Wild Bill Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Wild Bill?! More like Mild Bill! Hey look at this a relatively short recap. New Years come early for all y’alls (you like my southern accent?):

  • Do I regret doing Wild Bill for BMT? Relevant question. The answer is no, but only because:
  • The direction is straight up insane. Dutch angles (might as well be called Wild Dutch Angles! Buuuuurn), black and white flashbacks (might as well be called Wild Black and White Flashbacks! Slammed!!!!) and overexposure galore (might as well be called Wild Overexposure Galore! Roasted!). Out of everything this is what really struck me about the film.
  • During my conversation with Jamie a couple things came up. First: just how bad Ellen Barkin and David Arquette were. This related to a conversation about Scarlet Letter and how reviews for that film, oddly, appeared to excuse Demi Moore’s acting (which was atrocious) as a simple miscasting. In this movie a similar thing happened: Arquette is ignored while Christina Applegate (who was actually okay) was eviscerated. Kind of a weird “state of the industry” thing going on. Looking back now Demi Moore’s career was never really the same after Scarlet Letter. Arquette ended up okay, he was young, but this movie strongly suggests his future would have been better served in smaller character actor roles. And Applegate is now a strong supporting or leading female comic actor. Go figure.
  • The writing and acting overall are okay. There is interesting things here and there. But nothing that warrants the 90 minutes you’ll spend watching this film. So whatever.
  • I think I’m going to steal this one from Jamie as a game: Secret Prequel/Sequel. Hear me out. Wild Bill is the prequel to … R.I.P.D. Jeff Bridges plays a not-so-reputable wild west lawman with a strange obsession with his hat. Add a short prequel explaining why Bridges goes by a different name and we’re good to go.

Alrighty. Prequel/Sequel/Remake. Well, I wouldn’t remake it, no point. I do think a prequel could work though. The legends of the west are interesting. Do a little Unreliable Narrator action with people telling stories about Bill overlaid with the much more reasonable, dirty and mundane “true” story as Bill remembers it acted out. Could work. Who knows? I don’t. I know sometimes my intelligent discourse on the industry can be deceiving, but I do not in fact work in a high-level position in any production house (yet …).

Jamie

Last week we captured South Dakota with Wild Bill. We worried quite a bit whether this would truly qualify as a BMT film, but I think we rest assured after viewing. Not the best, but certainly not the worst. Middle of the pack. Kind of the down side of a strict BMT criterion. I’m sure there are a number of hilarious BMT films between 40-50% on RT, but we can’t risk the false positives we would have to wade through to find them unless we must.

Since I was able to read both sources materials for the film (Deadwood by Pete Dexter and Fathers and Sons by Thomas Babe) before watching, I’ll mostly discuss the adaptation. Really only one line and two short scenes are taken from Deadwood. It’s otherwise almost entirely based on the play Fathers and Sons. Actually startling that they gave Dexter a writing credit. It is also amazing that Walter Hill wanted to adapt Fathers and Sons to the big screen. It’s a minor 70’s play that was written with little historical accuracy in mind. In fact it was written as an allegory for the Kent State and Jackson State shootings that occurred in the early 70’s, concerning generation-on-generation violence. So Babe didn’t blink an eye when claiming that Wild Bill’s murderer Jack McCall was his son and homosexual. The change to McCall’s character serves only to deepen the allegory he had in mind, and yet many of these types of changes show up in the film. Reviews for the film derided it for playing more into legend than fact and I would say that that’s not even true. It played into a fictionalization of Wild Bill’s death (its source material) instead of fact… it didn’t even worry about legend. There is no legend of McCall being his son, and it certainly wasn’t true. It’s super weird that it sticks so closely to the play and even weirder on some of the changes Walter Hill decided to make. Which leads me to my biggest problem with the film: the mere presence of John Hurt as some bullshit fake British character, Charlie Prince, they used as a replacement of a real, historical character named Charlie Utter who was a major character in the play. Why? There is no acceptable explanation for this. The only plausible one is that they wanted John Hurt in the film, but he refused to do an American accent… which is bullshit. Tell him to go jump in a lake (if we lived in the 1950’s) and get someone willing. You even had Bruce Dern in a minor role in the film. Promote him to Charlie Utter and give Hurt the heave ho.

Also I’m glad Patrick mentioned the Applegate thing. Reviewers were aghast at her “miscasting” (but… but…. but… she’s on Married with Children! Scandalous! Harumph!). I thought she was fine and people were being particularly mean about it. So she’s more attractive than you would want your precious Wild West prostitutes? Boo hoo. Barkin is more attractive than I like my Calamity Jane. So there. Now for my game. Since the film was based primarily on a play I was certain that the film would have a perfect little MonoSklog for us. It didn’t disappoint as it delivered a wonderful Diane Lane monologue during one of the crazy flashback, black-and-white, dutch angle, nightmarescapes that Patrick mentioned. I call it Mi Vida [Editor’s Note: Apologies, as usual to avoid any legal issues with hosting video clips from movies we have to remove the monologue itself. Have fun renting and watching the clip yourself though. And by fun I mean not-fun]. Beautiful. BTW, that’s the actual quality of the film in those scenes. Purposefully grainy. This helps you get an idea of what Patrick was talking about in his recap.

Phew, with that I’m done. I love Walter Hill, but the film wasn’t for me. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Wild Bill Preview

So this week (last week?) we are ending our beloved Now a Major Motion Picture cycle. Alas, it was probably our favorite cycle we’ve ever done, so we are still working out how to keep it around in some form. In the meantime, though, we are transitioning to the last ever mapl.de.map cycle! OMG, OMG! It’s true, we only have 8 states left and we are cycling down. With 9 spots in the cycle available we get to fill up the map and replace a state we didn’t like with an extra special movie (oh, you’ll see). We are starting the cycle off as always with the Scattegories category which requires a a film that covers both the based-on-a-book and map cycles. It is a film set in the very, very difficult to obtain South Dakota. I would say that this turned out to be the most difficult state we had to fill, except that it was really only hard to fill because we had already watched the only other film that qualified for the honor. I’m of course talking about Son-in-law starring Pauly Shore. With that off the table, there was only one choice left and it kept me and Patrick awake at nights thinking on whether we truly had to use such a borderline case for the map. In the end, we had no other choice. So for South Dakota we have Wild Bill starring Jeff Bridges. It’s based on Deadwood by Peter Dexter along with a play called Fathers and Sons by Thomas Babe. Here’s the map with our new addition. Let’s go!

Wild Bill (1995) – BMeTric: 16.7 (November 20, 2016)

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(Sigh. So yeah, when we watched this film it was borderline qualifying. If I recall correctly it was literally 40% on rotten tomatoes with a question as to whether a few of the reviews were repeated and/or legit. Well now it is definitely non-qualifying. But there wasn’t anything to be done at the time, it was the only film for South Dakota (still is as far as I can tell … Mercury Rising qualifies, but only the opening is in South Dakota). With a steadily increasing IMDb score that can either be regression to the mean or the fact that the film is legitimately considered somewhat of a cult classic. I’ll repeat: sigh.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Odd revisionist take on Wild Bill Hickok, told in episodic form that creates creates distance from – rather than understanding of – the legendary hellraiser of the Old West. The title of the film should really be THE ASSASSINATION OF WILD BILL, because that’s what it’s all about. There are those opium dreams to break the monotony… Barkin is fun as Calamity Jane, but other characters are superficially drawn at best.

(Leonard should read up on the films. Obviously this was revisionist, it was based on a revisionist play and revisionist novel. Also, super surprising that Leonard is recommending alternate titles for films. I thought me and Patrick were the only ones into that.)

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

(Ever since we had this movie on the horizon I’ve marveled at the trailer. It’s crazy. The black-and-white hallucinogenic dream sequence-type scenes in particular give me hope that this film we turn out to a be a legit BMT film. Also, David Arquette always helps.)

Director(s) – Walter Hill – (Known For: The Warriors; Red Heat; Bullet to the Head; Undisputed; Streets of Fire; Southern Comfort; Crossroads; The Driver; Trespass; The Long Riders; Johnny Handsome; Geronimo – An American Legend; Wild Bill; Extreme Prejudice; Hard Times; 48 Hrs. BMT: Last Man Standing; Another 48 Hrs.; Brewster’s Millions; Supernova; Notes: Nominated for Worst Picture, Blue City (1986) which he produced. Interesting future BMT film.)

Writer(s) – Walter Hill (screenplay) – (Known For: The Warriors; Red Heat; Undisputed; The Getaway; Streets of Fire; Southern Comfort; The Driver; Wild Bill; Hard Times; Alien 3; 48 Hrs.); BMT: Last Man Standing; Another 48 Hrs.; Blue City. Notes: Originally meant to direct Alien, which he wrote the story for.)

Also credits Peter Dexter and Thomas Babe who wrote the novel and play that the screenplay was based on.

Actors – Jeff Bridges – (Known For: The Big Lebowski; Iron Man; True Grit; TRON; K-PAX; Arlington Road; Crazy Heart; The Men Who Stare at Goats; Starman; The Fisher King; Seabiscuit; Surf’s Up; King Kong; The Vanishing; White Squall; The Fabulous Baker Boys; Fearless; The Last Picture Show; The Door in the Floor; Tucker: The Man and His Dream; Against All Odds; Thunderbolt and Lightfoot; The Contender; Cutter’s Way; Heaven’s Gate; Tron Legacy. BMT: The Giver; R.I.P.D. (BMT); Seventh Son; Wild Bill; Blown Away; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; Stick It; Tideland; The Open Road. Notes: And that’s just a portion of his filmography. Nominated for 6 Oscars, winning for Crazy Horse. Son of famous actor Lloyd Bridges.)

Also stars Ellen Barkin and John Hurt.

Budget/Gross: $30 million / $2,193,982

(Ridiculously gigantic bomb. Probably the strongest reason why this film should be considered BMT worthy. It currently has the 95th worst opening for a wide release (600+ theaters) coming in right behind the classic Mom and Dad Save the World.)

#54 for the Western genre

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(Ooof, right around Heaven’s Gate which has been heralded as somewhat career ending for those involved. The reported budgets aren’t much different even, although Wild Bill came out 10 years later. Cool graph though. People lament the collapse of the genre, and this movie came literally at the end of its gloriously profitable run in the 90’s. Interestingly enough as far as screens are concerned westerns surpassed than peak about 5 years ago. The profitability is probably not there though. Would depend on the budgets I guess. I would guess that in the future VOD releases will include some indie westerns though, they tend to get a solid cult following rather quickly (see Bone Tomahawk).)

Rotten Tomatoes: 40% (9/22)

(And this is the biggest reason why it shouldn’t have been a BMT film. We really tossed and turned over this one. We usually use a pretty strict 40% or lower cutoff for RT scores, and usually when we’ve ventured over that (or couldn’t use the RT score cause the movie is too old) it’s because the film is notably reviled and gained a cult following which boosted the score. Upon investigation, though, this seemed to pretty well earn that 40%. Basically, it was considered not great but not horrible. One thing I will say in defense of this selection is that there were actually 8 uncounted reviews on RT. I found that 2 were good and 6 were bad in my own assessment. This would have put the score at 37% for a respectable 30 RT reviews. It counts!)

Poster – Wild Sklog (A)

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(Love the poster. Aesthetically pleasing to look at and nice color scheme. Only weird thing they do is put a tagline at the top and then another one right below the title. Confusing. Makes it look like the movie is actually called Wild Bill: Take a Walk on the Wild Side. Which would be the worst title in cinematic history.)

Tagline(s) – A legend never dies. (D+)

Take a walk on the wild side. (C+)

(The first is hurting my brain. Why is this the tagline to your film about a legend dying? Not clever either. Despite sounding and looking like a tagline it is a terrible tagline. The second one is actually a little better, which is shocking cause I hated it when I first read it. At least it’s a bit clever in playing on a common phrase.)

Keyword(s) – opium; Top Ten by BMeTric: 49.7 Tell Your Children (1936); 48.3 The Man with the Iron Fists (2012); 42.7 Shanghai Surprise (1986); 32.9 Emmanuelle (1974); 31.8 Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985); 31.2 People I Know (2002); 26.7 Above the Law (1988); 25.7 Te wu mi cheng (2001); 23.3 Love (II) (2015); 22.6 Shanghai Knights (2003);

(Wow, what the hell is Tell Your Children? Oh, haha, Reefer Madness, got it, funny. The rest of this list is bonkers. Crazy Seagal films, and like Emmanuelle. Just insane. Would truly be a ridiculous list to “complete”. Doable, only 11 films have a BMeTric over 20.)

Notes – More than 30 years earlier, the part of Wild Bill Hickok was played by Jeff Bridges’ father, Lloyd Bridges, in a 1964 episode of the television series “The Great Adventure” (1963). (great trivia)

Keith Carradine, who played Buffalo Bill Cody in Wild Bill, took the part of Wild Bill Hickock on HBO’s TV series Deadwood (2004), the first episode of which Walter Hill also directed. (Another great piece of trivia!)

Scarlet Letter Recap

Jamie

Jeez Louise. The Scarlet Letter is mind-boggling. Patrick took a lot on his shoulders concerning the movie, so I’ll speak mostly on behalf of the book and its adaptation. I generally like reading literature and thought I would love reading a masterpiece. This masterpiece was not exactly what I was expecting. It’s 200 pages of roundabout descriptions of the same thing over and over for chapters at a time. No one talks to each other… like ever. In short, it’s beautifully written but super, duper boring. I’m not even trying to insult the book (I still thought it was great), it’s just a fact. Hawthorne wrote a super boring book. I feel bad for all the high school students in the world that have to read it. All will not like it, some will cliffnotes the book just to get it over with, and the legendary few will watch this godawful film adaptation in its stead and fail… hard.

Speaking of which, this is easily the most hilarious adaptation in the history of film. Even knowing that Hollywood used to do adaptation like this all the time (take a known property, use just the barebones outline, and create a story of their own around that) doesn’t make this any less hilarious. The fact of the matter is that this film is more a prequel that an adaptation. If it had been marketed as such it may have been more evenly appraised (probably not, cause even beyond the adaption this is hilarious garbage). I wouldn’t even have called it The Scarlet Letter. Maybe something like A Scarlet Morning, to make the connection to the book with the implication of the impending storm. Further, having all the prequel stuff wouldn’t even have been all that bad if they didn’t shift a lot of blame from Rev. Dimmesdale to Hester in the movie (which kind of goes against the entire concept of the book). In order to make the movie a romance they had to have the Reverend less of a pathetic coward and more of sexy Oldman (cause what screams innate sexuality more than Gary Oldman?). In order to do that, Dimmesdale would have to do his damnest to admit guilt to the community, only stopping himself at the behest and insistence of Hester. He would scream to the heavens, ‘Damn you, Hester! Why hast though not let me unburden myself of this guilt which eats at my soul!’ and we would feel bad for him and love him all the more and hate that stupid Hester that tempted our sexy Oldman. We become the hypocrites the book rails against. Finally, the ending is a wonder to behold. Rather than have pathetic and cowardly Dimmesdale admit guilt and die in shame (SPOILER ALERT for all those still living in the 19th century), we have him and Hester rescued by an Indian attack as we sit and cheer at the gruesome deaths of our forefathers. It is absurd. This movie has a happy ending… and it is a travesty. I’ve never seen anything like it.

The only thing I’ll add to this is that I saw a lot of reviews talk about how Demi Moore was “miscast” in this film and seems out of place but can “sure fill out a costume” *lecherous laugh*. It honestly came off as super insulting. Like they were implying that an actress serious enough to play Hester Prynne wouldn’t look like her. What? Demi Moore literally fits the character’s description to a T. Hester is described as a beautiful, young woman with long dark hair who is fiercely independent and fiery… that’s Demi Moore. I’m not saying that Moore was good (in fact she was terrible). But to say that she was too pretty or sexy to play a serious role? That’s just demeaning. After all, we’re not talking a casting blunder like Selena Gomez in Getaway (reference no one gets but me and Patrick).

Since I spent some time defending the honor of Demi Moore (again, just want to make it clear: she was terrible in this), we don’t really have time for a game. Alls the better, since I’ve been getting back into MonoSklogs and this one didn’t have one (more accurately it had an amazing montage/MonoSklog combo that I couldn’t burn cause Netflix didn’t have the movie on DVD. Stupid Netflix). On with the show!

Patrick

The Scarlet Letter? More like Genuinely the Worst Classic Book Adaptation Ever (I couldn’t figure out any rhymes). The Scarlet Letter. A book so boring it is notorious as a high school literature course tradition. A movie so poorly done it makes you question everything good in this world. Let’s get into it:

  • It is almost not worth getting into just how poorly done this is as an adaptation (sorry “free adaptation” as prominently displayed in the opening credits) because this is one of the most noteworthy blunders in cinema history. Ebert included it among the movies he simply hates, and there is plenty of things to dislike beyond the adaptation. But it must be said:
    • The first half of the movie predates the book, as if they said “Hey, this book about puritan hypocrisy … can we make it into a romantic drama?”. The book starts more than halfway through the overly long movie. Dumb
    • Oldman’s character is a monster in the book, a hypocrite who wastes away with guilt, so cowardly as to eventually die as he admits his shame. In the movie he is a star crossed lover with a super hot bod and long greasy hair.
    • They change nearly everything to attempt to gloss over Hester’s guilt. Hester knowingly cheated on her husband. Here she thinks he’s dead.
    • In the end Hester wanders off to live her life alone in the book. Here they add a crazy “happy” ending involving Native Americans slaughtering all her enemies and she and Oldman go off to the Carolina’s to live happily ever after.
  • Other things:
  • Best bird performance since After Earth. I’m always into a good bird performance
  • Gratuitous nudity and dong shots. I knew Nathaniel Hawthorne forgot something in the original literary classic. That something was Gary Oldman’s penis.
  • Demi Moore’s accent is everything I could have dreamed of. When I first heard it my brain rejected it and I let out an audible “oh no”. No one escaped the terrible vortex created by this movie. Not even Gary Oldman (‘s penis).
  • A sex scene so long and bizarre you forget what it is like to not be watching it. Conspicuous absence of a Gary Oldman dong shot here (alright, that’s enough about Gary Oldman’s penis).
  • A sermon/monologue so long they had to cut it up and create the first church-sermon-montage in cinema history. The sermon monologue from Big Momma’s House is still the best though.

This movie is everything you could want in a Bad Movie Adaptation. It is the crown jewel of this rotation. I have a Remake for you: adapt the actual book into an actual movie. The end. It would probably still be boring, but at least it would add value to the world.

BTW August is a great Bad Movie Month. We’ve already got Fantastic Four (I can’t wait for the Fourth Fantastic Four disaster … actually, after everything being said about Miles Teller on set I have no doubt an actual sequel is going to be cancelled). I have a sneaking suspicious The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is going to be bad. And there are a few more coming our way soon enough. We are very quickly approaching the BMT Live! stage of the Razzie awards. Will we waste our time and money watching terrible movies in theaters? Stay tuned.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Scarlet Letter Preview

Alright, so this week is And the Loser is… where we watch a past Razzie winner or nominee. There were two obvious choices here to fit our Now a Major Motion Picture meta-theme. The first was The Cat in the Hat starring Mike Myers. If we weren’t having so much fun actually reading the books, that would have been selected I’m sure. Instead we are watching the 1995 classic The Scarlet Letter starring Gary Oldman and Demi Moore. The only things I knew about the film going into this is that it’s a travesty of an adaptation (particularly given that the book is a classic) and people make fun of Gary Oldman’s penis in reference to this film… which means we are going to see an Oldman’s penis. Great. Let’s go!

The Scarlet Letter (1995) – BMeTric: 43.3 (November 23, 2016)

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(Solid score for a 90’s film, definitely in the above-average BMeTric. Nice regression to the mean in the rating as well. Basically people don’t actually think it is better, it is just more likely that a film will closer to the mean rating (of around 6) as more and more reviews come in. Otherwise standard. Generated on November 23, 2016)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Hokey adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel throws in everything from witch hunts to Indian attacks to a controversial happy ending — all to no avail. Moore is woefully miscast as Hester Prynne (though she sure fills a Puritan frock). Oldman gives a histrionic performance, while Duvall is simply incomprehensible. “Erotic” love scenes are especially embarrassing, in soft focus with phallic candles and a chirpy Disney bird (credited as Rudy the Robin) who sings for sexual freedom!

(Wait, Indian attacks? Witch hunts? What is happening. Am I reading the review for the wrong movie? I do love “simply incomprehensible” actors. If they made it nowadays that role would be played by Jeff Bridges… or still Robert Duvall somehow… Is there actually a Disney bird? I feel like this review is asking more questions than it’s answering for me. No wonder it’s a BOMB.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtZetd_jOo8

(Holy fuck. That… that… that is not the plot of The Scarlet Letter. They made a prequel-adaptation monster. Why call it The Scarlet Letter even? It’s not even the plot of the story. It does give me an idea though: how about an Anna Karenina adaptation, but instead of focusing on Anna, let’s focus on Vronsky. And instead of dealing with that pesky (and boring!) affair with Anna, let’s mostly detail Vronksy’s trials and tribulations in learning the electric guitar. Boom! Netflix!)

Director(s) – Roland Joffé – (Known For: The Mission; The Killing Fields; City of Joy; Fat Man and Little Boy. BMT: Captivity; The Scarlet Letter; Vatel; There Be Dragons; Goodbye Lover; The Lovers. Notes: Nominated for Worst Director, Captivity (2007); Won for Worst Remake or Sequel, Nominated for Worst Director for The Scarlet Letter (1995). Nominated for Directing Oscars for The Killing Fields and The Mission. Father of future BMT director Rowan Joffe.)

Writer(s) – Douglas Day Stewart (screenplay) – (Known For: An Officer and a Gentleman; Vision Quest; Flight of the Navigator. BMT: The Blue Lagoon; The Scarlet Letter; Thief Of Hearts. Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay, The Scarlet Letter (1995). Nominated for Screenplay Oscar for An Officer and a Gentleman. His name sounds like the name someone would use in a scandalous tell-all if they didn’t want to get sued for libel by Daniel Day-Lewis.)

Actors – Demi Moore – (Known For: Charlie’s Angels – Full Throttle; Ghost; Mr. Brooks; G.I. Jane; A Few Good Men; The Hunchback of Notre Dame; Flawless; Disclosure; The Joneses; Margin Call; Mortal Thoughts; St. Elmo’s Fire; We’re No Angels; One Crazy Summer; Deconstructing Harry. BMT: Striptease; Indecent Proposal; LOL; The Juror; The Scarlet Letter; Half Light; The Seventh Sign; The Butcher’s Wife; Now and Then; Passion of Mind; Nothing but Trouble. Notes: Nominated for 7 Razzie awards. Won for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (Supporting Actress), G.I. Jane (Actress), The Juror (Actress), Striptease (Actress/Couple), The Scarlet Letter (Actress/Couple). Nominated for Passion of Mind (Actress), Indecent Proposal (Actress), The Butcher’s Wife (Actress), Nothing but Trouble (Actress). Probably one of the most prolific BMT actresses, but we haven’t done too many of her films yet.)

Gary Oldman – (Known For: Batman series; Air Force One; The Fifth Element; The Book of Eli; RoboCop; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; Harry Potter Series; True Romance; Sid & Nancy; JFK; The Contender; Bram Stoker’s Dracula. BMT: Hannibal; Red Riding Hood; The Unborn; Lost in Space; Paranoia; Planet 51; The Scarlet Letter; Child 44; Tiptoes. Notes: Nominated for Worst Couple Razzie for The Scarlet Letter (1995). Nominated for an Oscar for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.)

Also starring Robert Duvall

Budget/Gross: $46 million / $10,382,407

(A giant bomb. Oddly released the same weekend as two other high profile box office bombs (Jade and Strange Days) resulting in this NYTimes article. The Scarlet Letter is the 96st highest grossing Romantic Dramas ever. Number 95? You guessed it, Here on Earth.)

#96 for the Romantic Drama genre

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(As mentioned it is right near Here on Earth in the charts. This is actually the third of this genre we’ve watched along with Random Hearts and The Choice. A little snippet from the first of those: Wow, look at that mid-2000’s collapse! I think it has to do with a couple bombs in a row, but it could easily be that some other genre was sapping things up. Everyone knows that the trough there is the true heyday of bad movies! The dizzying heights we live in now I think is the result of micro-budget film companies. But it is hard to tell. This movie comes right in that initial wave as well. What we know now: There might be a collapse of the genre again. Hard to tell. If I were to guess we’ll be seeing a return to around 15K theaters for the genre moving forward. Looking at ’09-’12 and ’92-’96 that just feels like where the genre wants to be. Generated on November 23, 2016)

Rotten Tomatoes: 14% (5/35). No consensus, but here’s the Netflix synopsis for funsies: In this adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, Puritan settler Hester Prynne (Demi Moore) is accused of adultery in a Massachusetts settlement in the 1660s. Although she’s attracted to the town’s pastor (Gary Oldman), the two resist temptation. But only a whiff of scandal is enough for the town’s morality police to sentence Prynne to live as an outcast and wear a shameful scarlet A for adultery.

(Yeah, straight panned. I’m not sure what Netflix is talking about though. In the trailer we clearly see Moore carrying a baby to her public shaming… where’d the baby come from if they resist temptation? A baby is a little bit more than a whiff of scandal. I almost feel like we should bring Netflix synopsis back. They are wrong half the time on the very basic plot of these films.)

Poster – The Skloglet Letter (B-)

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(Sexy much? I like the coloring (though could have been slightly redder) and the symmetry. Not feeling the dark portion at the bottom. Would prefer a more interesting and creative way of commingling the text and images.)

Tagline(s) – When intimacy is forbidden and passion is a sin, love is the most defiant crime of all. (C-)

(I really should have given this worse. When it’s this long, everyone loses. What saved it a bit was the cadence and the creativity. Way too long though.)

Keyword(s) – adultery; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.8 Skyline (2010); 75.6 Left Behind (I) (2014); 64.9 The Boy Next Door (2015); 62.4 Postal (2007); 58.4 My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006); 57.0 Dr. T & the Women (2000); 56.4 Body of Evidence (1993); 54.7 The Canyons (2013); 51.3 The Big Bounce (2004); 50.4 The Dilemma (2011);

(That is a nice list. Indeed, adultery plays a major role in: Sci Fi, Christian, Dramatic, Erotic Thrillers, and Comedies. And that is just the ones we’ve seen. The human condition.)

Notes – Listed among The 100 Most Amusingly Bad Movies Ever Made in “The Official Razzie® Movie Guide”.

Three original scores were written for this film. The ones by Ennio Morricone and Elmer Bernstein were rejected. The one used was by John Barry. (these types of fact amuse me)

Meg Ryan lobbied hard for the part of Hester Prynne, but lost out. Sharon Stone was also considered.

Richard Gere, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Anthony Hopkins were all considered for the male lead.

Won one Razzie for Worst Remake or Sequel, Nominated for 6 more (Picture/Actress/Supporting Actor/Couple/Director/Screenplay)

Seventh Son Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Seventh Son? More like God It’s Dumb. And it was. If you didn’t already know Seventh Son is adapted from a book that is literally for 8 year olds. And yet I read it. Would I go so far as to say I enjoyed it? Not really. It is so short I could almost (almost) see myself reading all 11 (or 12 or whatever) of them if I didn’t value time or money, but naw. No interest. And yet, once again, here we are with the source material influencing how I feel about a movie. Not much this time though, because …

  • This movie is horrible regardless. A bizarre mix between In the Name of the King A Dungeon Siege Tale, Season of the Witch and Dungeons and Dragons the movie is a perfect storm in the fantasy drama. Bad sets/CGI, bad acting and bad writing. A triple threat like that combined with the fact that these kinds of movies are geared towards people who like Renaissance Fairs it is a literal embarrassment. Like … I wonder what it is like to be on the set of a fantasy movie like this? How isn’t everyone just cringing and asking themselves how they ended up wearing silly hats and speaking in faux British accents? I don’t get it.
  • This movie should be called Cloaks, Hats and Staffs. There are a lot of them. Maybe Distractingly Overdramatic Swelling Music. Or Please, Stop Jeff Bridges. No One Wants To Hear Your Mumble Mouth Thing Anymore, We Can’t Understand You And You Are One More RIPD Away From Johnny Depp Territory. Long title.
  • Also, I got just a taste of Elektra in there (just a whiff). They have a merry band of transmogrifying baddies running around like idiots who are just way too easy to defeat in the end. Like in Elektra. Anyone? So only Jamie knows what I’m talking about?
  • Complete waste of a cast. The main guy is from Big Wedding (one of the worst BMTs ever, no joke), and then it has two pretty impressive leads in Bridges and Moore who thoroughly embarrass themselves. Thoroughly. Not a good look.
  • Also it was boring. Excruciatingly so. With that out of the way, let’s briefly touch on the book.
  • We are just one upping ourselves with the bad adaptations. It is a childs book so when they drop an F-bomb in there I was pretty stunned. They also took the main (and pretty much only) trait of the … spook sounds pretty racist, but it is his occupation, so I’m going to roll with it. The main trait of the spook is he doesn’t burn witches. In the movie it is literally all he does. He gets pretty angry with the main character because he’s not burning enough witches. A good book character is now a total bad guy in the movie. And a weird trait of the love interest (pointy shoes) shows up once in a very bizarre comment … I don’t know. This was the worst adaptation I have ever seen now. It doesn’t even make sense. It is totally different.
  • Why is Kit Harrington in this for 3 minutes and why does he have an American accent? The only thing I can thing is he was like “I’d like to practice my American accent. I’ll be in your dumb movie for a second if you’ll let me practice a bit”.
  • I’ll leave it at that. Um. I think I have enough to produce a Quote Me!: “The movie is a perfect storm in the fantasy drama … impressive leads in Bridges and Moore” – Patrick Smadbeck, Bad Movie Twins Entertainment. Sigh. Sounds about right.

Reboot, Sequel, Prequel? A Prequel would be pretty funny. Just a whole movie about Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore dating. A romantic comedy even. It would be called Burning Love. It’s the hilarious misadventures of a fire-happy spook (doesn’t get any easier to say with levity everyone, still weirded out by that little American-British racist misalignment, there’s a reason the title was changed from the Spook’s Apprentice in America) who falls head over heels for the witch he has been pursuing. Meanwhile little does he know that Mother Malkin and her sister Bony Lizzie have a bet to see who can bed (and behead) the witch hunter first. Misadventures with magic abound until Bridges finds out about the bet and Mother Malkin realizes she’s fallen in love with him! What an odd couple! The tagline will be: This January, Witches Love Fire!

My God, it is terrible. My first gut instinct of What a Witch! sounds better. I’m leaving it though.Back to you Jamie!

Jamie

That movie was straight dog poo in my face.

The prequel is great… and I’d give that second tagline an A+. Perfecto. Alright, so I kinda shirked my duties for actually recapping the film cause I knew that Patrick had a nice long recap for everyone to sink their teeth into. To briefly sum up my feelings, the book was OK in terms of what you can expect from a Harry Potter type book written for like 8-10 year olds. I would read more if I got the ebooks for free, but otherwise won’t read any more in the near future. As for the film, I thought it was an embarrassment. Seriously, straight dog poo. Awful. Dreadful. Really bad adaptation. Really bad production quality. It looked mostly like In the name of the King mixed with King Richard’s Fair. Perfect for BMT. So perfect in fact that is provided one of the longest MonoSklogs in recent memory. I call it Mi Bruja [EDITOR NOTE: Due to potential copyright issue we do not publish the MonoSklogs online, we do apologize]. A solid 2 and a half minutes of pure mumbly-bumblies from Jeff Bridges. I can just imagine the sound guys on the film being like “Damn it. We need to get Jeff back in here for another ADR session. I can’t make heads or tails of what he’s saying.” This is also my favorite type of MonoSklog, where it seems like there are pauses for another character to throw a random, terrible line out like “I’m sorry.” or “What happened?” and he looks like he’s about to say it and then… Jeff Bridges just keeps on talking. Keeps me on the edge of my seat.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Seventh Son Preview

Alright, so this week is our SciFi/Fantasy. Super excited for this one as one of the worst films released this year happened to be a Fantasy film based on a book. That is of course Seventh Son. It’s based on a children’s series out of England, which is good cause that means the books are super short. I believe the movie is either set in a made-up kingdom or England (a bit redundant there… slammed), so not adding to the map. For those interested, this weeks BMT hashtag is #SeventhSonDayFunDay (pretty proud of that one). Let’s go!

Seventh Son (2015) – 50.1 (generated on June 1, 2017)

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(The drop feels like it is quite common for film based on written material with fans who will give the film a good review regardless. Fun that it hasn’t moved at all in the past 3 years, suggests it has sustained its level of terribleness and will have a long BMT shelf life. Generated on June 1, 2017.)

Netflix Synopsis – In the 18th century, apprentice exorcist Tom Ward is the lynchpin in a battle between good and evil when imprisoned witch Mother Malkin escapes. This chilling tale is based on the first installment in Joseph Delaney’s “Wardstone Chronicles” trilogy.

(No Leonard Maltin review so I trotted out an oldie but a goodie with the Netflix synopsis. I particularly like this one because of two things: 1. “chilling tale”? This is based on a book series for 10-year-olds. I doubt it’s all that chilling. 2. the book series is not a trilogy. There are 12 of them (they come cheaper by the dozen, you know. Thank you. Thank you). Classic, Netflix. Getting the facts wrong right off the bat.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXiNkOjM7oM

(I was going to praise the trailer for not making it look too ridiculous, until the second half went bonkers insane. This honestly looks like garbage. I’m getting a real Dungeons & Dragons/In the Name of the King/Season of the Witch vibe here (god, we watched a lot of those types of movies))

Director(s) – Sergey Bodrov– (Known For: Prisoner of the Mountains; Mongol; East/West. BMT: Seventh Son; Running Free; Nomad. Notes: He actually has a whole mess more movies, but most of them are in Russian. His son was an actor and directed a film before being tragically killed in an avalanche while directing his second film in Russia.)

Writer(s) – Matt Greenberg(screen story) – (Known For: 1408; Reign of Fire; Halloween H2.; BMT: Seventh Son; The Prophecy II. Notes: Almost exclusively a horror writer. Connected to a remake of Pet Semetary and a Beowulf television series.)

Charles Leavitt (screenplay) – (Known For: Blood Diamond; K-PAX; The Express; The Mighty; BMT: Seventh Son; The Sunchaser; Notes: His debut was Sunchaser which has one of the funniest posters I’ve ever seen. Look at that tagline too!)

Steven Knight (screenplay) – (Known For: Eastern Promises; Locke; The Hundred-Foot Journey; Dirty Pretty Things; Amazing Grace; Closed Circuit; Pawn Sacrifice; World War Z; Redemption. BMT: Seventh SonNotes: Nominated for an Oscar for Dirty Pretty Things. Crazy that he’s even connected with this film.)

Actors – Ben Barnes– (Known For: Dorian Gray; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian; Stardust.  BMT: Seventh Son; The Words; The Big Wedding (BMT) Notes: Was in the short-lived boy band Hyrise which performed at Eurovision:

Bwahahahaha. I actually kinda liked it.)

Jeff Bridges – (Known For: The Big Lebowski; Iron Man; True Grit; TRON; K-PAX; Arlington Road; Crazy Heart; The Men Who Stare at Goats; Starman; The Fisher King; Seabiscuit; Surf’s Up; King Kong; The Vanishing; White Squall; The Fabulous Baker Boys; Fearless; The Last Picture Show; The Door in the Floor; Tucker: The Man and His Dream; Against All Odds; Thunderbolt and Lightfoot; The Contender; Cutter’s Way; Heaven’s Gate; Tron Legacy. BMT: The Giver; R.I.P.D. (BMT); Seventh Son; Wild Bill; Blown Away; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; Stick It; Tideland; The Open Road. Notes: And that’s just a portion of his filmography. Nominated for 6 Oscars, winning for Crazy Horse. Son of famous actor Lloyd Bridges.)

Also stars Julianne Moore

Budget/Gross: $95 million / $17,223,265 ($110,623,265 Worldwide)

(Not a case where the worldwide makes up for the domestic run. That is atrocious. 113th worst opening for a 2500+ theater release. Right next to BMT films The Marine, 3000 Miles to Graceland, and Winter’s Tale. Good company.)

#80 for the Live Action (Fantasy) genre

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(Oooooo, right when 2000 hit everyone was like, hey, we have lots of cheap CGI … so want to make something that looks ridiculous? This comes in right above Krull. You heard that right, Krull. So … yeah not great. The genre is a booming, and this movie marked the start of the most recent gold rush. Go get your money movie producers.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 12% (13/106), Critics Consensus: Seventh Son squanders an excellent cast and some strange storyline ingredients, leaving audiences with one disappointingly dull fantasy adventure.

(Disappointingly dull? I hear that about this email every week (burned, me). Also, not sure when “strange storyline ingredients” became something that you could squander. I feel like that could go both ways. Like is it Jupiter Ascending strange storyline ingredients? Or Being John Malkovich strange storyline ingredients?)

Poster – Seventh Sklog (C-)

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(What a strange poster. I’m not sure what I’m even looking at. A big ol’ red moon looking like Mars with a skull on it. Strange, jarring colors too. I gotta give it some props for being so unique, but still not great and it makes Julianne Moore look like one of the heroes.)

Tagline(s) – When darkness falls, the son will rise (Is there something higher than an A+?)

(Finally, a movie gets it. Puns on puns in tight packages. This tagline is ridiculous, but I love it.)

Keyword(s) – witch; Top Ten by BMeTric: 85.8 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 84.8 Troll 2 (1990); 80.9 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000); 75.7 Paranormal Activity 4 (2012); 71.6 Bewitched (2005); 67.8 Supergirl (1984); 65.4 10,000 BC (2008); 62.4 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008); 62.4 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 61.3 Conan the Barbarian (2011);

(Shocked we have seen so few. Not even a little Last Witch Hunter? I guess since we generally avoid hitting up too many terrible horror films we tend to avoid most Witch films.)

Notes – Based on book one of Joseph Delany’ ” The Wardstone chronicles” series, “The Spook’s Apprentice.”

Dianna Agron, Imogen Poots and Felicity Jones tested for the lead role after Jennifer Lawrence dropped out (wait… let’s go back to when Jennifer Lawrence was in this movie).

Initially set to be released in theaters in January of 2014 but due to production delays the film was pushed back to 2015 (the full story is that the company in charge of CGI went bankrupt before completing work on the film. The production company had to float them $5 million just to keep them open long enough to finish the work on the film.)

After Alex Pettyfer bowed out from the project, Shiloh Fernandez, Sam Claflin, Caleb Landry Jones and James Frecheville tested for the lead role. (wait… let’s go back to when my boy Alex Pettyfer was in this movie).

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