Space Jam: A New Legacy Recap

Jamie

Welcome to the Space Jam… but tots on fleek for the gucci crowd. When LeBron James’ son is sucked into the Warner Bros. archive by an eeeevil algorithm, James has to team up with some Looney Toons to try to stop the dastardly plan. Can he beat the baddie at bball (and perhaps learn to be a better dad, awww) before it’s too late? Find out in Space Jam: A New Legacy.

How?! LeBron James is a bad dad. He’s all pressuring his son Dom to focus on basketball and not his real dumb dumb video games that never made anyone any money. Only basketball makes money. But Dom doesn’t just like video games, he like likes video games… like loves video games. He’s like a coding whiz and really wants to go to coding camp, but LeBron James is like “no, coding isn’t a real job like basketball.” Anyway, he feels bad for being a bad dad, so he takes Dom along to Warner Bros to check out a new offer: they want to use an algorithm to insert him into all kinds of sweet, sweet IP. LeBron is like no thanks, but the algorithm, which has taken on a life of its own and is named Al-G Rhythm, is not having it. He sucks LeBron and Dom into the Warner Bros computer and challenges LeBron to a basketball game. If he wins he gets to take over the world using LeBron’s brand. If he loses he sets them free. With that, LeBron is sent to Looney Tunes land where he meets up with Bugs Bunny. With Bugs’ help, LeBron gathers a team, although not exactly the team he was thinking. They are the rest of the Looney Tunes, who had been scattered across the universe by Al-G. LeBron is all “No, all fundamentals all day, no looney things or nothing,” and the Tunes agree (but they aren’t happy about it… kinda like Dom… hmmmmm). When the game starts, LeBron is shocked to see that Dom is the star of Al-G’s team and that the rest of the team are evil cartoon versions of his fellow NBA and WNBA superstars. They proceed to get shellacked and LeBron begins to learn and becomes a good dad. First he lets the Looney Tunes be real looney and they mount a comeback. Then, when Al-G starts to take it out on Dom, he apologizes and Dom forgives him. Finally, with the game on the line, LeBron decides to exploit a glitch in the system he learned from Dom. But it would kill him! So Bugs takes it instead and through the magic of being a great dad LeBron wins! In the end we see Bugs Bunny die and become a star in the sky (for real), LeBron drops Dom off at coding camp to become a great dad, and finally Bugs shows up because obviously he didn’t actually die. THE END.

Why?! Al-G is an algorithm that wants to have more influence on the world. For the moment he simply influences Warner Bros IP, but he wants to do more and he sees LeBron as the way to do that. He would hijack his followers and use his brand to take over the world (and maybe even break free of the confines of the WB computer? That part is a little fuzzy). So why doesn’t he just do that rather than challenge LeBron to basketball? That’s unclear. It has something to do with trapping a bunch of people in the WB computer for some reason, but otherwise I don’t know. Revenge? Anyway, LeBron just wants to be a great dad and teach everyone the fundamentals of basketball.

Who?! Obviously lots of athletes show up. LeBron is the main one, but then like Diana Turasi, Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis, etc. in cameos (and cameo might even be generous given how little they are in the film). It did get me curious as to how many roles LeBron James has had in major motion pictures. So far it’s three, with a fourth in the works. Interesting that MJ only did Space Jam and Kobe appeared once in a credited role (as himself). LeBron is already closer to Shaq than those guys in terms of acting.

What?! The film is more of a film placement within a WB commercial. Still, beyond that the products are almost too numerous to count. Nike is sprinkled everywhere, including a giant Nike swoosh that appears when cartoon LeBron smashes into Looney Tunes world. And then all kinds of video game stuff, like E3 and Nintendo, show up, including my personal fave: a flydigi controller for playing games on your phone. I just like when something weird shows up in a major movie like this and you can wonder why.

Where?! We open with an establishing shot of LeBron and all his greatest achievements, including The Decision, which seems to appear unironically. We go through Cleveland and Miami and all that, but obviously it takes place in the present day when LeBron is in LA. To be more specific, the film primarily takes place in a computer on the Warner Bros Studio lot. A.

When?! We actually do kinda get a date for this. It all takes place in the week leading up to E3, since Dom wants to attend E3’s video game design program for kids. That would place this in early June. Seeing as LeBron is just bumming around taking meetings at Warner Bros, I assume in this fictional universe the Lakers were eliminated early in the playoffs. Otherwise he should be in the middle of the finals. B

I’m not gonna sit here and pretend this is a good movie. We spend the first third of the film with Bad Dad LeBron basically listening to a pitch about Space Jam 2 and being like “dumb, no thanks.” Then the middle third is just animated LeBron bipping and bopping around with the Tunes. Finally, the last third gets us to the basketball game, which isn’t really basketball, but some other hip new DomBall or whatever. What I’m saying is that this is no doubt about it some dumb stuff. BUT, I think when you boil it down you just have to ask whether you like to watch the Looney Tunes do Looney Tunes things and whether you like to see Bad Dad LeBron become Better Dad LeBron. If neither of those things are to your liking (or if you are particularly bothered by product placement), then it’s not the film for you. I personally found that the weirder it got (looking at you Don Cheadle) the more I kinda liked it and the more they leaned into the cheesy dad stuff the more it worked overall. Unfortunately that was like 40 minutes of a 2 hour film. So still not great. Patrick?  

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’ve got the looniest of tunes! We’ve got the kingliest of kings! We’ve got a kind-of-sort-of-not-really basketball game! We’ve got Space Jam: A New Legacy. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Needless to say the last two years have been sparse for BMT. We had to completely cancel BMT Live! last year because nothing was coming to theatres. This year we lucked out and several wide release films seem to be debuting same-day on streaming services. And HBO Max delivered us a qualifying Space Jam sequel from on high. Praise the Al-G Rhythm! What were my expectations? I knew quite a bit about the complaints concerning the film going into the viewing. Lucky for me I watched Space Jam maybe seven years ago and realized then that it is pretty boring. So I figured I would like this more than most people seem to, but also probably wouldn’t actually like it.

The Good – I actually didn’t mind the WB clips as much as others seemed to have online, they were so short with decent costumes and effects that they worked for me. I loved loved loved Don Cheadle as the villain Al-G Rhythm (get it?). He was having incredible amounts of fun and seemed to know how to play just the right amount of winking at the camera to make the story work better than it should have. And the Looney Tunes are fun, even if most of them didn’t have much to do. Best Bit: Don Cheadle by a long way.

The Bad – The beginning paints LeBron as a bad parent and that was kind of weird as it took a long time to get to the redemption bit. I also wish they had went the Space Jam route where you are supposed to imagine Michael Jordan lives in a two bedroom house in North Carolina or whatever, instead LeBron lives in the most enormously gaudy mansion imaginable. The middle bit suffers because LeBron spends most of it as a cartoon which seemed like a cop out for either time or money or both. And the final basketball game lacked any tension because it wasn’t actually basketball meaning you could score 1000 points in the blink of an eye. And for the climax of the film the Looney Tunes are only-decent-looking CGI instead of looking hand drawn. Oh, and, spoilers, they fake-kill Bugs Bunny? That was odd. Jesus, and I didn’t even get to the comicon-level costumes for the WB characters watching the final basketball game! There is a lot not to like about the film compared to Space Jam. Fatal Flaw: I think allowing LeBron to be a cartoon for the bulk of the film is its biggest crime.

The BMT – Compared to the original it lacks charm by dropping the ball four different times and on almost every level. But compared to the original it isn’t boring as well for the most part. Don Cheadle maybe saves the whole thing from being a complete catastrophe. I think I’m somewhat immune to the insane A+ Produce Placement from WB because I’ve seen both The Emoji Movie and Ralph Breaks the Internet which both effectively do the same thing, but even grosser since those only seem to serve mega-corporations. Did it meet my expectations? I did indeed like it more than a lot of people online I think. Basically I think this was a mid-30% on RT, not a mid-20% like it ended up being. Space Jam is an appropriate mid-40%. Would I watch a third Space Jam? … I guess.

Roast-radamus – I think there is definitely a Planchet (Who?) in Khris Davis who plays LeBron’s friend Malik whose sole purpose seems to be to be a goober and not do anything right. Let’s not even get started on Product Placement (What?) for the entirety of the WB cinematic library. And a nod for Worst Twist (How?) for the inevitable switcheroo of Dom James joining the Tune Squad and then getting to go to the E3 Game Dev Camp. It’ll obviously get play in the Live! section and it probably in the BMT category in the end.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Uh oh, looks like it is time for the return of the BMT Crossover Episode. In the second Space Jam we saw Al-G Rhythm defeated by LeBron and Dom James, but that doesn’t mean he’s gone. On no. He’s only laying in wait until a new superstar supreme enters his life. And you guessed it, that man is Sasha Petrosevitch. Al-G Rhythm plans on capturing the digital essence of Sasha and holding a worldwide Aikido tournament to, once again, win the hearts and minds of the world and ultimately rule it. Well, Sasha won’t be having that! He decides to go digital, and forms a rag tag group of WB properties to Aikido alongside him against the Goon Squad (composed of eeeeeeeevil versions of the only person that could possibly pose a threat to Sasha in martial arts skill … himself!). And you bettah belieb that he’s going to aikido chop his way to victory. It’s called Akido Jam: Half Past Digital.

Live Theatrical Review – Obviously I didn’t get to watch this in theaters, but instead on HBO Max. Does it feel different? Honestly, it kind of does. I’m not sure how I would have felt if I had shelled out 15 dollars to go sit in a theater with a bunch of annoying people to watch this film. I would have almost definitely walked out with that sick feeling of “what the hell am I doing with my life.” Is it really BMT Live! without that feeling? I did enjoy getting to watch a new film in the comfort of my home and the comfort of my own schedule though. And I’m not one to be precious about the theatrical experience, but it seems likely that if I had seen this film in theaters I would have had different feelings than “meh, whatever, it was okay right?”. B. I’ll have to watch a few more “theatrical” films outside of the theater before I can have a true verdict as to whether the feeling is the same, or whether it can’t really count as “Live” without being live.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Space Jam: A New Legacy Quiz

Oh man, so I got disintegrated by an algorithm and put into a server at a giant production studio … that’s wild. In a way I was murdered and am now no more real than a robot … it is an existential nightmare. I don’t remember a thing about anything in my past “life”, especially anything about this film. Do you remember what happened in Space Jam: A New Legacy?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) The beginning of the film is alllllllll family drama because LeBron and his son Dom just don’t see eye-to-eye on what Dom should be doing this summer. What does LeBron want him to do, and what does he want to do?

2) The entire conflict of the film between Al-G Rhythm and LeBron is kicked off based on the sweet pitch by the algorithm for LeBron’s next big business opportunity. What is that opportunity?

3) Why is Bugs Bunny all alone in Tune World?

4) The Goon Squad is a team of monsters which are a mix of real NBA and WNBA players and animals/elements/other stuff. Where do they come from?

5) What is the “one weird trick that algorithms hate” that the Toon Squad needs to pull off in order to win the game?

Bonus Question: What was Dom’s next big game?

Answers

Space Jam: A New Legacy Preview

Jamie and Lindsey run off in pursuit of the hack jack port but Jamie can’t keep his mind off the mysterious sensuality of the hardscrabble reporter. “It was really cool how you used your credentials to get us in here,” he says meekly, spots of color blooming in his cheeks, but she just looks at him and mumbles about “the power of the press.” My god, he can hardly stand the power she exudes. Suddenly they turn a corner and there is a pipe pouring steamy water into the hallway. “This is here in case someone needs a steamy shower,” Lindsey says softly, “do you?” She says as she steps into the water. Nonplussed by the boldness of the steamy, sultriness of the scene, Jamie quickly recovers and joins her. As he does, she pulls away. “I… I can’t. Ever since I became a hardscrabble reporter I can’t understand love, life is just a series of news stories to me and I can’t see myself as a character… only others.” Jamie nods in understanding. Love is so hard. Living, loving, and learning, sigh, he totally gets it for sure. His wise words about the three L’s break through her hardened exterior and soon Jamie has a new L in his life: Lindsey, and they are making out… hard. Sure hope Patrick is having a better chance with the hack jack port cause this wild adventure of the senses ain’t slowing down.

“Oh that was easy,” Patrick says to Kyle, having found the hack jack port moments after Jamie and Lindsey ran off. “What now?” He asks Rachel through the headset. Now? Now it’s time to upload and hack the planet against the baddest algorithms in interspace. That’s right! Despite the lackluster harvest this year for BMT, we’ve doing our duty in grabbing what we can. It came out a little while back, but we finally caught up with Space Jam: A New Legacy as the second BMT Live! of the year. Talk about hacking the planet and algorithms and junk. Let’s go!

Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021) – BMeTric: 78.2; Notability: 84

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 0.0%; Notability: top 1.1%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 17.0% Lower RT: Cosmic Sin, Vanquish, Safer at Home, Separation, Music, Midnight in the Switchgrass, Breaking News in Yuba County, Axis Sally, Infinite, Die in a Gunfight, The Virtuoso, The Misfits, Thunder Force, Chaos Walking, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, The Unholy, The Woman in the Window, Voyagers, Awake; Notes: The BMeTric is going to fall I presume as more and more normal people watch the film and realize that it is just like … Space Jam 2, and not some attack on their childhood. Also kids who watch it (and probably like it) will grow up and so the rating will probably rise to around 6.0, a bit below the original, but still I bet it’ll be decently high eventually.

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – Wait, when did everyone get a “-verse” to encompass all of their IP? I get it that the MCU was a way to bring together the different Marvel characters, and the Spider-verse was a way to bring the alternate universe versions of Spider-Man into one story. But around the time that the flying monkeys from “The Wizard of Oz,” Superman, King Kong, Agent Smith from “The Matrix,” and Ingrid Bergman from “Casablanca” show up in “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” a movie about basketball-playing Looney Tunes characters, we cannot help wondering whether the movie’s not-so-side hustle is promoting every character they own that ever inspired a Funko Pop. We might also wonder whether it’s too much of a distraction from what’s happening in the movie as we play “Who’s that?” among the hundreds of cosplaying real and virtual background figures.

(I find the excerpt combined with 3 out of 4 stars to be interesting. An IP cash grab seems like the perfect opportunity to bust out a 2.5 out of 4, I liked it but do better kind of statement. Three out of four is like … good. That is a good review. I find that quite interesting.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCsEKvz2mxs/

(I believe I can flyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. The CGI Toons look dumb and I don’t like it. Otherwise, from what I remember LeBron James is a far more capable actor than MJ, so he has that going for him.)

Directors – Malcolm D. Lee – (Known For: Girls Trip; Undercover Brother; The Best Man; Roll Bounce; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; The Best Man Holiday; Soul Men; Future BMT: Night School; Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins; BMT: Scary Movie 5; Space Jam: A New Legacy; Notes: He’s all about The Best Man series including writing and directing an upcoming television series based on the property and another sequel.)

Writers – Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick (based on “Space Jam” written by) – (Known For: Space Jam; The Santa Clause; Kicking & Screaming; The Santa Clause 2; Future BMT: The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause; BMT: Space Jam: A New Legacy; Notes: Leo Benvenuti seems to have retired in 2012. Steve Rudnick consulted on the recent Muppets show and wrote a few episodes as well.)

Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod (based on “Space Jam” written by) – (Known For: Space Jam; Trading Places; Kindergarten Cop; Twins; Astro Boy; Kindergarten Cop 2; Cheaper to Keep Her; Future BMT: My Stepmother Is an Alien; Pure Luck; Brewster’s Millions; BMT: Space Jam: A New Legacy; Notes: They actually genuinely did write Kindergarten Cop 2, it wasn’t just a character credit. Space Jam was their last theatrical release screenplay credit.)

Juel Taylor (story by & screenplay by) – (Known For: Creed II; BMT: Space Jam: A New Legacy; Notes: Keenan Coogler’s brother wrote Creed, he wrote Creed II, and Keenen Coogler is writing the third, so a lot of Creed DNA in the film. He is writing They Cloned Tyrone with Tony Rettenmaier.)

Tony Rettenmaier (story by & screenplay by) – (BMT: Space Jam: A New Legacy; Notes: Mostly does camera work it looks like. Has started writing features in 2019.)

Keenan Coogler (story by & screenplay by) – (BMT: Space Jam: A New Legacy; Notes: Brother of Ryan Coogler who directed Creed. He’s now tapped to write Creed III.)

Terence Nance (story by & screenplay by) – (Known For: An Oversimplification of Her Beauty; BMT: Space Jam: A New Legacy; Notes: Seems to do a little bit of everything. Has written a ton of shorts, and a television series starring himself.)

Jesse Gordon (screenplay by) – (BMT: Space Jam: A New Legacy; Notes: Only credit is for some of the short segments in Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.)

Celeste Ballard (screenplay by) – (BMT: Space Jam: A New Legacy; Notes: Seemed to have been involved in UCB and has written for a bunch of smaller series over the years. Her first film, and her second is in post-production starring Sophie Turner.)

Actors – LeBron James – (Known For: Trainwreck; Smallfoot; BMT: Space Jam: A New Legacy; Notes: King James! Four time NBA champion. He was widely lauded for his performance in Trainwreck, so it seemed inevitable he would go for Space Jam 2, a film they’ve been trying to get off the ground for literally decades.)

Don Cheadle – (Known For: No Sudden Move; Avengers: Endgame; Avengers: Infinity War; Boogie Nights; Captain Marvel; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Captain America: Civil War; Iron Man 2; Iron Man Three; Ocean’s Eleven; Crash; Flight; Traffic; Ocean’s Twelve; Ocean’s Thirteen; Out of Sight; Hotel Rwanda; Rush Hour 2; The Family Man; The Guard; Future BMT: Mission to Mars; The Meteor Man; After the Sunset; BMT: Space Jam: A New Legacy; Swordfish; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for Hotel Rwanda. Plays the saxophone, and he was nominated for a Grammy for a spoken word album (how quaint).)

Cedric Joe – (BMT: Space Jam: A New Legacy; Notes: Plays LeBron’s fictional child. Makes me wonder if LeBron’s actual children got auditions. Bryce is maybe the right age.)

Budget/Gross – $150 million / Domestic: $69,223,929 (Worldwide: $148,723,929)

(In normal times I think they would have been looking for $100 million easy. This is actually a lot more impressive than I would have thought. With the HBO Max money maybe it is okay in the end.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (55/211): Despite LeBron James’ best efforts to make a winning team out of the Tune Squad, Space Jam: A New Legacy trades the zany, meta humor of its predecessor for a shameless, tired exercise in IP-driven branding.

(Yeah, sounds about right. I think it is a surprisingly low percentage, I was mostly expecting it to float around 35%, but it just kept dropping. Reviewer Highlight: Corporations handing a bag of unrelated IP and ordering screenwriters to come up with a story around them is the template for most studio filmmaking now, if not all of contemporary existence. – Sam Adams, Slate.)

Poster – Space Clams

(Odd poster. They are basically showing us almost nothing of the draw of the film in favor of colorful empty space. Like… I guess I recognize LeBron James’ legs. And then just the tops of the heads of the Looney Tunes? Very strange. I do like the vibrant colors and the quirk of the font. But odd stuff. C+)

Tagline(s) – They’re all Tuned up for a rematch. (C)

(But… it’s not a rematch. Whatever. This is fine in a your-kinda-stretching-it way. It’s short enough. It hints at the general concept of a Looney Tunes Space Jam sequel. And it is mildly clever. It’s mild all around.)

Keyword – basketball

Top 10: Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021), Space Jam (1996), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), American Beauty (1999), Black Panther (2018), Glass (2019), Baywatch (2017), Sleepers (1996), Doctor Strange (2016), Uncut Gems (2019)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 82.9 Home Alone 3 (1997), 82.8 Kazaam (1996), 75.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 73.7 Look Who’s Talking Now (1993), 70.0 The Unborn (2009), 69.4 The Flintstones (1994), 67.7 Crossover (2006), 62.9 The Comebacks (2007), 62.9 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014);

BMT: Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021), Baywatch (2017), Grown Ups (2010), Blended (2014), Bloodshot (2020), Cocktail (1988), A Walk to Remember (2002), Dangerous Minds (1995), Assassin’s Creed (2016), Jack and Jill (2011), Big Momma’s House (2000), Little Nicky (2000), Ride Along (2014), Now and Then (1995), Into the Storm (2014), The Game Plan (2007), Paycheck (2003), Dreamcatcher (2003), I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007), Made of Honour (2008), Romeo Must Die (2000), Runner Runner (2013), Lock Up (1989), Steel (1997), Are We There Yet? (2005), Deadly Friend (1986), Juwanna Mann (2002), Half Past Dead (2002), Underclassman (2005)

(Kazaam is the obvious outlier here. We should have watched Kazaam ages ago, but it was probably hamstrung by the fact that we didn’t rewatch movies for the first five or so years of BMT. The plot is fun because I genuinely think it follows the pattern of 1990 onward basketball. I wonder what the baseball plot looks like …)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Don Cheadle is No. 2 billed in Space Jam: A New Legacy and No. 4 billed in Swordfish, which also stars John Travolta (No. 1 billed) who is in Wild Hogs (No. 2 billed), which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch Mission to Mars, Reindeer Games, and Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – After the original idea for “Space Jam 2” was canceled, there was an idea for a spy film titled “Spy Jam” starring Chinese actor Jackie Chan, but he left the project and it evolved into Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003).

Bob Bergen is the only voice actor to return from the original Space Jam (1996) film (as Tweety).

The lighting effects on the Looney Tunes characters were done by Industrial Light & Magic which makes this the first time the company does the lighting effects on 2D animated characters in a live action and animated film since Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) 33 years earlier.

Kath Soucie had been set to reprise her role as Lola Bunny, and had all of her dialogue recorded. But for unknown reasons, she was replaced by Zendaya during late post-production.

The Warner Siblings make several cameos in the film. Looney Tunes: Back in Action director Joe Dante originally wanted to include a cameo of the siblings in the “water tower” scene, but the idea was discarded for unknown reasons. The Wacko, Yakko, and Dot can, however, be spotted multiple times through out the basketball game. They can be seen sitting on top of Marvin’s space ship.

Originally, the sequel was going to have Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes having a basketball game against a new alien villain named “The Berserk-O!”. Ultimately Michael’s refusal to return resulted in production’s cancellation.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was offered to star in the film, but he declined.

Warner Bros also had ideas for “Skate Jam”, “Golf Jam” and “Race Jam”, but they were all discarded.

Production began in June 2019 during the NBA off-season.

When Space Jam 2 was first announced back in 2011, one proposed idea was that it would star Tim Tebow and revolve around football. Little more information came from this idea before it was scrapped and replaced with its current plot about LeBron James. (I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS)

Pepe Le Pew, the French skunk, was supposed to have featured in a Casablanca (1942)-inspired scene where he tries to pick up Greice Santo, who violently rebuffs his advances. However, the unfinished scene was dropped after Malcolm D. Lee took over directing from Terence Nance, allegedly because the character of Le Pew was said to promote sexual harassment.

Original Space Jam (1996) director Joe Pytka said it took him five attempts to watch Space Jam 2 all the way through. He said that LeBron James was not a big enough celebrity to carry the film the way Michael Jordan did, adding “the truth is that LeBron ain’t Michael.” The commercial director went on to criticize the new film’s soundtrack as “insignificant” and the new version of Bugs Bunny as “looked like one of those fluffy dolls you buy at an airport gift shop to bring your kid when your business trip has taken too long.”

Terence Nance was the original director, but he voluntarily stepped down during production due to creative differences with the studio and producers, and was replaced with Malcolm D. Lee.

NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon was reportedly attached to an auto racing-centered follow-up to Space Jam entitled “Race Jam”, but Gordon denied these rumors and the project fell through. Gordon did make a cameo appearance in the last theatrically-released Looney Tunes film, Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003).

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Recap

Jamie

Michael Bryce is back, Jack! And boy is he still a bodyguard (kinda). Reeling from the events of the first film, Michael is on a spiritual journey. Too bad, cause in crash the Kincaids who get him entangled with all kinds of bad stuff, including a dastardly plot by Aristotle Papadopoulos. Can they stop him before it’s too late? Find out in… The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.

How?! Michael Bryce just can’t get his mojo back. Despite saving the day in the first film, he has struggled to retain his AAA bodyguard license. A vacay is in order to get his head on straight. But suddenly he is whisked away from his Italian paradise by Sonia Kincaid and roped into helping him free his old frenemy Darius. Things immediately go sideways, though, when it’s revealed that they’ve stepped into the middle of a sensitive Interpol investigation of a plot by a Greek mastermind to take down the European power grid and sow chaos as revenge for Greek sanctions (I know, I know, no one cares, neither did we). Anyway, in exchange for them not all going to jail they agree to help entrap the Greek tycoon. Darius and Sonia are fighting the whole time and Michael is whining/unconscious like 50% of the time and basically they are in a load of trouble so Michael turns to the only person he knows that could help: his father. His father is a total bodyguard legend and their relationship is strained since he doesn’t really think Michael is very good. Despite this his father agrees to help and sends them on their way. But oh oh! It’s a trap! They are captured by the terrorist who is revealed to be an old flame of Sonia’s, Aristotle Papadopoulos. Sonia turns against them in favor of Aristotle (oh no!) and so we are back with out buddies Michael Bryce and Darius Kincaid at last. The dream team is back! They don’t give up and infiltrate Aristotle’s yacht where he is drilling into the power grid. They stop the drill, Michael takes down his father in a bodyguard battle, and Kincaid kills Aristotle. All in a days work for our favorite comedy-action duo. THE END (or is it? (probably… right?))

Why?! Money… oh, you mean within the film. This is actually the biggest problem with both the first film and the sequel. They feel the need to go in depth with some pretty dumb and not funny in the slightest set-ups. I think maybe the joke is just how seriously they take going through the minute details of how Aristotle wants to get back at the EU for sanctions by taking down the power grid and creating a hotbed for riotous violence. Or maybe it’s not a joke and they really did feel like they needed to explain all that. Regardless I didn’t care. Bryce wants to get his AAA rating back and Kincaid just wants to have fun… oh and Sonia wants a baby. Great.

Who?! The director Patrick Hughes shows up in a cameo, which is always fun. What’s also fun is that after making (the real bad) Expendables 3 as his directorial debut he proceeded to strike gold with the hitman theme with these two films… so much so that his next film is called The Man From Toronto and no joke appears the be basically the same film. A jokester teams up with an assassin. Wow.

What?! Always fun when a product placement gets some play in the film reviews. Here there seems to be some grumbling about Ryan Reynolds’ gin brand Aviation Gin being shown a surprising number of times in the film. I didn’t notice nor did I know he had a gin brand, but now that I know it’s my new gin of choice (I don’t really drink gin).

Where?! There are a few different settings but the primary one is Italy. Really solid Italy film as they do appear to jet set across the country without ever totally leaving it. They of course have to keep telling you where you are in Italy since they mostly didn’t film there. Lots of Croatia standing in for Italy which tells me one thing: Croatia is beautiful. B+

When?! Always very difficult when we watch something live. Can’t pause it as I stare closely at a screen trying to discern whether a hospital admission form says 8/2006 or 3/2006 or whatever. So I can’t really remember if there was anything specific about the time of year and I don’t remember a holiday being mentioned. Gotta give it an F for now.

I actually really enjoyed the first film quite a bit. The buddy cop (ish) set up was fun, Ryan Reynolds had some interesting quirks to his characters, and Sammy L. was refreshingly lively. My big gripe was that the entire set-up made no sense and was unnecessary garbage that they could have hand waved away but instead did the exact opposite by going into even more details (that made even less sense). But still, enjoyable time at the cinema. Unfortunately they didn’t get the memo that the fans just wanted them to roll it right back and give them more of the same. Slop that basic plot back into my trough, please. But alas, instead they made Bryce all weird and angsty (and mostly unconscious), had Kincaid barely speak to Bryce, and ratcheted up the Sonia to an 11. Kinda gummed up the works. Add on top a somehow even more convoluted and unnecessary plot and I guess I was surprised at how disappointed I was… just run it back! But no. That would have been too easy. At least I got to sit in a theater and watch it. That was fun… everyone else seemed to be having a fine enough time so that’s nice. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’re back at it with some BMT Live!!!!!!!! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I had figured originally that The Hitman’s Bodyguard was a play off of a very specific subgenre of bodyguard / assassin films. It kind of is and kind of isn’t. The more interesting thing after watching the original is that the director described Ryan Reynolds’s character as a “endlessly suffering fool” which … is not at all what he was in the first film? That certainly didn’t bode well. What were my expectations? I guess for it to be the same film as the original but minus the few scant laughs which made that film merely mediocre instead of bad.

The Good – I think there is always room for silly comedy-genre films. In this case it is mostly a comedy-spy film in a way? It is okay at being that. There are car chases, and European vistas, and a bad guy who wants to do some nonsensical scheme, etc. etc. It has the pieces to do the things it needs to do to be the thing it wants to be. If this was the first film in the series it wouldn’t necessarily have been good, but without the context I also think it is a bit better than it actually is. Best Bit: Vistas.

The Bad – This is the worst of all possible worlds for a sequel to a movie that was actually pretty fun in my opinion. The first floats completely on the charming interactions between frenemies Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, it has a few solid laughs, and is pretty fun. The second instead decides Ryan Reynolds is a doofus, and (no offense to Salma Hayek) inserts a weird foil right in between any amusing interaction between the two leads (the only good part of the first film!). The plot ends up convoluted as well, with an insane plot to destroy Europe involving a deep sea drill and a computer virus. I hated this film. I understand why people would like it, but I hated it. Fatal Flaw: The anti-Hitman’s Bodyguard, somehow the antithesis of that somewhat charming film.

The BMT – I think this might be one of the finer examples of the people involved in a film managing to completely misunderstand what made the original good. They managed to lean entirely into the wrong thing (Ryan Reynolds’s character getting injured) and away from the very easy right thing (Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds banter). I really don’t get it. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them. I would have assumed the film was just call backs and boring nonsense (like Zoolander 2 for example), but instead it is a pretty amusing example of production dropping the ball on a successful comedic conceit.

Roast-radamus – I think there is a strong argument for Planchet (Who?) for Ryan Reynolds in this one, which is bizarre to say, but he kind of exists only so that Hayek and Jackson can dunk on him while the plot happens around them. Obviously a ton of Product Placement (What?) for things like Aviation Gin and various car brands. A great Setting as a Character (Where?) for Italy in particular which this film is predominantly based. A solid MacGuffin (Why?) with the undersea electricity junction off the coast of Italy where a diamond-tipped deep sea drill is going to plant a virus and destroy Europe. And finally a crazy Worst Twist (How?) for the very obvious “Hayek and Jackson are going to adopt Reynolds at the end” that you could see coming from about half hour away. As one can tell from this list of superlatives this is closest to BMT.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – You want to hear my plotline for a Remake? Let’s see how we can fix this disaster. What made the first film great? The banter between Reynolds and Jackson. So jump forward a year, Jackson is still a hitman, and feels obligated to help out Reynolds because he saved his life (it’s the Hitman’s Code or whatever). So Reynolds has been using him to help him in his business, Jackson will take out hitmen who are trying to get his high profile targets, and Reynolds has now shot to the top of the Best Bodyguard list for 2021. But as Jackson has been warning Reynolds, he probably shouldn’t be helping Reynolds out so much because other hitmen aren’t going to take kindly to one of their own helping out a bodyguard. Thus a big hit is put out on Jackson, and so he needs a bodyguard to help him get to the main Hitman Headquarters to plead with the Head Hitman for leniency. Bing bang boom, we are back with the same rough conceit as the first film, except building out the bodyguard-hitman fictional universe a bit. In the end, naturally, it turns out the Head Hitman was the one who put out the hit, and Reynolds and Jackson need to kill him first to save Jackson. And in the end Jackson becomes the Head Hitman with Reynolds realizing that he needs to go his own way without Jackson’s help in his bodyguarding duties, it is the true bodyguard way. Simply called The Hitman’s Bodyguard 2.

You Just Got Schooled – Quick one to review The Hitman’s Bodyguard which I’ve been talking about a lot in the recap already. The good is that the leads are very charming and the banter between them is pretty amusing. The European setting works well, and I got a few good laughs out of it. The bad is mostly that the film is a bit long (two hours which is at least 15 minutes too long) with maybe one too many action scenes, especially near the end of the film. I’m not surprised it was quite successful, but as should be obvious, I was quite surprised that they decided to bring in good-in-small-doses Hayek character to the forefront in the sequel. Anyways, a solid B comedy I think, I would have been pretty delighted to watch this on an airplane for example.

BMT Live Theater Review – We were back in theaters masked up in an almost entirely empty auditorium. There isn’t much to say, I checked out an Odeon in South London and was pretty impressed with the facilities overall. It was a giant auditorium which made it kind of sad to watch a movie with like twelve other people, but there is still a pandemic going on, so what can you do? One thing I will say is this: my god movies are loud in theaters. I think since I haven’t been in one in over two years I forgot about that. Insanely loud at times. B+ I liked the theater, but am starting to get ready to see some weird horror film in a packed house again.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Quiz

Ohhhhh, boy, so here I was jet setting across Italy with my best bud and his wife, when suddenly the wife drugs me! Really put a damper on the vacation. Or it would have, if I could remember a lick of what happened. Do you remember what happened in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) At the beginning of the film Ryan Reynolds is relating his terrible recurring nightmare to his therapist. What is his nightmare?

2) During his sabbatical Reynolds goes to relax on a beautiful beach and read The Secret, but then Selma Hayek shows up to spoil things. Why does Selma Hayek insist on Reynolds helping her to help her husband?

3) Frank Grillo is a grizzled veteran of the Boston police department and ropes the three idiots into helping him foil an eeeeevil international crime plot. What does he hold over the three, and Reynolds in particular?

4) While skulking about Italy, Reynolds and Friends need a place to hide out. Where do they go, and why does this end up being a terrible decision?

5) Ultimately what is the eeeeeeevil plan of our eeeeeevil Grecian billionaire played by Antonio Banderas?

Bonus Question: After the events of the film we learn what happened to Frank Grillo upon his triumphant return to Boston. What happened?

Answers

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Preview

Jamie and Patrick are pale and sweating. “It’s even worse than I imagined it would be,” says Jamie, gulping down the bile rising in his throat. The film set has become a horror scene with the introduction of Michael Myers. It’s unbearable to watch, with multiple crew members off puking at the mere sight of what is happening. “For the love of God, stop him,” scream the TikTok bros. They pound on Patrick’s rock hard chest in despair, but it’s futile, his eyes are glazed over like doll’s eyes as he has accepted the monster he has become. “He’s unstoppable,” says Patrick gravely. “Listen to me,” begs Jamie in a whisper, tears streaming down his face, “they have given up. Everyone is ready to play ball and make the film we want to make. We have won.” His voice breaks and he looks out on the set and wonders whether you could call something like this winning? No… the whole world has lost. But with that Patrick snaps out of it and realization dawns on his face. “Cut!” he screams to everyone’s relief and Michael Myers looks over as Patrick approaches. With a shudder Patrick pats Myers’ gross cat monster face, “thanks Mike, we…” his voice quavers, “we needed a little Cat in the Hat magic on set to,” he gulps, “bring up people’s spirits.” Mike Myers nods in appreciation and asks if there are any other scenes for him to shoot and Patrick quickly shakes his head and points him to the exit. Everyone lets out a breath as Myers turns to walk away grumbling about the 8 hours of makeup just to shoot a 4 minute scene. Just then a shot rings out and Myers’ cat chest explodes. My god! That shot was meant for Patrick! That’s right! BMT Live is back, Jack! When we saw that a squeakuel was coming out that was actually getting bad enough reviews to qualify for BMT and in theaters for both of us, we couldn’t let the opportunity pass. Here’s to hoping it’s actually a quality BMT film and not just another Keeping Up With the Jonses… that film we watched in theaters that no one remembers. Let’s go!

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021) – BMeTric: 2.7; Notability: 30

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 74.7%; Notability: top 14.3%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 22.2% Higher BMeT: Thunder Force, Cosmic Sin, Music, Tom & Jerry: The Movie, Awake, Outside the Wire, Things Heard & Seen, Spiral: From the Book of Saw, The Unholy, Bliss, The Woman in the Window, Vanquish, Infinite, Chaos Walking, The Marksman, Voyagers, The Virtuoso, Breaking News in Yuba County, Cherry, Separation, and 1 more; Higher Notability: Music, Tom & Jerry: The Movie, Chaos Walking, Infinite, Cherry; Lower RT: Cosmic Sin, Vanquish, Separation, Music, Breaking News in Yuba County, Axis Sally, Infinite, The Virtuoso, Thunder Force, Chaos Walking, The Woman in the Window, Voyagers, Bliss, The Unholy, Awake, Tom & Jerry: The Movie; Notes: As usual I don’t put the plots for just released films because they are uninteresting. The BMeTric is obviously also fake news to a degree. You know what? So is the Notability. This is a pretty big release. I imagine the Notability will rise a bit over the years as people in the crew become famous. All of this is fake!

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – After more than a year of pandemic-induced stay-at-home orders, audiences are eager to hit movie theaters and reunite in a dark room with a larger-than-life big screen and booming sound. As theaters slowly open up, studios are gleefully releasing titles in preparation for what is hopeful to be a profitable and exciting big summer launch. Will “Hitman Wife’s Bodyguard” kickstart the action? … Directed by Patrick Hughes, this comic book-energy spy adventure, gorgeously captured by cinematographer Terry Stacey and keenly scripted with barbed laden dialogue from Tom O’Connor, Brandon Murphy, and Phillip Murphy, is heavy on blood, guts, action, and star power. It really is time for a summer movie season again.

(Uh … what? I’m pretty amazed, the review isn’t really the normal “I get it guys, the movie is terrible … but I like it” good review from critics. This is like “this movie is a solid comedy, fight me in real life”.)

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

(Looks okay. Like the first one a bit. I’m surprised by how little plot they actually told. He is on sabbatical, Hayek find him … and explosions and torture maybe? It really gives nothing away. Britney Spears is doing some heavy lifting on getting me excited for this movie … I’m not sure it works.)

Directors – Patrick Hughes – (Known For: The Hitman’s Bodyguard; Red Hill; BMT: The Expendables 3; The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Notes: From Australia, he’s the son of actor Tim Hughes. A commercial director (for things like Xbox, BMW, etc.), he’s directing a film called The Man from Toronto which kind of just sounds like this film?)

Writers – Tom O’Connor (screenplay & based on characters created by & story) – (Known For: The Courier; The Hitman’s Bodyguard; Fire with Fire; BMT: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Notes: Somehow there is almost no information about him. Fire with Fire is one of those films where it seems like they’ve photoshopped Bruce Willis’ head onto a stunt double for the entirety of filming.)

Brandon Murphy and Phillip Murphy (screenplay) – (BMT: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Notes: I assume they are brothers … this gets even more curious, was this film actually written? These guys have almost no information about them either. They are attached to write and direct a sci-fi film involving skiing called Snow Valley maybe?)

Actors – Ryan Reynolds – (Known For: The Hitman’s Bodyguard; The Croods: A New Age; Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw; Deadpool; Deadpool 2; 6 Underground; Ted; The Proposal; Life; Safe House; Pokémon Detective Pikachu; The Croods; Adventureland; Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies; Just Friends; Buried; Definitely, Maybe; Turbo; The Voices; Future BMT: Green Lantern; Blade: Trinity; The In-Laws; The Amityville Horror; A Million Ways to Die in the West; The Change-Up; Criminal; Van Wilder: Party Liaison; Self/less; Smokin’ Aces; Waiting…; BMT: R.I.P.D.; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Notes: Y’all know Ryan Reynolds. He bought Wrexham AFC with Rob McElhenney, they are touring the U.S. this summer … I’m not joking, they bought a football club in Wales.)

Frank Grillo – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Boss Level; Captain America: Civil War; Body Brokers; Minority Report; Cosmic Sin; Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Zero Dark Thirty; Warrior; Homefront; Black and Blue; The Purge: Anarchy; End of Watch; The Purge: Election Year; Jiu Jitsu; The Grey; Point Blank; Beyond Skyline; Reprisal; Future BMT: My Soul to Take; Pride and Glory; BMT: The Sweetest Thing; Gangster Squad; The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Notes: There is no way he’s actually second billed IMDb, but whatever. Was supposed to be a major character in the Marvel films … but then they killed off his character earlier than anticipated.)

Salma Hayek – (Known For: The Hitman’s Bodyguard; From Dusk Till Dawn; Bliss; Savages; Dogma; The Faculty; Sausage Party; Once Upon a Time in Mexico; Traffic; Desperado; Across the Universe; Tale of Tales; Four Rooms; Frida; Here Comes the Boom; Puss in Boots; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Muppets Most Wanted; The Hummingbird Project; Future BMT: Like a Boss; Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant; Fled; 54; Fools Rush In; How to Be a Latin Lover; After the Sunset; BMT: Wild Wild West; Fair Game; Grown Ups 2; Grown Ups; The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 2000 for Dogma, and Wild Wild West; and in 2014 for Grown Ups 2; Notes: The godmother of Robert Roriguez’s children. Her brother designs chairs.)

Budget/Gross – $30–50 million / Domestic: N/A (Worldwide: N/A)

(Obviously, it hasn’t really gotten to the point where it has an actual return. $30-$50 seems high for a comedy though, it would need to get $100 million potentially to really be a success. The original did get $75 domestic + $100 million international though, so it did make a ton of money.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 31% (15/48): Despite the charms of its ensemble, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard fails to protect the audience from repetitive and tired genre tropes.

(Isn’t repetitive and tired genre tropes kind of the point? I haven’t seen the original yet, but given the parody poster of The Bodyguard I always figured the movie was a comedic take on a very specific sub-genre. Reviewer Highlight: The impression is of a creative team laughing that they’re getting away with this again, like a group of bank robbers howling as they round the block in their getaway car, then circling back to nonchalantly knock off the same place again. – A.A. Dowd, Variety)

Poster – The Hitman’s Bodyguard’s Bodyguard

(I kind of like that better as a title for the sequel. Also, I am going to surprise you by saying that I kinda like the orange on this poster. It doesn’t really make sense, but it’s better than the alternative. Everything else is lazy and terrible and I hate it. C-)

Tagline(s) – Hit me baby one more time (C+)

(That could be worse. It’s short and kinda says something about the film, although in a meta way that I generally am not keen on. The cleverness is lacking, but again… not offensive.)

Keyword – bodyguard

Top 10: Tenet (2020), Wonder Woman 1984 (1984), Titanic (1997), The Gentlemen (2019), The Dark Knight (2008), The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017), Inception (2010), Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019), The Interpreter (2005), Baywatch (2017)

Future BMT: 82.8 Kazaam (1996), 63.5 Mr. Nanny (1993), 62.9 Fat Albert (2004), 58.2 Wild Orchid (1989), 56.8 The Transporter Refueled (2015), 51.9 Blackhat (2015), 47.4 Men in Black: International (2019), 46.3 Machete Kills (2013), 44.9 The Rhythm Section (2020), 44.0 Fred Claus (2007);

BMT: Baywatch (2017), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Fifty Shades Freed (2018), Angel Has Fallen (2019), Geostorm (2017), Fantasy Island (2020), Rambo: Last Blood (2019), Bloodshot (2020), The Expendables 3 (2014), Vampire Academy (2014), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), London Has Fallen (2016), Hunter Killer (2018), Conan the Barbarian (2011), The Bodyguard (1992), Gangster Squad (2013), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), The Snowman (2017), Elektra (2005), Over the Top (1987), The Pacifier (2005), Hitman: Agent 47 (2015), Be Cool (2005), Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005), Romeo Must Die (2000), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Ride Along (2014), Mortdecai (2015), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), The Musketeer (2001), The Gunman (2015), The Prince & Me (2004), Alex Cross (2012), I, Frankenstein (2014), Ride Along 2 (2016), Hollywood Homicide (2003), Exit Wounds (2001), Proud Mary (2018), First Daughter (2004), Grind (2003), I Spy (2002), Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009), Left Behind, Pluto Nash (2002), Never Die Alone (2004)

(Mushy keyword, clearly every film has it … I’ll still say I can’t wait to rewatch Kazaam. And what could have caused the meteoric rise of bodyguard films in the 2010s?! Joking, it is just because people put keywords on films they’ve seen recently and more so since IMDb expanded their user base in 2011. We’ve been over this before.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Samuel L. Jackson is No. 2 billed in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard and No. 3 billed in Jumper, which also stars Michael Rooker (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 4 billed) => 2 + 3 + 5 + 4 = 14. If we were to watch Amos & Andrew we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – The movie, like the first film, was entirely shot in Europe. This sequel was filmed in five European countries which were Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom.

First ever theatrical feature film featuring both Morgan Freeman and Samuel L. Jackson. The picture is also the first time that actress Salma Hayek and actor Morgan Freeman have starred in the same film as well as being the first time also for both the acting combo of Ryan Reynolds and Antonio Banderas as well as Morgan Freeman and Ryan Reynolds.

The possibility of another sequel has been touted by the film’s director Patrick Hughes prior to the picture’s premiere in June 2021. He said of another sequel in an interview: “It dawned on me during the first film that the endlessly suffering fool who is Michael Bryce, must suffer endlessly, therefore we must endlessly make sequels. As a result, the sequel does leave things ready for another film. All we can say is that it sets Ryan up to suffer. Endlessly.”

When star Ryan Reynold’s other 2021 release ‘Free Guy’ had its American launch date moved to 13th August 2021 by the Disney studio the stateside release date of ‘Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’ (2021) moved from its August 2021 U.S. release date to a 16th June 2021 opener in North America.

Publicity for this picture, according to an interview with director Patrick Hughes, states that the character of Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek) suffers from a rare personality disorder which is known in psychiatric medicine as “batshit crazy”.

At least 150 cast and crew from The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017) came back to work on the sequel.

The film stars one Oscar (Academy Award) winner – Morgan Freeman, and four nominees: Salma Hayek, Samuel L. Jackson, Antonio Banderas, and Richard E. Grant.

In reviews of this oddly wordy-titled movie sequel, some critics have jokingly speculated on the title of a possible further sequel, including ‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Child’s Bodyguard’, ‘The Hitman’s Ex-Wife’s Bodyguard’, ‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Son’s Bodyguard’, and ‘The Hitman’s Mother-In-Law’s Agent’s Bodyguard’.

At one point, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) hits someone with a bottle of Aviation Gin. This is the brand of gin owned by Reynolds in real life.

Though the film is partially set in Greece none of the filming for the movie actually shot there.

One of the biggest ever international film productions to ever shoot in the central-southeastern European nation of Croatia.

Jingle All the Way Recap

Jamie

Howard is a loving husband and father whose workaholic ways get in the way. When he once again disappoints his son, he promises to make it up to him by getting him the new Turboman doll for Xmas. Little does he know it’s the hottest toy in town. Can he take down the competition and get Turboman before it’s too late? Find out in… Jingle All the Way.

How?! Howard is just buy sell buy sell wall street stuff all day making the big bucks at his mattress store. Unfortunately the mattresses can’t sell itself and he misses his son’s big karate show right before Christmas. Oh no! You know what that means. He’s gotta buy his son the biggest, hottest toy in town, Turboman, in order to make sure he loves him. Hooray! That toy is hot, and when I say hot I mean people are laughing in Howard’s face when he and a crazy mailman are both attempting to find one on Xmas Eve. Much like Odysseus, Howard begins a long and winding quest that takes him to toy stores around town, to a Santa run counterfeit toy outfit, and finally to a radio station that claims to be giving away the coveted prize. The whole while he is stoking the rivalry with the mailman who eventually snaps and commits a string of felonies including (but not limited to) multiple bomb threats. After striking out at the radio station, Howard returns home to find his smarmy neighbor hitting on his wife and playing dad of the year. Enraged, Howard breaks into his neighbor’s house and steals the Turboman he got for his son. He attempts to return it after realizing what he’s doing is wrong, only to release a wild reindeer (don’t ask) which destroys his neighbor’s house and alerts his family to his misdeed. They go off to the big parade without him and Howard is feeling pretty blue… but this man is the mattress king of Minneapolis and you can’t keep him down for long. So he heads into the city only to inadvertently get dragged into the parade to portray (you guessed it) Turboman. This giant, Austrian man beast is apparently unrecognizable to friends and family in his Turboman costume and he is able to pull his son out of the crowd and give him an extra special Turboman. But uh oh! The mailman is back, Jack and he chases Howard’s son up to the top of a building. Howard uses his Turboman skillz to swoop in and saves his son, after which he reveals himself and his son is like “who needs a doll when I got the real Turboman at home.” It’s an Xmas miracle. THE END.

Why?! Just to jingle jangle, right? Nope, it’s really for love. Awwwww. Howard knows his son is a materialistic monster and that he’s a terrible father. He knows that only the spirit of Christmas can save their familial love… and by spirit of Christmas I of course mean the latest, hottest toy. The only other clear motivation is Phil Hartman’s smarmy neighbor character who clearly wants to get it on with Howard’s wife and would go to any lengths to do so.

Who?! One positive in the Santa mob scene was the brief appearance of the wrestler The Big Show and an uncredited appearance by Verne Troyer. Obviously Arnold fits into the athlete turned actor category and Sinbad is a major actor credited by a mononym. But probably the best credit in the film is Harvey Korman credited as the President of the US. How? Because they show a part of an episode of a Turboman show and there he is. I love it.

What?! Great MacGuffin in the Turboman doll. Both Arnold and Sinbad pull out all the stops to obtain this doll that certainly holds a mysterious power over the love from their children. There was also some fun product placement here with the final Christmas parade and the many Minnesota specific stores and diners and the like. But really the biggest shoutout goes to the Booster action figure that is on sale for a cool grand. They may have hated that giant pink tiger sidekick in the film, but I sure did like him.

Where?! This is a major Minnesota film and perhaps the greatest Minnesota BMT film of all time. They really show off the state with the Mall of America, Mickey’s Diner, Nicollet Island, etc. It would be really hard to beat unless they decided to make some series of films about a youth hockey team that wins big and loves the Minnesota North Stars… but that would be crazy. While a great setting I actually don’t think this is an A… just an A-. Could have been in Chicago? Why couldn’t it have been.

When?! This could be an A+ film and a not so secret Holiday Film, but really are we sure that Jingle All the Way is enough to be certain that it’s set on Christmas?… JK, it is enough and it is an A+, but it is an interesting side note to mention how the film is a Christmas film that is actually never set on Christmas. It ends during the Christmas Eve parade and we get a very brief scene at the end that seems to be still late on The Eve (as the kids call it). Christmas never actually makes an appearance.

The film is bonkers crazy in terms of what it thinks is hilarious for people to watch as they snuggle under a blanket on Christmas Eve with their eggnog (or whatever nog they prefer). Sinbad threatening to blow up a radio station in pursuit of a stupid toy? Hah! That’s not horrifying in the least. There were some jokes I liked (like the intense disdain everyone had for Turboman’s pink tiger sidekick Booster) and then others that probably worked better on paper (the santa mob) and then Sinbad acting like a psycho for the rest of it. Was it better than I thought it would be? No… I think it was just as bad as I expected it to be. The exact level of badness that Jingle All the Way conjured in my mind. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Jingle Jangle Jingling with them Janglin’s … let’s go!

P’s View of the Preview – Have I seen Jingle All the Way, you get right on outta here! Of course I have. I was what? Ten when it came out, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if I was told that I saw it in theaters. It certainly isn’t a good movie though, even ten-year-old me must have known this through the multiple viewings on cable. The preview reminded me that Jingle All the Way was filmed in Minneapolis / Saint Paul, which is where I lived at one point, so that’s a fun new viewpoint to bring to this Christmas viewing. What were my expectations? It was obviously still going to be terrible. But seeing classic Arnold in a comedic role was going to be a blast from the past, and as mentioned, I want as much Minnesota stuff in my face as possible.

The Good – Yes, this film is materialistic, but there is a nugget of wholesome family-is-more-important-to-money-and-toys message laced throughout the entire film which maybe saves it a bit. Arnold is just so goddamned charming, it is no wonder his comedic efforts fared far better than Sylvester Stallone’s from the same era. And I’m sure that children would enjoy the grand finale of the film, and some of the more absurd bits as well (like the kung fu santas and whatnot).  If only Arnold had an amusing male secretary he made fun of (but ultimately became indebted to) throughout the film. Fifteen years later and that character would have been played by like … Clark Duke or something and definitely would have been in the film. Best Bit: Arnold.

The Bad – For the most part the film is pretty down to Earth … and then out of nowhere Sinbad will blow up a police officer with a bomb like a cartoon, and Arnold will crash headfirst into a building only to be stunned like Wile E. Coyote. Those moments smash you out of the film so hard it is pretty unforgivable. And then the B-story is all about how Phil Hartman wants to steal Arnold’s wife!! The film is perplexing in that sense, and probably reflects the understanding that their lead actor doesn’t exactly have classical comedy chops. Fatal Flaw: Materialistic and cartoony.

The BMT – We finally knocked off one of the Calendar’s special Christmas films which is nice. This is also one of the Razzie nominees of that year. I should go through and do another analysis of Razzie films. As bad as that award is, completing the worst picture nominees (for example) would be a nice achievement as far as challenges go. Did it meet my expectations? If by “meet” you mean I was filled with holiday cheer, then yes. The film isn’t good, but it was fun to watch it with Jamie and reflect on just how wild some of the choices being made in 1996 were. Also huuuuge Minnesota film, just a Where’s Where of Minnesota wonder.

Roast-radamus – There is a sneaky Planchet (Who?) here in the form of Booster, Turboman’s sidekick which everyone hates and dunks on throughout the film for no reason. I’m going to give it a solid Product Placement (What?) for Grain Belt, the local corn-flavored beer from New Ulm, Minnesota which Arnold is sadly day-drinking at the end of the second act of the film. An amazing Setting as a Character (Where?) for the Twin Cities in general. A Not-So-Secret Holiday Film (When?) for it being an incredible Christmas film. A huuuuuge MacGuffin (Why?) in the TurboMan Toy. And a good Worst Twist (How?) for little Anakin Skywalker revealing that all he wants for Christmas is … his dad. Awwwwwwww. That’s a clean sweep boys! I like this in the BMT category.

StreetCreditReport.com – Jingle All the Way has cred up the wazoo. First some stats. Top 10% in BMeTric and Notability for 1996, and around top 15% for Rotten Tomatoes meter. I think being in the top 25% for any of those is qualifying and it has all three. Second, it has a straight-to-video sequel made nearly 20 years later in 1994. Nothing says cred like trying to cash in on that sweet IP with nostalgic twenty-somethings. Third, it had a Razzie nomination for the director, always nice to see. This is also, weirdly, the number six funniest Christmas movie according to IMDb. And, maybe most notably, it is mentioned on Jeopardy! as a subject of a $1,200 clue in the category “One-Named Personalities” 13 years after it was made in 2009 … that’s real deal cred.

You Just Got Schooled – You might me thinking, of course, Jingle All the Way 2. Wrong! I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead I just went with another classic Christmas film I had never really seen all the way through National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I really rather enjoyed this film, it is very similar to the original Vacation film in tone and structure. There are definitely some cartoony bits (like Chevy Chase flying around on a magic super-lubricated sled), and it is maybe one of the more anxiety-inducing films I’ve ever seen, but once it builds to the inevitable crescendo of Clark Griswald having a breakdown, it ends on a particularly high note in teaching his eeeeeevil greedy corporate boss a lesson about Christmas cheer. B+, maybe a bit too much of a carbon copy of the original as far as plot points, but still funny.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Jingle All the Way Quiz

Oh man, so I’m a workaholic bad dad and I plum forgot to get my son a gift for Christmas (whoops!). Well, while trying to get my hands on that sweet merch in the Mall of America, I got bopped on the head and now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Jingle All the Way?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Arnold is a workaholic bad dad and bad husband. What is his job that he loves more than his wife and child? Moreover, what is Sinbad’s job?

2) And what does he miss on that fateful Christmas Eve Eve that gets everyone (especially Phil Hartman) all mad at him?

3) Well only one thing to do then, go and get that toy. In the end, prior to the parade at the end of the film, we see him explicitly try and get the toy in five different places. What are they? Ignore any and all montages.

4) What makes Arnold, who we find sadly day drinking in his backyard, realize that he has to go out and win back the love of his child?

5) What is so very special about the toy that Arnold ultimately gets his son and what happens to it?

Answers

Jingle All the Way Preview

As night closes around then, Rich and Poe hearts pound in fear. That strange, portentous book has spooked them and they no longer know what horrors await. Suddenly they feel very tired and homesick and shiver sadly in the gloom. They tense up when they hear a rustling in the woods. “Hello,” they call, peering into the darkness hoping that it was just the wind. Suddenly a monstrous rat-bat comes flying out of the trees! Egad! The horror! Woe is Rich and Poe, champions of the universe, who will be done in by this ghastly beast. Nic Cage will die and the prophecy will go unfulfilled. But instead of slaying them with its talons, the rat-bat instead screams  “Kout!” in a goofy, friendly voice as it flies down and kills a bush viper ready to strike and kill them. “Pissah of a snake, this one, ayuh,” it says as it perches in a tree above, “You boys lost yah cah or something?” It goggles its big disgusting eyes at Rich and Poe and snacks on mouthfuls of snake before a look of recognition crosses its rat-bat face, “Well, I’ll be. So the squirrels were right. You them boys gonna save the nuts or whatevah. Wicked cool. But what’re you doing out here in bush viper country? You’re going the wrong way, ayuh.” At the rat-bats words Rich and Poe deflate. Nic’s life hangs in the balance. They ask politely if the rat-bat could carry them in his horrifying claws and fly them to Nic, but the rat-bat lifts up his talons, dripping with fresh blood, and laughs, “these fellahs’ll rip yah to shreds, ayuh. No… I think I have something a little bettah.” And with that he winks and lets out a shrill whistle. Suddenly they hear a jingle jangle. That’s right! As a celebration of the end of 2020 we are doing a special live BMT Christmas spectacular. We thought maybe a Rocky marathon at first, but we realized only one BMT Christmas film would do. It’s Ahnold time. Jingle Jangle All the Way here we come. Let’s go!   

Jingle All The Way (1996) – BMeTric: 47.0; Notability: 73 

(The IMDb rating is shockingly low early on. I would have thought it would be higher since it always feels like Jingle All the Way has some cult following among people who were 10 in 1996. The Notability is amazingly high! I love it.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – “Jingle All the Way” was inspired, I suspect, by that panic a few years ago when stores ran out of Cabbage Patch dolls. As the movie opens, little Jamie Langston is watching the TurboMan show on TV, and of course he wants the TurboMan action figure for Christmas, complete with all its accessories. Jamie’s dad, Howard (Arnold Schwarzenegger), is a busy businessman, who says he has already purchased the toy–but lies. His adventures while trying to find a TurboMan provide the movie’s plot. …I liked a lot of the movie, which is genial and has a lot of energy, but I was sort of depressed by its relentlessly materialistic view of Christmas, and by the choice to go with action and (mild) violence over dialogue and plot. Audiences will like it, I am sure, but I have to raise my hand in reluctant dissent and ask, please, sir, may we have some more goodwill among men? Even TurboMen?

(Oh don’t worry Ebert, literally every single reviewer hated this film. So there is no need to bravely stand alone against Jingle All the Way and its materialistic message. It is possible that Ebert gave it the best review out of any major critic, 2.5 out of 4 stars is pretty solid.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuPc9QJcGJs/

(This actually looks really fun as a trailer. It is a very obvious idea that would have only really existed after Cabbage Patch Kids in the 80s, a truly modern Christmas message about how materialism has taken over the holiday. I’m sure they absolutely thought they had a shoe in Christmas classic on their hands.)

Directors – Brian Levant – (Future BMT: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; The Flintstones; Problem Child 2; Snow Dogs; The Spy Next Door; Beethoven; BMT: Are We There Yet?; Jingle All The Way; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for The Flintstones in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Director for Jingle All the Way in 1997; Notes: Has mostly been straight to video sequels for the last 10 years, but he has also been announced for the writer-director of the new Police Academy film.)

Writers – Randy Kornfield (written by) – (Known For: Eight Legged Freaks; BMT: Jingle All The Way; Notes: Apparently his grandfather worked in film back in the day. He seems like he probably is a staff writer of some kind for production studios, still writing, just not getting explicitly credited on screenplays.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: Terminator: Dark Fate; Total Recall; The Terminator; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; Predator; The Expendables; True Lies; Conan the Barbarian; The Expendables 2; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; Commando; Kindergarten Cop; Twins; Escape Plan; The Running Man; Welcome to the Jungle; The Last Stand; The 6th Day; Dave; The Long Goodbye; Future BMT: Hercules in New York; Junior; Collateral Damage; End of Days; The Iron Mask; Cactus Jack; Eraser; Terminator Genisys; Last Action Hero; The Kid & I; BMT: Batman & Robin; Red Sonja; Jingle All The Way; Raw Deal; Sabotage; Around the World in 80 Days; Conan the Destroyer; The Expendables 3; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1983 for Conan the Barbarian; in 1994 for Last Action Hero; in 2000 for End of Days; and in 2001 for The 6th Day; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1998 for Batman & Robin; in 2001 for The 6th Day; in 2005 for Around the World in 80 Days; and in 2015 for The Expendables 3; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The 6th Day in 2001; Notes: As with many old movies during quarantine, there was just a Kindergarten Cop reunion on Zoom, so that’s fun. He’s the father-in-law of Chris Pratt.)

Sinbad – (Known For: Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco; Crazy as Hell; Future BMT: Coneheads; First Kid; Planes; The Meteor Man; Good Burger; Hansel & Gretel; Houseguest; Necessary Roughness; BMT: Jingle All The Way; Notes: Apparently he suffered a stroke recently, sadly. Was in the Air Force prior to breaking into comedy, although he hasn’t really worked in film since the early 2000s.)

Phil Hartman – (Known For: Spaceballs; Pee-wee’s Big Adventure; Small Soldiers; So I Married an Axe Murderer; ¡Three Amigos!; Kiki’s Delivery Service; Amazon Women on the Moon; The Brave Little Toaster; Ruthless People; Quick Change; CB4; Future BMT: Coneheads; Sgt. Bilko; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Blind Date; The Pagemaster; Loaded Weapon 1; Fletch Lives; Houseguest; Greedy; How I Got Into College; BMT: Jingle All The Way; Stuart Saves His Family; Notes: Sadly was murdered by his wife in 1998 who was troubled with drug abuse. Was famous for his impressions on SNL, his voices on The Simpsons, and his role on NewsRadio.)

Budget/Gross – $60,000,000 / Domestic: $60,592,389 (Worldwide: $129,832,389)

(Obviously not what they were expecting given the apparent budget. Kind of okay, would have come out as a wash at least over the years with the DVD sales and whatnot.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (7/46): Arnold Schwarzenegger tries his best, but Jingle All the Way suffers from an uneven tone, shifting wildly from a would-be satire on materialism to an antic, slapstick yuk-fest.

(Really low. And interesting how the consensus seems to see some sort of statement on materialism in parts of the film, whereas other critiques seem to focus on just how materialistic the whole film actually seems to be. Reviewer Highlight: You’ll need an awful lot of Christmas cheer to forgive Arnold Schwarzenegger for his fourth, and hopefully last, venture into comedy, a turkey that needs stuffing on the most inaccessible shelf of your local video store. – Neil Smith, BBC)

Poster – Pringles All the Way

(Gah! My eyes! Get that out of here and burn it before too many people see it. Just… not good. But not like The Avengers or anything. D-.)

Tagline(s) – Two Dads, One Toy, No Prisoners. (A-)

(Yes, yes, yes. This is what you want from a tagline. Give me the classic hits with my sweet pringles all the way twist. It’s almost so classic you are tempted to downgrade it for lack of originality. But I won’t.)

Keyword – christmas

Top 10: Home Alone (1990), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), Love Actually (2003), Elf (2003), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), The Santa Clause (1994), The Grinch (2018), Die Hard (1988), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Peppermint (2018)

Future BMT: 82.9 Home Alone 3 (1997), 75.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 73.7 Look Who’s Talking Now (1993), 69.1 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), 68.8 Black Christmas (2006), 68.5 Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015), 61.0 Legion (2010), 60.4 Maid in Manhattan (2002), 60.0 Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007), 59.8 Staying Alive (1983);

BMT: Jingle All The Way (1996), Christmas with the Kranks (2004), Santa Claus: The Movie (1985), Movie 43 (2013), Replicas (2018), Unaccompanied Minors (2006), Shaft (2019), Gangster Squad (2013), Soldier (1998), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009), A Madea Christmas (2013), Cobra (1986), Daylight (1996), RoboCop 3 (1993), Behind Enemy Lines (2001), Jack and Jill (2011), The Number 23 (2007), Jaws: The Revenge (1987), Get Carter (2000)

(Looks like that War on Christmas is working … I’m joking, but yeah, we really liked Christmas in the 2000s huh? Perhaps the completion of the “genre leaking” that Die Hard started where the keyword can be applied to any and all films since they all dare to be (ironically) Christmas movies? … Probably not.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Arnold Schwarzenegger is No. 1 billed in Jingle All The Way and No. 4 billed in Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 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) => 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Producer Chris Columbus wanted Joe Pesci to play Myron, but he was deemed too short at 5’3 next to Arnold Schwarzenegger who is 6’2. This was despite the fact that Schwarznegger had previously appeared in two films alongside the even-shorter Danny DeVito.

Sinbad improvised the majority of his lines. Arnold Schwarzenegger also improvised many of his responses in his conversations with him.

In March 2001, a U.S. District Court jury in Birmingham, Michigan ruled that 20th Century Fox stole the script idea “Jingle All the Way” from Detroit high school biology teacher Brian Webster. The studio was ordered to pay $19 million, later reduced to $1.5 million. Webster submitted the script, then named “Could This Be Christmas?”, to the studio in 1994, and never received payment nor credit despite the film making $129 million worldwide. 20th Century Fox appealed, and the verdict was reversed, since Webster’s script was submitted after the studio had already purchased a treatment (summary or outline) of what would become this movie’s script. (It is a really wild story. The wiki blurb about it either must be deceiving or wrong, because it says that the names of characters are the same … I don’t see how that could be the case without it being cut-and-dry plagiarism)

The story is based on the 1980s shopping frenzy over the Cabbage Patch dolls. However, it ended up perfectly mimicking the Tickle Me Elmo craze of Christmas 1996.

Verne Troyer has an uncredited role as the shortest Santa that gets punched while on Arnold Schwarzenegger in the warehouse.

Filming took place in Minnesota for five weeks from April 15, 1996. At the time, it was the largest film production to ever take place in the state.

You can buy official Turbo Man action figures on Ebay.

The world premiere was held on November 16, 1996 at the Mall of America in Bloomington where parts of the film were shot. A day of events was held to celebrate the film’s release and Arnold Schwarzenegger donated memorabilia from the film to the Mall’s Planet Hollywood.

Despite the Turbo Man being a fictional product created for the movie, the toy that Myron references in the diner that he did not get as a child (and later said to be the most popular boys’ toy aside from Turbo Man) is, in fact, a real toy. It is in real life called the Johnny Seven OMA gun (OMA meaning “one man army”), as it performed seven different functions. The Johnny Seven OMA gun was produced by Deluxe Reading under their Topper Toys toyline, and released in 1964, where it became the best selling boys’ toy of that year. The toy was marketed heavily on television, and the commercial went exactly as how Myron described it. The toy is no longer made, and has become a collector’s item.

The giant Santa in this film is WWE’s The Big Show.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was paid a reported $20 million for the role.

Although Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that the Minnesota locals were “well-behaved” and “cooperative”, director Brian Levant often found filming “impossible” due to the scale and noise of the crowds who came to watch production, especially in the Mall of America, but overall found the locals to be “respectful” and “lovely people”.

Chris Parnell’s first movie appearance.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger only signed on for the film in February and the film was shot so quickly, only six and a half months were available for merchandising, instead of the ideal year. As such, merchandising was limited to a thirteen and a half inch replica twenty-five dollar talking Turbo Man action figure and the west coast exclusive Turbo Man Time Racer vehicle, while no tie-in promotions could be secured. Despite this, several critics wrote that the film was only being made in order to sell the toy. Chris Columbus dismissed this notion, stating that with only roughly two hundred thousand Turbo Man toys being made, the merchandising was far less than the year’s other releases, such as Space Jam (1996) and 101 Dalmatians (1996).

20th Century Fox offered Arnold Schwarzenegger the project after development on a remake of Planet of the Apes (1968), which had been a longtime pet project for the actor, fell apart.

Some home media covers have Howard dressed in a Santa suit. Howard never wears a Santa suit in the course of the film.

Howard and the reindeer enjoy Grain Belt Premium Beer, which is a Classic Minnesota made beer, still very popular today.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Brian Levant, 1997)

Dutch Recap

Jamie

On the eve of TGivs, Natalie finds out that her asshole ex-husband has cancelled plans with their son, Doyle. Devastated, Doyle refuses to come home. Being the good guy that he is, Natalie’s new beau Dutch offers to bring him home, using the road trip as a way to bond. But can he overcome the brat’s hijinks and get him home before it’s too late? Find out in… Dutch.

How?! Dutch is just a man’s man. Someone who knows that if you spend some time with him, say on a long road trip, you will end the trip being friends. So when his new girlfriend, Natalie, is upset that her uber-rich asshole ex-husband broke Thanksgiving plans with their son, Dutch knows exactly what to do. He hops a plane to George and gets ready to take Doyle back home on a good old fashioned road trip. Things start out rocky when Doyle, finding a strange man in his room, assaults Dutch and is ultimately compelled to join the road trip by force. Things keep going from bad to worse as Dutch finds that Doyle isn’t just unwilling to participate in the road trip, but is an insufferable rich boy to boot. Dutch tries to show Doyle a good time with some fireworks but is eventually rewarded with a cigar in his crotch for his efforts. Trying to teach Doyle a lesson he kicks him out of the car and forces him to walk the rest of the way to the motel. When he arrives Doyle is so enraged that he steals the car and sets it up to be destroyed by a semi. Dutch is terrified for Doyle’s safety, but is horrified when he finds out that it was a stunt. Hoping to really teach him a lesson about life he pretends like they have no more money left and that they must beg the rest of the way home. They get a ride with a couple of prostitutes who steal their luggage and money, now really leaving them with no way to get home, and things are on the verge of falling apart. That is until Doyle calls his dad and finds out that he lied about being busy for TGivs. Seeing the good in Dutch, they hit the road together and find their way to a homeless shelter in Indiana, where Doyle shows how much he’s learned through his kindness for others. Finally making it home just in time for Thanksgiving, Doyle finds his dad there, but tells him off. He and his mother and Dutch then have a TGivs celebration complete with continued hijinks. THE END.

Why?! The motivations are actually pretty deep. Dutch loves Natalie and knows that he should have a good relationship with her son Doyle, especially given what a giant dick his dad is. Natalie just wants to be able to be with her son cause she knows her ex will ultimately disappoint him. And in the end it turns out that Doyle just wants a family. He’s hurting from his parent’s divorce and blames his mother for the breakup. But as we see it’s a TGivs miracle as everyone gets what they want out of the holiday.

Who?! Sometimes this section can also be for people who aren’t in the film. For some reason the wikipedia for this film claims that Arnold Palmer is in it as “himself.” I… I don’t think that’s true. That is not a credit on imdb and the only reference I can find to that online seems to come from the wikipedia article itself. I wonder if maybe he was in the background of the party at the beginning? Or maybe someone just made it up and put it on wikipedia. Hard to say.

What?! Not much to say here. The road trip itself avoids normal product placement as Dutch takes “the scenic route” on purpose so he and Doyle can get to know each other. And not nearly a notable enough film to warrant props for sale. So I’ll just point out that the car they drive for the beginning of the film is a Lincoln Town Car, which was the Motor Trend Car of the Year for 1990. It was a pretty popular car at the time and very in line for the car that Dutch would rent.

Where?! Road Trip alert! This is a notable road trip because a piece of trivia from the production is that the director, writer, and producer actually took the proposed road trip together and included places that they liked in the final product. It does give the trip a “real” feel. And it’s fun to note that the fireworks place they stop at is actually in Tennessee and would make sense as a place they might stop to grab gas.

When?! (Not so Secret) Holiday Film Alert! This is obviously a TGivs film set in the week leading up the holiday. The trip appears to take three nights (the first one when Doyle destroys the car, then they fall asleep in the car with the prostitutes, and finally they sleep in the homeless shelter) meaning that Dutch arrived to pick up Doyle on Monday and arrived back in Chicago just in time on Thursday. Pretty crazy for a 10-12 hour drive.

Certainly an interesting rewatch. As a kid there was so much that I remember loving in this film. The fireworks, the nudie cards, the begging for rides, etc. Those are still there, but it’s kind of mixed in with some very long stretches of Doyle being pretty insufferable and some half edgy/half saccharine holiday stuff. It’s still a very pleasant road trip all in all and I think watching it now I kind of appreciate things that I didn’t when I was younger (like that the road trip feels real… like it really does feel like they traveled specifically from Georgia to Illinois). Also Ed O’Neill is very charming in it and his character comes across with a lot more depth and nuance than it may seem at first glance. Through all ways that he tries to teach Doyle lessons, even when he takes it a little far, you do get a sense that it comes from a genuine place. So yeah, maybe not the continual laugh riot I remember as a kid, but it’s got its charm and certainly works well in teaching the meaning of TGivs. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I watched Dutch like 20 times as a kid. It was a quintessential TGivs movie. Well, it turns out it is a bad movie, who knew?! I didn’t. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I might as well mention what I remember from the film. I remember the fireworks scene obviously, as a kid that is hilarious. And I remember the dirty playing cards, because on television they cut away before you even get to see the not-really-nudity, and as a kid you don’t really even know that films were cut for television (beyond obvious dubbing). And I remember the film being great. It is always fun to watch films I’ve seen a bunch because guess what? I don’t really care what critics think, mostly I still like them. And it’s fun to watch films I actually like for BMT. What were my expectations? A TGivs miracle, a film I enjoy watching during the TGivs break.

The Good – Ed O’Neill is great as one would expect given they needed him to carry the entire film on his back. They didn’t exactly discover a new Macaulay Culkin in Ethan Embry, so really the film had to rely on Dutch to provide 100% of the humor and heart. And I think he does a good job there. I like it as a TGivs film, and I like it as a road trip film. As a vague follow up to Trains, Planes, and Automobiles it could have been a lot worse. I still enjoyed watching it. Best Bit: Ed O’Neill.

The Bad – I think as an adult the behavior of Dutch is a lot more questionable. As a kid the idea that anyone was ever in real danger is non-existent. It’s a movie, and the stakes can remain low because the shocking death of Doyle 20 minutes into the movie is understandably out of the question. But my God, he leaves him on the highway miles from a motel, he could have easily been struck by a car! They hitch rides home like lunatics, and literally get the shit kicked out of them by cops at one point! It is all pure lunacy, and not in a funny Uncle Buck sort of way, in a much more harrowing sort of way. I think you can see why critics didn’t enjoy the film, it was a paint-by-numbers Hughes film with a lot of questionable decisions from a writing standpoint, and an annoying kid who got his redemption far too late into the runtime. Fatal Flaw: Lazy writing.

The BMT – We knocked off one of the two major TGivs films, the other being Son-in-Law which I’ve also seen like 20 times … I’m starting to think that someone in Hollywood really screwed up by not making more TGivs films. I probably saw these two films twice each around TGivs for ten years straight. There seems to be a ton of money left on the table with this mini-genre. Did it meet my expectations? I think so. I can understand the criticisms of the film a lot more after watching Dutch as an adult. But I still liked it, which is about what I expected I think.

Roast-radamus – I’m loving this as a Road Trip Film (Where?) for the trip from Atlanta, through Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana to Chicago for TGivs. And obviously, by design, a solid Not-Very-Secret Holiday Film (When?) as this is very explicitly a very TGivs film. And as such there is obviously a (kind of) MacGuffin (Why?) as the ultimate prize at the end of the film is the delicious TGivs dinner they are all going to enjoy as a family. And an inevitable Worst Twist (How?) for Doyle’s change of heart, his realization that his father is a jerk, and his mother is the one who truly loves him and is all he needs. Definitely closest to Good.

StreetCreditReport.com – I think with the news that the entire WB slate for 2021 is going direct to home video we might be nearing a reckoning with BMT. And with that I’ll try to make this section a bit more focused on what exactly cred means. Typically I’ll first look at lists, but those are rare and I don’t really like using them anymore. Second, I’ll check the connections page on IMDb. This shows us that Dutch was featured on In the Movies the week it came out in 1991, that’s actual genuine cred. Otherwise we can look at things about the year the film came out. For example, for Notability and BMeTric if you take the top 200 films on IMDb released in 1991, this film is top 27% in Notability, top 46.5% in BMeTric, top 7.5% in IMDb popularity, and top 5.5% in Rotten Tomatoes Rotten percentage. I guess we’ll see. It does seem to be that we’ll have to adapt in the next few years to significantly less potentially qualifying films getting wide releases.

You Just Got Schooled – For this one I went in search for another road trip film. Given that most of the Vacation films qualify for BMT, I went for a not-quite comedy in Thelma & Louise which I had never seen. And it is a great movie, naturally. The critical reviews from the time I think nail the top line interest in the story, it is a feminist plot that also leaves the gunplay to two women breaking bad. It is also another road trip film which is focused on what might be considered more back roads areas of the U.S. taking place off the beaten track in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and finally Arizona. It makes me think you could plot the rough course of a lot of these films, and get a pretty fun map where you (maybe) hit all of the states. Some might be tough, but this and Dutch immediately give you ten at the very least. It helps that both films, in my opinion, are enjoyable in their own right. Oh, and this ended up being my fourth Christopher McDonald film I’ve seen in like two months which is wild. An easy A from me.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs