In Love and War Preview

As Jamie contemplates what to do about The Predator, the creature suddenly looks up and engages its invisibility shield. Damn it, it must has smelled this decaying shark corpse Jamie has been carrying around. Looking around, Jamie spies a skateboard and a backwards baseball cap that must have belonged to a previous victim of the whale and is soon jetting around doing all kinds of ollies and kickflips or whatever. Unfortunately, as is often the case, Jamie is a little too focused on hot dogging and being rad and takes a tumble while attempting a fakie bigspin heelflip. The Predator approaches with laser aimed to kill and Jamie expresses sadness that he was never able to avenge Patrick by killing the Little Old Librarian that brought him to this point. Suddenly The Predator cocks his head in confusion. It speaks some alien language that is translated by the robotics on its wrist. “Did you say Little Old Librarian?” Jamie nods his head yes and the Predator raises his fist in triumph. “The greatest of all prey. Finally I… no, we… shall defeat it,” putting out his hand to pull Jamie to his feet. He blasts a hole in the side of the whale and heaving the decaying corpse of Frang to his should he looks directly into the camera and dramatically says, “Let’s blow this joint. We got a war to fight… bro.” Jamie suddenly has a tingling sensation in his belly and there’s only one thing that could mean: a bromance is a-brewin’. That’s right! This week we are watching In Love and War, that film that everyone remembers and loves starring Chris O’Donnell and Sandra Bullock. It’s based on the true love story of Ernest Hemingway that was the inspiration for a couple of his books. Sounds thrilling. Let’s go!

Hey dummies, expecting a story about Patrick fighting some weird bug or something? Naw, he’s unconscious for this bit. But don’t worry, we are also watching Liz and Dick this week. The Lifetime Original film starring Lindsay Lohan was supposed to be a way for her to slowly reenter the world of acting. Instead everyone just made fun of it and then forgot about it completely. Let’s go!

In Love and War (1996) – BMeTric: 22.3

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(This is something I noticed in previous posts but … Something happened in 2014 with IMDb. I should investigate it honestly. But on exactly January 1, 2014, ratings in general jumped significantly upwards. This is no different. As a matter of fact the rating of the film doesn’t really rise besides that giant 0.3 rating jump on New Years’ Day, 2014. Very much worthy of an investigation I think.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Lumbering catastrophe chronicles Ernest Hemingway’s WWI love affair with Red Cross nurse Agnes von Kurowsky, eight years his senior and the inspiration for the character Catherine Barkley in A Farewell to Arms. Miscast O’Donnell might actually be more credible playing Ernest Borgnine, and the leads have no chemistry. The film leans on what used to be called “scenic values” like a bookie who’s been stiffed.

(“scenic values” …. So, vistas? I think he’s talking about vistas here which is a huge plus for me obviously. Two things. First, the turn of phrase at the end is just bonkers, pump the breaks on that guy Leonard, the bookie ref makes no sense. Second, the casual dropping of Ernest Borgnine, as if I’m supposed to know what that is is ridiculous … I think it is supposed to be a ridiculous suggestion, but it is so far beyond me I just don’t know anymore. This review is astonishing.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVEUGM3Scck

(This is a very old school trailer. If I were to field a guess as to why this film was rejected by critics: It was considered very old fashioned having been directed by a 70-year-old Richard Attenborough, and stars two actors who, I think, are only “good” in very specifically designed roles in Sandra Bullock and Chris O’Donnell. Syrupy sweet nonsense.)

Directors – Richard Attenborough – (Known For: Gandhi; A Bridge Too Far; Chaplin; Cry Freedom; Magic; Shadowlands; Oh! What a Lovely War; Young Winston; Future BMT: Chorus Line; Grey Owl; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Most famous as John Hammond in Jurassic Park I think at this point, although he won the Best Director Oscar for Gandhi, beating out none other than Steven Spielberg for E.T.)

Writers – Henry S. Villard (book) – (BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Became a good friend to Hemingway in Italy during the time the book took place. Joined the US Foreign Service helping to plan the invasion of North Africa in the Second World War, and was the liason to the Free French Forces for the US. Held a multitude of different ambassadorships over the years and lived to the age of 95.)

James Nagel (book) – (BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Co-author to the original book, although I couldn’t find much more about him. Mainlys seems to have produced collections of short stories.)

Allan Scott (screen story & screenplay) – (Known For: The Witches; Don’t Look Now; D.A.R.Y.L.; The Preacher’s Wife; Castaway; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Took over the chairmanship and chief executive position of Macallan-Glenlivet in the late 70s and ran the company until 1996 at which point its market cap had increased 200 fold during his tenure.)

Dimitri Villard (screen story) – (Future BMT: Once Bitten; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Given he founded Jet Set Records, apparently one of the more successful rhythm & blues labels of the era, and established one of the earliest pay television channels in California, he seems to have made movies once becoming rather wealthy. Mostly worked in the 80s, with this film being one of the rare exceptions.)

Clancy Sigal (screenplay) – (Known For: Frida; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Was blacklisted in the 1950s and ended up moving to the UK to work there for decades.)

Anna Hamilton Phelan (screenplay) – (Known For: Girl, Interrupted; Mask; Gorillas in the Mist; Future BMT: Amelia; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Wrote Mask while at Emerson. Ultimately moved to New York City to try acting while continuing to write screenplays, Mask was her only credited acting film role.)

Actors – Sandra Bullock – (Known For: Ocean’s Eight; Gravity; The Proposal; Crash; A Time to Kill; Two Weeks Notice; Speed; Minions; The Heat; The Prince of Egypt; Miss Congeniality; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; While You Were Sleeping; Forces of Nature; The Vanishing; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; The Thing Called Love; Infamous; Wrestling Ernest Hemingway; Future BMT: Premonition; Love Potion No. 9; The Net; Stolen Hearts; Hope Floats; 28 Days; Murder by Numbers; Gun Shy; Practical Magic; Our Brand Is Crisis; Loverboy; BMT:Speed 2: Cruise Control; All About Steve; Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous; In Love and War; Demolition Man; The Lake House; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress, Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for All About Steve in 2010; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Demolition Man in 1994; Notes: Just sold her LA home for around $3 million. Won the Best Actress award in 2010 for The Blind Side.)

Chris O’Donnell – (Known For: Scent of a Woman; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; School Ties; Vertical Limit; Kinsey; Blue Sky; Circle of Friends; A Little Help; Kit Kittredge: An American Girl; Cookie’s Fortune; Men Don’t Leave; Future BMT: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore; The Bachelor; Mad Love; 29 Palms; The Three Musketeers; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Max Payne; The Chamber; In Love and War; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Three Musketeers in 1994; Notes: Somehow has probably become most famous as a television star having been in over 200 episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles.)

Mackenzie Astin – (Known For: Wyatt Earp; The Last Days of Disco; Iron Will; Moments of Clarity; Dream for an Insomniac; Future BMT: How to Deal; The Evening Star; The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human; BMT: The Garbage Pail Kids Movie; In Love and War; Notes: Younger brother to Sean Astin of Rudy and Lord of the Rings fame.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $14,481,231 (Worldwide: $25,372,294)

(I think any way you cut this this wasn’t a huge film. Especially given the note reporting Bullock’s salary as $11 million. That alone suggests this was a pretty big bomb.)

#88 for the Romantic Drama genre

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(This might as well be called Fifty Shades Genre. I have no idea why it died in the early 2000s, but the genre is back and kicking ass again. Midnight Sun is an intriguing one from this year as well.)

#5 for the War – World War I genre

(These films kind of inexplicable come in waves. This is the first bad World War I film we’ve watched. And in general, especially with Wonder Woman just having come out, World War I is having a moment.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (3/27): No consensus yet.

(I’ll make a consensus: At its best with stunning still shots and musical score, but lacking in excitement and acting. Somewhat expected from a lightweight romantic drama unfortunately. Reviewer Highlight: Boring and artificial – Jon Niccum, Lawrence Journal-World)

Poster – In Love and Sklog (C-)

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(Surprising that such a poster would make it to the final copy. Just a screenshot from the film with some lame font text over it. Whatever. Not offensive really, but far from good.)

Tagline(s) – In war they found each other…In each other they found love… (B)

(A little long but I’m picking up what they’re putting down. I’m just a little worried that I think this is original because I haven’t seen taglines exactly like it before… when in reality there are a bunch of taglines out there just like it. If there are I can’t find them.)

Keyword(s) – driver; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.0 The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005); 63.4 Cosmopolis (2012); 56.3 The Transporter Refueled (2015); 50.8 Precious Cargo (2016); 45.8 Johnny Mnemonic (1995); 45.1 Darkness (2002); 41.7 Kaal (2005); 39.6 Would You Rather (2012); 38.4 Overdrive (2017); 36.2 Cannonball Fever (1989);

(Driver? Well I’m excited to eventually watch Cannonball Fever, that should be a complete shitshow of a film with some of my favorite comedic actors of the time at least.)

Notes – This movie’s closing epilogue states: “Agnes von Kurowsky’s long and distinguished career with the American Red Cross continued until the end of World War II. She remained unmarried until she was 36 and lived to be 92. Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1954. One of his great novels, A FAREWELL TO ARMS, was inspired by his experiences in Italy during World War One. He married four times and took his own life in 1961.” (Good to have it written out I guess…)

Several scenes were filmed in or near the Italian village Vittorio Veneto, including the battle scenes. Many of the extras playing the soldiers in the movie were airmen from nearby Aviano Air Base that volunteered to star in the movie.

Sandra Bullock researched her role of Agnes Von Kurowsky by reading her dairies that she kept during the war and reading the love letters between her and Ernest Hemingway.

Agnes Von Kurowsky was the inspiration for the character Catherine Barkley in a Farwell To Arms. (Makes sense)

In real life Agnes Von Kurowsky and Ernst Hemingway never saw each other again after the war. (Fun fact?)

Sandra Bullock was paid $11 million for her role in the film. (That seems … why does that seem unlikely? I guess they wanted the sweet Speed bump)

This film’s opening prologue states: “This film is based on a true story . . . NORTHERN ITALY 1918. Here, during the final year of World War One, Italy was defending itself alone against a massive Austrian invasion. America was one of Italy’s allies but the US Army was already fully committed in France. So President Wilson sent in teams of Red Cross doctors and nurses to boost Italian morale and help care for the wounded. Young men across America responded to the President’s call for further volunteers to drive red Cross ambulances and work in the front line canteens.”

The film takes place from July 1918 to June 1919.

Henry Villard’s own son was the driving force behind getting the film made.

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