Warcraft Recap

Jamie

Before Patrick gets his say on this I’m going to go ahead and address the odd dichotomy between fan and critic reactions to Warcraft. I honestly think they’re both kinda wrong about this. The critics are being a bit harsh in criticizing the fact that straight gobbledegook is sprayed at your face for over two hours and you’re expected to understand what is happening. Welcome to fantasy. They are playing at a disadvantage and trying to establish something for future entries in the series. Besides it looked great, so sit back and relax and don’t worry so much. But I’m not one to buy into the whole “the film did what it set out to do.” That’s bullshit, a bad film is a bad film. So at the same time the fans need to understand that at some point you have to stop forgiving bad films for being bad just because they never set out to be particularly good. Just because Warcraft didn’t want to have a real plot (you know, one with a beginning, middle, and end rather than just a long middle) and its pacing problem were not their fault, doesn’t mean it’s better than it actually is. It’s a mediocre film. BMT? I’m not so sure, but it was pretty fun to watch for BMT.

For my game I think I’ll Sklogify the cast. I think the most obvious recasting would have been Nic Cage as the wizard Medivh. I would also consider Ray Liotta, but he already did evil wizard in In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. I think Kellen Lutz would play our main action star Anduin Lothar, Selena Gomez as the orc(ish) warrior (although I would also love to see Fergie in the role), and Neal McDonough as the King (LudaChris Klein is a good option here too, but Neal is a little more regal with his striking ice blue eyes. Billy Zane is on line 8 if everyone else turns us down). For the main Orc, Durotan, I think I’ll go with Alex Pettyfer, but besides that the orcs can be played by unknowns since you don’t really see who they are. We just really need that main orc to be as wooden as possible and we know Pettyfer can deliver. Finally for the already woefully miscast young wizard you have to go with Taylor Lautner (make a bad thing worse). God, Taylor Lautner and Selena Gomez in the same movie. Be still my heart. I think that film is properly Sklogified.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Warcraft?! More like Warcrap! We went live for this one, let’s get into it!

  • The Good – The first 30 minutes of this movie had me thinking I was seeing a true blue amazing fantasy tale. The 3D and CGI was pretty stunning throughout. The main plotline has been making me think “hey, I could watch a few more of these movies, this is kind of fun”. It really is a beautiful film.
  • The Bad – The plot is also completely scattershot. They jump from place to place and confuse the viewer consistently for the entire middle part of the film. I could never see myself sitting down and watching the film again, it would be too boring. The wizard character is a complete miscast, it is as if I dressed up for a Renaissance fair and ended up in the movie, that is how ridiculously misplaced he seemed at all times. The final third is a complete incomprehensible mess.
  • The BMT – It won’t ever be BMT and that’s because its IMDb rating will never drop below 7.0, that is a fact. I loved it as a Live! because it is really divisive, but it shall remain around the worst BMT we’ve ever done (and likely the highest rated BMT film on IMDb forever more). I would think this would be a 25 though, average. It is honestly around where critics should have rated this, 30-40, slightly more forgiving. The sub-30 this movie got is kind of absurd, but so is the IMDb score. It is an enigma.

Let’s see. I’m having a hell of a time trying to figure out a good game for this one actually. So I’m going special BMT Live: Theater Experience edition. I viewed this movie at the Fulham Road Cineworld in London. At the time the showings were already getting a bit sparse, usually one per day per theater, and exclusively 3D. I grabbed the earliest showing I could find (9:10PM blah) and bought an absurdly priced ticket (you also buy the glasses here, 16 pounds). There were more people than normal in my BMT Live showing, around a dozen or so. And the couple behind me decided to talk throughout the previews in French (?, couldn’t tell) and were (I think) cracking open beers as well. But everything quieted down for the movie and I had an unusually pleasant viewing experience. I was pretty proud of myself: despite not really knowing what was happening at times I remained awake and alert throughout. This was also the fourth movie in a row where no one was in the theater when I arrived five minutes before it started, which I guess is common when you book specific seats? I don’t know. I rate the experience a B+, there was a weird overhead light that bothered me throughout, but otherwise a delightful time.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Warcraft Preview

It’s the time you’ve all been waiting for! BMT Live. It’s the break in the cycle where Patrick and I take valuable time out of our busy schedule to head to the theater, plunk down our hard earned cash, and watch the worst that Hollywood has to offer (that is playing concurrently in London). If you follow the movie scene at all you might have already realized that Hollywood has provided a golden BMT opportunity in Warcraft. Not only did it get largely negative reviews, but is also far and away the most lopsided domestic/foreign grossing film in history. While it literally broke records overseas, it straight bombed here. A true curiosity. Additionally, because of the solid reception by fans it will almost certainly be the lowest BMeTric scoring film we’ve ever watched. It really couldn’t be missed by us. Almost a BMysTery in and of itself. Let’s go!

Warcraft: The Beginning (2016) – BMeTric: 1.1

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(Ha. Obviously not much here at the moment. Although fun to see a film like this in action. Sitting at a 7.6 on IMDb Warcraft is an objectively good movie according to that metric, and so obviously the BMeTric is depressed. I liked this movie for Live! Because of how divisive it is. At one point it was under 20% on rotten tomatoes and internet brains were melting. So we’ll see how the BMeTric develops over time. I have a feeling though this will be a sub 15 BMeT for a long time, and yet I’m somewhat confident it will make the Razzie longlist for consideration. We’ll see.)

Rogerebert.com (Christie Lemire) – 1/2 stars –  It is brutal. It is repetitive. It is numbing. And just as it’s ending, “Warcraft” leaves all kinds of plot threads dangling for the ambitious possibility of a sequel. But you’ll be likely to cry “Game Over” because this first one is easily a contender for the worst movie of the year.

(Wow. I wasn’t expecting this review to be quite this brutal. This movie seemed ripe for the classic Leonard Maltin 2 stars “Terrible movie, fun visuals” type of review where you can’t quite figure out where the extra stars are coming from. But rogerebert.com went for the jugular and took this thing down. Gaining confidence in our choice)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Rxoz13Bthc

(I believe this is the second trailer. The first trailer was an absolute catastrophe and was when I had a slight inkling this movie probably wouldn’t break the video game adaptation streak. This looks slightly better than that, but still. Leans heavily on the visuals with a somewhat trite seeming story, pretty standard for high fantasy actually.)

Directors – Duncan Jones – (Known For: Moon; Source Code; BMT: Warcraft; Notes: David Bowie’s son, Jones became somewhat of an indie darling with Moon. Subsequently Moon, due to how much of a “little known gem” it is on the internet, has become a meme related to high school aged male cinephiles. Which is unfortunate because Moon is a pretty nice little Sci Fi film, just don’t ever tell anyone you saw it because we all know … it is a hidden gem of a movie.)

Writers – Duncan Jones (screenplay) – (Known For: Moon; BMT: Warcraft; Notes: His middle name is Zowie.)

Charles Leavitt (screenplay) – (Known For: In the Heart of the Sea; Blood Diamond; K-PAX; The Express; The Mighty; BMT: Seventh Son; The Sunchaser; Warcraft; Notes:  A prolific re-writer, his two main bad movie credits (Seventh Son and Warcraft) are rewrites of others works. Born in Pittsburgh, PA.)

Chris Metzen (story and characters) – (BMT: Warcraft; Notes: Well known game designer for Blizzard covering Diablo, Starcraft, all of the iterations of Warcraft, and most recently Overwatch.)

Actors – Travis Fimmel – (Known For: Maggie’s Plan; BMT: Surfer, Dude; The Baytown Outlaws; Warcraft; Notes: A former Australian model discovered working out in a gym in Melbourne. He eventually turned to acting as a career over modelling. Well known for his leading role in the show Vikings.)

Paula Patton – (Known For: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; Deja Vu; 2 Guns; Precious; Hitch; About Last Night; Disconnect; Just Wright; Jumping the Broom; Idlewild; BMT: Baggage Claim; Mirrors; Warcraft; Notes: At one point she provided background vocals for Usher. Former wife of Robin Thicke, he has promised to win her back through the power of song, mmmhmmmm)

Ben Foster – (Known For: The Finest Hours; X-Men: The Last Stand; Lone Survivor; The Program; 3:10 to Yuma; Alpha Dog; Hell or High Water; 30 Days of Night; Phone Booth; Big Trouble; Kill Your Darlings; Contraband; The Mechanic; 11:14; The Messenger; Rampart; Get Over It; Ain’t Them Bodies Saints; The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things; Liberty Heights; BMT: 360; The Punisher; Hostage; Pandorum; Warcraft; Notes: Best known to me as the kid in Flash Forward. He’s put together a pretty impressive resume of smaller films since then in his transition from a child actor. Born in Boston.)

Budget/Gross – $160 million / Domestic: $24,356,000 (Worldwide: $286,100,000)

(Will be a resounding financial success internationally, but is going to be an absurd Pacific Rim level catastrophe domestically. Like Pacific Rim I fully expect Legendary, which was just bought out by a Chinese company, to pump out sequels geared toward Chinese audiences going forward (see: Transformers 4 which focuses heavily on Chinese product placement in the back half of the film which was set in Hong Kong I believe).)

#190 for the 3D genre

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(Again, I like these because there is just so much data it makes a pretty plot. 3D has been going down a bit (I would guess because tentpoles have been sucking up IMAX showings with or without 3D and so there are marginally less theaters available for 3D releases). I will, sadly, likely see this film in 3D, so that makes me sad. Not that I hate 3D, I just don’t want to pay for 3D for this movie).

#64 for the Fantasy – Live Action genre

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(Will probably end up near Hansel and Gretel and between the two recent bombs in Huntsman and Alice Through the Looking Glass. This genre saw quite the surge after Lord of the Rings I would guess and seems to be a pretty consistent genre since then.)

#15 for the Sword and Sorcery genre

swordandsorceryAnalysis

(It is kind of useless to compare Warcraft to these now, but it looks like it is going to take somewhere in the 50-60 million range domestic … which is absurd. That will most likely be less that fucking Willow! Anyways, I think people were putting too much stock into this movie anyways. Look at these last three plots and realize something: All of these genres aren’t really “surging”, but rather have kind of been consistent in production and performance since 2000. Nothing is really hinging on Warcraft’s success beyond maybe video game adaptations (and they still got their best shot coming, Assassin’s Creed).)

#21 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

videogameadaptationAnalysis

(The good news is Warcraft should make the top ten in the genre. The bad news is that domestically it will now probably be at best the third highest grossing video game adaptation of the year. The genre is surprisingly consistently produced considering literally no video game adaptation has ever reached even the modest benchmark of 50% on rotten tomatoes. The best ever reviewed? Final Fantasy Spirits Within (I saw that in theaters, go me) at 44%. The best on metacritic was Mortal Kombat btw. It really is quite dire, over 15 years that RT record has stood).

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (34/127): Warcraft has visual thrills to spare, but they — and director Duncan Jones’ distinctive gifts — are wasted on a sluggish and derivative adaptation of a bestselling game with little evident cinematic value.

(See above for some commentary on the RT score. Basically this did nothing to help the cause in getting video game adaptations taken more seriously by critics. This film is incredibly divisive. On the internet there is much debate about the stark contrast between critic reviews and audience reviews. And yet people openly admit that the movie is in fact derivative and possessing little cinematic value. The question you have to ask yourself is: is merely being entertaining the benchmark for success for a movie like this? And this is why I’m actually genuinely interested in seeing this film)

Poster – Sklogcraft (C-)

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(I don’t like it, but I feel like I should. Like I’m an old man and behind the times and that I should somehow understand that this poster is good. But I don’t. I think it is terrible. I think it looks old, and is silly, and I hate the colors, and it is busy, and blah. I don’t like it. [Jamie’s Note: Check out The Avengers poster that is graded an F- for being the worst thing I have ever seen? Look familiar? Wow.])

Tagline(s) – Two worlds. One destiny. (B+)

(I like it. Good cadence. Short. Does a little to get across the basic plot. It is still a little vague. Like, if I was staring at the poster what does that sentence mean? But after watching the trailer it makes sense, so only a bit of a minus there.)

Keywords – based on video game Top 10 BMeTric examples: 82.4 Street Fighter (1994), 81.2 Alone in the Dark (2005), 79.1 House of the Dead (2003), 78.7 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007), 78.6 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), 78.3 BloodRayne (2005), 77.1 Super Mario Bros. (1993), 69.9 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009), 63.8 DOA: Dead or Alive (2006), 62.4 Wing Commander (1999)

(Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne and House of the Dead are all Uwe Boll. DOA will be watched for BMT as some point. Other landmark movies above 20 BMeTric are Max Payne, the entire Resident Evil series, and both Lara Croft movies. Unfortunately a cycle really can’t be made out of it, but it sounds like it is ripe for the Sequel Cycle we are planning. We have seen 12 of 34 20+ BMeTric movies based on a video game, although I would argue that maybe 26 actually qualify. I mean, I’m going to watch all of the Pokemon movies, just not in the context of BMT)

Notes – Director Uwe Boll contacted Blizzard about directing the film, but Blizzard refused. As quoted by MTV news Uwe Boll stated: “I got in contact with Paul Sams of Blizzard, and he said, ‘We will not sell the movie rights, not to you… especially not to you. Because it’s such a big online game success, maybe a bad movie would destroy that ongoing income, what the company has with it.” (Good fucking choice considering he directed 6 of the top 12 BMeTric video game adaptations)

The source for the movie adaptation is being taken from the books “Rise of the Horde”, which tells how the Orcish Horde was formed; as well as “The Last Guardian”, which shows the human side and reaction to Orcish invasion. (Oh well I guess I should have read this book… but nope. I did not.)

The film was going to be released in December 2015 but was pushed back to May 2016 to avoid the release of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015). (Again solid choice)

Duncan Jones said that the original script was very one sided in terms of the two factions (Horde and Alliance). after signing on to direct, he made major edits to the story, as well as the script, so both factions could tell their side of the story. (ehhhhhh, probably not a great choice)

Bill Westenhofer, the lead visual effects supervisor for the film, is a long time World of Warcraft player and has mentioned getting up at 2 AM to raid with his guild while on film sets. Robert Kazinsky is also a die hard Warcraft player and recalls producers telling him to turn the game off while on the set of Pacific Rim (2013). (uh oh, you mean you intentionally signed someone who worked on the other gigantic domestic catastrophe for Legendary, Pacific Rim? Yikes)

An Orcish dialect was created specifically for the movie. (And people will undoubtedly learn it. I look forward to it. Let’s leave it there).

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) Recap

Jamie

In an alternate world I’d be sitting here telling you that The Day the Earth Stood Still was actually not that bad. Keanu was a great Klaatu (that sounds made up), the CGI was really solid (so solid that it kinda got me excited for Dr. Strange being made by the same director), and the plethora of good television actors was fun. But it’s not an alternate world. Since Patrick and I are ardent consumers of all things bad movie related, I obviously watched the original film and read the original short story on which it’s based. Guess what both those had? Really good twist endings and meditations on the nature of the human race. What did this one have? A terrible ending and a meaningless, meandering plot. That’s the thing. When I groan audibly during the ending of a film it kinda ruins its chances of being Not that Bad.™ And when the original film is a stark christian allegory on the decline of morality in the atomic age, and the new one has an entire scene set in a McDonald’s in central NJ… well.

You know what I was loving in this film though?! The fabulous Settings 101 display that The Day the Earth Stood Still put on. They reset the original film in New Jersey/New York as Klaatu wants to meet with the world leaders at the UN. That’s satisfying enough for a nice easy C grade in the class. A main setting of the film is talked about by the characters. But wait, The Day the Earth Stood Still wasn’t done yet. We are then told via insert titles (meta-acknowledgment!) where almost every scene of action occurs in NY/NJ! And I’m serious, like every scene is like “OUTSIDE NEWARK, NJ.” It happens like ten times. Amazing work. You’re in B range. TDtESS must be done now? Not a chance. At one point Klaatu has to be picked up by Connelly at Newark fucking Penn Station. They are going out of their way to include settings in the plot! Straight up A- all over the place. They can’t do any better than this, right? Wrong. In the climax of the film, as nanobots are eating their way through the New Jersey (as they should), the film goes out of its way to show the nanobots devour MetLife stadium in The Meadowlands (as they should). A major New Jersey landmark getting destroyed in the climax! That’s an A folks! Only way it can get to A+ is if they titled it The Day New Jersey Stood Still… but alas. Can’t win them all (unless you’re London Has Fallen).

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The Day the Earth Stood Still? More like the Hour my Brain Stood Still! Booooooooooooooooooooooooom. We watched a remake of some classic Sci Fi, so what is the worst that could possibly happen? … let’s get into it.

  • The Good – If this wasn’t a remake I would have said the story was at least somewhat interesting. The CGI was pretty incredible for the time. The cast for the most part handles their parts pretty well.
  • The Bad – Not surprisingly Jaden was a pretty bad part, but mostly because his character was totally unlikeable. But mainly the black mark upon this movie was that it was adapted from a classic. Without the previous movie as a touchstone this is like Day After Tomorrow, a movie whose fault lies in its heavy handedness. Instead it felt a bit closer to the new Red Dawn, just not a good idea in the face of inevitable comparison to a classic. Makes me want to watch the new Point Break?
  • The BMT – I guess. I’m honestly a tad bit surprised at how many votes this movie got, and 40 I guess feel a bit too high. I would say more like 30 ish at best. Might even go a little lower, below average even. The effects were alright, and you really have to stretch to find things that make you go “I’ve got to show this to somebody!”.

This movie is also a fine addition to the how-much-product-placement-can-you-sell-before-it-is-a-parody-of-itself pantheon. The original (table sized) Windows Surface, some watch, and an LG phone were pretty noticeable. But holy shit, right in the middle of the movie they might as well have had Keanu shout “I’m feeling hungry, but a kind of hunger that sticks, where do you Earth people go for high quality sustenance?” and Jaden and Connelly look at each other and say “Sound like someone needs a Mac-ers run!”. What followed was essentially the Mac and Me McDonald’s Dance Sequence:

 And then at the end Keanu could have walked towards his space ship, turned around to look at Jaden, given a Terminator 2 thumbs up and said “Da-da-da-da-da … I’m lovin’ it!”. I’m only being mostly hyperbolic. The irony of McDonalds, one of the largest corporations and producers of garbage in the world, being on prominent display in an unabashedly pro-environment film is also hilarious (although I’m thinking that might have been the point, McDonalds trying to show they are working with environmentalists across the board at the time). Anyways, this was, bar none, the highlight of what was otherwise a nuisance of a reboot, I do love me some in your face marketing.

The assessment of product placement is a long standing tradition with us, so it needs a name. Product Sklog-ment brought to you by McDonald’s. Da-da-da-da-da, we’re lovin’ it! It’s got a good ring to it.

Cheerios,

Sklogs

 

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) Preview

Alright, so we are moving on to the Sci-Fi entry of our Calendar cycle and watching a film that has been on the BMT radar for years. Mostly this is due to its star, who is bad movie royalty. That’s right, we’re watching The Day the Earth Stood Still starring Keanu Reeves. It was released on December 12th, 2008 beating out the likes of Exodus: Gods and Kings, Love Don’t Cost a Thing, For Richer or Poorer, Home Alone 3, The Golden Child, and Delgo for a place on the calendar. Wow! That’s a murderers row. I’m actually surprised that we ended up going with The Day the Earth Stood Still for December 12th. Delgo is one of the biggest bombs in film history and has terrible reviews to boot. It’s a good thing though because our calendar is lacking in Sci-Fi. Without further ado, let’s go!

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) – BMeTric: 48.6

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(Pretty boring BMeTric plot, but look, we found one! It’s been a while, but this is a movie which starts basically above its eventual mean rating and moves down. If you remember the regression plot 6.0 to start is pretty much the crossover point, so while this is well within normal expectations we could be seeing a bit of a Transformers effect. A movie which gets a bad reputation which drives its rating downwards (unusual for bad movies). The amount of votes this movie got is also startling, for such a giant domestic bomb I find that a little strange.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Strange visitor from another planet arrives on Earth in a giant sphere and adopts human form. The government and the military respond with hostility and weapons but super-smart biologist Connelly makes a personal connection with the alien – though her young stepson (Smith) isn’t as easily won over. Pallis remake of the 1951 classic turns Klaatu into a cipher and dissipates the impact of the story.  

(Having already watched the original in preparation for the remake I’m not sure I like that they seem to have merged the female lead and the mathematician into a single character (Connelly). I feel like that dissipates the impact of the story.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ16Rzi-lfA

(Daaaaannnnnggggggg! They made it a straight action film. That’s unsurprising, but the original is more like a Hitchcock film, so I was kind of expecting and hoping for a suspenseful thriller. Oh well.)

Directors – Scott Derrickson – (Known For: Sinister; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; BMT: The Day the Earth Stood Still; Deliver Us from Evil; Notes: Officially in the Marvel Universe fold as he is directing and writing the Doctor Strange film.)

Writers – David Scarpa (screenplay) – (Known For: The Last Castle; BMT: The Day the Earth Stood Still; Notes: Has been attached to write a Daredevil reboot and currently involved in writing a Cleopatra film.)

Edmund H. North (1951 screenplay) – (Known For: Patton; The Day the Earth Stood Still; In a Lonely Place; Sink the Bismarck!; Damn the Defiant!; One Night of Love; BMT: The Day the Earth Stood Still; Meteor; Notes: Won a screenwriting Oscar for Patton. Died in 1990 at age 79.)

Actors – Keanu Reeves – (Known For: Keanu; The Neon Demon; John Wick; The Matrix; Point Break; The Devil’s Advocate; Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure; Dracula; The Replacements; The Matrix Reloaded; Constantine; Speed; Something’s Gotta Give; Much Ado About Nothing; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; The Gift; A Scanner Darkly; My Own Private Idaho; Parenthood; Dangerous Liaisons; A Walk in the Clouds; The Private Lives of Pippa Lee; Man of Tai Chi; BMT: Knock Knock; The Day the Earth Stood Still; Even Cowgirls Get the Blues; Exposed; The Watcher; Johnny Mnemonic; Chain Reaction; Generation Um…; Feeling Minnesota; 47 Ronin; Youngblood; Hard Ball; Notes: Obviously huge actor in the BMTverse. Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2005 for Worst Razzie Loser of Our First 25 Years; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2002 for Worst Actor for Hard Ball, and Sweet November; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Supporting Actor for The Watcher; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1997 for Worst Actor for Chain Reaction; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1996 for Worst Actor for Johnny Mnemonic, and A Walk in the Clouds; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1994 for Worst Supporting Actor for Much Ado About Nothing;)

Also starring Jennifer Connelly (from BMT classic Winter’s Tale) and Kathy Bates – (from BMT Classics: Tammy, North, Failure to Launch, Valentine’s Day, and American Outlaws! She’s a secret BMT legend!)

Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $79,366,978 (Worldwide: $233,093,859)

(Fairly successful for what it was. Opened with a reasonable $30.4 million and then dropped like a rock.)

#8 for the Environmentalist genre – Movies concerned with the cause or promoting it.

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(Anyone else find it funny that the waves seem to follow Democratic presidents almost perfectly? Doesn’t bode well for those fearing a Trump presidency, looks like environmentalism in film is out at the moment. This one came literally at the peak of environmentalism oriented films)

#117 for the IMAX (Feature-length) genre

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(I almost didn’t even generate this one, but this is amazing! First how it just goes up and up. Second, because of how stable the monetary output from IMAX movies has been. If only all the genre plots had this much data too, so smooth and nice to look at.)

#21 for the Sci-Fi – Alien Invasion genre

scifialieninvasionAnalysis

(The big peak around ‘95 is obviously Independence Day. Seems like a rare case because this movie kind of came right as the genre was rising. We are coming down from a big peak (like Battle Los Angeles, Skyline, and Cowboys and Aliens from a few years back), but I’m wondering if the new Independence Day pulls a Jurassic World whether we might see that trend change a bit).

#8 for the Sci-Fi Remake genre

scifiremakeAnalysis

(I love the remake categories because you can see the “waves” as remakes are used in between (presumably) times in which more original properties are made. This is kind of messy, but as usual this movie comes as the back end of one of these waves, although the money always seems to be there for the sci fi remakes maybe. We seem to be entering one of the short troughs at the moment perhaps)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (40/191): Heavy on special effects, but without a coherent story at its base, The Day the Earth Stood Still is subpar re-imagining of the 1951 science-fiction classic.

(That’s funny that they remade a classic film (that clearly has a coherent story) and seemingly removed or ignored the story in favor of special effects. That sounds like a terrible idea.)

Poster – The Day the Sklog Stood Still (D-)

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(Dear God. The only thing good about this is the green and blue tone. Otherwise this is an absolute disaster. Only didn’t get an F because it’s not the poster for The Avengers.)

Tagline(s) – 12.12.08 is the Day the Earth Stood Still (F)

(That’s an F, as in fuck that noise.)

Notes – Renowned astronomer Seth Shostak was hired as a consultant on the film. He reviewed the script several times for errors, and gave suggestions for making the scientists less dry: “Real scientists don’t describe an object entering the solar system as ‘notable for the fact that it was not moving in an asteroidal ellipse, but moving at nearly 3*10 to the 7 meters per second’. More likely, they would say that there was ‘a god-damned rock headed our way!'” He also noted the scientists should refer to one another by a first name basis. (This could be our jobs I feel like. Because he isn’t wrong. I never walked around calling my coworkers doctor. The notes make perfect sense, although probably would seem comedic and strange in a Sci Fi film).

In the original movie, Gort was 8 feet tall. In the remake, he is now 28 feet tall. (Which seems like a strange move to me, just why? It begs the question).

In Harry Bates’ short story ‘Farewell to the Master’, upon which the movie is based, the last line revealed a dramatically different angle. It reads: “‘You misunderstand,’ the mighty robot had said. ‘I am the master.'” (yeah, and the original adaptation totally ignored this as well… obviously the new one wasn’t based on the story. It’s based on the film, duh.)

Keanu Reeves recorded the line “Klaatu barada nikto” twice, and one recording was played backward and spliced with the other (which was left normal) to make the overall dialog sound more otherworldly.

According to the filmmakers, John Cleese was the most difficult choice in casting as he was primarily noted for comic roles. Cleese felt that at his age, a dramatic role with subtle humour would be an easier role to play rather than another manic old man.

The film was primarily filmed in tones of green and blue, the Earth’s natural colours.

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 Recap

Jamie

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 is not the first time we’ve watched two films in a series separately for BMT, but it does kind of fly in the face of some of the measures that Patrick and I have taken in constructing BMT. We have slowly built up to consuming all relevant media when watching a film. So for Endless Love I read the book, watched the original film, and watched the 2011 film. For Paul Blart we watched the original as a bonus film when tackling Paul Blart 2. So this is a bit of a relic of yore. Now we probably would have watched both films at the same time (and read the book and watched the original film and…) but instead we are just watching this film a year later trying to remember what we thought of the first one. As I remember it I found the first to be a thoroughly depressing adaptation of a very good book with OK acting. Unsurprisingly the second film is a not quite as depressing but infinitely shoddier version of the first film. Lower the stakes and up the physical comedy and voila. Not particularly satisfying.

Patrick and I have been workshopping the Settings 101 class. Really trying to hammer out the details on what make a good setting for a film. For Cheaper by the Dozen 2 we get a surprisingly solid settings film. Now, it’s not as good as the first film. In the first film the crux of the plot is the family moving from Midland, Indiana to Evanston, Illinois to coach at the imaginary Illinois Polytechnic University. Look at those settings! It screams ‘Illinois!’ at the audience. That’s probably an A- (we’re tough graders). In the second film the family is still living in Illinois and decides that they have to go to the lake house in Wisconsin. While kudos to them for going all in on a specific setting again, it wasn’t as clear this time exactly where they were going. In fact I kind of missed it until later in the film when the oldest son and Jaime King talked about moving to Wisconsin to pursue their dreams. So I kinda have to give it a C+. It would have gotten into the B or B+ range if they had been clearer. Maybe passing a “Welcome to Wisconsin” sign when driving to the lake or just printing it on the screen. I call that a meta-acknowledgement. Where the film itself nods to the audience and says “in case you didn’t know where we were.”

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Cheaper by the Dozen Two?! More like Sequel Repercussions, Boo! (does that make sense? It felt good writing it). We went full on BMTquel, a very rare double BMT delight (Grown Ups and Growns Ups 2 come to mind for sure, not sure about other sequels). Let’s get into it!

  • The Good – I do think the “family comedy” genre is necessary for the world. I for one enjoyed things like The Great Outdoors growing up even though that movie is objectively terrible in retrospect, but I was like eight, why worry about movies like this? The tom-boy girl was fantastic in this film as well. Maybe the best kid actor in BMT history.
  • The Bad – It is a movie that you can kind of see the seams of its movie costume in. It doesn’t feel like a real movie. It is like a producer was like “What? The stupid remake of Cheaper by the Dozen made money, shit … I guess make another one. I have this script for The Great Outdoors 2 which makes no sense and stars the ghost of John Candy, can you rewrite this?” The movie legit stars 25 different people and is excruciating for 95% of the runtime. I really didn’t enjoy this film for a variety of reasons, but mainly because it just felt like a throwaway.
  • The BMT – Yes! I’m actually surprised it isn’t higher than the 40 something that it was. It is a kids movie, but again, it is kind of the worst the genre has to offer in a way. I should have put Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt in the good category to a degree, they clearly ad-libbed all of their lines, and they are solid as rocks, but still, the movie is super weak and I didn’t like it at all.

Boom. Audio Sklog-entary review. So this one was again just the director. This guy was pretty funny and had some good anecdotes … but was also kind of hilariously down on the movie. Everything seemed rushed, he was wrangling 20 kids at all times, and in addition to that he had to deal with the fact that Tom Welling, Hilary Duff and the twin boys (who were on Desperate Housewives at the time) were almost literally not on set all together at any given time. The guy did admirably (and was also weirdly obsessed with the noises his stomach was making throughout), but still not as good as if there was a second person to get the stories out of him. B. One of the better single person commentaries I’ve listened to thus far.

BTW I want to Reboot Cheaper by the Dozen haaaaard. Just to make Steve Martin a competent football coach / father. Example: Tom Welling is meandering around like a weirdo in both films at this point. Why not make him become the assistant coach? Why not show Steve Martin do something with his family? He talked about kids being “hardwired”, but seriously, his son liked football, he didn’t hate it, it makes no sense that all of a sudden he’s opening a garage in rural Wisconsin. One of the more frustrating storyline issues with both movies in this series. I’ll do the remake for a dime. No joke.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 Preview

This week we get to detail an interesting predicament that Patrick and I put ourselves in. In our last cycle we made the terrible, terrible (terrible) mistake of choosing Bulletproof Monk for the Chain Reaction category. It was a great BMT, but we really painted ourselves into a corner for the rest of the year due to the limited cast. After several days of slaving away in the BMT mine Patrick was able to finally discover a route that should satisfy our Chain Reaction needs for the rest of the year. Unfortunately that also means that we have to jump from Bulletproof Monk through Jaime King to… ugh… Cheaper by the Dozen 2. Two Hilary Duff movies in a row! Awww man. For serious? It was released on December 21st, beating out Richie Rich, Bonfire of the Vanities, Mixed Nuts, Joe Somebody, Fun with Dick and Jane, and Breakin’ 2 Electric Boogaloo to be the top (worst) release for the day. Wow, that’s impressive, albeit unfortunate for our BMT enjoyment. Sigh. Let’s go!

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005) – BMeTric: 46.4

CheaperByTheDozen2_BMeT

CheaperByTheDozen2_RV

(Finally, some plots that don’t just shoot up to 70 and sit there. Nice little bump around Christmas in ‘06 (this came out near Christmas ‘05 so naturally people watched it a year later as well). The rating plot is amazingly steady and outpaced its regression by a bit. I think it got demolished early on, so maybe it’s a kids film where for some reason grown adults feel the need to destroy it online? Because of how steady the rating is this is also a very rare film where you can see the 2011 inflection in the BMeTric as well. Usually that inflection is countered-balanced by the rating going up as well so you usually don’t see it. It could have gotten to 50+ pretty easily if not for a few recent ratings bumps. Sigh.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Depressing sequel to the box-office hit finds the Bakers returning to the vacation spot of their youth, where dad Martin gets into a competitive spat with wealthy Levy. Once again, a comic known for his rapier wit is reduced to Z-list slapstick (e.g., taking falls chasing rodents). A far more compelling if unexplored movie was right under the filmmakers’ eyes: Levy’s courtship of wife Electra (surprisingly, a leveling influence here).

(Wait, more depressing than the first one?! I found it profoundly depressing already. Also, I’m not sure I understand the plot of his alternate film. Is this a film that focused on how Levy and Electra fall in love prior to the events of this film (which could hardly be called Cheaper by the Dozen 2)? Or just making them a more prominent focus of the film?)

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

(While this looks like The Great Outdoors reboot that nobody asked for, I also get the feeling that they might have gotten closer to what I hoped the first film was: a football coach learning to efficiently “coach” his giant squad of children to some purpose. Add a little dash of gay panic at the end and this might be promising (relatively speaking, of course))

Directors – Adam Shankman – (Known For: Hairspray; Rock of Ages; BMT: The Wedding Planner; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; The Pacifier; Bringing Down the House; Bedtime Stories; A Walk to Remember; Notes: Came out of Juilliard and started out dancing in music videos and television (such as the Nickelodeon show Roundhouse), then moved into Choreography, then Directing, and now Producing. Kind of incredible. Really worked his way up.)

Writers – Sam Harper (written by) – (Known For: Rio; Open Season; BMT: Just Married; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Cheaper by the Dozen; Rookie of the Year; Notes: Obviously main writer on this. According to the production notes his first draft is close to the filming script and was a big part of getting Martin back and signing Levy.)

Craig Titley (characters) – (Known For: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief; BMT: Scooby-Doo; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Cheaper by the Dozen; See Spot Run; Notes: Wrote the first film’s story so got a character credit. Now a main writer and producer on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (novel) (as Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr.) – (BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Cheaper by the Dozen; Notes: Original writers of the book. They are two of the Gilbreth kids that were inspiration for the story.)

Actors – Steve Martin – (Known For: Home; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; The Prince of Egypt; The Jerk; It’s Complicated; Little Shop of Horrors; ¡Three Amigos!; Father of the Bride; Parenthood; My Blue Heaven; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; Baby Mama; Bowfinger; Shopgirl; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; The Big Year; Roxanne; Father of the Bride Part II; All of Me; L.A. Story; The Muppet Movie; The Man with Two Brains; Leap of Faith; Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid; Pennies from Heaven; BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; The Pink Panther; The Pink Panther 2; Bringing Down the House; The Out-of-Towners; Cheaper by the Dozen; Mixed Nuts; Sgt. Bilko; Love the Coopers; Novocaine; HouseSitter; Notes: A comedy and movie star. Currently a major name in the bluegrass scene. Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2010 for Worst Actor for The Pink Panther 2.)

Also stars Hilary Duff and Tom Welling from the last two BMT films Material Girls and The Fog respectively

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $82,571,173 (Worldwide: $129,181,830)

#34 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated chart

#11 for the Comedy – Fish-Out-of-Water Father genre – Comedies about Fathers and Father Figures Parenting Children

daddyfishoutofwaterAnalysis

(Strangely a genre which has not been added to since 2013. Also that early 90’s bump? Uncle Buck, both Problem Childs, Parenthood, and Three Men and a Little Lady. We are looking at the peak of the genre’s proliferation, but also when the profits looked to be a-tumbling)

#32 for the Comedy – Sequel (Live Action) genre

comedysequelAnalysis

(Again! Right at a previous peak, but just as the genre was a tumbling. This is definitely a trend in BMT. Funny enough the new wave of comedy sequels is rising (Zoolander 2 and Neighbors 2 this year so far). Seems like they need to harvest a new crop of comedies to sequelize between boom-time.)

#8 for the Remake – Sequel to a Remake genre

sequelremakeAnalysis

(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.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (6/93): A sequel to a remake, Cheaper 2 wastes its solid cast in scenes of over-the-top, predictable humor.

(Ugh, that sequel to a remake part makes me feel a bit ill. It really is just misguided all around in this case because the first movie was already pretty terrible. Blah, not excited.)

Poster – Cheaper by the Sklogen 2 (D+)

cheaper_by_the_dozen_two

(Horrific. Only saved by a lack of a The Avengers level gaffe and a nice level of symmetry. Patrick’s note: I’ve decided to Sklogify the movie name in the poster section now. Why? Because if I were to photoshop, let’s say, my face onto all 14 characters in the photo that would be the title of the film.)

Tagline(s) – Same Big Family… Even Bigger Adventure. (A)

(I… I… love it. It’s beautiful. Nearly a perfect tagline for this particular film. That’s all I have to say. It has left me nearly speechless.)

Notes – Hilary Duff had an eating disorder during filming, causing Lorraine to have a gaunt, skeletal appearance in this movie. (Oh sad, upsetting way to describe it too)

When the “Cheaper by the Dozen” movies were made, neither Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt, who played the parents of 12 children, had ever had a child in real life. Steve Martin first became a father years later in February of 2013 when his wife Anne Stringfield gave birth to his first child.

Carmen Electra is allergic to dogs. When the Bakers go to the Murtaughs’ house, their dog Gunner jumps all over her. When the Bakers are leaving, tiny red dots are all over her body. (Also gross. These notes are gross)

Real baby and childhood pictures of Hilary Duff and Alyson Stoner were used for the “photo albums” of their characters. (coool)

This film is a sequel to a remake of a film that was based on a book that was based on a true story. This means it is four steps away from its source material. (cooooooooool)

The Baker’s Cabin for the movie was built and then torn down after the filming. (ugh. I hate these notes. So wasteful.)

Events in the Labor Day Cup included: the Egg Toss, Wheelbarrow Race, Diving, Sack Race, Archery, Egg and Spoon Race, Water Treadmill, Volleyball, and the Tie-breaker Canoe Race. Not seen, but shown on the scoreboard were: Tug-O-War, Baseball Dunk, and Water Skiing. (hahahahahaha I love that this is a note. Hey, we should hold a BMT summer extravaganza with these exact events. People would be like “I wonder why they chose these twelve specific and mundane events for a bad movie festival” and we’ll creep over and whisper “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” and then they’ll throw up in their mouths)

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Hilary Duff)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Eugene Levy)

Material Girls Recap

Jamie

I’ll let Patrick sum up Material Girls. The film is small enough that probably just one perspective is needed. I’ll keep my notes limited to a comparison between this film and Sense and Sensibility (on which it is “based”).

So technically Material Girls is based on Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (so Book Review obvs). I did indeed read the book to make sure I got the full Material Girls experience. I can tell you… not necessary. If you squint you can map the characters between the book and the film (Elinor is Hilary Duff, Marianne is Haylie Duff, Edward is Tommy, Willoughby is Rick, and Colonel Brandon is Henry). Besides that there is literally no resemblance. I amused myself while watching the film by imagining what Sense and Sensibility would be like if its plot actually did resemble the plot of Material Girls. And it would go… a little something… like this: Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are heirs to their father’s corset empire. Unfortunately upon his passing they learn that his corsets are dangerous and has led to the permanent deformation of its wearers. It can’t be! In order to clear their names, get their beaus and receive the inheritance they rightfully deserve, they must infiltrate the dances of their rivals to uncover the dastardly conspiracy to defame them. Along the way they learn that money isn’t everything and love can’t be bought. Boom. That would be the worst book. This reminds me of an idea I had (that would also be the worst) which is writing books-films-are-based-on… not books-based-on-films. Rather than just adapting the film directly into a book, you take the film and reimagine it as a book that it could have been based on. Get it? There’s a subtle difference… nevermind, it’s not important.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone? Material Girls, more like Makes Me Hurl! (oof, my wife had to help with that one). So you know how some movies feel like they aren’t real movies? No? Well this one was barely a movie. But I know the question on everyone’s mind: was it dog poo in my face? You’ll have to wait and see, let’s get into it:

  • The Good – I did not think Haylie Duff was substantially worse as an actress compared to the actors surrounding her, the story was surprisingly interesting, and what should have been a really terrible Erin Brockovich reference ended up being the best part of the movie.
  • The Bad – Data from Star Trek was not so good. Lukas Haas was straight dog poo in my face, more on that later. This is barely a movie, and so clearly involved (1) a studio trying to salvage a Olsen Twins movie gone wrong, and (2) was only released because someone in production (probably the director) had connections in the industry and got distribution.
  • The BMT – Yes! But I would put it at 30-40 just because of the size of the film. It was not straight up dog poo in my face because in its small way it was charming. I would never watch this film again exclusively because Haylie Duff and Lukas Haas have the single most excruciating romance in the history of cinema.

Alrighty. Quick hot take on the commentary, a mini Audio Sklog-entary, this was exclusively the director and confirmed for me that a single person commentary is necessarily inferior to multiple people. Also, while I know the director is well meaning, it comes across as kind of a shoddily put together film. The entire commentary is just about how they were trying to explain the story from A to Z, nothing really super interesting here beyond the fact that apparently the director herself convinced a very tentative Lukas Haas to act like a weirdo in a comedic role and it came out horribly, no joke. D+. I can imagine less interesting commentaries, but they’d be trainwrecks.

It looks like Jamie is doing a little Sense and Sensibility review, so I might as well rock a Settings 101. Am I allowed to? I’m not sure, but this movie was very much set in LA, complete with “hilarious” LA-has-terrible-public-transportation jokes. I think I give it a C+. It’s story doesn’t require the film to be set in LA necessarily, but they use the setting to solid effect in the end (the aforementioned bus gag, the boyfriend is a star on an OC-like show, a couple gift bag gags). Maybe Jamie can chime in on the scale and some examples of what is an A – D setting. Obviously an F setting is one which just doesn’t have a setting, like Trespass starring Nic Cage.