Man Trouble Preview

“Not just one ghost… Two,” Michael reminds them for the fifth time. Jamie and Patrick nod in understanding. They get it. Not just one ghost. After telling them the story of Charlie and Drake Dudikoff (long story short: apparently they both became ghosts), he promised that he knows everything about this place and led them to a nearby secret passage. Since then they’ve been wandering the tunnels underneath the rehab center for hours, if not days, and Jamie and Patrick are starting to get concerned that Michael may have oversold his knowledge of the Testarossa. “Time is different here in the catacombs,” Michael says again. It’s as if he has only a handful of phrases he is able to say. “Right, right, time is different. Not just one ghost but two. Michael?” Jamie interjects, “how much longer do you think we’ll be wandering these catacombs? The ones where time is different.” Michael nods, “Just a little further. Time is different here in the catacombs. I’ve been here forever, so I know everything about this place.” Jamie and Patrick both sigh. But just then a doorway appears out of the gloom. Jamie and Patrick rush up to it and take a deep breath. “Finally we can help Gutes!” Jamie says just as Patrick says “Finally we can get back to Citizen Kane!” They look at each other in confusion as the door creaks open revealing a library adorned with rich mahogany. “Why hello,” a man says from a very comfortable chair. “Looks like you finally made it. Time works a little differently in the catacombs, but Michael always makes his way eventually.” The man nods to Michael. “You can leave now, Michael, I’ll take care of these two troublemakers. Let me introduce myself. I’m Drake Dudikoff. Welcome to my school.” That’s right! We might be causing a bit of trouble at the Dudikoff center but it’s nothing compared to all the trouble Jack Nicholson is causing in Man Trouble. It’s a movie… about a man… and boy… is he trouble. Probably that’s what it’s about. Let’s go!

Man Trouble (1992) – BMeTric: 36.5; Notability: 44 – BMeTric: top 8.0%; Notability: top 6.8%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 3.0%; Higher BMeT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Body of Evidence, Cool World, Pet Sematary II, Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice, Toys, Sleepwalkers, 3 Ninjas, Sidekicks, Freejack, Beethoven, Aces: Iron Eagle III, Evil Toons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Ladybugs, Dr. Giggles, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, Encino Man, Man Trouble; Higher Notability: Toys, Cool World, Newsies, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Bodyguard, Freejack, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Innocent Blood, Universal Soldier, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Mighty Ducks, Radio Flyer, This Is My Life, Encino Man, The Distinguished Gentleman; Lower RT: Frozen Assets, Once Upon a Crime…, Love Crimes, Folks!, Live Wire, Year of the Comet, Cool World; Notes: I’ve barely heard of some of those lower RT films from 1992. Quite amazing that it only has 3K votes as well. But the Notability is so high! What a weird film.

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Opera singer Barkin is troubled by a frightening break-in and other harassment so she hires guard-dog specialist Nicholson to beef up security. This mongrel of a screwball comedy consistently misses the target. Particularly disappointing in the light of reteaming Nicholson with Five Easy Pieces director Rafelson and writer Carole Eastman. Way below par for all concerned.

(Yeah, looking at the notes, that is the main thing. That he re-teamed with them as a favor and then it ended up as a huge disaster.)

Trailer –

(Wow, that is just maybe the worst trailer I’ve ever seen. You can tell they didn’t even know what the film is about. They are trying to figure it out in the voice over and never quite get there.)

DirectorsBob Rafelson – ( Known For: Five Easy Pieces; The Postman Always Rings Twice; Stay Hungry; Blood and Wine; Black Widow; Head; The King of Marvin Gardens; Mountains of the Moon; No Good Deed; BMT: Man Trouble; Notes: Nominated for 2 Oscars, both for Five Easy Pieces. Which is basically the entire story behind this film. Also helped create The Monkees.)

WritersCarole Eastman – ( Known For: Five Easy Pieces; The Shooting; The Fortune; Model Shop; Puzzle of a Downfall Child; BMT: Man Trouble; Notes: Met Nicholson in an acting class, and ultimately he starred in the majority of her written works.)

ActorsJack Nicholson – ( Known For: The Departed; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; The Shining; Batman; A Few Good Men; As Good as It Gets; Chinatown; Mars Attacks!; The Witches of Eastwick; The Pledge; Easy Rider; Anger Management; Something’s Gotta Give; Terms of Endearment; The Bucket List; Five Easy Pieces; Carnal Knowledge; Tommy; The Postman Always Rings Twice; Goin’ South; Future BMT: How Do You Know; The Evening Star; BMT: Man Trouble; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1993 for Hoffa, and Man Trouble; Notes: Y’all know Jack. Famous Lakers fan, he refused to allow anyone on the set of The Departed to wear a Red Sox hat. Apparently not retired from acting, although he hasn’t appeared in anything since 2010.)

Ellen Barkin – ( Known For: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; The Man from Toronto; Ocean’s Thirteen; Diner; Tender Mercies; This Boy’s Life; Drop Dead Gorgeous; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension; The Cobbler; Sea of Love; Eddie and the Cruisers; Johnny Handsome; Brooklyn’s Finest; Breaking News in Yuba County; Down by Law; Hands of Stone; Someone Like You; Very Good Girls; The Big Easy; Twelve; Future BMT: The Fan; Switch; Harry & Son; BMT: Wild Bill; Mad Dog Time; Man Trouble; Notes: Won an Emmy for Before Women Had Wings. Starred in the tv show Animal Kingdom.)

Harry Dean Stanton – ( Known For: The Godfather Part II; Alien; The Green Mile; How the West Was Won; The Avengers; Red Dawn; Rango; Pretty in Pink; Seven Psychopaths; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Inland Empire; Escape from New York; Cool Hand Luke; Wild at Heart; Paris, Texas; The Pledge; Anger Management; The Last Temptation of Christ; Alpha Dog; Christine; Future BMT: Down Periscope; Dream a Little Dream; The Animal; You, Me and Dupree; Young Doctors in Love; BMT: Fire Down Below; Never Talk to Strangers; Man Trouble; Notes: Died at 91 a few years ago. All over the place as a character actor, and was the main antagonist of the show Big Love.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $4,096,030 (Worldwide: $4,096,030)

(My god, that film had a family! That is a colossal bomb. Possibly the largest bomb of that year. And then people just forgot about it. Only 3000 votes on IMDb. It is crazy!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (2/30): Man Trouble has brilliant stars and the germ of an interesting idea in its favor, which makes the scattered, unfunny results even more of a disappointment.

(Unfunny garbage? That’s my middle name. What a low RT score. I do wonder how many sub-10% RT films there are and how many we’ve seen … one sec. There are 372 qualifying films that fit the bill, and we’ve seen 175 … soon to be 176, but still, a ways to go is an understatement.)

NY Times Short Review: Love. A dog trainer and an opera singer. Sad mess of a romantic comedy.

Poster – Man, Trouble

(This honestly looks so much like the cover a self-help book that if I didn’t already know the plot of the film I would have thought it was a movie about a self-help guru who breaks all her own rules and falls in love with everything she advises her readers not to go after. The anti-catch…. That’s actually not half bad. I better start working on that script. I think I’ll call it… Man Trouble. Oh, the poster is a surprising C. If only for the pink font and the little pink doggie.)

Tagline(s) – She put her life in his hands. Unfortunately, his hands have a life of their own. (C+)

(My word. That is crazy like a fox. Obviously it takes far too long getting where it wants to go, but the use of the old fashioned “life of their own” phrasing to spin a pun is so ludicrous that I can’t help but respect it. Although I have to say I don’t love the word “unfortunately” here. GIves me the creeps.)

Keyword(s) – Citizen Kane

Top 10: The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Goodfellas (1990), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), The Terminator (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Aliens (1986), Groundhog Day (1993)

Future BMT: 75.0 Look Who’s Talking Now (1993), 71.9 Teen Wolf Too (1987), 61.0 Pet Sematary II (1992), 59.6 Suburban Commando (1991), 58.5 Rocky V (1990), 56.4 The Karate Kid Part III (1989), 55.6 Ringmaster (1998), 54.2 Who’s That Girl (1987), 53.2 Made in America (1993), 52.4 Blank Check (1994), 51.5 The Pest (1997), 50.5 Getting Even with Dad (1994), 50.0 Smokey and the Bandit II (1980), 49.9 3 Ninjas (1992), 49.1 My Girl 2 (1994), 48.3 My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988), 47.9 Three Men and a Little Lady (1990), 46.7 House Party 3 (1994), 46.4 Zapped! (1982), 45.8 Sidekicks (1992)

BMT: Batman & Robin (1997), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Troll 2 (1990), Super Mario Bros. (1993), RoboCop 3 (1993), Grease 2 (1982), Caddyshack II (1988), Bio-Dome (1996), Mac and Me (1988), Anaconda (1997), Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996), Double Team (1997), Fair Game (1995), Leprechaun (1993), Body of Evidence (1992), A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989), Cool World (1992), Poltergeist III (1988), Wild Orchid (1989), Sliver (1993), Chairman of the Board (1997), Red Sonja (1985), Nothing But Trouble (1991), Ishtar (1987), Toys (1992), Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993), Shanghai Surprise (1986), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Exit to Eden (1994), Fire Down Below (1997), Color of Night (1994), Graveyard Shift (1990), No Holds Barred (1989), The Lawnmower Man (1992), Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988), Maximum Overdrive (1986), Fire Birds (1990), Cocoon: The Return (1988), Jingle All the Way (1996), Raw Deal (1986), Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), Crocodile Dundee II (1988), Hudson Hawk (1991), Navy Seals (1990), Critters 2: The Main Course (1988), Hot to Trot (1988), Rambo III (1988), Terminal Velocity (1994), Meatballs Part II (1984), Cobra (1986), Ernest Goes to Jail (1990), Man Trouble (1992), Hard to Kill (1990), Conan the Destroyer (1984), The Golden Child (1986), Another 48 Hrs. (1990), Hard Rain (1998), Under the Cherry Moon (1986), Mannequin (1987), K-9 (1989), Days of Thunder (1990), Blame It on Rio (1984), No Mercy (1986), Senseless (1998), The Wizard (1989), The Marrying Man (1991), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), The Cannonball Run (1981), Stone Cold (1991), Tango & Cash (1989), Lock Up (1989), The Good Son (1993), 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), Dangerous Minds (1995), Young Guns II (1990), Event Horizon (1997), Dutch (1991), Police Academy (1984), Road House (1989)

Best Options (Romance): 75.0 Look Who’s Talking Now (1993), 54.2 Who’s That Girl (1987), 46.7 House Party 3 (1994), 39.0 The Beautician and the Beast (1997), 36.7 Man Trouble (1992), 32.2 Born Yesterday (1993), 32.0 Blind Date (1987), 31.3 The Forbidden Dance (1990), 30.9 He Said, She Said (1991), 29.6 Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), 28.9 Dream a Little Dream (1989), 27.9 The Favor (1994), 26.7 HouseSitter (1992), 26.7 Vibes (1988), 26.6 The Saint (1997), 26.2 Flashdance (1983), 26.1 The Bride (1985), 24.7 18 Again! (1988), 24.4 Poetic Justice (1993), 21.8 Funny About Love (1990), 21.3 Date with an Angel (1987), 21.0 For Keeps? (1988), 16.8 Listen to Me (1989), 16.6 Mr. Destiny (1990), 15.5 Aspen Extreme (1993), 15.2 Worth Winning (1989), 15.1 Unfaithfully Yours (1984), 14.6 Creator (1985), 13.2 Stella (1990), 10.7 Reckless (1984)

(What a wild set of options and a wild movie to choose. I should note about the graph, that peak in 1992? That’s real. It is because “Citizen Kane Days”, days when Citizen Kane played on television, had a huuuuuge peak in 1992 since that was the 50th anniversary. And since recent films are going to be playing the most in 1992 the peak will be around 1990-1992. Fun facts.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Ellen Barkin is No. 2 billed in Man Trouble and No. 2 billed in Wild Bill, which also stars Diane Lane (No. 4 billed) who is in Judge Dredd (No. 2 billed) which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in The Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed) which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (2 + 2) + (4 + 2) + (1 + 1) + (2 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 19. If we were to watch The Fan, Murder at 1600, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – Jack Nicholson mainly agreed to make this film in an attempt to revive the careers of his old friends Bob Rafelson and Carole Eastman. Nicholson had worked successfully with the two on Five Easy Pieces (1970).

A promotional photo session featuring Ellen Barkin sporting a studded dog collar and attached to Jack Nicholson’s leash had American feminist organizations in an uproar.

Meryl Streep was initially intended for the role of Joan Spruance, but she withdrew when she became pregnant.

The first version of the script was written in the 1970s, and was to feature Jack Nicholson and Jeanne Moreau. At first, Caole Eastman hoped to direct her script herself.

Other pairings considered were Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson, then Robert De Niro and Jessica Lange, and then Al Pacino and Meryl Streep, before its final incarnation of Nicholson and Ellen Barkin.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Jack Nicholson, 1993)


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