Super Mario Bros. Recap

Jamie

Mario and Luigi are just a couple of plumbers trying to make ends meet in Brooklyn. When Luigi meets the love of his life, Daisy, only to have her taken through an interdimensional portal to Dinohattan the bros follow after her. Can they stop King Koopa from merging the dinosaur and human worlds (and find love) before it’s too late? Find out in… Super Mario Bros.

How?! In the midst of a string of kidnappings of women, two Brooklyn plumbers, Mario and Luigi, are just trying to get by. When a beautiful researcher, Daisy, who is excavating some strange fossils in a local construction site catches Luigi’s eye things seem like they are looking up. That is until she is becomes the next victim of the kidnappers. Even weirder is that Mario and Luigi witness Daisy getting dragged through what looks like a solid rock wall, but in actuality is a portal to another dimension (oooooooo). Luckily they grab Daisy’s necklace before she is dragged through because it turns out to be the key to everything (more on that later). Refusing to lose his chance at totally smooching this pretty lady, Luigi jumps in right after and Mario is not far behind. They find themselves in Dinohattan, an alternate dimension where the dinosaurs never went extinct, but instead evolved into intelligent humanoids themselves. This realm is ruled by the eeevil King Koopa, who needs Daisy’s necklace in order to make complete the meteorite that split the dimensions millions of years ago. By completing the meteorite he will merge the two dimensions and he can use his advanced deevolution technology to take over the world (bwawawawa). Hearing that the plumbers have the necklace, Koopa puts out an APB. Before they can be arrested, though, they are mugged and the necklace is taken. Once arrested, they are told the entire intricate MacGuffin-centric plan but totes escape before Koopa can do anything about it. Ending up in the wasteland they are helped by some of Koopa’s toadies (and now defectors) to get back into the city and locate the necklace. Almost immediately after getting it back, though, Koopa’s lady love Lena gets the necklace and decides that actually she wants to rule the world and goes off to use it on the meteorite. Mario and Luigi decide it’s time to rescue Daisy (and all the other kidnapped girls) and infiltrate Koopa’s building and take everyone out like the Super Mario Bros that they are. Once outside Mario confronts Koopa, while Luigi and Daisy confront Lena, who immediately is killed when she attempts to merge the dimensions. While the dimensions are briefly merged Koopa deevolves Mario’s biggest rival into a chimpanzee before Luigi and Daisy remove the necklace and Koopa is dispatched. Dinohattan rejoices, Daisy’s dad is reevolved from a fungus into a humanoid by unknown means, and Luigi and Mario return to their own dimension. Luigi is real bummed because he doesn’t get to smooch Daisy, but is surprised when she returns to let them know about their next great adventure in the sequel. THE END… or is it? (it is). Believe it or not this is me being brief… the plot is a disaster.

Why?! Major MacGuffin Alert over here. In fact, I’m going to call it right now. This is the best MacGuffin in the history of BMT. I’d have to go back through all our films to confirm it, but the Meteorite Necklace is kind of a perfect level of stupidity. You see, King Koopa really wants this Meteorite Necklace that Princess Daisy has. Why? Because it’s part of the meteorite that sent the dinosaurs into an alternate dimension. By putting the meteorite back together he’ll be able to merge dimensions because… why not. Obviously that would be the case. But that’s not all. Even if he had the piece of the meteorite he wouldn’t be able to merge the dimensions. Why? Because only Princess Daisy would be able to do that and survive the power surge (?). Again… why? I literally have no idea. Because it was laid down in an ancient scroll probably. Or maybe… like Princess Daisy’s mom was actually human and so she’s the offspring of both dimensions and thus can bridge the gap… I just made that up, but good enough for me. Everyone else is motivated by love (awwwww).

Who?! Weird musician-turned-actor in this as Toad was played by a guy by the name of Mojo Nixon, a psychobilly musician who’s heyday was in the early 90’s. He appeared a few films around this time… in fact this isn’t the first film we’ve seen him in. He was also in Car 54, Where Are You? I should also mention that Lance Henriksen has a very brief cameo as the Mushroom King after he is reevolved back into a… mushroom human, I guess. Never a real explanation why he even reevolves either. It just kinda happens at the end.

What?! Again, one of the greatest product placements in BMT history. So good that I remember being puzzled by it even when I watched this film as a child. In the climactic scene where the Super Mario Bros take out Koopa with a Bob-omb we get a very clear shot of the bottom of the bomb’s feet… which for no explainable reason are emblazoned with the Reebok logo. Magnifique.

Where?! Brooklyn, baby. In both dimensions Brooklyn/NYC exists and plays a prominent role in the action. The best part is that they actually give some pretty clear details of Dinohattan and the world that it exists in. Apparently it’s a small inhabitable city surrounded on all sides by a wasteland that covers the rest of the planet… which is exactly how Patrick and I describe the Z-Universe in our ongoing Bad Movie Twins saga. Great minds. A-.

When?! My guess is that this is actually identifiable given that there are a number of prop newspapers with news stories regarding the missing Brooklyn girls. I just couldn’t catch a clear glimpse of a date on them, but they exist. I just need to scour the dark web for some of those sweet sweet props. F.

There are moments in my life where I know I’m watching a first ballot HoF film. This was one of them. It is truly the crowning BMT achievement in multiple categories close to our BMT hearts. The MacGuffin is a masterpiece, the product placement is inexplicable, and the stories behind the production may very well be a case study in how arrogance and ego mixed with cynicism and disillusionment mixed with greed comes together into a perfect BMT film. They weren’t trying to make a BMT film, they were trying their damndest to make a hit, and yet they produced something that is so odd and weird and nonsensical that it became beautiful. A beautiful piece of trash. The only good thing about it was how invested it seemed that Bob Hoskins was in an obviously terrible role… and then I learned he was drunk the whole time and didn’t give a shit. Give the man an Oscar. I could not tell. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! For about two years now we’ve allowed ourselves to rewatch movies for BMT. Now, I thought Batman & Robin was going to be the quintessential example of why this is a good thing. Apparently I forgot about Super Mario Bros. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Everything I remember about the film and everything I heard about it subsequently kind of focuses on the set design of Dinohattan. All of the cast hated the two directors, and part of why the two directors were being insufferable was because they were being limited in their vision of a surreal alternate dimension Mushroom Kingdom. I noted during the Double Dragon recap that these two movies are kind of the same: let’s adapt this video game, but since we are a bit light on story … uh, it is also post-apocalyptic. I was intrigued and very very excited due to all three prospects.

The Good – In an alternate dimension this film is fantastic and ushers in a wave of bizarre metaphorical adaptations of video games. There is something just so bold and brash in the vision. The leads are solid I think, at least as good as you would hope given the material. Dinohattan in all of its misguided glory is kind of amazing, and tells you a lot about how films were being made in that sweet spot of the late 80s / early 90s. Finally, Yoshi is a very very impressive puppet, right before Jurassic Park killed the need for cinematic puppets once and for all.

The Bad – The story makes no sense. The fan service is off the chain. It is completely operating on the level of “well we have this script that is just a sci-fi post-apocalyptic film … how much Super Mario shit do we need to add to it to make it a Super Mario film again?”. Hopper is awful, just awful in the King Koopa role. It is clear the directors were out of their depth, the script was re-written daily, and Nintendo was offering no guidance. It is awful … even if it is incredibly fun to watch.

The BMT – The film is somehow one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, and a cinematic achievement. I absolutely expect to watch this film many more times in my life. I will show my children this film. They will watch it with me. And guess what? When they are like 30 years old they’ll say “What was that weird Mario film we watched with dad those twelve times when we were kids? Jesus, you want to watch that again in our holo-cinema, Robo-Butler?”. This is the first film in a while that might make the Hall of Fame simply on bad movie merits alone. It will endure for BMT.

Roast-radamus – Last week we had evil Laurel & Hardy, and this week let’s go with Evil Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Who?) because this film is somehow almost definitely a rip off of Hamlet, and the two cousins of King Koopa play R and G for sure. One of the best Produce Placements (What?) we’ve had in a while with Reebok sponsoring the grand finale bom-bomb. Naturally a small Setting as a Character (Where?) for Brooklyn and alternate reality Brooklyn (Dinohattan) which is pretty great. It actually literally is a character, as the Mushroom Kingdom is covered in Princess Daisy’s father who was de-evolved into a fungus. We have a fantastic MacGuffin (Why?) in the meteorite shard which will somehow merge the two dimensions back together. And finally I think this has a good shot at both the BMT award this year, and also an eventual Hall of Fame in the future, but we’ll see. That’s five years away. Very impressive award potential though.

StreetCreditReport.com – Obviously Siskel and Ebert put this in their worst of list of this year. Normally that would be well and good as far as street cred is concerned. Rifftrax has it on their worst of the 90s list at number 3. Gamestop puts it at number 13 on their worst video games list. And variety put it maybe at number one (but it seems to be in no particular order) as a top 7 worst video game films list as well. This has the cred. Up the wazoo as they say.

You Just Got Schooled – Another video game film, another speedrun. Well, not precisely. In this case it is Mario 64 TAS (tool-assisted super-run) involving not pressing the A button (at all) in the final level. But how you might wonder, well take a look at the video:

Basically the computer is just pressing B, manipulating its environment, and pausing to eventually get all of the red stars and defeat Bowser. Obviously this can only be done via computer, but still pretty impressive. The entire game can in theory be done with a single half-A press, which I understand to be that you come into the game with A pressed down and merely release it at a single point in the game to achieve the only jump currently required in the entire game. If that video intrigued you I would suggest watching the previous video he uploaded (it is in the description), and reading that description. It explains a bunch about how the B jump works. Other videos explain the pausing mechanisms, and other junk. And Games Done Quick (summer event is June 23rd to 30th) does a few TAS breakdowns as well which is the only reason I know anything about this. And there you have it, you’ve been schooled on deeeeeeep Mario 64 super-run knowledge.

And that’s it. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Advertisements

Super Mario Bros. Quiz

I had this very strange dream. I entered the world of Super Mario, but … like it was just a generic post-apocalyptic thing instead of being anything like the video game. I can’t remember anything else. Can you help me out?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film we are introduced to Mario Mario, Luigi Mario, and Princess Daisy who all, for whatever reason, live in real world Brooklyn. Daisy is tangled up with an eeeeeeeevil real estate developer over a construction site in Brooklyn. Why?

2) And how do the Mario Bros. get all mixed up in Daisy’s mess?

3) Dinohattan looks a lot like New York City … but filled with human dinosaurs, really dangerous, and covered in fungus. Wait … why is it covered in fungus?

4) Describe the path of the MacGuffin Meteorite shard from the instant we see it in the film.

5) What is King Koopa’s plan with the MacGuffin Meteorite?

Answers

Super Mario Bros. Preview

“Stop!” Shouts Poe, “or my grandma will shoot.” The mailman freezes as he spots Granny toting a comically large pistol. He backs away and speeds away in his car. Poe smirks at Granny, “what am I gonna do with you, you foul-mouthed old bat?” Granny smirks back, “you’ll finish your goddamn supper and we’ll watch Murder She Wrote.” Poe shrugs, “I guess this is what I get for retiring from the force early and moving to New Orleans to help you out. But sometimes… I just want another piece of the action.” Just as he closes the door a knock rings out. Granny is pissed and raises the pistol. “No wait,” Poe says softly, “I know that knock…” Just as he suspected Rich is there leaning against the porch. “You ready for another piece of the action, partner?” Poe is already shaking his head. He’s not a police officer anymore, he gave that up. It’s against the rules. Rich laughs, “Rulez? You really did retire. That’s too bad. Too bad you and Granny will end up dead.” He turns, knowing Poe can’t leave it at that. “Oh you haven’t heard,” Rich says snidely, “Helmut Gruber escaped and he’s out for revenge.” Poe stares in disbelief. Gruber? But he’s dead… isn’t he? Apparently not. With gritted teeth Poe asks quietly, “where is he?” Rich smiles. “He’s holed up in an arcade downtown.” Poe grabs his jacket but Rich stop him, “Woah partner, we’ll be too conspicuous heading down like this.” Poe grins and soon they are dressed like a couple of dope tweens ready to infiltrate the arcade and show Gruber what’s what. “Oh and Rich?” Rich says with a sly smile, “Better bring your Granny. These tweens need adult supervision.” And with that he cocks his gun. That’s right! We are finally watching an all-timer in Super Mario Bros. This was the first major motion picture based on a video game and oh what a start it was. Not only was it adapted as a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action film, but it looked real dumb to boot. It’s also appropriate timing for us to watch as it looks like Pokemon Detective Pikachu officially broke the 26 year long streak of video game adaptations being rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. It stands at 63%. Baby steps. Let’s go!

Super Mario Bros. (1993) – BMeTric: 84.7

SuperMarioBrosIMDb_BMeT

SuperMarioBrosIMDb_RV

(Ah, I actually don’t think this shows a regression. What is happening here is that the rating is basically 3.9 for the last 7 years. That jump in 2014 happens right on January 1st. And that jump is really consistent across movies (but you only notice it in really bad films I think … I can’t remember). Look back at Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. That’s a regression. This … this is sitting right at 3.9ish for like a decade. That is what I’m talking about when I say a truly bad film won’t regress to the mean.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Super, indeed! This overblown, effects-laden turkey chronicles the convoluted story of the title boys from Brooklyn (Hoskins, Leguizamo), plumber-siblings who go up against the villainous King Koopa (Hopper), a semi-human dinosaur who instigates the kidnapping of Daisy (Mathis), a princess who possesses a magical meteorite fragment. This listless film has far less appeal than the video game that inspired it.

(First, my god the hyphens! I love you Leonard. There are three hyphens in this review. Second, the review is just a description of the film and then a little “not interesting” at the end. And third … 1.5 stars? Where does the 0.5 come from. Classic Leonard. Classic.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtMZKYnLg5c/

(Oh shit the music!!!!! Is this real? They literally showed a major bit of the end of the film in that trailer? The theory surrounding trailers for films really was wild back then. It was just “anything goes as long as it generates interest”. One of the worst trailers I’ve ever seen. Bar none.)

Directors – Annabel Jankel – (Known For: Tell It to the Bees; D.O.A.; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Both Jankel and Morton were known for their music video work and for create Max Headroom. This film basically ruined their directing careers. Tell It to the Bees was Jankel’s first big directing job since Super Mario Bros. … it was in 2018.)

Rocky Morton – (Known For: D.O.A.; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Jankel and Morton got divorced in 2005. Both won Emmys for NBC’s Friday Night Videos which was basically MTV on basic cable … which apparently was a thing in the early 80s.)

Writers – Parker Bennett (written by) – (Known For: The Thief and the Cobbler; Future BMT: Mystery Date; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Was a writer and cartoonist for Playboy at one point.)

Terry Runte (written by) – (Known For: The Thief and the Cobbler; Future BMT: Mystery Date; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Apparently he has a credit for this YouTube video … which has like 24 views? Wild wild stuff.)

Ed Solomon (written by) – (Known For: Men in Black; Now You See Me; Charlie’s Angels; Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; Imagine That; What Planet Are You From?; Leaving Normal; Future BMT: The In-Laws; Mom and Dad Save the World; Now You See Me 2; Levity; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Notes: Is apparently writing the new Bill and Ted as well. And was married to John Cleese’s daughter for a long while.)

Actors – Bob Hoskins – (Known For: Snow White and the Huntsman; Who Framed Roger Rabbit; Brazil; Enemy at the Gates; Doomsday; Pink Floyd: The Wall; Mermaids; Paris, je t’aime; The Long Good Friday; Balto; Unleashed; The Cotton Club; Vanity Fair; Nixon; Made in Dagenham; A Christmas Carol; Inserts; Hollywoodland; Mona Lisa; Beyond the Sea; Future BMT: Son of the Mask; Maid in Manhattan; Michael; Outlaw; Live Virgin; Heart Condition; Hook; Shattered; Den of Lions; Stay; BMT: Spice World; Super Mario Bros.; Garfield 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Son of the Mask in 2006; Notes: Died due to complications with Parkinson’s in 2014. Claims to have never had an acting lesson in his life.)

John Leguizamo – (Known For: John Wick; John Wick: Chapter 2; Romeo + Juliet; Carlito’s Way; Chef; Moulin Rouge!; Ice Age; The Lincoln Lawyer; To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; The Infiltrator; Titan A.E.; Die Hard 2; Land of the Dead; Sisters; American Ultra; Executive Decision; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Casualties of War; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Nancy; Future BMT: The Honeymooners; Spawn; The Counsellor; Collateral Damage; The Pest; Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie; Anarchy: Ride or Die; Ice Age: Collision Course; What’s the Worst That Could Happen?; The Fan; The Babysitters; The Hollow Point; Miracle at St. Anna; Out for Justice; Repo Men; Empire; Revenge; Jekyll Island; Love in the Time of Cholera; Kick-Ass 2; Ice Age: Continental Drift; Whispers in the Dark; Rage; A Pyromaniac’s Love Story; Spun; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; The Happening; One for the Money; Gamer; Righteous Kill; Ride Along; Notes: A noted comedian in the early 90s doing character impersonations. Has been doing mostly television recently including a role in Bloodline.)

Dennis Hopper – (Known For: Apocalypse Now; True Romance; Cool Hand Luke; Waterworld; Easy Rider; Blue Velvet; Speed; River’s Edge; Rebel Without a Cause; Hang ‘Em High; Giant; True Grit; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2; The Other Side of the Wind; Land of the Dead; Rumble Fish; Black Widow; Hoosiers; The Pick-up Artist; Edtv; Future BMT: The Crow: Wicked Prayer; Big Fat Important Movie; Hell Ride; Boiling Point; Chasers; Space Truckers; Meet the Deedles; Knockaround Guys; Swing Vote; The Blackout; Memory; My Science Project; Queen of Blood; Sleepwalking; The Trip; Straight to Hell; Flashback; Search and Destroy; 10th & Wolf; BMT: Super Mario Bros.; Alpha and Omega; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Waterworld in 1996; Notes: Was a child actor, and then had a very rocky film career due to substance abuse. He created, directed, and starred in Easy Rider which is credited in ushering in the anti-establishment movement in Hollywood of the 1970s.)

Budget/Gross – $48 million / Domestic: $20,915,465

(Catastrophic. I’m actually a bit surprised it didn’t do better. You’d think a good number of video game fans would have been tricked into going to the film during the opening weekend. I would have thought it would have ended at like … $40 million maybe? On the other had it was 1993.)

#27 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

supermariobros_videogameadaptation

(Our 18th video game film, driving quickly towards a 20th film (like …4% of BMT is video game films). The genre is really booming recently. And with Detective Pikachu I think there is a distinct possibility Nintendo will end up as the driving force in upping the quality overall.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (8/38): Despite flashy sets and special effects, Super Mario Bros. is too light on story and substance to be anything more than a novelty.

(A delightful novelty IMO. That percentage is a lot higher than I would expect for what is likely considered one of the worst films ever (although it isn’t on the wiki page interestingly enough …). Reviewer Highlight: As everyone knows, arcade-style diversions are not known for strong, original narratives or well-developed characters. In that sense, this film is worthy of its inspiration. – James Berardinelli, ReelViews)

Poster – Super Twin Time (B+)

super_mario_bros

(I almost always default to the poster featured on IMDb, but for whatever reason they chose to use some foreign poster… I suspect because it looked so stupid that they thought it was funny? Hard to say. This was the primary theatrical poster I think and it’s actually fine. I wish it wasn’t so dark and they gave it some pop with the green and the red, but it’s nicely stylized and actually makes a very not cool thing look kinda cool with some nice spacing and font.)

Tagline(s) – This Ain’t No Game! (A)

(Clever. Good one to use on the first adaptation too as I think later on I would have thought it was a little generic and vague to constitute a good tagline. Here though I think it’s working.)

Keyword(s) – based on video game; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.4 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.9 House of the Dead (2003); 87.9 Street Fighter (1994); 87.7 BloodRayne (2005); 87.1 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 86.2 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 84.7 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 79.7 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 73.5 Far Cry (2008); 70.0 Wing Commander (1999);

(I kind of forget we haven’t officially seen Street Fighter for BMT. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen the film multiple times. We just used to not do filmes we’ve seen before for BMT. Now we do that quite frequently for good reason, so it’ll eventually come up, maybe in some ill-fated decision to watch every JCVD film ever made or something.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: John Leguizamo is No. 2 billed in Super Mario Bros. and No. 3 billed in Ride Along, which also stars Ice Cube (No. 1 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Hook, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – In his 2007 autobiography John Leguizamo states he and Bob Hoskins hated working on the film and would frequently get drunk to make it through the experience. Both men apparently knew the movie would turn out bad, so they simply tried to make the best of it. He also stated he felt one of the biggest reasons the movie turned out the way it did was because the directors wanted a more “adult” movie while the studio, considering the source material, was looking for a children’s film.

During a chase scene, Bob Hoskins broke his finger when the van’s door slammed on his hand. For the rest of the film, Hoskins is wearing a cast that was painted pink to look like a hand. (Having just watched it, I never noticed it)

Bob Hoskins didn’t know that the film he was making was based on a game, until his son asked him what he was working on. When Hoskins mentioned the film’s title, his son immediately recognized it and showed Hoskins the game on his own Nintendo.

An article in “Spy” magazine claimed that the script was being rewritten so many times during production that the actors stopped paying attention to these daily rewrites.

Although Bob Hoskins said that this is the worst film he ever made, his son Jack Hoskins is a fan of this film, praising his dad’s performance. He said that he was too young to understand the poor reviews and now that he’s old enough, he doesn’t care. He quoted on the film’s fan website “SMBArchive.com”: “If there’s anyone reading this, please understand that it’s no one’s intention to ruin the classics. One last thing; if you remember your past enjoyments, then it would definitely keep your childhood memories alive and safely locked in your head forever.”

The “De-evolution” guns seen at the end of the film are simply repainted versions of the Super Nintendo light gun accessory, the “Super Scope.” (Awesome. I’m serious … that’s awesome)

After the film bombed at the box office, Nintendo never produced any more live-action theatrical films based on their video game franchises. A “Metroid” film was put into development, but never went past pre-production. (They still haven’t. They have at least one film in production, another Super Mario film, but it is CGI I believe … which will probably work out better)

Dennis Hopper explained why he did the film – “I made a picture called Super Mario Bros., and my six-year-old son at the time – he’s now 18 – he said, ‘Dad, I think you’re probably a pretty good actor, but why did you play that terrible guy King Koopa in Super Mario Bros.?’ and I said, ‘Well Henry, I did that so you could have shoes,’ and he said, ‘Dad, I don’t need shoes that badly.'” (Sick burn)

The Yoshi puppet was capable of making 64 separate movements due to 200 feet of cable crammed inside its 3 foot tall structure. In all, no less than 9 puppeteers were used to operate the Yoshi puppet. (Yes, it was possibly the last great puppet animatronic since the film came out the same year as Jurassic Park. The CGI afterwards likely killed the industry. There might be other good examples, the Lost World or something, but 1993 marks the point where puppets weren’t the first thought in a directors mind on how to create a lifelike fictional animal.)

An early draft of the script shows that Bowser only disguises himself as a human in his first two scenes, the Princess character is named Hildy and Bowser wants to marry her in attempt to obtain the Crown of Invincibility with which to take over the Mushroom Kingdom. Actual game enemies such as Piranha Plants and Thwomps make appearances, Toad accompanies the Mario Bros. throughout their journey as a main character, a baby dinosaur named Junior thinks Mario is his mother, Luigi gets Raccoon Power at one point, one of Bowser’s lackeys (a possible prototype for Kamek) tells Mario “Your Princess Is in Another Castle”, Mario and Luigi sing a song for Bowser, Bowser ends up falling into a pit of lava… In other words, this draft is much more faithful to the games. (Yeah … that sounds like it would be absolutely terrible though)

Dennis Hopper described the film’s production – “It was a nightmare, very honestly, that movie. It was a husband and wife directing team who were both control freaks and wouldn’t talk before they made decisions. Anyway, I was supposed to go down there for five weeks, and I was there for 17. It was so over budget.”

In a 2011 interview with The Guardian, Bob Hoskins described the film’s production – “It was a f*ckin’ nightmare. The whole experience was a nightmare. It had a husband-and-wife team directing, whose arrogance had been mistaken for talent. After so many weeks their own agent told them to get off the set! F*ckin’ nightmare. F*ckin’ idiots.” (These two notes are eerily consistent)

Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario’s creator, stated, “[In] the end, it was a very fun project that they put a lot of effort into,” but also said, “The one thing that I still have some regrets about is that the movie may have tried to get a little too close to what the Mario Bros. video games were. And in that sense, it became a movie that was about a video game, rather than being an entertaining movie in and of itself.” (… what? It is nothing like the games.)

Rocky Morton reflected on the movie in 2016 as a “harrowing” experience. He explained that he and Annabel Jankel, along with the rest of the cast, agreed to make the movie based on the script originally written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, which focused on Mario and Luigi’s complicated but loving family dynamic that they had developed in the absence of their parents. However, just a few weeks before shooting was to begin, the studio financing the film demanded significant rewrites to make the film more childlike and comedic. The final result, according to Morton, was a script that was not at all like the script that he, Jenkel, and the cast had signed on to film, and that the tone of the new script was not at all compatible with the sets, which had already been built. Morton also reflected that he felt very uneasy being put in the position of having to defend the new script. In addition, working with Dennis Hopper was “really, really hard. Really hard. I don’t think [Dennis Hopper] had a clue what was going on.” Despite describing the overall experience as humiliating, Morton is proud of the film considering the chaos created as a result of the late and unexpected script rewrites. (Hmmmmmmmmmmmm)

Allegedly due to drinking on set, John Leguizamo was hit by a car, breaking his leg. You can even see the cast in some shots of the movie. (Jesus!)

This was the first Hollywood film directly based on a specific video game property. (And it went swimmingly)

John Leguizamo was annoyed that he wasn’t allowed to ad-lib in the film.

Parker Bennett and Terry Runte submitted a script represents the early transition from the original fantasy-oriented take to the more grounded sci-fi take of the final film. They felt that the story was never funny, scary or outlandish enough, so to make it more compelling they sought to focus more on Mario and Luigi’s relationship, to develop Daisy into a more proactive character and to expand Koopa’s plot so that it would also endanger Earth. However, the pitch still contains various fantastical elements, including Mario and Luigi being icons of a “prophecy,” a magical talking book that aids them on their quest and a mushroom-infested world complete with a castle. The sci-fi concept of a parallel world inhabited by humanoid dinosaurs is essentially only retrofitted onto the fantasy story already written. (What the hell? That was the “brilliant” story everyone was gutted to see changed?)

Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel were hired to direct the film, based on their work on Max Headroom (1987).

Lead creatures designer and supervisor Patrick Tatopoulos was aware of the concurrent Jurassic Park (1993) production, so consciously designed the dinosaurs more cute and cartoony with inspiration from Beetlejuice (1988).

Producers from Jurassic Park (1993) visited the set and were so impressed with the Yoshi puppet they briefly considered hiring its engineers for a second Jurassic Park creatures shop. (Yeah this is the thing I had heard, that they were still kind of figuring out whether they wanted to go animatronic for the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, but the CGI eventually won out)

Despite its box office failure and troubled production, Roland Joffé remains proud: “It’s not that I defend the movie, it’s just that, in its own extraordinary way, it was an interesting and rich artefact and has earned its place. It has strange cult status.” (This is absolutely true. It is one of the most baffling things you’ll ever watch. Just extraordinary that it exists at all)

Greg Beeman was attached to direct and development had already moved into pre-production, but the failure of Beeman’s recent Mom and Dad Save the World (1992) led to his dismissal by nervous producers. (Now that is an absolutely awful film … weirdly the carnivorous mushrooms would have been a decent idea for goombas in this film)

Godzilla (1998) Recap

Jamie

Godzilla is back, Jack! And boy is he… something. When a series of disasters are tracked to a nuclear-mutated giant lizard a military/scientific team follow it to NYC where it has gone to lay its eggs. Will they be able stop Godzilla (and perhaps get the girl (and perhaps advance their journalistic ambitions)) before it’s too late? Find out in… Godzilla.

How?! A giant lizard is on the loose, a product of nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific, and as they track it across the globe they recruit a nuclear scientist/biologist expert, Nick, to figure out what’s going on. When the lizard, called Godzilla, shows up in NYC and starts to wreak havoc, Nick figures out that it’s using the island as a nest to hide its eggs until they can hatch. Meanwhile his ex-girlfriend, Audrey, is an aspiring journalist who uses her connection to Nick to get the big Godzilla egg scoop. Unfortunately she ruins everything because this leak gets Nick kicked off the team, his theory discounted, and she doesn’t even get credit for the story. Damn… because I was really invested in this aspiring journalist storyline you spent 45 minutes on. Anyway, Nick isn’t ready to give up and teams up with some French special forces to infiltrate the city and find the eggs. Audrey also isn’t ready to give up (hmmm, seems like they have a lot in common… particularly regarding giving up and whether they are ready to do something like that) and follows Nick into the city. There they find that Godzilla has laid his eggs in none other than Madison Square Garden. Ready to blow that place to smithereens and eviscerate a species they are just a second too late and the eggs hatch into a million velocirap… I mean, baby Godzillas. Using Audrey’s journalistic skillz they broadcast from the announcing booth and alert the army to what needs to be done: blow up an NYC landmark (eeesh, how very 90’s). Managing to escape just in time, the army blows all those baby animals apart, but are surprised to find an enraged Godzilla emerge from under the city and start a rampage. Acting the hero again, Nick and his team lure Godzilla to the Brooklyn Bridge where it becomes entangled and is finally subdued. THE END… or is it? (it is).

Why?! I actually enjoyed the motivations for Godzilla. While I remember it kinda being made fun of at the time I actually think the idea that this large lizard just chilled for a while eating fish in the pacific until it was time to lay eggs at which point it found a nest in a city because the buildings allowed it to hide is kinda cool. I don’t really understand the whole “asexual reproduction” thing they came up with… seems a little Jurassic Park and unnecessary. I would have preferred for the male Godzilla to show up and be a garbage shrimpy lizard that the female Godzilla immediately eats or something… but I digress. The motivations for the human characters though are trash. Audrey is a one-dimensional, poorly written character that wants to be a journalist and that basically motivates everything she does and Nick is supposed to be a former hippy dippy nuclear activist turned scientist that then mostly just wants to destroy Godzilla off the face of the Earth. Just very strange.

Who?! Dedicated to the memory of Tomoyuki Tanaka, the long time producer of the Godzilla franchise who died from a stroke the year before this film. Additionally, while we always note Presidents and the such, I do think that city mayors are probably fairly common in their own right, particularly of NYC. This had Mayor Ebert, named after critic Roger Ebert as a dig by the director. Nice one, Roland.

What?! The product placement comes at you in this film fast and furious. Broderick is glancing at his swatch, the French secret service are holed up in their UPS van, Godzilla attacks a ship full of delicious Bumblebee tuna, etc. But my favorite is a joke where Broderick buys a Kodak disposable camera (like the type used by a stereotypical NYC tourist) to take pictures of Godzilla… right before that stereotype went out the window and completely dates the film.

Where?! This is as perfect an A as you can get. Doesn’t reach A+ because they didn’t go with the Godzilla Attacks New York title, but Manhattan is pretty much a starring character as the buildings are described as the perfect Godzilla habitat. Add on top that Godzilla uses iconic MSG as a nest and they have to blow it up (that wouldn’t fly past-2001) and you got gold.

When?! This was obscure for sure. The only thing I really saw that would potentially help with this was a poster on a wall in NYC for a concert in the beginning of March… but like those posters probably go up well before the concert and stay up for long after so not great. I bet it’s discoverable considering how much NYC shit was visible while Godzilla was rampaging about, but it would take a full reviewing of the film and that ain’t happening. F.

This movie is not good and it’s interesting that you can find articles written claiming that it’s not as bad as people remember. Sure I think the basic premise is actually pretty good but it stop at that point. The film looks bad, is about 50 minutes too long, and they spent most of the filler time between Godzilla sightings rehashing the professional motivations for the characters. Are we supposed to care that Audrey wants to be a journalist but feels like she can’t make it in a male-driven world. A Godzilla monster is attacking! Why not just make her a successful and ambitious journalist and be done with it? Seemed like a big disservice to Maria Pitillo who took a lot of heat and ended up being the only actor to get a Razzie nomination (and she won). It’s not her fault really. I think she plays the character well, it’s just that the character is trash. I think this stands as a nice part of 1997-9 trilogy with Batman & Robin and Wild Wild West. Wild Wild West is crazy and fun, this is drab and bad, and Batman & Robin is BMT. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Ah, remember simpler times. Bill Clinton is in the process of being impeached. The dot com boom is a chugging with no (discernible …) end in sight. And the US was swept by Godzilla-mania! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – When Patrick was a young child he had a terrible affliction. That affliction? Godzilla-mania. Or at least I remember when this film came out, I remember the secrecy surrounding what Godzilla looked like, and I distinctly remember thinking it looked dumb when it was finally leaked. Very specifically I didn’t really get why it didn’t look like Godzilla. This rewatch was a long time coming.

The Good – The main actors are all fine given what they are given to do. It was an interesting premise: the idea of Godzilla just being a new species (focused less on the consequences of nuclear proliferation) and very specifically an animal, and using a biologist angle to figure out how to deal with it. The CGI is not good, but it certainly was big, and that’s something. The first half hour is that of a genuinely good film, I was supremely entertained by the first half hour.

The Bad – The next one and a half hours? Woof. I feel bad for Maria Pitillo who was fine, but got a load of shit for this film because whoever wrote it seemed to just have “Audrey looks confused” written into every scene. The side romance story ropes in a strange journalist plot that makes NYC seem rather small. The entire Madison Square Garden plot down to them blowing the building up is something that could have only happened in 1998 very specifically. Oh yeah, and who could forget what genuinely might be the worst song ever created. My god, my ears! P Diddy why?!

The BMT – Yeah, of course. It might actually be the quintessential big-budget creature feature for BMT. Most creature features are terrible, but they are also mostly low-budget and get away with it (sometimes coasting on irony alone), or they are like the fifth sequel to an originally good feature. This is a pretty rare misfire right out of the gate. And for a remake of a beloved franchise no less.

Roast-radamus – Hmmmmmm, it could sneak in for Where (Setting as a Character) for sure for New York City. And there is an outside shot it will age like a fine wine and it’ll get a nod for BMT in general. Otherwise I can’t think of an in your face product placement. I would love to say How (Worst Twist) for the baby egg hatching at the end, but I don’t really think that was a twist. More of a sequel set up. And I think Godzilla laying eggs in Madison Square Garden isn’t a notable terrible twist either.

StreetCreditReport.com – It occasionally gets onto lists of worst remakes (well deserved I think). Additionally MovieFone and Siskel and Ebert put it on their worst of lists of 1998. It has serious cred for the late 90s, although a bit of it is washed out by how bad Armageddon was received that same year. That is one I find mentioned more these days, although partially out of a kind of cult love for its jingoistic cheesiness.

You Just Got Schooled – One more bad film watched, one more animated series to sample. Godzilla (1998) indeed had a sequel in the form of Godzilla: The Series. Opening exactly where the film left off our heroes (plus a few new friends) discover the egg teased at the end of the first film which promptly imprints on Nick and escapes to New York Harbor. Quickly growing in size and displaying intelligence, loyalty, and an oh-so-important sterility, Godzilla 2.0 is chased around by the military until the gang finds a new monster in Jamaica. After Godzilla battles and defeats the beast everyone realizes that Godzilla could be the only thing standing between humanity an apocalypse at the hands of other mutated monsters. Godzilla … The Series! Honestly for a late 90s cartoon it actually was pretty good I thought. They still gave Audrey nothing to do, which would have been funny if it weren’t so sad. I would say A for adaptation because I genuinely think this was the vision for the sequel. For actual cartoon maybe a B? I would give it higher, but I don’t think people will go back and be like “this is great!” like they’ve done with Gargoyles. But this is serviceable.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Godzilla (1998) Preview

Jamie and Patrick crawl through the wasteland, no civilization in sight. “What are we going to do, Patrick?” Jamie cries through parched lips. “We’ll never find a police station.” Patrick meditates on this possibility while looking in his backpack of supplies. Only one delicious five-dollar footlong from Subway left. They each get a half-foot and sit against a rock to snack. Without warning Jamie stands up, his eyes ablaze, and throws his remaining sandwich to the ground. “This Subway sandwich is delicious, but what’s the point? We’re going to die anyway!” Suddenly they hear a faint buzz in the distance as a police car approaches… or is it a car? As it nears they notice that it’s a rocket skateboard. Rad. The police officer hops off his board, dark visor down, and gets right up in Jamie’s face. “Littering, dirtbag? Do it again, scum, I dare you. You are a weed. And I’m a weedkiller.” Patrick tries to interrupt, but the police officer pushes him back. “You want to get blown away too, filth? Both of you are coming with me and you’re lucky to be alive.” Jamie and Patrick look at each other in shock and shrug. Guess they’ll make it to the police station after all. After a super cool ride on the police issue rocket skateboard they enter the station, loose paper blowing around their feet and dangerous looking punks attempting escape at every turn. Almost immediately they hear a loud roar from up ahead “Fultz! Get in here, you no-good, rule-breaking piece of shit!” Other police officers whistle and clap as the officer, apparently Fultz, drags Jamie and Patrick into the sergeant’s office. “You wanted to see me Sarge?” He asks, looking annoyed. When the desk chair turns Jamie and Patrick are shocked… is that… Godzilla? That’s right! We’re watching the 1998 smash hit Godzilla starring Matthew Broderick and directed by Roland Emmerich. A bit of a surprise that it is on the rejected list given that it had such anticipation and star power and is still known today as a giant critical failure. People were basically laughing at it. But perhaps it didn’t quite reach the depths of Batman & Robin. Let’s go!

Godzilla (1998) – BMeTric: 58.7

GodzillaIMDb_BMeT

GodzillaIMDb_RV

(I guess it makes sense … a little weird that it would drop to almost below 50. This film should be a classic bad movie and thus immune to regression to the mean. Then again, mid-5.0s probably makes sense. A rating in the 4s is incredibly low for a blockbuster no matter how bad.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Giant lizard monster moves swiftly from the Pacific to N.Y. harbor, and terrorizes the Big Apple. Biologist Broderick hooks up with mystery man Reno and his team to stop it. Giant-scale fx-driven no-brainder doesn’t make much sense, has shallow characters, and goes on too long – but still offers a surprising amount of fun. Followed by an animated series.

(Did I just hear “animated series” … I think I know what I’m doing for the You Just Got Schooled section. Anywho, quite a mild review to be honest, but also a little bit like how I remember it. I saw this in theaters almost certainly, and I remember thinking it was fine. I was 12 at the time … but still, I distinctly remember thinking it was silly but fine.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt6bMHUoE6I/

(Ooooof that Hank Azaria shot at the end. I just watched a video where he went through his filmography and he said this film was a terrible experience, that they were just soaking them with water the entire time and he got sick like four times.)

Directors – Roland Emmerich – (Known For: Stargate; The Patriot; The Day After Tomorrow; Independence Day; White House Down; Anonymous; Future BMT: Stonewall; BMT: 10,000 BC; Independence Day: Resurgence; Godzilla; 2012; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Independence Day: Resurgence in 2017, and for Godzilla in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: We literally just watched Universal Soldier which he directed. For all intents and purposes we’ve finished his filmography, Stonewall is too small to qualify. So good for us I guess.)

Writers – Dean Devlin (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Stargate; Independence Day; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Independence Day: Resurgence; Godzilla; Geostorm; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1999 for Godzilla; and in 2017 for Independence Day: Resurgence; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: Good friends with Mel Gibson.)

Roland Emmerich (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Stargate; The Day After Tomorrow; Independence Day; BMT: 10,000 BC; Independence Day: Resurgence; Godzilla; 2012; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Independence Day: Resurgence in 2017, and for Godzilla in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Independence Day in 1997; Notes: I think I mentioned this in the Universal Soldier preview as well, but he was one of the first openly gay directors in Hollywood.)

Ted Elliott (story) (credit only) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Aladdin; Shrek; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; The Mask of Zorro; Treasure Planet; Small Soldiers; The Road to El Dorado; Future BMT: The Legend of Zorro; The Puppet Masters; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; BMT: Godzilla; The Lone Ranger; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Lone Ranger in 2014; Notes: He used to spell check reviews for Roger Ebert. Collaborates with Rossio frequently.)

Terry Rossio (story) (credit only) – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Aladdin; Shrek; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Deja Vu; The Mask of Zorro; Treasure Planet; Small Soldiers; The Road to El Dorado; Future BMT: The Legend of Zorro; The Puppet Masters; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; BMT: Godzilla; The Lone Ranger; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Lone Ranger in 2014; Notes: Was at one point a Machine Parts Inspector. The writing partner of Elliott for the most part, although their filmographies differ slightly.)

Actors – Matthew Broderick – (Known For: The Lion King; Manchester by the Sea; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; WarGames; Trainwreck; Glory; Bee Movie; Tower Heist; The Cable Guy; The Producers; To Dust; Ladyhawke; Rules Don’t Apply; Election; You Can Count on Me; The Tale of Despereaux; Margaret; The Freshman; Addicted to Love; The Road to Wellville; Future BMT: Inspector Gadget; Deck the Halls; The Stepford Wives; Family Business; She’s Having a Baby; Dirty Weekend; Finding Amanda; Diminished Capacity; BMT: Godzilla; New Year’s Eve; Notes: He’s done a lot of random guest spots on television more recently. He’s been married to Sarah Jessica Parker for over 20 years now.)

Jean Reno – (Known For: Leon; The Promise; Mission: Impossible; Hotel Rwanda; Ronin; Flushed Away; Nikita; The Big Blue; French Kiss; L’immortel; Margaret; La ragazza nella nebbia; The Crimson Rivers; Subway; Wasabi; Armoured; Al di là delle nuvole; Comme un chef; La rafle; Future BMT: Couples Retreat; The Pink Panther; The Pink Panther 2; The Last Face; Just Visiting; Xia dao lian meng; Flyboys; The Da Vinci Code; Days and Nights; BMT: Rollerball; Godzilla; Alex Cross; Notes: One of the more notable french actors to have transitioned into an international film star. He worked with Luc Besson early in his career.)

Maria Pitillo – (Known For: True Romance; Natural Born Killers; Chaplin; She-Devil; Bright Lights, Big City; White Palace; I’ll Do Anything; Spike of Bensonhurst; Future BMT: Dear God; Wise Guys; Bye Bye Love; Frank & Jesse; BMT: Godzilla; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Godzilla in 1999; Notes: She got married in 2002 and has a daughter, so it is likely because of that that she seems semi-retired. Sang in The Lost Capone.)

Budget/Gross – $130–150 million / Domestic: $136,314,294 (Worldwide: $379,014,294)

(That seems … fine-ish. They were certainly expecting much higher, but that is kind of shockingly high for a film without a sequel. I guess how badly it was critically panned might have done it in.)

#24 for the CGI Star genre

godzilla_cgistar

(Below a Transformers or two, and the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles … so this is basically the Michael Bay category. Still quite high considering it came out in 1998. People loved their CGI star in 2010.)

#11 for the Creature Feature genre

godzilla_creaturefeature

(Highest grossing creature feature we’ve seen for BMT, right at the late-90s peak. This is indeed the highest grossing bad creature feature available.)

#15 for the Disaster genre

godzilla_disaster

(Somehow beaten out by 2012 as far as BMT goes, and the highest we can get is Armageddon. An interesting genre. There was a set of exploitation films in the 60s and 70s (like Towering Inferno), which I have to say I find rather distasteful. Then as CGI blew up it came back in the late nineties, and then it surged again around 2010-15 … it certainly seems like when things are “going well” in the US people like to see some big disaster films, and when things aren’t … well then reality will suffice I suppose.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (12/75): Without compelling characters or heart, Godzilla stomps on everything that made the original (or any monster movie worth its salt) a classic.

(Yeah, a complete catastrophe considering this is a beloved cult franchise. It was supposed to break out a whole new world of remakes for Hollywood, but alas, they had to stick with garbage J-Horror adaptations instead for a bit. Reviewer Highlight: You have to absorb such a film, not consider it. But my brain rebelled, and insisted on applying logic where it was not welcome. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Sklog Does Matter (A-)

godzilla

(Kinda working for me in an old school kind of way. Needs a bit more green maybe. You could image a version of this being the poster for a 1982 Godzilla reboot, although that font is straight 90’s and I love it. Artistic, nice framing, font, and tells a story. I dig it, what can I say?)

Tagline(s) – Size Does Matter (B+)

(Short and sweet and can’t help but love a blockbuster that uses a dick joke as a tagline. I think the biggest problem for me is that it’s not really clever… just kind of using the dick joke and having that be the joke. Still, it’s working.)

Keyword(s) – giant monster; Top Ten by BMeTric: 82.2 Skyline (2010); 74.8 After Earth (2013); 64.3 Max Steel (2016); 62.3 Ghostbusters (2016); 62.3 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997); 62.0 Independence Day: Resurgence (2016); 59.9 Monsters: Dark Continent (2014); 58.7 Godzilla (I) (1998); 54.7 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012); 54.6 Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995);

(Wowza, there are a lot available. The Ghostbusters one is fake though, at least, it doesn’t qualify by a country mile … you know what, I’m going to bold that because I’ve seen it, so there.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jean Reno is No. 2 billed in Godzilla and No. 5 billed in Rollerball, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 2 + 5 + 1 + 2 = 10. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Despite the less-than-expected box office performance, this film still made more money worldwide than any other American movie based on a foreign film. It held this record until Godzilla (2014) claimed it 16 years later, although accounting for inflation, this movie still made more. (Yeah it is kind of crazy. Imagine if the movie was halfway decent!)

Godzilla has only about 11 minutes of screentime. (I guess, having watched it he is still all over the film even if you aren’t seeing him)

Mayor Ebert and his assistant Gene are spoofs of the late film critics Roger Ebert and his partner Gene Siskel (who would pass away less than a year after the film’s release). This is in response to the duo giving negative reviews to Emmerich and Devlin’s earlier films Stargate (1994) and Independence Day (1996). (That’s pretty funny)

An animated series called Godzilla: The Series (1998) was made which continued the storyline of the film. In the series, Tatopoulos accidentally discovers the egg that survived the destruction of the nest. The creature hatches and imprints on Nick as its parent. (Great ….)

Toho Studios gave the American creators a 75-page dossier of what they can and cannot do with Godzilla’s character. This included the following rules: Godzilla cannot eat people, only fish, he has to have three rows of dorsal plates, no more or less than three toes on his feet and four fingers on his hand, she cannot be made to look silly, he cannot die in the movie. Almost all of these points were disregarded, and according to Patrick Tatopoulos, the only specific instructions Roland Emmerich gave him was that Godzilla should be able to run incredibly fast and that it shouldn’t resemble a dinosaur too closely. (WTF)

The lead role was written specifically for Matthew Broderick. Indeed, the actor committed to the film without reading a finished screenplay. (Kind of cool)

Dean Devlin aggressively defended the movie on internet message boards, at times telling the Godzilla fans “to hell with you” if they had a negative opinion over it. The official Godzilla message board was shut down soon thereafter due to all the heated arguing. Years later, Devlin has admitted to recognizing the movie’s faults and apologized to the fans in various interviews. (Internet forums are poison Devlin)

Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin abandoned Godzilla’s iconic atomic breath in favor of a “power breath”, where their Godzilla would simply blow objects away by exhaling a strong wind-like breath. However, news of the power breath leaked before the film’s release, which outraged fans and forced Emmerich and Devlin to make last minute changes on scenes involving the power breath, effects supervisor Volker Engel stated, “Dean and Roland wanted this monster to retain a certain menace and credibility, but Godzilla’s breath is something everyone expects to see at some point, So they came up with instances in which you would see something like the old breath, but with a kind of logic applied to it. We make the assumption that something in his breath, when it comes in contact with flame, causes combustive ignition. So you get this flame-thrower effect, which causes everything to ignite.” Creature designer Patrick Tatopoulos added, “We were creating an animal. We weren’t creating a monster.” (Actually pretty good reasoning, but completely makes sense that fans would be annoyed as well)

The number of the cabs used in the chase at the end of the movie is MN 44. Moon 44 (1990) is the title of an earlier film that was directed by Roland Emmerich and in which Dean Devlin appeared. (Fun fact)

Patrick Tatopoulos, who designed the new Godzilla, states that the creature design mixes elements of various reptiles; also, he wanted the creature to be imposing and to inspire respect. To achieve that, he was inspired from the character Shere-Kan featured in The Jungle Book (1967); the tiger had a noticeable chin and Tatopoulos applied this characteristic on his design, taking the appearance of it from what he refers to be a “Selfin Dragon.” He also gave the creature humanoid shoulders and hands, very similar to the features included in the original design. (It … actually does kind of look like a tiger chin)

Godzilla’s design is based off a marine iguana as they originated in the Galapagos which is in the South Pacific. (It isn’t in the South Pacific, it is on the equator, but yeah, you can see a marine iguana in the opening)

The tanks used in the fish feeding scenes were actually big plastic/fiberglass mock-ups that were wheeled around on big dollies. (Movie magic)

When a cross-promotional deal with Anheuser-Busch was cancelled, visual effects artists had to digitally “erase” all Budweiser labels seen on beer bottles in the film. (Ha, when product placement goes wrong)

Was meant to be the cinematic debut of actress Maria Pitillo. The movie immediately “won” her a Golden Raspberry Award as the Worst Supporting Actress and she stopped receiving movie roles some years later. (Ridiculous since the film gives her absolutely nothing to do)

Roland Emmerich wanted his Godzilla to be fast. He can run about 200 mph. (Huh, that seems … too fast)

In a 2014 interview for the British film magazine Empire, Roland Emmerich admitted that he wanted to make a disaster movie about meteors rather than a Godzilla flick. However, Armageddon (1998) and Deep Impact (1998) had already been made by the time he was done directing this movie, which frustrated him as he wanted to make one first. (Ha)

Razzie Notes

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Maria Pitillo, 1999)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Dean Devlin, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Roland Emmerich, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, 1999)

Beverly Hills Cop III Preview

The figure standing in front of Jamie and Patrick pulls back his hood. “Nic Cage?” Patrick exclaims. The figure looks contemplatively upon them. “Perhaps. I am and have always been. That is a name I have used to touch humanity. One of many.” He winks and pulls out a $5 bill. “Woah, you were also Abraham Lincoln?!” Jamie says in awe. Nic Cage shrugs his shoulders as if to say “Don’t worry about it.” He turns serious, “I have brought you here to tell you that the fate of the world is in your hands. A great tournament is upon us, one in which one of the realms of this world has the opportunity to conquer Earth. And let me tell you, that would not be very cool.” Jamie nods his head, “We can do it. I know we can win for you… for Earth.” Nic Cage steps back, “You misunderstand. That is not your fate. Rich and Poe. They are the true champions. You must find them.” Jamie and Patrick are totally confused. Rich and Poe? The titular police officers of their smash blockbuster hit? Are their own ninja skillz not enough, they wonder with concern, but Patrick gathers himself and nods. “We’ll do it. We will find these warriors and help them save the world.” Nic Cage smiles briefly before teleporting away. Jamie angrily turns to Patrick. “Bro, we can do this. We are the champions. Look at these muscles, bro.” Jamie flexes but Patrick waves him off. “There is more to this. I can feel it inside. We must find Rich and Poe… if they even exist.” Jamie scoffs, “So what do we know about Rich and Poe? They like Parkour and dogs.” Now it’s Patrick’s turn to scoff, “That describes literally everyone. We wrote them as cops right?”. Jamie turns to looks at the blasted landscape. “Well, I guess we better start walking if we hope to find the nearest police station.” That’s right! We are watching Beverly Hills Cop III. On the wikipedia page Murphy’s lack of effort, how boring the film is, and the fact that this marked the beginning of the end of Murphy’s career (debatable) are the reasons given for why it should be considered amongst the worst of all time. This was not enough because it was rejected. Let’s find out if we reject it as well. Let’s go!

Beverly Hills Cop III (1994) – BMeTric: 49.7

BeverlyHillsCopIII_BMeT

BeverlyHillsCopIII_RV

(It might just make it back to 50 BMeTric. It is very unusual for a film to claw its way back from around 60, usually they kind of float around 50 and never quite make it. Seems like the rating has settles around 5.5 and it is just dependent on more votes coming in. It is very weird that people would watch this and be like 6/10 for sure. I don’t think it is supposed to be good at all.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Detroiter Murphy goes back to L.A., site of a theme park whose in-house security cops have hatched a counterfeiting ring – right under the nose of the sweet old gramps figure (Young) who’s nominally in charge. Fast pace and inspired setting can’t camouflage the bankruptcy of the concept. Gags are subordinate to action here – which, given the gags, may not have been such a bad idea. As usual, Landis features a number of prominent directors (including George Lucas, Joe Dante, Martha Coolidge, Arthur Hiller, Ray Harryhausen, Peter Medak, George Schaefer, Barbet Schroeder, and John Singleton) in cameo roles. Pinochet makes a welcome return from the original Cop movie as Serge.

(I might not have needed a full list of cameos. That sounds like a Zoolander 2 situation, but I haven’t heard much about that being the actual problem with the film elsewhere. He gave it a better review than the second one, which I’ve seen and thought was awful.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUjD5uKWxcg/

(Oh shit that song though gets me amped. Like honestly … that’s a pretty good trailer. The amusement park setting seems fun, the action seems fun, Murphy seems fun. I can’t wait to see why this is a catastrophe.)

Directors – John Landis – (Known For: Coming to America; The Blues Brothers; Animal House; Trading Places; An American Werewolf in London; The Kentucky Fried Movie; Twilight Zone: The Movie; ¡Three Amigos!; Blues Brothers 2000; Amazon Women on the Moon; Schlock; Future BMT: The Stupids; Burke and Hare; Spies Like Us; Innocent Blood; Oscar; Into the Night; BMT: Beverly Hills Cop III; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for Beverly Hills Cop III; and in 1997 for The Stupids; Notes: His career was marred by the on-set deaths of Vic Morrow, Myca Dinh Le, and Renee Shin-Yi Chen in a special effects accident during filming of The Twilight Zone: The Movie. His son, Max Landis, is a screenwriter.)

Writers – Danilo Bach (character) – (Known For: Beverly Hills Cop; Beverly Hills Cop II; Someone to Watch Over Me; Future BMT: April Fool’s Day; BMT: Beverly Hills Cop III; Notes: Very little about him available. This is just a character credit, he just wrote the first film, and he’s definitely retired at this point.)

Daniel Petrie Jr. (character) – (Known For: Beverly Hills Cop; Beverly Hills Cop II; Turner & Hooch; The Big Easy; Deadly Pursuit; Future BMT: In the Army Now; Toy Soldiers; BMT: Beverly Hills Cop III; Notes: He father was a big time director in the 60s, and his brother Donald is a big time director now. Literally his whole family is in the biz.)

Steven E. de Souza (written by) – (Known For: Die Hard; Die Hard 2; Commando; The Running Man; 48 Hrs.; Ricochet; The Return of Captain Invincible; Future BMT: Street Fighter; The Flintstones; Knock Off; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Bad Dreams; BMT: Judge Dredd; Beverly Hills Cop III; Hudson Hawk; Another 48 Hrs.; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Notes: Somewhat well known as the director of Street Fighter as well, which was his only major directorial effort.)

Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Mulan; Coming to America; Trading Places; Shrek; Shrek 2; Boomerang; Beverly Hills Cop; Shrek the Third; Shrek Forever After; The Nutty Professor; Dreamgirls; 48 Hrs.; Tower Heist; Life; Beverly Hills Cop II; Doctor Dolittle; Bowfinger; Imagine That; Dr. Dolittle 2; Future BMT: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; Vampire in Brooklyn; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; The Distinguished Gentleman; BMT: Norbit; Pluto Nash; I Spy; Beverly Hills Cop III; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child; A Thousand Words; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights in 1990; Winner for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit in 2008; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Nominee for Worst Director for Harlem Nights in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Norbit in 2008; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; in 2009 for Meet Dave; in 2010 for Imagine That; and in 2013 for A Thousand Words; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; and in 2009 for Meet Dave; Notes: Y’all know Eddie Murphy. Rumor is that the sequel to Coming to America is starting production soon for a 2020 release.)

Judge Reinhold – (Known For: Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Gremlins; Beverly Hills Cop; Stripes; Beverly Hills Cop II; Ruthless People; The Santa Clause; The Santa Clause 2; Vice Versa; Homegrown; Clifford’s Really Big Movie; Rosalie Goes Shopping; Checking Out; Future BMT: The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause; Zandalee; Swing Vote; Head Office; BMT: Beverly Hills Cop III; Notes: His birthname is Edward, he was nicknamed Judge by his father as a baby.)

Hector Elizondo – (Known For: Pretty Woman; The Lego Batman Movie; The Princess Diaries; Overboard; The Book of Life; Runaway Bride; American Gigolo; The Taking of Pelham One Two Three; Frankie and Johnny; Nothing in Common; The Flamingo Kid; Go for Sisters; Cuba; Being Human; The Landlord; Tortilla Soup; The Fan; Entropy; Pocket Money; Frankie and Johnny Are Married; Future BMT: Exit to Eden; Turbulence; Getting Even with Dad; The Princess Diaries 2; Private Resort; The Celestine Prophecy; Leviathan; Raising Helen; Dear God; Young Doctors in Love; How High; Necessary Roughness; Love in the Time of Cholera; The Other Sister; Filofax; Born to Win; BMT: Beverly Hills Cop III; Valentine’s Day; New Year’s Eve; Mother’s Day; Georgia Rule; Notes: His star-turning role in Pretty Women was only available because Al Pacino turned it down.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $42,614,912 (Worldwide: $119,208,989)

(That … is fine actually. A little surprising. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but the film is supposed to be so bad I had figured it had stopped the franchise in its tracks.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (5/50): No consensus yet.

(Really really bad for a beloved franchise. I’ll try and make a consensus: A joyless, cynical, simply awful final outing for a beloved franchise. Reviewer Highlight: It’s one of the most cynically engineered sequels ever. – Peter Rainer, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – I’m a Cop! (D+)

beverly_hills_cop_iii_ver2

(This is of course the logical conclusion to a trilogy of posters. By the end it’s just the star looking at you saying “come watch me be whatever this poster tells you I am.” I could have done without the weird rollercoaster and it feels a little amateurish given it’s a massively popular franchise. But kept the font and not a total disaster.)

Tagline(s) – In for the ride of his life! (B+)

(Is this really about an amusement park or something? Why would they make this? This sounds awful. I guess this tagline performs its task… it is short, plays off the rollercoaster aspect of the plot, and is somewhat clever. But it is giving me anxiety thinking of all the people who were working on a Beverly Hills Cop film set in an amusement park and making posters and taglines related to amusement parks when that’s a terrible idea.)

Keyword(s) – woman with a gun; Top Ten by BMeTric: 69.5 Postal (2007); 60.8 Legion (2010); 60.7 Ishtar (1987); 56.5 Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986); 54.7 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012); 53.7 Killers (2010); 53.6 Pandemic (2016); 53.0 Spy Hard (1996); 52.8 Nude Nuns with Big Guns (2010); 49.7 Beverly Hills Cop III (1994);

(Ugh Nude Nuns with Big Guns. Gross.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Eddie Murphy is No. 1 billed in Beverly Hills Cop III and No. 1 billed in Harlem Nights, which also stars Richard Pryor (No. 2 billed) who is in Superman III (No. 2 billed), which also stars Annette O’Toole (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 7 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 5 + 7 = 18. If we were to watch Showtime, and Killer Elite we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – As Axel Foley jumps onto the Spider ride at Wonder World, the man that he jumps in front of was George Lucas. (Coooooool)

Production was temporarily shut down to allow the Paramount top brass the chance to get to grips with the film’s spiraling budget. Originally estimated at fifty-five million dollars, it was soon in excess of seventy million dollars. Of that budget, fifteen million dollars was Eddie Murphy’s paycheck. (Oof, so yeah … not really a financial success then.)

Initially, the plot for this film would’ve concerned Foley, Rosewood, and Taggart (John Ashton) going to London to rescue Captain Bogomil (Ronny Cox), who was being held hostage by terrorists during a International Police Convention. However, numerous problems, such as scripting issues and the budget, caused pre-production to drag out to the point that John Aston and Ronny Cox had to drop out, due to obligations to other pending film projects. (Awww international sequels are the worst, and thus that would have been the best)

The Alien Attack ride that Janice (Theresa Randle) demonstrates to Axel when he first comes to Wonder World, is actually the Earthquake section of the Studio Tour at Universal Studios in Hollywood. The alien robots are the Cylons (from Battlestar Galactica (1978)) from a section of the old Universal Tour “Battle Of Galactica”. (WHAT)

In an interview with The A.V. Club in 2009, Bronson Pinchot claimed that Eddie Murphy “was really depressed” at the time the movie was being filmed, claiming that Murphy was low-spirited and had a low energy level. He was depressed that most of his most recent star vehicles had either underperformed or bombed. (Yeah, this is a year before Vampire in Brooklyn which really tanked his career. Ebert says on his program that at that point he should have done a few small parts with a great director … instead he bounced back with The Nutty Professor which sent his career in a whole other direction before cratering)

In a 2005 interview, John Landis claimed that Eddie Murphy worked against the comedy of the film by deliberately not being funny. Landis said that the film “was a very strange experience”.

The Annihilator 2000 shown off by Serge at the security convention is actually a dressed up 5.56mm Colt M16, with extras. (Gun facts)

Among the rejected ideas for “Beverly Hills Cop III” included a Robert Towne screenplay idea (one in which Axel Foley has to deal with his celebrity cop status), a scenario teaming Eddie Murphy with Sir Sean Connery as a Scotland Yard detective, and another Axel Foley-in-London idea, where his Scotland Yard counterpart would have been played by John Cleese. The last story would have involved a British gangster loosely based on the real-life Kray brothers, who was captured in Detroit and transported to London by Paul Reiser’s Jeffrey, and Axel would have gone overseas after the gangster’s henchmen broke him out of custody and murdered Jeffrey. This concept was scrapped, because producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer decided it was too close to the storyline of Black Rain (1989). (All sound terrible to be honest, although Connery would have been bonkers)

Disney Composers Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, who wrote the Wonder World song for the movie, both filmed cameos. Robert was among the old men discussing the murder at the bar, but Richard’s cameo as the Grand Marshal of the Wonder World parade was cut out.

Eddie Murphy said he thought “Beverly Hills Cop III was infinitely better than Beverly Hills Cop II (1987).” He then later claimed during an interview in 2006 on Inside the Actors Studio (1994) that he felt the third film was “atrocious” and such a disgrace that “the character was kind of banished for a while (from Hollywood).” He said he felt the third film did not reveal enough of the “edginess” of Axel that was present in the first two films. He also said he hopes to return the edgy qualities to the character when he reprises the role next time, and is going to pay more attention to the development of the project, and its quality. (Hmmmm actually makes me more interested in a Beverly Hills Cop IV)

One idea for the film came from Brandon Tartikoff who suggested a crossover film, with Paul Hogan as Crocodile Dundee, but the idea was rejected by Eddie Murphy. (WHAT)

The Land of the Dinosaurs ride is the closed ride called Kingdom of the Dinosaurs from Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA.

The location of Wonder World according to Rosewood’s map is in Encino, California. (Got to keep an eye out for that)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (Robert Rehme, Mace Neufeld, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (John Landis, 1995)

Cobra Preview

A small note prior to this post: Last July we decided to take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews before 2013ish we also decided to provide a preview for the movie. This is the fourth in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediately afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Cobra (1986) – BMeTric: 42.3

Cobra_BMeT

Cobra_RV

(This is a movie which I think is becoming more popular as the years go on. I can say this straight out: the movie is nuts, but in a very 80s “this is nuts, but maybe also brilliant” kind of way. To be honest, I’m a little surprised the film hasn’t reached 6.0 yet.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Once more, Stallone wraps himself in the American flag and fights for the greater glory of mankind by going after criminal vermin; this time, he’s a cop. Typical low-grade action fare, where all the other cops are stubborn dummies, and all the bad guys are repellent creeps. Some good action sequences.

(The last throwaway line of “Some good action sequences” feels like an insult. Like Leonard is pitying them and throwing them a bone after this complete evisceration. Also, Leonard … you know I love semicolons. Don’t tease me like that, you devil.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoGoSu4NEyo

(I’m in. Although I have to say that the trailer is way too serious for its own good. Like obviously the film took itself too seriously, that’s the fun of it, but you can at least make it seem like it’s not just Sly mumbling to people the whole time and slamming Coors. Also, his license plate says AWSOM 50. Gotta mention it because it’s so stupid.)

Directors – George P. Cosmatos – (Known For: Tombstone; Of Unknown Origin; Future BMT: Shadow Conspiracy; Leviathan; Rambo: First Blood Part II; The Cassandra Crossing; BMT: Cobra; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Notes: Rumor is that Sly actually directed the film and Cosmatos ended up as more of a producer. No info as to whether the same might be true of Rambo II.)

Writers – Paula Gosling (novel) – (BMT: Fair Game; Cobra; Notes: Fair Game and Cobra are adapted from Gosling’s novel A Running Duck. Cobra is crazier and better, Fair Game might as well not exist.)

Sylvester Stallone (screenplay) – (Known For: Creed II; Creed; Rocky; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Rocky Balboa; Rocky II; First Blood; Homefront; Cliffhanger; The Lords of Flatbush; F.I.S.T; Future BMT: Staying Alive; Rocky V; Rambo III; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rocky IV; BMT: Driven; Rhinestone; Cobra; Over the Top; The Expendables 3; Notes: From ‘82 to ‘88 Stallone didn’t star in a film he didn’t also get a screenwriting credit for. And a ton of the films are brilliant. And then he stumbled and is basically just an old man action star at this point, although he is writing Rambo 5.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Creed II; Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Creed; Rocky; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Rocky Balboa; Escape Plan; Rocky II; First Blood; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Cliffhanger; Antz; Bullet to the Head; Cop Land; Death Race 2000; The Lords of Flatbush; Future BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Escape Plan II; Staying Alive; Rocky V; D-Tox; The Specialist; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Avenging Angelo; Rambo III; Daylight; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Backtrace; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Oscar; Rocky IV; BMT: Driven; Zookeeper; Get Carter; Rhinestone; Judge Dredd; Cobra; Over the Top; The Expendables 3; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Demolition Man; Notes: Still smashing the gym at the age of 72, this time to prep for Rambo 5. A bad movie legend if there ever was one.)

Stallone Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actor for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Winner for Worst Actor in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1989 for Rambo III; and in 1993 for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Spy Kids 3: Game Over in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Cobra, Cobra, Lock Up, Lock Up, Over the Top, Over the Top, Rambo III, Rambo III, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rhinestone, Rocky IV, and Tango & Cash; Nominee for Worst Director for The Expendables in 2011; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1986 for Rocky IV; in 1987 for Cobra; in 1989 for Rambo III; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1994 for Cliffhanger; and in 2002 for Driven; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1987 for Cobra; in 1988 for Over the Top; in 1990 for Lock Up, and Tango & Cash; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for The Specialist; in 1996 for Assassins, and Judge Dredd; in 1997 for Daylight; in 2001 for Get Carter; and in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999;

Brigitte Nielsen – (Known For: Creed II; Beverly Hills Cop II; Future BMT: Red Sonja; Rocky IV; BMT: Cobra; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst New Star for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst New Star for Red Sonja in 1986; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 1986 for Red Sonja; in 1987 for Cobra; and in 1990 for Bye Bye Baby; Notes: Married Sylvester Stallone a year prior to this film, likely around the time Rocky IV came out. The Great Dane, she was Danish and noted for her height.)

Reni Santoni – (Known For: Rain Man; Groundhog Day; Can’t Hardly Wait; Dirty Harry; The Brady Bunch Movie; Private Parts; Doctor Dolittle; Bad Boys; Bright Lights, Big City; The Package; Dr. Dolittle 2; The Pick-up Artist; The Pawnbroker; Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid; Cat Chaser; Enter Laughing; The Battle for Anzio; Future BMT: 28 Days; Summer Rental; Brewster’s Millions; BMT: Cobra; Notes: His IMDb claims he was a professional baseball player prior to becoming an actor, although there are no stats concerning his career (which makes it unlikely it would have been in the United States at least). Played a cop in a Murder She Wrote episode centered around a baseball team though.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $49,042,224

(Basically broke even I would think. Makes a bit of sense it didn’t get a sequel, although that would have been fun.)

#19 for the Off-Screen Couples On-Screen genre

cobra_offscreencouples

(Vanilla Sky, Cobra, The Marrying Man, Gigli, and Shanghai Surprise are the BMT films that fit the bill. Stunt casting might have become more of a thing in the late 90s with the advent of the 24-hour news channel, and again in 2010ish although that was just Twilight basically. Nowadays it seems to more likely be couples just deciding to do it instead of an actual stunt, like with A Quiet Place.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (3/18): No consensus yet.

(The film is structured around an idea of super criminals which has since, rightfully, become a dirty word. The criminal which claims that they are the future, and that the justice system cannot stop them, and the cop who says “I am the law” and murders them all the same, screw due process, the process is broken! It is pretty disgusting if the entire thing didn’t play out like a joke half the time. Reviewer Highlight: The film trades on the same technique used by books that attack pornography by printing examples of the dirty pictures. Cobra pretends to be against the wanton violence of a disintegrating society, but it’s really the apotheosis of that violence. – Nina Darnton, New York Times)

Poster – I AM THE LAW (A)

cobra

(I kind of inexplicably love this poster. Something about the matte colors. It feels like a painting, and a painting I want in my house … like, this represented America in all its macho super-violence, this represents something terrible and loveable about us in some way.)

Tagline(s) – Crime is the disease. Meet the Cure. (A)

(Again, I love it, but in a kind of psycho ridiculous way. Like for reals, people used to think super criminals were going to be a thing forever, and that we needed Judge Dredd (for reals) in our lives. That was a thing. And this movie represented that on a mainstream level, and this tagline perfectly conveys this. Somehow it works in both 1986 and 2019 in two totally different ways.)

Keyword(s) – psychotronic; Top Ten by BMeTric: 68.2 Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982); 62.8 The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961); 60.4 Space Mutiny (1988); 59.4 Red Sonja (1985); 57.7 Ghoulies (1984); 53.7 Casino Royale (1967); 52.9 Faces of Death (1978); 52.8 Starcrash (1978); 52.7 The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? (1964); 52.7 The Green Inferno (2013);

(What the f-in f! Anyways, that is a crazy keyword. Psychotronicdenoting or relating to a genre of films that typically have a science fiction, horror, or fantasy theme and were made on a low budget. This isn’t that really, although it does have the vibe. Not surprisingly most of these are Mystery Science Theater 3000 films and do not qualify.)

Notes – A very rare workprint of the movie is available amongst fans. Although most copies are in poor quality, it has approximately 30 to 40 minutes of footage not available in any other version. It also has all of the X-rated material removed from the final release. (Huh … I’ll just put this here to remind me to check this out later)

When Sylvester Stallone was signed to play the lead in Beverly Hills Cop (1984), he did a lot of work on the screenplay, turning it into an action extravaganza that the studio couldn’t afford. He eventually left Beverly Hills Cop and channeled his ideas for that project into this movie.

Body count: 52, and 41 of them are killed by Cobra. (Jesus Christ!)

Most 1980s action heroes were called John (ex. John Rambo, John Matrix, John McClane). The hero of this film is named Marion, after John Wayne, the epitome of the cinematic tough guy.

Some of the cuts made to avoid an X-rating include: the first murder victim having her hands severed; an extended autopsy scene, including lingering shots of naked and mutilated bodies; a longer death for Ingrid’s photographer Dan, including a shot of him slipping on his own blood while trying to escape; more deaths of the townspeople during the climax, including a person getting hit in the face with an ax. (Wowza, and here I thought it was going to be a 20 minute hardcore sex scene starring Sly)

The film was considered a box-office disappointment at the time, especially compared to Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) and Rocky IV (1985). However, it grossed $12,653,032 on its opening weekend, which was the largest opening weekend in the history of Warner Brothers and The Cannon Group at the time. It also earned over $160 million worldwide, against a budget of $25 million dollars (along with marketing costs). That opening weekend was the 2nd best for any film in 1986, trailing only that for _Stark Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)_. It also got lumped together with Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), which also opened wide on May 23, 1986. (That worldwide number is pretty nuts considering it apparently only make $50 million domestically. I can’t imagine it was very common for the international yield to outstrip the domestic yield in the 80s)

At one point during filming Sylvester Stallone complained to cinematographer Ric Waite that they were falling behind and that he and his crew needed to work harder. Waite responded by saying that maybe if Stallone “gets his hands off Brigitte Nielsen ass and stops showing off to his bodyguards maybe they wouldn’t have problems with time”. Although Stallone was shocked that somebody would talk to him that way he did tone down his ego but after a few weeks he returned to his old egotistical behavior. In the same interview where he mentioned this, Waite also said that despite his huge ego Stallone had a great sense of humor. He also confirmed a rumor that Stallone was the true director of the film, calling credited director George P. Cosmatos a good producer, but a bad director. (Oh shit)

The original rough cut was over two hours long. Due to concerns it might not be a hit, the final cut was 87 minutes, thereby increasing the number of screenings per day. Some of the more violent scenes were also cut to avoid an X-rating. A great deal of plot detail was either removed or sped up while most of the violence and nearly every death was edited or depicted off-screen, resulting in numerous continuity errors.

Director Nicolas Winding Refn is a huge fan of Cobra. In Refn’s cult movie Drive (2011), the main character has a toothpick in his mouth in some scenes. This is Refn’s homage to the opening scene of Cobra where Cobretti has a matchstick in his mouth. (The first part sounds correct, the second part sounds like there is a toothpick in someone’s mouth which is totally normal and not usually a “homage”)

The custom 1950 Mercury driven by Cobretti in the film was a car actually owned by star Sylvester Stallone. The studio produced stunt doubles of the car for use in some of the action sequences, such as the jump from the second floor of the parking garage. (Cool)

The movie was based on a novel “Fair Game” by Paula Gosling. In 1995, William Baldwin and Cindy Crawford made Fair Game, which was based on the same novel by Gosling. Just like Cobra, Fair Game was re-edited by Warner Bros. in post production, but in Fair Game’s case it was due to the test audience disliking the original cut. (Because it is a garbage film)

The knife used by the Night Slasher character was made for the film by knife designer Herman Schneider. Sylvester Stallone had asked Schneider to create a knife that audiences would never forget. (I don’t recall what it looks like, so … didn’t work)

Brian Thompson auditioned seven times for his role before he was hired. On his fourth audition he met Sylvester Stallone and both he and the director thought that Thompson was too nice to play the role of Nightslasher. But after a screen test he immediately got the job. Thompson repeatedly asked Stallone about his character Nightslasher, like how Stallone would want Thompson to play him, character’s background, his reasons for doing what he’s doing, but Stallone wasn’t interested in explaining Thompson’s character and he basically told him that he is evil because he is evil. In an unfortunate surprise for Thompson, when filming of the movie was finished, director George P. Cosmatos told Thompson, “You could have been good if you had listened to me.” (He is right and wrong. Sly was correctly reading the times with the psychopath killer and the fascination the public had with such things. It is seen in slashers like Michael Myers, and rolled into some of the erotic thrillers in the early 90s as well. But Cosmatos is ultimately correct, a psychopath is a psychopath which is pretty boring.)

The first draft of Sylvester Stallone’s script had lot of differences from later drafts and the film. These include opening shootout taking place in movie theater instead of a grocery store and lot more people getting killed, Cobra mentioning how some psychopath he was trying to catch killed his girlfriend, additional big action sequence taking place during night on a boat where Cobra and Ingrid are hiding when they get attacked by Nightslasher’s cult members but Cobra and Gonzalez manage to kill them all, and different ending in which it’s revealed that Monte was actual leader of the New Order cult and when he tries to kill Ingrid he gets shot and killed by Cobra.

The Stan Bush song “The Touch” from The Transformers: The Movie (1986) was originally written for this film. (Whaaaaaaaa?)

The Paula Gosling novel ‘Fair Game’ on which “Cobra” is based is also called ‘A Running Duck’. When the movie came out Sylvester Stallone allegedly wanted the novel reissued with himself credited as the author. Ms. Gosling declined the offer. (Oh, I can’t imagine why …)

Sylvester Stallone was a fan of John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band and approached them about doing a song for the film. The song “Voice of America’s Sons” was written for the film, and John Cafferty had contributed to the Rocky IV (1985) soundtrack as well. (Jam out to this)

Sylvester Stallone said he got the idea for the LAPD’s “Zombie Squad” from a real-life Zombie Squad in Belgium, comprised of cops who go out at night and handle crazed criminals on their own terms. (WHAT. I can’t find anything about that shit online)

The submachine gun used by Marion Cobretti in the final showdown with biker gang is a Jati-Matic. Cobretti uses a custom Colt Gold Cup National Match 1911 in 9mm using Glaser Safety Slugs, a frangible bullet.  (These notes were much much longer before I cut them down, look up the details yourself if you are interested)

Santiago Segura has claimed that this movie was the inspiration for his well-known character Jose Luis Torrente, main star of Torrente, el brazo tonto de la ley (1998) and sequels, that he conceived as a parody of the 80s action movies. In fact, the title is a spoof of Stallone’s movie, since then in Spain Cobra was titled as “Cobra, el brazo fuerte de la ley” (Cobra, the strong arm of the law). (Huh, this would be a great homework opportunity. According to wikipedia, José Luis Torrente is an ugly, bald, overweight, dirty, corrupt, lying, fascist, racist, and chauvinistic retired cop … sounds about right.)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Brigitte Nielsen, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Brian Thompson, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Sylvester Stallone, 1987)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Brian Thompson, 1987)