Assassin’s Creed Preview

Having infiltrated the super secret terrorist HQ in Budapest under the guise of the world famous Bad Movie Twins, Patrick and I attempt to locate what we were sent to recover: the obsidian dongle (bum, bum, bum). Trust us, this technological wonder is bad news and we totes gotta get it before the bad guys do or else… something bad for sure. In a stroke of bad luck my mutant disease takes hold and I reveal myself to be a bad guy working in league with the terrorists (what a twist!). Patrick knows the real me and helps me understand that I was never a mutant at all. That to overcome the disease all I had to do was believe in myself, for the nonmutant was within me the whole time! Hooray! With me now cured and our twin powers combined we handily defeat the terrorists, but at the last moment the obsidian dongle slips through our grasps. With hope seemingly lost we are approached by a representative of Absterlutely FerSher Industries. They know the way to finally rid the world of the dongle as long as we are willing to make Spain the next stop on this crazy hike we call life. That’s right! We’re watching Assassin’s Creed for the Fantasy entry in the cycle. Set in Spain both past and future, this video game adaptation did anything but break the video game curse. Despite the high level talent and effort put forth they still ended up with shit. Bad for them, good for BMT. Let’s go!

Assassin’s Creed (2016) – BMeTric: 40.7

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(Wow, opening near 9.0 is hilarious. Dropped below 6.0 at this point which is definitely where I would have expected it as this point. Loving the VOD bump, it has been a while old friend.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  Unlike the actual video game, “Assassin’s Creed” isn’t ridiculous and fun, but rather ridiculous and turgid. … there’s no way to translate the hands-on action of a video game to the silver screen, so many video game adaptations either have no plot, or get bogged down in blase set-up.

(Yup. Well … no plot is a stretch. But it is either a ton of kind of boring set up (Street Fighter Legend of Chun Li’s plot is basically all set up and no fighting for example) or really ridiculous stuff constantly (Super Mario Bros. or Silent Hill: Revelations come to mind). They have plots, they are just often boring or ridiculous with no inbetween. The more successful ones, like Silent Hill, tend to reign in the ridiculous and don’t get super bogged down in the details. Sounds like they got bogged down in the details here.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfJVoF5ko1Y

(I think it doesn’t help that a film like this just … isn’t really up my alley. Like the fight choreography looks overdone and a little tired at this point. I can kind of see the seams of the film come apart a bit and see the Prince-of-Persia-with-better-production-quality showing through. That isn’t even necessarily bad … it just doesn’t feel like the first video game film to actually be “good”. Also feels like it is going to be dark. Hate the music, but whatever. I think I hated the trailer when it came out too. I never played the games, which might also be a bit unhelpful.)

Directors – Justin Kurzel – (Known For: Macbeth; The Snowtown Murders; The Turning; BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Australian. His brother is a music composer and often works with him on projects, and he has four movies in production at this point, which is pretty crazy.)

Writers – Michael Lesslie (screenplay by) – (Known For: Macbeth; BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Both him and Kurzel worked with Fassbender on Macbeth which is why they were chosen. Next on the docket: Hamlet.)

Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (screenplay by) – (Known For: Tower Heist; Future BMT: The Transporter Refueled; Allegiant; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Accepted; BMT: New York Minute; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: They do a bit more television now, including a television movie called The French Detective. It is based on a series of “bookshots” by James Patterson … I’m officially intrigued, although when did we start called short stories “bookshots”?)

Corey May, Jade Raymond, and Patrice Désilets (based on the video game series created by) (uncredited) – (BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Hugely successful video game series with, at this point, 10 main series games (20 in total). Jade Raymond was a programmer for what I consider to be the best online trivia game ever made: Sony Online Entertainment’s Trivial Pursuit Online!)

Actors – Michael Fassbender – (Known For: Alien: Covenant; Inglourious Basterds; X-Men: Apocalypse; 300; X-Men: Days of Future Past; Prometheus; The Light Between Oceans; 12 Years a Slave; X: First Class; Steve Jobs; Shame; Song to Song; Macbeth; A Dangerous Method; Eden Lake; Jane Eyre; Centurion; Frank; Haywire; Hunger; Future BMT: The Counselor; BMT: Jonah Hex; The Snowman; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: We just saw him in The Snowman. He is apparently going out with Alicia Vikander. They are a regular video game acting couple!)

Marion Cotillard – (Known For: Inception; The Dark Knight Rises; Allied; Contagion; Midnight in Paris; Big Fish; Public Enemies; Macbeth; Rust and Bone; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; Two Days, One Night; Le Petit Prince; Les fantômes d’Ismaël; La Vie en Rose; Rock’n Roll; It’s Only the End of the World; The Immigrant; Blood Ties; A Very Long Engagement; Love Me If You Dare; Future BMT: Nine; BMT: Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Very impressive resume considering she only has one more qualified film left. Cast in the upcoming Dr. Dolittle film.)

Jeremy Irons – (Known For: Justice League; Red Sparrow; The Lion King; Beautiful Creatures; Lolita; Die Hard with a Vengeance; Their Finest; High-Rise; The Man Who Knew Infinity; The Mission; Margin Call; Stealing Beauty; Inland Empire; Casanova; Race; Appaloosa; Damage; Dead Ringers; The Merchant of Venice; Night Train to Lisbon; Future BMT: The Pink Panther 2; The Time Machine; The Man in the Iron Mask; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; La corrispondenza; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Eragon; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Well established theatrical actor who grew up on the Isle of Wight. Currently, still, Alfred in the recent Batman films.)

Budget/Gross – $125 million / Domestic: $54,647,948 (Worldwide: $240,942,515)

(Not bad worldwide, although given the budget maybe a disappointment? But top 10 video game adaptation … they couldn’t have really hoped for more than $100 million domestic I would think.)

#18 for the Hitman / Assassin genre

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(Huh … I completely forgot about This Means War which juuuuust barely beats this film out for the highest grossing Hitman film we’ve seen for BMT. The giant peak is Pulp Fiction, and these days the per theater average looks a bit down. I wish Wanted qualified for BMT, that film is just god awful.)

#9 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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(Naturally, perfect timing from BMT with Rampage releasing this week. Tomb Raider and Rampage this year are very likely to be the two best critically received video game films ever. They are kicking it up a notch, and given The Rock’s current hotness I imagine Rampage has a decent shot at a top three gross for the genre. Which will open the floodgates even more.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 18% (35/192): Assassin’s Creed is arguably better made (and certainly better cast) than most video game adaptations; unfortunately, the CGI-fueled end result still is still a joylessly overplotted slog.

(Joyless doesn’t sound very fun. Other reviews call it “over-cast” which is meaningless … except I think they are going for some “joyless” pub of sorts with “overcast”? Maybe, that would be kind of bonkers and I kind of love it now. Reviewer Highlight: Assassin’s Creed mistakenly assumes that the plot is the most important element of its source material. Actually, it’s the least. – Darren Franich, Entertainment Weekly (I actually agree with this, a lot of video game movies fall into the trap of trying to deliver too much fan service via the plot, when making a new story is probably the best way to go).)

Poster – Assassin’s Sklog (B-)

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(Blah, you need better coloring, bro. Embrace that blood red and wash out Fassbender’s coloring and you might have something. Like the framing and the font, but comes off bland and amateurish as it is.)

Tagline(s) – Your destiny is in your blood (B-)

(God damn! That would work amazing with the Sklog poster with “Your destiny is in your sklog.” Otherwise this is real close to not meaning anything. Probably better than it actually sounds… which is real awkward. My brain doesn’t like it.)

Keyword(s) – based on video game; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.1 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.6 House of the Dead (2003); 88.6 Street Fighter (1994); 87.4 BloodRayne (2005); 86.5 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 85.8 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 84.0 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 79.2 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 72.8 Far Cry (2008); 69.7 Wing Commander (1999);

(I always forget we “haven’t seen” Mario Bros. … we have. Many times. Just not for BMT yet. It’ll come up though. This is a sublime set of movies, just a murderer’s row from top to bottom.)

Notes – The film features the highest free fall performed by a stuntman in almost 35 years. The stuntman Damien Walters performed a free fall from the height of 125 feet (38 meters), which lasted almost 3 seconds with a 61 mph impact speed. (Exciting. I appreciate the effort for practical effects)

Michael Fassbender and Ariane Labed did 95% of the fights in the film themselves.

Cal’s father, Joseph is played by Brendan Gleeson and the young Joseph is played by Brian Gleeson – who is actually Brendan’s son. (Hmmmmm. I kind of prefer janky CGI honestly).

Ubisoft gave the prop makers a detailed list of every weapon ever made for the games that they could use as a guide.

The Assassins costumes took 2-3 months to make and were all hand-crafted. There are eight versions of each costume, with an entire costume team devoted to each of the Assassins. (Kind of love the detail here actually)

80% of the film, including stunts, extras and locations, were shot on camera, without using CGI.

This movie is based on a game with the same name. The actor Michael Fassbender had never played any of the nine games in the series until just before filming commenced; he didn’t even know that the games existed until he was hired by Ubisoft. (HA)

As one of the producers, Michael Fassbender lobbied to have Justin Kurzel directing the movie following their work on Macbeth (2015). Fassbender also chose Marion Cotillard to be his co-star again. (Yes, obviously, although I think they might have needed more experiences screenwriters on the job).

Marion Cotillard told French magazine Studio Ciné Live in May 2016, that when she was on the set of Mal de pierres (2016), she received a new version of the script of Assassin’s Creed and discovered that her character and by extension the film, no longer corresponded to what she had loved. So she called director Justin Kurzel and he fully agreed with her disagreements. For fifteen days, Kurzel, Michael Fassbender and Cotillard reworked the script. (Huh, and yet none of them have a writing credit which is interesting).

In the Assassin’s Creed video game series the present-day character, Desmond, has a scar on the right side of his lip. This same scar can also be seen on the assassin from the first game, Altair, as well as the assassin from Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Ezio. Coincidentally, Michael Fassbender also has a similar scar on the same side of his upper lip. (Coooooool)

The historical sequences set in 15th century Spain were shot in Spanish language. According to Justin Kurzel, they tried to do them in English first, but the decision about Spanish was too obvious and good, and it adds an exoticness and richness to the film. In the games, however, these sequences were in English, as well as all the modern-day scenes. Which was explained by the presence of built-in translator in the Animus machine.

While portraying Aguilar de Nerha, the protagonist of the past time-line, Michael Fassbender wore brown contact lenses, creating an alienating effect to the outward world and achieving the subtle difference between him and Callum Lynch, the protagonist of the present time-line. (Jeez louise. I need to curate these notes, but I kind of love them).

Michael Fassbender actively participated in the film’s post-production, including editing. (I hope he didn’t do the same with The Snowman heeeeeeeeeeeeeyooooooooo)

Kurzel didn’t want the movie to feel like a superhero film, he wanted to embrace “what it is to be human” through practical effects and parkour-intensive stunts. (Honestly … that’s a little weird. To use practical effects to make something NOT feel like something? Not sure I agree).

Originally, it was going to be 2 hours and 20 minutes. It was then shortened to only 1 hour and 48 minutes. (Wooooooof, not a ton of confidence there)

At the end of the film when the templers all meet up. The building they are in is the United Grand Lodge of England, the building is the main lodge for Freemasonry in the U.K. (That’s a fun fact).

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I Spy Recap

Substandard secret agent Alex Scott is paired with cocky boxing champ Kelly Robinson to recover a missing government weapon known as The Switchblade. Can they recover the weapon, stop the baddies, and get the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… I Spy. Also test your super-spy powers with the quiz!)

Jamie

What?! Alex Scott is a bumbling stumbling spy ready to make his mark (a real Patrick type character). When a secret government weapon called The Switchblade is stolen, Alex is teamed with a cocky boxing champ with an oversized ego, Kelly Robinson (a real Jamie type character). With this Jamie and Patrick type team of super spies assembled they head to Hungary where it’s rumored that a terrorist baddy is trying to sell the weapon (a real Tolstoy type character). Through the fame of Kelly Robinson they are able to infiltrate the bad guy’s hideout and plant a tracking device on the terrorist, but nearly get caught and have to escape. The next morning they track the terrorist to a turkish bath, but it turns out to be a trap (oh no!) and Alex’s lady love is tragically killed. Angry and despondent, Kelly Robinson heads to his boxing match while Alex continues to track the weapon. He is able to find it hidden in plain sight through advanced cloaking technology, but is captured in the showdown with the terrorists (classic Patrick). In a giant twist it turns out his lady love didn’t actually die but was a traitor in league with the bad guy (what a twist!). When all seems lost Kelly Robinson (in a real Jamie move) comes to rescue and they are able to recover the weapon, albeit in the most stumbly bumbly way possible. Credits roll and we are promised a spy franchise to laugh and cry with for the next decade. THE END.

Why?! I mean… I guess it’s just Alex’s job so he has to try to stop the terrorist. He does have some hang ups about being considered a second rate spy and feels like he has something to prove in order to get with the lady spy he’s crushing on. As for Kelly he’s mostly just an egomaniac that wants a parade. Finally, the bad guy wants to sell The Switchblade for cash monies plain and simple. In fact, even after being informed that the weapon will be used by its buyer to drop a bomb on Washington DC he kinda just shrugs. He don’t care as long as he gets that cash.

What?! MacGuffin alert! The entire conceit of the film is the recovery of a super secret government plane nicknamed The Switchblade. It also has a cloaking device that makes it nearly invisible to the naked eye. While it is unclear why a plane would need that given they are detected with everything but the naked eye, the bad guys still seem pretty jazzed for it, so must be good and definitely not dumb.

Who?! I could talk about all the boxing related celebs that had cameos in this film, such as Sugar Ray Leonard, but I’m much more interested in the fact that the actual Mayor of Budapest made an uncredited appearance in this film. That is so perfect I feel like I should already give this film an A+ for setting. Oh, and the IMDb trivia claims Will Ferrell voiced a faux George W. Bush in a scene, but he is not credited or uncredited anywhere that I can find… so is it real? Can’t say.

Where?! Hungary, duh. 80% of the film takes place there and some major landmarks take center stage. A perfect grade A setting. Even more interesting are some of the minor settings such as our recently departed Monte Carlo and an opening that takes place in Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is so rare that it’s very tempting just to use this film for that location too.

When?! I feel like some of our recent films has shaken my belief that the full setting for films are likely attainable as long as they aren’t purposefully obscured (a la The Tuxedo). But this film pulled me right back in. While there isn’t a huge amount of information available to place it, there is a newspaper where an article states that the baseball season has just opened and that the “three-time champ Yankees take up where they left off – winning.” This would place the events of the film around April 2, 2001. C+ as exact but obviously very hard to place.

Try to think of a film where you really liked the performances, but everything else in the film is cliched garbage. That’s this film. This was on the cusp of Eddie Murphy’s decline in Hollywood, but you still get a pretty solid, funny performance here (minus a couple politically incorrect jokes). Owen Wilson was really on the rise and certainly hits his comedic notes. Their dynamic worked and I think this film would have been successful if it weren’t for the fact that it was terrible. The plot is just bad and proceeds in a mundane, predictable way throughout. It seems almost like they thought “we have two superstars, don’t think too hard about the plot”… which is so on the nose I would actually believe that it happened. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I Spy is a film that dreams big, planning and yearning for that series, a new Shanghai Noon for us Owen Wilson-heads to revel in. Sadly, the American people are idiots who can’t even bother to appreciate the gifts bestowed upon them. Pshaw, sad. Let’s get into it!

The Good – This is probably one of the later films in the Eddie Murphy filmography where his kind of arrogant charm works. And Owen Wilson is an equal delight. It makes the film go along at a solid enough clip, and Budapest is indeed rather beautiful. And Eddie Murphy boxing is … shockingly believable.

P’s View on the Preview – This was a settings film through and through, half the notes were about how they wanted to film in Budapest because you never see Budapest in films. And this is very Budapest, all the way down to the final scene on the Chain Bridge. The only other thing of interest to me was the television angle, but I didn’t get a chance to do the homework to watch an episode of the old series, so it is basically impossible to comment.

The Bad – Despite all of the good I’ve said thus far I, uh, … did not like this film. It is a zero laugh comedy. It doesn’t really use Famke Janssen well, and the entire thing feels like an episode of a television show, and not a particularly good one. The film just washes off of me like water off of a duck’s back … I’ll probably forget we watched it in a couple of weeks.

Welcome to Earf – I’m still trying to figure out where I want to put this, but since I don’t have much to talk about concerning this film well … at least I’ll explain it. Like Jamie’s Phantom Zone from his Submersion podcast, the intent is to go from I Spy to Here on Earth, but I want to do it from memory, and only going from BMT films. For I Spy you can got to (1) Norbit via Eddie Murphy to (2) Blended via Terry Crews to (3) Jack and Jill via Adam Sandler to (4) 88 Minutes starring Al Pacino to (5) Here on Earth starring Leelee Sobieski. Welcome to Earf I Spy!

The BMT – Blah. The film is basically boring. It has a television angle, a buddy cop angle, Eddie Murphy, it is a ports film, and a war film, and a spy film … and it isn’t really a good-bad movie for any of them. It doesn’t have the legs beyond being yet another piece in the eventual complete Eddie Murphy BMT filmography project.

StreetCreditReport.com – Didn’t get much notice in the 2002 lists, but I did find it on a list of the 30 worst spy films where it got 13th. We need to step up our game because on this excellent list we’ve only seen seven films, which is a shame.

As I said above I didn’t get to the homework (again). I do promise I’ll get better, this month is just a tad bit hectic. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

I Spy Quiz

I spy with my little eye … a laughless comedy featuring Eddie Murphy. Oh, and a quiz … because it’s Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

  1. In the cold open (emphasis on the “cold” ayyyyyooo) BNS Agent Alex Scott (Owen Wilson) is in charge of recovering a defected US pilot being held in a secret military prison in which country?
  2. Meanwhile in Las Vegas Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) is in the process of very quickly knocking out his most recent Middleweight opponent. Obviously very proud of his very impressive undefeated record, how many wins has he recorded after his victory?
  3. The aforementioned pilot had sold a super-secret military aircraft called the Switchblade to our eeeeeeevil villain Arnold Gundars (Malcolm McDowell). But what does Kelly Robinson call it? Also why is it called the Switchblade?
  4. While teaching Alex Scott to seduce Special Agent Rachel Wright (Famke Janssen) Kelly Robinson … well, he literally just has Alex sing a song to her (in a kind of Owen Wilson-y talk-sing way). What song?
  5. Ultimately in a very messy standoff on top of the Chain Bridge the winner of Gundars secret auction of the Switchblade has a very eeeeeeeeeeevil plan for the plane. What is the plan?

Answers

I Spy Preview

I Spy (2002) – BMeTric: 51.3

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(Very nice. Since I, Spy came out relatively long ago (relative to the internet archive at least) the most interesting thing to look at was probably whether the rating was still trending towards the mean with extra votes … not. This is a below-average film through and through. Nothing super special (sub-5.0), but decidedly below average.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In-name-only reincarnation of the smart 1960s TV show (which starred Robert Culp and Bill Cosby). Here, Wilson is an inept NSA operative who uses socky prizefighter Murphy as his cover to locate a secret weapon in Budapest. An object lesson in bad screenwriting, with an incoherent story and characters that make no sense; only the occasional comic riffs by Murphy and Wilson keep this from a complete disaster.

(TIL the difference between “object lesson” and “abject lesson”, good to know. Great semi-colon game by Leonard (as usual). I’m quite excited to see the “inept” NSA operative. These says that trope has been replaced by the bumbling pro. See: Brooklyn 99 where the very un-serious Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) seems bumbling, but is in fact an excellent detective. So will be nice to harken back to the bumbling fool paradigm.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma53Kps06cM

(Hmmm … even the trailer looks dull. I kind of like the style though. Murphy really did have a strange sort of arrogant charm back in the day, and despite the early 2000s terrible styles it still kind of looks cool in a weird way. The CGI looks dumb though.)

Directors – Betty Thomas – (Known For: Private Parts; The Brady Bunch Movie; Doctor Dolittle; Future BMT: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel; John Tucker Must Die; 28 Days; BMT: I Spy; Notes: Part of Second City she was a regular on Hill Street Blues back in the day. She’s done a bunch of television movies more recently.)

Writers – Morton S. Fine and David Friedkin (characters) (as Morton Fine) – (Known For: The Pawnbroker; BMT: I Spy; Notes: Original writers for the original show. Both have been dead for nearly 30 years.)

Marianne Wibberley and Cormac Wibberley (story & screenplay) – (Known For: National Treasure; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; The 6th Day; Future BMT: The Shaggy Dog; G-Force; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Bad Boys II; BMT: I Spy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle in 2004; Notes: Married writing team. Cormac is the son of Leonard Wibberley who wrote the Mouse That Roared and its subsequent sequels two of which were made into rather cooky British films in the 60s)

Jay Scherick and David Ronn (screenplay) – (Known For: Guess Who; Future BMT: The Smurfs; The Smurfs 2; Serving Sara; National Security; BMT: Norbit; Zookeeper; I Spy; Baywatch; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2008 for Norbit; and in 2018 for Baywatch; Notes: Were at one point producers and writers on Spin City. Otherwise they are on quite the recent streak of films. Good for them, go get yo money.)

Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Mulan; Coming to America; Shrek; Shrek 2; Beverly Hills Cop; Trading Places; Tower Heist; Shrek the Third; Shrek Forever After; Life; 48 Hrs.; Dreamgirls; The Nutty Professor; Beverly Hills Cop II; Bowfinger; Doctor Dolittle; Boomerang; Imagine That; Dr. Dolittle 2; Future BMT: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; Vampire in Brooklyn; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man; Beverly Hills Cop III; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; The Distinguished Gentleman; BMT: Norbit; Pluto Nash; I Spy; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child; A Thousand Words; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights in 1990; Winner for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit in 2008; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Nominee for Worst Director for Harlem Nights in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Norbit in 2008; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; in 2009 for Meet Dave; in 2010 for Imagine That; and in 2013 for A Thousand Words; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; and in 2009 for Meet Dave; Notes: Recent reports put him as the third triplet in the Twins sequel that has been announced. Hopefully Arnold’s recent health issues won’t waylay this.)

Owen Wilson – (Known For: Wonder; Cars 3; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Cars; The Royal Tenenbaums; Inherent Vice; Wedding Crashers; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; The Darjeeling Limited; Midnight in Paris; Zoolander; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Meet the Parents; Night at the Museum; Bottle Rocket; Night at the Museum 2; No Escape; Marley & Me; The Cable Guy; Future BMT: Anaconda; Breakfast of Champions; Little Fockers; How Do You Know; You, Me and Dupree; Are You Here; Drillbit Taylor; Masterminds; Hall Pass; Father Figures; Free Birds; Cars 2; Meet the Fockers; The Internship; Behind Enemy Lines; Armageddon; BMT: Zoolander 2; The Haunting; Marmaduke; I Spy; Around the World in 80 Days; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Zoolander 2 in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy; Notes: There were some question recently about why he isn’t in the new Wes Anderson film, but I never really heard the whole story. Can’t wait to see Father Figures though.)

Famke Janssen – (Known For: X-Men: Days of Future Past; X-Men; The Wolverine; X-Men 2; Taken; GoldenEye; X-Men: The Last Stand; The Faculty; Rounders; Lord of Illusions; Celebrity; Jack of the Red Hearts; The Wackness; Love & Sex; Made; The Gingerbread Man; City of Industry; Down the Shore; Turn the River; Noose; Future BMT: The Ten; Once Upon a Time in Venice; House on Haunted Hill; Hide and Seek; Taken 3; Deep Rising; Taken 2; Don’t Say a Word; This Is Your Death; Circus; The Chameleon; BMT: I Spy; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Notes: She’s a big animal rights activist. She was also very critical about her character of Jean Grey being recast for the new X-Men films, annoyed by them allowing Jackman and Stewart to appear and age gracefully while tending to replace women … kind of a fair criticism to be honest.)

Budget/Gross – $70 million / Domestic: $33,561,137 (Worldwide: $50,732,945)

(Bomb. $70 million … actually makes sense. This was right around when Murphy’s salary would have been sinking films that could have otherwise pulled in a modest return. This film should have had a $50 million budget maybe, considering the action sequences.)

#54 for the Action – Buddy Comedy genre

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(Ha. Really right at the peak of the genre. The Tuxedo came out almost at the exact same time as well, along with Shanghai Knights the next year. Jackie Chan bringeth the genre up, and then it promptly crashed. Go figure. The highest grossing film we’ve seen for BMT is Another 48 hrs.)

#18 for the Comedy – Spy genre

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(They killed this genre. It also probably also didn’t help that Bond went on a hiatus in 2002. With the rise of Bourne (a less … humorous spy thriller) the comedy possibilities probably went out of the window. Get Smart and then Spy probably brought the genre back … but I think it is dead again. I just don’t really see why a spy based comedy would be interesting at the moment.)

#67 for the Spy genre

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(Again completely died with the (terrible) Die Another Day. People like the Mission Impossible films at the moment, they kind of have that ridiculous Fast & the Furious vibe to it with the charismatic Tom Cruise lending it a bit more cred than, say, Transformers in the Action genre. The Tuxedo is, amazingly, the highest grossing BMT film in the series. Although high grossing spy films don’t tend to be terrible.)

#62 for the TV Adaptation (Live Action) genre

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(After the initial 90s swell (with BMT classics like The Beverly Hillbillies) this has been reduced to a kind of dull background noise in the releases every year. Baywatch and CHiPs are recent examples, and The Avengers made just about the same amount of money … rough.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (21/133): Insipid and mirthless, I-Spy bares little resemblance to the TV series that inspired it.

(Big worgs Rotten Tomatoes. Mirthless is the name of the game in bad comedies though, and I’ve heard this is basically laugh free. Reviewer Highlight: As inept as big-screen remakes of The Avengers and The Wild Wild West. – Mark Rahner (Seattle Times) … fat chance, that is impossible.)

Poster – I Sklog (B+)

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(While I like the artistic spacing, font, and how they’ve used colors to wash out the “human” color palette, I find something about it a little cheap. Like I could have made this poster in my free time.)

Tagline(s) – Attitude meets espionage (B)

(Hmmmm, attitude meets espionage… is this a play on something? I’m not sure what I’m supposed to get from mashing these two words together. Seems like a potential classic, sounds-like-a-tagline tagline… that isn’t really a tagline. But it is short and sweet and does what it meant to do.)

Keyword(s) – stealth; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.8 10,000 BC (2008); 64.4 Stealth (2005); 51.3 I Spy (2002); 47.3 American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987); 46.8 American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1990); 46.6 Beverly Hills Ninja (1997); 22.1 Secret in Their Eyes (2015); 21.3 Surviving the Game (1994); 19.2 Tomorrow Never Dies (1997); 18.4 Act of Valor (2012);

(So … the entire American Ninja series? Tomorrow Never Dies, sadly, doesn’t qualify. But it would be nice to see some shitty ninja films. I feel like we still don’t do enough martial arts and western films)

Notes – At the request of director Betty Thomas, actor Darren Shahlavi lost thirty pounds so as to be the same size as Eddie Murphy during the boxing scenes. (what)

Actor-comedian Will Ferrell was the voice of American President George W. Bush when speaking to Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) over the telephone. (That makes sense, given the SNL connection)

The original / earlier draft(s) of the movie’s screenplay had the character of Kelly Robinson, who was later cast with Eddie Murphy, as a basketball player, but due to Murphy’s film industry stature, it was decided to change the character’s sport to boxing, and the character to a boxer. However, the dialogue interchange about the Harlem Globetrotters remained in the script and the finished film. (Wow, that … seems like an oversight)

Initially, star Owen Wilson admitted he was a little nervous about performing opposite comedy legend Eddie Murphy, who was one of his comic idols. Wilson said: “This is the first time I’ve had to work with someone who is so incredible at improvisation. At first, it was difficult to keep up with Eddie. But slowly I started playing off his riffs. I don’t know if that’s what people mean by on-screen chemistry. To me it’s a feeling that you are really in a groove with what the other guy is doing.” (This is an anecdote from a late night appearance for sure)

The characters from the I Spy (1965) source TV series are reversed in this movie version. In the original television series, Kelly Robinson (not Alexander Scott) was the white guy and the athlete, while Alexander Scott was the black guy and the non-athlete. However, in both cases though, the Bill Cosby / Eddie Murphy character was a less experienced spy than the Robert Culp / Owen Wilson character.

The palace of Malcolm McDowell’s character Arnold Gundars, is actually the “Hungarian Royal Palace”, which is also sometimes known as “The Buda Castle”, it having being for centuries home to a number of generations of the royalty of Hungary. (I’ve been there)

The canine in the final scene was actually Famke Janssen’s dog who had the name of “Licorice”. (Great dog name)

Like actor Owen Wilson, actress Famke Janssen got to spar with comedy star Eddie Murphy on screen, a process Janssen, like Wilson, also found daunting at the outset. She said: “There’s a scene in which Eddie and I first meet and he just kept tossing lines at me and I kept going with it. It was really scary, but once I got used to it, a lot of fun as well.” (Whoever was filling up this notes section had just seen or read a giant profile on the film)

The acronym “BNS” stood for The Bureau of National Security. (coooool, I do love facts though)

[NOTE: There are a bunch of notes here which is basically a long profile on the production … just go read the IMDb notes or, better yet, find the source article if you want to learn about it]

In the source I Spy (1965) television series, Bill Cosby portrayed a tennis pro and, for a time, the filmmakers considered making the character of Kelly Robinson in this movie version an international tennis champion. Basketball was also considered, though producer Jenno Topping considered both sports too visually confining for the purposes of a big screen story on an international scale. It was star Eddie Murphy who suggested that his character of Kelly Robinson be a championship boxer, a sport to which he was well suited. Murphy said at the time: “I’ve done some boxing and my father was a boxer, so I already had a background in the sport.” Murphy trained in boxing for several months prior to this picture’s production. Director Betty Thomas said: “Having an actor with a natural ability for a sport was a real asset. It opened up the film in a much more exciting way than tennis or basketball. Having Eddie getting the blows and making the hits had a lot more impact than creating shots in which I would have to rely on stunt doubles.” Stunt Co-ordinator Brent Woolsey added: “Eddie was so coordinated that it made the boxing sequences much easier to execute.” (I left this in though. Pretty interesting that Murphy was boxing at the time).

Principal photography began on 12th September 2001, in Budapest, Hungary. Taking a cue from the original I Spy (1965) television series, producer Andrew G. Vajna decided that this movie version should be set in an “exotic location to create a sense of real excitement in the audience”. Vajna added: “We haven’t seen Eastern Europe used much in action films, especially Hungary. Budapest has been used in movies before, but never as Budapest. It has generally been used as a substitute for Paris or some other European capital. So for the audience it was an entirely new experience. And it just so happens that Hungary is my home.” (Awesome, I do love this fact as well. I’m learning so much about this film … why can’t all of the notes be like this actually? This is super interesting stuff).

The grounds of the Buda Castle were so extensive that the production’s first and second units were filming on either side of the castle at the same time. Producer Mario Kassar said: “It was an amazing feat. In some ways it was surprising that we didn’t trip over each other. Action is taking place on one side, and on the other [director] Betty [Thomas] is tackling all the great character stuff.” (It is enormous … did I mention I’ve been there? Oh I did? Well I went there and just wanted to say I agree with the above statement).

No stunt or acting doubles were used in the scenes where Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) is seen boxing.

First Assistant Director Richard Graves engineered the prototype model of the Switchblade fighter plane from piecing together bits and parts from his son’s plastic jet model kits.

According to the IFC website, “the movie was originally supposed to take place in Prague [in the Czech Republic]. Instead, the movie shot on location in Budapest, Hungary, because the film’s producer, Andrew G. Vajna, lived there” and “was eager to use her hometown as the setting because she had never seen it depicted in a Hollywood movie before.” (Prague would have worked as well. It is pretty rare in films it turns out, no big bad films are explicitly set there as far as we can tell).

It was Eddie Murphy’s idea to sing Marvin Gaye’s famous song “Sexual Healing” for the romantic scene where Special Agent Alex Scott (Owen Wilson) romances Special Agent Rachel Wright (Famke Janssen). In this sequence, Murphy vocally coaches Wilson the words like in the classic story “Cyrano de Bergerac”.

The four short DVD behind the scenes documentaries about the making of this motion picture are entitled: I Spy: The Slugafest (2003); I Spy: Cloak & Camouflage (2003); I Spy: Gadgets & Gizmos (2003); and I Spy: Schematics & Blueprints (2003). (Which is where I assume all of these notes came from)

The name of the title that boxer Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) held was “Super Middleweight Champion”. (These guys have so many facts on here)

The name of the stolen military fighter-plane which had a cloaking device was the “Switchblade”.

The name of the sporting tournament league that boxer Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) competed in was the “Global Boxing League”.

Reportedly, the ending was re-shot Monte Carlo after test audiences stated that they wanted to know what happened to Special Agent Rachel Wright (Famke Janssen) after she betrayed both Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) and Special Agent Alex Scott (Owen Wilson). (Perfecto. We get to literally go from Monte Carlo to Budapest).

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Eddie Murphy)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Eddie Murphy, Robert De Niro, Owen Wilson)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel

Monte Carlo Recap

Jamie

Grace is on her way to Paris to find herself and see the world. But when her wet blanket of a step-sister comes along, everything seems destined for disaster. That is until she is mistaken for a rich heiress and whisked away to Monte Carlo. Can she find her place in the world, find love, and avoid having the ruse uncovered before it’s too late? Find out in… Monte Carlo. And if you’ve seen it already, take the quiz and really test out your teen rom-com chops, are you a Grace or a Meg?! And now back to the recap.

How?! Grace just does not fit in. Not at school, where the popular kids look down their noses at her, or at home, where her Mom has remarried giving her a step-sister Meg she hates. She mostly just looks forward to seeing Paris after graduation and then heading off to her destiny at NYU. But when Meg is forced to tag along on the trip, Grace sees everything fall apart. The tour they signed up for is totes… ratchet (am I doing this right?), their hotel is shit, and basically everyone hates everything. Right when it seems like they are ready to give up Grace is mistaken for a high-flying heiress, Cordelia, and whisked away to Monte Carlo. While there they enjoy fancy balls that are real… turnt up (am I cool now?), dates with guys (both rich and poor), and learning about how the rich and fabulous can both be bad (boooo) or help the world (yay). When Cordelia arrives in Monte Carlo they seem bound to be discovered except that everyone hates her cause she sucks and they all like Grace so they’re like “Whatevs, sorry not sorry,” and everything turns out fine. The next year we find Grace working as a volunteer teacher in Romania where she is reunited with her rich and fabulous crush because they are in love now. Hooray. THE END.  

Why?! More like “Why not? YOLO!” amirite?… seriously am I using all this slang correctly? Grace wants to find herself and experience the world. That’s basically it. Finding love is just a convenient byproduct of this journey. Same goes for her two traveling companions. No one else in the movie really even has much motivation. Truly just a journey of self discovery for these ladies and guess what? I was OK with that.

What?! I guess the fact that a primary plot point in the film is the sale, theft, and recovery of a Bvlgari necklace is a product placement… but it also doesn’t seem like they’re actually thinking that their core audience is going to rush home and demand their parents buy them a $152,000 necklace either. Almost more of a MacGuffin than a product placement.

Who?! This features both singer-turned-actress Selena Gomez and actress-turned-singer Leighton Meester. This is of course just after Leighton appeared as the titular roommate in The Roommate, which will live on in BMT lore forever (Billy Zane just wants to go to fashion week guys!).

Where?! Mostly Monaco, babbbbyyyy! Although we get some hefty settings work done in Texas and grand Paris. Surprisingly not a casino to be seen in the film considering the setting, but despite this still a true blue A+.

When?! Finally we got one where the setting was obvious. We get several shots of passports being stamped on their way through French customs which clearly show that the trip, and thus the film, starts on June 19, 2010. Not vital to the plot though. B.

This movie… is just not that bad (Not that bad! Not that bad!). In fact, I actually think it’s a somewhat smartly done teen romantic comedy. Like Air Bud: Golden Retriever before it (yeah, I brought Air Bud 2 into this), it actually fairly deftly interweaves some real life teen issues into a silly adventure story. Like Grace is dealing with feeling like she doesn’t fit in anywhere anymore and just wanting to find herself. The two girls on the trip with her are dealing with their own issues and we get a fairly good sense of why and how they go through that process. Yeah the film isn’t a cinematic marvel, but it’s fun and kept me watching because I was interested in the characters, which is a lot more than I can say about most of the films we watch. I don’t care what you say! This films tots… not ratchet… it’s like… on fleek? Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Maybe it is just be getting old and sentimental, maybe I just love to get my girl power on every so often … or maybe, just maybe … It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! WHAT? Who’d have thunk it? Monte Carlo?! Let’s get into it!!

The Good – This movie does a ton of things right. It gives a strong message for all of the main three characters (Be yourself! It’s alright to enjoy the simple things in life! It takes time to heal … and that’s okay!), it has beautiful vistas (THE VISTAS), the soundtrack never quits and is surprisingly fresh (including a song by Selena Gomez herself), and it manages to subtly circumvent a few teen rom-com tropes along the way (the best being when Leighton Meester’s love interest tells here to “scream” to help her get over her mother dying … yeah, ain’t going to work. She tells him she just can’t and the eventual pay off concerning her recovery is saved for a much more well earned epilogue. Admirable). It does better than most rom-coms in basically every possible regard IMO, while being made for teens and starring Selena Gomez. It’s bizarre!

P’s View on the Preview – For a film like this I think the only thing to really look at is the genre. It is a teen-focused film, a romantic comedy of sorts, girl power. They are usually garbage. We aaaaaaaalmost don’t even do them because they are usually so worthless. Obviously testing these prejudices is the BMT way, can’t let our biases get in our way. And I’m glad we did, it is pretty hilarious that I thought this film was pretty good.

The Bad – The absurdity of Grace stumbling onto the perfect opportunity to replace Cordelia in Monte Carlo is just a little too much to handle no matter how well they manage the fall out. Unlike other iterations the people she’s meeting are mostly strangers, and her Aunt is immediately suspicious and figures it out rather quickly. But still, it is kind of unnecessary in the end.

Sklogification – Because I think you could set it up slightly better (although perhaps it works better now rather than six years ago). In my version Grace wins the trip to Paris, but (a la I Still Know What You Did Last Summer) it was all a set up by Cordelia who has managed to find Grace via social media as a perfect body double for herself. The rest of the movie is, indeed, a way for Cordelia to hang in Majorca while having Grace bumble about as her double getting a taste of a good life (or is it? Buh buh buuuuuuh). Anyways, could have been a fun twist, and people do have doubles right? Like … Saddam Hussein had like six of them didn’t he?

The BMT – I love it. I think it kind of rekindles my belief in the teen movie in BMT, even though this one was good. Being able to see that it can be good and have a good message and have a coherent story will allow me to recognize when a similar movie does all of that badly.

StreetCreditReport.com – None. It isn’t a surprise. I found a few blogs which ragged on it a bit, but the Rotten Tomatoes score (39%) kind of reflects that people found it quite innocuous at worst. Oddly Leonard Maltin, who usually goes easy on films like this, was one of the harshest on the whole affair. Whatever, no cred.

I did not read the book this was based on, so no homework. I have to get better at this stuff! But I’m in the middle of something else, just no room for Headhunters.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Monte Carlo Quiz

Y’all ever just feel like you deserve better than being a sweet southern belle? Well pack up your things, because you and your three besties are off to Paris! And what wild adventures you’ll have, hope you paid attention because it’s Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

  1. We are treated to three delightfully different young ladies having a graaaaaand adventure in Europe, Grace (Selena Gomez), Emma (Katie Cassidy), and Meg (Leighton Meester). How do they all know each other?
  2. Meg bumps into Riley three times during the course of the film before scootering off to swiftly fall in love. What three places did they meet?
  3. Grace pulls an Ocean’s Twelve and happens to be a perfect double of the rich British socialite Cordelia. After playing polo terribly in Cordelia’s place what does Grace teach her royal escort Theo that makes him fall in love with her?
  4. Emma’s beau Owen chases her to Europe after realizing he BLEW IT by trying to stop her from going to Paris. After arriving in an Emma-less Paris, how does Owen find out the girls are in Monaco?
  5. A little essay question … so what is Riley the dashing australian backpacker’s backstory? Why is he bumming around Europe slaying ladies and taking names?

Answers

Monte Carlo Preview

Monte Carlo (2011) – BMeTric: 37.2

MonteCarlo_BMeT

MonteCarlo_RV

(Well known plot I’m going to call … the Built-in Fanbase Plot. Don’t worry, I’ll promptly forget it in a week and coin a new term. Basically big Selena Gomez fans (I assume) would rate this a 6.5. People who love (to rate) movies (on the internet like weirdos) though would give it closer to a 5.1. And then once general audiences get a hold of it it is generally moving up to between the two, 5.8. It should roughly stick there, this plot screams “average movie” and 6.0 would be where I would expect such a thing.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Three girls from a small town in Texas spend their savings on a dream trip to Paris. Once there, the girls discover that one of them (Gomez) looks just like a British socialite and use her mistaken identity to their advantage. Cast is attractive and likeable but the story is predictable … and dull. Although its target audience may not notice the poor editing and plot development, this still should have been a better movie. Loosely based on the novel Headhunters by Jules Bass.

(Actually rather harsh of Leonard, I would have thought he would go easy on a movie like this since he is definitely not the target audience as he points out. Dull is a bad word here. Kids’ movies are usually dull which is why we banished them from BMT back in the day (we realized our mistake more recently though). Hopefully as huge Selena Gomez fans we’ll be able to see past the poor editing though.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rxm_bVVhbr8

(“Cordelia gets to play hooky for a few days” … if this line is accurate and they actually agree to swap placed with the British Selena Gomez then this is just Prince and the Pauper, so why make it a Headhunters adaptation? If not then what are they talking about? I’m more confused coming out of the trailer than going in.)

Directors – Thomas Bezucha – (Known For: The Family Stone; Big Eden; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: His last name is pronounced “bazooka”. He used to be a fashion design with Ralph Lauren.)

Writers – Thomas Bezucha (screenplay) – (Known For: The Family Stone; Big Eden; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Has a special thanks on The Way Way Back, probably because he did some initial legwork in getting the script ready to be shot. This article explains it a bit if you search his name.)

April Blair (screenplay) – (BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Mainly a television writer and producer now, including having a writing credit on Sklog favorite Heart of Dixie!)

Maria Maggenti (screenplay) – (Known For: Before I Fall; The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love; Puccini for Beginners; Future BMT: The Love Letter; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: He is attached to an announced Dirty Dancing remake. Guess where it takes place … obviously Peru! Wait what?! And yeah, it is really a remake of the classic Swayze film that takes place in Peru, barf.)

Kelly Bowe (screen story) – (BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: She also wrote Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous starring Jessica Simpson … she has a thing about singers turns actors it would seem.)

Jules Bass (novel) – (BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Go back and watch the trailer … if this is Prince and The Pauper then this credit is nuts. This Jules Bass novel is not Prince and The Pauper. I am officially intrigued by this “adaptation”.)

Actors – Selena Gomez – (Known For: The Big Short; Spring Breakers; Bad Neighbours 2; Hotel Transylvania; Hotel Transylvania 2; The Fundamentals of Caring; Horton Hears a Who!; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; The Muppets; Ramona and Beezus; Rudderless; Future BMT: Behaving Badly; Aftershock; Arthur and the Great Adventure; Arthur 3: la guerre des deux mondes; In Dubious Battle; BMT: Getaway; Monte Carlo; Notes: Just rewatched Getaway, where she is amazing (obvs). She apparently holds 10 Guiness Book of World Records.)

Leighton Meester – (Known For: The Judge; Date Night; Going the Distance; Life Partners; Like Sunday, Like Rain; Future BMT: Hangman’s Curse; The Oranges; Country Strong; The Beautiful Ordinary; BMT: The Roommate; That’s My Boy; Monte Carlo; Notes: From Gossip Girl (so obviously amazing). Like Selena Gomez she has extended beyond acting with a few different singles in the early 2010s.)

Katie Cassidy – (Known For: Taken; The Scribbler; The Lost; Live!; Future BMT: Black Christmas; A Nightmare on Elm Street; When a Stranger Calls; Click; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Plays Laurel on the show Arrow. I know this because … well people seem to have an unreasonable amount of hatred for her. I say unreasonable because any non-zero amount of hatred for a character in a CW superhero show is unreasonable.)

Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $23,186,769 (Worldwide: $39,667,665)

(Not too shabby. Won’t be knocking down doors trying to get Monte Carlo 2 made, but with DVD / cable tie-ins I would imagine they made off fine with the film.)

#34 for the Comedy – High School genre

montecarlo_highschoolcomedy

(I remember this genre growing up because around 1998 there was a question about where all of the coming of age films went. Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off … the 80s were jam packed with the Hughes films. Can’t Hardly Wait was a breath of fresh air in 1998, and then there was another heyday. So either this current dip is all part of the genre recharging … or more likely they are going straight to VOD at this point.)

#170 for the Romantic Comedy genre

montecarlo_romanticcomedy

(Perhaps The Big Sick will reignite the genre, but more likely, again, this is a small indie genre or a VOD type deal at this point. Which will make things a bit harder for our Girls Night Out category. But then again … that category is a bit sexist anyways. Our most recently made entry is Blended … man we don’t really watch recent Romantic Comedies.)

#18 for the Summer Girl Power genre

montecarlo_summergirlpower

(These are rare, and … of a type. Material Girls and Bratz are the two films we’ve seen in the genre. The list kind of claims that they just went extinct almost two years ago though. Couldn’t really say why though … but most likely summer tentpoles chased them to earlier in the year.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (36/92): Although it has its charming moments, Monte Carlo is mostly silly, predictable stuff that never pushes beyond the boundaries of formula.

(Juuuuuuuuuuuuust squeaking in there. Which is probably a good sign. Means it is at the very least tolerable as a film. Maybe won’t scratch that Bad Movie Twins Itch, but also won’t put me to sleep hopefully.)

Poster – Monte Car-Sklog (C-)

monte_carlo

(Oooff that’s a rough Sklog incorporation into the title. I like the balance of the poster, but everything else is tough. No clear color, basic font, and too much going on. I feel like I might be going easy on it, but it’s not offensive either.)

Tagline(s) – She’s having the time of someone else’s life. (B)

(Certainly tells us what’s up and is a clever-ish play on a common phrase. A little long for my tastes but does the job.)

Keyword(s) – tied feet; Top Ten by BMeTric: 79.1 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 63.7 The Phantom (1996); 60.8 Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009); 58.7 The Snowman (2017); 57.3 Witless Protection (2008); 56.7 Glen or Glenda (1953); 56.4 Knock Off (1998); 53.4 Sinister 2 (2015); 51.5 Charlie’s Angels (2000); 51.3 Bride of Chucky (1998);

(… What? I need more Billy Zane in my life, but sadly The Phantom doesn’t qualify. The number of very hated films which were kind of reasonably well liked by critics is pretty stunning. Like Popeye. It has a 59% on RT and a 5.2 (which is terrible) on IMDb. I watched some clips of Popeye just to remind myself … woof, it is pretty rough to be honest.)

Notes – Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts were originally the stars of the film, but the producers decided to shoot the film with a younger cast. Kidman also remained on board as a producer. (And then she played Grace Kelly in the also BMT qualifying Grace of Monaco).

Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy, two of the film’s stars, previously worked together on The CW drama, Gossip Girl (2007) (2007).

The production spent four days filming in Paris and two weeks filming in Monaco. The rest of the filming took place in Hungary, with Budapest doubling for Paris and Monte Carlo. Raleigh Studios Budapest was used to substitute for Monte Carlo’s Hotel de Paris for the filming. (Good for Budapest?)

Meg’s first and middle names are the names of two princesses from the English house of Tudor.

It seems unusual, but “Meg” seems to be a nickname derived from the middle name of the character. Her full name, seen in the passport on her arrival in France, is Mary Margaret Kelly. (Huh, that is some great close watching by this IMDb user. This is Bad Movie Twins stuff).

As seen on their passports, the full names of girls are Grace Ann Bennett, Emma Danielle Perkins and Mary Margaret Kelly. (Yiiiiiiissssss, these are the notes I come for)

The first name of Selena Gomez’s character is “Grace” and the last name of Leighton Meester’s character is “Kelly”. Academy-Award winning American actress, Grace Kelly, became Princess consort of Monaco in 1955 when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. In addition to this, Monte Carlo is located in Monaco, and in Gossip Girl (2007), which starred Leighton Meester, her character married the Prince of Monaco. (WHAT? Spoiler for Gossip Girl, but … Blair Waldorf marries the Prince of Monaco in Gossip Girl? That’s cray cray).