Wow, so get this. I was trying to chase down my maybe-kid (just found out) when this British punk popped out of nowhere and bopped me on the head! Now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Fathers’ Day?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) The two titular fathers are played by Billy Crystal and Robin Williams. What are their jobs?
2) They are both wrapped up in a search for someone they think is their son. Where did he run off to and why?
3) And he’s in a tad bit of trouble with Jared Harris (remember meeeeeeeeeeeeeee). Why?
4) Robin Williams drives around most of the film, but has one particular quirk when he drives which he shows off at least twice. What is it?
5) In the end, who is the actual father? Who think he’s the father as well?
Bonus Question: In the mid-credits scene we see Robin Williams show up at Billy Crystal’s door. Why?
“I don’t understand, what did we do?” Jamie says, scratching his head, “You just crushed the two Time Cops that were about to kill us.” Lou Cash is startled, but when he looks down to see the crushed remains of the Time Cops he waves it off as irrelevant. “Fiddle-faddle. You were about to do a sick twin forward flip and knock the guns out of their hands anyway. The point is you made it here, exactly when and where I landed my fully functional deconvolution machine.” Jamie and Patrick and the gang shrug and high five. Jamie and Patrick have been known to kick guns out of their enemies’ hands with twin forward flips from time to time. So it tracks. But just before they all pile into the time machine Patrick stops and turns back to Lou Cash. Something is bothering him. “Lou Cash… how did you know to come here?” Lou Cash shakes his head. “My dear boy, it’s because I was one of the Time Cops and I have the scar to prove it.” He pulls up his sleeve and there is a perfect twin kick scar on his wrist. Now something is really bothering Jamie, “But then didn’t you just crush yourself?” Lou Cash looks back at the crushed Time Cops and shrugs. “Guess I did.” Jamie looks concerned, “And that’s not a problem?” Lou Cash thinks for a second, looks down at his hand, which has now started to fade, and agrees that it probably is a problem. As he disappears he lets out one last “Never forget meeeeee.” Finally piling into the time machine, a somber mood now hanging in the air, both Jamie and Patrick gasp when they see the date punched into the console: Father’s Day, 2017. That’s right! We’re watching the very appropriately punctuated Fathers’ Day from 1997 starring Billy Crystal and Robin Williams. It’s based on a French film and something must have been… lost in translation. Let’s go!
Fathers’ Day (1997) – BMeTric: 49.7; Notability: 62
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 8.8%; Notability: top 3.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 21.6%; Higher BMeT: Batman & Robin, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Speed 2: Cruise Control, Home Alone 3, Steel, Anaconda, Mr. Magoo, Double Team, Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, Chairman of the Board, Spawn, Flubber, Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves!, An American Werewolf in Paris, Jungle 2 Jungle, Fire Down Below, Turbulence, Gone Fishin’, McHale’s Navy, The Pest, and 2 more; Higher Notability: Batman & Robin, The Saint, Speed 2: Cruise Control, Dante’s Peak, The Jackal, Flubber, The Postman, Spawn; Lower RT: Fall, Plump Fiction, The Blackout, McHale’s Navy, Shadow Conspiracy, Gone Fishin’, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, The Pest, Speed 2: Cruise Control, ‘Til There Was You, An American Werewolf in Paris, Mr. Magoo, An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn, Dangerous Ground, The Postman, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, Keys to Tulsa, Double Team, How to Be a Player, Steel, and 31 more; Notes: Really impressive numbers for a comedy. So many high Notability films left from 1997. The Saint is a pretty exciting one, I think that it is a sneaky good film.
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – When her 16-year-old son runs away, a desperate Kinski tells each of two ex-lovers that he’s the real father, hoping that this will spur one of them to find the boy. The two men – a genuine odd couple – wind up working together on this daunting task. Lackluster remake of Francis Veber’s Les Comperes gets whatever mileage it has from the two comic stars’ personalities … but the boy is extremely dislikable, and a subplot with his stepfather (Greenwood) is a complete misfire.
(Man, does Greenwood play a Bad Dad again in this film? He plays a Good Dad in Here on Earth, but he’s definitely a Bad Dad in Endless Love. So he’s a Mixed Dad Bag.)
(The montage with Williams looks horrible. And yup, there is Sugar Ray front and center. Makes me want to go see this movie, probably for the wrong reasons though.)
Directors – Ivan Reitman – ( Known For: Ghostbusters; No Strings Attached; Kindergarten Cop; Meatballs; Evolution; Ghostbusters II; Twins; Stripes; Draft Day; Dave; Cannibal Girls; Legal Eagles; Foxy Lady; Future BMT: Six Days Seven Nights; Junior; My Super Ex-Girlfriend; BMT: Fathers’ Day; Notes: Died just this year. Was nominated for an Oscar for Up in the Air, and for an Emmy for the television movie The Late Shift.)
Writers – Francis Veber – ( Known For: The Valet; The Birdcage; Dinner for Schmucks; The Valet; The Man with One Red Shoe; Le Dîner de Cons; La Cage aux Folles; Buddy Buddy; The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe; Ruby & Quentin; The Closet; La Chèvre; Partners; The Fugitives; Le Magnifique; The Toy; Hold-Up; The ComDads; The Jaguar; A Pain in the Ass; Future BMT: The Toy; My Father the Hero; Three Fugitives; Pure Luck; BMT: Fathers’ Day; Notes: Was nominated for an Oscar for La Cage aux folles. He has had 12 of his films remade as American films. That’s what I like to see for this cycle!)
Lowell Ganz – ( Known For: A League of Their Own; Robots; Splash; Parenthood; City Slickers; Night Shift; Fever Pitch; Multiplicity; Edtv; Forget Paris; Mr. Saturday Night; Future BMT: Where the Heart Is; Tooth Fairy; Spies Like Us; Gung Ho; Vibes; Greedy; City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold; BMT: Fathers’ Day; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Splash. Basically his entire family is in entertainment (his three children, brother, and two cousins). His son created Santa Clara Diet.)
Babaloo Mandel – ( Known For: A League of Their Own; Robots; Splash; Parenthood; City Slickers; Night Shift; Fever Pitch; Multiplicity; Edtv; Forget Paris; Mr. Saturday Night; Future BMT: Where the Heart Is; Tooth Fairy; Spies Like Us; Gung Ho; Vibes; Greedy; City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold; BMT: Fathers’ Day; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for The Flintstones in 1995; Notes: Writing partner of Ganz. They are going to get some play soon since the A League of Their Own television series is coming out.)
Actors – Robin Williams – ( Known For: Good Will Hunting; Dead Poets Society; Jumanji; Aladdin; One Hour Photo; Mrs. Doubtfire; To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar; The Birdcage; Night at the Museum; Robots; Popeye; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; Good Morning, Vietnam; Awakenings; Insomnia; The Butler; Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Dead Again; What Dreams May Come; Future BMT: Hook; Jack; RV; Patch Adams; August Rush; Bicentennial Man; Flubber; Nine Months; The Night Listener; Man of the Year; The Best of Times; Club Paradise; The Survivors; Jakob the Liar; BMT: The Big Wedding; Fathers’ Day; Old Dogs; Toys; License to Wed; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2000 for Bicentennial Man, and Jakob the Liar; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Death to Smoochy in 2003; Notes: Nominated for three Best Actor Oscars, ended up winning for Supporting actor in Good Will Hunting. Also nominated for 9 Emmys and won twice. Died in 2014.)
Billy Crystal – ( Known For: The Princess Bride; Cars; When Harry Met Sally…; Monsters, Inc.; Howl’s Moving Castle; This Is Spinal Tap; Monsters University; City Slickers; Analyze This; Here Today; Hamlet; I’m Still Here; Throw Momma from the Train; The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle; Running Scared; Deconstructing Harry; Forget Paris; Mr. Saturday Night; Standing Up, Falling Down; Untogether; Future BMT: Parental Guidance; Tooth Fairy; America’s Sweethearts; Analyze That; The Comedian; My Giant; City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold; BMT: Fathers’ Day; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Remake or Sequel for City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold in 1995; Notes: If I’m counting right he’s been nominated for 23 Emmys and won six times. Naturally a few of those times were for hosting the Oscars, which he was famous for in the early 90s. He is 74 years old.)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – ( Known For: Black Widow; A Bug’s Life; Onward; Christmas Vacation; Enough Said; Hannah and Her Sisters; Deconstructing Harry; Future BMT: Planes; Downhill; Soul Man; Jack the Bear; BMT: Fathers’ Day; Troll; North; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Fathers’ Day in 1998; Notes: Was nominated for 27 Emmys and won 11 times, mostly for acting/writing in Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Veep, her three major television hits. Her father is a billionaire, and by extension so is she, but she hasn’t done so poorly for herself.)
Budget/Gross – $85 million / Domestic: $28,598,376 (Worldwide: $28,598,376)
(Terrible. It is a little confusing as to how this film could have cost so much, but then again, a chunk of it takes place are a genuine Sugar Ray concert, so it is possible that filming in Reno and throwing a giant fake concert with a real band could have contributed to the inflated budget. Also, just look at the cast and crew, every single one was nominated or won an Emmy or Oscar, so they really didn’t hold back in putting this film together.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (15/61): A maudlin misfire, Father’s Day manages the difficult task of making Billy Crystal and Robin Williams woefully unfunny.
(So I can lend some insight here having watched both the original and remake at this point. So the issue was they just reused most of the jokes from the original without really thinking through adapting the movie to the two leads. The film is immediately funnier if you just let Billy Crystal be Billy Crystal and Robin Williams be Robin Williams. Instead they aren’t.)
Reviewer Highlight: Add to these problems the fact that Fathers’ Day is a comedy starring two reputedly hilarious people who don’t make you laugh once, and you have a movie that would be great if everything about it weren’t terrible. – Keith Phipps, AV Club
(Oh deary me, no. If this were a film about two friends, one a buttoned up family man with three kids and the other a man child who just knocked up his girlfriend, who go on a road trip so that Billy Crystal can help Robin Williams prepare to be a father (but perhaps learn a little bit more about themselves than they bargained for) then this poster makes sense. Otherwise it’s just a big red flag. Nice font though. C-.)
Tagline(s) – All she said was “My son is yours.” Unfortunately, she said it to both of them. (D)
(Yes, that’s the plot of the film. Unfortunately it’s not a tagline.)
Keyword(s) – European Remake
Top 10: 12 Monkeys (1995), The Italian Job (2003), Insomnia (2002), Scent of a Woman (1992), Clash of the Titans (2010), Some Like It Hot (1959), Vanilla Sky (2001), True Lies (1994), Dawn of the Dead (2004), The Tourist (2010)
Future BMT: 54.5 Eye of the Beholder (1999), 54.0 Downhill (2020), 49.2 The Omen (2006), 47.1 Nine Months (1995), 44.8 Catch That Kid (2004), 44.4 Brick Mansions (2014), 43.1 Diabolique (1996), 43.1 Sleepless (2017), 43.0 Village of the Damned (1995), 41.8 I Think I Love My Wife (2007)
BMT: The Wicker Man (2006), Taxi (2004), The Haunting (1999), Get Carter (2000), Jungle 2 Jungle (1997), Pathfinder (2007), Fathers’ Day (1997), The Big Wedding (2013), The Blue Lagoon (1980), School for Scoundrels (2006), Blame It on Rio (1984), Vanilla Sky (2001)
Best Options (Comedy): 54.0 Downhill (2020), 49.5 Fathers’ Day (1997), 47.1 Nine Months (1995), 44.8 Catch That Kid (2004), 41.8 I Think I Love My Wife (2007), 41.2 Mixed Nuts (1994), 37.9 My Father the Hero (1994), 36.8 Just Visiting (2001), 34.6 Mad Money (2008), 31.4 The Toy (1982), 29.7 The Woman in Red (1984), 26.3 Pure Luck (1991), 24.4 The Man Who Loved Women (1983), 22.5 Once Upon a Crime… (1992), 20.7 The Associate (1996), 20.6 Three Fugitives (1989), 17.2 Oscar (1991)
(So yeah, Downhill was available, but I’ve heard mostly mixed things about it instead of it actually being bad. I’m a bit shocked at how few we’ve done in the end. Looking through the ones we have done I mostly haven’t seen the original. I saw the original Haunting, Get Carter, and Jungle 2 Jungle. I think that is it. Lots of British remakes in there as well, whereas in this cycle we are mostly doing French films.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Bruce Greenwood is No. 6 billed in Fathers’ Day and No. 6 billed in Here on Earth, => (6 + 6) = 12. If we were to watch Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.
Notes – As a cross-promotion, Warner Brothers had Robin Williams and Billy Crystal make guest appearances in Friends (1994). (It is the one with the ultimate fighting championship, I remember this actually, they take the spot in the cafe that the titular friends usually occupy for a scene)
The concert was filmed at a park in Los Angeles. The scene took three days to film, and involved playing the same song over and over for all three days. To show the energy of the crowd, the extras had to cheer and “rock” to the music. On the first day everyone was up, yelling, jumping and punching their fists in the air, but by day three, most were too tired to even lift their arms, and many just remained seated.
During the filming of the concert scene, Robin Williams took a break and walked into the bleachers, where he entertained the extras who gathered around him.
Before appearing in this film, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal were already a well-known comedy duo, thanks to their work on HBO’s Comic Relief. The original French film, on which this is based, The ComDads (1983), also features a well-known comedy team: Pierre Richard and Gérard Depardieu.
Billy Crystal’s character hates mimes in this movie. In This is Spinal Tap (1984), he played a mime (who was also in charge of other mimes).
One of two 1997 films to star Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the other being Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry (1997).
While shooting the scene in which Dale and Jack remove Scott’s shoes and socks, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal discovered that Charlie Hofheimer was extremely ticklish on the soles of his feet. Robin Williams and Billy Crystal could not resist tickling Charlie Hofheimer’s bare feet, and they continually ruined the scene by tickling him. Charlie could not handle the tickling and wanted to quit. Ivan Reitman had to talk him into staying so that they could finally shoot the scene.
The apartment where Dale (Robin Williams) lives in San Francisco is the same one used in Mrs Doubtfire (1993).
Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 1998)
I was pretty sure we had already watched School for Scoundrels for BMT before. I dreaded having to tell Patrick that, alas, his bad movie memory (BMM) must be shot when he picked this out as the first entry of Merde. Duh, don’t you remember, it’s the one where Billy Bob Thorton is a big ol’ bully… and it co-stars that guy who made it big off that high school comedy a few years earlier… oh wait, that was Mr. Woodcock. And there you have it: this film is a perfect encapsulation of a very precise moment in film history. So precise that I mixed it up with the other Billy Bob Thorton film. So let’s get into it.
Jon Heder is a wimp. He’s got a huge crush on a girl, Amanda, who doesn’t know who he is, his job sucks, and people walk all over him. A friend suggests he take a class by Mr. P on how to be a more assertive person and when he does, guess what? It actually works! Suddenly he’s having great dates with Amanda, he’s standing up for himself at work, and everything is looking up for Job Heder. Nothing can go wrong! He’s going to live forrreeeevvvver. That is until Mr. P decides that he doesn’t like how assertive Heder is getting, so it’s time for him to steal his girl and ruin his life. But uh oh, the student is becoming the master and Heder ruins his life right back. It’s just a comedy of ruining everyones lives. Isn’t it fun to watch people’s lives fall apart? Ha ha ha… ha… oh… ha… yeah. Anyway, when Mr. P and Amanda start to get serious Heder takes things into his own hands and digs up all the dirt on Mr. P’s terrible deeds. Confronting Mr. P and Amanda on a plane, he pretends to have a panic attack forcing Mr. P (who is pretending to be a doctor) to administer aid. Realizing that he’s a big ol’ Liar McLiarton, Amanda dumps the zero to get with the hero… and by hero I mean Heder. THE END.
I actually found myself digging the first half of this film. Heder is charming in his own way and you can kinda believe he is who he’s playing: a nice guy who is finishing last. And the comedy chops that surround him in the film are legit nuts. Every single person in the class and then many in supporting roles are top tier talent. It’s mind blowing. At one point you’re watching the film and you’re like “wait, is that Jim Parsons?… of Young Sheldon fame?… and they don’t even give him a line? But he’s Old Sheldon!” And you’d be right. The back half? Not as much. Pretty unpleasant actually as Mr. P is a monster and ruins Heder’s life. They even do a fake out where they pretend he’s not a monster for a second and I was like “noooooo,” because it just wasn’t right that they would attempt to redeem the piece of shit. But they didn’t pull the punch at least. Overall a pretty mixed bag.
Hot Take Clam Bake time: we see Heder and Amanda vacationing in Miami at the end (speedo and all) and so we are led to believe that they are together for the long haul. Guess what? I’m not buying it. Why? Cause Heder has no talents as far as we can tell. He was a meter maid who got fired for (allegedly) sexually harassing his boss. What is he up to next? Answer: not much. And guess who Amanda just fell for? An old man who was pretending to be a surgeon. What happens when she meets a decrepit old surgeon for real? She’ll be out of there so fast he won’t know what hit him. It lasts three months tops. Hot Take Temperature: Parmesan Garlic. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! School for Scoundrels? More like Uncool and Down-drels! Amirite? How was Jon Heder a star of films again? Just seems wild that he went from barely acting in Napoleon Dynamite to headlining multiple major comedies for about 5 years there. Let’s go!
Yeah, speak of the devil, Heder is terrible. He isn’t really a comedian. His delivery is flat and for the most part he can only play one character (waifish weakling characters who ultimately find inner strength).
All the while the supporting actors in this film are all a who’s who of soon-to-be incredibly famous television comedians. Multiple eventual headliners. It makes me feel insane to think Heder was wandering around on that set, when they could have probably just got David Cross to do it better.
And I liked Napoleon Dynamite and I like Heder in general, he just can’t do the heavy lifting needed to actually make this movie consistently funny. He needed a Will Ferrel type to play off of in scenes … that actually could have been a good storyline. The School for Scoundrels gives everyone a brash obnoxious buddy to help them out. Heder hates Ferrel who, obviously, proceeds to ruin his life to some degree. In the end though they realize they are good friends, can lean on each other, and that they are, in fact, precisely what they need. And what is revealed? That that is the school for scoundrels! They have a corresponding School for Nice Guys for assholes like Ferrel to go to, but the formula is the same: you can help each other become a little better. Friends! Is it a better film? I don’t know. It is different. But Heder needed help I think is the main issue.
While not as kind hearted as the original British film, it is a lot nicer than I expected. I expected it to be a horrorshow of early 2000s awful humor. It was instead mostly nice, with only the ending really dipping in quality.
The ending does kind of ruin it though. You have to have Billy Bob Thornton be secretly nice! It is kind of the idea. That he’s teaching you the tricks you need to get ahead, but that he is not actually a scoundrel.
Decent Product Placement (What?) for Heder’s standard issue New Balance shoes he gets stolen in the beginning of the film. And a Setting as a Character (Where?) for New York City. Otherwise probably closest to Bad for me, but that might be colored by having watched and loved the original.
Speaking of which, the original School for Scoundrels from 1960 is great! The structure of the film is interesting, with the first part of the main character getting dunked on being told in flashback. Then basically a montage sequence at the school for a short middle. And then a mirror image of the main character dunking on all of the people who wronged him at the end. And the whole thing is ultimately very sweet. It did probably make me like this one a bit less.
Read about the School for Scoundrel sequel School for Scoundrels: Friendship is Magic (Literally), in the Quiz. Cheerios,
Oh man, so here’s the thing, I went to this school for scoundrels and, naturally, while learning to be a total dick to people someone punched me right in the face and I got a massive concussion. Now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in School for Scoundrels?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) Heder has a load of people stepping on him in his life. Like at his job. What does he do for a living?
2) How does Heder learn about the School for Scoundrels anyways?
3) What are Heder’s tasks that he has to do for class? That is, prior to him getting his personal assignment of starring in a romantic comedy (there are two).
4) Well, things are looking up now for Heder. He’s getting the girl … and what’s that? Mr. P is trying to go out with her too?! But why? Why would he do that (he claims)?
5) Who does Heder to go visit to get his mojo back at the end of the film?
Bonus Question: In the mid-credits scene Heder gets two calls back-to-back, from whom?
Jamie, Patrick and the rest of the team backflip their way into the Fortress. Halfway through his third backflip, however, Patrick notices something is off. “Stop! Stop backflipping!” he yells and once everyone is reoriented they notice the same thing. The halls of the school building are completely empty. Their steps ring out in the empty hallways until they finally reach a set of heavy steel doors. Jamie and Patrick fling them open, instantly bathes in an eerie blue light emanating from the doorway. They gasp. They find themselves in the ethereal beauty of a submarine pen. A submarine pen? On the grounds of the school? But why? Suddenly they begin to hear the cracking sounds of slow clapping and from behind the submarine emerges Jamie and Patrick themselves. But it can’t be, can it? “No, my sweet Bad Movie Twins, you haven’t been betrayed by yourselves. We have won!” the Jamie double cackles, before they both pull off their latex masks. Jamie and Patrick aren’t surprised to see it’s actually two Mikey Time Cops. The Time Cops pull their guns and laugh maniacally, but Jamie and Patrick just smirk. “Sure, sure, you’re gonna shoot,” Patrick says before they both theatrically motion for one of them to kick the other in the testicles. And yet nothing happens. “Oh shit,” Jamie mutters, “are you both bad Mikey Time Cops?” They nod, confused as to what else they would be. This looks like the end for our heroes. But wait! Suddenly there is a loud pop and from a hole in the sky a large machine falls and crushes the bad Mikey’s. Out from the steaming time machine walks Lou Cash. “You did it you scoundrels!” he screams, much to the delight and confusion of everyone there. That’s right! We are watching School for Scoundrels as a transition to the next cycle: Films adapted from European films a.k.a. Merde. We got so very close to getting a roster of all French films, but could resist a couple out of the box. So let’s sit back and enjoy School for Scoundrels adapted from the 1960 British film, School for Scoundrels. Let’s go!
School for Scoundrels (2006) – BMeTric: 33.2; Notability: 55
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 24.8%; Notability: top 8.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 27.1%; Higher BMeT: Date Movie, The Wicker Man, Ultraviolet, Pledge This!, Little Man, Basic Instinct 2, Material Girls, Zoom, Big Momma’s House 2, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, Black Christmas, The Marine, The Shaggy Dog, DOA: Dead or Alive, Pulse, Phat Girlz, Eragon, Scary Movie 4, The Grudge 2, Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj, and 42 more; Higher Notability: Poseidon, The Wild, The Da Vinci Code, Eragon, Scary Movie 4, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Happily N’Ever After, Click, The Pink Panther, Smokin’ Aces, The Guardian, The Black Dahlia, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, Zoom, The Shaggy Dog, A Good Year, Lady in the Water, Factory Girl, All the King’s Men; Lower RT: The Contract, Kiss Me Again, Karla, Pledge This!, Material Girls, Happily N’Ever After, The Covenant, Zoom, Big Momma’s House 2, Deck the Halls, Basic Instinct 2, Date Movie, Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj, Gray Matters, Ultraviolet, When a Stranger Calls, See No Evil, Annapolis, Stay Alive, Pulse, and 47 more; Notes: Way higher IMDb rating that I expected, but sticking nicely below/around 6.0. The Notability is off the chain though! Solid for a comedy.
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Nerdy guy who lets people step all over him is recruited by a mysterious entrepreneur who runs a class for worms in need of turning. But our would-be hero isn’t prepared for his “teacher” to start playing dirty tricks on him. Most contemporary comedies are too crude for our taste, but this one is terminally bland and never takes off as it repeatedly promises to do. Remake of the 1960 British comedy.
(Interesting. I think if this is made today it is probably very heartfelt, while also being crude (but in a way that teaches the hero that it is worth it not to be, you know?). I am surprised though, I would have figured this was just the right year to have a horrible no-good remake of a film like School for Scoundrels that aged horribly.)
(A hard r in the trailer itself really is a bold move. The mid-00s were a wild time. Also the film looks aggressively not funny.)
Directors – Todd Phillips – ( Known For: Joker; The Hangover; War Dogs; Road Trip; Old School; Starsky & Hutch; Future BMT: The Hangover Part II; Due Date; The Hangover Part III; BMT: School for Scoundrels; Notes: Apparently he originally directed Borat, but quit due to creative differences with Cohen.)
Writers – Todd Phillips – ( Known For: Joker; War Dogs; Road Trip; Old School; Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan; Starsky & Hutch; Future BMT: The Hangover Part II; Due Date; The Hangover Part III; BMT: School for Scoundrels; Notes: Nominated for four Oscars, three for Joker, and one for the original Borat.)
Scot Armstrong – ( Known For: Road Trip; Old School; Starsky & Hutch; Search Party; Future BMT: The Heartbreak Kid; The Hangover Part II; Semi-Pro; BMT: School for Scoundrels; Notes: Wrote some sort of remake of Problem Child? There isn’t even a poster on IMDb, so I can’t even make fun of that.)
Hal E. Chester – ( Known For: Curse of the Demon; School for Scoundrels; The Weapon; Crashout; Joe Palooka, Champ; Gentleman Joe Palooka; BMT: School for Scoundrels; Notes: Wrote the original. Was uncredited here, which is interesting since he was somehow still alive when this was made! He was 85 years old.)
Patricia Moyes – ( Known For: School for Scoundrels; BMT: School for Scoundrels; Notes: Irish, and similarly wrote the original. Died in 2000, so didn’t get to see this made.)
Stephen Potter – ( Known For: School for Scoundrels; The Shipbuilders; BMT: School for Scoundrels; Notes: Wrote the original novels that the original film was based on. Obviously wasn’t alive for this film, he would have been 106. That would have been a trick. He died in 1969.)
Actors – Billy Bob Thornton – ( Known For: Tombstone; Love Actually; Princess Mononoke; Blood In, Blood Out; Monster’s Ball; Friday Night Lights; Sling Blade; The Judge; Puss in Boots; Dead Man; The Informers; A Simple Plan; The Baytown Outlaws; U Turn; Faster; The Man Who Wasn’t There; Bad Santa; Intolerable Cruelty; Parkland; Whiskey Tango Foxtrot; Future BMT: London Fields; Indecent Proposal; Entourage; Eagle Eye; Our Brand Is Crisis; The Alamo; Bad Santa 2; BMT: Armageddon; Going Overboard; On Deadly Ground; School for Scoundrels; Mr. Woodcock; Notes: From Arkansas, won an Oscar for writing Sling Blade. Has been married six times, including to Angelina Jolie famously.)
Jon Heder – ( Known For: Napoleon Dynamite; Just Like Heaven; Blades of Glory; Monster House; Surf’s Up; Reality; The Sasquatch Gang; Walt Before Mickey; Mama’s Boy; For Ellen; Life Happens; Christmas Eve; Ghost Team; Weepah Way for Now; Bling; Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit; The Tiger Hunter; Unexpected Race; The Little Penguin Pororo’s Racing Adventure; Moving McAllister; BMT: The Benchwarmers; When in Rome; School for Scoundrels; Notes: Became famous for Napoleon Dynamite. Does a lot of voice acting these days.)
Jacinda Barrett – ( Known For: The Last Kiss; Hide and Seek; Middle Men; New York, I Love You; The Human Stain; The Namesake; Ladder 49; Campfire Tales; Ripley Under Ground; Seven in Heaven; Matching Jack; So B. It; BMT: Poseidon; Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; Urban Legends: Final Cut; School for Scoundrels; Notes: From Australia, and was on the fourth season of The Real World, which took place in London. Hasn’t done much since the show Bloodline ended in 2017.)
(Wow, that’s a bad poster. Like F level bad. Funny cause that’s not typically the poster I think of for the film, but sometimes it’s difficult to figure what was really used to advertise. There are so many words. But fine, the font has a little vim and vigor so it’s a D.)
Tagline(s) – Too nice? Too honest? Too you? Help is on the way. (B)
(It’s too long, but otherwise it’s actually not bad in concept. Like it’s got a rule of three in there. Also it is a little clever curveball. All good things and then saying don’t worry, this asshole will help you. Just needed to figure out a way to tighten it up and make it flow.)
Keyword(s) – dimension
Top 10: Sin City (2005), Spectre (2015), The Others (2001), Scream (1996), Equilibrium (2002), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), The Mist (2007), Death Proof (2007), 1408 (2007), Scary Movie (2000)
Future BMT: 86.6 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005), 82.8 Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011), 77.5 Who’s Your Caddy? (2007), 77.0 Superhero Movie (2008), 70.1 Black Christmas (2006), 68.6 Pulse (2006), 66.9 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 64.9 Scary Movie 4 (2006), 61.8 Cursed (2005), 59.0 Apollo 18 (2011)
BMT: Scary Movie V (2013), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994), Halloween II (2009), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), My Boss’s Daughter (2003), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Dracula 2000 (2000), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998), Phantoms (1998), Boys and Girls (2000), Texas Rangers (2001), Reindeer Games (2000), Halloween (2007), School for Scoundrels (2006), Fortress (1992), Senseless (1998), Impostor (2001), Mindhunters (2004)
Best Options (European Remake): 33.2 School for Scoundrels (2006)
(Oh yeah! The only one available baby! Indeed we had to move School for Scoundrels from the comedy spot because it needed to be here. It is a bit insane just how many Dimension films we have left. We could almost make a whole new cycle from it … might be missing a romance. Unclear.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Michael Clarke Duncan is No. 5 billed in School for Scoundrels and No. 4 billed in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => (5 + 4) + (2 + 2) = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.
Notes – Ben Stiller’s cameo was shot in two days in California because he was unable to fly to New York for filming, due to a scheduling conflict.
Director Todd Phillips first offered the lead role to Howard Stern (Phillips is a big Stern fan), but Stern had to turn it down because he was about to leave terrestrial radio for satellite radio and did not have the time to film a movie. The role eventually went to Billy Bob Thornton.
Diego (Horatio Sanz) says, “Things are going to change, I can feel it,” quoting Beck’s song, “Loser.”
Aziz Ansari’s unnamed character’s only dialogue is a short scene with fellow classmate Ernie (Jon Glaser). The two actors would later have major roles in NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” as Tom Haverford and Councilman Jeremy Jamm respectively.
To date, this is Todd Phillips’s only movie that isn’t distributed by DreamWorks or Warner Bros.
Dr. P’s rules “From the Bar to your Bed” are: Be dangerous, it’s cool. No compliments, *ever*. Always get the girl alone. Wherever you are, the place is lame! Relate to her. Lie, lie, and lie some more. (Gross)
Fortress is my kind of film. Don’t hate. Participate… in unironically watching Fortress, a future prison film starring Christopher Lambert. If the description itself doesn’t get your juices flowing then… uh… I guess you shouldn’t watch it. That’s probably a prerequisite to enjoying this film. Alright, shall I do the honors? It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad!
To briefly recap, Lambert and his wife are attempting to escape to Canada. There is an ultra strict one child policy in the United States and even though their first child died they are not allowed to have the second. They would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those damn kids… or more accurately a boneheaded mistake by Lambert. Anywho, he ends up in a future prison deep in the ground in the desert where they put an explosive probe inside you to keep you in line and there are laser beams and robots and stuff. And not just any robot either, it’s a Kurtwood Smith robot/cyborg warden. Word. Lambert is former military so it isn’t long before he gains the trust of everyone and he learns that his wife didn’t make it to Canada like he had hoped. She is being kept captive by Kurtwood himself. Lambert is like “helll noooo” and they form a plan. They incite a riot and are able to overcome the robot guards and make it to the top of the prison. Kurtwood is dispatched by his robot overlords because he kinda screwed everything up by falling in love with Lambert’s smoking hot wife. But before they can dispatch the prisoners, one of them (a real leet haxxor) implants a virus in the prison computer system. With everything shut down, Lambert is able to escape to Mexico where his wife has her baby. Sweet success. THE END.
So this movie is pretty rad. It’s not a work of art or anything, and Lambert is… well, he’s Lambert, but it looks cool and the concept is cool. I don’t have too much to criticize even before gushing about Kurtwood Smith. Not only is he a fun actor, but his character was legit interesting. So he’s a cyborg and suddenly sees Loryn Locklin and is like, “What doth rumble in these robot loins?” He is smitten even though he really doesn’t even know what it all means. They explain that illegal children born in the prison are taken from the mothers and are used to create the cyborgs. So Kurtwood would be such a product. And so I wonder if in some way he is creating his own family. He will save her, the baby will become a cyborg, and truly will become the offspring of he and Locklin. Obviously none of this would have ever happened and it’s secondary to the sci-fi shoot-em-up of the rest of the film, but you have to give them some credit. I’ve thought more about that part of Fortress than I have about critically acclaimed films. So yeah, I think I actually liked this movie. As for Beowulf, the point of the bring-a-friends are to find some weird fun not-quite-theatrical releases to enjoy and enjoy Beowulf I did. It is super duper weird. Like have to be seen to be believed type of weird. Some truly hilarious moments during several of the fight scenes. At one point Lambert gets totally roasted by a CGI monster after doing a thousand backflips in a row. So yeah, mission accomplished.
Finally, Hot Take Clam Bake: Lambert and Karen made a selfish mistake by escaping. So you’re saying that the United States is in such disarray that they have imposed a strict one child policy where you can’t have a miscarriage? And yet Mexico and Canada are going to be totally cool with you guys setting up shop? Unlikely. You, your wife, and a newborn are going to def be on the run. Great life for a child, bro. Guess what is a good life? It’s called cyborg life. If it’s good enough for Kurtwood Smith, it’s good enough for your baby. They got your genes, bro, that cyborg gonna run that prison. Sounds pretty great, cause the rest of the world seems like shit. Hot Take Temperature: Mango Habanero. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Fortress? More like Bore-tress! Amirite? Nope! Because there are two things in life I enjoy: Christopher Lambert, and films set in future prisons. And lo! What do we have here? Let’s go!
I unironically like this film. Sue me! I wasn’t joking when I said I love films set in future prisons. They are so simple. There is an evil warden (who maybe is a robot). It is some brutal hellscape with prisoners basically just killing each other in a gladiator type setting. There is often a sweet “hook” for the prison design. In this case the prison is a giant pit in the desert, how brutalist of you Prison Director Poe. So modern. So chic. See I love this garbage! It’s great.
Christopher Lambert … is there. He has an interesting acting quality to him. In many ways he shares some qualities with someone like Seagal. His acting is unique, charming in its own way. When used correctly you get a Highlander or Hard to Kill out of it. But his demise as a star was inevitable. His accent, like with Van Damme, lends a flat quality to the dialogue and eventually you have seen everything he is able to do. By all accounts he’s a delightful person though, and he had a very solid career, so there is no shame.
Kurtwood Smith on the other hand is maybe the coolest villain actor of that era. With this and Robocop it is incredible that you don’t see the looks-like-a-nerd-but-is-a-horrible-piece-of-garbage-who-will-gladly-shoot-you-in-the-face villain a lot more often. It is incredibly unsettling and sinister when done well. This is no exception.
The set design is pretty sweet. The prison break idea is pretty sweet. His friends are all pretty sweet! So again, is it any surprise I unironically like this film? This film isn’t bad. What were the critics thinking?! … They were thinking that the film was a downer that focused too much on the fascism and sadism involved in the prison. I mean, maybe fair, but also undeniably entertaining! This film probably won’t qualify in a few years. Book it.
I’m going to give it a Setting as a Character (Where?) for the future prison, although I could have made a compelling argument that the entire film is specifically set in the Mojave Desert, but I won’t. A great Future Film (When?) for the film taking place in 2017, you mean I missed Fortress year? That’s all for the superlatives, but you know this might be the front runner for Good this year, I don’t see how I don’t continue to think it is amazing six months from now.
I’ll close with saying that our friend this cycle, Beowulf (1999), is crazy. B-b-b-b-b-b-beowulf is b-b-b-b-b-b-b-bonkers. It is like they had a set from, I don’t know, a medieval Power Rangers knockoff, and were like “You have seven days to make a movie, go!” The first half of the film is a bit boring maybe, but amusing in realizing this odd mismash of future and past is intended to be Beowulf in any capacity at all. And then, oh ho, you get the big battle between Beowulf and Gredel and let’s just say it involves two words: endless backflips. Christopher Lambert’s character can’t just do a dozen backflips in a row, he insists on doing a dozen backflips in a row. Multiple times in this film he does a dozen backflips in a row, often while splashing through ankle deep water. It is hilarious, and makes it all worth it. Close on a bad CGI villain that puts The Scorpion King to shame, and we have a recipe for an incredible friend. A-. If you add one more fight with a dozen backflips near the beginning of the film then this is gold. As it is it is a bit of a struggle to get to the goods. Still worth it though.
Look for the sequel to Fortress Fortress 2: The Raid Prison Break Season 4 in the Quiz. Cheerios,
Oh man, so get this? I was thrown into a future prison forever for trying to make babies, and now I have to karate chop the evil robot warden to get out! Unfortunately, a big baddie bopped me on the head during a fight and now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Fortress?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) In the beginning we see the horrible crime that Lambert and his wife committed. Making babies. How do they plan on getting by the scanning on the Canadian border so they can have their babies in peace?
2) Welp, that obviously didn’t work. And now both of them are in Future Prison, and Future Prison SUCKS. Future Prison is run by Prison Director Poe. What makes Poe so special?
3) Tangentially, what happens to all of the babies born in Future Prison?
4) How do they get the map of the prison from Poe’s office?
5) Ultimately how do they figure out they can get the Stomach Exploder Devices out of their stomachs so they don’t explode when they try to escape?
Bonus Question: At the end of the film we see Lambert and his wife taking care of their child in Mexico. But what a twist! What happens in the mid-credits scene?
1) Lambert and his wife are in the military, and thus they have access to flak jackets. Apparently this blocks the bio sensors enough to allow them to sneak by the guards … that is, if the guards don’t notice, which they do!
2) Poe is like a human cyborg-y thing. He has a lot of installed robotics and he doesn’t have to eat or sleep or anything, he just exchanges various fluids ever so often in his office. He believes that his kind are the future, and that soon enough all of humanity will be horrible robot people. We’ll see about that!
3) The babies are all turned into cyborgs. Mostly they seem to be lowly drones whose jobs seem to be to just be a standing army for the corporation that runs the prison. But every so often you get a sweet Poe who can do so much more (until he BLOWS IT).
4) One of Lambert’s prison buddies is the barber / general helper for Poe in his office. He is promised consideration when parole comes up … but everyone knows he isn’t going to be paroled ever. So he decides to help, and with the aid of Lambert’s wife he manages to sneak the map out to Lambert so that they can plan their escape.
5) So earlier in the film the original Big Bad guy gets got and in the process Lambert ends up palming an exploder device. They pass it off to another prison buddy (an explosives expert) who studies it and figured out that it is highly magnetic, so you can draw it up and out of your stomach (easily although painfully). Et voila, it is time for the great escape.
Bonus Answer: We see Lambert’s wife turn on him and attack him, and indeed, what a twist! She has a robot brain! Replaced at some point in prison. Lambert kills his wife, but now will do anything to avenge her death. Sneaking back into Future Hellscape Los Angeles (FHLA) Lambert finds what is, in effect, the inverse of the Future Prison, the Men-Tel Coporate Headquarters. Getting together a ragtag team made up of vengeful relatives of his prison friends, Lambert plans for his version of Prison Break Season 4. It is time to break in and steal Scylla kill the Men-Tel CEO. Moving from floor to floor a la The Raid (wait, is this movie just a montage of other IP? … yeah probably), Lambert finally reaches the top only to realize that Men-Tel is being run by a robot!? No matter, time to eat lead robot CEO! Taking down the corporation Lambert triumphantly returns to Future Prison and releases everyone and they live happily in Mexico with Lambert’s son Abraham.
I would buy that for a dollar. It is called Fortress 2: The Raid Prison Break Season 4. Just tell it how it is.
“No, no, no, this is a mistake,” Jamie pleads as Kyle approaches with a glint in his eye suggesting he’s ready to pound some dweebs. “Who are you?” he yells, gripping Jamie by the collar. “Stop it, Kyle,” Patrick says calmly, “Think of everything you’ve gone through? When you were tracking our path through time, what did you find?” Kyle’s grip loosens as he remembers. “It was… better. You were making things better,” he says, breathing heavily. “That’s right,” Jamie continues, rubbing his neck and taking a step back, “and if we were these other twins, or whatever, why would we have come here? They are clearly hiding. Whoever these other twins are, they are the imposters. We are the Bad Movie Twins.” Kyle nods and they share a triple bro hug. Tears streaming down their faces they turn to Rachel and ask that she show them exactly what they are dealing with. An hour later, wearing the patented BMT black canadian tuxedos they designed for just such a situation (and they never leave home without them), they peer over a small hill at the lakeside Hallston Academy compound. Rachel wasn’t kidding. Armed guards, search lights, barbed wire, oil slicks, tacks, guard dogs, robot guard dogs, laser drones, half-cyborg bears, several hornet nests filled with specially trained hornets, several other hornet nests filled with regular hornets, you name it. “This isn’t a compound, this is a gosh darn fortress,” Jamie mutters, “And you know what a fortress needs?” Kyle, Patrick and Jamie all say it at once and without an ounce of irony: “Teamwork, yeah!” Searching the town, they not only find LePumice and Ty, they also conveniently find a couple more black jeans suits. With that Jamie pulls out one of his classic catchphrases, “Fortress schmortress.” That’s right, we’re watching another Christopher Lambert classic in Fortress. A high-tech futuristic prison that Lambert has to escape from? Say no more. Seriously shut your mouth, I’m busy watching this high-tech prison movie. Oh, I guess we do have to mention that we are pairing this with the amazing looking Lambert vehicle Beowulf. Fun fact, this was the first english language film adaptation of Beowulf. For real. Let’s go!
Fortress (1992) – BMeTric: 33.1; Notability: 22
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 10.0%; Notability: top 21.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 26.4%; Higher BMeT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Body of Evidence, Cool World, Pet Sematary II, Toys, Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice, 3 Ninjas, The Lawnmower Man, Sleepwalkers, Sidekicks, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Freejack, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Beethoven, Aces: Iron Eagle III, Evil Toons, Ladybugs, Dr. Giggles, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, Encino Man, and 5 more; Higher Notability: Toys, Cool World, Newsies, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Freejack, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, The Bodyguard, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Innocent Blood, Universal Soldier, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, This Is My Life, Encino Man, The Mighty Ducks, Radio Flyer, The Distinguished Gentleman, Kuffs, Mom and Dad Save the World, Man Trouble, and 34 more; Lower RT: Once Upon a Crime…, Folks!, Year of the Comet, Live Wire, Love Crimes, Frozen Assets, Cool World, Man Trouble, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them, Body of Evidence, Mom and Dad Save the World, Claire of the Moon, Passed Away, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Ladybugs, Mr. Baseball, The Distinguished Gentleman, The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, and 41 more; Notes: Ah that’s more like it. After a few crazy high Notability films in a row, 22 is just about what I would expect for this. Just a little push to get this to 6.0 and it’ll basically be “average”.
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Husband and wife flee futuristic society (which forbids them from having a second child) because she is pregnant again. They’re captured and sent to a high-tech maximum security prison run by the sadistic warden. (Is there another kind?) Intriguing premise is sabotaged by weak acting and a weaker script. Incredible international success resulted in a sequel.
(Yeah I could see that. All of the notes are about how everything was looking promising and awesome for a bit, and then all of the money disappeared and you got a borderline straight-to-video release in the end.)
(Ha, halfway to hell. God I love cheesy sci-fi nonsense. Combine that with a future prison filled with robots? Forget about it. Leonard Maltin is a fool, this movie must be great!)
Directors – Stuart Gordon – ( Known For: Re-Animator; From Beyond; Dagon; Dolls; Space Truckers; The Pit and the Pendulum; Robot Jox; Edmond; King of the Ants; Stuck; The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit; BMT: Fortress; Notes: Well known for producing H. P. Lovecraft adaptations on a small budget. He is known for casting Jeffrey Combs in films, and this is no exception.)
Writers – Troy Neighbors – ( Known For: Fortress 2: Re-Entry; BMT: Fortress; Notes: He was the casting director for Enemy Mine. He gets character credits for the sequel, so I assume he wrote the original script.)
Steven Feinberg – ( Known For: Fortress 2: Re-Entry; BMT: Fortress; Notes: His biography claims he produced Moonrise Kingdom, but IMDb suggests he got a “grateful acknowledgment”. He has a crazy number of “grateful acknowledgement”s. He’s still getting them. He has a “thanks” for Hocus Pocus 2 coming out this year.)
David Venable – ( BMT: Fortress; Notes: He’s written a few TV Movies, but otherwise this is his only feature film. He wrote a single episode of SeaQuest 2032.)
Terry Curtis Fox – ( BMT: Fortress; Notes: Almost exclusively wrote for television including JAG, Stargate SG-1, and Diagnosis Murder.)
Actors – Christopher Lambert – ( Known For: Highlander; Hail, Caesar!; Southland Tales; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Resurrection; Subway; Beowulf; The Sicilian; Knight Moves; Bel Canto; Sobibor; White Material; Fortress 2: Re-Entry; Un + Une; Why Me?; Nirvana; Druids; North Star; The Point Men; Future BMT: Loaded Weapon 1; The Hunted; Gunmen; BMT: Mortal Kombat; Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Fortress; Highlander: Endgame; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Lambert is French, although born in America and raised in Switzerland as his father was a diplomat. By all accounts a great guy, at least on the set of Mortal Kombat, and still acting with 10 projects in a state of production.)
Loryn Locklin – ( Known For: Catch Me If You Can; Denial; Future BMT: Taking Care of Business; BMT: Fortress; Notes: She was on JAG for six years, after which is seems like she retired.)
Kurtwood Smith – ( Known For: A Time to Kill; Girl, Interrupted; Dead Poets Society; RoboCop; Deep Impact; To Die For; Turbo; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Broken Arrow; Hitchcock; Boxing Helena; Cedar Rapids; Last of the Dogmen; Heart and Souls; Amityville: The Awakening; Quick Change; El Camino Christmas; Citizen Ruth; Prefontaine; Shadows and Fog; Future BMT: Firestarter; The Crush; Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; Staying Alive; Oscar; BMT: Rambo III; Fortress; Notes: Most people probably know him for either That 70s Show or RoboCop. He’s in That 90s Show as well, which is coming out soon.)
(Sources claim that it did well internationally, but I guess I don’t really trust Box Office Mojo prior to around 2000 completely. Could also just mean it did well on television and home video though.)
(Fact: I don’t think this is qualifying in a year or so. I think someone will give it a good review and then eventually it’ll settle at like 44% or something and never get close again. The consensus is basically: Fun with a unique look the problem with the movie is just that it is kind of a bummer.)
Reviewer Highlight: Even the requisite gore is sub-par, so it’s not even neat when some poor sap explodes and his entrails whiz by. Perhaps Gordon should go back to mining H.P. Lovecraft’s territory. – Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle
(Hahaha. Nope. That could honestly be the poster for any Christopher Lambert film. I’m not even really sure what they were trying to do. At least it has a color scheme and the gradient on the font is OK. C-.)
Tagline(s) – In the year 2017 one corporation is building a fortress for the ultimate takeover… your mind. (F)
(What thuuuuu. I don’t know what any of that means or really what it has to do with the film Fortress. They are not doing that. They are building a fortress as a prison.)
Keyword(s) – dimension
Top 10: Sin City (2005), Spectre (2015), The Others (2001), Scream (1996), Equilibrium (2002), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), The Mist (2007), Death Proof (2007), 1408 (2007), Scary Movie (2000)
Future BMT: 86.6 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005), 82.8 Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011), 77.5 Who’s Your Caddy? (2007), 77.0 Superhero Movie (2008), 70.1 Black Christmas (2006), 68.6 Pulse (2006), 66.9 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 64.9 Scary Movie 4 (2006), 61.8 Cursed (2005), 59.0 Apollo 18 (2011)
BMT: Scary Movie V (2013), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994), Halloween II (2009), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), My Boss’s Daughter (2003), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Dracula 2000 (2000), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998), Phantoms (1998), Boys and Girls (2000), Texas Rangers (2001), Reindeer Games (2000), Halloween (2007), Fortress (1992), Senseless (1998), Impostor (2001), Mindhunters (2004)
Best Options (Christopher Lambert):33.0 Fortress (1992), 30.5 Gunmen (1993)
(Phew. Not that Gunman looks terrible, it looks pretty amusing. We chose this first and then went for Lambert’s best non-theatrical release for Dimension. There aren’t that many people who made multiple Dimension films and less that made both theatrical and non-theatrical, so this was pretty limiting. Very excited for Fortress though.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Christopher Lambert is No. 1 billed in Fortress and No. 5 billed in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (1 + 5) + (1 + 1) + (5 + 1) = 14. There is no shorter path at the moment.
Notes – According to an interview with director Stuart Gordon, Arnold Schwarzenegger was to star as John Brennick since Arnold was a big fan of Re-Animator (1985) in which Arnold’s stunt-double, Peter Kent was a cast member. Stuart Gordon: “…it was Arnold Schwarzenegger that got me the job and it was because of Re-Animator. We used Arnold’s body-double in Re-Animator. The first reanimated corpse is a guy named Peter Kent, Arnold’s double. He’s got those big muscles. He got Arnold to see Re-Animator and Arnold liked it so much that he had a screening of it in his home, inviting all of these people, including producer John Davis. John had the rights to Fortress and Arnold was going to do it. For some reason, I’m not sure why, Arnold finally decided that he wasn’t going to do the movie and dropped out. They had a big budget, probably like 60 million, 70 million dollars, which was a huge budget in those days. Now it sounds small. [laughs] Anyway, he dropped out and the budget went down. They cut the budget to about 15 million dollars.”
The film takes place in 2017.
Due to the fact that star Christopher Lambert had worked on several large scale productions, he was hired by the film’s producers as a consultant and oversaw filming.
Filmed at Warner Brothers Movie World in Queensland, Australia.
The film performed very strongly internationally, especially in Europe where Christopher Lambert is a bigger name, and in Australia, where it was filmed. The film also enjoyed a long and profitable afterlife on VHS.
Zed-10, the artificial intelligence running the prison, is voiced by Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, wife of director Stuart Gordon.
Although the film opened strong in the US on its opening weekend, Dimension Films found their movie losing screens when a wave of new releases in the next coming weeks took over most of the multiplexes.
Stuart Gordon was set to direct Body Snatchers (1993) when he got Arnold Schwarzenegger and producer John Davis’s offer to direct Fortress instead. Gordon accepted, although Schwarzenegger would eventually drop out.
A television series based on this film was briefly considered: the “Fortress” television series would continue on from this film and would follow John and Karen as they are pursued by the Men-Tel Corporation and they raise their baby son Danny. It became a sequel instead, Fortress 2: Re-Entry (2000).
I keep on wanting to write, ‘Saboteur!’ when thinking about this film. But alas, this is just about some dumb bum imposter played by Gary Sinise. Our boy Gary gets his star turn in this film that can be best summed up as a one-note story streeeetched veeerrrry looooong. May as well get into a short recap with that, because the entire film is about that one note: is Gary Sinise an imposter?
So Gary wakes up with his beautiful wife after a weekend camping trip relaxed and ready to show off a hot new weapon he designed for the big war with humanity’s intergalactic foes. Don’t worry about that camping trip. Sure there was a big ol’ fire but Gary is like “huh, what? Oh yeah we’re fine,” so the viewer can rest assured that the camping trip was no big deal and won’t play a role in the plot in the least. Just as he prepares for the big day Vincent D’Onofrio walks in and is like “Imposter!” and arrests him. He explains that the aliums have developed a new weapon and it’s real cool. Basically they send replicas of humans to Earth who don’t even know they’re replicas. They kill their doubles, assume their lives, wake up with all their memories, and go on with their lives… that is until they get switched on and assassinate someone. Sinise is like bullshit and springs free with his classic Gary Sinise strength. He’s able to contact his wife and attempts to get a body scan to prove he’s not an imposter, but is again chased off by D’Onofrio. He and his wife realize the key to all this is the camping trip (woah, what?) and so they head into the forest where D’Onofrio assures Sinise that he believes him. That’s because in the forest is an alien spaceship and inside is bum bum bum his wife’s body! (What a twist!) They kill the imposter wife but then find bum bum bum Gary Sinise’s hot bod in there too! (What a double twist!) He explodes. THE END.
There was a moment very early in the film (when they kept on droning on and on about the camping trip) that I thought, “wouldn’t it be funny if Sinise just turned out to be an imposter?” Like a whole movie set up around someone being like “I’m not an imposter!” but then he is. You’ve just watched an entire movie where the main character is an alien but doesn’t know it so it’s not even fun in an alien kind of way. And then they did it! It’s pretty dumb and makes the majority of the movie meaningless. If I rewatched it now Gary would be whining “but I love my wiiiife,” and I’d just shrug and be like ‘no you don’t cause you are just some alien drone so why should I listen to you? Sure you have all the memories of Gary Sinise. You’ve got those abs for days, for sure. I appreciate all that… but you’re also just gonna blow up and you’re not really Gary Sinise… no one is. Only Gary Sinise is. He’s a one of one.”
For a Hot Take Clam Bake I’m gonna come out and say it: the aliens’ plan was dumb and bad and failed. Sinise was supposed to blow up a giant weapon he designed and kill the leader of Earth (or something like that). Instead he blows up Vincent D’Onofrio in the middle of a razed forest. Guess what happens next? Big Gary’s weapon blows up the aliens. Because he’s got a big ol’ brain and knew how to kick their asses. Maybe the aliens should have just blown up the weapon when Fake Gary was hanging around the weapon all day. Nope. Let’s just blow up nothing cause we’re dumb. Dumb aliens. Dumb weapon. Dumb plan. You lose.
Hot Take Temperature: Day Old Wildfire. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Imposter? More like Low-cost-er! Amirite? Gary Sinese v. Vincent D’Onofrio babbbbby! YEAH! What? You aren’t jazzed for that CSI: NY vs. Law & Order: Criminal Intent clash? The Battle of the Second Spin-off Stars? This is huge! Let’s go!
Throughout the years we’ve established nice concise phrases for certain types of films. Our most internationally famous one is obviously Dog Poo In Our Face for those films that are so bad they make us irrationally angry. This film ain’t that. This film is the second-most-popular classic Nothing Film. It is a film you’ve seen one-thousand times which feels like no one remembers and if it never existed the world wouldn’t change even a little bit. This film is a Nothing Film.
Basically this film feels like a less well known Phillip K. Dick short story that was squashed between The Minority Report and We Can Remember It for You Wholesale so no one remembers it until someone was like “do we have any more Phillip K. Dick stories to adapt”, and someone opened wikipedia and was like “only one … it’s called Imposter?”
To be clear this is actually based on a Phillip K. Dick story, I’m not making that up. It was first published in the magazine Astounding in June 1953 and can be found in some of his collections. That being said ain’t no one running out of Phillip K. Dick short stories to adapt, there are a billion of them.
Oh the movie, I almost forgot (because it is a nothing film). It uh … well, it um … D’Onofrio is suitably crazy in this I suppose? The whole thing seems to take place at night. The ultimate twist is so obvious that they felt the need to make the twist even twistier … but even then it was really obvious, and they didn’t have the guts to change the actual ultimate twist enough for me to really care that I kind of got it wrong.
I guess what I’m getting at is that this is a poor man’s Minority Report, and even that isn’t really considered very good anymore, so what really does that make this? Bad, I suppose. It makes it a bad movie.
Obviously a great Future Setting (When?) for a film that is sorely lacking in any superlatives. Well except for one of the worst Worst Twists (How?) ever in that it was obvious from the beginning that you are following around an evil android who is going to blow everyone up at the end (and he does). It is closest to Bad I think, just a Nothing Movie.
Check out the Quiz for my sequel Impo2ter. You kind of know it would be stylized like that right? Cheerios,
Oh jeez, imagine this, I just got accused of being an alium spy and am to be killed immediately. No trial? No problem for this future hellscape! Well, good thing I escaped, although I did get bopped on the head by a guard and now can’t remember a thing (like whether I’m a spy or not …). Do you remember what happened in Imposter?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) It’s the future and the world is at war! With whom though?
2) And our hero is a heroic military weapons manufacturer … wait, that can’t be right (checks notes). Yeah, he’s a weapons manufacturer. Anyways, why did this heo join the military with only mass genocide of our enemies on his mind?
3) Well, boy is Vincent D’Ononfrio’s face red! Or, well, it will be once he realizes his terrible mistake in accusing this heroic hero of being a spy. But why does he think he’s a spy?
4) Yada yada yada, our boy is on the run and trying to prove that the spy is really the one armed man (or something like that, he’s a fugitive on the run). He gets some help from Mekhi Phifer. Why is he willing to help this spy, what is he getting in return?
5) Ah, well in the end who ends up being the imposter and spy?
Bonus Question: In the mid-credits sequence Sinese wakes up in a lab, strapped to a table. But how? And who else is there to greet him?