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

Dutch Quiz

Oh boy, you wouldn’t believe this. So I was picking up my new lady friend’s son at his elite prep school for TGivs, and you wouldn’t believe what a jerk he is! Well, I’m a people person, so I tried to relate to him, but then he just kicked me right in the face when I got there! I have a pretty severe concussion and can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Dutch?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning we get the whole story of Doyle’s family. So where did his parents meet and where does Doyle’s father say he has to go for TGivs, throwing Doyle’s plans in disarray?

2) Well, in rolls Dutch to save the day, he’ll go and pick up Doyle and they’ll take a father(ish)-son road trip across Americana. Where is Doyle’s school, and where are they driving to?

3) As the boys travel they progressively get more and more destitute. How does Dutch lose his coat? How do they lose their car? How does Doyle lose his shoes? And finally, how does Dutch lose all of his money?

4) During the final push towards home they end up sleeping one last night in a homeless shelter. Who do they meet there that helps them get home just in time for TGivs?

5) What thing does Dutch “owe” Doyle that is hanging over his head throughout the movie? Does he ever get what he’s owed?

Answers

Dutch Preview

Poe is led through the dank twisty turns of a stone passageway. He shivers, lamenting that he didn’t bring his ermine stole. Suddenly he is thrust into the light of an overly elaborate crypt. A ring of men and women stand above him. His breath catches, in the middle of the room is a book, but before he can grab it and backflip his way out of there, he feels a hand on his shoulder. “My fellow members of the most exclusive of dance clubs, The Skulls,” says Mr. Big, an evil look crossing his face, “We have a traitor in our midst. This is no foxy lady with legs for days. It’s a police officer in disguise!” And with that he tears off Poe’s dress to reveal his full detective uniform. A gasp rises from the room. How did he know? Poe’s got to think quickly. “No… no…” he sputters backing away from the dangerous mob of rich clubgoers, “you see I used to be a police officer… but they didn’t approve of my sweet beats and smooth rhythm.” The members stop in shock. How dare the police question sweet beats and smooth rhythm. But Mr. Big is suspicious and insists he, “prove it.” Wiping sweat from his brow, Poe pulls his emergency flute from ankle holster and begins to lay down the bangingest tune that anyone has ever heard. People are straight jamming to the phat flute beats. Suddenly Mr. Big shouts for everyone to stop. “That may have been the phattest beats I’ve ever heard,” he says enraged, “but that doesn’t mean you’re a Skulls.” Poe puts a hand on his shoulder and whispers urgently, “then let me prove it to you. Let’s take a little Thanksgiving road trip together… a road trip through our imagination.” That’s right! We’re doing a TGivs special with a true holiday classic, Dutch starring Ed O’Neill. I’ve seen this countless times and loved it as a child watching it on Comedy Central and now it’s time to see if it stands the test of time as our special 2020 BMT Live(ish) Thanksgiving Spectacular. Let’s go!

Dutch (1991) – BMeTric: 14.2; Notability: 42 

(If you are on reddit movies at all you’ll know that this film has become something of a cult classic. People unironically are declaring this as one of the very best TGivs films, on roughly the same level as Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. This happened around 2014, and it likely fueled by people in their early 30s who watched this film multiple times on cable in the late 90s. If you were like 10 in 1998 you would have seen this film a ton on television around this time of year.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – You’ve got to give John Hughes a certain amount of credit. At least when he makes a formula picture, he’s following his own formula. Hughes is the poet of the colorful domestic crisis, of the movie where typical Americans do typical things in typical places while learning to be better people than they were at the beginning of the film. Hughes has written, directed and/or produced so many of these films by now that perhaps we can even forgive him for beginning to repeat himself.

(Yeah, so the criticism at the time was definitely along the lines of: been there done that. This film is almost explicitly a mash-up of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (an odd couple travelling across the country for TGivs), Uncle Buck (the working class Joe interacting with the more upper class children), and National Lampoon’s Vacation (as it being a designed road trip for bonding purposes). It was so much so that Hughes didn’t want to direct because he thought he would get shit for just making Planes, Trains, and Automobiles again.)

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

(I feel like this is not really the message that comes through in the actual film. I’m actually a bit perplexed by the “he’s just a big kid” message on all of the advertising surrounding it. What I remember is the he is mostly a grumpy dude, perplexed by this uptight rich kid … the end. He tried to get him to loosen up, but it isn’t like Dutch is an arrested development loser or anything. I’ll guess we’ll see.)

Directors – Peter Faiman – (Known For: Crocodile Dundee; BMT: Dutch; Notes: A really weird choice. Was one of the creators of the Crocodile Dundee character, and this is his only genuine American feature (Crocodile Dundee was mostly filmed in Australia). Given just how explicitly American it is, it feels weird to go for a very Australian director.)

Writers – John Hughes (written by) – (Known For: Home Alone; National Lampoon’s Winter Holiday; National Lampoon’s Vacation; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; The Breakfast Club; Weird Science; Pretty in Pink; Uncle Buck; Sixteen Candles; Miracle on 34th Street; 101 Dalmatians; Some Kind of Wonderful; The Great Outdoors; Mr. Mum; She’s Having a Baby; Future BMT: Home Alone 3; Beethoven’s 2nd; Flubber; Maid in Manhattan; Dennis the Menace; Beethoven; Drillbit Taylor; Just Visiting; Curly Sue; Vacation; Baby’s Day Out; Career Opportunities; Class Reunion; National Lampoon’s European Vacation; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; Savage Islands; Reach the Rock; BMT: Dutch; Notes: Started by selling jokes to comedians, then moved into television advertising, and ended up working for Mad Magazine as a result. National Lampoon’s Vacation was based on one of his magazine stories. He would spend the late 90s making kid films and writing under pseudonyms. Notoriously prolific writer, and is considered the quintessential voice of 80s teen films.)

Actors – Ed O’Neill – (Known For: Ralph Breaks the Internet; Finding Dory; Wreck-It Ralph; Wayne’s World; Cruising; Wayne’s World 2; The Last Shift; The Spanish Prisoner; Spartan; The Dogs of War; Sun Dogs; Redbelt; Prefontaine; Disorganised Crime; Future BMT: Lucky Numbers; K-9; Sibling Rivalry; Blue Chips; Little Giants; Entourage; The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; The Bone Collector; Nobody’s Baby; BMT: Dutch; Notes: Was hired based on his character of Al Bundy, the father on Married … With Children. He was nominated twice for Golden Globes for that role, and three times for an Emmy for his role on Modern Family.)

Ethan Embry – (Known For: The Guest; First Man; Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies; That Thing You Do!; Can’t Hardly Wait; Blindspotting; Vacancy; White Squall; Late Phases; The Devil’s Candy; Defending Your Life; Cheap Thrills; A Far Off Place; Dancer, Texas Pop. 81; The Independent; Future BMT: They; Disturbing Behavior; Vegas Vacation; The Reunion; All I Want for Christmas; Standing Still; Eagle Eye; War on the Range; Empire Records; Pizza; BMT: Timeline; Sweet Home Alabama; Dutch; Notes: Ended up starring alongside Ed O’Neill in the Dragnet remake in 2003. He is mostly a television actor now, starring in shows like Grace and Frankie.)

JoBeth Williams – (Known For: Poltergeist; Kramer vs. Kramer; The Big Chill; Wyatt Earp; The Big Year; Stir Crazy; The Perfect Catch; In the Land of Women; Teachers; The Dogs of War; Timer; Barracuda; Desert Bloom; Just Write; Future BMT: Poltergeist II: The Other Side; Switch; SGT. Will Gardner; American Dreamer; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Jungle 2 Jungle; Dutch; Notes: Apparently the role of Murphy Brown was created for her, but she ultimately turned it down.)

Budget/Gross – $17,000,000 / Domestic: $4,603,929 (Worldwide: $4,603,929)

(That is a terrible return. Here’s the thing though: I bet it ultimately made money just by selling the rights to show this film every year around TGivs for the last 30 years. It is one of the best TGivs films by virtue of there just not being that many of them.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (4/23)

(The consensus here is really easy: As if made in a John Hughes factory via assembly line, this is not the worst he’s made, but far from his best effort. Reviewer Highlight: If a film like this is to be funny at all, it had better work when the warring principals still hate each other, before the rich boy is shown to be a sweet kid and the whole story turns to mush. – Janey Maslin, The New York Times.)

Poster – Driving Me Crazytown USA

(Interesting poster. Obviously the font is amazing. Patrick needs to immediately get a print of his name where that’s the “T”. Otherwise it’s just OK. Ed O’Neill must have really been riding that Married… with Children high. )

Tagline(s) – Can a big kid bring out the child in a little jerk? (C)

(I can’t decide whether this is totally mediocre or slightly good. I get the idea and I think they just ran into a stumbling block when it came to “jerk” at the end. Doesn’t really make sense and can’t save the long tagline.)

Keyword – thanksgiving

Top 10: Deadpool (2016), The Santa Clause (1994), The Mule (2018), Prisoners (2013), Boyz n the Hood (1991), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Spider-Man (2002), Contagion (2011), American Gangster (2007), Lady Bird (2017)

Future BMT: 78.6 Superhero Movie (2008), 67.9 College Road Trip (2008), 53.1 Hanging Up (2000), 44.6 Baggage Claim (2013), 33.2 Must Love Dogs (2005), 32.9 Son in Law (1993), 31.6 Free Birds (2013), 27.4 The Comedian (2016), 23.0 Don’t Say a Word (2001), 19.7 Art School Confidential (2006);

BMT: Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009), The Prince & Me (2004), The Roommate (2011), The Intruder (2019), Dutch (1991), Deadly Friend (1986)

(We’ve seen quite a few real TGivs films. Paul Blart and The Intruder for example, are real TGivs-centric films. Son in Law is easily the best of the remaining BMT films available. It is so good that it is the other TGivs film on the Calendar challenge.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: JoBeth Williams is No. 3 billed in Dutch and No. 3 billed in Jungle 2 Jungle, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 3 + 6 + 1 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – The film was mentioned in passing in an episode of Married with Children (1987) during an in-flight to London, as a joke to the film’s failure. Ed O’Neill was the star of the series.

John Candy was the first choice to play Dutch Dooley. (I think he comes across as too nice, although … in that version he would have probably been Uncle Buck which would have probably been fine)

There were plans to do a sequel, which never materialized. (What could the sequel have possibly involved? Just another roadtrip?)

Prior to filming, Director Peter Faiman, Writer and co-Producer John Hughes, and Producer Richard Vane took a road trip throughout Georgia, The Carolinas (North and South), Mississippi, and Tennessee to scout the route of the film’s characters, Dutch Dooley and Doyle would take to drive back home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. Faiman liked most of the places that he’d seen during the trip, and they ended up in final film. (I’ll have to watch closely what the actual idea is. So the kid goes to school in Georgia? And why is Dutch there to pick him up then if they all live in Chicago?)

If you pause it just right when Dutch is going through his wallet in the motel room, you can get a clear shot of his drivers license showing his address and name, which reads “David Dooley.” Which means “Dutch” must be a nickname. There’s never an actual mention of “David” in the film. (I love these fun facts)

At one point, Writer/Director/Producer John Hughes considered directing the film but then reconsidered because of the films’ similarities to his other hit film, “Planes, Trains And Automobiles” which revolved around two characters who at first really didn’t like each other and go on a road trip to get back Chicago after having a bunch of setbacks (which included a destroyed/burnt car, being robbed, etc.) for Thanksgiving with a happy resolution.

The surname of Doyle and his family is “Standish”, this name was also used in another John Hughes film, The Breakfast Club (1985), for Molly Ringwald’s character Claire Standish.

Released under the title “Driving Me Crazy” in the UK and Australia.

The large double doors, out of which Dutch bursts, are supposed to be the doors of Doyle’s dormitory. In reality, these doors are the main entrance to Hermann Hall, the administration building at Berry College, where the school scenes were filmed.

This was one of four films that was written, produced or directed by the late John Hughes in 1991. The others were Career Opportunities, this film, Only The Lonely (in which he produced and was Directed by Home Alone’s Chris Columbus) and his final film as director, Curly Sue. They all take place in Chicago, his hometown.

In the restroom at the bus station, the old man bathing in the sink is wearing the same shoes as Doyle after his were stolen on the bus.

There are similarities between the Dutch Dooley character and that of Al Bundy from “Married With Children” in which Writer/Producer John Hughes felt that Ed O’Neill was the right choice for the role.

JoBeth Williams full characters’ name is Natalie Wojejowsky Standish in which she mentions as she introduces herself to other women at Reed’s party early at the beginning of the film.

This was the first and only film that Director Peter Faiman ever directed in the US. He had directed the surprise hit, “Crocodile” Dundee in 1986, in which part of the film took part in New York City but the majority of it was filmed in Australia.

The film is essentially a remake of three other John Hughes films which he also wrote which are “Uncle Buck”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and “Planes, Trains And Automobiles”. (That sounds about right actually)

The shoes that Doyle is left with after having his own stolen on the bus are the same as the homeless man’s who he meets in the bus station restroom

At one time in the movie, a billboard is shown, showing that Dutch is actually the owner of a very successful trucking company.

Boo! A Madea Halloween Recap

Jamie

Boo! Get ready for some kooky spooky action up in hellur. When Madea is called to watch her rambunctious niece she gets in the middle of a frat’s big Halloween party and soon finds herself in the brunt of their hijinks. Can she stop the frat and teach everyone a lesson before it’s too late? Find out in Boo! A Madea Halloween.

How?! Brian has a big business trip planned right on Halloween and is dismayed to find his unruly teenage daughter Tiffany is dead set on two things: attending a frat party for which she is clearly under age and NOT being watched by anyone. No way. Brian knows what to do. He calls Madea into action who shows up trailing her group of crazy characters. They take up residence in the house but are almost immediately duped when they find Tiffany has snuck out to the party. While she is having a load of fun she’s horrified to see Madea and her pals crash the party and get all up in the business. They are all thrown out and Madea knows exactly what to do: call in the popo (anonymously of course, Madea is a criminal after all). The police arrive, Tiffany is sent home (none too soon either as the frat kids have discovered she’s only 17) and they begin to plot their revenge. The gang of elderly nogoodniks begins to have all kinds of spooky things happen to them and they do not like it. They flee the house and are accosted by loads of ghosts and ghouls and it’s real scary. But soon they come to find out about the frat’s scheme and start a scheme of their own. Forcing Brian home to deal with his daughter he finally gets her to understand the idea of rules and consequences only to have the police arrive and take her into custody in connection to the disappearance of her best friend. The police also arrive at the frat house and find Tiffany’s friend dead in the basement. Oh no! All the girls and the frat kids are loaded onto a bus to be transported to jail and they are real scared… but soon realize that they’ve all been set up by Brian and Madea with the help of Brian’s cop friends. THE END. Or is it? (it isn’t! There’s gonna be more!)

Why?! Why is the wrong question for a Madea film. Or perhaps it’s the perfect question because every film is essentially the same once you see through all the ten minute rambling conversations Madea has with people. Madea is throwing down hard truths for everyone and they best learn them because otherwise shit’s gonna get real. Ya dig?

Who?! I can’t help but love me a little mid-film music video. In fact if I was given the title of film czar I would require all films to have a music video interlude and the world would be better for it. Here Tyga gets up on stage at this random frat Halloween party and performs Rack City much to the chagrin/delight of Madea and her friends. It’s an A+ and I don’t even give grades for this section.

What?! Since Tyga took the previous spot I think it’s important to mention here that in a lot of ways this film was an advertisement for numerous YouTube/Vine/TikTok/Probably some other things I don’t know teenybopper stars of the future. Perry was pretty open about them being cast in order to make the franchise hipper and newer. So a younger audience could delight at the branded stars they know, while getting to know their new best friend: Madea. 

Where?! As is the case with most Perry films I know this was shot in Atlanta, but not sure it’s ever made clear that the film actually takes place there. It would certainly be a large city as Brian is a federal prosecutor, but that’s pretty much all we get as far as I remember. I still think it’s Atlanta so a D for now.

When?! Finally get an A+ Settings Alert as the title so appropriately tells us that this takes place on Halloween. As Patrick mentioned, though, not a single ghost or supernatural being in the whole thing. I would have liked at least for a ghost to show up at the end even if it was a not scary Casper type ghost. Just for a quick laugh about how not Halloween the film is in general. A+.

Wow. Sometimes you just need a film to come around after years of inuring ourselves to bad movies to remind us of what it’s like to be alive. Madea can do that when you start watching a scene and there are just piles and piles of Madea jokes being thrown your way and honestly you can’t tell if there is even a movie there or whether the entire thing will just be jokes on jokes forever and ever. And then ten minutes will pass and they’ll still be talking about the same broken down car that Madea was doing drugs in or something back in the day or explaining how Brian is a piece of shit or whatever and you’re mind won’t even be blown because your mind no longer exists. That’s Madea and I think I enjoyed the experience even if the film itself is really bad. If I had to give out a positive it would be Joe, Tyler Perry’s third character in the film, who is an old man and is actually kinda funny sometimes. I dug him. He was cool. If I had to pick out something bad it would be the numerous jokes about beating children, which would shock me except it seemed in line with everything else in the film. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Boo! A Madea is Seeing Some Ghosts for Real, but She Doesn’t Take Guff from Ghosts so it isn’t a Big Deal I Say Boo to You Ghost, Boo! I think that is the full title of the film. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – So I think it is important to recognize something with this film. Going into the film we’ve seen a bunch of Tyler Perry films, and most are terrible (Alex Cross, Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, etc.), but I distinctly and bizarrely remembered vaguely enjoying Madea Christmas. The thing is? It isn’t really true. Looking back we were merely surprised we did not loath it. The film is still very much in your face with the religious messaging, and that’s fine since that is pretty explicitly the purpose of the film. But … weirdly just by thinking I enjoyed Madea Christmas made me really really not enjoy this film. The preview itself isn’t much to go on because the preview effectively says: this film stars Tyler Perry as Madea, which we already knew. What were my expectations? So a few things popped out about the film. First, that it stars a bunch of YouTube personalities, so terrible acting was definitely on the table. Second, it is definitely NOT an actual ghost film, so I was definitely going to be disappointed.

The Good – I think I am able to step back from Madea as a concept, understand that most of the film just isn’t messaging to me, and go about judging the film on something at least a bit closer to its merits. I think Tyler Perry is a wizard when it comes to film financing, and there is a reason he is very close to being a billionaire (he likely will be in the next few years). The film can, on very rare occasions, have amusing quips. And despite all of the characters being incredibly mean spirited and grating … I can also get why people find them amusing in their own right. To be clear, I don’t actually enjoy anything I watched in the film, but I don’t begrudge the fact that Tyler Perry’s audience does or that Tyler Perry is able to make movies that cater to that audience. Best Bit: Some amusing quips.

The Bad – The whole storyline with the father-daughter relationship is so bizarre that there is a 15 minute conversation about how Tyler Perry’s character’s father beat him so badly he was in intensive care at the hospital and it is played like “man, your daughter is bad news, you should probably beat her to an inch of her life, haha.” That for real is a message in the film. The relationship with Tyler Perry’s character’s ex-wife is also such that the film feels misogynistic, even though I believe that Tyler Perry sees it as a “weak willed man” joke rather than a “harpie ex-wife” joke. The film has no ghosts and for that I say boo! I say boo! to Boo! A Madea Halloween. I wanted Madea screaming about how she has warrants to actual ghosts, not the police! Whatever. The rest of the film is mostly 15 minute long segments of Tyler Perry having really bad improv sessions with himself. It almost makes you tear your hair out as they beat yet another unfunny joke into the ground for 10 minutes straight. This movie is not good and is, in fact, probably the worst of the three Madea films we have watched thus far. Fatal Flaw: Incredibly long sequences of not funny improvisation between various forms of Tyler Perry.

The BMT – I’m certainly getting more comfortable watching films that I’m not really the intended audience for. I could see a future where we have watched all of the Madea films (a truly dire future indeed). That being said, for the most part Madea films are the kind of films we try to avoid (like Saving Christmas for example). Films that are just low hanging fruit for people to dunk on because Tyler Perry wanted to make a cool $50 million on a 6 day shoot. But really … is there anything wrong with wanting to make $50 million on a 6 day film shoot? I don’t think so. Did it meet my expectations? No! But by that I mean yes, because I think in my heart I knew I secretly wanted to silently scream in horror as it dawned on me that there weren’t going to be actual ghosts in this film. I have to say … there better be ghosts in Boo 2! Otherwise, I riot.

Roast-radamus – I think Hattie Love absolutely qualifies as a Planchet (Who?). Her sole purpose appears to be to sit and take shit from Joe and Madea. Obviously this is a Not-so-secret Holiday Film (When?) for being rather explicitly about Halloween and the various shenanigans that young people get into on that day. And I think Worst Twist (How?) gets in there for the not very subtle (and cruel) joke Tyler Perry plays on his daughter and the frat brothers, tricking them into thinking they (checks notes) accidentally murdered someone and are going to jail for the rest of their lives … hilarious. Definitely closest to a Bad.

StreetCreditReport.com – I think it is quite odd that the film didn’t make any of the major lists in 2016, but I imagine this is because it must have come out in October? … But I’m pretty sure Saving Christmas dominated the lists in its year, so I’m less than convinced that is actually the case. There is this rather amusing list here, which looks at all of the Madea films. Pretty heartening to see Boo! coming in just under Madea Christmas. I think that is 100% right in retrospect. Christmas was saved a little bit, oddly, by Larry the Cable Guy who I remember just being a charming pleasant foil to the brash Madea. There is no such foil in Boo! unfortunately.

I’m going to have to skip the You Just Got Schooled section today. I think I would have maybe watched Hubie Halloween, but for a variety of reasons I really just don’t have time for that. So I’ll have to leave it there, I wrote a lot in the other sections anyways. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Boo! A Madea Halloween Quiz

Oh boy. So here’s what happened, I was hanging with my foul-mouthed granny Madea (you know how she is, all foul-mouthed and hilarious), when up popped a scary clown who said Boo! (A Madea Halloween). Well I stumbled back, bopped my head, and now I can’t remember a thing! Can you remember what happened in Boo! A Madea Halloween?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open with Madea handing out Halloween candy outside her home in (presumably) Atlanta with Aunt Bam, when Joe and Hattie arrive. What are they dressed as?

2) Asked to come out and watch her, Tiffany needs to get Madea and these other old people out of her house stat! How does she go about convincing the babysitters to go to bed?

3) Tiffany ends up just sneaking out the back to go to a nearby frat party, and is then followed by Madea and her crew. Madea, Hattie, and Aunt Bam are then thrown out of the party. Why?

4) Madea, as revenge on the frat brothers, calls the police to get the party shut down (noice). But the tables are turned and the frat brothers start to prank the old people right back! There were four distinct pranks they pulled on the old people. Name them.

5) Finally, Brian comes home and decides to teach these tricky frat brothers a lesson they’ll never forget: he makes them think they are all going to prison. For what crime?

Answers

Boo! A Madea Halloween Preview

“The great nut?” Rich scoffs incredulously, “you serious?” He insists to Poe that this is all absurd. Yes, it’s true, that tiny cute squirrel scroll was rather specific in how they were meant to cure “the Great One,” and indeed that aptly describes our boy Cage, but I mean… this is all vague scroll nonsense… right? But Poe isn’t so sure. Looking around he mutters, “the great nut… the… great nut,” when suddenly a burly man on a horse rides up and rears gallantly into the sky. “Did I hear you mutter something about the great nut?” he says happily, “oh boy! I knew today would be a wonderful day where I could help someone! It felt a bit like… oh, I don’t know.” He scratches his head happily. “Destiny?” Rich hesitantly offers. “Yes! Like destiny. Oh boy! This’ll be fun and we’ll be BFFs forever. My name is Kilgorn from Abelstar and I had a dream about the great nut. Isn’t that fun?!” He’s bursting with glee. Rich and Poe shuffle their feet awkwardly for a moment before filling the silence with a soft affirmative. It will be fun. “I know! Hooray! Follow me! My dream told me to ride this way” and with that Kilgorn begins to ride off through the woods. Rich and Poe look at each other and sigh. “Maybe Nic Cage can tough it out without Nic Cage’s Journal (all rights reserved)?” Poe suggests but they both sigh again and start following their new BFFF Kilgorn. Up ahead they see him stopped at the edge of a wood. He’s quaking with fear and grabs Rich and Poe close against his bare, greasy chest. “This was also in my dream… or more like my nightmare,” he says, voice quavering, and then points into the woods, “gh-gh-gh-ghosts.” That’s right! We’re doing a special BMT Live (ish (not really)) by breaking out of the cycle in order to grab a festive Halloween edition of BMT. Gotta hit up some sweet Madea action with Boo! A Madea Halloween. I’m not sure where we stand on Madea given our up and down experience with the franchise, so maybe this’ll help us figure that out. Let’s go!

Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016) – BMeTric: 52.6; Notability: 17 

(Honestly? That is really impressive. You’d think the legion that is Perry’s fanbase who maybe do a halfway decent job at defending the rating. But then again, they would undoubtedly have to counter a brigade of racists who tend to deflate any black lead film. Still a bit surprising at how low the score is. As is the notability, but it was filmed in six days, so there are only so many famous people you could get involved.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – At 103 minutes, this film has way too much dead weight. Scenes are repeated over and over, and some of the acting would not cut it in a school play. But in the rare moments when “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween” is firing on all cylinders, it displays a cleverness which hints that, with more time and a few more iterations of the script, this might have been a good movie. For the most part, the film has a rushed, haphazard quality that makes it feel like a selfish cash grab by its creator. But I know better; Perry’s love for his audience radiates off the screen and is returned just as powerfully by his fans. The real problem isn’t that he’s preaching to a built-in choir, it’s that the choir too easily forgives cinematic trespasses like this. That’s the Christian thing to do, I suppose, but I’m going to be a heathen here. Madea would understand.

(Interesting. The entire review is actually pretty fascinating, as is Tyler Perry and his creation Madea. A character created essentially for someone who is the opposite for myself. I try hard not to presume much about what we are watching because of that. We’ve seen two other Madea films, and this is poised to be the worst one we’ve seen.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sPHseSGr9Q/

(Oh boy. Part of that actually looks kind of funny. The idea of random characters being in various horror films is just amusing. Like, imagine 23 Jump Street just being those characters in Friday the 13th or something? That’s a funny idea. Also Bella Thorne is in this film? That’s wild.)

Directors – Tyler Perry – (Known For: Why Did I Get Married?; I Can Do Bad All by Myself; The Family That Preys; Future BMT: Madea Goes to Jail; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Meet the Browns; Madea’s Witness Protection; Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Nobody’s Fool; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Good Deeds; A Fall from Grace; Acrimony; Daddy’s Little Girls; For Colored Girls; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor; A Madea Christmas; The Single Moms Club; Notes: Notably started out writing while living in his car. He parlayed a single play into a playhouse, and then a multimedia empire. He is estimated to now be worth nearly $1 billion, and will likely cross that threshold relatively soon as he makes $80 million a year himself from a deal with CBS.)

Tyler Perry Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 2014 for A Madea Christmas; and in 2018 for Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Nominee for Worst Director in 2013 for Good Deeds, and Madea’s Witness Protection; in 2014 for A Madea Christmas, and Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor; and in 2017 for Boo! A Madea Halloween; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, Worst Actress, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for A Madea Family Funeral in 2020; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Combo for A Madea Christmas in 2014; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2013 for Alex Cross, and Good Deeds; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Combo for Boo! A Madea Halloween in 2017; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Madea’s Witness Protection in 2013; and Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween in 2018;

Writers – Tyler Perry (written by) – (Known For: Why Did I Get Married?; I Can Do Bad All by Myself; The Family That Preys; Future BMT: Madea Goes to Jail; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Meet the Browns; Madea’s Witness Protection; Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Nobody’s Fool; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Good Deeds; A Fall from Grace; Acrimony; Daddy’s Little Girls; For Colored Girls; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor; A Madea Christmas; The Single Moms Club; Diary of a Mad Black Woman; Notes: I think he currently has maybe six television shows on the air. He has produced nearly 1000 episodes of television in general, which also likely make an enormous amount of money for streaming rights alone.)

Actors – Tyler Perry – (Known For: Gone Girl; Star Trek; Vice; Why Did I Get Married?; I Can Do Bad All by Myself; The Family That Preys; The Star; Future BMT: Madea Goes to Jail; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Meet the Browns; Madea’s Witness Protection; Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Good Deeds; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows; A Fall from Grace; Brain on Fire; BMT: Alex Cross; Boo! A Madea Halloween; A Madea Christmas; The Single Moms Club; Diary of a Mad Black Woman; Notes: He has received multiple lifetime achievement awards for his achievements in television and movie production, including the 2020 Governor’s Award from the Primetime Emmys.)

Cassi Davis – (Known For: School Daze; Future BMT: Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Daddy’s Little Girls; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for A Madea Family Funeral in 2020; Notes: Almost entirely known for the roles of Aunt Bam (various Tyler Perry films), Ellen Payne (House of Payne) and also appeared as a voice in The PJs prior to that.)

Patrice Lovely – (Future BMT: Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; A Madea Family Funeral; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Notes: Was the ringmaster for the UniverSoul Circus for years prior to acting with Perry on stage as Hattie.)

Budget/Gross – $20,000,000 / Domestic: $73,206,343 (Worldwide: $74,827,344)

(Given it was filmed in 6 days I’m going to guess that $18 million of that goes directly into Tyler Perry’s pocket. $1 million is for the crew and sets. $1 million for all of the other actors. And then Tyler Perry likely makes another $35 million straight cash. I bet he makes like $50 million dollars when he releases a movie … my god!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (8/43): Boo! A Madea Halloween won’t win Tyler Perry’s long-running franchise many new converts — but at nine films and counting, it hardly needs to.

(Shockingly high critic score now that I look at it. Looking through it the good reviews seem like a mix of “the least religious and thus most tolerable of the Madea films” and “Madea fans will like it.” Reviewer Highlight: Madea remains a distinctive, weirdly compelling character. Maybe someday Perry will make a good comedy for her. – Jesse Hassenger, AV Club)

Poster – Happy Hellurween

(I like my title actually. But this poster makes sense. It’s selling Madea, it’s got some sweet font, etc. I guess I’d like it if they were a bit more stylish in bringing in more orange. A little amateurish in that way. But still good. B.)

Tagline(s) – Trick or treat, fools. (B+)

(This is solid. You could have also used my Happy Hellur-ween. But don’t worry about it, not a big deal. This is catchy and I think it works quite well. Gives you the attitude of the film in a short and sweet package.)

Keyword – halloween

Top 10: Hocus Pocus (1993), The Addams Family (1991), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), The Karate Kid (1984), Addams Family Values (1993), Halloween (2018), Casper (1995), House of 1000 Corpses (2003), Zodiac (2007)

Future BMT: 92.3 Son of the Mask (2005), 82.5 Halloween: Resurrection (2002), 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 69.3 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), 67.0 Halloween II (2009), 63.7 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 63.6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 60.7 Skinwalkers (2006), 58.9 Pet Sematary II (1992), 57.7 The Next Best Thing (2000);

BMT: Thir13en Ghosts (2001), The Predator (2018), Batman Forever (1995), Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016), Made of Honour (2008), Deadly Friend (1986), Town & Country (2001)

(The Predator is a real deal Halloween film. The others I can’t really remember … Deadly Friend is I think, I think I remember someone smashing a pumpkin. Oh yeah, and Warren Beatty is dressed as someone in Town & Country, wild. The notability plot is somewhat inexplicable … maybe just holiday films in general have become smaller affairs with horror films dominating Halloween and blockbusters dominating Christmas? I would believe it I suppose.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Tyler Perry is No. 1 billed in Boo! A Madea Halloween and No. 1 billed in Alex Cross, which also stars Jean Reno (No. 3 billed) who is in Rollerball (No. 5 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 5 + 1 + 2 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Shot in six days.

Tyler Perry says the idea was conceived after watching the film Top Five (2014). In that film, Chris Rock’s character enters a movie theater and sees movie goers lined up for a fictional Tyler Perry movie about Madea fighting ghosts in a haunted house. That movie was also called “Boo!”

The film netted $74 million between domestic and international runs and $72 million of that was domestic. Having only a six-day shooting schedule, it made roughly $12.3 million per day of shooting.

YouTubers Liza Koshy, known by her fans as “little brown girl,” Mike Tornabene, a.k.a. “Dom Mazzeti,” Yousef Erakat, a.k.a. “FouseyTUBE,” YouTubers Kian Lawley and J.C. Caylen all have roles in the film (I combined a bunch of notes here. I wonder if this was a move to pull in a built in audience, or whether this was just because YouTubers are incredibly cheap actors …)

In the scene where BJ walks through the living room, the actor is holding the iPad of the film’s script supervisor which happened to have a PDF of the script on the screen as the prop was improvised as cameras started rolling on the scene.

While both Bam and Hattie call Madea by her given name, Bam also calls her ‘Dea’, and Hattie calls her ‘Ma’.

The first film in the franchise to feature Hattie and the second film in the franchise to feature Aunt Bam.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Tyler Perry, 2017)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Combo (Tyler Perry, 2017)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Tyler Perry, 2017)

Bloodshot Recap

Jamie

Ray is a total badass with a hot wife. Life is good. (or is it?) When he and his wife are killed by a psycho bad guy (or is he?) Ray is shocked to find himself reanimated with robot blood and no memory. When bits and pieces start coming back, he becomes dead set on payback (or is he?). Can he take down the real bad guy before it’s too late? Find out in… Bloodshot.

How?! If you can’t tell from the short synopsis, this is a film with all sorts of twist-em-ups. We are introduced to Ray as an all around American hero. He is saving hostages one day and then heading to the Amalfi Coast with his perfectly beautiful wife the next. But this is all shattered when a psycho demands information from Ray that he doesn’t have. But just when it looks like Ray and his wife have been killed and the movie is over you are shocked (shocked!) to find out that the previously deceased Ray has been turned into a memoryless super soldier by a company, RST, using nanobots. While he’s still getting used to having all kinds of tiny robots for blood, Ray starts having flashbacks about the man who killed his wife. Enraged, he goes on a mission and uses all of his totally badass superpowers to take out anyone in his way and kill the man. But just when you think the movie is again over you are shocked (shocked!) to find that in fact Ray’s previous life is all a simulation meant to implant his next target into his brain (what a twist!). But things start going awry when on the next mission Ray is knocked out by an EMP and revived by a totally elite hacker who informs him about what is actually going on. Now really enraged (for real this time), Ray leaves and visits his wife who turns out to not be dead… and also turns out to not be his wife at all. Now even more enraged, Ray is confronted by some other RST super soldiers and is subdued. But with the help of his friends (aww) he is able to escape and proceeds to have a big ol’ fight with the super soldiers and this time wins (duh). He then murders the CEO of RST and wins the day. THE END.

Why?! Ray’s motivations are always on the side of good… or at least on the side of good as he perceives it. It’s always for revenge against those he thought killed his wife or against those that have really wronged him. The antagonist’s motivations are, as always, more interesting. Ray is just his super soldier, but he has started using him as a method of taking out his former partners in the company turned rivals. This, of course, turns out poorly because life… finds a way.

Who?! There are a whole bunch of special thanks in the film, but none are particularly interesting. A few are comic book writers who had some influence on the character or story, but not enough to get a full credit and then some people that helped with production in South Africa. Probably the best though is Eric the hacker who is a Planchet in the sense that everyone makes fun of him the whole time. The only issue is that, while talented at what he does, he is one of the enemies and easily bested by a better hacker in the end. The actor who plays him, Siddharth Dhananjay, also seems to be a Youtube rapper.

What?! Some mild product placement with people using Sony phones and tablets left and right. That’s probably what should have alerted Vin Diesel to it all being a simulation. When he looks around and everyone is jamming out on their Sony phones and tablets without an Apple product in sight he should be like “wait a second.” And Eric the hacker is like “sorry, the simulation is sponsored by Sony.”

Where?! Beautiful settings film. We start in “Kenya” and head to “Italy” before landing in the first actual location of Malaysia. We then proceed to have some sweet battles in Hungary and England. While disappointing that the first two locations turn out to be simulations, Malaysia and Hungary are two incredible spots to set this film in. B+.

When?! Sure feels like the near future, but it’s really hard to tell. They don’t give us much considering the entire plot and film takes place in a bit of a crazy super soldier computer simulation bubble where things either feel like the current day or several decades in the future. F until I find out otherwise.

I will say I was pleasantly surprised by this film. I thought from the trailers that this would be dumb garbage. It’s still not smart garbage, but I think it does a number of things a lot better than I expected. Better visuals, particularly some striking use of color that was fun to watch. Better plot, which honestly seemed like it was shaping up to be a true travesty thirty minutes into the film, but used the twist to rescue it a bit. Better set-up for an actual series, although who knows if that will actually happen now. I didn’t really like the end battle and Vinny D had two scenes where he is meant to look sad and it’s… quite something to behold, but overall that still shakes out to be a fairly good BMT film. Should I break it out? Sure. It’s not that bad! Not that bad! Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Much like Vinny D in Bloodshot, BMT Live! cannot be stopped. No, we won’t be heading out to the cinema, we managed to catch one of the qualifying films which has crashed onto streaming platforms early, and we are counting it. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Prior to the film coming out I had an inkling this was going to be another film that got like … 35-50% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m glad I was kind of wrong, it ended up being decidedly slammed by critics … but it still felt like it was going to be disappointingly blah. That it was either going to qualify but not really be that bad (Hunter Killer), or not qualify and then I’d watch it and be like “blah” (xXx 3). So yeah, I was expecting another Hunter Killer basically. What were my expectations? I was just kind of hoping for it to be really really dumb. So dumb that it became funny that Vin Diesel keeps on getting work grumbling his lines in films not called Fast & Furious. That would make me pretty happy to be honest.

The Good – The first half of this film is legit kind of good. It starts off feeling dumb with a bunch of movie cliches, but then they pull out the twist (that is actually so large it ends up just being the conceit of the entire film) and I mostlydug it. It was really effective, and combined with it coming right after by far the best action sequence in the film I had an epiphany: this movie must just completely fall apart in the third act. There was little other explanation in my mind as to why critics would have slammed it, because the first half is good. I also like Lamorne Morris, and him doing what I assume is an intentionally bad British accent (a la Don Cheadle in Ocean’s Eleven) amused me.

The Bad – Ayup, the third act completely fell apart. It was mostly just that they screwed around in London a bit too long making the movie too long, and then they ended with a really bad action sequence at Bloodshot HQ in Malaysia. The actual worst thing in the film is Vin Diesel’s acting, but that is par for the course. He has two modes. Mode Fambly is him grumbling into the camera, and my brain just switches off at this point when Vinny D’s in Fambly Mode. The second is Super Serious Acting Mode, and he just doesn’t have it anymore. I think he once had it, but a combination of doing way too many Fast & Furious films, and him probably just getting lazy with age, means he just don’t got it any more. And when he tries to act it is actually embarrassing. Most of the rest of the film is just forgettable.

The BMT – Initially, I just kind of felt blah about the film. The first half was good-ish, the second half was bad-ish, let’s call the whole thing off. But now after writing everything out and watching Furious 7 for the Schooled section … are we sure Vin Diesel’s good? Strike that, are we sure Vin Diesel isn’t awful? Maybe that’s the legacy of this film, it’ll be the moment where I crossed the Rubicon and started to ironically enjoy Vin Diesel’s acting. That’s a decent legacy if I’m being honest. Did it meet my expectations? It wasn’t dumb enough. The twist in the middle would have had to be dumber. Like … make his wife like Guy Pearce’s wife and make her the big baddie? I’m there for that. But Vin Diesel grumbled at me, so that made me happy.

Roast-radamus – I think there is a small argument that the IT guy (Eric, played by Siddharth Dhananjay) is a Planchet (Who?), mostly serving to be dunked on by Guy Pearce and various other corporate employees. A few funny Product Placement (What?) with American Turkey Bourbon and Ford immediately coming to mind. A couple decent (if brief) Setting as a Character (Where?) with Malaysia serving as the location of Bad Company HQ, Hungary playing a big part in the first assassination, and London obviously. Probably all too small to be a real “character”, but still pretty fun. While there was a twist it wasn’t bad so I’ll leave that there. I think it has a better shot at Good than at the other superlatives, but likely it just won’t get any of those in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – Very tough obviously to do real street credit reports this early in the year. In reality the cred comes from Vinny D who for whatever reason still headlines a bad action film outside of the F&F Universe every two years or so. I think this also gets a bit of cred by proving that cheesy comic books films are still squarely Marvel’s domain. Valiant can’t just roll in with Bloodshot and expect people to accept the ridiculous nonsense happening on screen immediately. You have to earn that cred. Finally, I mean, how can it avoid getting some bad movie cred for being a bad movie that just got torpedoed by a global pandemic? I’ll remember sheltering in place and watching Bloodshot, that’s for sure.

You Just Got Schooled – It felt like the right time to start catching up on my boy Vinny D’s filmography as I fell a bit behind on the F&F series. While I very much enjoyed Fast 5, I very much did not enjoy Fast & Furious 6. So I went into Furious 7 knowing that I probably was a bit “over” the series as a whole. And not surprisingly … the movie is just not very good. It is too long, everything looks stupid, and the script is an abomination. I know that is what they are going for, but I just don’t really get it, and that’s fine. A few positives. Obviously a good send off for the OG F&F star Walker; it’s got some great vistas, and I love vistas, including a very rare Azerbaijan setting; and the addition of Shaw, who provided an “invincible bad guy” to convincingly go up against The Fambly. Overall, some positives, but again … I don’t get it! C+.

Live Theater Review (Shelter in Place Edition) – I guess I’ll keep this short. I watched on Movies Anywhere in the comfort of my own flat. On the one hand it allowed me to watch in two pieces which is a somewhat unsatisfying experience. That’s on me though, and more about self-discipline (of which I have very little). On the other hand, I didn’t sit miserably in the theater watching a movie I didn’t really want to see. So it was a mixed bag. I guess we’ll see how the Spring session goes. C.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs