Cheaper by the Dozen Recap

Jamie

BMT is truly a wonder. Just when you think it can’t get any better (seriously, how could it get better? It’s basically perfect), we go ahead and implement a BMT Book Club cycle to get us all jazzed up. It has been a joy to read these books and watch these films. In some cases it’s unnecessary (Fifty Shades of Grey is basically a straight-up adaptation, so you don’t really have to read the book), but in cases like Cheaper by the Dozen it takes what would have been a mediocre/forgettable BMT film and transmorphs it into a BMT extravaganza of insights.

And seriously, the adaptation of this truly wonderful book was a T-R-A-V-E-S-T-Y. There is no acceptable explanation for why this film turned out this way. They shit on the source material. Ripped all the interesting stuff out of a really interesting book and replaced it with cliches and garbage. It should really have been like what Patrick will explain: dad runs family like his occupation (football coach is actually a really good choice). Don’t make him a bumbling fool and make the family fall apart. Who wants to watch that? Wouldn’t you rather have the family use their unique skills to overcome the problems that face them (perhaps with a bunch of hilarious montages where their use their football knowledge to approach aspects of their lives?). Come on! So dumb. And to think! Without the book we would have had no idea that this was a pile of shit compared to what it was a remake of. Really makes me not want to watch the second one (which is supposed to be considerably worse). And with that I don’t really have much more to say about Cheaper by the Dozen.

I’ll let Patrick explain more though.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Cheaper by the Dozen? More like just Cheaper than the Original. This entire round of adaptations has been super interesting, but this one might be the most interesting. The Cheaper by the Dozen book (non-fiction, written in 1949 about events occurring around 1929) is probably the best of the source materials we’ve encountered thus far. The original movie is a super faithful adaptation (all the way down to the depressing end). The actual real life story is crazy cool (the mother was the first practicing female industrial engineer with a PhD, was inducted into the national academy of science, and is considered a pioneer of ergonomics). So … why? Why did they adapt it this way?

  • A few things it has going for it: Steve Martin is great. Bonnie Hunt is great. Most of the kids are fine. Even the older kids (limited in screen time) are fine. So what’s the problem?
  • While I was impressed with the movie’s ability to make the kids individuals and somewhat memorable (two twin boys are youngest, then another young boy, misfit kid, two fraternal twin girls, sporty girl, skateboard kid, chunky kid, Hillary Duff, Superman, Covert Affairs …. that’s in ascending order by age, or close to it), none of them have any kind of interesting story. Hillary Duff is upset about wearing hand me downs (resolved in the first half hour). Superman is kicked off the football team (NOT RESOLVED, what the fuck?). Misfit kid is sad (resolved with swelling music and Patrick tears at the end). Covert Affairs breaks up with Ashton Kutcher twice! (NOT RESOLVED, and he’s back in the sequel? EDITORS NOTE: He is not). Even the parents stories are half-baked.
  • And the entire tone is just off. In the original the family operates like a machine. The father is an industrial engineer specializing in efficiency and runs his family accordingly. Most of the humor (and drama) come from how people react to this unconventional family. Here: chaos. Chaos everywhere. Literally the worst parents. Literally begging the question: Why do you have 12 kids?! You cannot manage them! I know you have to go a little slapstick, but it ends up as a slap in the face (heyoooo) of the original.
  • I’ll leave it there. The music was obnoxious. Which means watch out Jamie: you might be getting this soundtrack as a gift.
  • Let’s Airbud this! Cheaper by the Tolstoy. Tolstoy has a litter of puppies, a dozen of them, and oh my are they a handful. With severe separation anxiety and leash aggression abound what will Patrick do with them?! Work through it of course, with love and laughter (and a little underbite). Cheaper by the Tolstoy … hot diggity dog! (That’s the terrible tagline). Also, perhaps, called Beethoven’s … Twelfth I guess? Although he only had 9 complete symphonies …

I think it is time for a Remake! Here’s the thing. Part of the charm of the original movie is just how capable the parents are. They joke around, and things go awry, but they rarely descend into chaos. The newer movie was chaos wall to wall. So here’s the change: The father is a coach, and runs his family like a football team. When he blows his whistle everyone falls in line. The drama of the story is more about people not believing in him because twelve kids just seems like too many today. They pull through because they are a team. Like in the first movie a lot of drama can also come from the kids getting bullied because of the oddity of their family. NETFLIX!!!! This is a live one, we need to hit this while the iron is hot. Also, all of the Netflix executives who read this week to week, hear me out. Bedknobs and Broomsticks Netflix original series. Just a thought.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Cheaper by the Dozen Preview

Alright, well we are cruising through our Now a Major Motion Picture cycle and I’m loving it. Getting into a groove on finishing these books. This week we’re doing a movie that I really didn’t know was based on a book. Cheaper by the Dozen starring Steve Martin. Apparently it’s based on a memoir of a prominent engineering duo who had 12 children and were pretty quirky. They made a 1950 movie out of it and then remade it in 2003. A pleasant surprise was that the book is only 200 pages long, so I’m already done with it and moving onto the next book. Seemingly takes place in Chicago, so not an addition for the map (but what really is at this point). Let’s go!

Cheaper by the Dozen (2003) – BMeTric: 39.7

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(This graph says: this film is mediocre and we know it is mediocre through and through. Still, too high of a rating to be truly amazing. The BMeTric is all popularity, it is a mediocre-popular film.)

Leonard Maltin – 3 stars –  Martin and Hunt are happy, harried parents of 12 kids until a major move and career changes (a football coaching job at his alma mater for him, an extended book-promotion tour for her) throw the family asunder. Cute family comedy, with predictable slapstick moments, is strengthened by Martin and Hunt’s performances as genuinely loving parents. Although officially a remake, it has nothing to do with the 1950 film or the book that inspired it. Ashton Kutcher appears unbilled. Followed by a sequel.

(Whaaaaa? 3 Stars, Leonard? This rating got me and Patrick discussing about what other films we’ve watched that Leonard gave 3 stars. The last one? Welcome to Mooseport. Isn’t that the most appropriate duo? Cheaper by the Dozen and Welcome to Mooseport. They’re Old Dad Movies and Leonard loves it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b44tHAFX8JQ

(Oh no. I am not feeling that. And that has nothing to do with the book. I guess I’ll just have to sit back and enjoy some classic Steve Martin antics. He certainly seems to give it his all.)

Directors – Shawn Levy – (Known For: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; This Is Where I Leave You; Real Steel; Night at the Museum; Date Night; Night at the Museum 2; Big Fat Liar; Future BMT: Just Married; The Pink Panther; The Internship; BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen; Notes: Graduated from Yale at the age of 20. Directed Steve Martin in two remakes: this and The Pink Panther.)

Writers – Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (novel) (as Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr.) – (BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Cheaper by the Dozen; Notes: They were the writers of the original book and two of the real life children the story is based on.)

Craig Titley (screen story) – (Known For: Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief; Future BMT: Scooby-Doo; See Spot Run; BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Cheaper by the Dozen; Notes: He was taught guitar at the age of 11 by Didjits founder Rick Sims and played in bands with several of the members of that group.)

Sam Harper (screenplay) – (Known For: Rio; Open Season; Future BMT: Just Married; Rookie of the Year; BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Cheaper by the Dozen; Notes: Son of a notable ad man, he actually worked as the editor of the advertising industry trade publication Advertising Age.)

Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow (screenplay) – (Known For: Toy Story; Future BMT: Daddy Day Camp; Garfield; Garfield 2; Evan Almighty; Money Talks; Goodbye Lover; BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen; Notes: Writing partners. Nominated for an Oscar for the Toy Story screenplay.)

Actors – Steve Martin – (Known For: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk; Home; The Prince of Egypt; Little Shop of Horrors; Parenthood; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; Father of the Bride; It’s Complicated; ¡Three Amigos!; The Jerk; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; The Man with Two Brains; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; Roxanne; Baby Mama; The Big Year; Bowfinger; The Muppet Movie; Father of the Bride Part II; My Blue Heaven; Future BMT: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; The Pink Panther; The Pink Panther 2; The Out-of-Towners; Bringing Down the House; Mixed Nuts; Sgt. Bilko; Christmas with the Coopers; Novocaine; HouseSitter; BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Cheaper by the Dozen; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor for The Pink Panther 2 in 2010; Notes: World famous comedian and bluegrass banjo player.)

Bonnie Hunt – (Known For: Cars 3; Zootropolis; The Green Mile; Cars; Jumanji; Toy Story 3; Monsters, Inc.; Jerry Maguire; Rain Man; A Bug’s Life; Monsters University; Only You; Dave; Return to Me; I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With; Loggerheads; Future BMT: Beethoven’s 2nd; Beethoven; Cars 2; Kissing a Fool; Getting Away with Murder; Now and Then; BMT: Random Hearts; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Cheaper by the Dozen; Notes: She was in Second City with Mike Myers.)

Hilary Duff – (Known For: The Lizzie McGuire Movie; Playing by Heart; Flock of Dudes; Human Nature; Provinces of Night; Future BMT: Agent Cody Banks; The Perfect Man; War, Inc.; A Cinderella Story; Raise Your Voice; Stay Cool; BMT: Material Girls; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Cheaper by the Dozen; What Goes Up; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress in 2005 for A Cinderella Story, and Raise Your Voice; in 2006 for Cheaper by the Dozen 2, and The Perfect Man; and in 2007 for Material Girls; and Nominated for Worst Screen Couple for Material Girls in 2007; Notes: Famous singer turned actor, and has her own Barbie Doll)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $138,614,544 (Worldwide: $190,212,113)

(A huge box office hit. Kinda surprised by that, but 2003 was a more innocent time. Enough to get a sequel though, and for a comedy that is an impressive take.)

#5 for the Comedy – Fish-Out-of-Water Father genre

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(You probably wouldn’t get the top two (Despicable Me 1&2) but after that you get a couple classics (Three Men and a Baby and Big Daddy) before hitting this one. For those curious, there are 37 major releases under that category. The lowest grossing? Another classic: Dutch. Right after the big boom in the subgenre which is all but dead.)

#5 for the Family – Remake genre

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(It had a resurgence last year, and will continue with the new Jungle Book and the sequel to the one last year. again, this came early in a resurgence of the subgenre, which then basically died off. Remakes always come in waves. Around other smash hits like Doctor Dolittle)

#3 for the Comedy Remake genre

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(Remakes. Come. In. Waves. Last year’s big hit was … gulp … Ghostbusters. I have a feeling Hollywood is prepping its new IP source. At some point they’ll mine the 90s for anything that could do with a good remaking and see if that holds. I would watch Hook … maybe.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 24% (28/118): In this family of twelve children, much chaos ensues, but little hilarity.

(I got nothing to work with in this consensus. I give this RT consensus 1/4 stars.)

Poster – Skloger by the Dozen (C-)

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(That is horrific. Holy lord, that is an awful poster. I hate the mostly white, terrible coloring. It really ruins everything about this. The good thing is that the wallet ploy is actually a pretty clever way of getting the whole cast on the poster. Boosts the final score a bit.)

Tagline(s) – This Christmas the more… the scarier! (F)

(I always go with the tagline on the poster as the official one, which in this case is too bad. It’s straight awful. But trust me, none of the other ones were any good either.)

Keyword(s) – new job; Top Ten by BMeTric: 75.6 Look Who’s Talking Now (1993); 75.4 Look Who’s Talking Too (1990); 72.8 Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003); 71.2 Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011); 67.9 Superman III (1983); 60.2 Underdog (2007); 58.3 Deck the Halls (2006); 52.8 Blonde Ambition (2007); 52.2 Lay the Favorite (2012); 51.6 Just My Luck (2006);

(What is this keyword? Ridiculous. We will watch Look Who’s Talking Now and Too at some point I would think. Maybe as a one-two combo for animal actors. Otherwise this is a terrible marathon and I hate it.)

Notes – Mel Gibson was considered for the role of Tom Baker. (whaaaaaaa?)

Although this film is based on that same book that inspired the 1950 film (Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)), the only element it retains from the original is the idea of there being 12 children in one family. Even the names of the characters are changed. (well I guess it won’t be important that we read the book then)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Ashton Kutcher)

Fifty Shades of Grey Preview

Moving forward, we have made it to the Girls’ Night Out portion of the cycle. But what chick flick could we possibly do based on a book. Jeez Louise, like nothing springs to mind. Literally no bondage-based film released last Valentine’s Day. Oh wait! It was sitting right there the whole time: Fifty Shades of Grey. Obviously. Now, of course, you must realize that by doing this film in this section requires that at least one of us reads this inane, Twlight fan fiction book before watching this week. Are we willing to do so? You bet your ass we are. Let’s get this going!

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) – BMeTric: 90.3 (Generated on December 12, 2017)

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(Yeah people didn’t like this immediately. Basically 90 is about as high as you can get as far as the BMeTric is concerned. Why? Well … you need some headroom. Imagine a film with 200 thousand votes but a 2.0 on IMDb. That would be very very close to 100. Like 10 million votes and a flat 1.0 would be 100. It is just a cumulative distribution function. It ain’t rocket science.)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars – In the annals of sexually-charged event cinema, ”Fifty Shades of Grey” barely lights a candle let alone combusts with unbridled forbidden passion. Nothing comes close to Michael Douglas and Glenn Close humping on the kitchen sink in “Fatal Attraction” or Marlon Brando’s inventive use of butter withMaria Schneider in “The Last Tango in Paris.” Even those ejaculating dolphin fountains in “Showgirls” were steamier than what shows up in this tempered version of E.L. James’ S&M rewrite of “Beauty and the Beast.”

(So I got three movies to add to my Netflix queue. This is essentially what I heard about the film. That it was a stylish adaptation that ramped down the sex… and that got all the fans hot and bothered (in a bad way). Two stars sounds about right in that case.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfZWFDs0LxA

(This runs like a horror film. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to think he’s super evil or not until the end where she’s all like “enlighten me then… and by enlighten, I mean a little penis in vagina”. Then it’s pretty clear.)

Directors – Sam Taylor-Johnson – (Known For: Nowhere Boy; Future BMT: Destricted; BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director for Fifty Shades of Grey in 2016; Notes: Very well regarded photographer. We should actually be calling her Dame Sam Taylor-Johnson as she was damed (?… is that right?) by the Queen for her work in the arts.)

Writers – Kelly Marcel (screenplay by) – (Known For: Saving Mr. Banks; BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for Fifty Shades of Grey in 2016; Notes: Daughter of Terry Marcel, a director with a filmography that looks perfect for BMT. Hawk the Slayer, anyone?)

E.L. James (novel) – (BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Notes: The author. She ultimately got total control of the series in the end. The second and third films are even written by her husband. She must be mega-rich.)

Actors – Dakota Johnson – (Known For: The Social Network; 21 Jump Street; Black Mass; How to Be Single; A Bigger Splash; The Five-Year Engagement; For Ellen; Future BMT: Anarchy: Ride or Die; Date and Switch; Goats; Crazy in Alabama; BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Beastly; Need for Speed; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Combo for Fifty Shades of Grey in 2016; Notes: Daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson. Both could provide BMT films for us… that would be a fun cycle. A Family Affair, where we use an acting family to get different movies for each member. I’ll have to think about that.)

Jamie Dornan – (Known For: Anthropoid; Marie Antoinette; The Siege of Jadotville; The 9th Life of Louis Drax; BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Fifty Shades of Grey in 2016; Notes: Could literally be me and Patrick’s triplet. He looks that similar to us. Now, let’s see if anyone notices this “note”. Probably not, cause no one reads this.)

Jennifer Ehle – (Known For: Detroit; The King’s Speech; Zero Dark Thirty; Contagion; The Adjustment Bureau; RoboCop; A Quiet Passion; The Fundamentals of Caring; The Ides of March; Spooks: The Greater Good; A Little Chaos; Sunshine; Wilde; Black or White; Little Men; The Greatest; Paradise Road; Advantageous; Possession; Backbeat; Future BMT: The Forger; Pride and Glory; BMT: Fifty Shades of Grey; Notes: Daughter of Rosemary Ehle who played Aunt May. She won a Tony in 2000 for The Real Thing beating out her aforementioned mother!)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $166,167,230 (Worldwide: $571,006,128)

(Obviously a box office smash success. Not sure there was any chance it wouldn’t be. Isn’t it kinda sad though that a company can take a property that fans love, adapt it exactly without any interesting changes, and then watch as people file in and out of the theater shrugging their shoulders and saying “Meh, hope the next one is better. Can’t wait to see it.” Rinse, recycle, repeat.)

#4 for the Romantic Drama genre

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(Generated on December 12, 2017. Came right at another peak of romantic dramas. I wonder why they collapsed so thoroughly in the mid-2000s? Just like a total rejection of the genre. But it’s back baby! Probably due to the realization that women audiences exist.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (66/256)While creatively better endowed than its print counterpart, Fifty Shades of Grey is a less than satisfying experience on the screen.

(“Better endowed” blech. I hate when a RT consensus tries to be more clever than it needs to be. “Less than satisfying” come on. Also, how many of the reviewers actually read the book to make that comparison? I bet not a single one of them actually read the book. Not a single one.)

Poster – Fifty Sklogs of Grey (C+)

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(Grey’s not my favorite tone to use for a poster, but what were they going to do? Better than keeping the colored tones of the people. Don’t like the text and the picture is photogenic, but not interesting or aesthetically pleasing. Could have been a C- if I was in a worse mood.)

Tagline(s) – Lose control (B+)

(Very odd. I wanted to give this a bad grade, but in reality it’s pretty good for fans of the book. Like it kinda represents both Anastasia and Christian’s characters in the book. She loses control, he loses control… just different types of control (internal vs. external). It’s as concise as possible and actually somewhat clever for the above reasons. Could have been a bit more informative for those that aren’t super familiar with the material, but otherwise pretty nice.)

Keyword(s) – female nudity; Top Ten by BMeTric: 95.9 Meet the Spartans (2008); 92.3 Date Movie (2006); 90.3 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 88.5 House of the Dead (2003); 88.4 The Room (2003); 87.3 BloodRayne (2005); 84.4 Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994); 84.3 Piranha 3DD (2012); 84.2 Movie 43 (2013)83.3 Rollerball (2002);

(By the way, there are something like 60,000 films with the tag on IMDb. Thanks IMDb. And yet, it doesn’t have all of the films (like Batman & Robin is missing … because it is a film for children with no nudity). There are some loads of crap though right?)

Notes – Angelina Jolie was offered the chance to direct, but she declined.

Each cast member learned their lines in 5 days. (guffaw)

The first draft of the script by writer Kelly Marcel included way more sex and was much more sexually explicit than the final version. In fact, she wanted it to be NC-17, along with one of the film’s producers Dana Brunetti. However, Universal executives shot down any such plans and the script was considerably toned down both in the number of sex scenes and the explicitness of the sex by two subsequent re-writes. The studio would only approve an R rated film as they had bought the rights for $5 million dollars and with a budget of $40 million dollars, they did not want to turn away a large portion of their audience which would be the case if they released an NC-17 film. (classic)

Considered to be the second major motion picture based on fan-fiction. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013) was the first. (whaaaaaaaa?)

The pool scene, in Dr. Grey’s mansion, the boat house is the same as the one used in Elektra (for some reason I really enjoy that)

In the Fifty Shades trilogy books, the phrase “my inner goddess” is mentioned 115 times by Anastasia’s inner monologue. This is how she often refers to herself – e.g. “my inner goddess is jumping up and down, clapping her hands like a five-year old”. The movie does not mention or utilize Anastasia’s “inner goddess” at all. (thank God)

Awards – Nominated for the Oscar for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song (The Weeknd, Belly, DaHeala, Stephan Moccio)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Jamie Dornan)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Dakota Johnson)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Combo (Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Kelly Marcel)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Sam Taylor-Johnson)

Bless the Child Preview

Alright, well this week we made a terrible mistake. Not that we chose a bad film for our Horror/Thriller week (in fact it is the perfectly chosen Bless the Child starring a BMT favorite Kim Basinger), but the book is 550 pages long! Like super, duper long! It took me forever to read. I just finished it this afternoon in fact. Starting to get worried I might not have time to finish the next book on the docket (my life is pretty tough guys). But I can’t worry about that now. I gotta get to Bless the Child. Oddly, this was always in the back of my mind for BMT. Not just because it is one of the worst reviewed films in history, but also there was a time that I thought it might take place in Vermont for some portion of the film… which would have obviously trumped A Change of Seasons for mapl.de.map. Unfortunately, after doing some research I figured that it’s unlikely that Basinger’s character even makes it to Vermont… but that’s neither here nor there. Let’s go!

Bless the Child (2000) – BMeTric: 49.8 (Generated on December 12, 2017)

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(I’m surprised at how high the BMeTric is given only 11 thousand votes. But then again, most films don’t get ten thousand votes I suppose. And a 5.0 rating is awful. Pretty consistent rating through time, which suggests it is just as bad as it was perceived at the time.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Basinger has raised her addict sister’s daughter to the age of six; when she shows signs of spiritual powers, the child is sought by millionaire Sewell, who’s involved in a series of child killings. Smits is the detective on the case. Religious horror thriller veers wildly from the promising to the ludicrous, and is never remotely convincing. Based on the novel by Cathy Cash Spellman.

(Ludicrous is the name of the game here at BMT. Why do you think he’s called LudiChris Klein? Glad we got a pretty poor rating from Leonard. Hard to keep trotting out films and have him let us down by giving them mediocre reviews.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM7wV9KCAwc

(Yeeeeesssssss, yeeeesssssssssss. The power. It feels good. That looks like straight dog poo and I love it. Some creepy practical effects on those demons, but let’s hope they end up being super silly when watching the film.)

Directors – Chuck Russell – (Known For: The Mask; The Scorpion King; A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors; The Blob; Future BMT: I Am Wrath; Eraser; BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: Hasn’t made a film in more than a decade, but apparently has one in post right now. It’s called I Am Wrath, stars John Travolta, and I would be severely disappointed if it wasn’t a BMT film… more likely it doesn’t get a theatrical release.)

Writers – Cathy Cash Spellman (novel) – (BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: The writer of the book. I think this book was just buying hook-line-and-sinker into the weird satanist panic of the time. Otherwise I can’t find much about her.)

Thomas Rickman (screenplay) (as Tom Rickman) – (Known For: Coal Miner’s Daughter; Hooper; Everybody’s All-American; The Laughing Policeman; BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: Won an Oscar for the screenplay for Coal Miner’s Daughter.)

Clifford Green and Ellen Green (screenplay) – (Known For: SpaceCamp; Future BMT: Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend; The Seventh Sign; Three Wishes; BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: Married writing partners. Clifford is into space apparently (they wrote Space Camp after all), even agreeing to send his DNA into space as part of the Immortality Drive.)

Actors – Kim Basinger – (Known For: 8 Mile; The Nice Guys; Batman; L.A. Confidential; 9½ Weeks; Never Say Never Again; Cellular; The Natural; The Door in the Floor; Wayne’s World 2; Final Analysis; People I Know; Fool for Love; Nadine; Future BMT: Cool World; The Informers; My Stepmother Is an Alien; Ready to Wear; While She Was Out; The Getaway; The Real McCoy; Blind Date; The Sentinel; The Man Who Loved Women; Even Money; Third Person; Charlie St. Cloud; The 11th Hour; The Burning Plain; BMT: Fifty Shades Darker; Bless the Child; No Mercy; I Dreamed of Africa; The Marrying Man; Grudge Match; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress in 1987 for Nine 1/2 Weeks; in 1992 for The Marrying Man; in 1993 for Cool World, and Final Analysis; in 1995 for The Getaway; and in 2001 for Bless the Child, and I Dreamed of Africa; Notes: A BMT hall of famer basically. I secretly love her. We managed to do back-to-back Basinger by accident here. She isn’t in Fifty Shades of Grey, but she’s in the sequel(s).)

Jimmy Smits – (Known For: Rogue One; Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith; The Jane Austen Book Club; Running Scared; Who We Are Now; My Family; Mother and Child; Old Gringo; Vital Signs; Future BMT: The Million Dollar Hotel; Switch; The Believers; BMT: Bless the Child; Notes: I know him as the main antagonist in Dexter season 3. Which was the terrible season in the first four. After four it falls off a cliff anyways, so whatever.)

Rufus Sewell – (Known For: The Holiday; A Knight’s Tale; Hercules; The Illusionist; Dark City; Hamlet; Paris, je t’aime; Dangerous Beauty; Amazing Grace; Carrington; The Sea; Vinyan; Blinky Bill the Movie; Twenty-One; A Man of No Importance; Future BMT: Extreme Ops; Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter; The Legend of Zorro; The Tourist; All Things to All Men; I’ll Follow You Down; Downloading Nancy; Tristan + Isolde; Hotel Noir; The Very Thought of You; BMT: Gods of Egypt; Bless the Child; Notes: British, grew up in Twickenham which houses the big Rugby ground in London.)

Budget/Gross – $65 million / Domestic: $29,381,494 (Worldwide: $40,443,010)

(Clearly a bomb. The budget doesn’t even make much sense… where would $65 million go for a film like this?… Dear God! Please say to sadly misguided attempts at CGI in scenes that don’t need them (judging from the rats in the trailer, I would say yes). It is the 66th highest grossing Supernatural Horror right behind BMT film Ghost Ship (with the most ship) and future BMT The Fog.)

#147 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(The slow increase in audiences coming out for R-rated films maybe? You can kind of even see the uptick at the end which saw It just absolutely smashing it this year.)

#73 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

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(Blair Witch and The Sixth Sense blew the genre out of the water and since then the releases have been pouring in. Hasn’t hurt the per-theater take that much which is probably why they keep on making more and more.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (3/112)Bless the Child squanders its talented cast on a plot that’s more likely to inspire unintentional laughs than shivers.

(One of the worst reviewed films in history, given the number of reviews it garnered. I would say the phrase “talented cast” is being a bit generous from the get go. Unintentional laughs would be certainly welcome.)

Poster – Bless the Sklog (A)

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(I’m going to be perfectly honest, I really dig this poster. Look at it. Nice color contrast, good use of the shape of a cross, Basinger is portrayed prominently but in a clever way, and all the words are placed well in the frame. I like it.)

Tagline(s) – Mankind’s last hope just turned six. (B+)

(The tagline is kinda the definition of a tagline. It’s short and sweet, gives us some insight into the tension in the film, and holds some cleverness in the paradox it presents. “So why isn’t it an A+?” says everyone. It’s just so god damn cliche. I feel like I’ve seen this tagline a million times… still, can’t give it anything less than a B+ cause it is pretty much what we’re looking or here on Jamie’s Taglines and Such)

Keyword(s) – fbi; Top Ten by BMeTric: 81.6 I Know Who Killed Me (2007)78.7 Torque (2004); 77.1 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002); 76.6 Taxi (I) (2004); 75.3 Death Note (2017); 73.6 Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003); 72.5 Big Momma’s House 2 (2006); 71.7 The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000); 68.5 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998); 66.9 Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009);

(Nice. A very cool variety there actually. Oh Big Momma, I am so glad you just smash it in this regard. None of the others (besides a rewatch of Ballistic) are really on our radar at the moment.)

Notes – The line, “The devil’s greatest trick was convincing man that he didn’t exist,” is reminiscent of a similar line in another movie of the same genre, End of Days (1999), in which Father Kotak (Rod Steiger) says: “Satan’s greatest trick was convincing man that he didn’t exist”. It is also similar to The Usual Suspects (1995), where the line is, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing man that he didn’t exist”. In fact, that idea goes back to Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867): “La plus belle des ruses du Diable est de vous persuader qu’il n’existe pas!” (English: “The finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist.” (I’m always down for a bit of a literature lesson in the notes)

The bridge where the car “accident” takes place, is actually the Blue Water Bridge between Point Edward, Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan. It was being “twinned” at the time, so the whole bridge was closed down for repairs, and was available for uninterrupted filming. The scenery shots of New York City were then placed in the background, but people who grew up there, recognize the shores as being Point Edward and Port Huron, respectively, not New York City.

The subway station where the attack on Meg takes place is a “ghost” station on the Toronto subway that is used frequently as a stand in for New York City subways. The city’s film office wanted to leave it set up as a New York City station, but the Toronto Fire Department nixed that idea. The station is below the Bay station on the Bloor line, on the track connecting the Bloor and Yonge lines. At one time, trains went from one line to the other, thus the station, but the practice was discontinued because of switching problems. (There is also a “ghost” station beneath the Queen Street station. It was roughed in 1954 for a planned Queen Street subway which never was built.)

In the original script, a character is deliberately pushed off a subway platform. This had to be changed to an accidental fall before the Toronto Transit Commission would allow filming on its property.

When the candles in the cathedral ignite together, the camera pulls back and Maggie’s shirt can be seen blowing, as if the candles were in fact being blown out, and film was run backwards. (I do like things like this, the technical details of filmmaking)

“Ego fum papa” roughly translates as “I am the Pope”.

According to a March 1, 1999 Variety magazine article, in the script as originally written Cody was Maggie’s autistic granddaughter who was abandoned by her drug-addicted mother. Since Kim Basinger was the mother of a young daughter in real-life, she seemed too young to play a grandmother, so her character was changed to the child’s aunt. (Yup)

Based on the novel of the same name by Cathy Cash Spellman.

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Kim Basinger)

Queen of the Damned Recap

NOTE: This Recap was published on August 11, 2018. The content was as it appeared in the original email from May 2014, although it was edited and reformatted where necessary.

Jamie

Another late one. I’ll try to make this an aberration and not the norm… next week. For now this is late. Deal with it. Last week was Queen of the Damned and wasn’t it a damn good BMT film… you see what I did there? Cause the movie has Damned in the title. Overall though, the film was ridiculous in all the right ways. I’m honestly not sure the film could possibly have been made and released under any other circumstance other than to rescue an expiring property license. A vampire rock and roll star does battle at a giant goth concert against Aaliyah who sets the record for least time on screen for a titular character. Um… really? This is happening? It seems the studio guy in charge of it must have had to say, “You know what? Fuck it, yeah, I’m in on this craziness. Why not? It’s the 90’s.” Cause it was a very 90’s film. Either that or they had to say, “You know what? I do not care what this looks like. We need this train rolling, so let’s get this movie out the door.” Anyway, I’ve talked too much talk, so let me walk the walk by giving you my three favorite things about the film:  

1) The voice-overs! Was the entire film voice-overs? No, not 100%. More like 110%. It was a wonderful example of excessive voice-over in BMT. May as well have been a book-on-tape.

2) Aaliyah! I have a feeling she would have been a favorite of ours with more breadth to her filmography. Just too good. And did I mention that she’s the titular character and doesn’t show up until 45 minutes into the movie and has only 10 lines or so? Just another case where the trailer and poster totally lied to the audience about what the movie would really be about.

3) The set pieces! They were the settiest sets we have set our eyes on in some time. It’s like I was watching a play at some points. I could imagine a stagehand movie the rooms around on wheels.

Phew, well there we go. That’s my three. Let’s see what Patrick thought:

Patrick

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that we made a horrible mistake with this Chain Reaction idea … strike that, we made a horrible mistake with picking Sabotage during week 8 last round. Not only a garbage movie, but its garbage-ness is reverberating throughout BMT for 2 months making it more and more difficult to effectively choose BMT-quality films. I barely know what movie we are doing anymore, and we certainly aren’t linking up with Furry Vengeance next week. With all that being said, we’ve watched a bunch of movies I’ve wanted to watch for BMT and some I never expected to watch (and enjoyed immensely). So weirdly enough things are working out.

Last week was Queen of the Damned. And it was bananas. I haven’t seen Interview with a Vampire, but this was the sequel (well … two sequels mashed into one) and it was crazy. We got rock and roll vampires. Vampire effects. The Blurry super-fast movements and horrid horrid flying effects, very reminiscent of both Twilight and True Blood, I almost want to say this was kind of the origin of it … although I doubt many people watched Queen of the Damned in film school. The costumes were bad, it wasn’t a horror film, and the Queen of the Damned was a cartoon character who was barely in this unfortunately long movie.

I’m making it sound terrible, but it was a delight. I loved this movie from a bad movie perspective. It is like they were checking tropes off. In particular, a dual-voiceover that lasts the entire movie (no joke, I think 50% of this movie had someone talking over it), throw in crazy CGI, terrible dialogue, and an extreme acting tour-de-force by Aaliyah and you have a winner in my book. They got insane set pieces and an audio flashback to boot. I really rather enjoyed it. Big Momma’s House, Romeo Must Die (despite being ridiculously boring) and Queen of the Damned have been a damn fine start to the chain reaction. Let’s see if we can keep it going … although I have no idea how we’re going to solve the Furry Vengeance problem. But I’m going to continue to put that off for a few more weeks. Let’s go.

Conclusion

Lots of valid points. As Patrick pointed out, it’s been a while since we had a film that really hit almost all of the BMT tropes that we love to pick on. This did its job right. Unfortunately the one thing it didn’t have was a MonoSklog. So we can’t really do that one this week.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Queen of the Damned Preview

NOTE: This preview was generated on August 11, 2018. Much of the content was generated in May of 2014, but it has been edited and updated where appropriate.

The reason this preview was generate so long after the initial watch was because it came at special request from someone planning on watching this film for a Halloween double feature. The post introducing the double feature can be seen here. Cheers!

Queen of the Damned was followed by a direct-to-DVD sequel Vampires in Delaware where a family of vampires have a surprisingly fun and educational vacation in the great state of Delaware. They have loads of fun learning about DuPont Co’s origins as a manufacturer of gunpowder and the fact that they are vampires plays no role in the plot of the film. At least … I wish that was what happened. Let’s go!

Queen of the Damned (2002) – BMeTric: 55.0

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(I find the rating shockingly low to be honest, and the dip between 2004 and 2007 is very strange indeed. Possibly because the people who would have been fans at the time took a while to get online? It is truly perplexing, a very odd rating/vote plot.)

Leonard Maltin –  2.5 starsVampire Lestat awakens after a long deep sleep and goes public in the world of rock music, where he seem to blend in perfectly! But his posturing angers the man who “made” him, intrigues a young woman who’s drawn to his world, and lines him up as the perfect mate for the queen of the undead (played by pop-music star Aaliyah, who died before the film’s release). Dopey but amusing. Based on one of Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles novels.

(Wow, I’m not sure how something that’s dopey but amusing gets 2.5 stars when it’s supposed to be a supernatural horror-type film. Would seem to be an insult. That’s all I really have to say about this… so I’ll just make a quick remark about Leonard’s choice to use two descriptors for Lestat’s sleep. It was both long and deep? Glad I knew that before watching the film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gu9HtN05sc

(Well this is interesting for sure. I love Aaliyah’s “accent” and the effects look like trash. Both of these are exciting prospects from a BMT point of view. Still not totally sure what the plot is. Evil vampire rocker? Is that basically it? Sounds absurd.)

Directors – Michael Rymer – (Known For: Face to Face; Angel Baby; Future BMT: Perfume; In Too Deep; BMT: Queen of the Damned; Notes: After completing film school at USC he attended a two-year acting school where he claims he learned more about filmmaking than in all his years studying at film schools.)

Writers – Anne Rice (novels) – (Known For: Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; The Young Messiah; Future BMT: Exit to Eden; BMT: Queen of the Damned; Notes: Rice distanced herself from the film, and has stated that she feels the filmmakers “mutilated” her work in adapting the novel.)

Scott Abbott (screenplay) – (BMT: Queen of the Damned; Notes: Seemingly was a big-time TV Movie writer. Got his break to write this and then hasn’t really had any film credits since. He did, however, release a novel two years ago and wrote the Rosemary’s Baby TV miniseries adaption that airs tonight… seriously, it airs Sunday, May 11th, 2014.)

Michael Petroni (screenplay) – (Known For: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Book Thief; The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys; Future BMT: The Rite; Backtrack; BMT: Queen of the Damned; Notes: Started out as a comedian in Australia appearing on the show DAAS Kapital before moving to the United States to study screenwriting.)

Actors – Aaliyah – (BMT: Queen of the Damned; Romeo Must Die; Notes: This movie was released posthumously. She had also been cast and started filming for a major role in the two Matrix sequels. She was subsequently replaced by Nona Gaye and all her scenes that she had completed were reshot.)

Stuart Townsend – (Known For: Shade; Shooting Fish; Under the Skin; About Adam; Wonderland; Simon Magus; Future BMT: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Trapped; Chaos Theory; Head in the Clouds; BMT: Queen of the Damned; Æon Flux; Notes: Was originally cast as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but was replaced after a few days of shooting after realizing that he looked too young for the role.)

Marguerite Moreau – (Known For: Mighty Joe; Runaway Jury; Beverly Hills Chihuahua; Wag the Dog; Easy; Caroline and Jackie; Easier with Practice; Douchebag; Future BMT: Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home; D3: The Mighty Ducks; L!fe Happens; D2: The Mighty Ducks; The Mighty Ducks; Wet Hot American Summer; BMT: Queen of the Damned; Notes: Transitioned into television mostly after being a younger actor in The Mighty Ducks franchise. Now has been on both Wet Hot American Summer series for Netflix.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $30,336,800 (Worldwide: $45,479,110)

(Not the worst that is could have been, but by no means a winner. Especially when compared to Interview with a Vampire, which made over $200 million. I guess everyone’s hope that Stuart Townsend would be the next Tom Cruise would have to be tempered after this showing.)

#144 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(Right near Ghost Ship with the Most Ship! The lowest BMT (as of August 2018) is Alone in the Dark, and the highest is (sadly) I Know What You Did Last Summer. I find the dip a few years ago supremely weird. Everyone hates PG-13 horror, so I don’t really get it. The people who love horror films are 14-year-olds and they obvs want that R-rating that they can finally get into. Give it to them!)

#28 for the Vampire genre

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(The only Vampire movie we’ve ever seen for BMT (and this was written in August of 2018, although mere weeks before we will have watched Vampire Academy, which is #44, thoroughly trounced by even this). Twilight is obviously the highlight here. These things really did just boom with Twilight and then *poof* … disappeared like a vampire in the daytime (in some interpretations of vampires).)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (22/130): A muddled and campy MTV-styled vampire movie with lots of eye candy and bad accents.

(MTV-styled vampires? Doesn’t it tell you how times have changed that just 6 short years later Twilight came out and no one even thought to call them MTV-styled. Also, I can only assume the “bad accent” refers to Aaliyah’s accent of mysterious origin. It will be fantastic.)

Poster – Queen of the Sklogs (C+)

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(Things I liked about this poster: The color scheme, and Aaliyah in general. Things I didn’t like in this poster: Stuart Townsend looks like crap and is creeping all up on my girl Aaliyah, and the font used on the poster is garbage (although perhaps it is just the smokey smudging). My initial impression was that it was much better than I expected, but I ended up downgrading it a couple of times as I stared at it. But above average I think.)

Tagline(s) – The Mother Of All Vampires (B+)

(I kind of like the play on words, but I kind of hate how pop-y it sounds. As they say, a little MTV-vampire for me in the end. But clever enough that I think it deserves a top grade)

Keyword(s) – vampire; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.9 Vampires Suck (2010); 87.5 BloodRayne (2005); 81.7 Ultraviolet (2006); 78.0 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 72.1 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011); 69.1 Stan Helsing (2009); 69.0 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 68.1 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 63.7 Dracula 2001 (2000); 63.6 Dudley Do-Right (1999);

(The Twilight Saga is definitely interesting, since I’ve actually seen all of them, just outside of BMT. I’m actually not sure why I would do that … they are obviously BMT material. At least one of them will qualify and drag the series into things.)

Notes – The singing voice of Lestat was supplied by Jonathan Davis of Korn. However due to contractual difficulties, Davis could not sing on the soundtrack album release. The five songs written by he and Richard Gibbs for the movie were then performed on the album by Marilyn Manson, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, David Draiman of Disturbed, Wayne Static of Static-X and Jay Gordon of Orgy. Davis was still allowed to play several instruments on the album. (Whaaaa, contractual difficulties … what could that mean? To not be able to get Korn to sing on a soundtrack release.)

Aaliyah died in a plane crash shortly after principal photography was completed but had not yet actually performed any ADR redubbing for her character. Michael Rymer called in Aaliyah’s brother, Rashad Haughton, to help with overdubbing her voice following her death due to their similar voices, special vocal technology was also used to make his voice sound more feminine. (That is kind of sad, but also interesting they were able to use the brother’s voice. I wouldn’t have thought that would work very well).

Aaliyah was the first actor to be cast for the film. She was enthusiastic about taking the role due to her fascination with Egyptian mythology and also being a huge fan of vampire horror fiction.

For the scenes of Lestat’s concert in Death Valley, over 3000 goths were recruited from Melbourne nightclubs and on the internet, then driven on a fleet of buses to a quarry in Werribee to act as extras. (Imagine how much you would regret ruining your rave night out during hour two of sitting in a Quarry with nothing to do)

Stuart Townsend shares his name with a character from another Anne Rice novel, “The Witching Hour”. Upon meeting Townsend, Rice handed him a copy of the book and instructed him to turn to a certain page number, whereupon was written “The Life of Stuart Townsend”. Townsend was flattered that she had written him into her new book, until she told him that she had written it eleven years prior. (Haaaaa)

Author of the novel Anne Rice considers this to be a terrible disappointment for her and for many of the readers as she believed it mutilated her own work. (Well, that’s what you get about 50% of the time when you option your work, so …)

Warner Bros. was already into its last year of owning motion picture rights to the first three Vampire Chronicles books which would then have transferred back to author ‘Anne Rice’, who could then sell the rights to another company of her choosing. Knowing what little time they had left, despite the fact they’ve had the rights and opportunity to make the latter two movies for over seven years, Warner Bros. hastily hired writers to condense the books “The Vampire Lestat” and “Queen of the Damned” into one movie with the latter being the movie title. (Yeah basically, pretty dumb idea honestly, but when you got to Wheel-of-Time-the-television-show something, you got to do it I guess)

On the casting of Stuart Townsend as Lestat, Anne Rice stated “Everything I hear about the movie is good. Warner Bros. is extremely enthusiastic. They are working very hard to make it perfect. I have no real news. Let me repeat what I mentioned in a recent message. I met Stuart Townsend, the young man who is playing Lestat and he was absolutely charming. He had Lestat’s excellent speaking voice and his feline grace. I cannot wait to see him in the film”.

Stuart Townsend took the role of Lestat after originally being cast as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) but was recast with Viggo Mortensen after four days of shooting because the filmmakers realized he was too young for the role. (uh …. Yeah, which is why I kind of don’t believe the story. Makes no sense)

The architecture of Aunt Maharet’s house is based upon Angkor Wat, the stone temple located in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

The film was a subject of controversy due to inspiring a real life murder shortly after the film’s theatrical release. In December 2002, Allan Menzies from West Lothian in Scotland murdered one of his friends. He claimed in court that it was Aaliyah’s character “Queen Akasha” from the film that told him to do it. (Say whaaaaaa)

Josh Hartnett, Heath Ledger, and Wes Bently were all considered to replace Tom Cruise as Lestat after he declined to reprise his role. (Harnett would have been cool)

The fact that the night club “The Admiral’s Arms” was a vampire bar “in the meat packing district” of London is an homage to the night club “Mother” which was a vampyre bar located in the meat packing district of New York City. (Is it though? … IMDb users can sometimes read a bit too much into things)

Wes Bentley was originally cast as Lestat, but he dropped out.

Singer Aimee Nash of “The Black Ryder” duo had a cameo as a vampire singer in the “Admiral’s Arms” vampire nightclub although the majority of her footage was deleted (she is still visible in the background of the nightclub scene).

Queen Akasha never actually attacks anyone by biting their neck. She either sets them on fire, rips their heart out, or bites another area of their body. (Fun facts!)