Wow, we really breezed through those two films. I’m ready to dive headfirst into the worst of the worst of 2016. For that reason we’re just watching Nine Lives eight weeks in a row. JK (but we’re definitely watching Nine Lives though. Kevin Spacey is a cat! Come on! How is that even made?). We start with comedy and there was one film whose reviews really made it stand out. Dirty Grandpa starring Zac Efron and Robert De Niro… wait, that’s how Zac Efron spells his name? Weird. Even weirder? My text editor marked it as a misspelling. Meaning that Zac Efron is in its dictionary. Double weird. Let’s go!
Dirty Grandpa (2016) – BMeTric: 27.9
(Yeah, that VOD bounce though, so sweet, so cold (getting so hot and bothered I’m dropping William Carlos Williams poems on you). And this graph is also nice because you can pretty plainly see a couple of things. First, the about 20% of a movie’s votes from its first year of release will be prior to VOD release (sample size of one naturally). Second, the VOD release occurs about three months after (80 days in this case) and at that point we could have possibly made a pretty good guess at its BMeTric 9 months later (same rating, multiply the votes by five). And third, that the rate of vote decelerates four times slower in the VOD period than in the theatrical period. The movie hasn’t been out long enough to know whether it settles into a long term more constant slope and whether that point in consistent across other movies. But something to look at more closely in the future I think.)
RogerEbert.com – 0 stars (thumbs down) – The actor Bela Lugosi appeared in some landmark, perhaps even great, films at the beginning of his Hollywood career in the 1930s. They include Browning’s “Dracula” and Ulmer’s “The Black Cat.” Lugosi’s final film was 1959’s “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” frequently cited as the worst film ever made. The cinematic landmarks of De Niro’s career include films such as Coppola’s “The Godfather, Part II” and Scorsese’s “Raging Bull.” He has been featured in a good number of very bad films in the years since. But this? This might just be his own “Plan 9.”
(I had to include that whole paragraph. That is an incredible slam. Most other reviews are similar, all agreeing that this is likely De Niro’s worst film bar none. I fully expect this to be a dull and humorless affair, but these reviews give me some hope that it will shock us in its terribleness. We shall see.)
(a …. Dull and humorless affair. Likely with uncomfortable objectification of women, De Niro mugging and cursing into the camera, and Efron’s sweet Baywatch bod. Sigh. Mantzoukas will be a pleasant respite in the middle it looks like. In another universe this movie is like the Hangover and hilarious. Just not in our universe.)
Directors – Dan Mazer – (Known For: I Give It a Year; BMT: Dirty Grandpa; Notes: Producer, director, and writer for the Da Ali G show and other project (Borat and Bruno). Also the writer of this year’s smash hit sequel Bridget Jones’ Baby. It looks like this was his first Hollywood foray. )
Writers – John Phillips (written by) (as John M. Phillips) – (BMT: Dirty Grandpa; Notes: UCB alum this was his first full length screenplay. He also just sold a pilot to NBC with Phil Lord and co-wrote the soon-to-be-released sequel Bad Santa 2. He is described as a “rising star” for a reason I guess.)
Actors – Robert De Niro – (Known For: Joy; Goodfellas; The Godfather: Part II; The Intern; Taxi Driver; American Hustle; Stardust; Once Upon a Time in America; Silver Linings Playbook; Heat; The Deer Hunter; Limitless; Casino; Jackie Brown; The Untouchables; Cape Fear; Machete; The Good Shepherd; Hands of Stone; Raging Bull; Sleepers; A Bronx Tale; Brazil; Last Vegas; Ronin; Backdraft; Angel Heart; Meet the Parents; Awakenings; The Score; The Mission; This Boy’s Life; Mean Streets; Men of Honour; Being Flynn; Cop Land; Stone; Wag the Dog; Midnight Run; Everybody’s Fine; Novecento; Analyze This; The King of Comedy; Falling in Love; New York, New York; The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle; BMT: Godsend; Little Fockers; Showtime; Killing Season; The Carrier; The Big Wedding (BMT); New Year’s Eve (BMT); The Fan; Hide and Seek; Analyze That; Shark Tale; Righteous Kill; Dirty Grandpa; The Bridge of San Luis Rey; Arthur et les Minimoys; 15 Minutes; Red Lights; Meet the Fockers; Heist; The Family; Grudge Match (BMT); Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Screen Couple for Showtime. Is there anything more to say about De Niro? Let’s go with more recent new then. He was replaced on the long awaited American debut of director Olivier Assayas, Idol’s Eye, by Sylvester Stallone which is interesting. And he refused to pose in pictures with Arnold Schwarzenegger apparently after a heated discussion about Donald Trump. Fun times.)
Zac Efron – (Known For: Bad Neighbours 2; Bad Neighbours; 17 Again; Hairspray; We Are Your Friends; The Lorax; High School Musical 3: Senior Year; The Paperboy; Parkland; Liberal Arts; At Any Price; Me and Orson Welles; BMT: New Year’s Eve (BMT); Dirty Grandpa; That Awkward Moment; Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates; The Lucky One; The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud; Notes: Surged to fame with the High School Musical series (which you might be shocked to hear, doesn’t qualify as it is a television movie). He’s going to be in Baywatch, and obviously has seen a lot of recent success in a few comedies.)
Budget/Gross – $11.5 million / Domestic: $35,593,113 (Worldwide: $94,073,028)
(Uh yeah …. That’s solid. Who’s excited for Dirty Grandpa 2? Dirtier Grandpa? Dirty Grandson? Oh shit … Dirty Fockers it’s a cross over this needs to be done. Regardless, a January hit, so I wonder what is next for the franchise. Dirty Grandpa Universe (DGU)? Alright, I’m done.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (13/122): Like a Werther’s Original dropped down a sewer drain, Dirty Grandpa represents the careless fumbling of a classic talent that once brought pleasure to millions.
(Coooooooooold bloooooooooooded. Jesus, that is straight wrecked son. Is Werther’s Original an old person joke? Think on that for a second. There isn’t even much to really figure out with this review, it is simply summed up as “garbage”. But is it boring? Is it unpleasant? Is it just gross? We’ll have to watch to find out!)
Poster – Dirty GrandSklog (D)
(I was actually tempted to give this an F, but the consistent grey-red coloring scheme saved it. The spacing is bad, symmetry is bad, too much focus on the people, and I don’t like Robert De Niro’s face… it’s mesmerizing how terrible it is. By the way there are like 5 major posters for this film. There are several better ones than this, but I remember this being the main one used in theaters.)
Tagline(s) – Lose your way. Find your manhood. (B)
(And every individual poster had its own unique tagline too. They worked hard on this shit. While the main poster was one of the worst, its tagline was actually one of the better ones. Concise and used the clever combination of ‘lose’ and ‘find.’ Unfortunately, the two phrases don’t connect as much as they would hope so starting to veer towards “sound like a tagline, but is it a tagline” category.)
Keyword(s) – grandfather grandson relationship; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.9 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 75.4 Troll 2 (1990); 70.0 The Master of Disguise (2002); 63.7 Daddy Day Camp (2007); 59.9 Problem Child 2 (1991); 47.4 3 Ninjas Kick Back (1994); 47.1 Little Fockers (2010); 46.6 Caligula (1979); 44.4 The Resident (2011); 44.3 3 Ninja Kids (1992);
(I have a feeling we are going to get a weird list of keywords for recent film. There are 246 keywords for Dirty Grandpa and only six of them have received a vote of relevant (all exactly one vote). The other keywords: compromising photograph, man wearing a g string, gay character, male nudity, homophobia … spectacular. By the way I guess Jamie and I have actually seen 3 Ninjas Kick Back because I think we were 3 Ninjas completionists at the time. Oh and great list.)
Notes – For the film’s theatrical poster, Robert De Niro lifted Zac Efron on his back without any help. Efron confirmed it while promoting the film on Instagram. (De Niro seems like a cool dude)
Aubrey Plaza, who plays a 21-year-old college student, was 31 when the film was released.
The screenplay was featured in the 2011 Blacklist, a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year. (Interesting. I listen to that podcast. The movies they read tend to be … not great, and the guy certainly like crass comedies, so this would fit right in. I can just imagine myself grimacing while listening to this script)
Zac Efron performed all of his own nude scenes except for the embarrassing beach sequence. Director John Phillips states on the commentary that it was one of the most expensive scenes to make in the film. Zac wasn’t actually nude at all and wore flesh-colored briefs which were edited out during the post-production process. A stunt penis was also placed over his crotch using CGI for the split-second frames where he is most exposed. Phillips mentioned that when the restricted German trailer was released onto the internet that a community of online fans were trying to grab frames on the actor’s penis. Subsequently, it turns out this is the one nude scene in the film that isn’t actually him. (ha, I do love extremely expensive stunt penises)