Max Payne Recap

Jamie

Max Payne is a detective with pain deep in his heart due to the pain caused by the painful deaths of his wife and baby. Forever searching for those responsible, can he track down their killers before it’s too late? Find out in… Max Payne.

How?! We are introduced to our titular character May Payne, an unstable detective broken by the murder of his wife and child and relegated to the cold case squad. Convinced that drug addicts were responsible for their deaths he spends his free time kicking ass and taking names of those on the periphery of the drug trade. One night he’s introduced to Natasha, sister of a Russian mobster who is involved in a new street drug Max is investigating. After she leaves his apartment she is brutally murdered, throwing suspicion on Max. Max don’t give a shit because he’s a crazy person and only cares about two things: solving crimes and chewing gum and guess what? Gum doesn’t exist in Max Payne (neither does sunshine and laughter apparently, this film is grim). But when his ex-partner is also killed for investigating Natasha’s murder, he suspects he’s getting close to something explosive. After finding that some work documents of his wife’s have been stolen he tortures one of her coworkers and finds out she was involved in the development of a military drug. Tracing this all back to a homicidal maniac named Lupino, Max confront him and is nearly killed, only to be saved by the real killer of his wife: his good friend BB. BB throws Max into the frozen Hudson River but Max survives by consuming some of the drug. Transformed into a super soldier he goes after BB and kills him… now read all that back and see if it makes any sense. I actually had to rewatch parts of this film because I couldn’t piece together the film’s plot. It’s nonsense. THE END.

Why?! Max Payne mostly just wants to chew bubblegum in peace, but since that doesn’t exist he is obsessed with solving the murders of his wife and child. Pretty boring and straightforward. The bad guy on the other hand is much more interesting. He used to be a police officer, but took over security at the pharmaceutical company Max’s wife worked at. After the failure of the trials of the super soldier drug he started dealing it on the streetz for profit. Max’s wife got wind of it so she had to go. Weirdly the police don’t seem suspicious that a bunch of super soldier drug is being sold. You even see the logo of the pharma company on the vials… now that I think about it Max Payne is a really bad cop. Should have been obvious.

What?! Mila Kunis certainly liked her Maserati in the film, but my favorite by far is from the post credit sequence (setting up a sequel that never came to fruition… yet). In it Max meets up with Mila Kunis’ character at a bar to discuss things. He goes to the bartender and grabs two nice cold refreshing bud lights. Hardly any product placement in the entire film and then this shows up at the end. I’m convinced Wahlberg must have something in his contract requiring it. Seeing how Bud Light will be incorporated into the plot is the best part of his Transformers films.

Who?! Apparently the voice actor for Max Payne appears uncredited as a background actor in a scene… but that’s not confirmed by imdb. Better than that is while scrolling through the cast list I saw that Nelly Furtado, famous singer and bird enthusiast, appears as the wife of Max Payne’s former partner. She appears for one second, says a line, and isn’t visually recognizable for me to have noticed until now. Weird and wild stuff.

Where?! NYC Babbbbyyyyyy! At first I thought maybe we were in Generic Big City, but then the police cars all had NYPD on them and the game is explicitly set there so why wouldn’t they. Pretty obvious but not essential. B-.

When?! Secret Holiday Film Alert! Everything is bleak, cold, and snowy in the film so my setting sense was a-tingling. Could we be looking at an Xmas film. Unfortunately no. But this seems to end on New Years Eve. Right in the beginning we are told that the events of the final showdown occur a week before the start of the film. At some point in the beginning of the film Max’s buddy is reviewing a case file which is listed as being transferred to him on 12/28/2008. This would seem to indicate almost exactly that the we are being treated to a super secret New Year’s Eve film. A wonder we didn’t see Max watch the ball drop after totally murdering a bunch of people. That’s a pretty nice B.

This film is nonsense which seemed to aim squarely at style rather than substance (and succeeded at having almost no substance at all). Felt a little Zach Snyder-ish, with parts that looked good but when you drill down there is just fluff there. In reality if you think about it this film is not too different than Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li other than it looks a lot better. The plot is just as hilariously bad. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Max Payne was what you’ll be in if you watch this movie, aaaaayyyyyyyyyoooooooooo, hit it Jamie! Ah, but I should probably talk about the movie a bit … fine, let’s get into it.

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I like Mark Wahlberg, I can’t help it. I barely even know why at this point given how he has betrayed me with the Transformers franchise. The film kind of looked cool at times. The story was kind of interesting at times. I even kind of liked it at times. Those times were just too few and far between. Obviously I would want a Remake. Video game films are having a moment. People are trying all kind of new things with them. Young directors. Serious stories. Higher budgets. Nothing seems to help, they still kind of suck. I think, and this might be an unpopular opinion, part of the problem is fanservice. With comic books you have limitless material to draw on, thousands upon thousands of pages of Batman has slowly made his character beloved and authentic feeling stories are fairly simple to develop out of the archetype. Max Payne though? You have a few games, and honestly, the stories in video games are rarely good. Just make this a revenge cop drama. Don’t worry about the fanservice. If you make it good the fans will come back to it and it will become Max Payne (not the other way around). Maybe it works, maybe people slam it for not being an “adaptation” as they expect it. But it is better than having stupid goat transformation scenes in Warcraft, I’m telling you that much. Rant over.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – This film is a little too stylized. The story is very generic, so much so that you sit there and think “well obviously that guy is the bad guy! Haven’t I seen this somewhere else?”. It also, and I’ll get into this a little below, kind of betrays the game it is adapted from. It is kind of fun, but mostly it is drab, dreary, and sad. The Sklognalogy I think has to be Sucker Punch in a way. I feel like it and Sin City 2 and 300 2 (I haven’t seen either of those) all suffer from the same thing: it missed the boat on a style, but went ahead and did it anyways. The style gets boring though after you’ve seen it once or twice. You might think making a Matrix knock-off would be cool, but it probably would just look stupid these days and make people think “ugh, this is a knock off of the Matrix”. Same thing here.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I do think Max Payne has a legacy, mostly in an unyielding march towards watching all video game adaptations (almost all of them qualify after all). This isn’t the worst I’ve seen, but it came out at a time when people were sure video game adaptations were going to happen. They didn’t. The same people are sure this year is the year as well … welp, the new Lara Croft trailer doesn’t look so good to me, but we’ll see. They’ll figure it out someday. There isn’t much for being the worst of 2008, but it fourth on a list of worst Mark Wahlberg films by Rolling Stone. And made a list of the 15 worst video game films by Screen Rant. Pretty solid.

I’ll keep the adaptation analysis short because I haven’t played the game. But, based on the outcry by the developers themselves it is clear that the hallucinations that Mark Wahlberg sees, a major plot point in the movie, either play very little or no part in the film. I wish I had the time to play through the game to give a better analysis, and someday I’m sure I will, but that day is not today. This seems to be mid-level though as far as staying true to the game itself, so let’s give it a C with an option for extra credit later to bump up that grade.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Max Payne Preview

Alright so we’ve covered an adaptation of a tech product and a TV show. Time to get down to real business because this week for our Action entry is the always reliable video game adaptation. There have been numerous adaptations over the years and none (NONE!) have actually achieved a fresh RT score. In fact, it’s incredibly rare for a video game adaptation to escape qualification for BMT (Angry Birds being the most recent). So we had a lot to choose from and went for a film that’s been on our BMT radar for years. That’s right! We’re nabbing the Mark Wahlberg classic Max Payne. There was a moment in time where it looked like Wahlberg’s career might be headed to a dark place. Just two years after getting an Oscar nomination for The Departed he did The Happening and Max Payne in the same year! Incredible. Of course he rallied and is now one of the biggest movie stars on the planet so good for him. Keep making those Transformers for us. Let’s go!

Max Payne (2008) – BMeTric: 54.5

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(Always a good sign when the rating is unchanged for years on end effectively. And that’s a lotta votes. Definitely a popular below average rated film if I’ve ever seen one.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  A Dirty Harry-like homicide cop (Wahlberg) seeks revenge against the killers of his loved ones. Good-looking film falls flat dramatically. There’s plenty of gore, though it’s not graphic enough to earn this an R rating. Based on a popular video game.

(Loving the hyphen game as usual from Leonard. The visual style certainly looks unique, along the lines of Sin City and 300. That can be hit or miss, and is certainly isn’t particularly popular at the moment.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2jAEoBz6RY

(Oooooof the voice over start. And jesus this could not be more stylized with the music and the visual design. I remember the visual of the guy getting pulled out of the building from when this trailer came out … I was unimpressed then. The trailer kind of makes the film look like crap.)

Directors – John Moore – (Future BMT: The Omen; I.T.; Flight of the Phoenix; Behind Enemy Lines; BMT: A Good Day to Die Hard; Max Payne; Notes: Irish. He started in commercials and got his big break after creating the launch add for the Sega Dreamcast (RIP). It was apparently “so visually impressive” that they offered him a $40 million action film. While I don’t buy that, I do love commercial directors making films.)

Writers – Beau Thorne (screenplay) – (BMT: Max Payne; Notes: What are the odds of two Beaus involved in the same movie, I wonder if him and Beau Bridges hung out. He is apparently best friends with Bryan Bertino a writer-producer of horror films.)

Sam Lake (video game by Remedy Entertainment and 3-D Realms Entertainment) – (BMT: Max Payne; Notes: Finnish, he wrote the screenplay for many Remedy Entertainment video games around that time as he is good friends with the founder Petri Järvilehto. His real name is Sami Järvi, Järvi is Finnish for Lake.)

Actors – Mark Wahlberg – (Known For: All the Money in the World; The Departed; Deepwater Horizon; Patriots Day; Ted 2; Boogie Nights; Ted; Shooter; Planet of the Apes; Lone Survivor; The Italian Job; The Other Guys; Pain & Gain; 2 Guns; The Fighter; Four Brothers; Rock Star; Date Night; Three Kings; The Basketball Diaries; Future BMT: The Truth About Charlie; Daddy’s Home; Mojave; Broken City; Fear; Renaissance Man; Daddy’s Home 2; Entourage; The Lovely Bones; BMT: The Happening; Transformers: The Last Knight; Max Payne; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Notes: Bomb, just watched him in yet another Transformers film. We need to get our hands on his fitness documentary Creating Form… Focus… Fitness, the Marky Mark Workout from 1993. That shit is def bananas.)

Mila Kunis – (Known For: Bad Moms; Black Swan; Ted; Friends with Benefits; Oz the Great and Powerful; The Book of Eli; Forgetting Sarah Marshall; Date Night; Blood Ties; Get Over It; Extract; Piranha; Future BMT: Annie; Krippendorf’s Tribe; The Angriest Man in Brooklyn; Moving McAllister; A Bad Moms Christmas; The Color of Time; Third Person; BMT: Jupiter Ascending; Max Payne; Notes: Married to Ashton Kutcher now. She had to lie about her age in order to get her big break in That 70s Show, which she started on when she was 15 (gross). In the first episode Kutcher (who was 20) was making out with a 15-year-old on camera … g-g-g-gross)

Beau Bridges – (Known For: The Mountain Between Us; Jerry Maguire; The Descendants; Charlotte’s Web; The Ballad of Jack and Rose; Hit and Run; The Tale of the Princess Kaguya; From Up on Poppy Hill; The Fabulous Baker Boys; Eden; The Hotel New Hampshire; Norma Rae; The Landlord; Heart Like a Wheel; Force of Evil; The Incident; The Runner Stumbles; For Love of Ivy; Gaily, Gaily; Hammersmith Is Out; Future BMT: Sidekicks; Village of the Giants; The Good German; The Wizard; RocketMan; Spinning Into Butter; Two-Minute Warning; Rushlights; BMT: Max Payne; Notes: The older brother of actor Jeff Bridges. He is nearly 80. Fun facts about this dude: he was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1969. He is only 5’ 10’’ but played basketball for UCLA in probably like 1959. His father is Lloyd Bridges from Airplane!)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $40,689,393 (Worldwide: $85,416,905)

(That isn’t great, considering it is an action film you would hope you’d get to $100 million at least. The domestic total also isn’t very impressive, especially at the time. But I also wouldn’t necessarily call it a bomb. One Bud Light ad and you’re good to go.)

#16 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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(During the 2000s they were trying so hard to make video game films a thing. They’ve never really done well though. Famously, there has never been a “fresh” video game adaptation on Rotten Tomatoes. We’ve seen Warcraft, Silent Hill, Silent Hill: Revelations, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Need for Speed, Hitman, Hitman: Agent 47, Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, Doom, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Wing Commander, … YIKES.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (21/134): While it boasts some stylish action, Max Payne suffers severely from an illogical plot and overdirection.

(Yiiiiiiiiiiis. Over direction and illogical plots are my jam. A very impressive critical bomb, probably among the worst of the major released in 2008. Finally getting that street cred going.)

Poster – Max Sklog (B)

Camp C Eng (Page 1)

(Give it props for bold choices, most of them good. Feels a little empty and amateurish, but maybe just because it’s different than most posters. Also never a huge fan of black as a primary color, but better than white.)

Tagline(s) – None! (F——)

(Oh fuck you, Max Payne. You too good for a tagline? Is that what it is? I’m sure you could have whipped up an OK pun on the name Payne.)

Keyword(s) – based on video game; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.1 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.6 House of the Dead (2003); 88.5 Street Fighter (1994); 87.4 BloodRayne (2005); 86.4 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 85.8 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 83.9 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 79.0 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 72.6 Far Cry (2008); 69.6 Wing Commander (1999);

(Just because we refuse to do all of the Uwe Boll films, we kind of get screwed here. BTW, check out last week’s Hall of Fame inductee: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale! It is straight garbage juice.)

Notes – The game designers at 3D-Realms were apparently unimpressed by the motion picture adaptation. (literally no game design stoudio has ever been impressed with a film adaptation)

The extra scene after the end credits was supposed to set the stage for a sequel. But due to the film’s poor performance at the box-office, 20th Century Fox decided to abandon plans for a sequel.

James McCaffrey, the voice of Max Payne in the video game franchise, makes a cameo as the FBI Agent that Lieutenant Jim Bravura introduces to the “real” police officer. He also shows up near the end of the film, asking if Bravura is alright, before calling in Division One over the radio. (cool)

Due to the PG-13 rating that the studio wanted, John Moore filmed two versions of the two biggest action sequences in the film, a) The Aesir Swat Building Shoot-out, and b) Max Payne’s attack on the Aesir building starting from the parking garage scene. John Moore filmed a version with impact squibs (seen in the PG-13 cut) and one with bloody wound squibs. Moore also stated that the parking garage scene during the filming of using the blood wound squibs was “one of the bloodiest shootouts he has ever filmed”.

In the film, Valkyries are shown as male. In Norse Mythology, all Valkyries are female. They are also referred to as “Odin’s Girls” for the same reason. (What is this? A fourth grade Norse Mythology Unit?)

Early in the film, Max beats up three thugs in the Roscoe Street subway station. This fictitious station is the setting of one of the first levels in the video game, where DEA Agent Alex Balder (upon whom the film’s Detective Alex Balder is based) is murdered.

Mark Wahlberg reportedly never played the video game, as he didn’t want to become addicted, and felt the script connected him to the story enough. (We have something in common then)

Very little of the movie was actually shot on greenscreen. Instead, Director John Moore opted to shoot in Toronto during the night, in order to add extra reality to his actors’ reactions.

The name of the club is RAGLAN AND BROCK. Some of the letters are burned out and it makes the sign look like it reads RAG NA ROCK. (Cool Norse mythology shit)

Olga Kurylenko’s second movie based on a video game. The first was Hitman (2007). (Noice)

Voted online as “One of the worst movies ever made”.(Not so noice)

Max keeps most of the stuff from his old house in a shipping container at a place called Gognitti’s Self-Storage. The place is named after Mafia Lieutenant Vinnie Gognitti, one of the video game’s minor villains.

The trailer for Max Payne is seen playing on a television in the background of Ari Gold’s office in Entourage (2004) – a show produced by Mark Wahlberg. (Gross)

John Moore has said that he tried to please fan requests as much and frequently as possible. (Almost always a mistake)

In the post-credits scene, as Max Payne walks into the bar, a marquee across the street reading “Forgotten Rebels” and “The 3Tards” is visible. Visual Effects Supervisor Jeff Campbell is the guitarist for the punk band Forgotten Rebels. “The 3Tards” is a shout-out to the fellow Ontario-born punk band (both have played shows together, including during post-production of “Max Payne”). (The 3tards is one of the worst names for a band I’ve ever seen)

This is the second video game adaptation Olga Kurylenko appears in, the other being Hitman (2007). Coincidentally they both feature former Prison Break (2005) actors as antagonists. (Everyone knows I love me some Prison Break)

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Mark Wahlberg)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Recap

Jamie

Jack Sparrow is back… uh… Jack. We find him destitute and drunk on the island of Saint Martin when the son of Will Turner, Henry, comes a-knocking looking to free his father with the power of the Trident of Poseidon. Will they outrun some nasty ghost pirates and nab the Trident before it’s too late? Find out in… Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

What?! Henry Turner is dead set on freeing his father, Will Turner, from his eternal curse aboard The Flying Dutchman by obtaining the powerful Trident of Poseidon. Knowing that Jack Sparrow is his only hope he heads on a quest to find him. On his way there he is part of a crew that crosses paths with a Spanish pirate hunter, Salazar, trapped in Devil’s Triangle. In exchange for his life, Henry is tasked with delivering a message of revenge to Jack Sparrow (what a coincidence! You’re looking for him too?). Once on Saint Martin, Henry crosses paths with Carina Smyth who is also searching for the trident (what a coincidence! You’re looking for that too?). At the same time Salazar is freed after Jack drunkenly throws his compass away (this is getting confusing with all these coincidences). Shortly thereafter both Carina and Jack are sentenced to death. Freeing them with the help of Jack’s crew, Henry and the gang set out for the Trident. While searching for Jack, Salazar encounters Barbossa who promises to help him find Jack. They converge near a small island where our heroes and Barbossa manage to escape to land. Once there Barbossa makes a new alliance with Jack to help him find the Trident and they join together on the Black Pearl. The race to the Trident is on! Our heroes find the secret Trident island and open a path in the ocean to their prize. A fight with Salazar ensues at the end of which they break the Trident, thus breaking all curses across the land. Escaping to their ship they leave Salazar to die at the ocean’s depths. We end with Henry reuniting with his father Will, freed from his curse forever. My god is that unnecessarily complex. THE END.  

Why?! Henry Turner wants to save his dear old dad, Will, and Carina wants to help him because… huh… not sure actually. She just wanted to follow the stars on the map left to her by her daddio. I guess she thought they would somehow lead her to him… which in the end it did (Spoiler Alert: He’s Barbossa). As for Jack, he is mostly a drunk in this film, hoping only to escape death. While more of a subplot in this film, Jack’s objective of eternal life is something that ties together most of the films. In particular it ties in Davy Jones as the ultimate villain of the franchise: the evil pirate who has the eternal life that Jack so desires. This is what leads me to believe that there will be at least one more film in the franchise. The obvious end to to the Jack Sparrow saga is his place on The Black Pearl as the eternal shepherd of the underworld through a final battle to destroy Davy Jones and his Locker for good.

What?! Now here is a classic MacGuffin. From the start we are told that the Trident of Poseidon can break any curse. How? Why? Don’t worry about it. Just know that it is an object that both good and evil will strive for in the hopes of gaining ultimate power. It’s a funny MacGuffin too in that its power is released only in its destruction, so the first time we see it is also the last.

Who?! While Keith Richards has played Jack Sparrow’s father in the 3rd and 4th Pirates of the Caribbean films, he does not show up here. Instead Paul McCartney randomly cameos as Jack’s uncle, throwing a few jokes his way in prison. Cool.

Where?! The Caribbean, duh. In fact the setting for a large portion of the film was specified this time. Jack is stuck and rumored dead on the island of Saint Martin. Once they leave that island though the setting is basically just the open sea and secret islands. C.

When?! All the films at least can be framed in reference to each other. Henry Turner is 21 years old in this film and thus 21 years after the third film (at the end of which he was conceived). The fourth film is claimed to be 16 years after the third film, placing this film in 1756 give or take a couple years. This is fun, but it’s still a D-.

We have done a whole bunch of franchises over the last year (and I would venture a guess that 2018 may turn into the year of the franchises as we had a blast doing them) and you can’t help but find the aspects of each of them that made them hits in the first place. It’s like Stockholm Syndrome, we come to love our captors. Pirates of the Caribbean is no different. I came to enjoy the spectacular CGI, even more spectacular stunts, and the humor that Jack Sparrow brought to the table, even when the storylines started to make very little sense and the films ballooned to nearly three hours. So when the fourth took much of that away and then the fifth really only brought the CGI back up to snuff (Jack is reduced to a caricature of himself, constantly yelping in surprise as he has nothing more clever to say) I was pretty disappointed. But it didn’t slake my thirst for an adequate conclusion to the series. I know they can do it. I need to see Jack Sparrow ride off into the sunset at the helm of The Black Pearl having been granted eternal life. It’s the only real way this ends. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Six years ago you made a terrible mistake. Succumbing to peer pressure you allowed Johnny Depp to make yet another Pirates of the Caribbean film, much to the world’s chagrine. Since then the thirst has been silent, waiting in the darkness. Then … a small voice says in the back of your head: “Make another one. It’ll be great. Savvy?” Ugh, I hate you, you think … but, yes, I savvy indeed. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – This comes across as much more of a Pirates of the Caribbean film than the fourth. It was fun and at least had a spirited direction compared to some of the other sequels. Resolving the Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley storyline at least allows the series to pass into a slumber if they didn’t feel the need to complete a second trilogy. I think though I’ll outline what I could imagine a sixth film to be in a Sequel. Basically, at the end of this film all pirate curses have been broken, but apparently magic still exists (it appears Jack Sparrow’s compass still operates, pointing to the owner’s desire). In the sequel the compass brings Jack Sparrow back to Shipwreck Cove to hold another Brethren Court with Elizabeth Swann (who remains the Pirate King) and Carina Smyth (who inherited the captaincy of the Caspian Sea from her father Captain Barbossa). The problem? Magic in this world is dying, a consequence of the breaking of Poseidon’s Trident, and without magic the pirate’s domination of the sea is in peril. Jack Sparrow, harboring his long-held desire for immortality, offers to find the hidden merman city which, according to legend, is ruled by Triton, the son of Poseidon. Knowing that where Gods live there is the possibility of immortality Jack sails deep into the Amazon where the secret city is to be found. Can Jack Sparrow discover the secret to save Pirate magic before it is too late? Pirates of the Caribbean: The Forsaken Mermen.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – The story in this case as one of the weaker in the series, it was never really clear what anyone was doing. While I like Javier Bardem, his bad guy was also a little weird and shoehorned into the whole mythology (although I liked seeing young Jack). And, sorry, but Brenton Thwaites is the new Jai Courtney, there is something uncharismatic about him where he could be replaced by almost anyone and the movie wouldn’t suffer a bit. It was the same in Gods of Egypt. Get your money though Thwaites. In this short Crimes Against BMT-anity I thought I would just note how humorless the whole Pirates franchise managed to becomes during its run. The first film was (and still is) fantastic, but mainly because of how funny and wacky the whole world and especially Jack Sparrow was. By this installment? Barbossa is a garbage human, Jack is a mopey asshole, and the once exciting life of a pirate looks to be rather … drab and, honestly, sad. Hopefully they can finish off the series with a bang. If not that go for broke and get some catastrophic 0% or something. Do it … do it.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I still don’t think there is much legacy here unless there is a complete garbage pile of a sixth film. It was a fascinating look at big budget franchises, something we kind of tended to avoid prior to this year (outside of something like Transformers which demanded to be addressed), so perhaps it’ll change BMT temporarily and we will hit a few of those now. Street cred is basically impossible to analyze until the end of the year. A few of the lists I’ve found ignored this guy, and besides Depp I don’t really see it getting noticed … maybe sequel / remake, but nothing big. I’ll go under the radar.

And I don’t think I have anything else to report. I did not revisit the franchise, I started right back up with the fourth, so I can’t really do a review there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Recap

Jamie

Years after the vanquishing of Davy Jones, our famed anti-hero Jack Sparrow finds himself on the trail of the Fountain of Youth. In an untrustworthy alliance with the infamous Blackbeard he is being chased by the Spanish and by Barbossa, now in the service of the King. Will they get the treasure before it’s too late? Find out in… Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

What?! We open in England where Jack is in search of a ship to get him back on track to search for the famed Fountain of Youth. He finds that he’s not the only one currently in search of the treasure, as Barbossa, now a profiteer for England, and the Spanish are also in pursuit. Hearing rumors of another pirate posing as Jack Sparrow he comes across a former beau, Angelica, who captures him. Once on board he realizes that his has been taken prisoner in service of Blackbeard, famed psychopath and dear ol’ dad to Angelica. Oh no! Much like characters in an old school adventure game of the past, Jack and Blackbeard need to collect a number of specific items to make the MacGuffin… er… Fountain of Youth work. These include several other MacGuffins, including a mermaid’s tears and some silver chalices. Once they collect these in a series of exciting misadventures and arrive at the Fountain, it turns into an outright brawl between Blackbeard and Barbossa’s crews. This brawl is ended by the arrival of the Spanish who promptly destroy the Fountain as sinful. In a final act of revenge Barbossa mortally wounds both Blackbeard and Angelica. With only one dose of the Fountain left to save either father or daughter, Jack tricks Blackbeard knowing that his selfish ways would doom him and save Angelica. Upon his death everyone is happy because he sucked. THE END.

Why?! This is easily the most straightforward of the Pirates of the Caribbean films and as a result the motivations are also fairly straightforward. Blackbeard wants to cheat his recently foretold death by drinking from the Fountain of Youth, Barbossa wants to kill Blackbeard for sweet revenge, and the Spanish want to destroy the Fountain. So the race is on! As for our hero Jack Sparrow, his motivation doesn’t change much in the series. He’s happy as long as he is sailing the open seas on his beloved Black Pearl, but there is always an undercurrent of a desire for immortality. That’s basically the premise of the first three films: how can Jack Sparrow sail the open seas for eternity? It’s hinted that that’s the reason he wants to get to the Fountain, but this all falls apart once the climactic melee ensues. This motivation is why I’m pretty sure there will be at least a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film.

What?! Each entry in the series seems to ratchet up the MacGuffin level one more notch. By the time they get the fourth one we have a film based entirely on finding the Fountain of Youth that needs several other objects to work. While an ideal MacGuffin is something we don’t know or need to know the actual function of (we obviously know how the reason the Fountain is important in this case), this is still a great set of MacGuffins.

Who?! Have to give a shout out to Author Tim Powers (one of the fathers of Steampunk) who got a “Suggested by” credit for this film on the basis of his pirate adventure novel On Stranger Tides. Apparently the book was a major influence on the Monkey Island games as well. Funny story is that when Disney approached Powers about optioning the book for the fourth film he was surprised because he had thought they had already lifted elements from it for the first film.

Where?! Is the entire Pirates of the Caribbean series an A+? I say no, not precise enough. Like saying Here on Earth is an A+. On top of that they are never specific as to where in the Caribbean they are most of the time. Booo. I deem this a C- only because they are specifically in England at the start.

When?! I’m not going to be able to put an exact date on this, but it is interesting that this film give a basic time frame for the entire series. Takes place during the reigns of King Ferdinand of Spain, King George II, Prime Minister Henry Pelham, and Lord John Carteret. Sets it between 1751 and 1754. That’s a tight D- and funny because the wikipedia page says it takes place in 1750. Read yo history wikipedia. I would place it in 1751.

To finish up the recap I’ll just mention that the first film in the series not to feature Gore Verbinski at the helm really took a step back technologically and overall stuntwork. If there were three things I looked for in a Pirates of the Caribbean film it was cutting edge visual technology, some jokes from our charismatic lead Jack Sparrow, and grand and complex stunts. This basically went backwards on all three. Not great.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Johnny Depp has been calling you day in and day out. Constantly. You don’t want to do it, but you know one thing: Johnny Depp wants his money, and he wants it now. So I guess we’re making a fourth one. Get the giant set piece assembled, we get to deal with this thing again. Let’s go!

The Good (BMulTiverse Theories) – Something about this series gets me every time. I don’t understand it. They all start the same (a giant set piece action scene with Johnny Depp flying around with tons of practical effects), they get more and more ridiculous, Depp is a caricature at this point … but I like it. Something about it entertains me in a different way than Transformers (which at this point just annoys me). I like Penelope Cruz, and I forgot how much Jack Sparrow doesn’t really annoy me (it is perplexing given how other characters, like Mortdecai, are very similar and extremely grating). I didn’t mind the movie, I actually quite liked how they scaled the story back compared to the second and third film. I’m going to introduce a new game here called the BMulTiverse Theory. Similar to Sklognalogy, this looks into a different film and re-imagines what might have been given a different sequence of events. In this case the Pirates franchise reminds me of what I imagine a modern day Indiana Jones would have looked like. Sprawling sets with elaborate practical effects. Magical realism, a charming lead, all presented as a period piece. We’d be sitting at five or six Indiana Jones right now, the stories getting more and more ridiculous. Trust me, it would be the same, and we’d all be complaining about how trite the character of Indiana Jones is at this point.

The Bad (Sklog-cabulary Quiz) – The film is far too long. I love Ian McShane, but Blackbeard failed to bring any of the charm or interest that a villain needs in this series. The entire thing seemed very linear, almost comically McGuffin-esque. Half the characters only speak in order to explain things about the Fountain of Youth as all of the characters directly and unyieldingly march toward this inevitable goal. Let’s try out a new Sklog-cabulary Quiz. For Pirates of the Caribbean I think I’ll note something that is also present in the aforementioned Indiana Jones series, the:

Rube Goldberg Action Sequence – (n.) An action sequence that accomplishes by complex means what seemingly could be done simply.

A mark of the Pirates franchise in which Johnny Depp flies across chandeliers or sword fights on a giant wheel, it is really impressive when done correctly. It actually isn’t really a bad movie trope since you need a crazy amount of money to pull it off, but it is something the sticks out about the Pirates franchise.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – On Stranger Tides won’t really have any legacy, although the franchise as a whole could have a place if a sixth is made. A double trilogy where the second trilogy was torn apart by critics would be rather fun. This actually does have a bit of street cred. It is listed as the 20th worst film of the year here. Otherwise it kind of falls to the wayside in a very very impressive bad movie year. It is the year of Jack and Jill, but just look at the razzies that year. Very impressive lists all around.

I’ll leave it there because we have a whole other recap to get to.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Preview

We hit two of the major action bombs this year for BMT Live! in The Mummy and Geostorm. This left us with a few of the lesser options available for this week. What we ended up landing on might come as a bit of a shock, but with a newly found love of franchises it shouldn’t. That’s right! We’re catching up on the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise with the final two installments (the only two that qualify), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales… wait, is that actually the name of the latest one? Wow, that is not good. The latest entry came this year, six years after the last installment, and while I would have assumed it was a bomb (I barely remember it came out), it still made $800 million worldwide. Feed those international audiences what they want, Disney, and what they want is Johnny Depp. Ugh. Let’s go! er … wait one second … we’re forgetting something. Oh yeah, this is our 400th BMT ever! Why did we choose such an anonymous film as our 400th? Well, the Calendar kiiiiind of handcuffs us these days. The rules are rather strict. The sacrifices we make for BMT. Let’s go!

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) – BMeTric: 14.6

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(This might as well be identical to On Stranger Tides’ plot to be honest. Tumbling its way down to 6.6 as we speak. I assume it will dip a tad bit further (6.5 or 6.4), but it’ll sit around there. People love their Pirates movies. And to be honest, after watching the fourth, I can kind of see why. There is something charming about the silliness, the costumes, and the Rube-Goldberg-esque action scenes on gigantic set pieces. Something very much reminiscent of something like Indiana Jones.)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  The most ridiculous though satisfying sequence involves Sparrow’s entrance that could double as a metaphor for the entire movie. A new bank is being celebrated on the isle of Saint Martin and the ceremony revolves around a giant safe. Once opened, Jack is found inside taking a nap atop stacks of money as well as someone’s wife. He apparently was supposed to pull off a robbery and ends up accidentally stealing the entire building instead. Alas, once the pursuit runs its course, most of the riches have been emptied out onto the streets. Those who go to see “Dead Men Don’t Tell Tales” might just recognize that hollow feeling as they leave the theater.

(Shots fired. There is something about these series which does scream “diminishing returns”. Something about the character of Sparrow and charming as he can be, that really overstays its welcome after the third or fourth movie. I’m not sure what you do about it though. It isn’t like switch to Mark Whalberg helped anything with Transformers.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrGyD4kHTSE

(Still seems like fun. What is wrong with me? Why do I watch that and think “huh, these films are fun, I kind of want to watch that”. I now it is going to be like 4 hours long. I know ultimately it is going to be set-piece action scenes held together by exposition and Depp being a weirdo. Stop making them so I can stop watching them!)

Directors – Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg – (Known For: Kon-Tiki; Bandidas; Max Manus: Man of War; BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; Notes: Childhood friends from Norway, this appears to be the last film they are directing as a directorial team. Sandberg is apparently working on a bio-pic about the Arctic explorer Roald Amundsen. Rønning is working on a Sci-fi film called Origin, and Maleficent 2.)

Writers – Jeff Nathanson (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Catch Me If You Can; The Terminal; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; Rush Hour 2; Tower Heist; The Last Shot; Future BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Rush Hour 3; New York, I Love You; BMT:Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: Currently writing the new live-action Lion King adaptation. He is apparently famous for being uncredited on a ton of scripts, including Twister for example.)

Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott (story by & based on characters created by) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Aladdin; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Shrek; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Treasure Planet; Small Soldiers; The Mask of Zorro; The Road to El Dorado; Deja Vu; Future BMT: Godzilla; The Legend of Zorro; The Puppet Masters; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; BMT: The Lone Ranger; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for The Lone Ranger in 2014; Notes: These guys again. They wrote on the fourth installment as well. They got an Oscar nomination for Shrek.)

Stuart Beattie (based on characters created by) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Collateral; 30 Days of Night; Australia; Tomorrow, When the War Began; Future BMT:G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Derailed; BMT: I, Frankenstein; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra in 2010; Notes: One of the original screenwriters. He is currently writing a spec script for a Halo adaption.)

Jay Wolpert (based on characters created by) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; The Count of Monte Cristo; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Future BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; Notes: One of the original screenwriters. He at one point wrote eight episodes of the 90s talk show Into the Night with Rick Dees.)

Actors – Johnny Depp – (Known For: Murder on the Orient Express; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Edward Scissorhands; Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Sleepy Hollow; Platoon; Black Mass; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; 21 Jump Street; Blow; What’s Eating Gilbert Grape; Alice in Wonderland; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Into the Woods; Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; Finding Neverland; Corpse Bride; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Future BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Yoga Hosers; The Astronaut’s Wife; Private Resort; The Tourist; Dark Shadows; Alice Through the Looking Glass; Nick of Time; The Man Who Cried; The Libertine; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; The Brave; BMT:Jack and Jill; Mortdecai; Transcendence; The Lone Ranger; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Mortdecai in 2016; Nominated for Worst Actor for The Lone Ranger in 2014; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Alice Through the Looking Glass in 2017; Notes: Once again, kind of just easier to go with recent news. In this case, following his divorce from Amber Heard, Depp seems to have started shedding his Los Angeles penthouses. He sold his fifth and final recently. I imagine it is in part because of the financial difficulties he’s found himself in. That sweet Harry Potter money will get some of that back though.)

Geoffrey Rush – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Finding Nemo; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; The King’s Speech; Shakespeare in Love; Munich; Deception; Minions; Frida; Elizabeth; The Book Thief; Mystery Men; Quills; Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole; Les Misérables; Final Portrait; The Daughter; Holding the Man; Candy; Future BMT: Green Lantern; House on Haunted Hill; The Warrior’s Way; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Elizabeth: The Golden Age; BMT: Gods of Egypt; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; Notes: Australian actor who won an Oscar for King’s Speech. He says he is done with Pirates of the Caribbean franchise after this one.)

Javier Bardem – (Known For: Mother!; No Country for Old Men; Skyfall; Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Collateral; To the Wonder; Jamon Jamon; Biutiful; The Sea Inside; Before Night Falls; Live Flesh; The Dancer Upstairs; Tacones lejanos; Los lunes al sol; Future BMT: The Counsellor; Eat Pray Love; The Last Face; Autómata; Love in the Time of Cholera; Perdita Durango; Sin noticias de Dios; BMT: The Gunman; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; Notes: Also an Oscar winner (for No Country For Old Men). Married to Penelope Cruz who oddly starred in the previous installment.)

Budget/Gross – $230 million / Domestic: $172,558,876 (Worldwide: $794,775,567)

(Obviously underwhelming for the brand I would think. Worldwide it still has some pull, but sub-billion worldwide, and below the reported budget domestic is not great, even if a lot of films would be perfectly satisfied with that performance.)

#15 for the Adventure – Period genre

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(This is the same as in the fourth Pirates preview, but here you can kind of see that this film was at least part of the resurgence of the genre this year. I think people like costumes and action that takes place at least tangentially in our world. Kind of a faux-historical adventure fiction. And every so often if you wish hard enough you get a Planchet bumbling down the stairwell in A Three Musketeers film. Sigh, there are not enough Planchets in the world.)

#95 for the IMAX (Feature-length) genre

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(IMAX is interesting because it really doesn’t seem like it will stop. I would assume most every theater will eventually do something to at least have the capability, because the money that comes in per theater isn’t dropping while the theaters per year is obviously still growing tremendously.)

#5 for the Swashbuckler genre

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(Also obviously not a real genre. It might as well be called Pirates of the Caribbean, Zorro, and the Three Musketeers, because those are the main players here.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 29% (69/234): Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales proves that neither a change in directors nor an undead Javier Bardem is enough to drain this sinking franchise’s murky bilge.

(Actually higher than I remembered, this is very close to the response to the fourth film. While I didn’t love the fourth film, I was surprised by how much watching it didn’t bother me. Often tired franchise just get on my nerves after a while (*cough* Transformers *cough*), but this changed the pace enough that I kind of liked it. I’m wondering whether they went a little too much back to the well with Knightley and Bloom returning … I guess I’ll see.)

Poster – Sklog-rates of the Caribbean: Dead Sklogs Tell No Tales (B-)

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(Considerably better than the other one. Focuses on the characters and gives an undersea blue tone to everything. I can forgive the clutter from the zombie sharks and random ship image in the background.)

Tagline(s) – All pirates must die. (D)

(Not sure where this comes from. Not from the poster. Maybe from some other promotional material where you don’t have to produce something very good. I hope so because this is not very good.)

Keyword(s) – pirate; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.2 Epic Movie (2007); 68.7 DOA: Dead or Alive (2006); 65.3 Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005); 63.5 The Phantom (1996); 61.5 Virus (1999); 60.7 Conan the Barbarian (2011); 59.6 Cyborg (1989); 46.2 Double Impact (1991); 40.9 Cutthroat Island (1995); 39.2 Six Days Seven Nights (1998);

(Again the same as in the previous preview. I find it interesting to two types of Pirates represented here as well. I think Six Days and Seven Nights, Double Impact, Cyborg, Virus, and DOA: Dead or Alive might be “modern” pirates. And the rest I think are Pirates of the Caribbean kind of caricatures. Funny that it is basically exactly 50-50.)

Notes – The severed heads in the guillotine basket are of the film directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg. (Probably cost a cool million dollars)

The joke Jack Sparrow’s uncle tells Jack is the same joke Al Pacino told Johnny Depp during production of Donnie Brasco: “A skeleton walks into a bar, orders a beer and a mop… “

Although this movie was initially claimed to be the last one in the series, a sixth installment was announced after its release. (Hmm, I wonder if it will happen. I think the double trilogy would feel right, and it would give them an opportunity to let Depp go out with a bang with the character. I guess we’ll see)

The film was being produced as Johnny Depp was going through a bitter divorce from his wife Amber Heard. He was chronically late to the set, to the point where it ate into the schedule as the set often came to a halt for hours at a time. It got to the point where a production assistant was hired just to wait outside Depp’s house and announce that he was awake when they saw the lights inside come on.

At two hours and nine minutes long, this has been the shortest running time of all the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films. (hooooraaaaay)

Christoph Waltz was originally cast in the role of Captain Brand, but dropped out due to other work commitments. Javier Bardem was then given the role, but the name was changed from Brand to Salazar to sound more Mediterranean to accompany Bardem’s Spanish descent. Bardem and Waltz both previously played villains in Daniel Craig James Bond films. Bardem in Skyfall (2012), and Waltz in Spectre (2015).

After failing to return for Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides, Disney reached back out to Martin Klebba (Marty), Lee Arenberg (Pintel), Makenzie Crook (Raghetti), David Bailie (Cotton), Angus Barnett (Mullroy) and Giles New (Murtogg) to return for Pirates of the Caribbean Dead’s Men Tell No Tales. Only Martin Klebba, Angus Barnett and Giles New were able to make it work within his schedule.

In an interview, Orlando Bloom said this movie will be a soft reboot of the previous installments. (I … don’t think that happened? I could be mistaken, that sounds crazy)

Paul McCartney is seen singing a song “Maggie Mae”. It is an old drinking song of the sea from Liverpool and featured on The Beatles “Let it Be” Album. On the album, the song was sung by John Lennon. (whaaaaaaaaaa?)

To prevent fans from interfering with the production, secret filming locations used the production name of “Herschel”.

In a flashback scene of Captain Salazar, one of his crew members recognizes a ship as Bonnet’s ship called “Royal James”. Stede Bonnet was a real life pirate that was active from December of 1717 to December of 1718 before being hanged in Charles Town for piracy and also worked closely with Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard.

With a release six years after its predecessor, marks the largest gap between the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Javier Bardem’s wife Penélope Cruz starred in the previous installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011).

Salazar’s face was full makeup that took Javier Bardem three hours to put on, but the hair was all CG. To achieve this, Bardem’s hair was pulled back and a makeup artist added marking dots on his face, which tracked the motion of his head in post production.

During filming, Johnny Depp and his wife Amber Heard breached Australia’s strict bio-security laws when they failed to declare their two dogs to the Australian Customs Service when they flew by private jet into Queensland, where filming was taken place. Heard was charged with two counts of illegally importing the dogs into the country and one count of producing a false document. In April 2016, Heard appeared in the Southport Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to falsifying quarantine documents, stating that she was sleep deprived and made a mistake. The two bio-security charges were dropped, and she was placed on a one-month good behavior bond, paying a $1,000 fine for producing a false document. Heard and Depp also released a video in which they apologized for their behavior and urged people to adhere to the bio-security laws. Australian newspaper The Guardian called the case the “highest profile criminal quarantine case” in Australian history. (Dummies. As a person who has gone through the nightmare that is importing a dog into the UK I am deeply offended by this act of gross entitlement)

The father of Captain Jack Sparrow was played by a Rolling Stone (Keith Richards) and in this film, the uncle of Captain Jack Sparrow is played by a Beatle (Paul McCartney). (Alright, this annoys me. Mainly because Keith Richards are atrocious as his father in the fourth film. I bet McCartney is also terrible)

In the flashback scene, we see Jack is on a ship called the Wicked Wench. This is actually the Black Pearl, it gets renamed when Davy Jones brings it back from the depths, after it’s set ablaze, in the book Pirates of the Caribbean The Price of Freedom, making the book Canon. (THE BOOK IS CANON!)

The film’s action takes place in 1755. During the third act, Barbossa said that it has been five years since Blackbeard shrunk The Black Pearl in the bottle. The producers have said that the previous installment, On Stranger Tides, takes place in 1750. This also means that Henry is 21 years of age, given that he is 12 during the prologue, two years after the post-credits scene of At World’s End. (You listening Jamie? We got some setting possibly)

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Preview

We hit two of the major action bombs this year for BMT Live! in The Mummy and Geostorm. This left us with a few of the lesser options available for this week. What we ended up landing on might come as a bit of a shock, but with a newly found love of franchises it shouldn’t. That’s right! We’re catching up on the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise with the final two installments (the only two that qualify), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales… wait, is that actually the name of the latest one? Wow, that is not good. The latest entry came this year, six years after the last installment, and while I would have assumed it was a bomb (I barely remember it came out), it still made $800 million worldwide. Feed those international audiences what they want, Disney, and what they want is Johnny Depp. Ugh. Let’s go!

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) – BMeTric: 17.0

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(Decidedly above average from an IMDb rating perspective. Which is a lot more impressive than I thought it would be. My perception had always been that no one likes these films anymore. But 350K votes with a 6.7ish rating is actually fine. Sits around the same place as Quantum of Solace or Armageddon.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Capt. Jack Sparrow (Depp, broader than ever) finds himself on a ship with Blackbeard (McShane) and his daughter (Cruz), which whom he has a checkered history, sailing in search of Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth. Meanwhile, Capt. Barbossa (Rush) is piloting his own vessel on the exact same course. Among the perils they face: a host of alluring but vicious mermaids. More of the same, with a convoluted, often incomprehensible story designed to string a series of large-scale action set pieces together. Not so much a movie as a consumer product.

(Shots fired. Honestly that was probably the pitch: “more of the same, with several large scale action pieces that we know and love. It’ll be great summer fun!” The convoluted plot is actual a surprise given that, arguably, that is where the second and third stumbled. By creating an over complicated plot they weighed down what should have otherwise been light fun with the flamboyant Depp. That is probably my biggest hesitation with that review.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR_9A-cUEJc

(The only thing I remember from that trailer was the sword coming through the door. I think I must have seen it in a theater with 3D glasses on. I actually forgot this was kind of a big 3D release at the time. Looks like okay fun, although, again, I remembered not really understanding the connection to the previous movies at the time.)

Directors – Rob Marshall – (Known For: Chicago; Into the Woods; Future BMT: Nine; BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Notes: He has been nominated for six Tony awards and later an Oscar for Chicago.)

Writers – Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (screenplay & screen story & characters) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Aladdin; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Treasure Planet; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Shrek; The Mask of Zorro; Small Soldiers; The Road to El Dorado; Future BMT: Godzilla; The Legend of Zorro; The Puppet Masters; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; BMT: The Lone Ranger; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for The Lone Ranger in 2014; Notes: Ted Elliot used to spell check Roger Ebert’s movie reviews, and Terry Rossio used to be a machinist. Pretty interesting.)

Stuart Beattie (characters) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; 30 Days of Night; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Collateral; Australia; Tomorrow, When the War Began; Future BMT: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Derailed; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; BMT: I, Frankenstein; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra in 2010; Notes: Australian who attended the same High School as Hugh Jackman. He gets credits because he is the screenwriter for the first film.)

Jay Wolpert (characters) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; The Count of Monte Cristo; Future BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Notes: Also wrote on the original, he is a producer of a number of television game shows including the New Price is Right and New Match Game.)

Tim Powers (novel) (suggestion) – (BMT: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Notes: Writes adventure novels with a sci-fi twist. This novel, On Stranger Tides, was the inspiration for the Monkey Island videos games, which are great, and was directly optioned for this film.)

Actors – Johnny Depp – (Known For: Murder on the Orient Express; Sleepy Hollow; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Edward Scissorhands; Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Corpse Bride; Alice in Wonderland; Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; Black Mass; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Blow; The Ninth Gate; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Platoon; 21 Jump Street; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Finding Neverland; Into the Woods; Future BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Yoga Hosers; The Astronaut’s Wife; Private Resort; The Tourist; Dark Shadows; Alice Through the Looking Glass; Nick of Time; The Man Who Cried; The Libertine; The Brave; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; BMT: Jack and Jill; Mortdecai; Transcendence; The Lone Ranger; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Mortdecai in 2016; Nominated for Worst Actor for The Lone Ranger in 2014; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Alice Through the Looking Glass in 2017; Notes: Kind of easier just to look through recent news for such a big name actor. The biggest current news is that he is playing Grindelwald in the next Fantastic Beasts movie, which is causing quite a stir. Let’s just say he has a weird hairdo and leave it at that.)

Penélope Cruz – (Known For: Murder on the Orient Express; Blow; Vicky Cristina Barcelona; To Rome with Love; Open Your Eyes; Jamon Jamon; Volver; Bandidas; All About My Mother; Live Flesh; Los amantes pasajeros; Broken Embraces; Elegy; Don’t Move; The Hi-Lo Country; Belle Epoque; Future BMT: Sex and the City 2; G-Force; The Counsellor; Woman on Top; Gothika; Nine; Sahara; All the Pretty Horses; Waking Up in Reno; Masked and Anonymous; Grimsby; The Good Night; Fanfan; Noel; La reina de España; Head in the Clouds; Sin noticias de Dios; BMT:Vanilla Sky; Zoolander 2; Captain Corelli’s Mandolin; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress in 2002 for Blow, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and Vanilla Sky; Notes: Married to Javier Bardem (with whom she has two children) who would appear six years later in Dead Men Tell No Tales.)

Ian McShane – (Known For: John Wick: Chapter 2; John Wick; Coraline; Hercules; The Golden Compass; Snow White and the Huntsman; Kung Fu Panda; Death Race; Shrek the Third; The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Hot Rod; Jack the Giant Slayer; Sexy Beast; We Are Marshall; Scoop; Jawbone; Battle of Britain; Bilal: A New Breed of Hero; Cuban Fury; Performance; Future BMT: Agent Cody Banks; The Hollow Point; Grimsby; Case 39; BMT: The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Notes: Probably the funniest thing I’ve heard about him was his response to Game of Thrones fans being all pissy about him spoiling stuff about his (one-off) character in the show: “I was accused of giving the plot away, but I just think get a f—ing life. It’s only tits and dragons.” He has a point.)

Budget/Gross – $410.6 million / Domestic: $241,071,802 (Worldwide: $1,045,713,802)

(That budget can’t possibly be real. It is reported somehow as “gross” on wikipedia which I’ve never seen before. Probably tries to estimate marketing or something? Made a mint worldwide though, so you gotta go for the sequel if people are game. A billion isn’t something to shrug at.)

#44 for the 3D genre

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(Came right as the 3D craze his that saturation point. People have declared it dead for years, but it will live on as long as it is a “unique” experience that theaters can offer consumers. The 3D television experiment failed, so it seems like 3D will remain the domain of a theatrical experience for the foreseeable future.)

#7 for the Adventure – Period genre

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(Man they were creating a whole bunch of crap between 2010 and 2015. No wonder they took a breather, they nearly killed the genre. Jungle book brought it back though, plus this take isn’t too shabby at all.)

#5 for the Treasure Hunt genre

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(Reeks of a genre that doesn’t really exist but is just kind of floating around with random people checking it. I still believe in Box Office Mojo, but moments like this make me question whether anything they report is real, or whether it is mostly guessing from the crazy skeleton crew IMDb uses to man that janky website. The genre makes a lot of money it looks like, so that is something.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (85/262): It’s shorter and leaner than the previous sequel, but this Pirates runs aground on a disjointed plot and a non-stop barrage of noisy action sequences.

(Yeah, sounds about right. I’m quite excited about the shorter and leaner part though. It is crazy how long franchise films are these days.)

Poster – Sklog-rates of the Caribbean: On Skloger Tides (D+)

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(Almost everything is wrong with this. Look at how many things are on this poster? Look at how many different colors. It’s incoherent. Small plus in the unique font.)

Tagline(s) – None (FFFFFFFF)

(Wha? That seems impossible and yet it seems to be so. Unacceptable as always.)

Keyword(s) – pirate; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.2 Epic Movie (2007); 68.7 DOA: Dead or Alive (2006); 65.3 Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005); 63.5 The Phantom (1996); 61.5 Virus (1999); 60.7 Conan the Barbarian (2011); 59.6 Cyborg (1989); 46.2 Double Impact (1991); 40.9 Cutthroat Island (1995); 39.2 Six Days Seven Nights (1998);

(None of them naturally. Cutthroat Island will be done at some point. Double Impact will likely come in some strange Van Damme series we do. And, wow, I totally forgot there was a significant storyline involving pirates in Miss Congeniality 2 … just fantastic.)

Notes – While filming in London in October 2010, Johnny Depp received a letter from a local nine-year old schoolgirl, telling him her classmates needed help to “mutiny” against her teachers. He turned up with almost no warning at the school in full Sparrow outfit, but advised against mutiny. (awwwww, we need less terrible on-set stories, and more wholesome stories in BMT I think)

After Walt Disney’s chairman of 38 years, Dick Cook was fired, Johnny Depp talked to the Los Angeles Times, and said his enthusiasm for the fourth Pirates movie had reduced after Cook left the project. “There’s a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment,” Depp said. “It was all born in that office.” One of the reasons Johnny Depp committed to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), was because he trusted Cook, who supported him while “others at the studio were less than enthusiastic about my interpretation of the character, Dick was there from the first moment. He trusted me.”

During filming in London, a Jack Sparrow impersonator just walked onto the set. The guards did not think to ask for any ID, as he looked so much like the character (Reported in the English papers).

Jerry Bruckheimer gave strict instructions to casting directors that actresses auditioning for the mermaid roles must have natural breasts. During shooting of their scenes, they were not allowed outside until dusk, in order to avoid spoiling their make-up. (haha, gross. Not that that isn’t a legitimate condition to ask concerning an actress expected to appear near-topless as a part of the character, more maybe the idea of the character trait at all … feels gross)

Penélope Cruz was pregnant throughout production, but it wasn’t noticeable until September 2010. As Penélope’s baby bump grew, it caused difficulties in wardrobe, so the producers enlisted the help of Cruz’s younger sister, Mónica Cruz. According to reports, Penélope filmed the close-up shots, while Mónica doubled for her in the long-distance scenes. (Oh, cool. Nice way to accommodate)

Johnny Depp bought new water proof jackets for five hundred crew members on the set, to protect them from the cold weather. He spent a total of 64,200 dollars from his own pocket. (Now that he’s on the verge of bankruptcy I wonder if he regrets such frivolities)

Penélope Cruz was the only choice for the role of Angelica. She agreed to the role without reading the script.

The film does make an actual reference to Blackbeard’s historical death, in which he was beheaded and then had his head hung from the bow of his own ship.

The real-life pirate Blackbeard did indeed have a ship called the Queen Anne’s Revenge. It was a vessel that he’d captured from the French Navy, and renamed.

Johnny Depp said he agreed to star in this film before “there was a script or anything.”

As Jack enters the Santiago, the camera flashes to a skeletal Ponce de León laying on a bed, surrounded by treasure. This is a reference to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland where guests see a skeletal pirate Captain laying in bed, surrounded by treasure. (Always looking for those shouts. Amusing if not the most exciting ride these days)

When making Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), the scriptwriters revealed that they placed the story in a thirty-year environment set loosely between 1720 and 1750. They also said that they did not intend the films to be entirely historically accurate. However, it was revealed that this movie takes place in 1750. (Interesting, will have to try and catch that)

The snake in the jungle scene is a king snake, and references the rhyme about coral snakes. Red on yellow kill a fellow, red on black friend of Jack.

The name of “Syrena” means mermaid in Spanish. The origin of “Syrena” is Greek, from Homer’s epic Odyssey. The songs of “syrenas” used to lure sailors to their island, where they were killed.

The only “Pirates of the Caribbean” film to not receive any Oscar nominations. (Not a surprise, although I guess you could kind of argue they always do a decent costume design job)

The film budget had to be scaled down to no more than two hundred million dollars (the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) budget was three hundred million dollars). This was mandated by studio president Rich Ross (who replaced the fired Dick Cook), in addition to the then 2008 economic slowdown in the U.S. (Jesus, $300M is absurd)

Blackbeard says that his quartermaster sees things before they happen. This is an oblique reference to the character of Fedallah in the novel Moby Dick, the source of various prophecies about the death of his Captain.

As of May 20, 2011, this installment has the second shortest run-time of the franchise, at 136 minutes. (My god, these films are monsters!)

This film is loosely based on the 1988 pirate novel “On Stranger Tides”, by Tim Powers. The novel’s protagonist is a pirate named Jack, but his character is significantly different from Jack Sparrow.

Was denied a release in China because the story line consisted of ghosts, the afterlife, and the supernatural. (As was usual, although I assume this practice is/has changed with China becoming a box office power house)

Barbossa’s ship, the Providence, was portrayed by the H.M.S. Surprise, part of the collection of ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego (www.sdmaritime.org), where it is open daily to Museum visitors. To sail the ship during the filming, Disney hired a crew from among volunteers and staff of the Maritime Museum. Surprise is a 179 foot full-rigged ship. She was built in Nova Scotia in 1970, from original Admiralty plans for the 1757 British 24-gun frigate H.M.S. Rose, for which she was originally named. The ship was purchased in 2001 by 20th Century Fox, and modified to serve as the H.M.S. Surprise, under the command of fictional Captain Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003). The Maritime Museum of San Diego purchased the ship from Fox Studios in 2004, and retained her movie name. In both of her names, the prefix “H.M.S.” (meaning Her (or His) Majesty’s Ship) is an honorary, rather than an official designation, since she does not hold a royal warrant. (Loving those factoids)

Alfred Molina was considered for the role of Blackbeard. (I love Ian McShane, but Alfred Molina would have also killed it I think, although I’m not sure Molina could have sold Blackbeard’s brutality)

The outdoor entrance to the Fountain of Youth, is the Waikapala’e Wet Cave on the north shore of Kauai. Analogous to the film’s magical watery passage to The Fountain of Youth, the cave holds a real submerged (depending on water level) passage, through which explorers can travel, in order to reach an isolated chamber known as “The Blue Room.” Some Hawaiians tell of an actual pirate treasure found hidden in “The Blue Room” by the original discoverers. The pirate treasure (if it ever existed) is gone, but the cave and chamber remain a natural treasure, still accessible to intrepid explorers.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Recap

Jamie

Lara Croft is a world-renowned archeologist/tomb raider/adventurer. When she discovers a secret key hidden by her father, she realizes it is the key to unlocking a powerful device coveted by the Illuminati. Can she find and destroy the device before the evil Illuminati get their hands on it? Find out in… Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

How?! Lara Croft is an adventurer extraordinaire in high demand for the recovery (theft?) of antiquities across the world. She’s like an even sexier Indiana Jones or the equally iconic character that Tom Cruise played in The Mummy. On the anniversary of her father’s death, and coincidentally the start of a complete planetary alignment, a clock hidden in Lara’s house begins to tick. After breaking it open she recovers a hidden mystery MacGuffin… er… I mean, key. Not knowing what it does she makes the mistake of bringing it to an appraiser who promptly tips off the Illuminati so they can steal it. Uh oh! She then coincidentally gets a letter from her father sent before his death that lays out the entire plot of the film: that key enables the bearer to recover a powerful time control device called “the triangle.” She needs to get that device and destroy it before the Illuminati takes over the world! (dun dun dun!). Following them to Cambodia she is able to recover the first piece of the triangle. Seeing that they are dealing with a total badass, the Illuminati strike a deal: we both want the triangle, so let’s make sure we get it and then figure the rest out later. Lara agrees. Heading together to Siberia, Lara is able to again recover a piece of the triangle, only to have her kinda-sorta-not-really love interest Alex West (played by Daniel Craig sporting one of the worst American accents in the history of cinema) killed. Realizing the only way to save him is to go back in time she helps complete the triangle. Then a bunch of gobbledegook that makes no sense happens: Lara Croft is transported back in time, grabs the triangle, kills the Illuminati boss, transports back to the present day minus like 3 minutes, kills the Illuminati boss a couple more times, and destroys the triangle. Or at least that’s what I think happened. The End.  

Why?! Motivations are so easy in a MacGuffin film. The Illuminati want “the triangle” which will enable them to control time and thus the world. Lara wants to destroy “the triangle” as such ultimate power should be possessed by no one. Why not just destroy the key or just stop the Illuminati rather than destroy “the triangle” itself? Well, “the triangle” can only be retrieved during the planetary alignment that happens every 5000 years. So if she destroyed the key or simply stopped them, then 5000 years later the Illuminati could try again (if climate change doesn’t kill us first, amirite?). She has to get “the triangle” and destroy it for good. It’s the only way. See? Totally super tight plot. Don’t worry about it.

What?! Shoutout to UPS. Lara Croft knows what brown can do for her. It can deliver essential plot devices/letters from her dead father right to her front door. Speaking of plot devices, this is the second film in a relatively short time span that could be called MacGuffin: The Movie (Cradle 2 the Grave was the other).The triangle in this film is the very definition of a MacGuffin. It’s such a MacGuffin I’m surprised they didn’t name Iain Glen’s character Manfred MacGuff.

Who?! Pretty solid Planchet in this film, Bryce, played by Noah Taylor. He’s Lara’s Q and is constantly called a giant nerd. Also want to note that Jon Voight got second billing for this film… he barely appears in it.

Where?! Good globetrotting settings film. Large portions set in England and Cambodia. A short segment is set in Venice. The climax is set in Siberia. Intertitles are used occasionally. B.

When?! May 15th on the nose. Just so happens that the start of the planetary alignment corresponds to the anniversary of Lara’s father’s death, which is shown on his tombstone and mentioned several times. The rest of the film takes place during the ensuing week. B+.

Brief note for Dirty Dancing (2017), it is pretty obviously the most useless thing I’ve ever watched (and I watched the entire season of the reality television show The Vineyard!). It is incomprehensible why this actually exists and isn’t shamefully hidden away. I was trying to think of an adequate comparison and I’m drawing a blank. Maybe that Arthur remake we never watched… or Red Dawn? Even that wasn’t as mind-numbingly boring and unnecessary as this TV movie. Really it would be like they made a TV musical Casablanca starring Zac Efron and Taylor Swift and had the Germans toe-tappin’ along to some swell tunes. But it’s greatest crime? Abigail Breslin cannot dance. She literally can’t do it. They spend the entire movie trying to convince you that she gets better and can dance at the end. She can’t. Watch the finale from each version back to back and you’ll be shocked and upset. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Every five years the IP gold miners dig through the Hollywood archives and wonder “what could be the next big wave, how can I get that money printing machine?” And every five years someone with very little historical awareness “discovers” video games and gets very very excited. I mean. People love video games! People love movies! And every five years BMT opens a bottle of our cheapest champagne to celebrate the video game gold rush as things like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider are made. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Out of all of the video games movies I’ve seen I think this is the best one, although I can’t be certain, Silent Hill was pretty good too. Angelina is fun, they keep the story fairly tight and focused like a laser beam on a McGuffin. And ultimately you can kind of forget all of the flaws because hey, time travel, and boobs, whatever. A remake is already coming, and a sequel happened so … prequel! Let’s get a little tag-team Angelina-Craig action in here. They fall in love and steal priceless artifacts! He’s in it for the money, she just wants to feel connected to her dead father! What an odd couple! With her trusty Cockney hacker sidekick Lara Croft stars in: Lara Croft and The Golden MacGuffin!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – First, I’ll point out how ridiculous it is that Jon Voight got second billed on this movie. Other than that this movie’s story is just pointless, and the CGI looked terrible. But hey, it is a mid 2000s video game film, that isn’t a total surprise. My main complaint with the action is that, like everything that came out close to The Matrix, the wire-work stunts were off-the-chain (by which I mean they look terrible). I think the analogy is something like Warcraft. Yeah, not a super great movie, but you can see why fans like it, and you can see why they made it, and what they were trying to do with it. It just left out all of that stuff that critics like, like character development or coherent motivation.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The legacy of the film will be minor … until we watch the sequel maybe. The sequel is interesting because I’ve heard that some consider it superior by at least not being boring. But that seems ludicrous … so it could very well find a special place in BMT lore. As far as streetcreditreport.com goes, it got #6 on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s yearly list … remember when just random places would make lists like this? I’m finding some weird ones. It is number eight on Reel Films, but overall tends to get eclipsed by none other than Freddy Got Fingered!

So we tagged up on a TV movie with the remake of Dirty Dancing. I had never seen the original (the horror), and I have to say, it holds up. The only question they leave hanging is how long they were on vacation for. I had assumed it was all summer (Jennifer Grey sees Swayze show up during a pep talk for the staff). I was mainly curious so that I could know how unbelievable it is that Jennifer Grey becomes a professional dancer during the course of the movie. The remake on the other hand leaves no questions unanswered! They were on vacation for three weeks, the older daughter sings a duet with a black employee at the resort and everyone nods their head about the times-they-are-a-changin’, and the parents almost get divorced. The sheer number of extra storylines is insane, causing the remake to be 40 minutes longer than the original! Profoundly upsetting. The true crime though, as Jamie alluded to, is the dancing. I loved the original, it holds up well, but it rides on the power of both Grey and Swayze’s dancing. And the two leads in the new one, they don’t got it.

Was it a time crunch? Was it intentional? I can almost psych myself into the idea that they intentionally told Breslin to not get into dancing shape for the film as a kind of any-girl-can-learn-to-love-and-dance-in-three-weeks idea … but the movie rises and rises in a crescendo of trash until my mind could take no more. It is something to behold, just horrible and offensive. This convinces me that we need to pay more attention to TV Movies in the future, there are ones that I think are worth a shot. Even something like Liz and Dick might be worth a shot if we can think of a reason to do it. And with that …

Cheerios,

The Sklogs