Sliver Preview

Jamie and Patrick creep around the water fountain of the local mall and espy Pretzel Stand Rachel doling out hot, fresh pretzels. “So what’s the plan, again? I’m not sure I understand,” Jamie says, pulling uncomfortably as his tie, his muscles nearly popping the buttons on his shirt. “Ok, so Rachel is in the book,” explains Patrick, “just like St. Mary’s Church. So our doppelgangers must have left something with her… some bread crumb on the trail to wherever this leads. So it’s your turn to buy a piping hot pretzel and… you know… see what happens.” Jamie arches an eyebrow, unconvinced, while Patrick shrugs. It’s worth a shot. Jamie ambles up to Rachel and from the distance Patrick sees him lean over and say something probably super sauve. They laugh at a joke and Rachel swats him playfully. Excellent. With that she takes off her apron and beckons Jamie to follow her, who quickly flashes a thumbs up to Patrick. What the hell? Jamie didn’t get a clue? Not a slip of paper with some page number on it? Where the hell are they going? Patrick continues to follow the pair as they head through the park. They skip stones on the pod, spend some time in the museum, ride bicycles in the rain, and finally settle in for some gelato at a hip gelato spot. Why is Jamie going on a full on date when they need to be tracking down their diabolical fiends? And why are laughing and living so much? Finally Jamie and Rachel head towards a tall building on the edge of the park. Patrick’s had enough and hurries to catch up. Time to stop whatever erotic thrills Jamie might have on his mind and get this investigation back on track. That’s right! We’re replacing sci-fi in the cycle this year. While we love sci-fi, it’s also a genre that can fit in action, horror, etc. So we removed it as a standalone and replaced it with Achievement Unlocked. What that means is that we will attempt to go after a certain subtype of film this year in that slot. This year that subtype will be the Thrills and Chills of the 90’s. So of course what exemplifies 90’s fun like a 90’s erotic thriller. Enter Sliver, based on the book by Ira Levin. It’s about a big ol’ building that’s probably some metaphor for a penis or something. Let’s go!

Sliver (1993) – BMeTric: 58.0; Notability: 46 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 3.2%; Notability: top 18.9%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 5.7% Higher BMeT: Super Mario Bros., RoboCop 3, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Leprechaun, Mr. Nanny, Cop & ½; Higher Notability: Last Action Hero, Hocus Pocus, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, RoboCop 3, The Meteor Man, Rising Sun, Coneheads, We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story, Loaded Weapon 1, Life with Mikey, Son of the Pink Panther, The Pickle, The Three Musketeers, Indecent Proposal; Lower RT: RoboCop 3, Son of the Pink Panther, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Mr. Nanny, Hexed, Best of the Best II, Carnosaur, Father Hood, Weekend at Bernie’s II, Calendar Girl; Notes: Existed mostly as a sub-5.0 film so not at all a surprise it kills the BMeTric. This is actually one of the more impressive statistical performances for a BMT this year, so I hope it is a good BMT.

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Stone moves into a tall, slender, and luxurious Manhattan apartment building with a history of unusual deaths. Writer Berenger pursues her, though she’s more interested in Baldwin; however, she soon comes to suspect one of the two is a killer. Robert Evans’ handsomely produced sex-and-murder mystery (emphasis on sex) was severely damaged by reshooting (which changed the identity of the killer), but Joe Eszterhas’ script was already pretentious and exploitative. From Ira Levin’s novel.

(That is a huge review for the Leonard Maltin books. So basically, glossy, cut-to-ribbons, and pretentious. Sounds like quite the erotic thriller …)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdSIyG6euDY/

(I think that is actually a really compelling trailer. The idea of moving into an apartment, where someone is watching you at all times and manipulating the entire building, and perfect murders are staged as accidents by this all knowing eye? What is still pretty relevant in our far more technologically advanced age today.)

Directors – Phillip Noyce – (Known For: Salt; Clear and Present Danger; Patriot Games; Above Suspicion; Dead Calm; Rabbit-Proof Fence; Blind Fury; The Quiet American; Catch a Fire; Heatwave; Echoes of Paradise; Newsfront; Backroads; Future BMT: The Saint; The Giver; The Bone Collector; BMT: Sliver; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Sliver in 1994; Notes: Australian. The Quiet American had an Oscar nominated performance, and he’s still going strong in both movies and television.)

Writers – Ira Levin (novel) – (Known For: Rosemary’s Baby; The Stepford Wives; The Boys from Brazil; Deathtrap; A Kiss Before Dying; Bunny Lake Is Missing; Critic’s Choice; No Time for Sergeants; Future BMT: The Stepford Wives; A Kiss Before Dying; BMT: Sliver; Notes: Nominated for a Tony for his play Deathtrap. Started in anthology television like Lights Out.)

Joe Eszterhas (screenplay) – (Known For: Basic Instinct; Jagged Edge; F.I.S.T; Showgirls 2: Penny’s from Heaven; Betrayed; Music Box; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Telling Lies in America; Hearts of Fire; Big Shots; Szabadság, szerelem; Checking Out; Future BMT: Showgirls; Nowhere to Run; Flashdance; BMT: Basic Instinct 2; Sliver; Jade; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay, Worst Supporting Actor, Worst New Star, and Worst Original Song for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; Winner for Worst Screenplay for Showgirls in 1996; Winner for Worst New Star for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1984 for Flashdance; in 1994 for Sliver; and in 1996 for Jade; Notes: Born in Hungary, he was originally a journalist, most notable at Rolling Stone. Got into screenwriting after writing Charlie Simpson’s Apocalypse which a studio executive loved.)

Actors – Sharon Stone – (Known For: Basic Instinct; Casino; Total Recall; The Quick and the Dead; The Disaster Artist; Alpha Dog; The Laundromat; Lovelace; Antz; Broken Flowers; Above the Law; Deadly Blessing; Bobby; Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold; Life on the Line; The Mighty; Stardust Memories; Mothers and Daughters; Fading Gigolo; A Little Something for Your Birthday; Future BMT: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Cold Creek Manor; King Solomon’s Mines; Diabolique; Action Jackson; Intersection; Gloria; Sphere; He Said, She Said; Last Dance; Last Action Hero; Year of the Gun; BMT: Catwoman; Basic Instinct 2; Sliver; The Specialist; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 1995 for Intersection, and The Specialist; and in 2007 for Basic Instinct 2; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1988 for Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold; in 1994 for Sliver; and in 2000 for Gloria; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Catwoman in 2005; and Nominee for Worst New Star in 1997 for Diabolique, and Last Dance; Notes: Stone was still on the rise at this point. She would be nominated for an Oscar in 1996, get married in 1998, and her major stardom would be over by 2000.)

William Baldwin – (Known For: Forgetting Sarah Marshall; Backdraft; The Squid and the Whale; Flatliners; Born on the Fourth of July; Internal Affairs; Bulworth; Aftermath; Curdled; Maximum Impact; Noise; Three of Hearts; Relative Values; Adrift in Manhattan; Welcome to Acapulco; Park; The Broken Key; Dino Time; You Stupid Man; Say Nothing; Future BMT: Virus; BMT: Fair Game; Sliver; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for Sliver in 1994; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Fair Game in 1996; Notes: You could argue this is right at the beginning of him almost being a legit movie star. He would star in eight films in the 90s, but then his leading career would be over by 2000. The second youngest of the Baldwin brothers.)

Tom Berenger – (Known For: Inception; Platoon; Training Day; Major League; The Big Chill; Faster; Born on the Fourth of July; Gettysburg; Sniper: Ultimate Kill; Supervized; Quad; Mr. Goodbar; The Sentinel; D-Tox; Deadly Pursuit; Eddie and the Cruisers; The Dogs of War; The Substitute; Fear City; Someone to Watch Over Me; Future BMT: Major League II; Chasers; Sniper; Shattered; Rustlers’ Rhapsody; BMT: Sliver; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Sliver in 1994; Notes: He would do Sniper, Sliver, Gettysburg, Major League II, and Chasers in a three year span as his second peak as an actor. Nominated for an Oscar for Platoon.)

Budget/Gross – $30–40 million / Domestic: $36,300,000 (Worldwide: $116,300,000)

(Failed domestically to some extent, but I would bet they were reasonably happy with the international take. Erotic thrillers really were cooking at the time.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (3/27): Sliver is an absurd erotic thriller with technobabble and posits prime Sharon Stone as a professional book nerd.

(Well, I don’t know if we really need to posit anything about Stone. She’s an editor at a publishing house, and I think quite believable in the role. At least the same believability as Robin Wright being a journalist in Message in a Bottle. Now whether she would be attracted to Baldwin however… Reviewer Highlight: Sharon Stone goes cold in this botched thiller-maybe from the effort of pretending that her character, a beauteous book editor, would fall for the preening young computer wizard played by the vacant-and-proud-of-it William Baldwin. – Michael Sragow, New Yorker)

Poster – In Your Endo

(The artistic effect of this is good. And the colors are stark, particularly with the font work. I think in each of its parts I like it, even if the whole seems a bit confused. So can’t go much lower than a B-. I wish it meshed a bit more. I can’t stress how hilarious the names on the poster are for an erotic thriller. It’s like “Sharon Stone, nice. Billy Baldwin, uh, ok. Tom Berenger, lol what?”)

Tagline(s) – You like to watch… don’t you

(I’m trying to figure out just how good this one is. It’s obviously a play on the concept of the film, but also plays on the very idea of an erotic thriller. So even though it’s not a fun pun like I generally like, it might be the cleverest tagline I’ve come across. I’m going to do it. A+.)

Keyword – ambiguous ending

Top 10: War Dogs (2016), Shutter Island (2010), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Interstellar (2014), Inception (2010), Joker (2019), The Dark Knight (2008), Titanic (1997), American Psycho (2000), Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Future BMT: 63.7 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 63.0 Blair Witch (2016), 56.8 The Transporter Refueled (2015), 53.6 Lost Souls (2000), 26.6 Broken City (2013), 21.3 The Warrior’s Way (2010), 21.2 The First Power (1990), 19.5 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), 19.3 Now You See Me 2 (2016), 7.5 The Thirteenth Floor (1999);

BMT: Serenity (2019), Fast & Furious (2009), Rambo: Last Blood (2019), Ghost Ship (2002), Countdown (2019), Death Wish (2018), Truth or Dare (2018), Queen of the Damned (2002), Sliver (1993), Jason X (2001), Alone in the Dark (2005), The Devil Inside (2012), Never Die Alone (2004)

(I wonder how much of the peak is because of “twist” endings like The Sixth Sense, and surprise endings like Blair Witch? Hard to tell from the lists. I am excited for The First Power, a film I’ve never heard of where a murderer named Patrick comes back to life to kill again!)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sharon Stone is No. 1 billed in Sliver and No. 3 billed in Catwoman, which also stars Frances Conroy (No. 5 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 4 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 5 + 4 + 5 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – According to Phillip Noyce, Sharon Stone and William Baldwin disliked each other and demanded that their scenes be filmed separately whenever possible.

While filming a kissing scene, Sharon Stone bit William Baldwin’s tongue with such force that he couldn’t talk properly for days afterwards.

During filming, a crew was sent to Hawaii to film an active volcano for the opening credits. During the flyover, the volcano erupted, and the helicopter carrying the crew crashed. No one was killed, but all film was lost. The opening credit scene is referenced in the film by the crystal volcano in Zeke’s Room. (I think this was supposed to be the ending as well)

As part of the re-shot ending, Tom Berenger and Polly Walker were required to film a scene wearing S&M gear. Both actors refused as this wasn’t in their original contract, so the scene had to be filmed by doubles. (And … isn’t in the film from what I remember?)

Johnny Depp and Val Kilmer turned down the role of Zeke Hawkins. (Kilmer would have been cool)

The script originally called for full male frontal nudity, but William Baldwin changed his mind after the scenes had been shot. (hmmmmmm)

Joe Eszterhas’s original ending was incomprehensible to test audiences and an alternate ending had to be quickly devised and shot. Eszterhas cracked out five different endings in three days. (So apparently this was the reveal that Stone is in the helicopter with Zeke indicating that she bought into his lifestyle or something)

Sharon Stone signed for the lead for $2.5 million.

Ira Levin was reluctant to sell the rights to his book. He had only been pleased with the movie adaptation of Rosemary’s Baby (1968) out of all the attempts to film his novels. When producer Robert Evans, who had produced Rosemary’s Baby, got wind of this, he sent Levin a copy of Roman Polanski’s autobiography, with all the mentions of Evans’ salvaging the film highlighted. The ploy worked and Levin sold the rights to Evans for $250,000.

The helicopter crash in which Mike Benson (II), Chris Duddy and pilot Craig were involved, was documented in the 6th episode of the 2nd season of I Shouldn’t Be Alive (2005). (Huh cool)

Kurt Russell turned down the role of Jack Lansford. (Also a better choice … this entire film outside of Stone seems like B-movie second-choices)

According to his autobiography, producer Robert Evans initially wanted Roman Polanski to direct the film. Since Polanski will not return to the United States, Evans planned on having a second unit director shoot some footage of New York, whilst Polanski would direct the film in Paris. (gross)

The original script called for a different ending in which Zeke (William Baldwin) turns out to be the killer, but was re-shot when it fared poorly with test audiences.

Written by Ira Levin, author of Rosemary’s Baby, there are similarities: both are set in an expensive New York City hotel (albeit this one is super modern, the other is old style) that the main character, a woman, moves into; the woman meets a friendly resident who dies not long after meeting them; there is a secret (or two) hidden within the building and its inhabitants that takes the entire film for her to learn about.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Robert Evans, 1994)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (William Baldwin, 1994)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sharon Stone, 1994)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Tom Berenger, 1994)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Colleen Camp, 1994)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Phillip Noyce, 1994)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Joe Eszterhas, 1994)

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