Shanghai Surprise Preview

This week we move to a romantic epic for the ages for our Girls Night Out. That’s right, we’re watching one of 1986’s worst picture nominees Shanghai Surprise starring Sean Penn and Madonna. Filmed back when they were married, it was made as a starring vehicle for Madonna after her breakout role in Desperately Seeking Susan. Obviously didn’t go great and was the first of many bumps in the road for Madonna’s acting career. I’m actually somewhat excited for this film considering it has an astonishingly low IMDb user rating (3.0). I honestly trust that a bit more than the Razzies. Let’s go!

Shanghai Surprise (1986) – BMeTric: 42.6

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(Well … I guess I can’t not acknowledge the weird rating dip in 2003 for this movie. It goes from 2.9 to 2.3 in a matter of months and has since just kind of regresses to the mean. The rating it also astonishingly low, at one point the film was likely in the bottom 100 on IMDb. The BMeTric trajectory is very very similar to King Kong Lives. Someday I’ll do a meta-analysis on graphics like this. I would call this the Classic Bad Movie trend. The BMeTric plot just goes up in a straight line because the rating is so low and the votes were already high enough when IMDb began that is never crosses from non-BMT to BMT, it is always BMT.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Missionary Madonna hires adventurer Penn (her then real-life husband) to capture a cache of stolen opium (for medicinal purposes only) in 1937 China. It’s all stupefyingly dull. As one critic noted, it’s tough for Penn to succeed in the grand adventure movie tradition when the screen legend he most reminds you of here is Ratso Rizzo. Coexecutive producer George Harrison, who appears briefly as a nightclub singer, wrote the songs.

(This cycle has so far been 2.5 stars, BOMB, 1.5 stars, BOMB, BOMB … there are no words. The irony being that this cycle has also been terrible by BMT standards. I think it is because bad films from 1986 are basically all stupefyingly dull. Sigh, We aren’t going to like this are we?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhX89dDoAw4

(Oh wow that ending. Does seem more of a comedy that you would have thought given the leading actors. Looks low budget and bizarre and I can see this either being one of the worst or one of the weirdest BMTs we’ve ever had the displeasure of viewing.)

Directors – Jim Goddard – (BMT: Shanghai Surprise; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Director for Shanghai Surprise. He was fifty at the time of release which seems relatively old for the golden age of the blockbuster. British and primarily known for his television work his almost complete anonymity in the US was even noted in his obituary.)

Writers – John Kohn (screenplay) – (Known For: The Collector; Theatre of Blood; BMT: Shanghai Surprise; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Screenplay for Shanghai Surprise. He was sixty at the time of release! His last screenplay. Nominated for a screenplay oscar in 1965 for The Collector. Mainly known for his production work he died of cancer in 2002.)

Robert Bentley (screenplay) – (BMT: Shanghai Surprise; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Screenplay for Shanghai Surprise. I can literally find nothing about this person on the internet. His only credit is this movie.)

Tony Kenrick (from the novel “Faraday’s Flowers”) – (BMT: Shanghai Surprise; Notes:  An Australian advertising writer he’s had two books adapted into movies and at least three others have been optioned with stars attached and never made. He wrote 14 books and Shanghai Surprise was adapted from his fourth.)

Actors – Sean Penn – (Known For: Angry Birds; The Game; Mystic River; Risky Business; Fast Times at Ridgemont High; The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; The Tree of Life; The Thin Red Line; Carlito’s Way; 21 Grams; Milk; Taps; Fair Game; At Close Range; I’m Still Here; Colors; Dead Man Walking; U Turn; This Must Be the Place; Bad Boys; Casualties of War; Persepolis; The Interpreter; BMT: Shanghai Surprise; The Gunman (BMT); It’s All About Love; All the King’s Men; The Weight of Water; Hugo Pool; Crackers; Gangster Squad; I Am Sam; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1987 for Worst Actor for Shanghai Surprise. This movie is notable for the fact that Penn and Madonna were in a relationship at the time. Five time academy award nominee for best actor (two time winner) and famous (some might say notorious) speaker on human rights. He is no stranger to controversy over the years including accusation of domestic violence towards Madonna, explicit support of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, allusions to Argentina’s claims towards the Falkland Islands (not a good look, I can tell you the Brits are sensitive about that guy), and the recent El Chapo interview. Most recently seen in The Gunman.)

Madonna – (Known For: A League of Their Own; Die Another Day; Dick Tracy; Desperately Seeking Susan; Vision Quest; Evita; BMT: Swept Away; Body of Evidence (BMT); The Next Best Thing; Who’s That Girl; Shanghai Surprise; Girl 6; Arthur and the Invisibles; Razzie Notes: Won the Razzie Award in 2000 for Worst Actress of the Century for Body of Evidence, Shanghai Surprise, and Who’s That Girl; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2010 for Worst Actress of the Decade for Die Another Day, The Next Best Thing, and Swept Away; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1990 for Worst Actress of the Decade and New Star of the Decade for Shanghai Surprise, and Who’s That Girl; Won the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Actress for Swept Away, in 2001 for The Next Best Thing, in 1994 for Body of Evidence, in 1988 for Who’s That Girl, and in 1987 for Shanghai Surprise; Won the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Supporting Actress for Die Another Day, and in 1996 for Four Rooms; Won the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Screen Couple for Swept Away; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1992 for Worst Actress for Madonna: Truth or Dare, in 1990 for Worst Supporting Actress for Bloodhounds of Broadway, in 2003 for Worst Original Song for Die Another Day, and in 2001 for Worst Screen Couple for The Next Best Thing; Notes: A very strange career now that I look at it. She’s worked incredibly consistently (26 films in almost exactly 30 years). A smattering of small and big films. A smattering of great and terrible films. Even her Razzie acumen seems out of place considering how few movies she’s been in. Strange stuff. The two actors are really the only thing this movie will have going for it likely.)

Also stars Paul Freeman – (Previously in BMT future HoFer Getaway and Double Team)

Budget/Gross – $17 million / Domestic: $2,315,683

(Wow. What a complete unmitigated disaster. That boxoffice doesn’t even really make sense. Then again, I had literally never heard of this film that appears to be considered one of the worst films of the 80s, so maybe just no one has ever seen it?)

#44 for the Off-Screen Couples On-Screen genre: Movies with Real Life Romance Between Lead Actors at the Time of Release or Shortly Before

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(Huh, the waves don’t really make sense to me. Maybe we follow certain couples until they stop making movies (see Brangelina) and then it takes a few years to find the hot new couples? I don’t know. Kind of funny how ubiquitous the movies have been through the years though. Indeed looking down the list of recent examples nearly all couples are now broken up.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 13% (1/8): No consensus yet.

(Uh oh, time to make a consensus: Madonna’s incompetence gave her an acting reputation she’s never shaken, all for a movie that appears to function solely as a vehicle to star the real-life couple as a novelty. The consensus seems a little scattered, but there is little anyone said about it that was good.)

Poster – Sklogging Surprise (D+)

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(I don’t like this poster. It is way way way too close in on Penn and Madonna. It is merely a shot from the movie (you can see it in the trailer). The red words are too bright atop the soft focus blues elsewhere. Why the plus? That’s sweet S on that Shanghai Surprise. Just complex enough that Sklogging Surprise would be a delight to produce (in that I wouldn’t need to change the S and it would make the title look snazzy). But what would it be? Soft focus Patrick kissing his wife? You would barely be able to tell I did anything! Boring.)

Tagline(s) – A romantic adventure for the dangerous at heart. (F)

(What in the hell? For the “dangerous at heart”? Is that a phrase? The answer is no. In fact, the only other time it appears in google searches is for a 1994 book of that very title. Here’s the synopsis of said books: Life was the pits for Rachel Hart. Single and pregnant, at least she’d had the good sense not to marry the no-good father of her child! Things couldn’t get worse, she assured herself. Then her ex-fiance turned up dead. And Rachel was the prime suspect… Big-city cop Delaney Parker didn’t fancy working undercover in this two-bit town. He liked even less getting involved with beautiful, sexy Rachel – she aroused his feelings as a man, a lover and a substitute daddy. Del was in over his head… he had to remember he was a cop first. But could he really send a pregnant woman to jail? You’re welcome. That’s an F.)

Keyword(s) – china; Top Ten by BMeTric: 59.6 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008); 49.8 Independence Day: Resurgence (2016); 48.2 The Man with the Iron Fists (2012); 47.9 Chandni Chowk to China (2009); 47.9 Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003); 46.2 Blackhat (2015); 46.1 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007); 43.2 Babylon A.D. (2008); 42.6 Shanghai Surprise (1986); 42.4 Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014);

(Methinks this list will be growing in the future with the growth of the Chinese market in determining the profits of Hollywood films. Transformers 4 is a perfect example of this. Something like Pacific Rim 2 and Need For Speed 2 could easily enter this list with a few missteps.)

Notes – Apparently, after principal photography wrapped, executive producer George Harrison allegedly said of lead stars Madonna and Sean Penn: “Penn is a pain the ass . . . [whilst] she has to realize that you can be a fabulous person and be humble as well”. (Brutal George, although I assume this is mostly him being a bit bitter about the inevitable financial loss of the film)

Ex-Beatle and executive producer George Harrison performs five songs on the movie’s soundtrack. (And apparently this is the only bright spot in the movie)

Lead stars Madonna and Sean Penn were married at the time the movie was made and released.

Awards – Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Madonna)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Sean Penn), Worst Director (Jim Goddard), Worst Screenplay (John Kohn, Robert Bentley), and Worst Original Song (George Harrison)

King Kong Lives Recap

Jamie

Wow, 1986… it’s unbelievable that King Kong Lives was a major motion picture release from that year. It was released in over 1000 theaters and yet more closely resembles a MST3K film than an actual film. It was horrible. Like if someone told me to write a King Kong script as quickly as I could, this might be what I would come up with as a first draft. There is motivation for NOTHING and the characters are caricatures. Just listen to this plot: the entire film is based on the premise that an Atlanta institution of higher learning is trying to bring King Kong back to life (last seen in 1976’s King Kong falling to his death off the World Trade Center buildings). And yet we have no idea why. They seem to indicate that whatever school obtains and studies the giant ape will somehow skyrocket to the top of the research ranks… but… but… why? It’s never answered. The artificial heart they made to revive him won’t work without a blood transfusion (because apparently Kong merely has heart failure from falling of the WTC) and so they conveniently find a female giant ape and bring her to Georgia. Predictably the two apes escape together and… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry I fell asleep cause this movie was terrible. Long story short is basically descends into a family drama with a lot of scenes involving the two apes creepily smiling at each other and hugging. Eventually Lady Kong (as she is credited) gives birth to an extraordinarily tiny baby the size of a normal gorilla. God damn! I literally recommend this to no one.

Like all King Kong films, King Kong Lives has a pretty solid setting for Settings 101. In this case we open with a nice intertitle letting us know that the film takes place 10 years after the events of the first film in Atlanta, Georgia at the Atlanta Institute. Whew. That’s a lot of settings for one little intertitle. It’s kind of funny that they made up a school for this film but even funnier that we are supposed to seriously believe that King Kong fell off the WTC, was critically injured, and then survived for ten years waiting for a heart transplant. Jesus. This film is a mess. It’s setting is not though. It rockets to a B- by simply nodding to the audience and acknowledging that we are in George. Atlanta is mentioned a few more times, but not enough to get up to B level. Ever since introducing Settings 101 we’ve actually had shockingly few films where the setting was difficult to ascertain. Convinces me that if we went back to the older films we could find a lot of hidden gems. Maybe even a Delaware or South Dakota that the world has yet to discover (it’s my dream).

Patrick

King Kong Lives? Well they should have let this movie die! Booooom, NY Post you did it again! We watched what some people might call a movie. Other people might refer to it as something more akin to lighting millions of dollars on fire. Let’s get into it.

  • The Good – Not much. At times the enormous animatronics are impressive. I would also say the two lead actors perform admirably all things considered.
  • The Bad – What the Sound of Thunder is to bad CGI, King Kong Lives is to bad practical effects. Not only is this three years after Return of the Jedi as far as CGI is concerned, it is also four years after The Thing, a pinnacle of practical effect magic! We don’t like to harp on story too too much, but this is legit the absolute worst storyline you will watch outside of non-films like The Room. They are replacing King Kong’s heart ten years after his fall from the World Trade Center? He’s been in a coma for ten years!? They happen to find a female just in time?!? I’m not sure what happened in 1986, but there is something wrong with the movies they produced in that year. Oh wait, now I remember, this is the year of Maximum Overdrive … so cocaine happened.
  • The BMT – In my opinion, no. It is very strange, but the Official Razzie Movie Guide features this movie and claims it is “hilarious”. But it is hilarious in the same way White Comanche with William Shatner is hilarious. You go: “Oh, hilarious, William Shatner is playing a half Native American and his own twin …. Welp this movie is boring”. Somehow this one weird ludicrous thing is supposed to sustain entertainment for hours, but for me it usually doesn’t. In this case? The absurd creepy smiles on the giant apes’ faces are supposed to be the clinchers. The apes are certainly funny for as few minutes. One hundred minutes though? Yeah, not so much. Boring movie, straight up. Although it is kind of fun it a Mystery Science Theater kind of way. Needs a commentary I think. Without it you’ll be left wondering “what am I doing with my life”. You can put that on the poster!

I’ll try to keep the game short. I was going to try and make a prediction about this film, but turns out a prediction of “this will be a garbage non-film and I will hate it” is no fun. So let’s remake the film! Sequel / Prequel / Remake: First, no Kong surviving. Garbage. No, instead, a research team has been scouring the world looking for evidence of other Kongs. Indeed, the extent to which the Skull Island inhabitants worshipped the Kong suggested its kind must have been around for many years prior to his death. And they succeed, a female Kong is located and brought back to the states. But the research team’s intentions are less than honorable! Indeed, they plan on dissecting and experimenting on the Kong in an attempt to unlock the secret to its gigantism and age. Upon the discovery that the Kong is pregnant a primatologist who accompanied the team frees the Kong into the wild. A chase occurs down the California coastline whereby the Kong, ultimately surrounded and on the verge of death, gives birth and dies (mirroring the ending of the first film). The idea would be a trilogy with the third continuing this story with the child. Would it be great? Prob not, but at least you cut out the ludicrous heart surgery storyline.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

King Kong Lives Preview

This week we really get down in the muck for Horror/Thriller. That’s because we are doing the sequel to the 1976 King Kong remake, King Kong Lives. Never heard of it? You shouldn’t have. It is well known for having some of the most horrendous special effects of the age. It also sounds like a B-movie straight-to-video release and yet still got a wide theatrical release (1000+ theaters). We’re really only doing this because it is a major part of the Razzie book as one of the most enjoyable bad movies of all time. Hard to pass up on those credentials for a 1986 film when we’re doing a cycle restricted to just that year. Guess we’ll get to find out whether it’s truly enjoyable or if this is just another White Comanche (shudder). Let’s go!

King Kong Lives (1986) – BMeTric: 40.7

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(Finally something interesting in these plots! First, what happened in 2006? All of a sudden there is a weird uptick in the votes. And then twice the vote count goes down! My theory? These events are more common with “confused” movie titles. Here there are a multitude of King Kong titles available and they every so often try to make sure there aren’t mistaken votes. Tenuous, but it is weird that the event seems so rare (remember the Bratz effect) and with no real rhyme or reason. Still, seems odd for IMDb to do, and confusing for this movie in particular, there is no way bots are trolling a random movie from a defunct production company. It is absurd.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Dino De Laurentiis sequel gives the ape a mate with everything he loves: She’s tall, statuesque, with great mossy teeth. The Army tried to kill them (naturally), but not before the finale that actually rips off the final scene in Spartacus. Desperate.

(And with one single word Leonard effectively eviscerates this film. Desperate. As we know from Raw Deal De Laurentiis was desperate at the time. This is the second Dino De Laurentiis film in a row, and the studio declared bankruptcy basically right after these colossal failures. This actually makes me a bit more enamored with the 1986 bad movie catalogue. There is an underlying theme of the pre-blockbuster studio system going through a tiny death as executives like De Laurentiis desperately try to sell films that feel more comfortable in the 70s to audiences whose minds are being blown by Return of the Jedi)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0HvmgZfbl8

(I mean … what is this? Seriously? Again, three years after Return of the Jedi! People went from lightsaber battles to a King Kong sequel which looks like it uses effects from the 60s. The entire trailer is complete and utter trash as well. This movie is going to be a distinct non-pleasure to watch I think.)

Directors – John Guillermin – (Known For: King Kong; The Towering Inferno; Death on the Nile; Shaft in Africa; BMT: King Kong Lives; Sheena; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1985 for Worst Director for Sheena. Accomplished Action-Adventure filmmaker who was also well known for being incredibly difficult to work with. I will say that out of everything in King Kong (1976) the direction was probably the best part of the film, the sets were rather incredible to behold. No wonder he basically fell out of favor with the rise of digital effects though.)

Writers – Steven Pressfield (screenplay & story) – (Known For: The Legend of Bagger Vance; Above the Law; BMT: King Kong Lives; Freejack; Notes: Notable author, specifically The Legend of Bagger Vance, and screenwriter. He is particularly notable for his non-fiction and fiction work in military history as his father was in the Navy and he was a Marine for a time. Was homeless as he struggled to get Bagger Vance published early in his career.)

Ronald Shusett (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Alien; Aliens; Prometheus; Total Recall; Alien: Resurrection; Alien³; Above the Law; Dead & Buried; BMT: Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; King Kong Lives; Freejack; Total Recall (2015); The Final Terror; Notes: Famous for his work with Dan O’Bannon in Science Fiction he helped write Alien and Total Recall. He moved into producer roles in the 90s and now basically produces B-level horror for a living.)

Edgar Wallace (Known For: King Kong (multiple); Notes: Made the character of King Kong in a script he penned for RKO Studios. Was incredibly prolific, but all of his films are from pre-1940 and King Kong is his only major lasting character.)

Merian C. Cooper (character) – (Known For: King Kong (multiple); Mighty Joe Young (multiple) BMT: King Kong Lives; Notes: Co-inventor of the Cinerama technique he is probably most famous for creating King Kong and Mighty Joe Young. Edgar Wallace penned the script, but Cooper allegedly had a dream imagining a giant gorilla attacking New York. I assume the final product is basically both Wallace and Cooper’s ideas smushed together.)

Actors – Brian Kerwin – (Known For: The Help; 27 Dresses; Murphy’s Romance; Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain; BMT: King Kong Lives; Jack; Getting Away with Murder; Notes: He has an amazingly varied career bouncing from extensive work in theater, to film, to daytime tv (where he won a daytime emmy).)

Linda Hamilton – (Known For: Terminator 2: Judgment Day; The Terminator; BMT: King Kong Lives; Children of the Corn; Dante’s Peak; Shadow Conspiracy; Black Moon Rising; Terminator Salvation; Notes: Obviously the original Sarah Conners from the Terminator franchise. It is kind of incredible how poorly her career went outside of that franchise. Was notably married to James Cameron for a time, and revealed that she suffers from Bipolar Disorder. She mainly does television now in guest spots.)

Budget/Gross – $18 million / Domestic: $4,711,220 (N/A)

(Obviously a complete unmitigated disaster. I assumed as much since this was probably a major contributing factor in De Laurentiis filing for bankruptcy. It also seems ludicrous to me, based on the trailer, that this films would cost $18 million, but whatever.)

#63 for the Creature Feature genre

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(Seen for Critters 2: The Main Course (#66) where we said: The creature feature is a staple of classic horror, but I think it kind of rose to prominence again after Jurassic Park (in case you were wondering what that gigantic peak around ’93 was). Since then it comes and goes in waves, but will probably rise again with Jurassic World killing it at the box office. King Kong may add to it soon as well. King Kong Lives certainly contributed to BMT sooner than I expected.)

#22 for the Remake – Sequel to a Remake genre

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(This was also seen for Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (#8) where we said: My God, those waves! They just get bigger and bigger. Presumably the troughs are where they release the original remake. I think ‘05 to ‘10 might end up going down in history as an anomaly in bad movie history, just prior to the tentpole movies crowding the release schedule and VOD becoming a real option, a true heyday of traditional bad movie watching. Another dying genre it looks like, possibly because these sequels are now more regularly being released by alternative means. Funny that King Kong Lives appears to be one of the first sequel to a remake ever! Groundbreaking.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/9): No consensus yet.

(Time to make a consensus which unfortunately would go a little like this: This movie is boring. Period. Oof, this is looking more dire by the minute. This is literally all Ebert mentions in his review, that the actors look bored and the movie is boring.)

Poster – King Sklog Lives (A)

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(I’m going to give this the benefit of the doubt and say that the old school look is intentional. In which case I really do like the poster. I might even love it. It is energetic, and kind of cool, and the artistic styling is just fun. A very cool idea and surprising to see from a film made in 1986. There are a few other posters (on rotten tomatoes for example) which are straight terrible, but I’m going to go with this one.)

Tagline(s) – The Legendary Kong is Back! (C-)

America’s Biggest Hero is back…and He is not happy. (F)

(Okay, the first guy is standard and just boring, but hard to complain about it. The second … honestly why is King Kong considered America’s Biggest Hero? How is he a hero? In the 1976 film what did he do that was heroic? Nothing. That tagline is ridiculous.)

Keyword(s) – ape; Top Ten by BMeTric: 86.1 Dragonball: Evolution (2009); 83.6 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 68.1 The Flintstones (1994); 57.6 Congo (1995); 40.7 King Kong Lives (1986); 38.8 Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973); 29.6 King Kong (1976); 24.7 Speed Racer (2008); 22.7 Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970); 21.3 Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972);

(Hey, after watching this film and all of the planet of the apes we’ll have watched all of the top “ape” keyword films. Not a terrible list, but also not amazing. I can’t remember why Dragonball would have ape listed. Or Scary Movie 5. Or Flintstones …. This list is weird.)

Notes – Peter Michael Goetz’s cheque for post release royalties came to 3 cents. He has it stapled to the film poster in his house, having never cashed it. (Ha, see these are the more lighthearted notes I like)

Peter Weller was offered a part in this film; but he opted to play the title role in RoboCop (1987) instead. (good choice)

Writer Steven Pressfield mentions “King Kong Lives” as a live-changing, validating failure in his book ‘The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.’ This was his first professional writing job after 17 years of trying. After the movie bombed, he realized he had become a professional. He hadn’t yet had a success, but “had had a real failure.” (very cool, Pressfield seems like he has a cool story)

This film is listed among the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John WIlson’s book THE OFFICIAL RAZZIE® MOVIE GUIDE. (This guide is garbage and I think that probably none of these films are enjoyable beyond thinking “oh wow King Kong looks like crap in this …. Cool”. Hard to sustain enjoyment of a bad movie based on something like that)

As of 2015, it remains as the last theatrical film directed by John Guillermin. (Wow, that is pretty amazing. It does look old school)

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Visual Effects (Carlo Rambaldi)

Raw Deal Recap

Jamie

Whenever I watch a BMT film I try to put it in context of what we’ve watched before (or in the cases of adaptations/sequels what had come before it). In the case of a fairly mediocre, original action film like Raw Deal that can leave me at a bit of a loss for my initial reaction to the film. The one single thing that stood out for me with the film was the excessive violence committed by Arnold. Not only does he have a terrible home life (his wife is a drunk who hates him), but then he proceeds to fake his own death and kill approximately 40 people throughout the film. It was strange. It was very 80’s in the sense of “these criminals deserve to die and Arnold is fully justified in doling out retribution against them.” If you had to put it into context you’d have to compare it to the Sly Stallone classic Cobra that came out the same year. Obviously Cobra is a lot more hilarious than Raw Deal because Sly wrote it and he’s insane, but they do share that sense of retribution. The other odd thing they share is Sly and Arnold both harping on dietary health. They both tell people they shouldn’t be eating certain things at certain times. Very weird and very 80’s (which is how you can describe all the films this cycle).

Settings 101! This is a very Chicago film. It’s mentioned very frequently regarding the mob boss and you get some really nice scenes with the Chicago skyline. Additionally, since Arnold is undercover with a mob boss, the Chicago PD is featured prominently in the film, which provides a number of vehicles with “Chicago” printed on the side. However, there is nothing about Chicago in the film that takes it from a setting to a Setting. This could have been set in LA or Miami without missing a beat. So this is pretty clearly a C+ film. I feel like that might actually be the most common grade we’ll end up seeing: the film where the setting is mentioned numerous times, but doesn’t become integral to the plot.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The only people who got a Raw Deal was the audience! YouknowwhatImean?! Uh, so yeah. Up until this point the cycles this year were killing it. We hit classic after classic to the point where I got bored with how classically bad everything was and I nearly forgot about the dire mapl.d.map cycles of yore. Well we are back. Somehow 1986 is just terrible for bad movies. The ones that are well know are barely movies and just dull, and there just aren’t a lot of them. And honestly, the future for the cycle doesn’t look bright. Bear with us and revel in the fact that this is our lives and not yours. Sigh. Let’s get into it.

  • The Good – I thought Arnold was fine. I thought the main story was okay. It didn’t seem to go too over the top with the organized crime stuff, although it was a bit crazy in how they portray Arnold going undercover among people who are literal maniacs. That is about it.
  • The Bad – Pretty boring and the action was nothing to really write home about. The screenplay is horrible, with a ton of WTF lines sprinkled throughout. The ending is somewhat unbelievable since Arnold literally goes around killing people and the local police and FBI just shrug their shoulders and say “good for you man, you killed all the baddies”. The immediate ending it laughable just from the perspective of Arnold making his former boss walk again through sheer willpower.
  • The BMT – No, the movie is first and foremost probably a little too good. It isn’t a completely terrible movie beyond the screenplay which is an atrocity. But mostly it is just forgettable and a bit boring. If you aren’t paying attention it is confusing and if you are paying attention it is boring. And it isn’t like Arnold is somehow hilarious, he does a fine job. Just kind of blah.

Time for another Sklog-trospective. In this case what I noted in the preview was how interesting it was that two very accomplished Spaghetti Western writers are credited with a story credit. And indeed, you could imagine the film as a western. A former US Marshall disgraced after killing a suspect on the run operates as a small town sheriff on the frontier. His former partner comes to tell him a gang has been terrorizing a local area and has killed his son (also a US Marshall) and he’s looking to do a little off-the-record vengeance. The sheriff agrees and joins up with the band under the guise of criminal looking for a little action. Ultimately, the sheriff deals out some bloody justice in an extended shootout in his town, and rejoins the Marshalls, who are grateful for the help. Totally plausible. I would watch that (especially if it starred Arnold).

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Raw Deal Preview

This week we move onto the action genre in 1986. The most prominent BMT film of the year is arguably Cobra, but we’ve obviously already indulged in that classic. Instead we went a little off the beaten path with one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lesser known star turns Raw Deal. This film came out around the time that Arnold was ready to move on from his time as Conan. He was constrained by a multi-sequel Conan deal with Dino De Laurentiis and agreed to star in the film in exchange for dissolving the contract. I’ve always been intrigued by this film considering it has been largely lost to time, so this should be exciting. Let’s go!

Raw Deal (1986) – BMeTric: 38.9

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(Everything is pretty normal here. I have a feeling that is going to be a trend with films from ‘86. The main interesting thing I would say is that the rating used to be so low! Mid-fours is really low. It make me think that the actual rating average indeed used to be very low. I didn’t see any evidence of this in previous studies … but when I see this I get very confused. Regression to the mean I guess dictates that bad films used to be worse, so I guess it is reasonable to assume that bad films ratings have tended to go up in the last 10 years)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Stupid action movie about brawny ex-Fed who helps an old pal clean some dirty laundry – and bust a major crime ring. Sense of humor helps… but not enough.

(Shhhh, shhh, shh, shhhh. Leonard… you had me at “stupid action movie.”)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UUlyAn5YqI

(I really debated on whether to use this trailer or not. It clearly was made recently for some DVD release or something. Then I saw that this is truly the “official trailer.” The one that is used on Amazon and stuff. So I guess we have to use it. And with all that said: it looks rad.)

Directors – John Irvin – (Known For: Hamburger Hill; The Dogs of War; Next of Kin; The Boys from County Clare; A Month by the Lake; Shiner; Widows’ Peak; Turtle Diary; BMT: Raw Deal; Ghost Story; City of Industry; Notes: British director actually probably best known for his work on the miniseries adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which kicked off his career.)

Writers – Luciano Vincenzoni (story) – (Known For: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; For a Few Dollars More; Malèna; A Fistful of Dynamite; Death Rides a Horse; BMT: Raw Deal; Orca; Once Upon a Crime…; Notes: Classic spaghetti western writer and Italian script doctor. Died in 2013 at the age of 87.)

Sergio Donati (story) – (Known For: Once Upon a Time in the West; For a Few Dollars More; A Fistful of Dynamite; La siciliana ribelle; BMT: Raw Deal; Orca; Notes: Same as a above (beside the dying part). Collaborator of Sergio Leone and Dino de Laurentiis.)

Gary DeVore (screenplay) – (Known For: Running Scared; The Dogs of War; Back Roads; BMT: Raw Deal; Notes: Unfortunately now known most for the bizarre circumstances surrounding his death. He disappeared while on his way to deliver a completed script. A year later his car was found in an aqueduct with him still inside with both hands missing. Conspiracy theories maintain that DeVore had worked in the CIA during the Panama invasion and wrote a script revealing top secret circumstances surrounding that invasion and so he was assassinated.)

Norman Wexler (screenplay) – (Known For: Saturday Night Fever; Serpico; Joe; BMT: Staying Alive; Raw Deal; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars for Joe and Serpico. Had bipolar disorder and was arrested in 1972 for threatening to shoot Richard Nixon. He is also the inspiration for the Andy Kaufman alter-ego Tony Clifton. He died in 1999 from a heart attack.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: Terminator 2: Judgment Day; True Lies; The Terminator; Predator; Kindergarten Cop; The Expendables; Total Recall; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; Escape Plan; The Expendables 2; Maggie; Commando; Conan the Barbarian; The Running Man; The Last Stand; Welcome to the Jungle; The 6th Day; Red Heat; Dave; The Long Goodbye; Stay Hungry; BMT: Batman & Robin*; Junior*; Hercules in New York; Red Sonja; Jingle All the Way*; Collateral Damage; End of Days; Raw Deal; Sabotage*; Around the World in 80 Days*; Conan the Destroyer*; Twins; The Expendables 3*; Cactus Jack; Eraser; Last Action Hero; Terminator Genisys*; Razzie Notes: Won the Razzie Award in 2005 for Worst Razzie Loser of Our First 25 Years; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Actor for The 6th Day; in 2000 for End of Days; in 1994 for Last Action Hero; and in 1983 for Conan the Barbarian; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2015 for Worst Supporting Actor for The Expendables 3; in 2005 for Around the World in 80 Days; in 2001 for The 6th Day; and in 1998 for Batman & Robin; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Screen Couple for The 6th Day; Notes: Don’t need notes on an actor of this level. My top choice for next BMT film in his filmography is Collateral Damage. (*) BMT or previously seen films.)

Also stars Kathryn Harrold (While she does occasionally do television acting she is now a therapist for the most part according to her personal website) and Sam Wanamaker (As far as BMT he has only been in Superman IV. Otherwise an accomplished Shakespearean director in England)

Budget/Gross – $11 million / Domestic: $16,209,459

(This miniscule return on this movie is somewhat notable because it drove Dino De Laurentiis into bankruptcy. This movie was supposed to be the key to pulling De Laurentiis out of bankruptcy but was instead a pretty bad bomb all things considered.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (3/12): No consensus yet.

(Oops. We need a consensus: For Arnold this was indeed a Raw Deal. Entertaining at times, it never manages to be anything but a rote action feature, with a terrible screenplay to boot. Sounds possibly fun, but depends entirely on how bad that screenplay is.)

Poster – Sklog Deal (B)

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(This is an amazing poster. Wish the title font was better. But the coloring and framing is good, and Arnold looks just cartoony enough to forgive. Although clearly the most amazing thing about the poster is the fading series of “Schwarzenegger” in the background. Ridiculous.)

Tagline(s) – The system gave him a raw deal. Nobody gives him a raw deal. (D+)

(That is just awful. The repeat of “raw deal” is jarring. Only not an F because it does hint at the plot.)

Keyword(s) – fbi; Top Ten by BMeTric: 72.8 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 71.6 Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003); 70.8 Torque (2004); 70.4 Taxi (I) (2004); 67.7 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002); 66.5 Big Momma’s House 2 (2006); 64.5 The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000); 63.4 Did You Hear About the Morgans? (2009); 61.1 Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005); 59.9 Big Momma’s House (2000);

(Double Big Momma’s House?! This list is the greatest list of all time. I’m going to do an all night FBI movie marathon and this will be the list. It will run from ten to one (it keeps the Big Momma’s Houses in order!!!!). Big Momma’s House 2 into Ecks vs Sever into Taxi?! My god. That is a 24 hours of true misery.)

Notes – Arnold Schwarzenegger only agreed to star in this picture after much haggling in exchange for dissolving his multi-picture agreement with Dino De Laurentiis. He had one picture left with the producer and was actually very interested in doing Total Recall (1990), but De Laurentiis objected, feeling that he was not suitable for the lead role of Quaid. Instead, Patrick Swayze was already cast before the bankruptcy.

According to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dino De Laurentiis decided to produce this film because he needed quick cash for his long gestating project Total Recall (1990). At that time, he owned the rights to the film. The failure of this film to make adequate money (only $16 million) resulted in De Laurentiis’ bankruptcy and Recall’s sale of rights to Carolco. (This is actually a rather interesting story. Old school Hollywood machinations. It makes me ever more curious about the Italian connection in the screenplay list)

In an interview to promote the film, Arnold Schwarzenegger said this was the first film where he got to wear an elaborate and modern wardrobe. He said that before this role, his wardrobe budget for a film was about “10 dollars”.

Originally intended to be called “Let’s Make A Deal.”

During production and filming the movie was to be called “Triple Identity” – a reference to the fact that the Schwarzenegger character goes from being an FBI Agent (1), to a local cop (2) and then to undercover operative (3). Several scripts exist for the film with the title on the front page. “Raw Deal” was chosen to make the film sound more like a regular action movie.

The weapon that Kaminsky uses in the final shootout of the movie (and which he brandishes on the poster) is a Heckler & Koch HK-94 carbine, a semi-automatic civilian version of the MP5 submachine gun. (Firearm database at its finest)

A sign at the entrance of the oil refinery that Mark Kaminsky (Arnold Schwarzenegger) blows up at the beginning of the film reads “Irvin Oil Processing Company.” The film was directed by John Irvin. (coool)

There are similarities between this movie and Arnold’s other films The Terminator and Commando. Arnold’s character says “I’ll be back.” and gets ready his arsenal of weapons ready for war in all 3 movies. Robert Davi’s character wears the gargoyles sunglasses like Arnold in Terminator.

Joey Brenner’s social security number reads: 567-34-5787. 567 is a prefix for California, which means the card was issued there. His passport id shows H1032642. (Please … let this be the only indication that this film takes place in California)

Golden Child Recap

Jamie

I feel like if The Golden Child were to have aired on Comedy Central during my childhood I would have come away with very fond memories of it. It had all the things that I loved as a kid: the occasional joke, some mystical shit, and interesting exotic settings. It’s like a really shitty Indiana Jones… except my child brain wouldn’t have recognized the “shitty” part and would have just thought it was “like Indiana Jones.” Unfortunately that’s really the only particularly good thing about it: that I might have liked it as a child. Even the things I would have liked are things that my adult brain recognizes as being incredibly strange. These include a surreal dream sequence, an opening montage that better fit a music video than an actual film, monster-human characters straight out of Masters of the Universe, and a part-animated finale. Just weird shit. The weirdest thing though is a scene where the main villain totally flubs a line and they chose to leave it in the film. I couldn’t tell why. It’s not even a funny flub. He just stumbles over a line and they kept it in. It’s a BMysTery that will probably never be solved: why is there a blooper left in the final cut of The Golden Child. The world will never know. Funny enough I don’t think all the weird stuff even sunk the film at the time (it was the 80s after all). I think it just wasn’t that funny. It reads as one of those films that had a serious script with random [Eddie Improvises] notes throughout. Like Beverly Hills III. Just hope that a not funny movie can be made funny enough… and it wasn’t.

Settings 101! Settings 101! It’s become a staple of the first part of the email (along with Audio Sklog-entary, when applicable) to the point where it really isn’t even a game at this point. It’s simply part of life. The Golden Child was pretty sweet for Settings. Not really because the main setting was super important, but rather because the secondary locations (Nepal and Tibet) are rare enough that this would fit nicely into an international mapl.de.map (whenever we choose to start that). As for the main location, it was established in quick order that Eddie Murphy lives and operates in Los Angeles. How do we know? In the opening of the film there is a crazytown montage of Murphy carousing around LA. There are flashes of major landmarks (Pink’s, Randy’s Donuts, and a triple take of the Hollywood sign), along with mentions of Hollywood, California license plates, and LA addresses. Also Eddie Murphy works closely with the LAPD. Basically there is as much conversing about LA as a setting as possible, without explicitly acknowledging the setting to the audience directly. On top of this, there is nothing about the setting that makes it important to the film. Could have very easily been San Fran and nothing really would have changed. I believe this is a clear C+ film, and I love it for it.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The Golden Child? More like Cold and Mild! Amirite? Because I mean … this movie is weird. Like just … let’s get into it.

  • The Good – 80’s Murphy is charming in almost any circumstance. He is incredibly charming in this movie. The storyline is vaguely interesting, especially how they go hard sci fi / fantasy throughout.
  • The Bad – The movie is boring. It also just kind of meanders around. And bar none this is one of the worst endings to a movie in the history of BMT. Spoiler Alert! Murphy’s love interest dies and everyone is just like “go get the Golden Child, he can cure her”. So he’s like “okay” then drives around LA for like 10 minutes, see a Tibetan bird, and is like sweet. Upon arriving at the hideout he then just kind of scoops the kid up and the bad guy becomes a stop-motion animated demon and just kind of pesters them on their drive to save the lady. It was nonsense and kind of ruined a somewhat pleasant if boring diversion otherwise.
  • The BMT – It is kind of strange to me that this is so crazy derided among critics. A BOMB Leonard? Really? Not even the Murphy charm adds a little half star there? It seems like they were aiming at Beverly Hills Buddha or something along those lines, where a ton of the humor is just Murphy using his street wiles in a fish out of water type situation. And I can appreciate it. I could see myself using the endings in bad movie examples going forward, but to me it was below average for BMT as a whole. It is just boring, not bad in any tangible way.

I’m going to introduce a new series to the email that, like Jamie’s Settings 101, can be done each time. This I’m calling Sklog-trospective. Basically I record a thought before the film, something I was particularly interested in from the last preview, and then explain it and any thoughts in the recap. This time what I was particularly interested in was the director of The Golden Child, Michael Ritchie. The Golden Child was interesting because of its success and large budget to an extent, but I personally found the director to be an enigma. Critics specifically mention how scattershot his directing choices are. He goes from weird niche horror, to pageant mockumentary, to the Fletch series. He worked consistently, but only really met with middling success. It is a strange story, one that I couldn’t quite cut through in my research. After watching the film … the man is an experimentalist at heart. The beginning to The Golden Child is a sight to behold. A frenetic portrayal of LA mixed with repeated clips of Murphy laughing or putting up signs or ogling ladies. And it was a precursor to the film. Stop motion animation is used twice. A very strange dream sequence introduces Murphy to the bad guys. The entire movie kind of makes no sense and is barely held together by Murphy’s improvisation alone. The direction in this film is a major issue, and it only makes me more fascinated by Ritchie. I’ve seen almost none of his films, but I might have to check out a few others just to see what they are like.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Golden Child Preview

This week we pick up in the 1986 cycle where we left off: at the beginning. In choosing a comedy film for the week we basically had two choices: the very straightforward comedy that we know is trash but was a small release no one really remembers exists (Club Paradise starring Robin Williams) OR one of the blockbuster releases of the year starring one of the megastars of the decade, but which isn’t quite a straightforward comedy and isn’t quite as poorly reviewed (The Golden Child starring Eddie Murphy). While we would typically pick the forgotten gem, we figured since we are doing this in commemoration of the year of our birth we should try to hit the major releases that may have defined the year for bad movie watchers. So without further ado we are watching The Golden Child starring Eddie Murphy. Shaping up to be quite the BMT year for Murphy. Already seen him in Harlem Nights and Norbit got elected to the Hall of Fame. Congrats. Let’s go!

The Golden Child (1986) – BMeTric: 29.6

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(That’s what I like to see. Kind of a rare BMeTric profile in that it sits perfectly on an inflection such that the regression to the mean pushes it up and then back down over the past 15 years. And yet all of that said … a fairly straightforward graph.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Top candidate for worst megahit of all time. A “perfect” child (Reate) is kidnapped despite his magical powers; as foretold by an ancient oracle, only Murphy can rescue him. Lewis is more wooden than most ex-models; entire reels go by with nary a chuckle. A box-office smash – but have you ever met anyone who liked it?

(That was rough. I think we’ll see a few BOMBs in this cycle. Leonard seems to really dislike the classically terrible film. Quality semi-colon game by Leonard as usual, but grim prognosis for the movie. Sounds boring. Gulp.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Pd0-Je3XDQ

(Nope. Not jazzed. But that is just a “Eddie Murphy is in this!” trailer. As Leonard said this is right on the tails of Beverly Hills Cop, so they were really going for a similar vibe. The attitude does feel the same, but I can also see that the humor doesn’t seem quite right. It seems like a stretch.)

Directors – Michael Ritchie – (Known For: Downhill Racer; The Bad News Bears; Fletch; The Candidate; The Couch Trip; Prime Cut; The Island; Midnight Sting; Semi-Tough; Smile; The Fantasticks; BMT: Cops and Robbersons; The Golden Child; The Scout; A Simple Wish; Fletch Lives; Wildcats; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1981 for Worst Director for The Island. Huh I’ve never heard of The Island. Known initially for his sports movies, he moved into comedies in the late 80s. Described as “consistently inconsistent” by critics struggling to describe what seems, to me, to be a weirdly varied filmography. He died in 2001.)

Writers – Dennis Feldman (written by) – (Known For: Just One of the Guys; BMT: Species II; Virus; Species; The Golden Child; Notes:  Just One of the Guys! I can’t believe that isn’t BMT. Interestingly both Feldman and Ritchie went to Harvard. Worked as a script doctor before his big break with Just One of the Guys. Virus was his last film, but he’s been involved with the writer’s guild for years.)

Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Coming to America; Shrek; Shrek 2; Mulan; Beverly Hills Cop; Trading Places; Shrek the Third; Dreamgirls; Tower Heist; Shrek Forever After; The Nutty Professor; Beverly Hills Cop II; Life; Boomerang; 48 Hrs.; Doctor Dolittle; Bowfinger; Dr. Dolittle 2; Imagine That; BMT: Norbit; Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; Pluto Nash; Vampire in Brooklyn; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man; I Spy; Beverly Hills Cop III; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child; A Thousand Words; The Distinguished Gentleman; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Won the Razzie Award in 2010 for Worst Actor of the Decade for The Adventures of Pluto Nash, I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, and Showtime; Won the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Actor, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress for Norbit; Won the Razzie Award in 1990 for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2013 for Worst Actor for A Thousand Words, in 2010 for Imagine That, in 2009 for Meet Dave, and 2003 for The Adventures of Pluto Nash, I Spy, and Showtime; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Screenplay for Norbit; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2009 for Worst Screen Couple for Meet Dave, in 2008 for Norbit, and in 2003 for The Adventures of Pluto Nash, I Spy, and Showtime; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1990 for Worst Director for Harlem Nights Notes: As we said mere months ago for Harlem Nights “Major movie star and stand-up comic. One of the most prominent BMT actors of our age”. Mr. Church came out to lackluster reviews recently, although Murphy was widely lauded for his effective dramatic turn.)

Also stars J.L. Reate – (The titular Golden Child. She was literally only in this movie … filmography complete!) and Charles Dance – (Famous for Game of Thrones now. Has never been in a BMT film and doesn’t seem like he is in any others …. but he was in the Australian movie Patrick! Sadly the remake, not the 1978 classic.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $79,817,937 (N/A)

(As Leonard said this was a huge box office success at the time, the eighth biggest film of the year. But it was considered a disappointment by the studio which was hoping for something more along the lines of the $200+ million take of Beverly Hills Cop)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (5/19): No consensus yet.

(No consensus!? But that just won’t do. I’ll make one: A precursor to Murphy’s turn towards family-friendly fare, The Golden Child is too lightweight and silly. While amusing at times, it isn’t enough to save what is ultimately a bore. Blah, even I think it is boring and I haven’t even seen the movie yet!)

Poster – The Sklog-en Child (A)

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(I … love this poster. Just feels like the 80s. I find it beautiful. And there is no way to mock it! Replacing those letters would be painful. The only critique personally is that it is very Eddie Murphy in your face. But then again, that was the point of the movie.)

Tagline(s) – Eddie Murphy Is The Chosen One (C)

(Blah. And The Chosen One is meaningless outside of the movie’s context. This tagline could just be “Eddie Murphy is in this movie!” and it would be just as effective in my opinion. It is boring, but serviceable. Especially combined with that bomb poster.)

Keyword(s) – child; Top Ten by BMeTric: 75.3 Troll 2 (1990); 71.7 Baby Geniuses (1999); 64.4 Honey I Blew Up the Kid (1992); 62.4 Saving Christmas (2014); 56.1 Poltergeist III (1988); 53.2 A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989); 53.1 Cold Creek Manor (2003); 50.0 Wild Orchid (1989); 49.4 Suburban Commando (1991); 47.8 Halloween 5 (1989);

(What a weird list and weird keyword. Just child … although appropriate for Golden Child I suppose. I am looking forward to Suburban Commando. Do you think we can do a Hulkamania cycle? Maybe if we open to all wrestlers and got a loosey goosey with the rules.)

Notes – Although the Golden Child is referred to as a boy throughout the film, J.L. Reate is actually a girl.

Originally intended as a serious adventure drama with Mel Gibson in the lead role. After Gibson turned the film down and Eddie Murphy replaced him, the script was rewritten as a partial comedy. (You’d think since this so frequently gets mentioned in movie disaster post-mortems that it would be avoided … but maybe it happens so often to great success that the benefits outweigh the pitfalls. Who knows)

On the return flight from Nepal, Eddie Murphy starts to sing with the music on the headphones on the plane. The third line/gibberish he sings is, “Eddie Murphy is a cool man.”

Eddie Murphy turned down a role in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) in order to make this film. (Saaaaaaaaay what. Although I can see it. He would probably help Kirk and Spock get to the aquarium to see the whales to boisterous laughs. Sigh. What could have been.

John Barry was commissioned by Paramount Pictures to compose, produce, and record a complete score. However, Barry was taken off the project after creative differences and reaction to test screenings . Although Michel Colombier completed the score, a few cues by Barry remain in the film, and one, “Wisdom of the Ages”, was released on the original soundtrack LP. As of the present, the entirety of both Barry’s largely unused music and Colombier’s final theatrical version score have been issued on a limited edition 3-CD soundtrack by Capitol/La-La Land Records. (I know what Jamie is getting for Christmas)

In the dream, when Chandler meets Sardo, Fu and “The Fat dude” and Sardo carves the dagger on Chandler’s arm, the set is the same used in the last few seasons of Webster (1983) (Ha!)