Two of a Kind Preview

While Jamie sobs and goes over all the events that led to the deaths of his friends, he is comforted by Wally, a kangaroo wearing a tophat, and Phillip Von Snout, a tiny elephant. “I just don’t understand,” Jamie says through sniffles, “I feel torn to pieces and yet it’s like the crash happened only moments ago, you know?” The top hat wearing animals nod in understanding but suddenly disappear as Jamie wakes up to find that it was all a dream! Phew! Except, wait, his friends are still dead. And he’s now in the middle of a psychology midterm! And he’s got only ten minutes left! And he’s naked and all his teeth have fallen out! He looks through bleary eyes at the test and just barely makes out the first question: “What’s in the bag?” He looks up to see a bag dripping blood. When he looks back at the paper an answer is scrawled in blood: “A SHARK OR SOMETHING.” Jamie wakes with a start. Another dream. Phew. Except, wait, his friends are still dead. And he’s making out with a sexy lady! Cool! But wait, he also lost a bet regarding hacking the planet and is wearing a leather dress of some sort! “Wait,” he says to the sexy lady, “weren’t we heading to hack the planet when I crashed the car?” She seems confused, but Jamie now understands. It’s all a dream and they still have to hack the planet. He’s gotta WAKE UP!

Jamie’s heart starts beating and he blinks his eyes open. He smiles at Kyle, Baby Niles, and Patrick and mumbles that none of them were there in his dream and it was super lame. They all laugh and Patrick predator high fives Jamie. The dynamic duo back together. Just… that’s right! Two of a Kind… is the movie we’re watching. You know, the laugh-a-minute Travolta-Newton-John joint that everyone remembers. No, you remember. It’s the one where Angels are hoping bank robbers Travolta and Newton-John redeem themselves and fall in love? No? Well it’s a movie. Let’s go!

Two of a Kind (1983) – BMeTric: 39.4; Notability: 38

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 8.5%; Notability: top 19.7%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 8.0% Higher BMeT: Jaws 3-D, Superman III, Smokey and the Bandit Part 3, Amityville 3-D, Curse of the Pink Panther, Porky’s II: The Next Day, Hercules; Higher Notability: Superman III, Curse of the Pink Panther, Deal of the Century, Flashdance, Doctor Detroit, The Lords of Discipline, The Osterman Weekend, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, The Black Stallion Returns; Lower RT: The Survivors, Amityville 3-D, Deal of the Century, Porky’s II: The Next Day, Still Smokin, Jaws 3-D, Smokey and the Bandit Part 3; Notes: That is a much higher BMeTric than I would have expected I think. We have a lot to go for 1983 it looks like, we’ve only seen those top two, Jaws 3-D and Superman III. Also higher Notability than I might have expected for a comedy in 1983 as well. Interesting.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Puerile fantasy-romance with a script that must have been scrawled on a gum wrapper. A quartet of angels try to persuade God to give the human race another chance – using two pretty unappealing subjects (an inventor-turned-bank robber and a not-so-innocent bank teller) as guinea pigs. Just awful.

(Ha. You could just cut out the front bit and have it just say “Just awful” and it would be the same review.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvZhmjRzcf4/

(Man … the smash cut from Travolta and Olivia Newton-John clearly having sex and him assuring her that he doesn’t intend to sexually assault her to “rated PG” is pretty amusing. In their defense the PG-13 rating would be introduced less than 8 months after this film was released.)

Directors – John Herzfeld – (Known For: Escape Plan 3; 2 Days in the Valley; Bobby Z; Collection; Future BMT: 15 Minutes; BMT: Two of a Kind; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Two of a Kind in 1984; Notes: Was a bit actor before becoming a director, even having a named part in Cobra (as Cho), probably because apparently he was the roommate of Sylvester Stallone at the University of Miami.)

Writers – John Herzfeld (written by) – (Known For: Escape Plan 3; 2 Days in the Valley; Collection; Voices; The Last Winter; Hard Feelings; Future BMT: 15 Minutes; BMT: Two of a Kind; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Two of a Kind in 1984; Notes: Nominated for an Emmy for directing Don King: Only in America. Went from directing ABC Afterschool Specials all the way to Escape Plan 3 most recently.)

Actors – John Travolta – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Grease; Saturday Night Fever; Carrie; Face/Off; Austin Powers in Goldmember; Blow Out; The Thin Red Line; Hairspray; Savages; Urban Cowboy; Eye for an Eye; Get Shorty; The Taking of Pelham 123; Bolt; Broken Arrow; Look Who’s Talking; Gotti; Life on the Line; The Fanatic; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Now; Look Who’s Talking Too; Staying Alive; Lucky Numbers; Domestic Disturbance; Michael; White Man’s Burden; The Punisher; From Paris with Love; The General’s Daughter; Mad City; Basic; BMT: Battlefield Earth; Old Dogs; Be Cool; Perfect; Wild Hogs; Two of a Kind; Swordfish; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor in 2001 for Battlefield Earth, and Lucky Numbers; and in 2020 for The Fanatic, and Trading Paint; Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Battlefield Earth in 2001; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1984 for Staying Alive, and Two of a Kind; in 1986 for Perfect; in 2002 for Domestic Disturbance, and Swordfish; in 2010 for Old Dogs; and in 2019 for Gotti; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Shout in 1992; Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Gotti in 2019; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Perfect, Staying Alive, The Experts, and Two of a Kind; and in 2010 for Battlefield Earth, Domestic Disturbance, Lucky Numbers, Old Dogs, and Swordfish; Notes: His daughter Ella is set to make her lead acting debut with Get Lost, a modern adaptation of Alice in Wonderland set in Budapest. We’ve seen her before, she was one of the kids in Old Dogs.)

Olivia Newton-John – (Known For: Grease; The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee; She’s Having a Baby; A Few Best Men; Sordid Lives; It’s My Party; Toomorrow; Score: A Hockey Musical; Funny Things Happen Down Under; BMT: Xanadu; Two of a Kind; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 1981 for Xanadu; and in 1984 for Two of a Kind; Notes: Y’all know ONJ, right? English (but notably Australian) pop singer from the 70s and 80s who headlined multiple John Travolta films. Was weirdly just in Sharknado 5, which is just a weird choice.)

Charles Durning – (Known For: Scarface; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; Sisters; Dog Day Afternoon; The Sting; Dick Tracy; Tootsie; The Final Countdown; The Muppet Movie; When a Stranger Calls; The Hudsucker Proxy; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; The Fury; One Fine Day; True Confessions; Sharky’s Machine; Cat Chaser; The Man with One Red Shoe; Breakheart Pass; I.Q.; Future BMT: Spy Hard; V.I. Warshawski; Stick; BMT: Two of a Kind; Solarbabies; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars (To Be or Not to Be, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas). Apparently was a Dance instructor and studied judo for a time.)

Budget/Gross – $14 million / Domestic: $23,646,952 (Worldwide: $23,646,952)

(That is maybe okay. It isn’t great, it is definitely a poor showing given the budget, but I would have thought that it would have made far less than $25 million in 1983, so that seems pretty all right for a weird borderline TV movie.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 18% (2/11)

(My consensus: Mediocre Travolta and not at all what you expect from what should have been an interesting Travolta / Newton-John reunion after Grease. Reviewer Highlight: This movie should have been struck by a lightning bolt. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Two of a Sklog

(This poster is absurd. Like I understand the concept of a poster just being a star’s face and begging audiences to pay money to see that face act, but this isn’t even staged in an interesting (or sane?) way. It looks like they are posing for headshots. Like the font though. C-)

Tagline(s) – It took a twist of fate to make them two of a kind. (B-)

(Why do I kinda like this? Why does “twist of fate” paired with “two of a kind” sound so good to my ears. Is it just the repeat ‘of’? Is it the hard ‘t’ sound of took, twist and two? I think maybe it’s because the pacing is so nice… you can almost hear a spokesperson saying the line. This is a great example of nonsense tagline writing actually. You can replace every word with “dah” and it still sounds good. Otherwise a little long, kinda nonsense, and not very clever. But the heart wants what the heart wants. )

Keyword – angel

Top 10: Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Constantine (2005), Natural Born Killers (1994), Click (2006), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), What Dreams May Come (1998), Old School (2003), Coraline (2009), Legion (2010), Dogma (1999)

Future BMT: 64.9 The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2014), 61.0 Legion (2010), 53.3 Over Her Dead Body (2008), 43.4 Down to Earth (2001), 40.8 Michael (1996), 39.0 The Final Conflict (1981), 37.0 The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013), 35.8 Hideaway (1995), 35.7 The Perfect Holiday (2007), 34.1 The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009);

BMT: Little Nicky (2000), Ghost Rider (2007), Bless the Child (2000), Two of a Kind (1983)

(I still can’t quite believe we haven’t watched Legion, that has been on my radar for literally years. Michael is another Travolta and really weird if I recall correctly. Anyways, do you think the plot jumps up at 1990 for a reason? Like, is that just because that is when keywords start showing up in the data, or is there some sort of evangelical story here? I honestly don’t know, the IMDb keyword data is fun to peruse, but hard to take seriously most of the time.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: John Travolta is No. 1 billed in Two of a Kind and No. 2 billed in Wild Hogs, which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 12. If we were to watch Shout we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – Although she’d starred in three theatrical movies and had made countless TV appearances in the 15 year prior to this movie, Olivia Newton-John was insecure about her acting abilities and decided to enroll in acting training in preparation for the film.

The movie’s soundtrack was so successful that it went platinum.

After striking box office gold in Grease (1978), the 20th Century Fox studio re-teamed John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John for the second and final time in this film.

Bill Conti was the original composer for this film, but he left the project as his original score was rejected by writer/director John Herzfeld. He was then subsequently replaced by composer Patrick Williams. Williams had been asked by Herzfeld and producers Joe Wizan and Roger M. Rothstein to create a melody based off Olivia Newton-John’s hit single “Twist of Fate” which was released just before the film. However this was done so late that 20th Century Fox was unable offer to preview screenings to the news media, and final prints were unavailable until a few days prior to the December 16, 1983 release. Meanwhile, Conti was allegedly unaware that he had been replaced. Lionel Newman, the senior vice president of music for 20th Century Fox said that Conti’s dismissal was “amicable”. Conti’s credit is retained on the back cover of the film’s soundtrack album as well as a 1995 VHS Reissue and on the back cover of the film’s DVD release.

The movie was part of a 1980s cycle of Hollywood angelic comedies which had started with Heaven Can Wait (1978). The films included that movie and Two of a Kind (1983), The Devil and Max Devlin (1981), Defending Your Life (1991), Oh Heavenly Dog (1980), Kiss Me Goodbye (1982), The Heavenly Kid (1985), Made in Heaven (1987), Almost an Angel (1990) and Oh, God! (1977) and its two sequels. The phrase “Heaven Can Wait” forms part of the lyrics in Two of a Kind (1983)’s theme song “Twist of Fate” sung by Olivia Newton-John.

Travolta played an angel himself later on in Michael (1996).

Debut theatrical feature film as a director for John Herzfeld.

The picture was nominated for Worst Picture at the Hastings Bad Cinema Society’s 6th Stinkers Bad Movie Awards in 1983.

The same year this movie came out, Charles Durning also appeared in the Mel Brooks remake of To Be or Not to Be (1983). That film was also released by 20th Century Fox on the same day as this film, December 16, 1983. (He was nominated for an Oscar for that one)

“Twist of Fate” and “Take a Chance”, both song titles from the soundtrack, were considered as possible film titles.

Robert Stigwood was originally involved with this project as a producer because of his then-ongoing picture deal with John Travolta . But he subsequently left the project because of creative differences between him, co-producer Joe Wizan and writer/director John Herzfeld. Stigwood wanted to have more of a say in casting as well as the film’s soundtrack as he also wanted to have The Bee Gees write and record some songs for the film in addition to the songs Olivia Newton-John had written. After Stigwood left the project, he then brought on his friend Roger M. Rothstein to take over his duties as the two had worked together on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978).

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Roger M. Rothstein, Joe Wizan, 1984)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (John Travolta, 1984)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Olivia Newton-John, 1984)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (John Herzfeld, 1984)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (John Herzfeld, 1984)

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