Dracula 2000 Preview

“Gruber?” Rich whisper, but instead of the mad man one of the groundskeepers steps into view. Suddenly the man’s suit glows blue and a virus begins to download onto their computer. Poe and Brock rush into the room out of breath. “Stop! Rich… the groundskeepers. They are lawnmower men.” A gasp goes through the room. How could such monstrous beings be hiding right under their noses? No wonder Gruber wanted the tech so badly. A virus that controls lawnmower men would be devastating. Rich turns to his colleagues. “Now I understand. It’s so obvious. Gruber wanted us to find the virus, once we found it it activated the lawnmower men who then came and downloaded the virus from our computer. It’s all a frame job. Made to look like we released lawnmower men on the world.” My God! It’s all so clear! The lawnmower men cackle in glee as they run forwards and jack into the internet and enter cyberspace. Just then Poe has an idea. “Get me the virus file and a laptop. It’s time to get spectechular.” They all high five at his appropriate use of teen lingo. Putting on some sweet VR head gear they all get hacking and hack like they’ve never hacked before. Finally they find the garbage file and isolate the virus. “Tell me the name,” Poe yells, “we need to understand the code and then we can jack into cyberspace and take it down.” Rich reconstructs the degraded file and gasps, “It’s a money-making scheme meant to bleed the school dry of funds before escaping to the Caribbean.” It’s Poe’s turn to gasp as he understands the implications, “you don’t mean…” But Rich nods, “It’s a Dracula Virus. FangTime2000. And we’re on the hook. It’s time to jack in.” That’s right! We are going back in time to the far past of 2000 where just adding that number to a film’s name meant you were in for a wild ride. No better exemplified than with Dracula 2000, which attempted to move the well-worn property into the new millennium. We’ve been eyeing this one mostly for the opportunity to see a tiny Gerard Butler when he was just a wee lad. Jonny Lee Miller gave us the opportunity. Let’s go!

Meanwhile… having subdued the security guards using their country bumpkin disguises the two hooded figures finally remove their hoods. Gasp! It’s Sticks and Stones! The wiley Z-universe twin cops. On brand, they are up to no good and gaze upon their final destination: the BMTVerse Jackdrive. They activate the screen and up pops their BMTverse partner in crime. “We’re ready to jack in, Dr. Vampiro.” That’s right! We’re watching Dracula 3000 as the delightful pairing for the Bring a Friend cycle. This is a terrible film that makes me sad to even think about watching. Yay! Let’s go!

Dracula 2000 (2000) – BMeTric: 64.0 

Dracula2000IMDb_BMeT

Dracula2000IMDb_RV

(Extremely consistent which is a good sign. As usual I feel like what this means is that over time people are still looking at this film and thinking “this is garbage”. Sub 4.0 is really low. Promising.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Miller heads to New Orleans to save a sweet young thing from the charms of cinema’s most famous bloodsucker (Butler). Perhaps the only film in history that manages to get its producer’s name, lead character and release date all in the official title, this modern-day take on the vampire classic shows why some characters are best left in their own era. Has a few good moments and better performances than you might expect. Followed by two direct-to-video sequels.

(Oooof, no Oxford comma Leonard? That is really just too bad, I’m a huge proponent of the Oxford comma. Whatever, I don’t think Leonard watched this film, this review is too generic. A few good moments? Naw, I bet this movie is garbage. Just speculating.)

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

(My God, this looks like the rudest tudest late-90s / early 00s trash remake in history. Just spit right in the face of Dracula fans. I cannot wait, this is going to be so dumb.)

Directors – Patrick Lussier – (Known For: My Bloody Valentine; White Noise: The Light; BMT: Dracula 2000; Drive Angry; Notes: Started as a television editor, specifically on MacGyver. His son is also involved in film editing.)

Writers – Joel Soisson (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Trick or Treat; Future BMT: Piranha 3DD; Highlander: Endgame; Cam2Cam; BMT: Dracula 2000; Notes: Wrote the straight-to-video sequel Hellraiser: Hellworld. His wife Claudia Templeton often cameos in his films.)

Patrick Lussier (story) – (Future BMT: Terminator Genisys; BMT: Dracula 2000; Drive Angry; Notes: Also wrote straight-to-video sequels Dracula II: Ascension and Dracula III: Legacy. Despite the different names they are indeed sequels to this film.)

Actors – Gerard Butler – (Known For: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; 300; Den of Thieves; Olympus Has Fallen; RocknRolla; How to Train Your Dragon; The Vanishing; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Tomorrow Never Dies; Reign of Fire; Nim’s Island; Coriolanus; Beowulf & Grendel; Mrs Brown; Dear Frankie; Harrison’s Flowers; The Cherry Orchard; Future BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Tale of the Mummy; The Ugly Truth; A Family Man; The Game of Their Lives; Machine Gun Preacher; BMT: Movie 43; Dracula 2000; Geostorm; Gods of Egypt; The Bounty Hunter; Timeline; Gamer; Playing for Keeps; London Has Fallen; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for The Bounty Hunter; and in 2017 for Gods of Egypt, and London Has Fallen; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble for The Bounty Hunter in 2011; Notes: His home was apparently destroyed in the Woolsey Fire, all of the recent news is dominated by press concerning his soon-to-be-released Angel Has Fallen.)

Justine Waddell – (Known For: The Fall; Mansfield Park; Killing Bono; Future BMT: Thr3e; Anna Karenina; BMT: Dracula 2000; Notes: Daughter of Gordon Waddell former captain of the Scottish rugby union team.)

Jonny Lee Miller – (Known For: Trainspotting; T2 Trainspotting; Mansfield Park; Byzantium; Melinda and Melinda; Afterglow; Endgame; The Flying Scotsman; Future BMT: Dark Shadows; Hackers; Mindhunters; Plunkett & Macleane; Love, Honour and Obey; BMT: Dracula 2000; Æon Flux; Notes: Star of Hackers, he is English and dropped out of school at 17 to pursue acting.)

Budget/Gross – $54 million / Domestic: $33,022,767 (Worldwide: $47,053,625)

(Not good. I’m stunned it had a 50+ million dollar budget at this point in time. That is really high, and for what? A remake of one of the classically overdone tales in cinema history. This is like how they keep making Robin Hood films that almost always bomb / suck.)

#128 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(Came right at the end of an initial peak. As far as gross goes, it comes in right around Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter … which is not a very good look. That movie was the 3rd sequel of a cheap 80s horror franchise. This cost $50 million dollars.)

#25 for the Vampire genre

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(Our fourth vampire film for BMT. This came before the Twilight boom, but I’m pretty surprised at how consistently vampire films have been made throughout history.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 18% (12/68): This retelling trys [sic] to offer a different spin on the origin of Dracula. Unfortunately, there’s nothing here audiences haven’t seen before.

(That misspelling is just incredible. And now I’m getting a bit concerned this is just going to be boring. I still have hope this will be completely trash. Reviewer Highlight: A thudding, suspense-free montage of unshocking shock effects and more severed heads than toppled during the French Revolution. – Stephen Holden, New York Times)

Poster – Spectacula 2000 (B+)

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(I like the feel of it. The color and framing particularly. The font is less interesting, but has a kind of shine to it. Overall pretty solid stuff.)

Tagline(s) – The Most Seductive Evil of All Time Has Now Been Unleashed in Ours. (D)

(If I wanted to read this much I’d buy a book. Also this is nonsense. Just stop reading it. It’s just gonna make less and less sense.)

Keyword(s) – number in title; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.8 Battlefield Earth (2000); 90.4 Fifty Shades of Grey (2015); 89.8 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 86.4 Troll 2 (1990); 85.9 Fantastic Four (2015); 85.9 Piranha 3DD (2012); 84.6 Movie 43 (2013); 83.9 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005); 83.8 The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011); 83.0 RoboCop 3 (1993);

(Oh shit. Well we have to watch Piranha 3DD at some point (it will be unpleasant). Human Centipede is never happening though. It is amazing how many terrible films have numbers in the title. I like the inclusion of Battlefield Earth which is sometimes subtitled “A Saga in the Year 3000”.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Gerard Butler is No. 1 billed in Dracula 2000 and No. 1 billed in The Bounty Hunter, which also stars Jennifer Aniston (No. 2 billed) who is in Just Go With It (No. 2 billed), which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Must Love Dogs, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – The name of Van Helsing’s antique business, “Carfax Abbey” is also the name of house Dracula moves into in Bram Stoker’s book “Dracula”.

The line in the film where Jonny Lee Miller playing Simon Sheppard says, “Never, ever fuck with an antiques dealer,” was a line the actor would say on set as a joke. The director liked it and incorporated it into the scene. (Oh no!)

Dracula says, “I don’t drink… coffee,” in one scene. This is a spoof of “I never drink… wine” from Dracula (1931).

Script doctor Scott Derrickson told the story of how he got the job working on this film. Harvey Weinstein called him, saying, “I just bought this script, called, ‘Dracula 2000’.” Derrickson replied, “Oh, yeah? Is it good?” Weinstein replied, “It stinks!” Derrickson asked, “So why did you buy it?”, and Weinstein replied “Because it’s called, ‘Dracula 2000’.” Derrickson did the re-write, which Weinstein discarded. Ehren Kruger did the next rewrite. (Jesus Christ)

The typeface used on the title screen is a variation of the same typeface used on the first release of the Dracula novel in 1897. (Cool)

Nathan Fillion plays a priest in this movie. He would also go on to play Caleb, an evil Priest on the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) (Must be a young Nathan Fillion)

The doctor who screams as Dracula approaches him in the police station is named Dr. Seward, a reference to the Book. (Cool)

The character Lucy Westerman’s name is a reference to the character Lucy Westenra from Bram Stoker’s book. She is in the movie, as in the book, the best friend of the main character Mina (book)/Mary (movie). (Alright, it is starting to feel like the writers just read the book and shoehorned a bunch of shit in this thing)

Gerard Butler was given a break from filming The Cherry Orchard (1999) so that he could play Dracula in “Dracula 2000”.

Director Patrick Lussier remarked in an interview that the Father Uffizi character played by Jason Scott Lee in Dracula II: Ascension (2003) and Dracula III: Legacy (2005) was originally written into this film. (Huh, so a more direct sequel than I thought)

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Jungle 2 Jungle Recap

Jamie

Michael Cromwell needs a divorce and fast, but when he arrives in the Venezuelan rainforest he’s shocked to find he has a son. Hoping to connect with the boy he brings him to NYC amidst both personal and professional upheaval. Can he learn to live and love again (and perhaps make big bucks on the commodity market) before it’s too late? Find out in… Jungle 2 Jungle.

How?! Michael Cromwell is an asshole, but the kind of asshole that is totally selfish and crushes the commodities market. He’s wheeling and dealing in the world of coffee while getting ready for his marriage to his high-fashion fiance, so what could go wrong? Maybe just a Sweet Home Alabama situation up in here. He’s still married and needs a divorce first. He heads on down Venezuela way to find his estranged wife in the rainforest where she lives with a secluded tribe. When he arrives there, he’s surprised to find he has a son, Mimi-Siku! And Mimi-Siku only knows the ways of the jungle. Egad. But let’s get back to that storyline that all the kids are clamoring to hear more about. What’s happening with all those coffee stocks our boy has bought (says the chorus of boys and girls in the theater)? Well while he was in the jungle he didn’t get a chance to sell them and now they are crashing. He and his partner have to try to unload them so they don’t lose everything. And that’s how they get mixed up with the Russian mob. What’s that? Mimi, who? Oh right, yeah so meanwhile Mimi-Siku comes back to NYC with Michael because he inadvertently promised that he would take him to the Statue of Liberty. When Mimi-Siku arrives he continually scares the bejeezus out of everyone with his giant tarantula, bows and arrows, and blow darts. Michael’s fiance is totally fed up cause she kinda sucks and moves out. Michael’s partner totally panics and go through with the deal with the Russian mob because Michael is busy bonding with Mimi-Siku. When the price of coffee continues to fall they demand their money back and Michael obliges only to have the stock rebound, further angering the mob. They take Michael and his partner’s family hostage, but Mimi-Siku uses his jungle skillz to take them all out and leave everyone rich and happy. Having realized that NYC is not his home, Mimi-Siku asks to go back to Venezuela only to be surprised when Michael shows up a short time later to live with him. THE END.

Why?! I mean, the film is founded on a mountain of happenstance. Michael finds out he has a son raised in the rainforest and handles it pretty well. It’s actually a little weird he isn’t more freaked out. The only explanation is that finding that he has a son stirred some strong paternal instincts within him… instincts so strong that they overtake his love of the high stakes world of commodity trading. That’s actually the largest source of motivation we get in the film: commodity trading. Everything in the film flows around the commodity trading storyline that, no joke, rivals or surpasses Mimi-Siku’s storyline in terms of scope.

Who?! Not typically one of our categories, but obviously this film has Leelee Sobieski in it as Mimi-Siku’s love interest (weird). Creeping ever closer to finishing her filmography. More interesting though is that her on-screen brother is played by Frankie Galasso… one of the members of the boy band Dream Street that everyone knows and loves. I went ahead and listened to their biggest hit and boy… it’s something.

What?! There is some obvious product placement sprinkled here and there. The Venezuelan natives play with Tim Allen’s electric razor and he screams in dismay that “it’s a Braun.” Tim Allen feeds his son some all-american delicious breakfast in the form of Cap’n Crunch… that sort of thing. Better than the props that were for sale, which for whatever reason all involve fake snakes.

Where?! Great world mapl.de.map setting as this is very clearly set in Venezuela for a surprising amount of the film. The other portion is set in NYC with the Statue of Liberty as the centerpiece. I would have actually considered giving this an A+ if it was set in Chicago… Jungle to Jungle, get it? But alas. Just an A for a very necessary NYC setting with Venezuela.

When?! Secret holiday film alert! After Michael Cromwell has learned to live and love again he takes Mimi-Siku to the Statue of Liberty. He explains that they’ll have to return in two days when it’s the 4th of July because the fireworks are spectacular. While we don’t actually get to celebrate the holiday on screen, we know that everything occurs right around that time, so I count it. C+.

I feel like the boy who cried wolf here because there have been a number of times where we’ve watched a remake of a film and remarked at how shockingly similar it is to the original. We oooohed and aaaaahed at the blatant disregard for creativity. Oh, but those were nothing compared to Little Indian, Big City and Jungle 2 Jungle. It made me question the nature of art after watching what is essentially a shot for shot remake of a film (down to the blocking of scenes and throwaway jokes). Really the only differences they had were the addition of some Tim Allen centric jokes (fart in a native hammock, blow darting of a cat, piranha on the finger… that sort of thing) and making Martin Short’s character slightly less of a child abuser idiot and more of just an idiot. They were so similar that after watching Jungle 2 Jungle first I was thoroughly bored in my viewing of the original as I was being forced to watch the same movie over again. Who would have thought being totally bored by a film would be so interesting from a BMT perspective. Totally worth it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We watched literally the same movie back to back. I’m not exaggerating. I’m stunned. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I think I saw at least a bit of this as a kid. Regardless the most exciting bit? Leelee Sobieski. I’m always excited to mark another one off for a BMT favorite’s filmography. She’s a literal child actress in this, so anything but a catastrophic performance would be quite good. I’m not going to sit here and rip into the acting of a teen actor. I’m not a monster.

The Good – Leelee Sobieski was fine. I would even argue she’s on par with Sam Huntington as Mimi-Siku. Now that I think about it … the acting was kind of alright throughout the film. It struck a nice contrast with the more slapstick French version, the acting itself was toned down while the props, sets, etc. were all kind of blown out of proportion. This was more normal people living in an exaggerated world, instead of exaggerated people living in a normal world … you know what I mean?

The Bad – I don’t actually think the film is that bad. Scattershot sure. But Tim Allen and the cast do a decent job at it. There are two major crimes here. First, this is a shot-for-shot remake of the original French film. I’ll get to that in a bit … but that’s just wild considering the original was released to theaters in the US the year prior. Second, the B-story involving the coffee options is so big and in your face and important to the story it is almost the A-story. A story about commodity speculation … is basically the primary storyline in a children’s film about a boy from the Amazon rainforest coming to live in New York City. Give me a goddamned break.

The BMT – I think this acts as an extremely interesting pair for BMT. A remake of a French film which itself has maybe the second worst dubbing I’ve ever seen (nothing will beat Roberto Begnini’s Pinocchio … which by the way he’s doing again). A literal shot-for-shot remake in fact. A perfect display of the difference between French and American humor as well. Something about it makes me love it, even if I don’t think Jungle 2 Jungle is a particularly good bad movie by itself.

Roast-radamus – I think there is a strong argument that Martin Short is a Planchet (Who?), although one that kind of holds his own. But his purpose is to be beaten up and humiliated. Sweet Cap’n Crunch Product Placement (What?) as well. Two punch Setting as a Character (Where?) for Venezuela and New York City. Very Minor Secret Holiday Film (When?) for the Fourth of July setting, and plausibly MacGuffin (Why?) with the B-story involving unloading coffee options with the Russian Mafia. If it got a twist it would have run the gamut! And yet I don’t think this gets a Good, Bad, or BMT in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – As usual I can’t find a yearly list up to stuff, but like other films in this cycle it at the very least on Ebert’s worst of list of 1997. As a matter of fact there are so many terrible remakes of foreign films it doesn’t even get a nod on any of the lists I could find for that category.

Bring a Friend Analysis – For Jungle 2 Jungle we fortunately managed to get a pair of films which both fit into the category (Little Indian, Big City was on Ebert’s worst of list for 1996). And … these films are astonishingly close together. They utilize many of the same jokes (the woman saying “hot for you” on the computer, the spider and alligator chasing Tim Allen in the water, both spider scenes with the boss and the girlfriend, eating the fish), the story is really close as well. Basically just the end is slightly different. The original does have a pretty terrible dub, but I think both films have their relative charms (especially if you watched the subbed French films I’m sure). Adaptation .. can I give it both an F and A? It is too close to be worth it, but yet is the most faithful adaptation of a film I’ve ever seen. It is truly bizarre and well worth a Bring a Friend.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Jungle 2 Jungle Quiz

Huh, the last thing I remember was my long lost son from the Amazon shot me with a dart and I fell into a deep slumber … do you remember what happened in Jungle 2 Jungle?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open with Michael Cromwell travelling to the Venezuelan Amazon where he meets his long lost son. Why did he go to the Amazon in the first place?

2) It just so happens that it is Mimi-Siku’s birthday! And it’s a big one, he’s being declared a man in the eyes of the tribe. What is the task he is given by the chief of the tribe?

3) The B-story in this children’s film is a very interesting story about coffee speculation. Please describe in as much detail as possible the trajectory and issues involving these certificates.

4) What is Michael’s fiance’s job?

5) What does Leelee Sobieski’s new Amazonian tribal name mean? I won’t make you try and remember the actual name … it was Ukeme.

Answers

Jungle 2 Jungle Preview

Rich looks on in horror at the scene unfolding on the video screen near his hiding place aboard the space shuttle. Dark Gruber, the spider monster, laughs maniacally at his puny human captives. He looks primed to destroy Poe, his granny, Jade, and the astronaut Jim McBrawn. At the same time, Assassinbot 3000 prowls the corridors of the space shuttle looking to complete its primary task: destroy Rich. Did Poe not get his message about the importance of family? Or maybe he never realized what was so obviously staring at him in the face. Welp, it’s all up to him now as Dark Gruber looks pretty crude, rude and full of ‘tude (as the kids say) and he better communicate to Poe before it’s too late. Leaping from his hiding place, Rich begins to tussle with the Assassinbot 3000. His shirt is ripped off in the process, but not before he is able to grab some vital tubing. Ripping it free he’s covered with a spray of robot grease leaving his well-toned muscles glistening. They grapple for 30-40 minutes and each second weakens Rich further. Thinking quick he backflips his way around the robot’s laser beams to grab an ice cold Mountain Dew. With his batteries fully charged, Rich is able to land a high octane punch right in Assassinbot’s circuit box, disabling it. Rushing to the shuttle’s communication system he screams into the video feed, “Poe! Poe! It’s about family! It was always about family” Poe looks up, quaking under the stare of Dark Gruber and his uncontrollable spider rage. “Family?… but it’s just me and Granny.” Suddenly the astronaut Jim McBrawn steps up, “No, Poe… Rich is right. It’s time you knew the truth… I’m… I’m your son.” What a twist! That’s right! We are watching the Tim Allen classic Jungle 2 Jungle. I remember this film from my youth but obviously didn’t remember that Siskel clocked this in as his worst of 1997. Ebert’s for that year? The Year of the Horse. The film we all know and love. Let’s go!

Meanwhile… two hooded figures emerge from the jungle surrounding Ecumenopolis to gaze upon their final destination. They crack their knuckles as prepare their disguises. Simple father and son wasteland farmers looking to sell their wares in the BMTverse. That’s right! We’re also watching Little Indian, Big City, the French original from which Jungle 2 Jungle was adapted. Interestingly that film was Ebert’s worst of 1996… back to back champs! What a pairing for Bring a Friend. This also was a film that was not available on DVD with the original English dubbing. So I did the unthinkable. I bought that VHS and had a friend burn it. Don’t look at me, I’m hideous. Let’s go!

Jungle 2 Jungle (1997) – BMeTric: 55.3 

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(Wow that is a really low IMDb score. I find it odd that people would go online to just rail on this 1997 kids film … but humans are a strange creature.)

Leonard Maltin – 3 stars –  Very likable, if predictable, Disney comedy about a career-obsessed New Yorker who goes to the Amazon to get final divorce papers signed by his ex-wife and comes back with a son he never knew he had. The boy’s jungle instincts are no match for life in Manhattan – though he does manage to score some points along the way. Good laughs throughout this family-oriented feature, a remake of the French hit Little Indian, Big City.

(Wow, this stands in stark contract to his 1.5 star review of Little Indian, Big City which he called a “[d]opey French kiddie comedy.” I seems like a difference in comedic tastes. Some people like seeing not-very-good French actors fall down, and some people don’t.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uQm7SOJymg/

(Wowza, that looks … pretty much like the French original. What? Yeah I’ve already watched the French original, wanna fight about it?)

Directors – John Pasquin – (Known For: The Santa Clause; Future BMT: Joe Somebody; BMT: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous; Jungle 2 Jungle; Notes: Frequent collaborator with Tim Allen. Filmed 74 episodes of Last Man Standing.)

Writers – Hervé Palud (earlier screenplay Un indien dans la ville) – (Future BMT: Un indien dans la ville; BMT: Jungle 2 Jungle; Notes: The original’s director as well. He was the one that insisted the original be dubbed for its American release because he wanted to get people to go see it and he didn’t think people wanted to read subtitles. His son directed future BMT The Eye.)

Thierry Lhermitte (earlier screenplay Un indien dans la ville) – (Future BMT: Un indien dans la ville; BMT: Jungle 2 Jungle; Notes: The main actor in the original as well, and one of France’s most famous actors apparently.)

Jean-Marie Pallardy (earlier screenplay Un indien dans la ville) – (Future BMT: Un indien dans la ville; BMT: Jungle 2 Jungle; Notes: A former male model and soft-core porn director. Credited as Boris Pradley, or Igor Aptekman, or Edward John Francis, or his own name. I don’t know why.)

Philippe Bruneau (earlier screenplay Un indien dans la ville) – (Future BMT: Un indien dans la ville; BMT: Jungle 2 Jungle; Notes: His two children are actors. He died in 2012.)

Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon (screenplay) – (Known For: Stand by Me; Mr. Brooks; Starman; Made in Heaven; Future BMT: Cutthroat Island; Kuffs; BMT: Jungle 2 Jungle; Notes: Struggled to get original screenplays produced after producing a bunch of rewrites and remakes (of this is one). Mr. Brooks revitalized their career a bit.)

Actors – Tim Allen – (Known For: Toy Story 4; Toy Story; Toy Story 3; Toy Story 2; Cars; Galaxy Quest; The Santa Clause; Big Trouble; El Camino Christmas; Redbelt; The Santa Clause 2; Future BMT: Zoom; The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause; The Shaggy Dog; Joe Somebody; For Richer or Poorer; Crazy on the Outside; Meet Wally Sparks; Who Is Cletis Tout?; BMT: Jungle 2 Jungle; Christmas with the Kranks; Wild Hogs; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2007 for The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, The Shaggy Dog, and Zoom; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause in 2007; Notes: Notably was arrested for drug trafficking (and spent two years in prison) way back in the say in Detroit. Turned his life around and became a famous movie star.)

Martin Short – (Known For: Inherent Vice; Mars Attacks!; Father of the Bride; The Spiderwick Chronicles; Treasure Planet; The Prince of Egypt; Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; ¡Three Amigos!; Get Over It; Kaze tachinu; Innerspace; Father of the Bride Part II; Frankenweenie; Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius; The Big Picture; Mumford; Cross My Heart; Future BMT: The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause; Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil; Captain Ron; Clifford; A Simple Wish; Pure Luck; The Pebble and the Penguin; We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story; Three Fugitives; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; BMT: Jungle 2 Jungle; Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause in 2007; Notes: Martin Short is hilarious. Him as Jiminy Glick was some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen, and he seems genuinely nice.)

JoBeth Williams – (Known For: Poltergeist; Kramer vs. Kramer; Wyatt Earp; The Big Chill; The Perfect Catch; Stir Crazy; The Big Year; The Dogs of War; In the Land of Women; Teachers; TiMER; Desert Bloom; Barracuda; Just Write; Future BMT: Poltergeist II: The Other Side; Switch; Dutch; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Jungle 2 Jungle; Notes: John Pasquin’s wife. Apparently turned down the role of Murphy Brown. The character was apparently created with her in mind.)

Budget/Gross – $32 million / Domestic: $59,927,618

(Actually decent return. I’m a little surprised they didn’t eventually make Jungle 3 Jungle.)

#17 for the Comedy – Fish-Out-of-Water Father genre

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(I love fish out of water parents. Cheaper by the Dozen 2, The Pacifier, The Game Plan, Are We There Yet?, Old Dogs are all honestly classics. This appears to pre-date the big 2000s boom. Maybe Home Improvement itself was kind of a precursor to the “silly dad” sitcom trope.)

#17 for the Family – Remake genre

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(I just love how remakes come in waves. This was right in the first boom. The second being in the Golden Age of Bad Movies, the 2000s.)

#8 for the Remake – French genre

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(Ha! It is at the literal peak of … French remakes? The Birdcage, True Lies … sounds about right. This is only our second we’ve done after Taxi.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (8/42)

(I’ll write a consensus: Banal, and only mildly amusing. A pretty dumb Tim Allen comedy. Reviewer Highlight: Roughly half of Tim Allen’s latest comedy is hilarious-stupid, and the rest is monotonous-stupid. – Kevin McManus, Washington Post)

Poster – Jingle 2 Jangle (C)

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(I do respect these types of posters as they fully admit that the film is based entirely on one premise: Tim Allen is involved in the jungle! There is nothing else you need to know. If you are not buying a ticket based on that then the film offers nothing else that could convince you. That being said it’s not a great poster, but I enjoy the fun font on the “2”. On that alone I will elevate it to the middle.)

Tagline(s) – Get a little savage. (F)

(Oh boy… that’s insulting. I would like to think they would have known better, but I think I forget exactly how much was allowed to fly not that long ago. I have to give it an F because… you know… it’s racist.)

Keyword(s) – jungle; Top Ten by BMeTric: 75.6 Anaconda (1997); 74.9 After Earth (2013); 72.9 The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996); 72.1 A Sound of Thunder (2005); 70.2 Tees Maar Khan (2010); 69.7 Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004); 65.2 Thunderbirds (2004); 64.9 10,000 BC (2008); 64.0 The Phantom (1996); 60.3 xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017);

(I’m excited for Island of Dr. Moreau. I feel like it is aging like a fine wine. Tees Maar Khan is never happening, you can’t make me.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 7) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Leelee Sobieski is No. 6 billed in Jungle 2 Jungle and No. 1 billed in Here on Earth => 6 + 1 = 7. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – An entire day’s worth of film was lost when it was believed to have been accidentally left in a New York City taxicab. The film was never recovered.

An American remake of the successful French movie Un indien dans la ville (1994) (An Indian In The City). The plot follows the original fairly closely, except that the original was set in Paris rather than New York, and Mimi-Siku climbed the Eiffel Tower rather than the Statue of Liberty.

After shooting Charlotte’s cat with the dart, Michael exclaims “Oh no!” in the same grunting manner as Tim Allen’s character, Tim Taylor, in Home Improvement (1991).

In addition to relocating from Paris to New York, the character Mimi-Siku was made much older than the preteen in the French version. This was largely due to Americans’ general discomfort with young love, under the explanation that “a teenager can get into more trouble.” Additionally, despite American Mimi-Siku’s having lived in the wild, there’s less difference in the skin tones of the two male leads than in the original French film. This was done to emphasize their kinship.

The book Mimi-Siku is reading aloud at the end is “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London.

Feature film debut of Leelee Sobieski.

Allen and Short would later star together in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006).

When Michael, Richard and Mimi-Siku are visiting Jovanovich after they ring the doorbell, Jovanovich yells “Open damn door!” then he says “Chort vozmi!”, which in Russian literally translates to “The devil take it!”

At one point, when Mimi walks outside along a ledge at Charlotte’s office, a man exclaims: “He’s doing a Fay Wray!” This is in reference to the actress Fay Wray, whom was the lead in the 1933 movie King Kong. She was carried to the top of the Empire State Building by King Kong.

Santa Claus: The Movie Recap

Jamie

When Santa’s forward-thinking assistant Patch attempts to streamline the North Pole’s production line he fails to maintain QA/QC and leaves in disgrace. Going to work for a ruthless toy maker in order to prove himself, he inadvertently turns the world against Santa. Can Patch and Santa patch things up before it’s too late? Find out in… Santa Claus: The Movie!

How?! The film starts with a gritty reboot of the Santa origin story. Who was he? Why a dumbo who took his family out on a sleigh during a horrific blizzard (against the advice of everyone) and ended up freezing to death. Or at least that’s an interpretation of what you see, as just as Mr. and Mrs. Claus are about to die they magically awaken to find themselves transported to the North Pole as part of a prophecy fulfilled. Santa will spend all of eternity doing what he loves, making toys and bringing joy to children across the world. Centuries later Santa is still chilling making toys and all the kids around the world kinda know he exists. One Christmas he seems particularly tired and he decides to get an assistant. Enter Patch, the overly-enthusiastic and forward-thinking elf dead-set on taking the North Pole production line into the 20th century. Unfortunately, despite being a mechanical genius, Patch doesn’t totally appreciate impact of his new technology on quality assurance (a message that every boy and girl can relate to). After Santa delivers the presents he is horrified to see that most of them are returned as defective. With no other choice he makes another elf his assistant. The only bright spot that Christmas is that he made friends with a homeless boy in NYC named Joe. In the intervening year Patch heads to NYC to convince a super evil toy maker to hire him so he can show his stuff to Santa, while Joe becomes friend with the evil toy maker’s niece, Cornelia. The next Christmas Santa is old news when Patch’s new flight-powering lollipop is a holiday hit. Super sad, Santa is pretty much Mopey McMoperson and ready to give up, but Joe and Cornelia overhear that the evil toymaker’s new super lollipops are dangerous and get Santa to come and help save the day. In the end Santa saves Joe and Patch using the classic Super Duper Looper (duh) and everyone loves Christmas and Santa. Also the evil toymaker dies when he flies into space using his own flying candy. Hoisted by his own petard. Nice. THE END.

Why?! Santa only wants to bring joy to children, but also gets real sad when a competing toy maker brings joy to them and Santa isn’t A-1 in their hearts anymore… so it’s kinda that he wants to be the only one to bring joy to kids. Oh and he likes to steal kids. At the end he just kind of keeps Joe and Cornelia in the North Pole. The bad guys are cartoons.

Who?! I swear if this was made five years later Donald Trump is in it. Alas, not much for this section other than a special thanks to Frans J. Afman, a banker that was involved in film financing for a while, particularly in the age of smaller studios like Cannon and the like. Apparently he was knighted by the Queen of The Netherlands for his contributions to film, so he’s no slouch. I look forward to my own knighting ceremony.

What?! The product placement in this film is art. Our poor homeless kid Joe spends his day looking longingly into the window of a McDonald’s. Not just for the delicious food but the sense of family and community (you know?). When he finally does get fed by Cornelia he doesn’t get his McD’s (bullshit), but she does leave a delicious Coca-Cola to quench his thirst and seal their friendship in iron.

Where?! Split almost evenly between the North Pole and NYC. Both play a pivotal role in the film and should rightfully get double billing in terms of the setting. I’m not sure where the beginning of the film took place before Santa almost froze to death… I guess probably Sweden or something. A.

When?! Not so secret Holiday Film alert. The story takes places over several centuries, but the most important things happen on Christmas… also Lithgow tries to start a new holiday on March 25th called Christmas II that is now a BMT Holiday. We celebrate that now. A.  

This truly had the makings of a BMT classic. It oozes earnestness. Even when they are throwing around delicious McDonald’s and Coca-Colas in our faces, it still smacks more of gee whiz than corporate exploitation. It’s that kind of earnestness that blinds people to just how ridiculous the film that’s being made truly is. Unfortunately the first thirty minutes of the film was actually a bit too good. The set design was actually impressive. To truly experience this film you have to just watch the latter half where things go way way way way off the rails. First and foremost is John Lithgow who puts on a masterclass in what is one of my favorite performances of all time. He ate entire set pieces with his giant fake chompers. Add on top a really odd QA/QC storyline and a Chekov’s Super Duper Looper sleigh trick (that no one could possibly figure out would be the key to saving the day) and you’ve got a BMT holiday classic on your hands. Can’t wait to force feed this to my kids every Christmas. As for Santa with Muscles it made me sad and not since Transmorphers have I felt such sadness as I watched something. I couldn’t tell if Hulk Hogan was just being himself or was actually acting or if anyone was actually trying to make a film.  Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! It’s the origin story everyone was clamoring for. They got it in stop motion, and now they brought it to the masses live action. It’s the movie that put the Saint in Saint Nick, and da da da da da I loved it! Not really, let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I literally had no idea what this film was prior to watching it. I was very shocked to realize it was our first John Lithgow film, and watching the trailer he was obviously the key to why this movie could be amazing. FOOOOOOR FREEEEEEEE?!?! Is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen and it makes me so so happy that the trailer editor didn’t hide that from the viewers. He or she knew what I wanted and gave it to me in spades, which made me a little more excited for a film I would usually default to probably-boring.

The Good – The beginning is actually a fine television movie level origin story for Santa. I actually genuinely think the first third is better than Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, the Rankin/Bass production it’s storyline is closest to. I also quite like how unabashedly it leans into the magical part of Santa. They don’t try and explain things too much, it is basically just like “you’ll live forever, this stuff makes reindeers (and children) fly, you just magic into and out of houses, don’t worry about it!”. I kinda dug that.

The Bad – The second half of this film is pretty bad. The instant Joe sits outside of a McDonald’s drooling at not only the delicious (and nutritious!) hamburgers, but the familial love that McDonald’s naturally attracts everything turns into a joke. Like, yo, Santa, you can do whatever you want, why not give Joe a house? What, is Joe the only homeless kid in New York City? The first half you have to buy into just magic existing. The second half takes it a step too far and tries to paint a world that is just far enough from how everything actually works that it is really hard to pick up what they are putting down. The movie is insane and could actually be one of the most misguided film we’ve watched, and as Jamie says, it is very very earnest in what it is trying to sell.

The BMT – You notice anything missing from the two above sections? No Lithgow! That’s because I’m putting him here. His performance is easily the most “thanks, I hate it” performance we’ve seen in BMT. It is off the wall, bananas, bonkers, I’m running out of adjectives to describe it! I both love it, and realize it is the craziest thing ever, and that is kind of the punctuation mark on why Santa Claus: The Movie is amazing. Pop that into a two hour long commercial for McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, and mix in a very (very) earnest Christmas film where Santa (probably) dies in the beginning and you get a perfect monster of a movie.

Roast-radamus – Easily a When? (Not so secret holiday film) as mentioned, an unabashedly pro-Christmas film. And also a What? (Product Placement) because Da-da-da-da-da I’m lovin’ McDonald’s now. And wash that down with an ice-cold Coca-Cola. I couldn’t tell but I think they cut the part of the film where Mrs. Claus was like “naw, green is not his color … can we dress him up as a giant Coca-Cola can?”. I actually do think we have a Who? (Planchet) for Lithgow’s assistant whom Lithgow shits on all film and insinuates is gay (I think? It’s hard to tell). The Where? (Setting as a character) for a New York City filled with McDonald’s loving families (and homeless children, and evil toy makers). And How? (Chekov’s Blank) for Chekov’s Super Duper Looper which is inevitably used to save Joe and Patch from their exploding flying car. And naturally this slides head first into a BMT award … my god, it’s running the gamut! It legit qualifies for all of the categories!!!

StreetCreditReport.com – As far as worst Christmas films? It gets seven here. And thirteen here. It is well known in bad movie circles for being a quintessential bad Christmas film. And I think as we quickly approach the end of this cycle I can safely say that the movie’s rejection from the worst movie of all time wiki page is cred enough. But this got the cred.

You Just Got Schooled – There wasn’t much in terms of direct Santa Claus: The Movie accoutrements to consume alongside the film itself, so I took the opportunity to listen to a movie podcast where they reviewed the film. We Hate Movies is one of the most famous bad movie podcasts around. And I have to say, this episode was very funny, and very informed. They basically rehashed the storyline while adding in funny asides (like the John Carpenter version of this film complete with synth soundtrack, and a Jessie Ventura impression that was spot on). I still think I like The Flophouse more. We Hate Movies felt very rehearsed and I found myself not laughing as much as I do with The Flophouse’s more off the cuff tangents. Be warned though, some of their podcasts appear to be behind a Patreon funded paywall which is fine, but just something to know up front, the whole catalog is not free.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week was Bring a Friend week and we watched another Christman classic: Santa with Muscles starring Hulk Hogan. So … I’m not sure why a movie like this exists. Why would Hulk Hogan do this? Was he trying to act? Or was this just his character at the time? It was supremely confusing, a strange mash up of two films. In one film the eeeeeevil businessman Hulk Hogan bumped his head, thinks he’s Santa, learns to love again, and saves the orphanage. In the second a mall Santa (Hogan) saves the orphanage from the eeeeevil businessman (Ed Begley Jr.) and his crew of eeeeevil scientists. And they just … put those two scripts together and went on their way? I hated watching this film. But I think it is valuable to see what the mid-90s direct-to-video kids’ market was like … and it was trash. Good to know.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Santa Claus: The Movie Preview

Jamie and Patrick slowly circle the mailman twins looking for an opening. Despite whirling backflips and patented twin chops they find that their opponent’s twin power is strong and every move is deftly countered. Tiring, Jamie and Patrick know what must be done. With lightning quickness they transition from a simple high five into a capoeira-inspired gymnastics-dancing-kung fu move. Flying into the air, feet akimbo, Jamie it able to connect, leaving their opponents shocked. The mailman touches his bloodied face and knows that this is the end of the battle. Blood has been spilled, identicalness has been spoilt, the power of the medallion has failed them. “Take it,” the leader says tossing them the medallion. A look of recognition crosses his face and he squints at them, “who… who are you two?” Patrick shakes his head and turns away saying, “We’re not important. It’s who we’re looking for that is.” Inspecting the medallion, though, they realize that it is just a worthless trinket. “Hey! What gives!? This ain’t worth jack!” They yell, thinking the mailmen have deceived them, but at that moment a chilling sound pierces the air: the cackling laughter of the troll. Saboteur! He knew this whole time that the medallion was a simple bauble! From behind a rock he emerges, “I’ve come for my favor,” he grunts. Jamie and Patrick look at him in disgust, but know he has won. Everyone knows their word is their bond… it’s a rule, and they don’t break rules. “What do you want from us?” Jamie asks, fearing what dastardly plan he has in store. “A simple task,” the troll says with a sneer, “You know a jolly fat man named Santa?” Jamie and Patrick are frozen in horror, they know what’s coming, “I want him, and I want him dead.”

Meanwhile… hoods pulled up high, the two prisoners get a drink in a gritty bar. They think of the long road across the wasteland still left and the anger wells within. A couple of muscly St. Patty’s Day Leprechauns tap them on the should and tell ‘em to scram. The prisoners crack their knuckles.

That’s right! We’re watching the Dudley Moore classic, and definitely a film we had heard of prior to deciding to do it … Santa Claus: The Movie! Not only that, but we are pairing it up with another holiday classic Santa With Muscles starring Hulk Hogan! Boy, oh boy, it’s like Christmas in April! Let’s go!

Santa Claus: The Movie (1985) – BMeTric: 20.0

SantaClausTheMovieIMDb_BMeT

SantaClausTheMovieIMDb_RV

(Oh we’ve seen this before. The giant jump in 2014 I mean. I can’t remember what my explanation was … probably a big New Years vote purge or something. It really is a-tumblin’ though, people just love Dudley Moore I guess.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Story of how Santa came to be starts out so wonderfully – with eye-filling looks at his North Pole toy factory, reindeer, and sleigh – that it’s too bad the rest of the film (with contemporary tale of humbug kid and greedy toy magnate) can’t measure up. Still entertaining, just a bit less magical than it should have been. Referred to as Santa Claus: The Movie everywhere but on-screen!

(Interestingly solid review. Kind of like Double Dragon then, starts off with a kind of quaint vague interest, but then the rest of the actual plot catches up and ruins it.)

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

(I love John Lithgow. “FOOOORRRR FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE?!!!?!?!??!” I’m already kind of excited)

Directors – Jeannot Szwarc – (Known For: Jaws 2; Somewhere in Time; Future BMT: Supergirl; Bug; BMT: Santa Claus: The Movie; Notes: He started in television on shows like Night Gallery. He’s returned to television since, directing an episode of Grey’s Anatomy this year for example. French, but raised in Argentina.)

Writers – David Newman (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Bonnie and Clyde; Superman; Superman II; What’s Up, Doc?; Still of the Night; Bad Company; There Was a Crooked Man…; Future BMT: Sheena; BMT: Superman III; Santa Claus: The Movie; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Sheena in 1985; Notes: Edited Esquire in the 60s, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Bonnie and Clyde.)

Leslie Newman (story) – (Known For: Superman; Superman II; BMT: Superman III; Santa Claus: The Movie; Notes: Married to David Newman until his death in 2003, is a cookbook author as well.)

Actors – Dudley Moore – (Known For: 10; Arthur; Foul Play; Bedazzled; The Wrong Box; Micki + Maude; Lovesick; The Bed Sitting Room; Future BMT: Arthur 2: On the Rocks; Wholly Moses!; Blame It on the Bellboy; Crazy People; The Hound of the Baskervilles; Unfaithfully Yours; The Pickle; BMT: Santa Claus: The Movie; Notes: Died of progressive supranuclearl palsy in 2002. Notable for his height of five foot two inches.)

John Lithgow – (Known For: Pet Sematary; Interstellar; This Is 40; The Accountant; Shrek; Late Night; The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension; Footloose; Miss Sloane; Twilight Zone: The Movie; The Tomorrow Man; Rise of the Planet of the Apes; Cliffhanger; Bigfoot and the Hendersons; Terms of Endearment; All That Jazz; Orange County; The Homesman; Dreamgirls; 2010: The Year We Make Contact; Future BMT: Pitch Perfect 3; Confessions of a Shopaholic; Daddy’s Home Two; A Good Man in Africa; Leap Year; Silent Fall; BMT: New Year’s Eve (uncredited); Santa Claus: The Movie; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Cliffhanger in 1994; Notes: In 2017 he co-authored a New York Times crossword puzzle.)

David Huddleston – (Known For: The Big Lebowski; Blazing Saddles; Rio Lobo; Frantic; The Producers; Capricorn One; McQ; Breakheart Pass; Bad Company; Future BMT: Postal; Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again; Joe’s Apartment; Something to Talk About; Life with Mikey; The World’s Greatest Lover; BMT: Santa Claus: The Movie; Notes: Served in the Air Force and most well known as Lebowski in The Big Lebowski.)

Budget/Gross – $30–50 million / Domestic: $23,717,291

(That seems like a complete disaster. What were they thinking, that Christmas films just printed money?)

#38 for the Christmas genre

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(This is our fifth Christmas film for BMT. I don’t know why they would be becoming more popular recently … maybe with a good economy people like to think about giving and receiving gifts more?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (4/20):

(My consensus: Thinnly plotted, cheap looking, and dated. This 80s Christmas film is a bore. Reviewer Highlight: Little kids will probably like most of this movie. The weakness is that larger kids and parents, deputized to escort the little ones, are likely to find a lot of it a little thin. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times)

Poster – Sklogtacular Christmas Extravaganza (B)

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(Really hard to find a decent picture of this poster. Not a good sign for the film itself. From what I can see I think there is something artistic in this that I kinda like, while also acknowledging that it looks old as shit and it’s time has passed it by. But like, check that font, look at the weird perspective, and guess what? I’m pretty sure I know this is about Santa Claus.)

Tagline(s) – Guess who’s coming to town! (D-)

(Uh… Santa? I’m still not sure what the plot of this film is… like is Santa’s workshop being bought by an eeeevil land developer and he has to work to stop him? Or like… does someone have to take over for Santa for some children appropriate reason… like he ate too much candy and hot chocolate and is now in a diabetic coma? That’s fine for kids, right? Anyway, I’m sure it something like that. Just wanted to speculate since I definitely didn’t want to talk about this snoozer of a tagline.)

Keyword(s) – toy; Top Ten by BMeTric: 76.1 Paranormal Activity 4 (2012); 75.4 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009); 73.8 Look Who’s Talking Too (1990); 70.2 Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964); 69.5 Postal (2007); 68.5 Gulliver’s Travels (2010); 64.2 Exposed (III) (2016); 63.4 Poltergeist III (1988); 60.8 Toys (1992); 59.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007);

(We’ve seen none of these?! And now we still haven’t)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number N/A) – There is no current way to connect this movie to Here on Earth via BMT. If we were to watch Unfaithfully Yours, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

(Actually an anomaly. Lithgow was uncredited in New Years Eve, so he’s been in a BMT film, but that doesn’t count in this analysis)

Notes – All the toys made and bought for the Santa’s workshop scenes were donated to children’s charities for Christmas after shooting was complete.

The role of the Ancient Elf was written with James Cagney in mind. However, even though Cagney liked the film’s overall idea, his advanced age and weakened physical condition precluded him from taking the role.

In the U.S. trailers for the film, Dudley Moore gets top billing and David Huddleston gets third billing. In the international trailer, Huddleston gets top billing and Moore gets fourth billing.

Real deer were trained to pull the sleigh. The crew required months to complete the training which also allowed the deer to grow their antlers for the final filming. For shots where it was not possible to use the deer, sophisticated animatronic deer were used. (Hahahahhahaha)

The film’s budget was £50,000,000, which as of this writing (2015) would be equivalent to £140,000,000. (Hahahahahhahaa)

Burgess Meredith, who is fourth-billed, has one scene and eight lines. (This seems like a trend in this film)

When Patch is viewing the BZ Toys display in the New York window, a van painted exactly like the one on The A-Team (1983) is parked on the street behind him.

The role of B.Z. was offered to Harrison Ford, Burt Reynolds, Dustin Hoffman and Johnny Carson, all of whom turned it down.

John Lithgow, who is second billed and the main bad guy, doesn’t appear until more than an hour into the film. (Wowza)

Paul McCartney was originally going to write and perform a theme song, but his record label declined.

The movie had promotional Tie with McDonald’s, Coca- Cola and Pabst Blue Ribbon. McDonald’s gave a away one of four books with each happy meal, which chronicled the story of the film. (WHAT)

Ernest Goes to Jail Recap

Jamie

Ernest is back, Jack! Right? It’s the same guy each time? Anyway, unbeknownst to Ernest he has a doppelganger on death row. A fateful turn on jury duty unexpectedly gets them switched and his whole life is turned upside down when he’s stuck in jail. Can he escape, stop the criminal, and get the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… Ernest Goes to Jail.

How?! Meet Ernest P. Worrell. A dim but well-meaning janitor at a bank. Everyone there loves him and wants him to succeed as a future bank teller except the cranky president of the bank. Booooooo. Oh and he also becomes magnetic whenever he is electrocuted instead of dying. Not sure why. Anyway, in a wild coincidence he is called to jury duty for the trial of a toady for a local crime lord, Nash, who is just days away from his time in the electric chair and is an exact doppelganger for our poor Ernest. Realizing an opportunity the criminal convinces the judge to allow the jury to tour the prison during which the crime lord pulls the ol’ switcheroo and leaves poor Ernest in his place. Double boooo. While Ernest tries to navigate the hilarious world of maximum security prison, Nash is planning to rob the bank, sexually assault Ernest’s very kind female coworker (and love interest?), and probably do a whole bunch of other nasty stuff. Ernest attempts to escape to no avail, only to find that when they try to electrocute him it merely imbues him with super electromagnetic powers. With said powers he blows that joint (with the help of a prisoner with a heart of gold, Lyle) and gets to the bank just in time to try to stop Nash from blowing the vault and killing his coworkers. An all-out brawl ensues ending with Ernest once again getting electrocuted, gaining the ability to fly via polarization, and flying the bomb into the night sky where it appears he is killed. However, he falls back to Earth right on top of Nash, incapacitating him for good and then smash cut. THE END.

Why?! I’m actually not sure… I think it has something to do with the American dream. Like sure Ernest is dumb, but he’s nice and works hard, so shouldn’t that count for something? Interestingly they don’t make any claim that Ernest is actually good at his job despite his shortcomings. In fact they make it clear that he is quite bad at it. A convicted killer on death row comes straight out of jail and is so much better than Ernest at his job that he is immediately offered the promotion that Ernest has been trying hard to get. It’s actually kinda sad when you think about it.

Who?! Big time shout out to the true friend Ernest met in Jail, Lyle. He’s a big enforcer type who turns out to have a heart of gold (and an unrivaled mane of hair). The actor was actually former professional kickboxer and heavyweight boxer Tex Cobb. He’s probably best known for getting absolutely destroyed by Larry Holmes in an unlikely title fight. Some interesting rumors surrounded his career, including some drug and gambling stuff that was allegedly connected to his sudden retirement from the sport in 1993 and a claim that he was supposed to be the opponent for Muhammad Ali’s last fight but broke his arm saving a friend from a bar fight and had to back out.

What?! In some ways you can think of the entire franchise as a product placement. Ernest started as a character used in a number of commercials and eventually he himself became the product. Ironically once that became the point all the products in this film are cartoon versions and not real product placements.

Where?! Unsurprisingly, given Ernest’s roots, this film is set in the great state of Tennessee. Even if it weren’t predictable, it’s made clear at the very least by the Tennessee license plates on some of the main characters’ cars. C.

When?! This is actually a funny question. There is a calendar in Ernest/Nash’s cell with dates being crossed off, but there doesn’t seem to be much indication of what month the calendar is supposed to represent. Likely this is just a prop calendar, but I like to think that it is actually a nonspecific generic calendar that they give prisoners. You do see a January 1990 calendar hanging in the bank. Again likely just grabbed a prop and hung it up to the first page, but gotta assume the bank is actively using the calendar and it’s accurate. KnowhutImean? B-

So I watched Ernest’s “friend” Escape Plan: Hades first and that film is a whole bunch of nonsense. At times I thought they were speaking a different language or something because it was hard to follow exactly what was happening. It looked nice, though, with its fancy robots and fancy prison and fancy fight scenes. But it’s all fluff and was actually pretty boring. As if they didn’t really care to make a comprehensible film, but rather just an entry in their visual portfolio so they could try to get an even bigger and fancier job. I can certainly see why it didn’t go to theaters. As for Ernest, I daresay I actually kinda enjoyed myself. Ernest is just a silly character and his schtick lands quite often as he mugs and goes off on some overly-serious monologue on acting or business or the like. I can understand why I liked the films as a kid even if I almost definitely didn’t understand how crazy the attempted sexual assault by Nash is or the fact that Ernest is nearly executed via electric chair. Probably a full twenty minutes where the film starts to venture into the twilight zone away from the harmless fun that otherwise makes the franchise what it is: enjoyable stupidity. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Sometimes I forget that the Ernest films were a real thing. Like … if my parents had told me that it was some Canadian TV movie and that no one else had seen it I would have just shrugged and said “yeah makes sense”. But it isn’t … this was released to over 1000 theaters in 1990. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I watched the trailer, and made the notes, and read the reviews … but I still had a sneaking suspicion I would like this film. Why? First because I watched it as a kid. Something about Ernest must just remind me of simpler times. But more important I’ve watched Ernest Goes to Camp more recently, about 7 years ago, and I thought that was actually a lot better than you might think. I was sure I was going to think the same thing here.

The Good – Ernest is goofy harmless silliness. Varney himself is top notch, with both the physicality necessary for a kids’ movie character and the ability to do some goofy impressions. As the heart and soul of the film there is little more I would ask him to do. I dig the surrealist atmosphere this movie takes, the bright pink guard uniforms, the completely open prison cells with twenty foot ceilings, a world filled with goofy caricatures. It all kind of works on a straight-to-video level.

The Bad – The film is aggressively dumb, and in that sense all of the reviews are totally justified. The love story comes across as creepy now I think as it is abundantly obvious Ernest had either a learning disability or has serious emotional issues he should be working out with a therapist. The film is crazy dark with Ernest going to the electric chair and basically killed while the prison warden looks on in glee. Super nuts. The film is extremely derivative, relying exclusively on the doppelganger / Prince and the Pauper trope to drive the story forwards.

You Just Got Schooled – The story of Ernest is pretty interesting, at least what you can glean from IMDb notes and elsewhere. This article seems like a pretty good roundup. Short story: Varney wanted to be an actor, but struggled to establish himself on the stage in NYC. Bouncing between his home in Kentucky and New York he ended up landing a spot with Cherry, an ad man. They ended up doing hundreds of commercials together, and then got a four picture deal (which Ernest Goes to Jail is part of). Afterwards they settled into a more lucrative straight-to-video deal, but unfortunately Verney died in 2000 prior to filming Ernest Goes to Space and Ernest and the Voodoo Curse (which I would have called Weekend at Ernest’s 2, but whatever). Fascinating stuff, a really really unique only-in-the-90s type franchise I think.

The BMT – Do I think Ernest is a BMT franchise … no. I don’t. Despite the fact that I would say that I’m fairly objective when it comes to films I saw when I was a kid (Hook, I’m looking at you), I can’t help but like Ernest. I think he’s harmless fun, so there. The character is sweet, and naive, and always tries to do what’s best. What’s wrong with that? Nothing I think … although they are pretty bad. I reserve the right to change my mind, but for now Ernest is pretty okay nonsense.

Sklogwords – After moving Welcome to Earth to the preview I needed a new game, and noticing that The Movie Database is a little light on keywords what bigger service could I provide the world that filling in entirely too accurate keywords for BMT films. For Ernest I chose the following ten in order: Prison, prison break, magnetism, bank robbery, janitor, electric chair, Tennessee, doppelganger, impersonation, animal actor. The funniest one is probably either doppelganger (where the film Southland Tales tends to come up a lot) or Tennessee which, fun fact, is also the setting of the Hannah Montana Movie! And now I’m the number one editor of the film Ernest Goes to Jail on TMDB. So there.

StreetCreditReport.com – There is really nothing here, which isn’t that surprising. Do you know what is surprising? That one of the main reasons listed in reviews as to why Ernest was unbearable was that he was either “too nerdy” or “too geeky”. Like, say what? It doesn’t feel like he is either of those things. At the very least he has a learning disability, but geeky? Nerdy? What was up with the early 90s yo?

Bring a Friend Analysis – As the number of wide release bad movies has dropped in the past few years I’ve often thought that it is likely that at least some of them are going direct to VOD. And Escape Plan 2: Hades seemed like a perfect test of this theory. Wrong! Wrong! The first film was surprisingly good, a decent team-up in Stallone and Arnold, a classic 80s actioner really. This? This is trash. This is dog poo thrown forcefully into my face. It has robots, and terrible actors, and AI, and … it is gibberish. It makes you feel like you are taking crazy pills. And then there is a ton of guns and killing … I just wanted some prison escapes man! This is worse that Prison Break season 2 when they forgot the show was about breaking out of prisons! On the one hand I’m glad to hear that, no, not all VOD features are suddenly on BMT’s radar. On the other I watched Escape Plan 2: Hades in real life, that is something I spent some of my short time on Earth doing. So that’s depressing. B as a friend, F- as an actual movie fit for human consumption.

Phew, long one, but I have a feeling the Bring a Friend cycle will tend to be that way. Cheerios,

The Sklogs