Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Recap

Jamie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Preview

Let keep the Bring a Friend magic flowing right into the action genre. We took the opportunity to grab a classic of the BMT action subgenre of video game films, while also grabbing a horrifically reviewed TV Movie of 2017. That’s right! We’re watching Lara Croft: Tomb RaiDirty Dancing (2017). Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was wildly successful as far as video game adaptations go, so I think people would be surprised to find just how poorly reviewed the film actually was. It’s crazy we haven’t already seen it. As for the Dirty Dancing TV remake, I heard only horrendous things about it. Hard to remake a classic from the 80’s with a total nobody in the iconic Swayze role and Abigail Breslin as Baby. Doomed from the start. Hopefully it’s a trainwreck and not just a snoozefest. Let’s go!

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) – BMeTric: 40.8

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LaraCroftTombRaider_RV

(So last week Jamie asked me why, if we were to assume xXx: Return of Xander Cage and xXx were somewhat equivalent, The Return of Xander Cage has a 5.2 on IMDb, but xXx has a 5.8. Voila! If you map the 50 thousand votes The Return of Xander Cage has thus far received, and the 150 thousand vote xXx received since 2002, it is well within the realm of possibility that regression to the mean could get The Return of Xander Cage up near the original. Oh, Lara Croft? Lots and lots of votes, slightly below average, likely to be just as ludicrous as xXx or The Return of Xander Cage, so we got that going for us.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Jolie plays the sexy British archeologist-adventurer who follows her late father’s instructions to find – and destroy – both pieces of an ancient relic that can control time. Perhaps the dullest action-adventure film ever made, with flat writing and performances (save for Jolie) and lifeless direction, sparked now and them by some flashy set pieces. Voight, Jolie’s real-life father, plays Croft’s dad. BAsed on a popular computer game. To quote a character in the film itself, “Enough of this twaddle!”. Followed by a sequel.

(Oh, yeah it is followed by a sequel. One which will be addressed at some point in time. Both Ebert and Leonard both kind of had “old man” responses to this film, much to the chagrin of some online communities it would seem. Probably doesn’t help that Ebert never really lived down the whole video-games-as-art debacle. These films having gotten >20% on Rotten Tomatoes each actually end up as one of the more successful video game franchise adaptions … amazing.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnNBqNb3taw

(That looks not great. But … no that looks not great. Like Bulletproof Monk, all wire work and ridiculousness. I think the thing I’m looking most forward to is the CGI. That robot monster and the statues look absolutely dire.)

Directors – Simon West – (Known For: The Expendables 2; Con Air; The Mechanic; Future BMT: When a Stranger Calls; Stolen; Wild Card; The General’s Daughter; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: He turned down Black Hawk Down to direct this movie. From the UK, he started his career in commercials, the most notable is probably this guy for Budweiser.)

Writers – Sara B. Cooper (story) – (BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: She appears to be a big name in television writing and production (for things like Continuum and House), so was probably brought in as a script doctor.)

Mike Werb (story) – (Known For: The Mask; Face/Off; Curious George; Future BMT: Firehouse Dog; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: He’s done one thing or another throughout his career, but has mostly stuck to television recently. Was involved with the adaptation of Stretch Armstrong, but that project never saw the light of day.)

Michael Colleary (story) – (Known For: Face/Off; Future BMT: Death Wish V: The Face of Death; Firehouse Dog; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: Long time writing partner of Werb starting with Face/Off.)

Simon West (adaptation) – (BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: It is his only credit. Makes a bit of sense, he dropped Black Hawk Down for this, so it would make sense they would give him complete control over the script in the end.)

Patrick Massett (screenplay) – (Known For: Gold; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: Primarily a television writer, but also an actor back in the day. Including a part in a Warf-centric two parter (Reunion and Sins of the Father) of Star Trek The Next Generation. Classic episodes guys.)

John Zinman (screenplay) – (Known For: Gold; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: Writing partner of Massett it would seem. Both nominated as part of a Friday Nights Lights nomination for the Emmys. He doesn’t have the acting cred, but he does appear as a minor writing credit on an early draft of Deep Blue Sea, so he’s got that going for him.)

Actors – Angelina Jolie – (Known For: Maleficent; Wanted; The Good Shepherd; Girl, Interrupted; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Kung Fu Panda 3; Salt; Kung Fu Panda; Beowulf; Changeling; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; Kung Fu Panda 2; Playing by Heart; A Mighty Heart; Pushing Tin; Hell’s Kitchen; Future BMT: Alexander; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; By the Sea; Life or Something Like It; The Tourist; Shark Tale; Original Sin; Playing God; Taking Lives; Hackers; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Foxfire; Beyond Borders; The Bone Collector; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress in 2002 for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Original Sin; in 2003 for Life or Something Like It; in 2004 for Beyond Borders, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; and in 2005 for Alexander, and Taking Lives; Notes: Recently got a divorce from Brad Pitt, with whom she had three biological children (along with him adopting her three adopted children). She has more recently been directing films.)

Jon Voight – (Known For: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Heat; Holes; Tropic Thunder; Transformers; Deliverance; Mission: Impossible; National Treasure; Enemy of the State; Zoolander; The Manchurian Candidate; Catch-22; The Rainmaker; Midnight Cowboy; Varsity Blues; Ali; Coming Home; U Turn; Runaway Train; Glory Road; Future BMT: Anaconda; Big Fat Important Movie; Four Christmases; Pearl Harbor; Most Wanted; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Pride and Glory; BMT: Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2; Bratz; Getaway; Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; September Dawn; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Anaconda in 1998; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor in 1998 for Most Wanted, and U Turn; in 2005 for Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2; and in 2008 for Bratz, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, September Dawn, and Transformers; Notes: Angelina Jolie’s real life father, although he was somewhat famously estranged from his children until their mother’s death.)

Iain Glen – (Known For: My Cousin Rachel; Eye in the Sky; The Iron Lady; Harry Brown; Gorillas in the Mist; Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead; The Bad Education Movie; Mountains of the Moon; Song for a Raggy Boy; Mrs. Ratcliffe’s Revolution; Future BMT: The Last Legion; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter; Darkness; Resident Evil: Apocalypse; Resident Evil: Extinction; Beautiful Creatures; Kick-Ass 2; The Young Americans; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: Quite famous now for portraying Game of Thrones roguishly handsome Jorah (the Explorer) Mormont.)

Budget/Gross – $115 million / Domestic: $131,168,070 (Worldwide: $274,703,340)

(A reasonable success, and no surprise they quickly moved a sequel into production. I won’t say any spoilers concerning a plot three spots down, but let’s just say video game adaptations don’t usually make this much money.)

#11 for the Action Heroine genre

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(Between two Divergents, not bad. They tried to make this happen around 2005 with Elektra, and Ultraviolet, and Aeon Flux. Didn’t happen. More recently though the releases and box office takes have gone off like a shot. Solid stuff.)

#9 for the Treasure Hunt genre

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(Below National Treasure, so not the highest grossing Jon Voight treasure hunting film … I wonder why the genre basically died recently. I wonder if it has to do with treasure hunting just not being a part of superhero films? Or if during uneasy economic times people just don’t want to watch assholes look around for treasure? Hard to tell. I would argue the recent Mummy though had enough treasure hunting elements to count though.)

#1 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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(This came at a boom of video game adaptations, but it never sparked the necessary fire, almost definitely because none of the films were critically acclaimed. Unbelievable that only two films have broken the one hundred million mark domestically. A ton of these are Uwe Boll films, so basically fake films made for tax breaks.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (31/157): Angelina Jolie is perfect for the role of Lara Croft, but even she can’t save the movie from a senseless plot and action sequences with no emotional impact.

(This is quite a common sentiment. Basically that she’s either fine or good in the role. But basically the movie is nonsense, like all video game adaptation (so far) have been.)

Poster – Lara Sklog: Tomb Raider (C+)

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(Much like The Mummy poster from earlier this year, the poster basically just screams Angelina Jolie: The Movie. Like the grey-blue tone overall and benefits from the video game’s font, but otherwise not particularly interesting.)

Tagline(s) – Born into Wealth. Groomed by the Elite. Trained for Combat. (C-)

(I don’t know where this tagline came from since there isn’t one on the poster. It’s like they read my book about taglines from the future and tried to make one that fit everything I like… and yet somehow I don’t like it. It’s feels like a mad lib. Just filling in the blanks with random words.)

Keyword(s) – tomb; Top Ten by BMeTric: 76.1 I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998); 66.3 The Pyramid (2014); 63.4 Dracula 2001 (2000); 61.7 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008); 54.8 An American Werewolf in Paris (1997); 53.5 Gods of Egypt (2016); 52.6 Venom (2005); 50.6 Mortuary (I) (2005); 50.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie (2004); 50.5 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010);

(Oh yeah, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer had a tomb. The rest of these movies though, yikes! I would think I Know Who Killed Me would qualify, so I can only assume this is a case of missing links.)

Notes – When Lara starts smashing the clock with a hammer, Hillary (the butler) uses a silver tray to protect his face. This is a reference to the games in which -while exploring Croft Manor- the player can shoot at the butler who then also uses the tray he’s carrying around to protect himself. (So most of these claimed references are pushing it … but this one is actually quite nice).

Lara Croft’s father is played by Angelina Jolie’s real life father, actor Jon Voight.

Highest grossing action film with a woman in lead role. Second is Aliens (1986). (Definitely no longer true, the Hunger Games films gross about as much as this film did domestically in their opening weekends)

Lara Croft is English and Alex West is American. However, the actress Angelina Jolie who plays Croft is American and Daniel Craig, the actor who plays West, is English. (Yeah, Daniel Craig sounds super weird with his phony American accent since he’s become famous)

In the video game, Lara Croft is a 36DD. Angelina Jolie is naturally a 36C, and was padded to a 36D for the movie, as it was felt that padding to the original character size would be too unrealistic. (Creepy facts dudes)

This film marks the first time in more than three decades that a Hollywood production has been filmed in Cambodia, the previous film being Lord Jim (1965).

Lara has been given several gadgets in the film which are specific nods at certain gameplay features (of the Tomb Raider game and games in general) – among them the reloader belt or back pack (allowing her to reload her guns very quickly and without fidgeting about with clips or bullets) and the back pack itself (which almost mysteriously “swallows” any item moved close to its bottom or side by Lara, like the first half of the Triangle).

The makers at first envisioned the scenes ultimately shot in Cambodia taking place at the Great Wall of China. When schedule didn’t allow for this to happen, the alternative was to build the Great Wall in Scotland. Ultimately, they opted for the stone temples of Cambodia instead.

Apart from normal jumping, the only moves Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) does in the movie which can also be done in the games is the jump over the living statue and rolls in the air. This can be done in the Playstation game by pressing forward and square, then circle while in the air.

Lara’s training robot is named Simon, after the director Simon West.

Angelina Jolie was extremely hesitant towards wearing Lara’s famous short shorts that she wears in the games and the opening fight scene with Simon, however she eventually agreed because she knew it would make the fans of the character happy.

Lara Croft uses an Ericsson Bluetooth Headset and an Ericsson R310 mobile phone. (So many of these facts are literally just the objects in the movie. You have no idea how many very specific gun identifications I had to delete from this like. Gun IMDb is a thing, and this movie must … attract the kinds of people who post to that).

Angelina Jolie took drug tests to test her mental well being during filming due to concern about the rumors of drug use and her relationship with Billy Bob Thornton. (weird!)

Executive producer Stuart Baird did uncredited re-editing work on this film and Mission: Impossible II (2000) for Paramount in exchange for the job of directing Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). (Ha! Nemesis is supposed to be by far the worst Star Trek film so …)

Stephen Herek was originally supposed to direct, but he dropped out to make Rock Star (2001) instead. (eeeeeh, about the same)

The rather odd looking record player, shown for a brief second, when she is doing her bungee ballet, in her house is a Clear, Audio Master Reference Table. It comes all Gold plated, And Retails for $27,000 U.S.D. (See, other people are as weird about movie things as we are about settings).

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Angelina Jolie)

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace Recap

Jamie

Superman is back, Jack! This time he’s looking to eliminate all nuclear weapons, but finds Lex Luthor standing in his way. Can he stop him before it’s too late? Find out in… Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

How?! Superman is back and feeling real down about the state of world affairs. Everyone is super stressed about the threat of nuclear war and he figures that if anyone can be expected to bring it to an end it should be him (talk about a boring plot). In the meantime Lex Luthor escapes prison and comes up with a devious plan to create a Nuclear supervillian by stowing some super DNA on one of the nuclear weapons Superman is throwing into the sun. This ridiculous plan works (of course) and Nuclear Man is born. When Superman attempts to do battle with this new foe he ends up being poisoned by his intense radiation and has to use his last Kryptonian energy module to heal himself. Once recovered he battles Nuclear Man in space and again looks like a total dope when Nuclear Man easily pummels him into the surface of the moon. Fortunately he frees himself, pushes the moon into a solar eclipse (draining Nuclear Man of his sweet, sweet sun power), and destroys him. This synopsis of course ignores the major and mostly inconsequential plot line where the Daily Planet is bought by a Rupert Murdoch-like tabloid newspaper mogul and his daughter falls in love with Clark… cause that was even more boring than the nuclear weapons plot.

Why?! Most superhero films (and every other film in the Superman series) has the superhero take on a supervillian hell bent on world domination or gaining extreme wealth. It’s very reactionary: bad guy shows up, Superman stops him. This film on the other hand has Superman with an explicit motivation: he wants to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Because he chooses to use his power to influence humanity’s course he leaves himself open to have this plan exploited and of course Lex Luthor (still just wanting world domination and excessive riches) does just that. Very different than the rest of the series.

What?! This didn’t have nearly as much product placement as the first three films in the series. I did like the prominent Pepsi cooler visible in the Daily Planet office and that Lenny was clearly a rad teenager as demonstrated by the NES he messed around with.

Who?! There is a true art to a Planchet and Superman IV delivered. A classic Planchet is a guy just trying to do good but is basically ridiculous and everyone constantly makes fun of him. Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor’s nephew Lenny fits that bill to a T. Look at this asshole! He’s ridiculous and Lex Luthor constantly reminds him of that fact. Perfect Planchet.

Where?! This entry in the series is almost entirely set in Metropolis. As mentioned in the Superman III recap it’s amazing that in all my years of bad movie settings research I never stumbled across the fact that in the DC canon Metropolis is located in none other than our arch nemesis Delaware. This would be amazing and earth shattering if it were ever explicitly mentioned in the film. As it is it’s just a D-.

When?! Didn’t get so lucky on the temporal setting for this one. Nary a close-up of a newspaper or check to be found (although it seemed like they got mighty close a couple of times). F.

Creepy Superman saved Superman III from being a boring mess. Nothing was around to do the same for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. But let’s throw it to Patrick for his thoughts. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Superman IV: The Quest for Peace? More like Super Lame Bore: Puts Me to Sleep! Hey, that wasn’t bad, and is actually very apropos. What do you get when you cross a movie studio desperate for a hit with a writer-star who seems like he might be a little light on the “writer” in that combo? You get a sequel that legit destroyed a franchise for 20 years. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I think there is a kernel of a good movie here, because the idea is okay. Beyond that the movie is a bore, none of the actors seem to have bothered to care about it, so let’s explore that a bit in a Remake! So the kernel is the idea of Superman as the good American boy. He gets a letter from a child saying innocently: “Hey Superman, why don’t you get rid of the nukes?” and he thinks to himself “Well, golly, why not? Let’s give it a shot”. In this though it would explore the futility of disarming the world in the face of those intent on defying him. He spends time deflecting nukes, capturing them, and running global diplomacy, he loses sight of the little guy as Metropolis slips into a crime wave. The ultimate result is him having to trust the President to take care of the geopolitical game while he fights against a ruthless Metropolis crime lord. The result is the world staring into the face of nuclear disaster without Superman willing to get in the way, and the resulting peaceful disarming. More serious tone, but again, an idea of Superman finding his place among humanity: he isn’t a global peacekeeper or a policeman, he’s just there to protect the little guy from danger (big and small). And when humanity realizes that, they change a bit to take the load off of Superman so that he can continue to help the little guy as much as possible. But … less boring and cheesy than I’ve managed to make it sound.

The Bad (Sklognaology) – It is boring (aggressively so). Hackman does not give a shit, and Lex seems a bit out of place as a weird gun runner in this film. He gains a Planchet sidekick who is … terrible and absurd is the only way to describe him. He’s like a mall rat or something, it is weird. And Nuclear Man might be the worst thing I’ve ever seen as a bad guy. I had to think long and hard about this one and I think the analogy might be Fast & Furious (that’s the fourth one for those playing at home). Just blah. Overwrought, hitting some of the same old notes, but also really terrible if you take the time to think about it. Decent analogy I think.

BMT: Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com – This will get mentioned on occasion for having an amazing Planchet for sure. As far as fourth installments and franchise killers as well. Decent legs, but in the face of Creepy Superman it really will mainly be mentioned as the one after Creepy Superman. And as with Superman III this mostly gets mentioned as a bad superhero film as opposed to a terrible film in general. It gets a cover photo for the top 10 worst superhero sequels. But beyond Razzie nods there is very little else to mention for street credit.

Because Superman III was a bonus and I had already seen Superman and Superman II (multiple times) over the years, there isn’t much I can say concerning the homework in this film. So I’ll leave it there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Superman III Recap

Jamie

Superman is back, Jack! Doing battle with a computer genius attempting to control the world, can Superman stop a machine that knows his every weakness before it’s too late? Find out in… Superman III!

How?! We open with Gus Gorman, a down-on-his-luck yo-yo enthusiast who finds his true passion in computer programming. More accurately he finds his passion in computer hacking and AI development. A big corporate honcho, Ross Webster, recognizes the power that Gus can wield with his computer savvy and employs Gus. Their grand scheme is to use Gus’s hacking skillz to control the world’s supply of natural resources and corner markets. All this happens while Superman is away reconnecting with his high school crush Lana Lang at their reunion in Smallville (booooooring). Once they try to put their plan into action Ross and Gus realize that Superman is too powerful, even for their leet skillz. They then attempt to create kryptonite to kill him. While the experiment is unsuccessful they manage to create a form of kryptonite that changes Superman into a creepy creepster. It also has the magical ability of making an otherwise odd, boring film into something amazing. That’s because Creepy Superman is one of the best things I’ve ever seen. We will probably have to invent a Smaddies Baddies category just for him to win because it would be a travesty to have his glory remain unrecognized. Anyway, Creepy Superman eventually snaps out of his daze and corners Ross and Gus at their hideout where they’ve built a supercomputer capable of taking over the world. It seems too powerful for Superman, but Gus has a change of heart and helps Superman defeat the computer and Ross. In the end Lana Lang gets a job at the daily planet and everyone laughs and high fives or some shit that Creepy Superman would think is lame cause he’s the best.

Why?! Superman has no motivation beyond doing good and stopping the bad guy. Even when he’s wooing Lana and/or Lois he never really makes any moves. That’s probably why Creepy Superman is so compelling. He kind of just wants to piss people off and slay some ladies. The more compelling motivations in these films are the bad guys. Gus isn’t an inherently bad guy, but he can’t really fit into society. He’s portrayed as essentially unemployable until he discovers he’s a computer genius. He then is so blinded by this genius to not recognize the terrible things that Ross is making him do. In the end he’s able to overcome this blindness and defeat Ross (whose only motivation is pure greed and terribleness).

What?! While Superman’s power comes from our yellow sun, Gus’s power comes from the secret of KFC’s original chicken recipe. KFC bags and buckets are hidden throughout the film culminating is Gus exclaiming that they failed on creating kryptonite for the same reason that people fail in recreating the delicious chicken-in-a-bucket that all the kids are raving about.

Who?! No specific cameo or Planchet highlight. There is one funny quirk in the casting. Robert Beatty was cast in a speaking, but minor, role as a oil tanker captain for this film. Lo and behold when Superman IV finally rolled around he was cast as the U.S. President (one of our favs). That is quite the leap. He was probably elected on the platform that he was the only one that didn’t take shit from Creepy Superman.

Where?! Get ready to have your dick blown off. This film takes place in three places: Metropolis, Smallville, and the Grand Canyon. The latter two are in Kansas and Arizona, both great BMT states. Even better? Metropolis is apparently a giant city in… Delaware! I made fun of it for years and it was here all along. Although hard to count it since it’s never explicitly stated in the film, apparently Batman v. Superman gets dangerously close to saying so. Amazing. B.

When?! Exact date alert! When Gus is first discovering his leet skillz he hacks the pay system at the company he works at in order to give himself an extra pay day. On that check it says that it’s March 4th, 1983. Obviously doesn’t play a big role since I had to read it off a check but a nice B-.

God damn! All I want for Creepy Superman to get his own film… oh, wait, that already happened. It was called Hancock and is not nearly as good as the ten minutes we get of Creepy Superman. Nevermind. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Superman III? More like SuperLame III!!! It is kind of hard to read Roman numerals when you put exclamation points after them … anywho, we watched the third in the original blockbuster superhero franchise. Surely after the heady heights of General Zod they couldn’t screw this up too badly … think again! Let’s get into it:

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I like everyone involved, and I think there is an interesting idea here. The idea being what if you left Superman with his power, but removed his humanity. To fix the idea though I’d want to do a Remake: Basically after defeating Zod in the second film Superman spirals out of control a bit, entrapping the three other beings of his kind forever? Is he of Earth or Krypton? Taking a trip to the ruins of Krypton, Superman is ultimately away for years allowing Lex Luthor to rise again. And when he gets back, his extended time away from the yellow sun of Earth has sapped Superman of his humanity. Keep Creepy Superman (see below), as we see that Superman is super because of humanity and his upbrining here. As the yellow sun takes its effect Superman regains control just in time to defeat Lex and save the world again. Hooray! Basically Superman Returns except with Creepy Superman. Perfect.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – Full disclosure: I saw this movie before, so I have a slightly different perspective, but basically the film itself is pretty boring. I don’t mind Pryor, but he feels very out of place, and the bad guy is kind of a cut rate Lex. Margot Kidder just kind of bouncing and them introducing a new love interest was also bonkers. But the entire movie is worthwhile for two moments (1) Creepy Superman – the greatest thing you’ll ever see in your life!

(2) Richard Pryor skis off of a skyscraper and just lands on his feet no problem. I could give or take the rest of the movie, but those two things are so funny it is all worthwhile. Sklognalogy: I don’t know if there is one, but something that comes to mind is Transformers: Age of Extinction. Late entry to a franchise, small moments that make it feel more funny than boring (like Whalburg popping open an ice cold Bud Light after crashing a spaceship). Closest I can get. Creepy Superman has no parallel!

BMT: Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com – The legacy is obvious: Creepy Superman. He will go down in BMT History like Planchet. Although finding another Creepy Superman is … unlikely. He is perfect. And as far as Street Credit: It gets a nice shoutout on this list of worst superhero films of all time. And it got a few Razzie nods. It was and still is recognized for being terrible, although mostly in terms of its sub-genre.

Ah. I’ll leave it there because I have a whole other recap to write!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace Preview

Oooooooooo boy. Exciting times at BMT HQ. The next set of films nail two (that’s right, two!) different dates on the BMT calendar! “Egad! How is that possible? My life is shattered by the revelation. I love reading this email and perusing the BMT website and didn’t see this coming!” cry our ever-growing crowd of adoring fans. It’s very possible when you have a hot piece of IP like Superman. Even after releasing the critically reviled Superman III, Hollywood still decided to go DJ Khaled on us and bring us ANOTHER ONE: Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. These films hit the blockbuster months of June and July and are some of the classics of the major motion picture bust. Let’s go!

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) – BMeTric: 86.1

SupermanIVTheQuestforPeace_BMeT

SupermanIVTheQuestforPeace_RV

(Just like with number three this just goes up and up. And wow, that rating is just astonishingly low. The regression to the mean suggests it isn’t so funny people are going out of their way to watch and hate it, but that is just such a bad rating, it is amazing. Probably one of the worst superhero films ever.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Superman does his bit for world peace by ridding the globe of nuclear weapons – which inspires Lex Luthor to become a black-market arms profiteer. He also challenges Superman by creating Nuclear Man. Disappointing fantasy adventure is pretty ordinary, with a second-rate special effects. Sincere performances help a lot. Reeve receives co-story credit on this one (along with 2nd unit directing).

(This plot sounds like a mess. Kind of interesting Leonard gives the fourth a better review than the third, but he is often lenient for merely lightweight or boring films. Whereas the third sounds like it rejects the Superman for a clashing and annoying alternative … this movie is going to be boring.)

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

(Wow. It just looks cheap. It has a cheap message, heavy handed and lame. Nuclear Man? This is two years after Rocky defeated Ivan Drago and, by the transitive property, the Soviet Union. And they give us this shit?)

Directors – Sidney J. Furie – (Known For: The Entity; Lady Sings the Blues; The Ipcress File; Future BMT: Ladybugs; My 5 Wives; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director for The Jazz Singer in 1981; Notes: Martin Scorsese put the Entity at number four on his list of scariest horror films.)

Writers – Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel (character created by: Superman) – (Known For: The LEGO Batman Movie; Man of Steel; Superman Returns; Superman; The Iron Giant; Superman II; Future BMT: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; BMT: Superman III; Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Notes: These are credits for creating the original Superman strip.)

Christopher Reeve (story) – (BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Switching Channels in 1989; Notes: I wouldn’t be surprised if his somewhat notorious involvement in the writing of the two widely panned Superman films waylaid his career somewhat. Numerous stories come out of both productions claiming he was rather difficult to work with)

Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Planet of the Apes; The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; The Legend of Billie Jean; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Mighty Joe; The Jewel of the Nile; Flicka; Future BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; Desperate Hours; Mercury Rising; The Concierge; Mona Lisa Smile; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Notes: They have worked together for over 30 years! Originally worked in television they were paired on the cult hit The Legend of Billie Jean.)

Actors – Christopher Reeve – (Known For: Superman; The Remains of the Day; Superman II; Somewhere in Time; Noises Off…; Deathtrap; Gray Lady Down; Street Smart; Above Suspicion; Switching Channels; The Bostonians; Future BMT: Village of the Damned; Speechless; Monsignor; BMT: Superman III; Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Switching Channels in 1989; Notes: After his horse-riding accident that left him a quadriplegic in 1995 him and his wife founded a center devoted to helping paralyzed individuals live independently.)

Gene Hackman – (Known For: Young Frankenstein; Wyatt Earp; Unforgiven; Superman; The Birdcage; The Royal Tenenbaums; Enemy of the State; The Replacements; A Bridge Too Far; The Firm; Bonnie and Clyde; The French Connection; Get Shorty; Mississippi Burning; Antz; The Poseidon Adventure; Crimson Tide; The Conversation; Heartbreakers; The Quick and the Dead; Future BMT: Loose Cannons; Two of a Kind; Behind Enemy Lines; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Welcome to Mooseport; The Chamber; Notes: I love Gene Hackman. During out last film I noted that a lot of people assume his is dead because he retired from acting after Welcome to Mooseport. At 87 though I don’t know if he will release another book.)

Margot Kidder – (Known For: Superman; Maverick; Superman II; Black Christmas; Sisters; Delirious; The Great Waldo Pepper; Chicago, Chicago; The Annihilation of Fish; The Hi-Line; Future BMT: Halloween II; The Amityville Horror; BMT: Superman III; Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Notes: As mentioned in the Superman III preview, her career was put on hold a bit due to mental health issues in the 1990s. As far as recent films, I’m actually rather interested in seeing her in Halloween II (the remake). I loved the original Halloween, and the rest of the series is somewhat notoriously bad, but it’ll fun to see Kidder in a more recent role.)

Budget/Gross – $17 million / Domestic: $15,681,020

(Terrible. And no wonder this filled the franchise for around 15 years. So bad it apparently killed their live action Spiderman idea for over 10 years as well.)

#125 for the Comic Book Adaptation genre and #100 for the Superhero genre

superman4_superhero

(This time I’ll only show the Superhero plot. This is below The Phantom … rough stuff. That big peak is Batman, and like with Comic Book Adaptations it basically ticks up with Spiderman in 2000 and then Avengers a decade later.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (5/42): The Superman series bottoms out here: the action is boring, the special effects look cheaper, and none of the actors appear interested in where the plot’s going.

(Ooooooof. So … boring. Not funny-bad like number three … just boring. Blah. At least we have number three to revel in.)

Poster – SuperSklog IV: The Quest for Cheese (B-)

superman_iv

(A lot going on here, but still nicely artistic as far as posters go. Look at the perspective. Again, wish they had a more consistent color scheme, but can’t complain too much.)

Tagline(s) – Nuclear Power. In the best hands, it is dangerous. In the hands of Lex Luthor, it is pure evil. This is Superman’s greatest battle. And it is for all of us. (F)

(Now this one actually hurts me. This tagline is my kryptonite.)

Keyword(s) – volcanic eruption; Top Ten by BMeTric: 86.1 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 72.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011); 68.2 Supergirl (1984); 59.6 Congo (1995); 50.5 Pompeii (I) (2014); 49.0 The Wild (2006); 48.5 Robot Monster (1953); 47.3 King Solomon’s Mines (1985); 41.3 2012 (I) (2009); 40.8 Wrath of the Titans (2012);

(Hehe, So Alvin and the Chipmunks have to deal with a volcano when they get Chipwrecked. Also great that Superman IV and Supergirl both made the cut. Some of these are amazing! Like, does anyone remember the The Wild!? Just bonkers.)

Notes – Christopher Reeve publicly regretted his involvement in the film. He stated, “Superman IV was a catastrophe from start to finish. That failure was a huge blow to my career.” (…. you wrote the movie)

According to Margot Kidder, she and Christopher Reeve did not get along during filming. Kidder states that Reeve’s ego was inflated because he co-wrote the story. (Yeah. I’ve heard other interviews which suggested a bit of the same from the beginning of the series as the hot young guy chosen to play Superman)

Wes Craven was set to direct, but was replaced after creative differences with star Christopher Reeve. (What?)

The failure of this film at the box office prompted The Cannon Group Inc., to cancel a planned production of “Spider-Man”. (That would have been a hilarious disaster. Considering the effects in the superman films)

The movie’s original budget was 36 million dollars. Just before filming was to begin, The Cannon Group, Inc., which was experiencing financial problems, slashed the budget to seventeen million dollars. As a result, the filmmakers cut corners, by doing things like re-using special effects. (Makes sense … again considering the effects)

When the film was cut from 134 minutes to 90 minutes, the producers considered using the deleted footage as the groundwork for a fifth film. (Holy shit, that’s a big cut!)

When Nuclear Man was being developed, Christopher Reeve was approached to play that part as Superman’s polar opposite, or a darker version of Bizarro.

Christopher Reeve agreed to play Superman for the fourth time if the studio financed his project, Street Smart (1987). (Cool. Ended up with good reviews too)

The vast majority of the external scenes were filmed in and around Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. Producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus couldn’t afford to shoot in New York City. (London, hoooooooollllla)

Nuclear Man only has eleven lines. (Ha, a wonder he didn’t get third billing like Kidder in number 3)

A scene cut out of the U.S. theatrical version featured Superman saving a group of Soviet Generals from a nuclear missile in Moscow. The scene appears on the video release, but not on the DVD. (fun fact)

Much of the special effects crew that worked on the first three films and Supergirl (1984) were hired during pre-production, but eventually left following salary disputes. (that makes sense)

In the original screenplay, by Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal, Nuclear Man was able to change shape, and expand in size. (cool idea actually)

The Cannon Group, Inc., thinking that they had a potential blockbuster on their hands, cut the two-hour-plus film down to a lean ninety minutes, so that theater owners could have more screenings per day, and potentially make more money that would eventually filter back to the studio. (Wow, a slight miscalculation there…)

This is the only Superman film from the Christopher Reeve era where Clark Kent changes to Superman in a phone booth. The Superman films made since this film have not featured this signature scene yet. (THAT IS A FUN FACT)

An enlarged Daily Planet front page hanging in the Daily Planet building’s lobby reads “Superman Saves Chemical Plant from Fire.” Superman did save a chemical plant from a fire in Superman III (1983). (Cool I guess. He did)

The Cannon Group, Inc. was in severe financial trouble by the mid 80s. They bought the rights to Superman, hoping the film would save them. The finished picture ended up being another costly failure. (We’ve watched a ton of films that basically bankrupted studios)

The music track used in the deleted scenes featuring Clive Mantle as the Nuclear Man prototype, is actually the theme tune for the British children’s television show Bric-A-Brac (1980). (What?! I’m loving these facts!)

Before Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) was released, The Cannon Group, Inc. began planning a fifth film, directed by Albert Pyun. When Cannon went bankrupt, Superman’s film rights reverted to Ilya Salkind and Alexander Salkind. Ilya wrote a story for a fifth film with Cary Bates and Mark Jones, in which Superman died, and was resurrected in the bottled city Kandor. It was not an adaptation of the famous “Death and Return of Superman” storyline, which it predated by about two years. (Kind of cool idea. A lot of people attached to this disaster of a film had “cool” ideas that went anywhere)

Robert Beatty (U.S. President) previously played the Tanker Commander in Superman III (1983). (A always love fictional president facts)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Mariel Hemingway)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Visual Effects (Harrison Ellenshaw, John Evans)

Superman III Preview

Oooooooooo boy. Exciting times at BMT HQ. The next set of films nail two (that’s right, two!) different dates on the BMT calendar! “Egad! How is that possible? My life is shattered by the revelation. I love reading this email and perusing the BMT website and didn’t see this coming!” cry our ever-growing crowd of adoring fans. It’s very possible when you have a hot piece of IP like Superman. Even after releasing the critically reviled Superman III, Hollywood still decided to go DJ Khaled on us and bring us ANOTHER ONE: Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. These films hit the blockbuster months of June and July and are some of the classics of the major motion picture bust. Let’s go!

Superman III (1983) – BMeTric: 67.9

SupermanIII_BMeT

SupermanIII_RV

(With some fits and starts this has got a serious BMeTric going now. This has had a pretty solidly low and steady sub-5 rating for years and years now, which I think suggests it will be quite low. Very possibly entertainingly bad.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Appalling sequel trashes everything that Superman is all about for the sake of cheap laughs and a costarring role for Richard Pryor, as a computer operator who unwittingly gives villainous Vaughn a chance to conquer the Man of Steel. Director Lestor’s opening slapstick ballet is a funny set-piece, but doesn’t belong in this movie.

(A movie not-funny comedic take on Superman? I’m in. Being a huge fan of things like Brewster’s Millions with Pryor, which is of the same era, I can already envision what this will feel like, and just how unabashedly not-Superman that seems like it would be is weirdly charming. In a bad movie sort of way.)

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

(Ha! That looks so dumb. Sigh. Richard Pryor just seems so out of place. Maybe it could have worked a bit with someone else as the computer operator and pull back a bit on the comedy, but this looks like a travesty.)

Directors – Richard Lester – (Known For: Superman II; A Hard Day’s Night; The Three Musketeers; Help!; Robin and Marian; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; The Four Musketeers; How I Won the War; The Return of the Musketeers; Petulia; Cuba; The Ritz; The Knack …and How to Get It; The Mouse on the Moon; It’s Trad, Dad!; BMT: Superman III; Notes: Huge director in the 1960s he is considered by some to be the father of the music video with his two Beatles films (A Hard Day’s Night and Help!) having a similar frenetic style to the videos made a generation later on MTV.)

Writers – Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel (character created by: Superman) – (Known For: The LEGO Batman Movie; Man of Steel; Superman Returns; Superman; The Iron Giant; Superman II; Future BMT: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; BMT: Superman III; Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Notes: They made Superman originally which is obviously where all of these credits come from.)

David Newman (screenplay) – (Known For: Superman; Bonnie and Clyde; Superman II; What’s Up, Doc?; Bad Company; Still of the Night; There Was a Crooked Man…; Future BMT: Sheena; Santa Claus: The Movie; BMT: Superman III; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Sheena in 1985; Notes: He was at one point the editor of Esquire magazine, this was before he made a major turn to screenwriting.)

Leslie Newman (screenplay) – (Known For: Superman; Superman II; Future BMT: Santa Claus: The Movie; BMT: Superman III; Notes: Also a cookbook author writing Feasts: Menus for Home-Cooked Celebrations. She was married to David Newman until his death in the early 2000s.)

Actors – Christopher Reeve – (Known For: Superman; The Remains of the Day; Superman II; Somewhere in Time; Noises Off…; Deathtrap; Gray Lady Down; Street Smart; Above Suspicion; Switching Channels; The Bostonians; Future BMT: Village of the Damned; Speechless; Monsignor; BMT: Superman III; Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Switching Channels in 1989; Notes: Sadly he might be equally well-known for playing Superman and for subsequently becoming a quadriplegic following a horse riding accident.)

Richard Pryor – (Known For: Lost Highway; Silver Streak; Stir Crazy; The Muppet Movie; Car Wash; Lady Sings the Blues; California Suite; Blue Collar; Uptown Saturday Night; Wild in the Streets; The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings; Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling; Future BMT: The Wiz; The Toy; Another You; Brewster’s Millions; See No Evil, Hear No Evil; BMT: Superman III; Harlem Nights; Mad Dog Time; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor for Superman III in 1984; Notes: Widely considered perhaps the best stand up comedian ever. He had a very up-and-down life battling depression and drug addiction. This film was only three years after he, as he says, tried to kill himself via self-immolation, although family members maintain it was due to drug-induced psychosis. Sad nonetheless, Brewster’s Millions was a staple of my childhood.)

Margot Kidder – (Known For: Superman; Maverick; Superman II; Black Christmas; Sisters; Delirious; The Great Waldo Pepper; Chicago, Chicago; The Annihilation of Fish; The Hi-Line; Future BMT: Halloween II; The Amityville Horror; BMT:Superman III; Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Notes: She also has a somewhat sad story involving mental illness, although it would seem she has since recovered and become an advocate for mental wellness. She was an avid political activist as well and has an incredible number of film and television credits to her name. She was briefly married to John Heard.)

Budget/Gross – $39 million / Domestic: $59,950,623

(Not too too bad. No wonder they made a third. I bet they were thinking “alright, if we correct a few of the issues from the dud we’ll be back to printing money in no time!”.)

#84 for the Comic Book Adaptation genre and #72 for the Superhero genre

superman3_comicbookadaptation

(I’m only showing Comic Book because these two were roughly the same. Kind of amazing that these have legit been on a roll since basically 2000 (Spiderman). There really isn’t a hiccup there, even though you could think that there would be. I guess you had Spiderman, and then X-Men, and then Marvel. This is near Hellboy … which isn’t too bad actually.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (11/43): When not overusing sight gags, slapstick, and Richard Pryor, Superman III resorts to plot points rehashed from the previous Superman flicks.

(Sounds just about right. Such a classic third-installment problem too. A different problem, but sounds a little like Spiderman 3 even. In that one they ended up with too many villains and the director went a little too heavy with the silliness … yeah roughly the same.)

Poster – SuperSklog III (B)

superman_iii

(Love everything about it but the color scheme. Wish we had a dominant color to work with. Besides that, though, it’s artistic in a classic way.)

Tagline(s) – If the world’s most powerful computer can control even Superman…no one on earth is safe. (D)

(Nope. Unacceptable. Breaks every BMT rule of tagline quality. Only gets a D because it doesn’t make me ill to read it. I’m not angry, just disappointed.)

Keyword(s) – computer; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.1 Epic Movie (2007); 94.4 Batman & Robin (1997); 89.9 Alone in the Dark (2005); 85.8 Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004); 84.5 The Fog (2005); 84.1 Movie 43 (2013); 84.0 Home Alone 3 (1997); 81.4 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 79.1 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 78.7 Feardotcom (2002);

(Amazing list. I would def watch this in basically the worst 24 hours of my life. I also don’t believe The Fog has anything to do with “computers”, but I would certainly watch it again to find out!)

Notes – In his autobiography, Richard Pryor admitted that he thought the screenplay for this movie was terrible, and he only accepted the role because he was offered five million dollars for it.

The first time Christopher Reeve had top billing in a Superman movie. In the first Superman (1978) film, he was behind Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman; for Superman (1980) he was behind Hackman.

Richard Donner originally planned for Tom Mankiewicz to direct the film, as he written outlines for two more Superman films. But after he was fired from Superman II (1980), Mankiewicz could no longer be involved with the franchise.

According to Ilya Salkind, an earlier version of the script included the comic book villains Brainiac and Mr. Mxyzptlk teaming up, and Superman meeting his cousin, Supergirl, which would lead to the potential Supergirl spin-off. The character of Mister Mxyzptlk was going to be in the film, with Dudley Moore in the role.

Christopher Reeve threatened not to return for this film, in protest of the treatment of Richard Donner, and also because he hated the script. With the film already in pre-production, the producers scrambled to find an actor to play Superman. John Travolta was approached, but declined. Jeff Bridges and Kurt Russell were also considered, but were also not interested. Finally, with filming a few days away from beginning, the Salkinds settled on Tony Danza in the role of Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman. Richard Lester was mortified with the casting of Danza, and pleaded for Reeve to return. Reeve eventually agreed, under the condition that he could make numerous changes to the script. The producers agreed, and Christopher Reeve reprised his role as Superman. (whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat)

The original title was “Superman vs. Superman”. The producers of Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) threatened a lawsuit, refusing to believe the Salkinds’ explanation that it was intended as a play on various “Superman vs…” comic stories. Eventually Pierre Spengler suggested that “Superman III” would be a more sensible title anyway, and the issue was dropped. (That is a horrible title anyway)

Christopher Reeve was not happy with the film, and, as with the fourth, often expressed in later interviews that he hated how this film turned out. The experience and final product was so bad, that he initially swore off ever playing the role again, only to be persuaded to make Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) in exchange for more input on the script. (Oh dear… so it came out worse)

According to the writers, the original choice to play Ross Webster was Alan Alda. They wanted an actor who could be ruthless without losing any charm. Executive Producer Ilya Salkind said in the DVD commentary, that his choice was Frank Langella. Langella later starred as Perry White in Superman Returns (2006).

The ski slope outside Ross Webster’s penthouse took three months to build at Pinewood Studios, and seventeen tons of salt was used as snow. (I wonder how much that cost)

When Gus lists his “impossible” program, it’s a series of PRINT statements. (classic)

Jennifer Jason Leigh was originally set to star as Lana Lang, but turned down the role, because she was too young. (That’s crazy. Would have been her fourth film)

The shot of the subway train entering a tunnel during the shutdown scene is actually stock footage from The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974). (Ha)

Noel Neill: Lois Lane from Adventures of Superman (1952) can be seen as an old woman on the dais in Smallville, just after Superman receives the key to the city. (fun fact)

Richard Pryor’s character steals money from his company by collecting fractions of a cent from other accounts and collecting them in his personal account. In computer crime terminology, it’s called the “salami technique.” (I call it the Da Vinci virus)

Filmed in Calgary, Alberta, home of Canada’s first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. It includes multiple KFC references: the Metropolis computer school payroll is handed out by a man in a Sanders-style goatee, Gus walks past a Smallville display with Kentucky Colonel outfits, Gus drags the intoxicated Brad past a closet whose open door shows a bag hanging full of KFC items, and Gus uses a “chicken in the bucket” recipe to explain to Ross why Kryptonite doesn’t kill Superman. (uhhhhhh, yes please)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Richard Pryor)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Musical Score (Giorgio Moroder)

Redline Recap

Jamie

I realized recently that I was touching on a lot of our obsessions with the 6W’s (MacGuffins, plot twists, settings, cameos, and Planchets), but I had missed one: product placement. Should probably have ended up as the What?! but instead I think I’ll just sprinkle the product placements throughout the email wherever appropriate. Seems like the right thing to do.

What?! Natasha and Carlo find themselves inadvertently embroiled in the dangerous world of underground street racing. When Carlo’s brother is killed and Natasha captured by one of these racing hot shots, Carlo is out for revenge. Can he take the syndicate down, quench his thirst with some sweet Dasani Water, and rescue Natasha before it’s too late? Find out in… Redline!

Why?! Natasha just wants to further her music career. Carlo is just there to watch out for his little brother. However, all this goes out the window when Carlo’s brother succumbs to the overwhelming pressure to win and is killed attempting a risky racing maneuver. The story immediately turns to vengeance as Carlo goes after those responsible. Unlike the other racing bosses (who are fueled only by crippling gambling addictions), our main antagonist is fueled by a combination of lust for Natasha, fear that he’ll be killed over his gambling debts, and his own psychotic tendencies.

How?! Carlo has a simple backstory as he has just returned from the army as a war hero to find his younger brother is racing for an evil gangster. The backstory for Natasha, however, is much denser. She is the daughter of a famous racecar driver killed in a tragic accident. While she herself possesses great talent in the sport, she can’t race as a result of the trauma of that loss. Instead she aspires to be a singer. When an underground racing fat cat sees her talent he tricks and bribes her into racing for him, only to turn around and bet her as stakes in the race against his evil rival. The stories converge when Carlo’s brother and Natasha race each other, Carlo’s brother is killed, and Natasha is taken captive. Carlo wants to kill the evil gangster, but ends up rescuing Natasha instead. When Natasha is subsequently blackmailed into racing they put together a dastardly plan to throw the race and get the gangster killed. Everyone lives happily ever after with huge record contracts, dope sportscars, and all the Dasani they can drink. Hooray!

Who?! Claims abound online that Wyclef Jean scored the film and appeared in a cameo. I don’t remember him showing up but it is credited (or more accurately uncredited) on IMDb. No music credit, though, just a “Thanks.” I did notice that the scumbag of a producer cameoed as a poker player who immediately loses all his money. A little foreshadowing.

Where?! Right off the bat we are treated to a rad street race from LA to Las Vegas, highlighting the two major settings for this film. I would give the main setting title to LA, but Vegas is not far behind. B

When?! I scoured the film twice over trying to find an exact date. There were two potential leads (a close-up of a loan contract and an issue of variety) but the quality of the video and focus of the shot wasn’t good enough to make it out. Maybe someday I’ll figure it out… maybe someday [Jamie says wistfully. A tear trickles down his cheek and tumbles playfully to his well-oiled six-pack abs]. F

Woooooo. Getting those details is like a rad racecar race at 200mph. Exhilarating. My overall impression of the film is that it’s similar to what Patrick and I might end up creating if we were ever tasked with creating a bad film. Everything is horrible, only entertaining from the viewpoint of its horribleness, and a product of extreme hubris. Most people would think it’s just boring and bad… exactly how we meant it to be. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Redline? More like Bad Sign! Amirite? So a predatory lender loves fast cars. But like … in a I-like-to-show-off-my-fast-cars-I-bought-with-my-gross-predatory-lending-profits kind of way. He also likes to show off his girlfriend, a former soap opera star trying to make it big in the industry. Presto! Making a movie is like saying your ABC’s: Action, Boobs, and Cars. What could go wrong!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – Cars (maybe, I’m not exactly sure what people who like cars like exactly since I don’t really like cars), but that is about it. I’ll leave all of the things that did go wrong for the next section, but an interesting aspect of this film was how much of a history they managed to give everyone. Right at the end a random guy who we had not seen before pops up and the main character is like “he’s the man who killed my father” WHAT?! So obviously we are doing a prequel called Redline: Warzone. The film finds Carlo and Jason working with their father running a successful race team in NSCRA alongside and against Natasha’s father. Ultimately the movie tells the story of Michael, who is running an illegal gambling syndicate surrounding the sport, fixing the race in which Natasha’s father dies. When Jason’s father threatens to expose Michael, Michael has him killed, but staged to look like a suicide. This is all set alongside the run up to the Iraq war, and Carlo leaves for Baghdad, but not before telling Michael to stay away from Jason. Oh … if only Michael would have listened. We finally get the backstory we were all dying for!

The Bad (Seven Deadly Sklogs) – Well this is easy: Pride. On the part of the producer who was clearly a lunatic. Now that that is out of the way: The acting in this film is an atrocity, it is so bad you can only kind of notice that the crazy producer put himself in the movie and gave himself like seven lines (I only noticed it because he doesn’t at all look like an actor). The writing is ridiculous. At one point the rap producer Infamous lands his plane on a highway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas … the FAA would like to have a word with you, and the phrase “prison time” was mentioned emphatically. This is the first film in a while where I can call the direction bonkers. A lot of weird transition choices, weird CGI, the cars all look like they are travelling half speed in most shots. So yeah … Basically this is borderline barely-a-movie and it is ridiculous that it exists.

The BMT: Legacy – The legacy of this film is it is somehow quintessentially The Golden Age of Bad Movies. The Golden Age s roughly the Noughties (2000-2010), and I now think this has to do with two factors. First, CGI had made the transition to being very cheap and easy to get. Productions which might have been too expensive to make previously could now safely be greenlit with a manageable special effects budget, meaning more options (in more genres) available to producers. And second, there was a ton of money floating around due to the artificially inflated economy. This isn’t even mentioning the writer’s strike in 2007/2008! Anyways, this movie perfectly encapsulates this era: a producer with a ton of fake money to throw at terrible CGI ultimately making a vanity project that is just trash. Great stuff. That is it’s BMT legacy.

Now as for its StreetCreditReport.com? It … is borderline. It makes its way onto MTV’s worst of list of 2007 (barely), but other than that it typically get nary a whisper from things like the AV Club list I linked to for Epic Movie. From there it just kind of ends up as either first or second on blogs concerning car movies in particular. No Razzie cred … it is kind of a forgotten film. But I think a big part of its cred is in that car racing genre in particular. On occasion a film like 200 M.P.H. which was Direct-to-Video and made by the Asylum sneaks in above it, but this is basically a unanimous worst car racing film ever. That counts for something!

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs