The Good Son Preview

“Sit down, Jamie and Patrick,” Kyle says solemnly. He has an angry look on his face, but there is sadness in his eyes. “We love you,” he says once they are seated, “and that’s why it hurts so much to see you going down this bad road.” Jamie and Patrick protest. Look around, they’ve given up that flashy New York lifestyle for the simple life. Sure, they haven’t watched Citizen Kane, but that’s only because they haven’t finished their GMT Rulez. “Maybe Citizen Kane doesn’t even qualify for GMT, ever think about that?” Jamie says, pointing at his temple. Kyle is unamused. “So what are these magical rules? What rules are going to save you from yourselves,” Kyle says, throwing down newspaper headlines detailing their latest escapades. “Bad Movie Twins Kill Man in Train Battle!” one says. “Bad Movie Twins Put the Fresh Back in Fresh Horses!” another one screams. “Bad Movie Twins Win Delaware Breakdancing Championships!” the last one reads. Jamie winces as that one hits the table. Entering the DBC was certainly a bad move, no matter how dope their routine was. Jamie hangs his head in shame, but Patrick isn’t going down without a fight. “We are good. Look… look at these rulez!” He screams pulling out Rule #8 – Sequels, Please, but now it’s crossed off and reads “Beginning, Middle, End.” “Really,” Kyle scoffs and begins to walk over to Patrick’s desk. “Don’t go near that!” he squeals in horror, but it’s too late. Kyle pulls out Patrick’s latest draft of Citizen Kane 2: The Legend of Charlie’s Gold. “Let’s get out of here,” Patrick sputters in rage, gathering up the draft, but as they open the front door Scott Bakula is standing in their way. “Sit down… my sons… my good sons.” That’s right! We are diving into a 90’s classic with the Elijah Wood/Macaulay Culkin vehicle The Good Son. This movie kind of freaked me out as a kid. Probably because the film centers on a young boy getting terrorized and we were young boys when it came out. But time to get over my fears. I’m a man! I’m forty! Let’s go!

The Good Son (1993) – BMeTric: 20.2; Notability: 33 – BMeTric: top 24.4%; Notability: top 18.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 17.2%; Higher BMeT: Super Mario Bros., RoboCop 3, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Look Who’s Talking Now, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Mr. Nanny, Leprechaun, Beethoven’s 2nd, Cop & ½, Sliver, Boxing Helena, Weekend at Bernie’s II, The Beverly Hillbillies, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Son of the Pink Panther, Made in America, Coneheads, Carnosaur, Surf Ninjas, Dennis the Menace, and 41 more; Higher Notability: Last Action Hero, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, The Meteor Man, Hocus Pocus, We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story, Coneheads, RoboCop 3, Rising Sun, Life with Mikey, Son of the Pink Panther, The Three Musketeers, Loaded Weapon 1, Super Mario Bros., Indecent Proposal, Once Upon a Forest, Made in America, Look Who’s Talking Now, Josh and S.A.M., Sliver, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, and 26 more; Lower RT: Look Who’s Talking Now, Warlock: The Armageddon, Deadfall, Son of the Pink Panther, RoboCop 3, Mr. Nanny, Hexed, Weekend at Bernie’s II, Best of the Best II, Carnosaur, Father Hood, Calendar Girl, Surf Ninjas, Ghost in the Machine, Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, My Boyfriend’s Back, Only the Strong, Cop & ½, Sliver, Gunmen, and 21 more; Notes: Look Who’s Talking Now, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Weekend at Bernie’s 2. What a time to be alive. Meanwhile, let’s make Culkin a psycho. – 0.5 stars – Who in the world would want to see this movie? Watching “The Good Son,” I asked myself that question, hoping that perhaps the next scene would contain the answer, although it never did. The movie is a creepy, unpleasant experience, made all the worse because it stars children too young to understand the horrible things we see them doing.

(I feel like there is an argument that Ebert is clutching pearls a bit here. Wood and Culkin are too young to understand? I’m not really sure about that. Besides that I get what Ebert is talking about though. The movie does seem unpleasant.)

Trailer –

(If I let you go … you think you could fly? That line is seared into my brain. I think this was a trailer on one of the VHS tapes I had growing up. I wonder if there is a database for stuff like that? Sadly, probably not.)

DirectorsJoseph Ruben – ( Known For: The Stepfather; The Ottoman Lieutenant; Dreamscape; Return to Paradise; True Believer; The Pom Pom Girls; The Sister in Law; Blindsided; Gorp; Our Winning Season; Joyride; Future BMT: The Forgotten; BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy; The Good Son; Money Train; Notes: Sleeping with the Enemy, The Good Son, and Money Train were back-to-back-to-back. He wrote and directed Dreamscape which seems like a wild film.)

WritersIan McEwan – ( Known For: Atonement; The Cement Garden; On Chesil Beach; The Children Act; The Comfort of Strangers; Enduring Love; The Innocent; The Ploughman’s Lunch; First Love, Last Rites; Soursweet; BMT: The Good Son; Notes: Huh. He is a novelist writing the novel that would be adapted into Atonement. He apparently had a screenwriting career as well, which is where The Good Son comes from. Like, legit famous person outside of film.)

ActorsMacaulay Culkin – ( Known For: Uncle Buck; Home Alone; Jacob’s Ladder; My Girl; Entergalactic; Saved!; Party Monster; Changeland; Only the Lonely; Rocket Gibraltar; Sex and Breakfast; The Nutcracker; Adam Green’s Aladdin; See You in the Morning; The Wrong Ferarri; Future BMT: Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; Richie Rich; The Pagemaster; Getting Even with Dad; BMT: The Good Son; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1995 for Getting Even with Dad, Ri¢hie Ri¢h, and The Pagemaster; Notes: Y’all know Macaulay. He is probably the quintessential child-actor-who-couldn’t-quite-make-it-as-an-adult-actor, but he almost maybe didn’t want to? He appears on Red Letter Media shows quite a bit, and I know he had a music career of some kind. He also notably sued to get his parents removed from his trust fund, which it appears he did successfully.)

Elijah Wood – ( Known For: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; Sin City; The Faculty; Back to the Future Part II; Deep Impact; I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Maniac; Green Street Hooligans; Cooties; 9; Happy Feet; Internal Affairs; The Ice Storm; Forever Young; Celeste & Jesse Forever; Future BMT: Radio Flyer; Flipper; The War; Black & White; Paradise; BMT: The Last Witch Hunter; The Good Son; North; Notes: And you know Elijah. He did make the transition from child star to adult star, mainly via The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Notably, his appearance is Back to the Future Part II is merely as the kid who makes fun of McFly for playing a baby game in the future diner.)

Wendy Crewson – ( Known For: Room; Air Force One; What Lies Beneath; Away from Her; On the Basis of Sex; Antiviral; The Nest; The 6th Day; Eight Below; Kodachrome; Into the Forest; The Santa Clause; The Kid Detective; Better Than Chocolate; The Santa Clause 2; Gang Related; The Doctor; A Home at the End of the World; Mercy; The Clearing; Future BMT: The Vow; Bicentennial Man; The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause; Corrina, Corrina; Skinwalkers; Folks!; To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday; BMT: The Covenant; Death Wish; The Good Son; The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising; Notes: Apparently is good friends with Harrison Ford.)

Budget/Gross – $17-28 million / Domestic: $44,789,789 (Worldwide: $60,613,008)

(That feels like a legit hit. And yet, I suppose it isn’t surprising that they didn’t make a sequel … you’d have to watch the movie to really understand why that doesn’t make sense.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (7/28): The Good Son is never good enough to live up to its unsettling potential, failing to drum up much suspense and unable to make Macaulay Culkin a credible psychopath.

(I’m not so sure. It feels to me like Culkin is precisely the mold you want. Specifically, someone so charming and innocent looking you can’t possibly believe that they are a sociopath. Feels credible to me.)

NY Times Short Review: Anything but, evil personified.

Poster – The Downright Bad Son

(What a bizarre poster. No wonder Ebert was shocked and horrified at the marketing for this film. Other than the tagline this really does look like a pleasant romp with America’s favorite Good Son, Macaulay Culkin. All around bad effort. D)

Tagline(s) – Evil has many faces (D-)

(Sure… I’m not giving this an F, but it’s close. This could be the tagline for numerous films across history. That is unacceptable.)

Keyword(s) – good

Top 10: Good Will Hunting (1997), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), The Great Gatsby (2013), Hot Fuzz (2007), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Man on Fire (2004), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Future BMT: 67.1 Phat Girlz (2006), 63.2 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015), 60.7 Like a Boss (2020), 51.8 Playing with Fire (2019), 51.6 The Boss (2016), 51.1 Johnny Be Good (1988), 50.7 The Hot Chick (2002), 47.2 Barney’s Great Adventure (1998), 45.1 Fly Me to the Moon 3D (2007), 40.4 No Good Deed (2014), 39.5 Good Burger (1997), 37.2 The Great Wall (2016), 37.1 Stroker Ace (1983), 36.3 Milk Money (1994), 34.7 Mad Money (2008), 34.3 Mo’ Money (1992), 32.1 Good Deeds (2012), 31.3 The Nude Bomb (1980), 28.9 A Good Man in Africa (1994), 25.8 Two for the Money (2005)

BMT: Epic Movie (2007), Fantastic Four (2015), The Ridiculous 6 (2015), Cool as Ice (1991), Cool World (1992), A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), Hot Pursuit (2015), The Fly II (1989), One for the Money (2012), Fire Down Below (1997), Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988), Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998), Fire Birds (1990), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Good Luck Chuck (2007), Be Cool (2005), Fantastic Four (2005), Chill Factor (1999), Money Train (1995), Hot to Trot (1988), The Golden Child (1986), Righteous Kill (2008), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), The Wizard (1989), Fresh Horses (1988), Killer Elite (2011), The Good Son (1993), Hunter Killer (2018)

Best Options (Citizen Kane): 39.5 Good Burger (1997), 34.3 Mo’ Money (1992), 22.4 Hot Pursuit (1987), 20.2 The Good Son (1993)

(Yeah there were a few options, but The Good Son has been on my radar for years. It is one of those films I distinctly remember watching when I was a kid, but also one of those films I maybe just watched the same 30 minutes of on HBO four or five times.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: David Morse is No. 4 billed in The Good Son and No. 5 billed in Drive Angry, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (4 + 5) + (1 + 1) + (6 + 1) = 18. If we were to watch Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and Jimmy Hollywood we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood became very close friends during production, and remain so to this day.

Jesse Bradford was originally slated to play Henry. Macaulay Culkin’s father wanted his son to star, saying he would pull Macaulay out of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) if he wasn’t cast in this movie. Fox agreed due to Macaulay’s bankability.

Richard and Connie are played by Macaulay Culkin’s real-life brother, Rory Culkin, and sister, Quinn Culkin.

The cigarette that Mark and Henry smoke was an empty tube filled with dried parsley and lettuce leaves.

The original director, Michael Lehmann, was replaced due to clashes with Macaulay Culkin’s father.

The film was not released theatrically in the UK because of the James Bulger case. It was released on video in 1995, with an 18 certificate. The scene in which Henry deliberately drops a mannequin over an overpass was edited because the BBFC feared that children would try to imitate the stunt. The 2002 DVD was passed uncut with an 18 certificate.

In 1988, Michael Klesic was cast as Henry Evans. The film was soon after put on hold due to a lack of funding. A few years later, the original child actors had grown too old for their roles, and Jesse Bradford was cast as Henry. The project was shelved again and again, and the actors outgrew their characters. The project was re-cast again, and finally shot and released in 1993.

Henry wears two different colored shoes – one black Nike and one white. It was stated by the director it represents evil and good respectively.

The movie is partly inspired by The Bad Seed (1956).

This is Quinn Culkin’s second and final acting role with her first film being an uncredited cameo in “Home Alone” (1990). She ultimately decided to not to follow in the same footsteps of her brothers.

The sight on Henry’s crossbow is a hood ornament from a Buick Riviera.

Elijah Wood later admitted that he was delighted as a child actor to be in an R-rated movie, since he was routinely watching horror movies at the time and had sophistication on dark subject matter.

Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood were trained by stunt coordinator Jack Gill, and rehearsed for six weeks before shooting the climactic scene so that they could be comfortable acting while hanging from a cliff 180 feet above water. When Henry’s mother dropped him, a shot of Culkin himself falling away from the camera on the actual cliff was required. After discussions with Culkin and his parents, he agreed to do a 30-foot fall on a cable on the actual cliff, 180 feet above the freezing lake, but he wanted one thing in return for this act of bravery: a BB gun. Culkin performed the cable fall perfectly and was given his BB gun.


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