stick Heroes” (Germany), “Sweet Road” (Japan), “The Wizard of Videogames” (Italy and Brazil), “Videokid” (France), “The Champion of Videogames” (Spain), “Gameboy” (Sweden), “Game Over” (Finland), and “The Child Genius” (Canadian French).

When Lucas plays Rad Racer (1987) with his Power Glove, he presses five keys that each play a different musical note. The 5 sequential tones is the famous five-tone musical phrase in a major scale (D’ E’ C’ C G) that the aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) used to communicate with the Earthlings, and vice versa.

Haley finds the Video Armageddon ad in the July 1989 issue of Video Games and Computer Entertainment. The cover story is the US debut of the TurboGrafx-16 by NEC Home Electronics and designed by Hudson Soft. It had been released 2 years earlier in Japan, as the PC Engine, and outsold its competitors there, including the Famicom (the Japanese name of the Nintendo Entertainment System). It was less successful in the US.

The smoking effects on the casserole seen early in the film were done using a technique called “AB Smoke,” in which one chemical is applied to a surface, and another is later applied, which reacts with it, creating the smoke effect.

After several rejections, the producers got permission to shoot in a Reno casino when they let a state official’s kids meet Fred Savage, who was also starring on The Wonder Years (1988) at the time. The state official’s kids were filmed as extras, but according to the special edition Blu-ray commentary, their scenes were cut.

The tour guide at Universal Studios mentioned a movie title Mayhem in Monte Carlo starring Zsa Zsa Gabor and Paul Reubens (as Pee Wee Herman) in the romantic leads. The movie doesn’t exist.

The truck that Spankey is driving when the trucks block the road in front of the P.I. is the same truck used in Over the Top (1987) starring Sylvester Stallone as Hawk. It still has HAWK written on the door.

The structure Jimmy builds with toy blocks in the beginning resembles the Video Armageddon stage at the end of the film.

Even tho he is uncredited Toby maguire first movie appearance extra.

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Firestarter (2022) Recap

Jamie

I usually start these posts with a little anecdote. Maybe I’d talk about all the remakes of movies that we forgot we ever watched (looking at you, Flatliners). Or maybe I’d mention how Firestarter brings together two BMT legends for the first time, Stephen King and Zac Efron. Or maybe I’d talk about how Firestarter is part of the recent return to the theaters for films that just a year ago would almost definitely have gone directly to a streamer. That last point is so so important. It really could change the near BMT future dramatically… the House Party remake just got a theatrical release for God’s sake. But no, I won’t mention any of those things. There are only two words that are worthy of Firestarter (2022). Two words that would usually end the post: dog poo.

To recap, Zac Efron and his wife participated in a college drug test fo’ cash that left them with supernatural abilities. They attempt to hide from the baddies that did this to them and use their powers as little as possible, but things are getting out of hand with their daughter, Charlie, who was born with abilities many times more powerful than their own. After a particularly… fiery outburst she ends up… blowing their cover. Another superhuman named Rainbird is sent by the shady government agency who did the experiments to find them, but Charlie is able to fireball him into submission and she and Efron are able to escape (the wife, alas, is not). Now on the run they encounter numerous zany characters. Check out this horrible mean alcoholic man with a paralyzed wife! It’s a laugh-a-minute jaunt across the country as they literally torch animals to death (come on guys, that’s the only thing you can’t do on television). Our main man Efron is captured and the baddies use him to lure Charlie to the sleek government facility where they aim to capture her. But, uh oh! She’s more powerful than they possibly imagined. She continues the trend of making us hate her by torching a man who is on the phone with his pregnant wife (it’s all so unnecessary) before ultimately killing her father in an act of mercy. She burns the facility to the ground and collapses outside where Rainbird picks her up and carries her away to presumably regroup as the supervillain duo: Fire & Rain. THE END.

Wow, this is dog poo. This is next level dog poo. I hated this film. It is horrible. The original is a decent movie and then it seemed like they looked at that and changed everything for the worse. I don’t say this lightly but… I can’t believe I wasted my time watching this shit. What am I doing? Why did I do this? It’s always weird when a last second movie swoops in and has a shot at winning a coveted Smaddie Baddie… somehow feels wrong. I remember that came up regarding Cats. It was a question whether we could really give the top prize to the last film of the year? Feels like recency bias. I’ll have to look back at 2022, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this came out on top for the Strange Wilderness award. That’s how dog poo this was. Gross.

Hot Take Clam Bake! It’s really not that bad. JK. It is that bad. My hot take is really that the girl needed to die. They set it all up. She’s growing stronger. She’s killing innocent cats. She seeks out a man with a pregnant wife so she can steal his key card and torch him, leaving his wife a widow and his unborn child fatherless. Some rando IT people are literally begging her to spare them and she doesn’t. By the end they set her up as a weapon that will likely end the world if she can’t control her power. And yet there she walks away in Rainbird’s arms at the end? No. Rainbird needs to take a page out of the OG Rainbird’s book and karate chop her across the bridge of the nose. Narratively it’s the only choice. It’s what the director clearly wants. Oh, and my literal hot take (but it’s actually a cold take) is that they needed at least 50 more full body burn practical stunts in this film. Firestarter is a nonstarter for me without full body burns. Let’s get rid of this CGI bullshit and go back to the real thing. Hot Take Temperature: Tabasco Pepper.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Firestarter? I hardly knew’er! Amirite? Again?! Let’s go!

  • This movie ain’t that bad. It’s horrendous.
  • Dog poo in my face. Somehow off the top rope I genuinely think this is the worst film of 2022.
  • It looks like crap.
  • It is an abomination as far as the source material goes.
  • It is an abomination as far as the original adaptation goes.
  • Everything they change is for the worse.
  • Is the worst thing that they took John Rainbird and made him vaguely into a good guy? Wait, I can hear you say, they couldn’t have done that. John Rainbird? The guy who wants to smash Charlie’s face in order to gain powers in the afterlife? Genuine insane person John Rainbird? He’s now a broken anti-hero who also has powers. Get the f outta town.
  • Is the worst thing that they took the number one most interesting thing about the original (The Shop) and made it into a ten minute sequence of Charlie walking through a few hallways and then burning it down? Instead of a creepy mansion in the middle of nowhere it is now a giant concrete building (I think in Boston)? Soulless garbage.
  • Is the worst thing that they posit that Charlie learns to be the Firestarter, the twisted Firestarter, in about an hour in the woods in a half-hearted montage? You heard that right, all that good stuff of the experiments, and the blocks of ice, and the mysterious explanation of how Charlie harnesses her power … right in the bin, who gives a shit right? Instead Charlie burns a cat to death and a few leaves et voila, she’s the twisted firestarter.
  • Hell, is the worst thing just that you see the mother’s death? That the farmer’s character is ruined? That they’ve mixed up all the powers? That everyone’s powers are mushy nonsense now? That the scientist character is barely there? That the leader of The Shop has like four lines total? That they had to make the family Neoluddites for anything to make sense?
  • There isn’t much else to say. This is probably my least favorite film of the year. What an unexpected twist that was.
  • I think it is a Setting as a Character (Where?) for Western Massachusetts? It is kind of hard to tell, but they are hiding out somewhere rural and they keep on mentioning wanting to go to Boston. And Worst Twist (How?) for the obvious (given the original) semi-twist that Charlie’s dad is going to make her burn The Shop to the ground. Definitely 100% closest to Bad, I did not like this film and will take pleasure in never watching it again.

Read about Firestarter PD, the CBS procedural crime show starring John Rainbird and his group of magical teenagers. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Firestarter (1984) Recap

Jamie

This is the firestarter, the twisted firestarter. This is the trouble starter, pumpkin investigator… alright maybe I slightly changed that last part. I feel like I can just spend this whole spot on Firestarter by The Prodigy lyrics (both right and wrong) since the primary post is for the 2022 remake and I’ll talk about all the Stephen King, remake, Zac Efron boringness there. Here I can just mention how I’m the fear addicted, a danger illustrated and get on with it. Really dive in on how I’m the pain you tasted, fell intoxicated and all that. Just normal things normal people say… the self inflicted, mind detonator, yeah.

To recap, Andy and his daughter Charlie are on the run from some G-men. They both have powers (Andy psychic and Charlie pyrokinetic) and use these to escape and find their way to a kindly old man’s farm. We learn in flashback that Charlie and his wife were part of a college experiment that went awry (or went as planned, I guess) and they’ve been living under the watch of the government ever since. Unfortunately, Charlie is growing stronger and The Shop decides it’s time to bring her in and see what she can do. Maybe they can even relaunch the program. Back in the present, as they try to snatch them from the farm, Charlie lights the G-men ablaze and they escape once again. Realizing just how powerful she is, The Shop sends an assassin named Rainbird after them. He tracks them to a small lake house and is able to subdue them. At The Shop they keep Andy drugged while testing Charlie. Rainbird takes it upon himself to befriend Charlie under the guise of a kind janitor. His plan seems real gross, but don’t worry, he explains that really he just wants to eventually lull Charlie into a sense of security so he can karate chop her in the face to death. Phew. That’s better. Eventually Andy is able to overcome the drugs and sets up a plan to get Charlie and him out of there. Unfortunately Rainbird catches wind of it and kills Andy before they can escape. When he tries to kill Charlie she is able to stop the bullets and create Rainbird flambe out of him. She then leaves The Shop and numerous people charred ruins in her wake. She arrives back at the kindly farmer’s house who helps her get to the newspaper so that she can reveal The Shop’s sins. THE END.

Unexpectedly decent is how I would describe this film. I didn’t have much hope at the start. David Keith is there with a crazy bushy mullet and George C. Scott appears to be playing a Native American character. He looks like Steven Seagal… and like Steven Seagal now, not from the 90’s. Barrymore is still very young and it almost looks like a TV movie. All this probably has you thinking it’s horrible. But it’s really not. It has some nice scenery and cuts pretty close to what is a good King book. Then we get to the big finish and really I was pretty impressed. Lots of stunts. Lots of fire. I thought the ending was a bunch of fun. So it ultimately kind of delivered. Add in a few more Rainbird face chops and I would have been a happy camper. Not the worst at all. So really what’s the worst that can happen with a remake, right?… Right?

Hot Take Clam Bake! That big story that Charlie is shopping around about The Shop? Ain’t gonna work, bro. What are you gonna do walk in there and say “check out my powers?” Cause there ain’t other evidence you have. The Shop is burned down. Even if it wasn’t I’m sure it technically doesn’t exist anyway. The college drug test your dad did? Scrubbed clean. You have to show dem powers and it’s gonna be real scary. They will not know what to do with you which means you’ll be right back in a bigger and badder Shop. Now you don’t even have Rainbird to karate chop his way in there and save you… you killed him… which is what everyone else will assume you are aiming to do to them. Now you got two choices: become America’s weapon or get tranquilized till you can’t use your powers anymore. Weapon here you come. Firestarter 2: America’s Weapon here we come. Hot Take Temperature: Rocotillo.

Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Firestarter? I hardly knew’er! Amirite? Let’s go!

  • This movie ain’t that bad. Just a bit boring.
  • But man, young Drew Barrymore had it didn’t she! It is incredibly hard to imagine that kids like Macaulay Culkin and Drew Barrymore could exist. Genuine like 8 year old movie stars. But then again … I’m not sure either of them would necessarily say their child stardom was a good or healthy thing, so maybe we can chaulk it up to the late 80s being a wild time and just appreciate that these performances exist.
  • John Rainbird is a pretty amazing villain. Ebert mistakenly describes him as a pedophile. I don’t think he ever was in the book, and he clearly isn’t in the movie either. It is possible the scene in which Rainbird explains why he wants Charlie was added after the fact, so maybe Ebert could be forgiven, but his motivation is even more bonkers than that: he wants to karate chop Drew Barrymore in the face to gain her magic powers in the afterlife. Honestly … if that was in the movie I don’t know how Ebert could have missed it, it was a real WTF moment for me.
  • Does in media res rarely work? I can’t really recall. I think it works here, although flashbacks do a lot of heavy lifting for the first half of the film. I feel like it works here because it gives a reason for Charlie’s father to be breaking down, and brings the characters to The Shop much quicker.
  • Martin Sheen is great. Also a great villain.
  • And the idea of “bah, she’s a little girl, what could she do? We’ll just teach her and everything will be peachy keen” and the crazy Loomis-esque scientist saying “SHE COULD CRACK THE WORLD IN HALF!” works well for me. Even this movie doesn’t know how powerful the Firestarter is.
  • So yeah, I liked the movie. Even if it (1) isn’t a very good horror film if that was what it was going for, (2) it is a bit plodding, (3) the flashbacks were a bit much, and (4) it ultimately is a bit boring when taken as a whole. Still liked it.
  • I think Worst Twist (How?) for the non-twist of Charlie burning The Shop to the ground is the only (weak) superlative I would lob out there. Easily closest to Good, I liked this film.

Hear about Firestarter: The Television Series in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Firestarter (2022) Quiz

Oh man, get this. Now I’m back in 2022 and guess what? I did it again. I took some experimental CIA drugs, clawed my eyes out, and forgot everything. Fool me once and all that. Anyways, do you remember what happened in Firestarter (2022)?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We don’t start in media res here, we instead start from the beginning. Charlie is a little girl with enormous power. What event causes her to “explode” and makes her family get caught?

2) There are four people in the film with powers, who and what are their powers?

3) After escaping Charlie and her father are picked up by a farmer. What is his deep dark secret?

4) But uh oh, the po-po and John Rainbird are back Jack and capture Charlie’s father. Charlie escapes though, where does she go and what does she do?

5) In the end what happens to Charlie?

Bonus Question: We also got a television spin-off for this version of Firestarter. What happens to Charlie this time?

Answers

Firestarter (1984) Quiz

Oh man, get this. It was back in 1984, and it was a crazy time with experimental drugs … but like actual CIA experimental drugs that made me claw my eyes out and forget everything. Do you remember what happened in Firestarter (1984)?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We start in media res with Drew Barrymore and her father running from some agents. How do they get away?

2) Next they get picked up by a nice elderly couple. But don’t worry, the bad guys from the shop are right on their tail. How does The Shop find them, and how do they get away?

3) Finally, just prior to getting caught they hide out at one last place. Where? And how are they caught?

4) In the shop John Rainbird is going to convince Barrymore to light some things on fire. But he wants one thing in exchange: give him Barrymore at the end instead of killing her. What does he want with Barrymore?

5) Here’s a challenge. Name everything Barrymore lit on fire during the film!

Bonus Question: After that gangbusters finale that can’t be it, right? What happens to Charlie after the end credits?

Answers

Firestarter (2022) Preview

“Wow, that was a really great memory,” Jamie says, wiping tears from his face. “It’s true, we had so many very good memories, but that was the most emotional and exciting of all of them,” Patrick agrees. They both wish other people could hear about the very good adventure they remembered, but alas, there is no one around to share the memory with. Suddenly they hear a familiar voice, “Hey, guys, do you need someone to share that very good memory with?” They whirl around and are stunned to see Kyle. “Kyle!” they exclaim in glee. “We’re so glad you’re here,” Patricks says, while Jamie nods his head vigorously, “there was a moment where we were concerned we were actually bad, but it turned out to be a false alarm.” They go to hug Kyle but he steps back, a look of concern on his face. “No really, share the good memory because the only thing I’ve seen from you lately is pretty gosh darn bad.” At that he pulls out his phone and shows them a viral meme of their Dino World temper tantrum. “They’re calling you the Tantrum Twins,” Kyle says solemnly. Jamie and Patrick hang their heads in shame, but also make a mental note to trademark Tantrum Twins, which is very marketable. “I don’t know what’s happening, Kyle,” Patrick admits, “It’s like we’re lost without our BMT true north. Being good is hard.” Kyle ponders this for a moment. “Well what made being bad so easy?” he poses. Jamie and Patrick look at each other, inspiration growing bright on their faces. “The rules! Rulez are coolz!” they say excitedly. “We just have to do the same thing, but for… good stuff… Good Movie Twins.” Patrick says, eyes gleaming. “Good Movie Twins,” Jamie whispers, “that’s fire.” That’s right! We are transitioning to a new year of BMT with “good” films. Oh ho, don’t get it twisted, these are still BMT films, just ones where the title suggests they could be good. We start off with the Firestarter twins, Firestarter (1984) and this year’s FIrestarter (2022). Both are not “fire” as the name suggests. Let’s go!

Firestarter (2022) – BMeTric: 63.9; Notability: 22

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 1.6%; Notability: top 7.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 2.8%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Bubble, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Firestarter; Higher Notability: Black Adam, Jurassic World: Dominion, Pinocchio, Amsterdam, Morbius, Disenchanted, The School for Good and Evil, The Bubble, Moonfall, Deep Water, The Man from Toronto, Spiderhead, Don’t Worry Darling, The 355, Where the Crawdads Sing, Blacklight, Slumberland, Samaritan, Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Lower RT: After Ever Happy, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Me Time, Poker Face, Blacklight; Notes: Yup, a huge BMeTric for the year. And will probably stay up there, it seems to be genuinely reviled.

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – The Stephen King novel on which the new version of “Firestarter” is based was published in 1980 during a phase of the horror master’s career in which the writer seemed fascinated by kids with inexplicable powers. Charlie, played by Drew Barrymore in the 1984 film and Ryan Kiera Armstrong in this one, is cut from similar cloth as Danny from “The Shining” and the title character in “Carrie”—people who discover they’re not like normal kids. There’s nothing scarier than an out-of-control child. Trust me. King’s work would inspire generations—Elle in “Stranger Things” owes a great deal to Charlie, for one—which made a remake of this 40-year-old tale of pyromania inevitable. And yet, once again, inevitability doesn’t equal creativity. So often remakes feel more like contractual requirements than artistic explorations or updates of timeless themes. There is no better recent example of this than “Firestarter,” a film that goes through the motions with such apathetic predictability and pure cinematic laziness that you may want to set whatever device you’re watching it on ablaze.

(Uh oh, that sounds perhaps just a tad bit boring instead of horrible, no good, nonsense. Which I admit, is all I want really.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3v_8ATW_3yI/

(An alternate ending!? And holy shit, they put “liar, liar, pants on fire” in the trailer! Just for that I’m giving this trailer an F. For shame. For shame.)

DirectorsKeith Thomas – ( Known For: The Vigil; BMT: Firestarter; Notes: Has a degree in Religious Education which is interesting. Otherwise really nothing on him. He directed an episode of Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities.)

WritersStephen King – ( Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; Stand by Me; Mr. Harrigan’s Phone; The Green Mile; The Shining; It; The Mist; Doctor Sleep; Misery; Gerald’s Game; Carrie; It Chapter Two; The Running Man; Christine; Carrie; 1408; 1922; Pet Sematary; Dolores Claiborne; Cujo; Future BMT: The Dark Tower; Children of the Corn; Sleepwalkers; Creepshow 2; Thinner; Needful Things; The Mangler; Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice; BMT: Firestarter (2022); Firestarter (1984); Dreamcatcher; The Lawnmower Man; Maximum Overdrive; The Rage: Carrie 2; Graveyard Shift; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Maximum Overdrive in 1987; Notes: Ah a classic. I do need to read more of his books and I wish I could have read this prior to watching the films. He somewhat notably almost died in a car accident which completely changed how he approached writing (and life) if I recall and ended up with him starring in Dark Tower ultimately in a bizarre way. Something like that, I haven’t read those either.)

Scott Teems – ( Known For: The Quarry; That Evening Sun; Future BMT: Halloween Kills; BMT: Firestarter; Notes: Seems like a horror writer through and through, also has a credit in Halloween Kills.)

ActorsZac Efron – ( Known For: The Greatest Showman; The Greatest Beer Run Ever; Hairspray; 17 Again; Neighbors; The Disaster Artist; Gold; Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile; The Beach Bum; The Lorax; Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising; The Paperboy; Scoob!; High School Musical 3: Senior Year; Liberal Arts; Parkland; Me and Orson Welles; At Any Price; The Derby Stallion; Melinda’s World; Future BMT: That Awkward Moment; Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates; The Lucky One; Charlie St. Cloud; We Are Your Friends; BMT: Baywatch; New Year’s Eve; Firestarter; Dirty Grandpa; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Baywatch in 2018; Notes: A Disney kid with High School Musical, which made him famous. I like him, although I can’t say his track record in recent years has been spotless. Very BMT-ful.)

Ryan Kiera Armstrong – ( Known For: Black Widow; The Tomorrow War; It Chapter Two; The Art of Racing in the Rain; The Glorias; BMT: Firestarter; Notes: Daughter of Dean Armstrong who is a legit actor. Was in Anne With An E.)

Sydney Lemmon – ( Known For: Tár; Velvet Buzzsaw; BMT: Firestarter; Notes: Has done mostly television work, although she was in Tar this year. The granddaughter of Jack Lemmon.)

Budget/Gross – $12 million / Domestic: $9,589,250 (Worldwide: $14,889,250)

(Ehhhhh, actually not as bad as you would expect because it was so cheap. Additionally, given it was on Netflix and is now I Prime I assume they are partially making their money optioning it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (16/157): There was plenty of room to improve on the original, but Firestarter trips over that low bar and tumbles toward the bottom of the long list of Stephen King adaptations.

(Juuuuuust a shade over 10% which is too bad. I usually don’t go for smaller publications for the highlight, but this was decently funny.)

Reviewer Highlight: At least this one is mercifully short. – Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW Toronto

Poster – Firesklogger: It’s Fire

(Is it bad just cause it’s the same as the original? I say no. Still works. Orange color scheme pops and the font is delightfully different. Eye catching and gives you a taste. All around pretty good. I think the only suggestion would be to go a little more artistic. Newer posters can have a bit of an Instagram sheen sometimes. Going old school would have worked nicely. A-.)

Tagline(s) – None

(Booooo. F. Although I can also imagine if they did something dumb like “She’s fire” I would have been forced to give it an F-, so a win from that angle.)

Keyword(s) – year 2022

Top 10: The Batman (2022), The Kashmir Files (2022), Top Gun: Maverick (2022), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), Bullet Train (2022), Uncharted (2022), The Adam Project (2022), The Northman (2022)

Future BMT: 65.8 Jeepers Creepers: Reborn (2022), 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 50.5 Umma (2022), 45.9 The 355 (2022), 19.2 Black Adam (2022)

BMT: Firestarter (2022), Moonfall (2022), Morbius (2022), Blacklight (2022), The Invitation (2022), After Ever Happy (2022), Jurassic World: Dominion (2022), Prey for the Devil (2022), Memory (2022), The King’s Daughter (2022), Amsterdam (2022), Don’t Worry Darling (2022), Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

Best Options (good): 63.9 Firestarter (2022)

(A new cycle! We won’t be able to see that graph until next week though. This does complete our 2022 year. We watched 13 films, which is pretty good I think, although also the absolute minimum we can watch in a year. But better than last year, and puts us on a good footing for the future. I think Umma maybe, and Black Adam definitely are the only two we really missed out on.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Zac Efron is No. 2 billed in Firestarter and No. 1 billed in Dirty Grandpa, which also stars Robert De Niro (No. 2 billed) who is in Righteous Kill (No. 1 billed) which also stars Al Pacino (No. 2 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (2 + 1) + (2 + 1) + (2 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – John Carpenter, who did the music for this film, was set to direct the original Firestarter (1984), but was replaced when his previous film, The Thing (1982), failed at the box office. He would instead direct another Stephen King adaptation, Christine (1983).

Final film for Executive Producer Martha De Laurentiis, who died December 4, 2021. Her first film as a producer was the original Firestarter (1984), and she would go on to produce several other Stephen King adaptations with her husband, Dino De Laurentiis.

In the back alley when Charlie sees a stray cat there is a dumpster for the waste removal company “Joyland” referencing Stephen King’s book of the same name.

The beer that Irv offers Andy is labeled ‘Ayuh’, a northeastern phrase akin to ‘yep’ that is heavily present in the writing of Stephen King.

Ryan Kiera Armstrong previously appeared in It Chapter Two (2019), another Stephen King adaption.

Firestarter (1984) Preview

“Wow, that was a really great memory,” Jamie says, wiping tears from his face. “It’s true, we had so many very good memories, but that was the most emotional and exciting of all of them,” Patrick agrees. They both wish other people could hear about the very good adventure they remembered, but alas, there is no one around to share the memory with. Suddenly they hear a familiar voice, “Hey, guys, do you need someone to share that very good memory with?” They whirl around and are stunned to see Kyle. “Kyle!” they exclaim in glee. “We’re so glad you’re here,” Patricks says, while Jamie nods his head vigorously, “there was a moment where we were concerned we were actually bad, but it turned out to be a false alarm.” They go to hug Kyle but he steps back, a look of concern on his face. “No really, share the good memory because the only thing I’ve seen from you lately is pretty gosh darn bad.” At that he pulls out his phone and shows them a viral meme of their Dino World temper tantrum. “They’re calling you the Tantrum Twins,” Kyle says solemnly. Jamie and Patrick hang their heads in shame, but also make a mental note to trademark Tantrum Twins, which is very marketable. “I don’t know what’s happening, Kyle,” Patrick admits, “It’s like we’re lost without our BMT true north. Being good is hard.” Kyle ponders this for a moment. “Well what made being bad so easy?” he poses. Jamie and Patrick look at each other, inspiration growing bright on their faces. “The rules! Rulez are coolz!” they say excitedly. “We just have to do the same thing, but for… good stuff… Good Movie Twins.” Patrick says, eyes gleaming. “Good Movie Twins,” Jamie whispers, “that’s fire.” That’s right! We are transitioning to a new year of BMT with “good” films. Oh ho, don’t get it twisted, these are still BMT films, just ones where the title suggests they could be good. We start off with the Firestarter twins, Firestarter (1984) and this year’s FIrestarter (2022). Both are not “fire” as the name suggests. Let’s go!

Firestarter (1984) – BMeTric: 30.8; Notability: 34

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 6.4%; Notability: top 7.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 15.4%; Higher BMeT: Supergirl, Rhinestone, The Hills Have Eyes Part II, Bolero, Cannonball Run II, Children of the Corn, Missing in Action, Sheena, City Heat, C.H.U.D., Conan the Destroyer, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, The Ice Pirates, Exterminator 2, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Protocol; Higher Notability: Cannonball Run II, Supergirl, City Heat, Protocol, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, The River, Unfaithfully Yours, Conan the Destroyer, The Woman in Red, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Firstborn, Sheena, Rhinestone, American Dreamer, The Ice Pirates, C.H.U.D., Reckless, Exterminator 2; Lower RT: Bolero, Reckless, Thief of Hearts, The Hills Have Eyes Part II, Until September, Exterminator 2, Crackers, Blame It on Rio, Supergirl, Cannonball Run II, Windy City, The Ice Pirates, American Dreamer, Rhinestone, Missing in Action, Tank, Mutant, Purple Hearts, Sheena, City Heat, and 13 more; Notes: I had to look up Protocol, the film with just a slightly higher BMeTric … I had never heard of it. It looks crazy.

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – “Firestarter” contains a little girl who can start fires with her mind; her father, whose own ESP causes him to have brain hemorrhages; an Indian child molester who is a CIA killer; a black scientist; a kindly farmer; a government bureaucrat; and a brilliant scientist whose experiments kill 75 percent of his subjects but leave the others with powers beyond the imagination of mortal man. The most astonishing thing in the movie, however, is how boring it is.

(Just to point out, I don’t think the killer is a child molester, although I could be wrong because it 100% reads that way. But at the end he suggests his odd quirks are similar to Renfield maybe? He wants to look into her eyes and kill her when she is at her happiest moment in order to, in his words, absorb her energy. It seems to be like he is fascinated by this girl’s supernatural powers and in his odd way hopes to take that power to the afterlife with him? Reading the wiki I think my reading is correct. Interesting that perhaps Ebert himself got that wrong, although as I said, he definitely reads like he is in love with Charlie.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfcuksWVRt8/

(Incredible that they showed a good chunk of the climactic scene in the trailer. These days I feel like they wouldn’t dare show off that big set piece for free. Not a chance.)

DirectorsMark L. Lester – ( Known For: Commando; Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw; Class of 1984; Stealing Candy; Showdown in Little Tokyo; Class of 1999; Poseidon Rex; Truck Stop Women; Roller Boogie; White Rush; Night of the Running Man; Pterodactyl; Betrayal; Extreme Justice; The Ex; Hitman’s Run; Steel Arena; Blowback; Stunts; Misbegotten; Future BMT: Armed and Dangerous; BMT: Firestarter; Notes: A big name producer and director, he’s somewhat slipped into semi-obscurity now as the end of his career was mostly producing and direction low-budget garbage.)

WritersStephen King – ( Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; Stand by Me; Mr. Harrigan’s Phone; The Green Mile; The Shining; It; The Mist; Doctor Sleep; Misery; Gerald’s Game; Carrie; It Chapter Two; The Running Man; Christine; Carrie; 1408; 1922; Pet Sematary; Dolores Claiborne; Cujo; Future BMT: The Dark Tower; Children of the Corn; Sleepwalkers; Creepshow 2; Thinner; Needful Things; The Mangler; Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice; BMT: Firestarter (2022); Firestarter (1984); Dreamcatcher; The Lawnmower Man; Maximum Overdrive; The Rage: Carrie 2; Graveyard Shift; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Maximum Overdrive in 1987; Notes: Y’all know Stephen King. He’s won the Bram Stoker Award 15 times, and the Hugo Award one for Danse Macabre, which is a non-fiction book about the art of and influences on horror writing.)

Stanley Mann – ( Known For: Eye of the Needle; Damien: Omen II; The Collector; Meteor; Woman of Straw; Theater of Blood; The Mouse That Roared; Circle of Iron; Another Time, Another Place; Breaking Point; A High Wind in Jamaica; Rapture; Sky Riders; The Strange Affair; The Mark; Hanna’s War; The Naked Runner; Russian Roulette; Up from the Beach; Future BMT: Tai-Pan; BMT: Conan the Destroyer; Firestarter; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for The Collector. He’s from Canada and died in 2016.)

ActorsDrew Barrymore – ( Known For: Scream; Scream; Donnie Darko; A Castle for Christmas; E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial; 50 First Dates; The Wedding Singer; Ever After: A Cinderella Story; He’s Just Not That Into You; Charlie’s Angels; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Never Been Kissed; Titan A.E.; Poison Ivy; Confessions of a Dangerous Mind; Altered States; Music and Lyrics; Riding in Cars with Boys; Whip It; Everybody’s Fine; Future BMT: Bad Girls; Duplex; Mad Love; Lucky You; Home Fries; BMT: Batman Forever; Blended; Firestarter; Freddy Got Fingered; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 2004 for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, and Duplex; and in 2015 for Blended; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Freddy Got Fingered in 2002; Notes: She had an amazing career as both a bona fide child actor and a bona fide adult movie star. The granddaughter of John Barrymore. Hosts the Drew Barrymore Show which has filmed 273 episodes.)

David Keith – ( Known For: An Officer and a Gentleman; Daredevil; U-571; Men of Honor; The Indian in the Cupboard; The Rose; The Two Jakes; Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain; The Great Santini; Brubaker; Raw Justice; Christian Mingle; A Family Thing; White of the Eye; Deadly Sins; Back Roads; Independence Day; The Further Adventures of Tennessee Buck; Take This Job and Shove It; All Saints; Future BMT: Raise Your Voice; Major League II; Heartbreak Hotel; The Lords of Discipline; BMT: Firestarter; Behind Enemy Lines; Notes: Looks like he does small time television films these days. He should not be confused with Kieth David.)

Freddie Jones – ( Known For: Dune; The Elephant Man; Wild at Heart; Young Sherlock Holmes; The Black Cauldron; The NeverEnding Story III; Zulu Dawn; Old Dracula; Erik the Viking; Royal Deceit; Far from the Madding Crowd; Ladies in Lavender; Juggernaut; The Satanic Rites of Dracula; Kidnapped; The Ship Sails On; Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed; Consuming Passions; The Man Who Haunted Himself; In the Devil’s Garden; Future BMT: Krull; Firefox; BMT: Firestarter; Notes: He was Thufir Hawat in Dune. Otherwise you’d probably only know him if you are into British television. That’s right, he was definitely in Midsomer Murders.)

Budget/Gross – $12 million / Domestic: $17,080,167 (Worldwide: $17,080,167)

(My god, they had the same budget! That is hilarious. Obviously, $12 million in ‘84 was something else entirely compared to now, but still. Also amazing that the ‘84 film beat the 2022 in total worldwide gross by quite a bit.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 38% (12/32): Firestarter’s concept hews too closely to other known Stephen King adaptations, though it’s got nice special effects (including scenery-chewing George C. Scott).

(Yeah out of everything in the film I think George C. Scott probably is my favorite? He’s just such an odd and specifically quirky character.)

Reviewer Highlight: Even before it begins laying waste to the reputations of cast members, “Firestarter” is promptly exposed as a derivative embarrassment of a conception. – Gary Arnold, Washington Post

Poster – Firesklogger

(Look at all those words. The whole thing still pops, but somehow they actually did make a much better poster for the new one. Removed the words, added some flair to the font, and made everything a little more professional. I’ll be kind for this one though, cause it still looks kind of cool. C+)

Tagline(s) – She has the power . . . an evil destructive force. (C-)

If you get on her bad side…YOU’RE TOAST. (C+)

Will she have the power… to survive? (B-)

Charlie McGee is a happy, healthy eight-year-old little girl. Normal in every way but one. She has the power to set objects afire with just one glance. It’s a power she does not want. It’s a power she can’t control. And, each night, Charlie prays to be just like every other child. But there are those who will do everything in their power to find her… or destroy her. (D-)

(Lot’s to parse because of all the words on the poster. The first is the worst of the short ones. Just not very clever, but not offensive. The second adds a little spice, but it’s pretty laughably lame. The third is the best. A play on expectations. It’s also short and gives you a sense of what’s going on. I actually didn’t even read the last one because life is too short. It only doesn’t get an F because it’s better than no tagline, but barely.)

Keyword(s) – Stephen King

Top 10: The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Green Mile (1999), The Shining (1980), It (2017), Stand by Me (1986), The Mist (2007), 1408 (2007), It Chapter Two (2019), Misery (1990), Secret Window (2004)

Future BMT: 60.5 The Mangler (1995), 59.2 Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992), 50.2 Sleepwalkers (1992), 47.8 The Dark Tower (2017), 45.4 Children of the Corn (1984), 36.5 Thinner (1996), 29.7 Creepshow 2 (1987), 24.0 Needful Things (1993)

BMT: The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999), Graveyard Shift (1990), Dreamcatcher (2003), The Lawnmower Man (1992), Maximum Overdrive (1986), Firestarter (1984), Firestarter (2022)

(I decided to pick out a good one for this with Stephen King. My god are there a lot of films of his left! We’ve seen seven and eight to go. Halfway.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Drew Barrymore is No. 1 billed in Firestarter and No. 2 billed in Blended, which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed) which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (1 + 2) + (1 + 1) + (3 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 13. If we were to watch Mad Love we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – Prophetically, a few years before she was cast in the film, six-year-old Drew Barrymore’s mother thought that Drew resembled the girl on the source novel’s paperback dust-jacket. Drew once said: “My mom had seen this book at the grocery store with a picture of a little girl on it and she said, ‘Gee, this looks kinda like you’. She said it was okay if I bought it, and so I did. When I read it, I came into the kitchen where my mom was making dinner and said: ‘I’m the Firestarter. I’m Charlie McGee!’ But she didn’t know what I was talking about.”

George C. Scott wears an eye patch over his left eye during the final half hour of the film which was due to the infection caused by the contact lens used earlier in the film. The eye was not quite healed and had to wear it to complete the filming of his scenes.

In a 2010 interview, director Mark L. Lester confirmed that this was the most difficult film that he ever made. He said, “That was all practical [effects]. The fireballs you see, that’s not CGI. Back then, we actually created fireballs that could fly through the air, they were on a wire and could crash into buildings. We had people on fire that were on trampolines that had to flip through the air. It was very dangerous. All the effects were done right on the set. It was a pretty intense thing to do then.”

This film was originally going to be directed by John Carpenter and Bill Lancaster, who wrote the screenplay for The Thing (1982), even wrote a draft for this film. But, according to Carpenter, Universal executives removed both of them from the project in the wake of the box-office and critical drubbing they received for The Thing. Carpenter had reportedly talked to Darwin Joston about taking on the role of John Rainbird, which was ultimately played by George C. Scott. Thirty eight years later, Carpenter, along with son Cody Carpenter and frequent collaborator Daniel A. Davies, would be brought on to compose the score for the Firestarter (2022) remake.

Martin Sheen took over at a late stage from Burt Lancaster, who had to withdraw following heart surgery.

Producer Dino De Laurentiis paid $1 million for the film rights to the book.

Mark L. Lester said he never understood why Stephen King hated this film. He said during an interview, “I knew he hated The Shining (1980), because that movie was not his book. But in case of Firestarter, he had approved the script. He even worked on it. He was on the set and we talked about everything we were doing. He loved everything. The one thing that he especially criticized, the wind blowing through Drew Barrymore’s hair, that was his idea to begin with! At that time he practically hated every movie that was made from any of his books. Finally, Dino got so fed up with him that he said: Okay, you direct your own movie. Well, that was the absolute worst Stephen King film ever. So there you go. But he’s a great writer and I don’t want to get into a fight with him.”

Memory Recap

Jamie

Memory, all alone in the moonlight. I can smile at the old days. Liam Neeson was beautiful then. One of the greatest experiences of my BMT life was watching Cats in theaters. Watching Memory starring Liam Neeson? Not as much. Last time we caught up with our boy LNeez (as the kids call him) I introduced the Murphy’s Law scale of Liam Neeson films. I know everyone is on pins and needles about where Memory will fall on the Not Murphy’s Law to Murphy’s Law range, but you’ll just have to wait until I give my review of the film. Instead I’d like you to just take a moment and appreciate the fact that in a year where studios literally had no movies, they still managed to look in their film vault and dust off a couple LNeez classic for BMT consumption. Thank you, Mr. Neeson. You did BMT (and thus the world) a service.

To recap, I’m having trouble remembering this film… JK, that was a little memory joke. It’s really LNeez that’s having trouble remembering and that’s no good for the assassin business. Despite this he is still the best in the biz and is tasked with killing a man and a young girl to cover up evidence from a child prostitution ring. The man? No prob… the young girl? LNeez isn’t having that and lets the people he works for know that it ain’t happening, Meanwhile, Guy Pierce and his team of detectives are tracking down the same prostitution ring. They are shocked to find the young girl murdered one morning and start on the trail of LNeez, who they believe is the culprit. The Neez is enraged and begins on a path of destruction. No one is safe, even when he has progressed into advanced dementia before our eyes. He’s hiding out in the abandoned bakery in El Paso where he grew up and tries to keep everything straight just long enough to murder everyone. Go Neeson! The detectives put everything together: it’s a vast child prostitute conspiracy involving the son of one of the most powerful people in El Paso. They rush to a party to save the son, but are too late. They are able to shoot LNeez, but he gets away and turns his attention to the woman at the top of the conspiracy. He is steps away from killing her when his memory betrays him and he is captured. The detectives get evidence about the ring, but it’s not enough. They go to the hospital to talk to Neeson and he tells them he also has a recording… but he forgot where it is. Doh! Just before he is killed in a last ditch effort to silence him, Neeson remembers where it is and tells Guy Pierce. He takes it to the DA who is like “sure we have all the evidence but like… money? Right? Conspiracy and money and sorry?” Guy Pierce is upset but soon finds out that the other detectives in the squad set up the main baddie to be killed, so… happy ending? As long as you like vigilante justice. THE END.

On a scale of Not Murphy’s Law to Murphy’s Law I give this a… drumroll… Not Murphy’s Law! It was closer than Blacklight, though, as this is overall a better made film and has a number of ludicrous plot points. I also think it benefits immensely by having a strong B Plot with Guy Pierce (which is arguably the A Plot). It feels a little like they had two scripts and mushed them together as they run parallel for most of the movie, but it also could just be that they recognized that Neeson needs a team effort nowadays. Really the biggest thing that hamstrings it on the Murphy’s Law scale is that the plot is unpleasant. Child prostitution ring and Murphy’s Law don’t go together. Needs to be lighter than that. I think this was better than Blacklight, but it gets worse and worse as the film goes on. The ending is really terrible. As for Pinocchio, I don’t know what all the hubbub is about. The film looks fine and is basically the same as the original. People seemed to get hung up on the purpose… the purpose was so Zemeckis could play with all his toys. Mission accomplished. It’s not a film for me, but I could imagine some children enjoying the hell out of it. Bright and colorful and musical. Spoiler Alert: kids aren’t the most discerning film critics. Anyway, the funniest part of it is they do a very predictable twist-em-up at the end where they reveal that Pinocchio maybe turned into a real boy, but maybe it’s more a metaphor because he has puppet powers that real boys don’t have… so he’s special in his own way. Very dumb, but very modern update and it’s also where I feel like Zemeckis was like “I’m putting my stamp on this.” Overall, meh, why not?

Hot Take Clam Bake! More movies should be made and set in El Paso. It is the 22nd largest city in the US by population! That’s bigger than D.C., Boston, Las Vegas… shall I go on? Those cities are getting films left and right. I can’t even count how many BMT films have been set in those locations (#23-25 in the US by population, for the record). This isn’t even mentioning Houston and San Antonio… those cities are #4 and #7 on the list. What does San Antonio get? Knight Rider 2000. The disrespect! The coastal bias! Memory is just the tip of a rotten iceberg. This hot take is brought to you by the El Paso Committee for Film Production in El Paso (EPCFPEP). Hot take temperature: Aji Chombo.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Memory? I wished I didn’t have any from watching this movie! Heyyyyyyyoooooo, let’s go!

  • Full disclosure: there might have been something wrong with the settings of the television I watched this film on because it looked impossibly bad. Like, one of the worst looking movies I’ve ever seen. And yet a lot of the reviews talked up the director as still having it despite the movie’s obvious flaws.
  • I mean, I hope there was something wrong with the television because my god, this film looked horrible.
  • At least they didn’t make Liam Neeson run in this one.
  • But, he did try and act very specifically like a person with Alzheimers, which involved stuttering a lot, and just didn’t work for me.
  • But in the movie’s defense at least they made the very minor effort of having Liam Neeson act at all. Blacklight couldn’t say that.
  • Unfortunately they also made the decision to have Guy Pearce act. With an accent. And a goofy wig. I don’t care if it is his real hair, he looks ridiculous!
  • The biggest issue with films like these for me is when the subject matter is unpleasant. The systematic abuse of underage undocumented immigrants in El Paso? Yeah, I’ll pass thanks.
  • And my god. The ending. THE ENDING. Spoiler, but the ending of the film involves one of the side characters going and murdering the villain of the film and then throwing his knife away as if he has never thrown anything in his life, and then driving to Mexico.
  • I can’t overstate just how bad this throw was. It is like this person has never once picked up a baseball or football or anything. He never tossed some car keys to anyone. He never shot a basketball. Nothing.
  • I would pay a million dollars if someone released a cut of the film where the only change was that in that scene he tosses the knife away two handed underhand style. I’d call it the Rick Berry Cut. A million dollars.
  • Anyways, the reviews of Memory versus Blacklight makes it clear that people thought Memory was trying to do stuff, while Blacklight was just a nothing film. I’m fine with being on the island saying that I was astonished watching Memory, but merely bored watching Blacklight. Memory was doing stuff but like … was any of that stuff good? Ask yourself that.
  • My god, is this a Setting as a Character (Where?) for El Paso, Texas. There has never been a more El Paso movie in the history of movies. An actual MacGuffin (Why?) with the mysterious thumb drives which contain all of the evidence … I guess. And Worst Twist (How?) for the big reveal that Hugo can’t throw a knife like a normal human. I’m calling it Bad, the whole film’s premise is unpleasant and the film definitely not rewatchable.
  • For a friend we hunted around for the biggest baddest streaming film available in the year 2022, and obviously we settled on the Disney+ disaster of Pinocchio (2022). So, here’s the thing … It’s Pinocchio. There’s a reason people are always like “gimme that Pinocchio! I need more Pinocchio!” and why Del Toro is like “I need to break me off a piece of that ‘nocch’,” you know? The story is fun, the movie is pretty breezy, it looks good. There is a lot to complain about. It’s raison d’etre if you will. Perhaps the sometimes oddly distracting voice actors. The almost always extremely distracting Tom Hanks of it all. Is it the number one Disney film I’ll be showing my child being like “LOVE MOVIES LIKE ME SO THEN YOU CAN HATE THEM LIKE ME!!!!” Nope, there are literally 30 other Disney films this theoretical child will see first. But it was aight. C. Can’t really recommend it as a BMT, but also it isn’t really good and also pointless so…

Read about the sequel Memory 2: Ghost Protocol in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Memory Quiz

Oh man, so get this, I’m an assassin … I think. You know, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been f-f-f-f-f-forgetting things recently. I now … well, do you remember what happened in Memory?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) I just can’t remember … where did Neeson go to complete his first kill, and what event made him realize that, indeed, his mind was slipping?

2) Soon after, while on a job, who does Neeson visit in the hospital?

3) Also, what U.S. city does this entire movie implausibly take place in?

4) Neeson be all up in here killing everyone. What event causes him to snap and start his murdering spree?

5) Ultimately where does Neeson hide the cache of evidence that will take does all the big bads involved in the child prostitution ring?

Bonus Question: Guy Pearce is tired and boy howdy does he think retiring might be in the cards, but what’s this? A knock at the door? Who is it?

Answers

Memory Preview

Jamie and Patrick watch in horror as a raptor robot stumbles around click-clacking its robot claws as it plays the phrase “clever girl” through a speaker in its mouth. The depths of the uncanny valley that Dino Globe is delving into ranks somewhere between Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and the original Boston Dynamics robot dog. “Look how they massacred my Dino World,” Patrick drawls, beginning to feel queasy just looking at the horrible robot beast. They turn on Mr. Brow. “How, Brow?!” they scream. “This isn’t very good. In fact, it’s downright bad,” Patrick says, a finger pointing in Brow’s chest. “Amsterdam is supposed to be the only place where dinosaurs are legal, so why am I looking at a dumb robot dino? Bring us a real one. My trip is being ruined.” Patrick is stamping his feet now and Jamie has taken off his shirt. Brow can’t tell what is worse, the robot raptor or the temper tantrum he’s now witnessing. As they storm about the park Brow exits out a side door to call Kevin James on the sly and see if he might consider resuming his hosting duties. Several hours later Jamie and Patrick stop their fit and look around. The park has cleared out. They are alone… and they are not very good… in fact, they are downright bad. They sit down in the middle of the empty park. “We are bad, aren’t we?” Jamie asks sadly. Patrick nods and confirms that they are at least not very good. “Where did this all go wrong? When did we go from so bad we’re good to just bad?” Now tears are brimming in his eyes. Patrick tries to remember… when was the last time he remembers being very good? That’s right! We’re doubling up on our Neeson with the other BMT film of his year, Memory. Insane to think they release both Blacklight and Memory in a year where studios seemed to have nothing to release. But Neeson is forever. Let’s go!

“Is Pinocchio a mannequin?” Kyle yells to Rachel, looking at what the next review on the newly revamped Sexy Mannequin Times (now brought to you by the Bad Movie Twins) might be. “Yeah,” she calls back. “But is he sexy?” he clarifies. Just then a text comes across his screen with a video. “Oh dear,” he says as he watches it. That’s right! We are pairing Memory with the biggest streaming flop of the year, Robert Zemeckis’ Pinocchio. Let’s go!

Memory (2022) – BMeTric: 38.5; Notability: 22

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 8.8%; Notability: top 7.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 9.9%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Bubble, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Firestarter, Moonfall, Morbius, Blacklight, Pinocchio, Me Time, Spiderhead, Deep Water, The Invitation, After Ever Happy, Jurassic World: Dominion, Senior Year, Blackout, The 355, White Elephant, Samaritan, Prey for the Devil, and 2 more; Higher Notability: Black Adam, Jurassic World: Dominion, Pinocchio, Amsterdam, Morbius, Disenchanted, The School for Good and Evil, The Bubble, Moonfall, Deep Water, The Man from Toronto, Spiderhead, Don’t Worry Darling, The 355, Where the Crawdads Sing, Blacklight, Slumberland, Samaritan, Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Lower RT: After Ever Happy, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Me Time, Poker Face, Blacklight, Firestarter, White Elephant, Prey for the Devil, Morbius, The Last Manhunt, Blackout, The Bubble, The Man from Toronto, Senior Year, On the Line, The 355, The Invitation, Pinocchio; Notes: It is just incredible that such a small nothing film like Memory would have this credit. Nearly 40 BMeTric and 20+ Notability is like real movie numbers.

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Now that Nicolas Cage has had his stock upgraded as of late (thanks to his lovely performance in “Pig” and his self-aware turn in the recent “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”), and Bruce Willis has retired, I suspect that Liam Neeson is going to be the next actor who finds himself in the critical crosshairs for doing far too many forgettable movies. His latest, “Memory,” is already his second such film in 2022, and since his list of upcoming projects on IMDb mentions titles like “Retribution,” “In the Land of Saints and Sinners,” “The Revenger” and “Cold Pursuit Sequel Project,” it doesn’t appear that he will be disembarking this particular gravy train anytime soon. To his credit, “Memory” is at least slightly more ambitious than most of the similar films Neeson has done recently. But it’s certainly not enough to make you overlook how one of our most powerful actors is again wasting his time on the kind of half-baked thriller Charles Bronson used to crank out with depressing regularity during the waning days of his career.

(Charles Bronson is a very very apt comparison and a comparison Jamie made after watching Blacklight. This is definitely getting close to Bronson territory, although Neeson is far more vulnerable than I would have ever expected someone like Bronson to be in a film, but I haven’t watched many of his late career films.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye63hQLDj4k/

(Great looking trailer actually. Well … except Guy Pearce. He looks like he’s wearing a wig and sporting a bizarre accent. But otherwise looks kind of cool.)

DirectorsMartin Campbell – ( Known For: Casino Royale; GoldenEye; The Mask of Zorro; The Protégé; Vertical Limit; The Foreigner; Edge of Darkness; No Escape; Defenseless; Eskimo Nell; Three for All; Future BMT: Green Lantern; The Legend of Zorro; Beyond Borders; Criminal Law; BMT: Memory; Notes: Surprisingly old. From New Zealand and he is 75. So old, in fact, that he was asked to be the director for Top Gun: Maverick, but decided he wasn’t really up for it.)

WritersDario Scardapane – ( Future BMT: Posse; BMT: Memory; Notes: Does a lot of television including writing for and producing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series on Amazon.)

Jef Geeraerts – ( Known For: The Memory of a Killer; Dossier K.; Notes: From Belgium. Wrote the original, and this appears to be his only American adaptation.)

Carl Joos – ( Known For: The Broken Circle Breakdown; The Memory of a Killer; Baantjer het begin; Dossier K.; Clean Hands; Notes: Also from Belgium and wrote the original. He’s had a few things adapted, mostly television. Gangs of London might be an example where he wrote for a British production, but it’s hard to tell.)

Erik Van Looy – ( Known For: The Memory of a Killer; Dossier K.; Ad Fundum; Shades; Notes: The Loft guy! He directed The Loft, but didn’t get a writing credit there. He is the host of The Smartest Person in the World, a successful game show in Belgium.)

ActorsLiam Neeson – ( Known For: Love Actually; Schindler’s List; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Dark Knight Rises; Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker; Batman Begins; Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace; Gangs of New York; The Ballad of Buster Scruggs; Taken; Excalibur; Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones; The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Lego Movie; Silence; After.Life; Ted 2; Widows; The Next Three Days; Future BMT: Daddy’s Home 2; Kingdom of Heaven; Clash of the Titans; A Million Ways to Die in the West; The Huntsman: Winter’s War; Men in Black: International; The Marksman; Wrath of the Titans; Entourage; Krull; Taken 2; Taken 3; Honest Thief; High Spirits; The Nut Job; Before and After; BMT: Memory; Blacklight; Battleship; The Haunting; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2013 for Battleship, and Wrath of the Titans; Notes: From Northern Ireland. He had an oddly late start to his career, really only crossing over in The Dead Pool in 1988 when he was 34. Lots to go with him, but at least we watched the two bad films he released this year.)

Guy Pearce – ( Known For: Iron Man Three; Memento; Prometheus; Alien: Covenant; The Count of Monte Cristo; L.A. Confidential; The Hurt Locker; The Road; Without Remorse; The King’s Speech; Mary Queen of Scots; Lawless; Brimstone; The Infernal Machine; The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Ravenous; Animal Kingdom; The Rover; Back to the Outback; The Last Vermeer; Future BMT: The Time Machine; Bedtime Stories; Lockout; Rules of Engagement; BMT: Memory; Bloodshot; Seeking Justice; Notes: Born in England, maybe lives in Australia now. He was ranked in the top 20 sexiest men in the early 2000s.)

Taj Atwal – ( Known For: The Protégé; BMT: Memory; Notes: Young British person. She must have been in Line of Duty. And yup, she played PC Tatleen Sohota in that BBC show.)

Budget/Gross – $30–43 million / Domestic: $7,329,043 (Worldwide: $13,897,255)

(Colossal bomb. In what world does this film make like $80 million. Was this film just a money laundering scheme or something?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 29% (29/100): A pale facsimile of better action thrillers by star Liam Neeson or director Martin Campbell, Memory proves to be one of their most forgettable efforts yet.

(I legitimately cannot believe that score. Nearly 30%. Spoiler: this might actually be one of the worst films I’ve seen in several years. It is poorly put together and just overall sucks.)

Reviewer Highlight: The filmmaking, by Martin Campbell, the British director of thrillers both glossy and gritty, lacks the texture and sense of place that could have made Memory something more than a throwaway. – Jake Coyle, Associated Press

Poster – Cats 2: Memory

(It’s pretty good. Artistic flair and all that. Color scheme could be better I guess, but it’s writing checks I’m sure the movie can’t cash. B+)

Tagline(s) – His mind is fading. His conscience is clear. (A)

(Hell yeah. That’s also pretty great. It’s pretty straightforward, but still clever in the use of fading vs. clear. I’m going to give it an A. The more I read it the more I like it.)

Keyword(s) – year 2022

Top 10: The Batman (2022), The Kashmir Files (2022), Top Gun: Maverick (2022), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), Bullet Train (2022), Uncharted (2022), The Adam Project (2022), The Northman (2022)

Future BMT: 65.8 Jeepers Creepers: Reborn (2022), 64.8 Halloween Ends (2022), 63.9 Firestarter (2022), 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 50.5 Umma (2022), 45.9 The 355 (2022), 19.2 Black Adam (2022)

BMT: Moonfall (2022), Morbius (2022), Blacklight (2022), The Invitation (2022), After Ever Happy (2022), Jurassic World: Dominion (2022), Prey for the Devil (2022), Memory (2022), The King’s Daughter (2022), Amsterdam (2022), Don’t Worry Darling (2022), Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

(Memory and Pinocchio are merely the best big bad movies (qualifying and non-qualifying) available, so there wasn’t a sub cycle in this case. We’ll have watched 13 2022 films all said and done.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Guy Pearce is No. 2 billed in Memory and No. 3 billed in Justice, 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) => (2 + 3) + (1 + 1) + (5 + 1) = 13. If we were to watch Rules of Engagement we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Based on the Belgian film The Memory of a Killer (2003), directed by Erik Van Looy (known for The Loft (2014) written by Carl Joos (known for Cordon (2014), The Treatment (2014) and The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012)).

Both Liam (in this movie) and Guy Pearce (who plays an FBI agent) in Memento (2000) wrote reminders on themselves to compensate for their loss of memory.

The photos of Alex as a child (01.15.25) is indeed a young Liam Neeson.

Most panoramic El Paso skyline shots in this movie are accurate; however, the tall, white modern high rise does not exist and was implanted into the movie.

Aside from Harold Marques ( Hugo Torres) and Guy Pearce all the other main characters are European ( Mainly from the UK) . No American born actor appears in the movie.

There are two peculiar books by the safe 20 mins in. Both autobiographies of British TV stars – Peter Kay and Fern Britton.

Prior to adapting the screenplay from the original Belgian film, screenwriter Dario Scardapane wrote four episodes of The Punisher (2017).