Hall of Fame Speech #15: Here on Earth

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a third class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly eight years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. This is the last installment leading up to the sixth (eighth?) Smaddies Baddies bringing you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. The one film in BMT history that every other film is compared to, every other film dreams of being a mere shadow of, is Here on Earth. Never heard of Here on Earth? Don’t worry, neither have most people it seems. Oh ho ho … you are in for a treat! I’ve posted a preview, but also a very special original recap for the film. I would very much recommend it, I think it holds up incredibly well nearly six years later. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Here on Earth

When the Bad Movie Twins were young lads we saw a vision. A vision of a film that would come and teach us the way of bad movies. For years we searched in vain, certain that Battlefield Earth, or Norbit, or Jack and Jill could teach us the bad movie gospels. But we were wrong. Only St. Josh, St. Leelee, and St. Chris could show us the way. The other day I wondered how we even chose to watch Here on Earth. The only real explanation is that we had seen The Wicker Man, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, 88 Minutes, and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li and loved all of them. And the constants there? Leelee and Chris. And what a fortuitous viewing it was. The current long-form recap probably gets most of its DNA from the very impromptu recap I made for this film, which will have been posted just prior to this speech. We’ve shown this film to multiple people and no one understands our love for it. Sometimes we don’t even understand it … but we are drawn back to it. It is BMT. Let’s get into it.

It has been five years … fine I’ve watched it more recently than that. But let’s still try and list what we remember:

  • What don’t I remember? Robert Frost valedictorian speech. Chris Klein acting like a sexual predator in Mable’s Table. Chris Klein’s rock hard abs. Harnett built like a scarecrow. Harnett acting circles around everyone. Leelee’s terrible running. The baseball date. Fuck cancer. Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.
  • This film defined what we dreamed of in bad movies. It basically created the email.
  • And yet no one else that watches it seems to find it as enjoyable … that’s weird. No, it isn’t us that is weird, it is everyone else, surely.
  • Leelee Sobieski and Chris Klein are the BMT power couple. There are only two other people who have influenced it more: Sly Stallone and Kurt Russell in Tango and Cash.
  • Hell … we have an entire game in the email called Welcome to Earf based on connecting all of the bad movies back to Here on Earth!!!! What more is there to say.

How do you parse out the most important aspect of a film that has it all? I think this is more about just re-experiencing it than anything else. If I was going to choose one thing about the film I was excited to re-experience it would be the context of Leelee and Chris Klein’s relationship. Much of the original recap was devoted to how Leelee doesn’t come across too great in the film. Her disregard for Harnett does, as some characters point out, seem cruel. But has that changed with age, experience, and one fresh rewatch?

So how did the rewatch go? Besides the fact that we seriously discussed making a podcast where we would watch the movie ten times and did a full deep dive dissection of the film? So yeah, I think it went pretty well. For me the thing that really popped this time was just how top tier certain aspects of the film are. You can break this into three different pieces, monologue-montage-monologue, that provide you with a little meat to sink your BMT chompers into. Conveniently these are also found early, middle, and late into the film. The first is Klein’s solid Robert Frost inspired valedictory speech spoken from a hilltop overlooking the graduation he has been barred from attending. Leelee looks on with awe as the complete asshole she just met also turns out to be insufferably pretentious. How could she resist? Later Klein is barred from the local Fourth of July fair (probably because he kinda sucks) and we are treated to a cow-dancing, heavy-drinking montage of our boy contemplating the consequences of attending the fair. Happy Fourth of Jooooly to us. Finally, after Leelee has seen the errors of her ways she accompanies Klein on a short jaunt to his mansion in Boston. Once there Klein lays down his masterpiece. His pièce de résistance. One of the original Monosklogs (and in my opinion the greatest of all time) where Klein talks at length about his mother and the roses that she used to grow before running into the rain to makeout with Leelee. In my youth the cow dancing montage was my favorite. With age comes wisdom and I think the final monologue is the guy. It’s the single moment of the film I would put in a time capsule so that future generations could see the beauty that is Here on Earth.

I was also quite surprised at how much differently I interpreted Leelee’s various relationships in the film. Leelee can, to put it kindly, kind of come off as a dick. Which is fine, Chris Klein is a stone cold dick for like 75% of this film. But in the first few viewings I distinctly remember thinking that Leelee was being an asshole stringing Harnett along like that (there are entire swaths of the original recap devoted to just that!). In the Hall of Fame viewing though, I saw through it all to the core of Leelee’s being. She had cancer. She feels certain this cancer will reoccur and kill her someday. She’s floating slowly through life, her best friend as her boyfriend, and they seemingly have no real plans. And then someone exciting enters her sleepy little town. A boy who despite all of his bluster seems terribly alone. And a boy who, for the first time in a long while, makes her want to really live! She explains this to Harnett: you’ll always be my best friend, but don’t you see, we were never in love. We were just there for each other, and you can still be there for me as a friend, but I’m in love with Chris Klein. *Sniff* You see why we love this terrible amazing movie so much?

If you want to understand BMT. Like … truly understand BMT, there really is only one film to watch. Here on Earth. Maybe you won’t really get it the first time. Or the second. But eventually I think anyone will start to realize that with every earnest dramatic monologue by Chris Klein, every stumbling run by Leelee, and every pained awkward stare by Hartnett, you’ll understand. You’ll understand why we are such bad movie weirdos.


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