A small note prior to this post: Once again we take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews back in 2011/2012 we also decided to provide a preview for the movie as well. This is the second in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediate afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!
Strange Wilderness (2008) – BMeTric: 48.8
(So I’m going to dub this trajectory the Teenage Boy Arc. Basically I think what happens is that the only people who want to watch this film when it is difficult to get are people who like this brand of terrible humor. Then once people can watch the film and it is featured on rental sites it drops. And now the only people who watch the film are, again, teenage boys who watch stoner comedies unironically. Not to shit on an entire class of people, but I was a teenage boy, and I had terrible taste in comedy. Just terrible.)
Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Painfully unfunny farce about producers of a ratings-challenged wildlife TV series who desperately seek Bigfoot in the wilds of Ecuador. You can’t help feeling embarrassed or Zahn, as the clueless host, when a wild turkey chomps on his private parts and won’t let go. Shelved for nearly two years before a fleeting theatrical run.
(I forgot it was shelved for years before it was released. The rumor is that Paramount stripped their name off of the film entirely. After watching the movie again the turkey scene is the worst thing I’ve ever seen, so if you are reading this preview before watching the film … enjoy.)
(Yeah, seems about right. That trailer has more of a direction and storyline than the actual film by the way. It is far far less coherent when they try to stretch this out to 90 minutes.)
Directors – Fred Wolf – (Known For: The House Bunny; BMT: Strange Wilderness; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Grown Ups 2 in 2014; Notes: Both of the movies he directed came out in 2008 and he has been doing straight-to-video and shorts since. He is slated to have an Alec Baldwin film, Drunk Parents, out next year though.)
Writers – Peter Gaulke (written by) – (Known For: Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Future BMT: Black Knight; The Babymakers; BMT: Say It Isn’t So; Strange Wilderness; Notes: I wouldn’t call him the writing partner of Wolf necessarily, but he was a staff writer on SNL at the same time as Wolf and is writing Drunk Parents with Wolf slated for later this year.)
Fred Wolf (written by) – (Known For: I Want Candy; Future BMT: Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star; Joe Dirt; Without a Paddle; Black Sheep; Dirty Work; BMT: Grown Ups 2; Strange Wilderness; Grown Ups; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Grown Ups 2 in 2014; Notes: He was a staff writer for SNL during Sandler’s stint which was his big break. After all of those guys got fired he was asked back to be the head writer and featured player. I can only find one clip with him in it though, a short Weekend Update piece.)
Actors – Steve Zahn – (Known For: War for the Planet of the Apes; Captain Fantastic; Dallas Buyers Club; Diary of a Wimpy Kid; You’ve Got Mail; The Good Dinosaur; That Thing You Do!; Out of Sight; Lean on Pete; Roadkill; Stuart Little; Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days; Rescue Dawn; A Perfect Getaway; Crimson Tide; Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules; Bandidas; Reality Bites; Knights of Badassdom; Stuart Little 2; Future BMT: Daddy Day Care; National Security; Chicken Little; Saving Silverman; Sahara; Race the Sun; Chelsea Walls; Employee of the Month; BMT: The Ridiculous 6; Strange Wilderness; Escape from Planet Earth; Notes: Was born and raised in Minnesota, and trained for stage acting in Boston. He met his wife while they were touring with a production of Bye Bye Birdie. Cool life story.)
Allen Covert – (Known For: Hotel Transylvania 2; Happy Gilmore; 50 First Dates; Big Daddy; Hotel Transylvania; The Wedding Singer; The House Bunny; Never Been Kissed; Anger Management; Future BMT: Little Nicky; Eight Crazy Nights; Sandy Wexler; Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; Mr. Deeds; Bulletproof; The Waterboy; Bedtime Stories; Airheads; The Longest Yard; Heavy Weights; Grandma’s Boy; BMT: Jack and Jill; Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; Paul Blart: Mall Cop; Grown Ups 2; Strange Wilderness; Pixels; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Just Go with It; Blended; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star in 2012; Notes: Often vaguely seen as a sidekick to Adam Sandler’s characters in his various films. He had a string of writing credits which appears to have ended with Bucky Larson and Jack and Jill.)
Justin Long – (Known For: Jeepers Creepers; Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; Idiocracy; Die Hard 4.0; He’s Just Not That Into You; 10 Years; Galaxy Quest; Tusk; Zack and Miri Make a Porno; Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story; Drag Me to Hell; Veronica Mars; Herbie Fully Loaded; Funny People; Youth in Revolt; Comet; Going the Distance; Frank & Lola; The Conspirator; For a Good Time, Call…; Future BMT: Crossroads; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel; Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked; Alvin and the Chipmunks; Yoga Hosers; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; Jeepers Creepers II; Walking with Dinosaurs 3D; Alpha and Omega; The Break-Up; Serious Moonlight; Planet 51; Trauma; Ghost Team; Accepted; The Lookalike; Best Man Down; Literally, Right Before Aaron; Waiting…; BMT: Movie 43; Old Dogs; Strange Wilderness; Notes: Pretty famous comedic actor, who might still be most well known as the Mac Guy from the Apple ads featuring John Hodgman. His BMT filmography is … formidable.)
Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $6,575,282 (Worldwide: $6,964,734)
(Just no money. Like nothing. An absolute catastrophe. No wonder the director couldn’t really get anything done for a while.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 2% (1/45): Strange Wilderness is a laugh-free comedy that’s both aimless and overly crass.
(Laugh free. Aimless. Overly crass. Yeah, that is just about how I remember this film. One of the worst reviewed films ever made. Excellent.)
Poster – Sklog Wilderness (C-)
(So the poster is a hard-F. Like unforgivably ugly … but the boldness of the color choice is almost interesting in itself. And then the font on the title is actually quite good. Like the silhouette. Something about it gets it close to average I think.)
Tagline(s) – This ain’t March of the Penguins. (B)
(Like it actually. Pretty descriptive idea. Bump it down because it is aging quite poorly and will only get worse as time goes on.)
Keyword(s) – bigfoot; Top Ten by BMeTric: 55.3 Eegah (1962); 48.8 Strange Wilderness (2008); 44.5 Willow Creek (2013); 43.3 The Barbaric Beast of Boggy Creek, Part II (1984); 39.1 Exists (2014); 36.2 Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (2011); 32.6 Harry and the Hendersons (1987); 31.3 Abominable (2006); 29.9 Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes (2012); 27.4 The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972);
(Huh, some of those are pretty big! I didn’t realize it until now, but Harry and the Hendersons was originally released as Bigfoot and the Hendersons in the UK.)
Notes – During the clip of the zebra being eaten by the vultures, the zebra “responds” to the birds with “oh my god, oh my god…” is actually a clip taken from the movie “Super Troopers”. It is Paul Soter when his character is “flashing” Marisa Coughlan outside of the police station while on the phone with her. (I think I actually caught that)
“Strange Wilderness” began its life in the 1990’s as a series of independently produced short videos by former “Saturday Night Live” writers Fred Wolf and Peter Gaulke. “They started out as little parodies of wildlife shows,” explains writer and producer Gaulke. “Fred and I went out and shot them with the help of John Burrud, who actually has a real-life wildlife show. His father Bill used to host ‘Animal World’ and other travel and nature shows back in the ’60s. So John helped us produce these little shorts which we eventually got onto Comedy Central.” (Ugh, that’s embarrassing. Reminds me of how Friedberg and Seltzer kind of got their start because Rick Friedberg made a cheesy golf instructional video with Leslie Nielsen)
The two main characters are named after the film’s screenwriters.
Some of the clips used when the TV executive proves that Strange Wilderness is too inappropriate are clips from the Faces of Death series. For example, Man on fire with Jesus music, Man being attacked by an alligator, and Pygmy footage) (I didn’t know this was a thing and I don’t really like that I now know that is a thing … but maybe I’m somehow better because I know this thing? It is a confusing time for me)