Little Nicky Recap

Jamie

Nicky is the son of Satan and not so keen on taking over Hell. So he’s thrilled when his father announces he’s not retired. Unfortunately Nicky’s evil brothers don’t take it so well and break out of Hell to take over Earth. Can Nicky get them back before Hell freezes over and his father dies (and perhaps also get the girl) before it’s too late. Find out in… Little Nicky.

How?! Little Nicky just likes to rock out in Hell without all that evil mumbo jumbo. So when his father, Satan, decides not to retire he’s pretty thrilled. Particularly since his brothers, Cassius and Adrian, are pure evil and would have made his life a living hell (nailed it). Furious, they storm out of Hell to take over Earth as their own kingdom of evil. Unfortunately, Hell freezes over as a result and without souls Satan begins to die. Nicky is tasked with going up and capturing his brothers and bringing them back. Queue a long montage of Nicky acclimating to Earth and dying over and over again. In the process he finds all kinds of friends: a talking demon bulldog sent to help him, two satanists who are super into Satan and all that jazz, his dorky actor roommate, and the lovely Valerie. Despite the best efforts of his brothers to derail his plans, destroy his relationship with Valerie, and take over Earth, the evil within Nicky wins the day by taking down Cassius at a Globetrotters gain. Adrian responds by turning the whole city against Nicky, which ultimately leads to his arrest. But with the help of a few friends he is able to escape and lure Adrian into a trap. Unfortunately, Adrian isn’t just any foe and after a tussle Nicky sacrifices himself for Valerie. This sacrifice sends Nicky to Heaven where he meets his Mom. That’s right. He’s half good-half evil. He’s given a special orb as a weapon and returns to Earth to confront Adrian, who has taken over both Hell and Earth. They have an all-out, Popeyes fueled fight then ends with Nicky smashing the orb and revealing the ultimate weapon: Ozzy Osbourne, who captures Adrian. All is well back in Hell and Satan lets Nicky return to Earth to start a life with Valerie. THE END.

Why?! I believe the idea is that Nicky is part good and part evil… in other words, he’s human. By venturing up to Earth he realizes that that’s the place he belongs. So stopping his brothers isn’t just about saving his father, it’s about saving Earth… his home. Little twist at the end, too, where Nicky’s satanist friends are ultimately happier in Hell than on Earth. I wonder if they would eventually become the new satan(s) since Hell is where they belong? Did I just go deep on Little Nicky?

Who?! Sandler dominated these sections like young Shaq in the paint. This is just a posterizing jam here as the cameo game is pretty much on par with peak Sandler. Henry Winkler, Ozzy Osbourne, Regis, Bill Walton, Dan Marino (who weirdly went uncredited for the cameo), and then Carl Weathers playing Chubbs from Happy Gilmore. Kinda like how Brendan Fraser just kept playing Link from Encino Man over and over.

What?! This is where Sandler brings down the backboard and they have to spend a half hour putting up a new one. Probably should have just made his name Popeye, gave him a googly eye, and then have him fall in love with Popeyes because he thinks they make it just for him. That’s how major the Popeyes product placement is. Hit an A grade of product placement that will be an A+ once I come out with the BMT cut of the film titled Little Popeye. I don’t even have to mention all the other product placement, which pales in comparison (but would probably be a high point of any other BMT film).

Where?! Hell and NYC. I was trying to think of what other BMT films have Hell as a setting and Monkeybone is the first one that comes to mind, but I think that was set in Limbo technically. This might be the best one we’ve watched. Pretty good NYC film as well, but it does make we wonder where this would have been set later in Happy Madison history… does he emerge from Hell in a Cancun resort? A-.

When?! Oh I don’t know. I think it’s the summer because it’s kind of a joke that Nicky is always freezing and wearing a big coat. I usually say that I think any movie probably has something in it to pin down an exact date but… I don’t really think that would be the case here. Everything is fake. Every newspaper, tv spot, everything… maybe you could narrow it down based on advertisements around the city. But who has time for that? F.

If you want to appreciate the wonder and magic of the cinema then look no further than Little Nicky… because you realize while partaking in the film that at some point, somewhere a group of very important studio people sat around watching Adam Sandler put on a crazy annoying voice and smash Popeyes Chicken and had to think “it’s what the people want.” Cause I can’t imagine they fully understood what they were making. They just saw green and Sandler was (and is) a green machine. It’s actually pretty beautiful. A creator given full control to bring what they feel is funny fully realized to screen. The amount of set design and costumes and hair and makeup and props that went into making this real… it’s amazing. It exists and that’s a pretty crazy accomplishment, so I kinda love it for that… what’s that? What did I actually think about the movie? Didn’t care for it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! *Take a big bite of Popeye’s chicken while watching Little Nicky* This movie is the shiznit! *openly weeps* Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Adam Sandler films. Up until more recently we were mostly resigned to only really watching the more recent ones because we didn’t want to watch films we had already seen for BMT. Well, that is no more, so it is time to go back to what people might consider his “imperial” period, where he could do no wrong … until he did for basically the rest of his career (as far as comedies go). I think this is probably his first major miss, and it is a doozy. What were my expectations? I knew I would hate this film, because even when I was the target audience I hated this film. It isn’t funny, and Sandler is grating as the character of Nicky … so yeah, that’s what I expected.

The Good – Uh …. Well, if you are into the Happy Madison universe to some degree this is not the worst choice in the universe. Allan Covert is decent, and the set pieces (as far as Sandler comedies are concerned) are truly second to none. As a matter of fact a lot of the characters in the film could be decent, but the issue is they are usually saddled with either childish fart/homophobic/violent humor, or they are exclusively interacting with Nicky (the worse character in film history maybe, at least one of the more annoying), or both. Keitel, for example, could be decent except every few scenes he’s obligated to shove a pineapple up Hitler’s ass and it is like “ugh, this again?” Best Bit: Set pieces.

The Bad – Nearly everything else. The humor is everything that ultimately is wrong with early Sandler cranked up to 11. Homophobic humor at every turn. The solution to life’s problems being to punch someone in the face (and often the act of punching someone in the face represents growth somehow). And fill in the cracks with fart jokes, and for some reason demons with high squeaky voices. I’m not exactly sure how this film functions. It is like Sandler just gave $100 million to set designers, and then came back and improved the rest in a long weekend. It is a really really weird film. Fatal Flaw: Outdated garbage humor, and the most annoying character in film history.

The BMT – I mean, if I had to choose a single qualifying Sandler film as the BMT representative for him this is the leader in the clubhouse. And I am skeptical something like Eight Crazy Nights can stage the comeback. If Nicky was even a little less annoying as a character this film would at least be interesting to marvel at, because it really is just a production on an epic scale (especially for a comedy). It is Hollywood at its most self-indulgent. In the end it is mostly just a surreal experience. On the one hand I never want to watch this film ever again … and yet there is something deeply alluring about just how bad it is. Did it meet my expectations? More than I could imagine. It is maybe the least funny and most annoying comedy ever created. Congrats Little Nicky.

Roast-radamus – Genuine Planchet (Who?) for Covert as Nicky’s roommate in New York. His function does seem to be just to be dunked on by the Satan worshippers and to be called gay as a joke. Perhaps the greatest Product Placement (What?) in any Sandler film for Popeye’s, which is a huuuuuuuuuge part of the film. Nickey eats it at least three times, and the end scene features a giant anthropomorphic bucket of Popeye’s which walks around and the demons are obsessed with it. And quite a good Setting as a Character (Where?) for New York City which is featured in all of its weird glory. Definitely a contender for BMT I think, typically I would have went with bad, but this is so so weird it transcends badness and becomes BMT.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Easy, a Prequel. Get a young Keitel look-alike in there, and a young Dangerfield look-alike in there, and reveal that Little Nicky’s journey on Earth isn’t entirely without precedent. When Nicky’s grandfather was set to retire he too had concerns over whether Keitel was ready to take over the throne. But when a rogue fallen angel appears in Middle Ages Britain leading a brutal raving army of criminals, Keitel is sent to Earth to sort it out before God gets wind of the encroachment in their DMZ (Earth). Learning to love and live again, Keitel defeats the angel in a joust and gets the maiden. In the end, God appears (played by …. let’s go with Chris Rock) and reveals that he knew about the encroachment all along, but knew that Keitel would have the heart to save the day without needing to escalate tensions between heaven and hell. He suggests they have a mixer sometime, and then winks at the camera. Everyone cheers. 

You Just Got Schooled – As part of the movie tie-in cycle we are mostly sticking to films which have either hit singles released as part of the film soundtrack, or video game licenses. Well, there was certainly a doozy of a video game for Little Nicky on the Game Boy Color. One of the last games made for the obsolete system (as the Advance had just come out), it is a basic platformer. A small twist is that it doesn’t have a saving mechanism, but instead relies on a set of passwords. This mechanism is combined with only having 5-7 lives during the course of the game, and being brutally slow at times as the Nicky sprite can only sprint when charged up with heat. There is some good fun here and there, the different movement mechanisms they built into the game are fun, and the ratchet-like advancement meant that beating the 24 levels was somewhat of an inevitability. And beat it I did, it probably took me about 6 hours. The final fight is actually quite good. Amusingly, as the manual is unavailable online, the game is pretty difficult to beat without seeing the film! That’s the kind of tie-in you love to see. C+. As a platformer it is probably one of the worst you can play. But I’ll throw in the plus for being a pretty entertaining diversion. I wish more weirdo video game tie-ins like this existed.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Little Nicky Quiz

So get this, I was a devil in a cooky version of hell where shit jokes thought up by 13-year-olds is the pinnacle of humor. But then the two garbage brothers left and things got nuts! And then I got bopped on the head by a big beast-man thing and can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Little Nicky?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) At the beginning of the film the fires of hells freeze over. Why, and what does Little Nicky have to do to unfreeze Hell? What are the consequences if he doesn’t?

2) Who are the brothers disguised as initially?

3) Where does Nicky capture Cassius, and how does he trick him into the magic flask?

4) How does Nicky get Adrian back to Hell?

5) Who is Nicky’s mother and how did she meet the Devil, and what power does that mean Nicky has?

Bonus Question: When is the next time Nicky sees his mother?

Answers

Little Nicky Preview

Jamie, Patrick, and Rachel sit around the apartment racking their brains. What could they possibly do to stop the cyborgs’ plans? The cyborgs have the Dongle and will blast them to hell once their plan comes to fruition and Rich & Poe are dead. “What do the kids like these days? Once you’ve hooked the kids they won’t dare give the film bad reviews. Voila, Rich & Poe don’t die,” queries Patrick. Jamie ponders for a moment and being hip with the kidz he suggests a warm Rich themed blanket and a delicious cup of Poe brand tea, “the perfect combination. Just like Rich & Poe are the perfect combination of bad guy stopping power.” Patrick holds up his hand in exasperation. He gets it. “What about muscle shirts and muscle milk,” he brainstorms, “muscle everything cause Rich & Poe are all about muscles.” Jamie nods but then stops when he sees Rachel shaking her head in disgust. “Bopping tunes?” throws out Jamie, which gets the OK from Rachel. Not to be outdone Patrick throws out the unparalleled experience of Rich & Poe: The Video Game: VR: Legends Never Die. Now Rachel is intrigued. Jamie fleshes out his thoughts with a wiki-wild-wild-west banging hook and an internet shattering music video which mixes Thriller with TikTok or whatever shit kids are doing now. Rachel stops them and lays it out: “what about both?” and Jamie and Patrick’s mouths fall open. “The FMV Rich & Poe: The Music Video Game VR Experience: Legends Never Die starring Jason Derulo,” The say together and high five. Game changer. It’s going to be a lot of work, though, as Patrick takes the brunt of the coding and Jamie dives right back into the Rich & Poe book to make sure the tie-in is tight. “Welcome to hell,” says Patrick. That’s right, we go from some banging tunes right into an unparalleled video game experience with the Adam Sandler classic Little Nicky. What? You didn’t know that Little Nicky had a video game? Well it did and Patrick beat it. Deal with it. Let’s go!

Little Nicky (2000) – BMeTric: 57.7; Notability: 85

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.8%; Notability: top 2.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 20.3% Higher BMeT: Battlefield Earth, Dungeons & Dragons, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Urban Legends: Final Cut, Highlander: Endgame, 102 Dalmatians, Big Momma’s House, Supernova; Lower RT: The in Crowd, Battlefield Earth, Bless the Child, Lost Souls, Turn It Up, The Skulls, Urban Legends: Final Cut, Dungeons & Dragons, Supernova, I Dreamed of Africa, Ed Gein, Screwed, The Ladies’ Man, The Watcher, Boricua’s Bond, Highlander: Endgame, Boys and Girls, Get Carter, Hanging Up, Whipped and 22 more; Notes: That is an incredibly high Notability, especially for a comedy. This is the pinnacle for Sandler clearly, the moment where, coming off of Big Daddy, he seemingly could do no wrong … until he did.

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – All of this is kinda fun, and some of it more than that. I can see how “Little Nicky” could have worked, It’s just that Sandler, at the center, is a distraction; he steals scenes, and we want him to give them back. He’s 35 now. I know you can play an adolescent all of your life (consider Jerry Lewis), but isn’t it time for us to see the real Adam Sandler? When I met him, I thought to myself, this guy has movie star potential.

(Little Nicky is definitely the moment where it seemed like Sandler regressed from what I remember. Big Daddy showed a level of growth for the man-child character from Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison … but then Little Nicky is like he was trying to go back to that lazy silliness instead of keeping an emotional core to the films or progressing. Amazing that Ebert gave it 2.5 stars!)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0jhAYDiFwo/

(My god, even the trailer is awful. Also, it is really weird that they couldn’t or wouldn’t make a trailer that showed the actual storyline of the film. It makes it seem like the brothers go after Nicky to bring him back to Hell, but it is the exact opposite, Nicky is going after his brothers to bring them back to Hell. Weird.)

Directors – Steven Brill – (Known For: Hubie Halloween; Walk of Shame; The Do-Over; Sandy Wexler; Future BMT: Drillbit Taylor; Mr. Deeds; Without a Paddle; Heavyweights; BMT: Movie 43; Little Nicky; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for Movie 43 in 2014; and Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Little Nicky in 2001; Notes: Was a comedy partner with Marc Maron in college. Is a consistent director for Happy Madison films through the current Netflix contract.)

Writers – Tim Herlihy (written by) – (Known For: Happy Gilmore; Hubie Halloween; Billy Madison; The Wedding Singer; Future BMT: Mr. Deeds; Bedtime Stories; The Waterboy; Big Daddy; BMT: The Ridiculous 6; Little Nicky; Grown Ups 2; Pixels; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2000 for Big Daddy; in 2001 for Little Nicky; in 2014 for Grown Ups 2; and in 2016 for Pixels; Notes: Adam Sandler’s college roommate and, obviously, co-writer. Worked on Saturday Night Live with Sandler as well.)

Adam Sandler (written by) – (Known For: Happy Gilmore; Hubie Halloween; Billy Madison; Hotel Transylvania 2; The Week Of; Sandy Wexler; Future BMT: You Don’t Mess with the Zohan; Eight Crazy Nights; The Waterboy; Big Daddy; BMT: Jack and Jill; Going Overboard; Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; The Ridiculous 6; Little Nicky; Grown Ups 2; Grown Ups; Notes: Y’all know Adam Sandler. It is the 25th anniversary of Happy Gilmore, so there are a bunch of news stories about the potential for a Happy Gilmore sequel … that seems unlikely.)

Steven Brill (written by) – (Known For: Walk of Shame; Future BMT: D3: The Mighty Ducks; Ready to Rumble; D2: The Mighty Ducks; The Mighty Ducks; Heavyweights; BMT: Little Nicky; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for Movie 43 in 2014; and Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Little Nicky in 2001; Notes: This was basically the last film he wrote for Happy Madison. I assume he moved into a more exclusive Director / Producer role afterwards.)

Actors – Adam Sandler – (Known For: Happy Gilmore; Uncut Gems; 50 First Dates; Hubie Halloween; Billy Madison; Murder Mystery; The Wedding Singer; Hotel Transylvania; Punch-Drunk Love; The Do-Over; Anger Management; Hotel Transylvania 3; The Meyerowitz Stories; Spanglish; Funny People; Hotel Transylvania 2; The Cobbler; The Week Of; Reign Over Me; Future BMT: Coneheads; You Don’t Mess with the Zohan; The Hot Chick; Eight Crazy Nights; Mr. Deeds; Mixed Nuts; Bulletproof; Bedtime Stories; Airheads; The Waterboy; Click; Big Daddy; The Longest Yard; Dirty Work; Men, Women & Children; BMT: Jack and Jill; Going Overboard; Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo; The Ridiculous 6; Zookeeper; Little Nicky; Grown Ups 2; Pixels; Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; Grown Ups; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Just Go with It; Blended; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay, Worst Actor, Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Jack and Jill in 2012; Winner for Worst Actor in 2000 for Big Daddy; in 2012 for Just Go with It; and in 2013 for That’s My Boy; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 2000 for Big Daddy; in 2001 for Little Nicky; in 2012 for Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; and in 2014 for Grown Ups 2; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1997 for Bulletproof, and Happy Gilmore; in 1999 for The Waterboy; in 2001 for Little Nicky; in 2003 for Eight Crazy Nights, and Mr. Deeds; in 2008 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; in 2014 for Grown Ups 2; in 2015 for Blended; and in 2016 for Pixels, and The Cobbler; Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for The Cobbler in 2016; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2008 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; in 2012 for Just Go with It; and in 2013 for That’s My Boy; Notes: Was Nominated for a Golden Globe for Punch-Drunk Love. I’m surprised he didn’t get one for Uncut Gems as well. Next year he has what appears to be another serious role in Hustle, about a washed up basketball coach who discovers a prospect in China. Could be interesting.)

Patricia Arquette – (Known For: True Romance; Toy Story 4; Holes; Boyhood; Uncle Buck; Lost Highway; Ed Wood; Bringing Out the Dead; A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors; Holy Matrimony; Otherhood; The Indian Runner; Flirting with Disaster; Fast Food Nation; Nightwatch; Human Nature; A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III; Girl in Progress; Prayer of the Rollerboys; Future BMT: Stigmata; Goodbye Lover; Beyond Rangoon; BMT: Little Nicky; Tiptoes; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Little Nicky in 2001; Notes: Won an Oscar for Boyhood in 2015. From the Arquette acting family, and was married to Nicolas Cage for six years.)

Harvey Keitel – (Known For: Inglourious Basterds; Pulp Fiction; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Taxi Driver; The Irishman; Red Dragon; Isle of Dogs; Reservoir Dogs; From Dusk Till Dawn; Moonrise Kingdom; National Treasure; Thelma & Louise; Get Shorty; The Piano; Youth; The Two Jakes; Fatima; Sister Act; The Last Temptation of Christ; Future BMT: Little Fockers; Arthur and the Invisibles; The January Man; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; BMT: The Ridiculous 6; Little Nicky; Be Cool; Rising Sun; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Last Temptation of Christ in 1989; Notes: We just say him in Rising Sun. Let’s just see what he’s got on the docket for next year: He’s playing Meyer Lansky about the  National Crime Syndicate.)

Budget/Gross – $85,000,000 / Domestic: $39,464,775 (Worldwide: $58,292,295)

(Oh that’s a disaster. I’m pretty sure Sandler has something like ten comedies which made over $100 million, so this was seems like it must have been a serious come down. The three films surrounding this were $160 million, $80 million, and $130 million domestic … so yeah, this was a terrible showing for Sandler.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (25/115): Despite the presence of a large, talented cast, the jokes in Little Nicky are dumb, tasteless, and not that funny, and Adam Sandler’s character is grating to watch.

(Yeah, basically all of the reviews boil down to: Sandler has never been more annoying, thanks, I hate it. Reviewer Highlight: Where’s Sandler in all this? Lost in gimmicks that smack of desperation. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Little Snickers

(Woof. And I’m not just saying that cause there is a dog on the poster. There are… a lot of colors on that mess. And yet a shocking amount of empty space. I’ll give a minor point for the font, which is not totally generic. But I also have to say that the off-center bench is a real problem. It messes with your head. Why not even that sucker out? D.)

Tagline(s) – If Your Father Was The Devil And Your Mother Was An Angel, You’d Be Messed Up Too. (Spoiler Alert!)

Be unafraid. Be very unafraid. (C+)

(Double tagline poster. The first one is far too long and a real spoiler alert. It’s kind of supposed to be a surprise who Nicky’s mom is and they just say it. The second one is fine I guess, in that it actually is a tagline. Doesn’t really roll off the tongue though.)

Keyword – hell

Top 10: Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Love Actually (2003), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), As Above, So Below (2014), 2012 (2009), Hercules (1997), Constantine (2005), Inferno (2016), Hellboy (2019), Little Nicky (2000)

Future BMT: 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 63.2 The Haunted Mansion (2003), 57.1 The Lazarus Effect (2015), 56.9 A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989), 56.1 Spawn (1997), 50.0 The Sin Eater (2003), 35.8 Hideaway (1995), 27.5 Inferno (2016), 26.6 As Above, So Below (2014), 21.6 The Shack (2017);

BMT: 2012 (2009), Hellboy (2019), Little Nicky (2000), Event Horizon (1997), Doom (2005), Silent Hill (2006), The Golden Child (1986), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

(Hmmm, I wonder why there is potentially less of a prevalence of “hell” as a concept in film. Could be something with appealing more widely to a global market. I can’t wait to watch the Nightmare on Elm Street series. I love watching just a ton of horror films all in a row.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Adam Sandler is No. 1 billed in Little Nicky and No. 1 billed in Jack and Jill, which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 10. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – When Jon Lovitz was on the celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (1999) in 2000, he promoted this movie, and mentioned some of the co-stars. Interestingly, host Regis Philbin has an uncredited cameo as himself, but never mentioned to Jon Lovitz or the audience that he’s in the same movie. (Ha! He’s also a boss in the Game Boy Color game. Stay tuned for my review of that in the Recap)

Adam Sandler’s real life dog, named Meatball, is the son of the dog that played Mr. Beefy in this movie. Meatball was Adam Sandler’s best man at his wedding.

Carl Weathers reprised his role of “Chubbs” from Happy Gilmore (1996), though he is not credited for the role a second time.

This is the fourth Adam Sandler film to have a love interest with the initials “V. V.,” with Patricia Arquette as Valerie Veran. The first was Billy Madison (1995) (Veronica Vaughn); the second was Happy Gilmore (1996) (Virginia Venet); and the third was The Waterboy (1998) (Vicki Valencourt).

Dana Carvey (Referee) broke his ankle while filming the Harlem Globetrotters basketball game scene, and ended up on crutches. (What!)

Adam Sandler’s wife Jackie plays the redheaded angel Jenna.

Harvey Keitel replaced Dustin Hoffman in the role of Satan.

During the closing credits, flashes of the character’s whereabouts are explained. When they explain Nicky’s mom (Reese Witherspoon), a picture still of her is shown saying “Mom immediately fell in love with her new aerobics instructor, Chris Farley.” Giving a tribute to Chris, who died three years before the film, in 1997. The aerobics reference is referring to his classic skit on Saturday Night Live (1975) that will always be hilariously remembered. Adam, and the rest of the Saturday Night Live (1975) gang, were great friends with Farley.

Adam Sandler expressed in one of his songs that this movie was his father’s favorite film featuring Adam.

When Adrian (Rhys Ifans) makes Nicky (Adam Sandler) get hit by the bus, the blood spatter on John (Jonathan Loughran) and Peter’s (Peter Dante’s) shirt says “666”.

When Nicky makes the basket at the basketball game, you can see “666” on the shot clock above the hoop.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor of the Decade (Rob Schneider, 2010)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Adam Sandler, 2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette, 2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Steven Brill, 2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler, Steven Brill, 2001)

Dangerous Minds Recap

Jamie

Louanne Johnson is recently divorced and looking for work. She finds it teaching a class of low-income students. Through teaching poetry and boosting their confidence in themselves, she helps them find a voice. But can she help them in the classroom and get them off the streets before it’s too late? Find out in… Dangerous Minds.

How?! Louanne Johnson is fresh off a divorce and looking for a new start. Through a friend she gets hooked up with a job at Parkmont. Little does she know that she got the full time position mostly because they were having trouble filling it due to the low-income students in the class. But Louanne Johnson, former marine, doesn’t back down from the challenge and slowly earns the attention of the students by first teaching them karate, then rewarding them with treats, and finally speaking to them in the language of music and poetry. Soon she is building their confidence with new methods of grading and positive feedback and is reaping the rewards of finding some truly talented students amongst the group. However, all is not well. Her star student Callie is pregnant and is being pressured by the school to leave in order to attend a school geared more towards raising kids than schoolwork. Two other students are pulled out of school when their grandmother finds out they are studying poetry instead of learning something that might help them make money. Finally, Emelio, a troubled student, is threatened by a drug dealer and hides out with Louanne before trying to tell the principal of the school what’s happening. But when the principal turns him away he ends up getting shot and this sends Louanne into a tailspin. She decides to quit, but on the last day of school all the students band together and tell her how much she means to them. She ends up deciding to stay and everyone is happy. Hip hip hooray. THE END.

Why?! I mean… it’s not really a cynical movie, so that’s a positive. The motivation is teaching children and trying to make sure they have opportunities in life. While the focus is on the white teacher to the film’s detriment, it at least dispenses with any personal issues and all her thought, motivation, and strife comes from wanting to help the students.

Who?! This one is easy. Raymond and Richard Grant play Durrell and Lionel Benton, star pupils who are pulled out of school much to the dismay of LouAnne. They are actually twins (Twin Film Alert) and comprise the rap duo DJ Twinz. Uhhhhhhhhhhhh, yeah. That sound you hear is me listening to some DJ Twinz right now.

What?! Besides being a stellar advertisement for education and love (awww) it’s also got a pretty good advertisement for butterfingers as that is the candy of choice that LouAnne throws around as a reward for correct answers. Although I prefer the sweet taste of karate and expensive French dinners, the other rewards she uses in the film.

Where?! This is very much an LA film, which is fine, but also not necessarily always the most exciting since so many films are set there. This at least seems to have a reason. The real LouAnne Johnson taught in the LA area and more specifically there is an underlying commentary about the fact that the kids are being bussed in from a lower income neighborhood, only to be shuttled into a class where they are ignored (that is until LouAnne shows up). B+.

When?! This takes place over a school year more or less. We don’t really get much holiday  talk or anything like that, and LouAnne is clearly a replacement teacher, so it’s possible that she took over in the new year and we see from Jan-June or something. Doesn’t really matter, this is basically a road trip through time. No specific timing. C.

It is perfectly possible to make an entertaining and engaging tale of helping high risk youths and still totally miss the mark. Beyond being just a cliche of the white savior trope, I think there is a real fundamental lack of familiarity with the world that is being portrayed that hamstrings the film from the jump. I would assume LouAnne Johnson’s book probably does a better job (I couldn’t get my hands on a copy in time to read it), but the film completely glosses over some of the most poignant and heartbreaking aspects of the children’s stories in favor of surface level stereotypes and instead spends an inordinate amount of time on the trials and tribulations of the white teacher. It’s hard to say anything more than that. Despite the good songs, engaging filmmaking, and good acting by Pfeiffer… this is not a good film. Just not in the typical BMT way of being a bad film. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! This week it was Louanne Johnson’s Dangerous Minds versus the Bad movie Twins beautiful minds. Friday night fights! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – We’ve just been living in a gangster’s paradise. I think the legacy of the film is entirely tied up with maybe the most successful song-movie tie-in in history? Maybe a Will Smith song or The Bodyguard narrowly beats it out, but the Coolio track is basically I know (or need to know) about this movie. What were my expectations? Well, Ebert spelled it out in his review: white savior nonsense. If that is the biggest complaint I fear there won’t be much to like in the film.

The Good – Fear not, there were quite a few good things with this film. Like with Rising Sun it feels pretty gross to be like “well, besides the racism, the film was pretty good!” … but I guess here goes? The film is basically that classic Stand and Deliver or Lean on Me story. The visionary teacher comes in and gets these kids to learn (and learns a thing or two him/herself!), everyone cheers or the teacher gets fired, it depends on how cynical they want to be about the American education system. And you can do worse, Pfeiffer is solid in the lead role and it does a good job avoiding an unnecessary romance angle for her character. Best Bit: Pfeiffer.

The Bad – The biggest issue is probably Courtney B. Vance’s character. I’m not sure if it was his choice or explicitly laid out in the script or what, but his character might as well be named Feckless Principal. He ends up being some sort of cartoon metaphor for how “rules” and a lack of compassion have poisoned the American education system … or something. We’ll get to the issue with the portrayal of the education system i.e. “if only teachers cared more”. But then, yeah, this film is top-to-bottom a white savior tale. That really shouldn’t be dismissed. Fatal Flaw: White savior tale.

The BMT – This is a classic addition to the BMT Discography (not a section on the website …. yet) with Coolio’s jamming tune remaining a highlight of the trailer for this film. I choose to remember this film within the lens of Coolio’s track alone. Would I watch it again? I would, especially in some bizarre “Badass Teacher”-mersion podcast me and Jamie are now definitely starting. Did it meet my expectations? It was actually a bit better than I expected. I think, outside of the Vance character and the white savior nonsense, the film is pretty entertaining and an easy watch. I was kind of expecting The Substitute, but it was basically just Lean on Me.

Roast-radamus – A minor Product Placement (What?) for Louanne tossing around Butterfingers (as Bob Dylan once said: No one better lay a finger on my Butterfinger) among other candy bars. And Setting as a Character (Where?) for the explicit setting in Palo Alto. Definitely closest to Good, although I hope that something better crops up.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Easy, a sequel. This is about Louanne’s daughter, who herself has just gotten out of the Marines and is going back to her mother’s old stomping grounds in Palo Alto. And hooooooooooooooooo doggy she has a whole other crop of issues to deal with with her children. Cyberbullying, sexting, like … I don’t know, like meeting people on the internet? My point is that this ain’t her momma’s high school, she now has techmologies to deal with, and she is ill-prepared. So when an elite North Korean hacker starts trying to hack the election via the school’s servers, she has to assemble her ragtag group of students together to unleash their viruses, hack the Gibson, and take down Ellingson Mineral. HACK THE PLANET! We can workshop the ending, but rest assured, right at that 80 minute mark Michelle Pfeiffer busts that door down and says “Miss me boys and girls?” and the whole theater cheers. Dangerous Minds 2: Cyberwar.

You Just Got Schooled – We’re back baby! A real BMT Homework section because Dangerous Minds was also a television show! Starring Annie Potts, the first episode kind of follows the storyline from the movie, except the students in the television show are far less disruptive, and the things Louanne is teaching are just normal high school English curriculum. The first episode mainly focuses on Of Mice and Men for example. The show got cancelled after a season, which isn’t too surprising since it wasn’t very good. The biggest issue I had with it was it really cranked up that “if only American educators cared you know?” attitude to 11. Louanne is buying people books, paying for a nursery for another student, letting people stay in her enormous house … in the first episode she probably spends like $1000 of her own money on her students. And the other teachers are like “yeah, if we can all just chip in we can really make a difference!” No! These are the things the school and local government should be dealing with, not rogue teachers with, evidently, a fortune to distribute to the needy. It feels like it ends up with the moral being “yeah, the issue with the education system isn’t class sizes or underfunding … it is probably that most of the teachers don’t give a shit!” D. An interesting watch, but the movie is better and, against all odds, less preachy.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Dangerous Minds Quiz

Oh man, so here I was trying to teach these beautiful minds in a high school in Bad News U.S.A. when a fight breaks out! I got in the middle, natch, but I got sucker punched in the head and now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Dangerous Minds?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) What does Louanne want to be a teacher in Palo Alto?

2) What is the first thing she teaches her young students?

3) Hal is helping Louanne out with teaching and got her the job. How did Hal know her before the start of the movie?

4) Why is Louanne getting a divorce?

5) Why did Emilio get shot?

Bonus Question: What Coolio song is most like a Bob Dylan song? Whoever gives me the right answer gets a free ice cream cone.

Answers

Dangerous Minds Preview

As they sit and watch the beautiful sunset, Patrick and Jamie wonder about the plans of their cyborg doppelgangers. Perhaps there never was a plan, just random clues they followed to a dead end. Sipping their delicious mimosas, they aren’t sure they cared. When a *ding* rings out from the direction of the elevator all three of their heads swing that way. Beads of sweat form on their brows as they hear the soft sobbing from Rachel. Saboteur! But anger softens to sympathy as Rachel explains that her family was kidnapped by the cyborg fiends. Her family will live in exchange for luring them here. The final *ding* from the elevator sounds and the doors swing open. They gasp. It’s… it’s them. Aside from the glowing red eyes and robot limbs they are the Bad Movie Twins. “Bad Movie Twins,” they chuckle in deep robot voices, “at last, you have returned. And to what? Failure? Despair? To witness the deaths of your beloved Rich & Poe,” they spit out in disgust. Jamie and Patrick quake in fear. Death is surely next, but as the robots approach a smirk appears on their cyborg lips. “No… no, we won’t kill you.” they say, still smiling. Then with lightning fast robot speed they search Patrick and snatch the Obsidian Dongle from his pocket. “Not before you witness our grand plan come to fruition. You will watch Rich & Poe die, then you shall die. Bwahahahahaha,” they laugh violently as they stagger out of the apartment. “All a trap and we fell into it,” mumbles Jamie softly, but Patrick shakes his head firmly. It can’t be over. Not when they still live. “Come on,” Patrick says, “they may have taken the Dongle, but they left us with our most dangerous weapon… our minds.” That’s right! We are transitioning to the next cycle of the year: Cross Promotion Mania. Originally conceived as a hit song tie in cycle, we ended up expanding it to video games when we realized that that would make for a better overall cycle. But it didn’t change our first pick: Dangerous Minds, featuring Gangsta’s Paradise. Based on the book My Posse Don’t Do Homework by LouAnne Johnson. Let’s go!

Dangerous Minds (1995) – BMeTric: 15.8; Notability: 40 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 43.2%; Notability: top 28.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 22.8% Higher BMeT: Showgirls, Vampire in Brooklyn, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Fair Game, Batman Forever, Congo, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, Tank Girl, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, The Babysitter, Judge Dredd, Nine Months, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, Operation Dumbo Drop, Jade, The Scarlet Letter, Johnny Mnemonic, Man of the House, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, and 33 more; Higher Notability: Batman Forever, Congo, Judge Dredd, Virtuosity, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Showgirls, Four Rooms, Stuart Saves His Family, Assassins, Panther, Money Train, Tank Girl, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, Jade, Jefferson in Paris, Hackers, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Canadian Bacon, Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, Nine Months, and 4 more; Lower RT: A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, It Takes Two, The Hunted, The Tie That Binds, Vampire in Brooklyn, Bushwhacked, The Pebble and the Penguin, Fair Game, Johnny Mnemonic, The Scarlet Letter, Four Rooms, Three Wishes, Jade, Canadian Bacon, Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde, Houseguest, Man of the House, Reckless, Two Much and 22 more; Notes: That is a shockingly high IMDb rating … I guess maybe that’s what you get when the only thing really notable about a film is the incredible rap single used in its advertisements.

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – “Dangerous Minds” tells another one of those uplifting parables in which the dedicated teacher takes on a schoolroom full of rebellious malcontents, and wins them over with an unorthodox approach. Movies like this are inevitably “based on a real story.” Maybe they tell you that because otherwise you’d think they were pure fantasy.

(This review is really really worth reading. The end of it speaks to why critics, I think, wholesale rejected the film. The film is made about an urban school, but for a suburban audience. It is a really good review that succinctly explains why the film fails the book and the audience.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA-5nLQCmW8/

(Oh shit, the goddamn song kicking in got me amped! And then I just remembered this is a run of the mill white savior “these kids just need a fair shot!” type drama. But I haven’t seem many of those, so bring it on.)

Directors – John N. Smith – (Known For: A Cool, Dry Place; Love & Savagery; Train of Dreams; Geraldine’s Fortune; Sitting in Limbo; Welcome to Canada; The Masculine Mystique; BMT: Dangerous Minds; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for the short First Winter. Canadian, seemed to have retired in 2009.)

Writers – LouAnne Johnson (book) – (BMT: Dangerous Minds; Notes: Basically her only other credit is the Dangerous Minds television show which came out in 1996 and ran for 17 episodes.)

Ronald Bass (screenplay) – (Known For: Rain Man; My Best Friend’s Wedding; What Dreams May Come; Stepmom; Before We Go; When a Man Loves a Woman; Waiting to Exhale; The Joy Luck Club; How Stella Got Her Groove Back; Black Widow; Gardens of Stone; Snow Flower and the Secret Fan; Passion of Mind; Mozart and the Whale; La boda de mi mejor amigo; Space Warriors; Code Name: Emerald; The Lazarus Child; Future BMT: Amelia; Entrapment; Snow Falling on Cedars; BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy; Dangerous Minds; Notes: Won an Oscar for Rain Man. He appeared to have done a ton of uncredited rewrites in the 90s (including things like a Spielberg film), and was also a creator on the aforementioned Dangerous Minds television show.)

Actors – Michelle Pfeiffer – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Ant-Man and the Wasp; Scarface; Stardust; Mother!; Murder on the Orient Express; French Exit; Batman Returns; Hairspray; The Age of Innocence; The Prince of Egypt; What Lies Beneath; Dangerous Liaisons; One Fine Day; The Witches of Eastwick; Wolf; Tequila Sunrise; Ladyhawke; White Oleander; Amazon Women on the Moon; Future BMT: Grease 2; The Story of Us; Dark Shadows; The Family; To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday; Up Close & Personal; Maleficent: Mistress of Evil; Into the Night; I Am Sam; BMT: New Year’s Eve; A Thousand Acres; Dangerous Minds; Notes: Nominated three times for an Oscar, for Love Field, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and Dangerous Liasons. Her sister Dedee Pfeiffer is also an actress.)

George Dzundza – (Known For: Basic Instinct; The Deer Hunter; Crimson Tide; No Way Out; The Beast of War; White Hunter Black Heart; City by the Sea; No Man’s Land; The Happy Hooker; Adam and Eve; Streamers; Impulse; The Chosen One; Trading Favors; Massage Parlor Murders!; Honor Bound; Future BMT: That Darn Cat; The Butcher’s Wife; Instinct; BMT: Species II; No Mercy; Dangerous Minds; Notes: I know him mostly for one of his rare television roles, he was one of the two main cops during the first season or two of Law & Order. He’s very much a “that guy” in that he’s almost exclusively known for character parts, not starring roles.)

Courtney B. Vance – (Known For: Project Power; Isle of Dogs; The Hunt for Red October; Holy Matrimony; Final Destination 5; The Photograph; Space Cowboys; Office Christmas Party; Ben Is Back; The Divide; Hamburger Hill; D-Tox; Uncorked; Nothing But the Truth; The Preacher’s Wife; The Adventures of Huck Finn; The Last Supper; Beyond the Law; Hurricane Season; Cookie’s Fortune; Future BMT: Joyful Noise; Terminator Genisys; Extraordinary Measures; Panther; BMT: The Mummy; Dangerous Minds; Notes: Blew up a few years ago for his performance as Johnnie Cochran in American Crime Story (which he won an Emmy for). Went to Harvard.)

Budget/Gross – $23 million / Domestic: $84,919,401 (Worldwide: $179,519,401)

(Huuuuuge success. According to the notes, it was released under Pfeiffer’s production company which ended up giving her the ability to start producing her own projects afterwards. So that’s nice.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 29% (12/41): Rife with stereotypes that undermine its good intentions, Dangerous Minds is too blind to see that the ones it hurts are the audience.

(Yep, that is basically what Ebert said. Again, read his review, it is well worth it. Reviewer Highlight: The tale screenwriter Ronald Bass came up with, and the way director John N. Smith tells it, is stereotypical, predictable and simplified to the point of meaninglessness. – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Dangerous Sklogs

(Overall, I don’t mind this, mostly because if I saw it in a theater I’d be interested in it, which is the point. Doesn’t tell me much, though, and the color scheme isn’t cohesive. So merely not the worst. C.)

Tagline(s) – She Broke The Rules… And Changed Their Lives. ()

(Looks like the main poster didn’t have a tagline, so this must be an alternate. You can tell as the poster is better off without it. The cadence is OK and does sum up the film in a way. But not clever or short enough to break out from the middle. C+.)

Keyword – urban setting

Top 10: Coming to America (1988), Birds of Prey (2020), Inception (2010), Joker (2019), The Dark Knight (2008), Black Panther (2018), Seven (1995), Back to the Future (1985), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Future BMT: 78.6 Superhero Movie (2008), 68.7 Supergirl (1984), 63.9 Underdog (2007), 63.7 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 61.9 Poltergeist III (1988), 54.3 Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005), 50.6 My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988), 50.2 The Wild (2006), 44.1 B*A*P*S (1997), 43.0 I Love Trouble (1994);

BMT: RoboCop 2 (1990), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Predator 2 (1990), The Happening (2008), Shaft (2019), Death Wish (2018), Battle Los Angeles (2011), Catwoman (2004), Superman III (1983), RoboCop 3 (1993), Red Dawn (2012), Dangerous Minds (1995), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), Punisher: War Zone (2008), The Specialist (1994), Alex Cross (2012), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), New York Minute (2004), Max Payne (2008), Daylight (1996), The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009), Exit Wounds (2001), Dragon Wars (2007), Knock Off (1998), Never Die Alone (2004)

(Not very many good keywords here, so I kind of wanted to see if there was any rise in big films set in cities during the crime panic of the late-80s / early-90s … there wasn’t. Even the Future BMT list is pretty lame. Sorry, this one is one me, I blew it.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: John Neville is No. 5 billed in Dangerous Minds and No. 7 billed in Urban Legend, which also stars Alicia Witt (No. 1 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 2 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 5 + 7 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch The Story of Us, Last Man Standing, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – Michelle Pfeiffer was pregnant during production. Although shot out of sequence like most films, it becomes apparent when methods are used to hide the actress’ stomach. Methods such as long skirts and bulky sweaters along with scenes where Pfeiffer is shown carrying large objects were used.

Originally entitled “My Posse Don’t Do Homework”, the name of the book from which this true story was taken. (Huh, terrible name)

Released under Michelle Pfeiffer’s production company, the movie’s success bolstered Pfeiffer’s reputation as an actress/producer.

Andy Garcia’s scenes as Louanne’s love interest were filmed but cut.

A running gag involves confusion between two lyrical men of words: Dylan Thomas and Bob Dylan. The similarity between the two names is not coincidental, as the latter adopted his performance name as a tribute to the former.

The actor who played Emelio, Wade Dominguez, died 3 years after the 1995 film was released ( in 1998 ) of respiratory failure.

One of the last films worked on by producer Don Simpson. He helped pick songs for the film soundtrack.

“This Is The Life”, is a song that features on the film’s original soundtrack, and is performed by ‘Wendy And Lisa’ In the 1980’s, both of these artists were from Prince’s band ‘The Revolution’, and even acted alongside him, in his movie, “Purple Rain”. If you listen carefully to the music for “This is The Life” and “Purple Rain”, you will notice, that they both have exactly the same music in their intro.

The real Emilio Ramírez wasn’t murdered, he graduated high school spent four years in the Marine Corps and is alive and well living in California with his wife and two children.

Rising Sun Recap

Jamie

Web Smith is a police liaison called in to mediate a homicide found during a big time Japanese business’s gala. Surprisingly he is asked to bring along Capt. Conner, a police expert on Japan. Soon it becomes clear that there is more to the homicide than the company will let on. Can Web and Conner untangle the dastardly web of deceit before it’s too late? Find out in… Rising Sun.

How?! Web Smith is just trying to raise his daughter and do his job as a police liaison. One night he gets a call to help mediate a homicide call at a highfalutin Japanese business gala attended by all the bigwigs in town. Curiously, he is also asked to pick up Captain Conner, a semi-retired police expert on Japan. When they get to the crime scene the party continues uninterrupted while the crime scene is teaming with the company’s men. It becomes clear that they just want the whole thing dismissed, but Web and Conner are suspicious. Particularly when they discover that some of the tapes are missing from the state-of-the-art surveillance in the building. They suspect the boyfriend of the victim, Eddie, in the crime and cover up and when the missing disc shows up it appears to confirm their suspicions. They raid Eddie’s house only to have him flee and appear to die in a fiery crash. The next day they find that Eddie attempted to contact them about the missing disc and so they decide to take it to an expert who shows them how the film was manipulated. Returning to Web’s apartment, Web and Conner are shocked to find Eddie there alive and well. Someone else had died in the crash. He gives them the original surveillance tape, but the Yakuza show up and kill him and attempt to kill Web. After regrouping they view the tape and find that the killer appears to be Senator Morton, a powerful politician who was holding up a big acquisition for the Japanese company. The tape was being used to blackmail him, but in fact showed that someone else came into the room and killed the girl after he left. Wanting to smoke out the rat, Web and Conner go to a big meeting at the company and show the tape. Panicking, one of the lawyers flees and is ultimately killed closing the case, although leaving doubts as to how high the conspiracy could have gone. Bum bum bum. THE END.

Why?! Unfortunately, Web’s motivations are the least interesting in the film. Just doing his job. The Japanese company is a bit more interesting. They want to acquire an American microchip company , which is causing some concern in the government due to the connection of that company to national defense. Senator Morton initially is blocking the merger in the name of sovereignty, but ultimately is swayed though blackmail. Low key the most interesting motivation is Conner, who is semi-retired and living it up golfing and chilling with the wealthy Japanese businessmen of LA. There is some implication that he ends up turning a blind eye to the involvement of some of the particularly powerful people involved in the crime in order to keep his good standing (and great tee times) with them… kind of a last minute anti-hero twist for Connery.

Who?! Rooted in “real” economic concerns, the film also has “real” TV news entertainment segments in it. This includes a segment with Senator Morton hosted by Michael Kinsley and including a few well known journalists. Most interesting of the bunch is Pat Choate who went on to be Ross Perot’s running mate in the 1996 presidential election. Given his political stances, it actually makes perfect sense he appears in this film.

What?! There is something to be said here about fake businesses cooked up for BMT films. Here Nakamoto is portrayed as a powerful keiretsu housed in the Two California Plaza skyscraper. In Die Hard they have the fictional Nakatomi corporation housed in the Fox Plaza. Same companies? Different companies? Doesn’t matter. It tells you where Hollywood’s headspace was heading into the early 90’s collapse of the Japanese economy. 

Where?! Extremely solid LA film, to the point where I think you’d have to give it an A. I’m not sure there is another city in the United States that you could set this film and for it to still make sense. Unless you were to change the focus and thus the name… and thus pretty much everything about it. Funny enough, I think I had always assumed this was a film set in Japan. Tells you how little I knew about it before diving in.When?! The phone call to Web to get over to Nakamoto occurs at 9pm February 9th according to the testimony we see him giving in periodic flash forwards… turns out the testimony is from after Eddie is killed, Web gets shot, and then he gets put on leave. So really it’s like a flash middle. Fun to think that the climax of the film takes place 4 days after the date given… meaning we came very close to a Super Secret Holiday Film Alert with this taking place on Valentine’s Day. A- just for that fact.

When?! The phone call to Web to get over to Nakamoto occurs at 9pm February 9th according to the testimony we see him giving in periodic flash forwards… turns out the testimony is from after Eddie is killed, Web gets shot, and then he gets put on leave. So really it’s like a flash middle. Fun to think that the climax of the film takes place 4 days after the date given… meaning we came very close to a Super Secret Holiday Film Alert with this taking place on Valentine’s Day. A- just for that fact.

There were a number of critiques levied at the book and then the film adaptation for their portrayals of Japanese culture and business practices. For good reason! The book is even harsher, but you get the drift from the film as well. An unending stream of pejorative statements about Japanese business and America’s willingness to sell to them. Crichton defended the book as a purely economic argument, which might have gone over better if the Japanese economy wasn’t in the midst of a severe crash at the time of publication and then the film’s release. So it comes off as more rooted in xenophobia than the economic reality of the situation. All that being said up front, I think the film is otherwise just an adequate buddy cop police procedural. At times it lacks some direction and forward momentum, but I actually think it’s a bit of an improvement over the book. The book is just kinda boring, with a pretty bland main character and then Conner, who was clearly written with Connery in mind (but aren’t all Crichton characters… think about it). It feels like Crichton was more interested in getting his specific (offensive) point across and then built a generic police procedural around it. Of his books I’ve read it’s pretty easily my least favorite. As for After We Collided, I enjoyed watching the first one, I enjoyed watching this one, and I’ll enjoy watching the next one. They are real dumb and chock full o’ product placement, which gives a good laugh. I will also contend that, unlike Fifty Shades, this series actually has a purpose. It is about a young girl in love with an addict and the hope and desire that their love can ultimately overcome his trauma and his disease. He is not a bad person, but he has a problem and the depiction of their relationship is done more deftly than this dumbo series kinda deserves. So it’s not total trash. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! A pinch of noir, a dash of buddy cop, and juuuuuuuuuust a little (read: a lot) of cultural insensitivity, and you got a Rising Sun cooking baby! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – This movie has actually been on my radar for a long time … although mostly because I’ve been continually disappointed it wasn’t set in Japan. It would definitely be the best set-in-Japan bad movie ever, but alas, they set it in Los Angeles like dummies. Yawn. Always fun to hit up a Crichton though, they always scream “90s” to me. Just something about him. What were my expectations? I had a problem: I hadn’t seen much noir, and I hadn’t seen much Snipes. So I was mostly going into it curious to see how it played.

The Good – I liked the dynamic between Snipes and Connery. It works as an odd couple pairing. A despite the Hollywood-style exploration of Japanese business culture that feels both racist and immediately outdated, I did enjoy the specific moment where they exposed Connery’s character’s hypocrisy, specifically his attitude towards the bribe he was effectively given early in the film. Among an otherwise muddled film there were a few things that still seemed to at least focus the film in an interesting way. Best Bit: The buddy cops.

The Bad – I mean … the immediately outdated and racist portrayal of Japanese customs and business culture? That’s it isn’t it? Even if you wanted to dismiss that all as pearl-clutching nonsense, the film was made in 1993, well after the Japanese economy entered a recession, and so at very best the Japanese business villains come across as Hollywood feeling around for a Big Bad after the collapse of the USSR. Other than that boring and borderline confusing are probably the biggest slights. Fatal Flaw: Racism.

The BMT – This is certainly a unique film at the very least. I’m not sure how many other films even exist with the Japanese business world as the bad guy … Gung Ho maybe. Remember that film? About like … making a lot of cars or something? Anyways, I think I ultimately enjoyed the underlying noir element too much to think about watching this again, but the specific time it was made makes it an interesting one time watch. Did it meet my expectations? As a noir I guess not, I kind of expected Connery to be a PI. But maybe once I watch more noir I’ll know better. As a Snipes film also maybe not? I got the distinct feeling he was playing himself in the film, but I haven’t watched enough of his films to know better. I’m giving myself an Incomplete on this assignment.

Roast-radamus – A pretty good Setting as a Character (Where?) because how can you create a noir film without setting it in LA? A very amusing, and borderline super-secret holiday film, Exact Temporal Setting (When?) for the fact that all of the events take place between February 9th and February 13th, one day off from being an incredible Valentine’s Day film! And finally Worst Twist (How?) for having the same twist as The Skulls whereby the person who was killed wasn’t actually dead until someone else came into the room and killed her! Solid stuff, with the overall film being closest to Good I think.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – The Sequel is obvious here. A year after the events of the film Webster Smith gets an urgent letter from Jingo Asakuma that John Conner is back in Japan and in serious trouble! But when Webster arrives in Tokyo neither Conner or Asakuma can be found. In fact, Conner is wanted for question in connection to the disappearance of Asakuma a week prior. Huh, how odd. Webster, using some of the connections he had developed from the first film, ends up unwinding the strange tale of Conner’s return to Japan after decades in self-exile to discover who was responsible in the death of his old friend Yoshida. Along the way the daughter of the desk bound and contrite Ishihara helps Webster to navigate the underworld of modern Tokyo and the ever changing dynamics of the international business world. You have to know what the name is right? … Setting Sun. Boom, I think I just sold that spec on title alone. Call me Crichton, you can even write the book.

You Just Got Schooled – This one a film where I couldn’t quite decide whether to do a Snipes film or a noir. I went noir as I haven’t seen many of the classics and I’ve been watching only bad movies for too long. Naturally, I had to go for one of the best with Double Indemnity, which seems to be considered the noir to watch if you are looking for a definitive list. I was definitely thrown a bit by the subject matter and dialogue, because I’m mostly used to the Maltese Falcon where it is about a private detective / femme fatale dynamic. The insurance salesman, and the way he spoke, just really threw me off. But ultimately the perfect murder plot line is very engrossing and I can see why it is considered among the creme de la creme for the genre. Edward G. Robinson was particularly good. It ended up being the perfect choice because it broke me out of the mindset of noir = private eye, and I can see now why Rising Sun is considered to at least take inspiration from film noir (even if it is closer to a buddy cop film from the 80s). A+, obviously, it is a great film.

Bring a Friend Analysis – A pretty special week since we were able to bring along a BMT sequel as a friend, After We Collided, the sequel to the YA-romance novel-turned-movie After. The film is basically nonsense, but in that very special modern filmmaking kind of way. It appears to be something like six sex scenes held together by modular “destination” plot lines (a jaunt to the ice rink, a babysitting gig, a hot yoga session, etc.). Basically, it seems like the film could have been filmed by 20 different directors and then stitched together in any order they wanted at the end. Oh, and it is also one giant commercial for Amazon. It can’t be a coincidence I was watching the film on Amazon Prime while the main character is getting a Kindle as a gift. There was a storyline in this film … it just isn’t coming to me. Something like alcoholism is bad news, and you should make amends with your dad? Something like that. B+. I love YA-nonsense. This was kind of cheating because by all accounts this should have been released to theaters if not for the pandemic. But I’m glad we get to continue our journey into this YA-romance series.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Rising Sun Quiz

Oh boy, so I was called in as a special consultant on a murder inside a large Japanese conglomerate’s Los Angeles headquarters, and then wouldn’t you know it, but I was bopped on the head by some yakuza and don’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Rising Sun?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Who is the murder victim and what is her relationship to the Nakamoto Group and how did she die? 

2) Why is it explained that Connery took indefinite leave from the Los Angeles police department?

3) Why does Connery let Eddie go without questioning or arresting him at the party later on the evening of Feb 9th? 

4) Did Webb take a bribe? Why?

5) So … who killed the girl? Walk me through the events.

Bonus Question: Detective John Conner retires soon after the events of the film, what does he do after leaving the force (officially)?

Answers

Rising Sun Preview

“Get outta my way,” Patrick says gruffly, shoving the security guard out of his seat and setting up shop at the bank of security cameras. It’s not that he doesn’t trust Jamie, it’s just that sometimes he thinks with his greased up, rock hard muscles rather than his brain and they need a clue and fast. He watches the screens, sensing the many unfolding dramas, comedies, and dramedies in the lives of the residents of the building. “Intoxicating, isn’t it?” says the security guard hovering close over Patrick’s shoulder like a total creepster. Patrick looks at his nametag and back up to the creepily smirking guard, “I don’t want to have to use a patented Twin Chop on you, Zeke.” As he sulks away, Patrick shakes his head… Creepy Zeke… what a creep. Anyway, preserving the privacy of the other residents, Patrick finally lands on Rachel’s apartment where aha! She’s got a knife! But before he runs to bust in and take her down he sees that in fact Jamie and Rachel are just enjoying some cake. But what’s this?! Now she’s got a gun! Halfway out the room, though, he realizes that it’s just a BB gun to scare away the pigeons. He starts to get bored when something catches his eye. She’s got some nunchucks! Knowing there isn’t any innocuous explanation for nunchuck action, Patrick races upstairs and kicks in the door. Jamie and Rachel whirl in disbelief. “What are you doing here, bro?” Jamie asks, letting his new nunchucks fall to his side, clearly a present from Rachel for their wonderful day together. Patrick is ashamed, but before he can go, Rachel invites him in. “We were about to watch the sunrise together, would you… like to join?” With tears in his eyes, Patrick accepts. That’s right! We’re watching Rising Sun starring Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes. Another Crichton adaptation for BMT and one that generated some controversy at the time for how both the book and the film depict Japanese people. So no wonder it qualifies. We paired it for Bring a Friend with one of our most anticipated releases of last year that was supposed to be released to theaters but ended up on Netflix instead. After We Collided, sequel to BMT film After and continuing adaptation of the After series, gets this coveted spot. How is it connected to Rising Sun? It isn’t, we just wanted to watch it… deal with it. Let’s go!

Rising Sun (1993) – BMeTric: 22.8; Notability: 63 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 30.0%; Notability: top 4.8%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 30.9% Higher BMeT: Super Mario Bros., RoboCop 3, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Leprechaun, Mr. Nanny, Cop & ½, Sliver, The Beverly Hillbillies, Coneheads, Boxing Helena, Weekend at Bernie’s II, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Made in America, Son of the Pink Panther, Carnosaur, Dennis the Menace, Surf Ninjas, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, The Meteor Man, and 26 more; Higher Notability: Last Action Hero, Hocus Pocus, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, RoboCop 3, The Meteor Man; Lower RT: RoboCop 3, Son of the Pink Panther, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Mr. Nanny, Hexed, Best of the Best II, Carnosaur, Father Hood, Weekend at Bernie’s II, Calendar Girl, Hear No Evil, Sliver, Surf Ninjas, Another Stakeout, My Boyfriend’s Back, Cop & ½, Gunmen, Boxing Helena, Loaded Weapon 1, Striking Distance and 36 more; Notes: Sub-5.0 for most of its existence, which is pretty impressive. It’s notability is gaudy though. I guess it was another Crichton in 1993 though so everyone was picking up.

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars – “Rising Sun” is, of course, a slick, goodlooking movie. Kaufman is one of the best American directors (“The Right Stuff,” “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”), and he has a sure visual sense. But the screenplay by Kaufman, Crichton and Michael Backes is not about much of anything important, and Connery’s deep penetrating wisdom takes away some of the suspense: If he knows everything that’s going to happen, why keep us in the dark?

(I do think one of the most interesting bits of the film is that the director himself was very good, and the actors involved were solid. I guess given some of the notes that the producers meddled too much, foisted a bunch of changes from the book, and everything blew up. But who knows.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mb-s5IRn7Y/

(Wesley Snipes was actually a 5th degree black belt in Shotokan karate and a 2nd degree black belt in Hapkido. I should watch more Snipes films. This makes me wonder in how many films he actually got to show off his skills. Most of his filmography feels like martial arts would be somewhat out of place.)

Directors – Philip Kaufman – (Known For: The Right Stuff; The Unbearable Lightness of Being; Invasion of the Body Snatchers; Quills; The Wanderers; Henry & June; The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid; The White Dawn; Fearless Frank; Goldstein; BMT: Twisted; Rising Sun; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for writing The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Has a son Peter Kaufman who executive produced his films in the 90s.)

Writers – Michael Crichton (novel & screenplay) – (Known For: Jurassic Park; Jurassic World; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Twister; Jurassic Park III; Westworld; Disclosure; Runaway; The Andromeda Strain; Coma; Looker; The First Great Train Robbery; The Carey Treatment; The Terminal Man; Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues; Extreme Close-Up; Future BMT: Sphere; BMT: Congo; Timeline; Rising Sun; The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Twister in 1997; Notes: Won a technical Emmy for “pioneering computerized motion picture budgeting and scheduling” in 1995. Was a medical student prior to becoming a best-selling author.)

Philip Kaufman (screenplay) – (Known For: Raiders of the Lost Ark; Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; The Right Stuff; The Outlaw Josey Wales; The Unbearable Lightness of Being; The Wanderers; Henry & June; The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid; Fearless Frank; Goldstein; BMT: Rising Sun; Notes: Notably helped George Lucas come up with the actual plot for Raiders of the Lost Ark, specifically the Ark storyline, which is why he gets credits on all of the Indiana Jones stuff.)

Michael Backes (screenplay) – (BMT: Rising Sun; Notes: Was a technical consultant on a ton of films (including Real Genius). Got into the biz because his then-wife Martha Coolidge directed Crichton’s wife in a pilot (Sledge Hammer!) and they introduced their husbands.)

Actors – Sean Connery – (Known For: The Untouchables; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Highlander; Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; The Rock; A Bridge Too Far; The Man Who Would Be King; Thunderball; From Russia with Love; Murder on the Orient Express; Dr. No; Goldfinger; Time Bandits; The Name of the Rose; You Only Live Twice; Diamonds Are Forever; DragonHeart; Zardoz; Never Say Never Again; First Knight; Future BMT: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Family Business; A Good Man in Africa; Entrapment; Just Cause; The Man with the Deadly Lens; BMT: The Avengers; Highlander II: The Quickening; Medicine Man; Rising Sun; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Avengers in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Entrapment in 2000; Notes: Y’all know Sean Connery. Sadly passed away last year, but he was mostly retired and like 90 years old, so he lived a good long life. The definitive Jame Bond I think, and got third in the 1953 Mr. Universe competition (Junior class, although it is somewhat unclear).)

Wesley Snipes – (Known For: Blade; Blade II; Cut Throat City; Dolemite Is My Name; White Men Can’t Jump; New Jack City; Major League; King of New York; Chi-Raq; Waiting to Exhale; Jungle Fever; Chaos; Mo’ Better Blues; Brooklyn’s Finest; Undisputed; Final Recall; Gallowwalkers; One Night Stand; Drop Zone; Future BMT: Money Train; Boiling Point; The Art of War; Play It to the Bone; Blade: Trinity; The Fan; Passenger 57; Murder at 1600; Wildcats; Sugar Hill; U.S. Marshals; To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; Streets of Gold; BMT: The Expendables 3; Rising Sun; Demolition Man; Notes: I didn’t know much about his tax issues, but it seems likely he is a genuine sovereign citizen and feels like it is illegal for the government to tax him. He served three years in federal prison for his shenanigans.)

Harvey Keitel – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Inglourious Basterds; Taxi Driver; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Irishman; Reservoir Dogs; Red Dragon; From Dusk Till Dawn; Isle of Dogs; Moonrise Kingdom; National Treasure; Fatima; Sister Act; Get Shorty; The Piano; Thelma & Louise; Mean Streets; Youth; The Painted Bird; Future BMT: Little Nicky; Little Fockers; Arthur and the Invisibles; The January Man; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; BMT: The Ridiculous 6; Be Cool; Rising Sun; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Last Temptation of Christ in 1989; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Bugsy. Notably for working with Quentin Tarantino in particular, and worked as a stenographer when he was a struggling actor.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $63,179,523 (Worldwide: $107,198,790)

(That seems mostly okay. I always say this, but I’m sure they were expecting more from a Crichton adaptation coming hot on the heels of Jurassic Park, but for a noir detective thing it seems pretty good for the 90s.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (13/40)

(Let’s make a consensus: A muddled genre-bending mess. At times a political thriller, a noir, a buddy cop film, Rising Sun never seems to be anything but confusing. Reviewer Highlight: When working in genre territory before, the idiosyncratic Kaufman has shown a marked tendency to debunk or subvert conventions. Playing it straight here, he brings little to the table. – Todd McCarthy, Variety)

Poster – Rising Sklog

(Ummmm yes. Yes. Yes. Yes…. yes. I’m into that. Yes. I like everything about it. Only critique I can even come up with is maybe a little too action-y given that the film is more a noir murder mystery. A.)

Tagline(s) – A coalition of East and West. A conspiracy of seduction and murder. A battle between tradition and power. Business is war. (D)

(Egad! I will chalk this up to the fact that the poster actually doesn’t have a tagline (boo) so this must be some extra bullshit. I mean they clearly know what a tagline is. They have the rule of three and stuff, but come on. Who’s reading this?)

Keyword – yakuza

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Suicide Squad (2016), Deadpool 2 (2018), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Beverly Hills Ninja (1997), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), The Wolverine (2013), Predators (2010), Ghost in the Shell (2017), Big Hero 6 (2014)

Future BMT: 47.0 Beverly Hills Ninja (1997), 34.5 Suicide Squad (2016), 26.8 War (2007), 23.6 Ninja Assassin (2009);

BMT: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), RoboCop 3 (1993), Rising Sun (1993)

(I wonder if the Yakuza being baddies in film basically represents Japan still being perceived as an economic threat to the U.S., but that perception not really being updated after the collapse of their economy in 1991 … anyways, not that surprising it constantly rises as I think Japanese culture (e.g. anime) has become more and more popular from the late 90s onwards. My god, I can’t wait to watch Beverly Hills Ninja again.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Wesley Snipes is No. 2 billed in Rising Sun and No. 2 billed in Demolition Man, which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 14. If we were to watch Murder at 1600, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 9.

Notes – Michael Crichton wrote the part of Connor with Sir Sean Connery in mind.

The Sempai and Kohai relationship is touched upon during the movie, however there were a couple of problems. In Japan, “Sempai” is often used as an address and as a show of respect to one’s superior. “Kohai”, on the other hand, can be considered offensive when used to address an individual directly, as it is “putting someone in his place.” Hence Captain John Connor (Sir Sean Connery) effectively insults Lieutenant Webster Smith (Wesley Snipes) throughout the movie. Given that Connor is supposed to be well versed in Japanese customs, this action should be taken very seriously. “Kohai” is normally used as a reference, not an address. For example: Smith is the Kohai of Connor.

Michael Crichton and Michael Backes quit the project, largely over disagreements with writer and director Philip Kaufman, that one of the lead characters should be changed into an African-American.

Eddie’s (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa’s) red car is a Vector W8, an American-made supercar with a top speed of 242 mph.

In the scene at the country club, the advice that Senator Morton tells the detectives is “If the battle can’t be won, don’t fight it.” That quote is from the book “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu.

The building housing the company “Hamaguri”, where the video recording ‘could be doctored’, is the same building housing Starfleet Headquarters in Star Trek: Voyager. (Bomb, I love Voyager)

The second of three movies released in as many years featuring Harvey Keitel and Steve Buscemi. The others being Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994).

Smaddies Baddies VIII

For the tenth year in a row (uh … ignore some of those early years I guess) it’s the award show everyone is clamoring for. On the tenth anniversary of Bad Movie Thursday, it is a truly special event, so time to look back at the movies we watched this year and give them the award with the name as bad as the films. It’s ….

Smaddies Baddies! Smaddies Baddies! As usual an amazing year here at BMTHQ. We were ready and raring to go with the 2020 bad movie slate chock-a-block full of … what’s that? They didn’t release any movies this year? The dreams of the Bad Movie Twins Media Empire are shattered? Our lives are in ruins as the promise of those big BMT bucks will now never come through and we’ll die unknown paupers? … Welp, it was still a good year! Indeed without any films being released to theaters we had to be nimble BMT lads and yes-and some special holiday and anniversary films like the improv ninjas that we are. Crocodile Dundee, The Blue Lagoon, Dolittle? Who needs to travel when we can travel in our BMT minds? And we got our first ever true blue Stallone day on December 31st! That’s been a long time coming.

We’ll start with the BMT awards which are usually cut for time: the 6W awards. Let’s go! 

The Joey from Hackers Best Planchet Baddie (Who?) goes to Knock Off. You know, the Jean Claude Van Damme classic co-starring Rob Schnieder. As often happens when you pair a comedian with a martial artist, the comedian is amazed by his co-stars martial arts skills, tries to do karate while embarrassing himself, and then the protagonist spends the entire film saving the comedian’s life over and over while women, bad guys, and regular citizens sneer at the comedian for being a worthless schlub. Read that description again. Alright, you’ve basically watched Knock Off now, just add a dash of counterfeit jeans laced with explosives (not joking). Bonus Shoutout to Booster from the television show from within Jingle All the Way. This might be the first ever Meta-Planchet, which has to count for something. He’ll be an actual Planchet once they pick up that Turboman adaptation I’ve been pitching (a la the upcoming Buzz Lightyear film). Every character is like “Booster what a goddamned joke. HAHAHAHAHA” both in and out of the Turboman show. Children literally punch and kick him at the end because they hate him so much. No wonder he came shockingly close to winning this award. 

The I Know Who Killed Me Best Twins Ever Baddie (Who?) has to go to Double Impact. Here’s the pitch: we’re going to make a film where Jean Claude Van Damme, a serviceable actor on a good day, pulls split screen duties as his own twin. And get this, the biggest fight in the whole film will be between the two JCVDs! And the craziest thing? JCVD is the best part of this film! The rest of the film is somehow worse than JCVD having to act opposite of himself. Mind boggling. We got two Bonus Shoutouts for this one. First, for actual twins nothing beats Archetypal Twins, and what an archetype “crazy looking body builder who dresses like a ten-year-old” is. The Paul twins look like cartoon characters in Twin Sitters, but just missed out due to their lacking martial arts skills. And second shoutout to Woman of Desire, you know … the Jeff Fahey classic we brought along as a friend with Mrs. Winterbourne. Not because Steven Bauer played a particularly distinguished set of twins. No, because Jeff Fahey and Bo Derek have sex on a motorcycle. Go and watch the scene, it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It almost spawned a podcast where we just review films where people have sex on motorcycles… which apparently would be just us reviewing two movies over and over again.

The Adam Sandler Memorial Product Placement Baddie Brought to You By McDonalds, Ba-da-ba-ba-ba, I’m Lovin’ It! (What?) And the winner is Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles which features, I think, our first Wendy’s product placement. Crocodile and Jacko just cannot get enough of the deliciously never-frozen quarter pound hamburgers from Wendy’s. Have you tried their Frosty™?! It’s to die for. Quality truly is their recipe. Bonus Shoutout to another fast food chain in Masters of the Universe which features a scene in which Robert Duncan McNeill doesn’t eat Burger King, but then puts a load of Burger King wrappers (and two oranges) into the sink so he can wipe down a table. Wild guess: Courtney Cox was supposed to work at Burger King, but then the product placement fell through and they changed it to a generic fake restaurant after a few scenes were already complete. Regardless, that is the type of random out of nowhere placement we like to see, just not enough of it to win. They should have had a Masters of the Universe dance sequence at the local BK, that would have done it.

The Bangkok Dangerous Setting as a Character Baddie (Where?) This year we were going fast and furious on exotic locals due to the expansion of the Mapl.d.Map. And naturally the winner had to be In The Army Now for a rare Africa setting, and the rarest Chad setting! It might actually be the only major film ever set in Chad, and it is terrible. That is what BMT likes to see. Some of the best settings come from that early-90s period where Hollywood was grasping around for a replacement for the Soviets as bad guys in bad Pauly Shore comedies, so why not have Libya invade Chad I guess? Bonus Shoutout to Graveyard Shift. Sure the setting isn’t that flashy, just up the road in Maine. But when you get multiple characters putting on fake Maine accents that sound like the sheriff from Murder She Wrote? That’s when you know the setting-plot-characters have fused into some monstrous blind rat/bat monster under your textile factory / graveyard and created something special. 10/10 nailed the landing on that metaphor.

The Marion Cobretti Memorial Super Secret Holiday Film Baddie (When?) This year we watched a few very-not-secret holiday films like Boo! A Madea Halloween, Dutch, and Jingle All the Way. Those don’t count. But Turbulence does, because you know you can’t have a psycho-on-the-plane Die Hard scenario unless it is set during the happiest time of the year, Christmas! Nothing says it is Christmas at BMTHQ like Ray Liotta’s cackling mask-like face. Bonus Shoutout to Knock Off which isn’t set during a holiday per se, but is set explicitly during the handover of Hong Kong from British to Chinese control on July 1, 1997. We love those very specific temporal settings, it really allows us to think “we should make a BMT calendar, but all of the holidays would be specific dates set during bad films.” Billion dollar idea right there, patent pending.

The Street Fighter Legend of Chun Li Best MacGuffin Baddie (Why?) Every year we say it, and every year it is true. We love MacGuffins. You can’t help but laugh when they come up with something ridiculous with a ridiculous name that actors have to say over and over and over again. This year’s winner is Masters of the Universe for the Cosmic Key. Everyone is looking for the Cosmic Key, because you know … it makes music and allows you to travel across dimensions maybe? Or is He-Man just from some other part of the infinite universe? Is there philosophically a difference between those two ideas? Only the Cosmic Key would allow me to know, which is why I, like Skeletor, must possess its power!! Bonus Shoutout to Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. A very rare A+ MacGuffin. Genuinely no one really knows what the Cradle of Life is until they get there. Turns out it inverts gravity and has Pandora’s Box in it and is magic? Our beautiful minds didn’t see that one coming, but that is what MacGuffins are all about, the unknowable power you must possess!

The 88 Minutes Starring Leelee Sobieski Worst Twist Baddie (How?) Twists come in many flavors. You have the dumb twists, the crazy twists, and the rote we’ve-seen-this-before-a-lot twists. This year the award goes to Fantasy Island for one of the crazier dumb twists I’ve ever seen. Lucy Hall is on Fantasy Island to fulfill her fantasy: to avenge the death of the man she loved! But in the meantime she’s going to pretend to be a guest on the island and put on a master class of acting even when other people aren’t around? Surely there must be more to it, but I can assure you there is not, it really is like a Mad Libs style ending to a horror film. Bonus Shoutout to Perfect Stranger which does a solid we’ve-seen-this-before-a-lot twist revealing that it was the hero, Halle Berry, the whole time! But of course everyone already knew that.

Phew. Now onto the big awards, officially based on The Good, The Bad and The BMT (plus Live!). And without further ado:

The Freddy Got Fingered Surprisingly Good Baddie (The Good) Nominees: Kiss the Girls, Event Horizon, Now and Then, Dutch, and Sanctum

And the Winner is: Kiss the Girls! It is rare that a bad book adaptation turns out to be … kind of good? Odder still, I read the book loooong before I saw the movie and the book is … also kind of good? Stunning development that shattered the BMT universe, aren’t Ashley Judd thrillers always bad? We’ve watched like twelve of them I think. But gotta say, this one had us wondering whether she wasn’t underrated. Pretty good in this one. Anyways, I liked the symmetry in a way because Along Came a Spider is terrible as a sequel. If you are looking for a trashy serial killer movie or a trashy serial killer book you could do worse than Kiss the Girls. I mean, it isn’t Hackers, but still it is pretty good as far as bad films go.

The Strange Wilderness Unpleasantly Terrible Baddie (The Bad) Nominees: Holmes & Watson, Perfect Stranger, Heartbeeps, The Identical, and Blame it on Rio

And the Winner is: Perfect Stranger! What’s that? You’ve never heard of this Halle Berry and Bruce Willis classic? Neither had we before we decided we just had to watch it, and I now wish I still hadn’t heard of it. It is a rote, predictable thriller that is not thrilling. Worse, it is set in a grimy New York City with a pathetic character played by Ribisi. The whole thing is such an unpleasant journey to the predictable conclusion that I would rather watch Heartbeeps or Blame it on Rio again instead of Perfect Stranger. At least those are amusing in their weirdness, this is just unpleasant in its roteness. Boom, take that Perfect Stranger.

The Here on Earth Most BMT Baddie (The BMT) Nominees: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, Congo, Turbulence, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Specialist

And the Winner is: Turbulence! Were there bigger, badder films this year? Yes. But nothing is more enjoyable than when Ray Liotta takes his mask-face and bites right into a script and tears it to shreds with a performance. It is hard to tell whether you are supposed to know he is, in fact, a serial killer at the beginning of the film. It feels like you aren’t. But Ray Liotta is so supremely creepy you sit there and HOPE he’s a serial killer, because for him to be an unlikely convict-hero would just be too much. I cackled along with Liotta while nary a whisper of turbulence disturbed their cross-country flight on Christmas Day and our convict-villain tore a plane apart. I would watch this again immediately, back-to-back with Liotta’s other great tour de force, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Take that The Island of Dr. Moreau, weirdo fat Brando has nothing on cackling serial killer Liotta!! 

The Jack and Jill Worst of 2020 Baddie (The BMT Live!) Nominees: Bloodshot, Dolittle, and Fantasy Island

And the Winner is: Fantasy Island! Unfortunately due to the pandemic there were far fewer officially qualifying films in 2020 than we are accustomed to (and most of those were horror releases from January). Regardless, we got to hit up two of the sub-20% reviewed films, one of which, Dolittle, was probably the most notorious release of the year … welp, guess what dummies, we picked Fantasy Island! With one of the dumbest twists imaginable, and that nice Blumhouse sheen, Fantasy Island was the most entertainingly bad movie of the year. Dolittle was just a little too cobbled-together-kids-movies for our tastes. It isn’t Cats, but really, what could be? Instead, come to our fantasy and learn the ultra dumb reason the one character is nicknamed Tattoo. You’ll hate it, I guarantee it.

Smaddies Baddies, Smaddies Baddies. All things considered a great year I think. Watching Dutch is a milestone for BMT since I have, no joke, seen the film maybe 30 times in my life. For those who fell asleep during the announcements: watch Masters of the Universe, Turbulence, and Congo. Skip Knock Off, Perfect Stranger, and Blame it on Rio. Ah, you got me, as usual you should just watch them all. Watch all 600 BMT films, do it, ruin your life, you know you want to!