1492: Conquest of Paradise Recap

Jamie

Welcome to class, students, today we are learning the history of Christopher Columbus films. There are surprisingly few, which maybe shouldn’t be so surprising because he did some bad shit and I don’t think you can really win. Either you show the horrific stuff and it’s a bummer and no one wants to see it. Or you gloss over the horrific stuff and it’s a bummer and no one wants to see it. Anyway, in 1992 people took the opportunity of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage to throw caution to the wind and make not one but two major Columbus films. Neither were good and so we’ll enjoy another one in the (probably) not too distant future. But is that it? No! There was also a German animated film called The Magic Voyage which starred Dom DeLuise as Columbus and Corey Feldman as Pico, a talking woodworm who eats away at Columbus’ square globe (???), thus convincing him that the world is round… I… uh… wait, why aren’t we watching The Magic Voyage? Oh right, cause we had to watch the major motion picture 1492: Conquest of Paradise. Whatever… 

To summarize, Topher Columbus is a big ol’ dumbo who is like “who are you to say I can’t sail across the ocean and find Asia?” and everyone is like “Uh, math, though?” and Columbus scoffs. But the Queen of Spain likes his bravado and everyone eventually kind of shrugs and says “if he dies, he dies… but if he doesn’t=$$$.” So he gets some boats and a crew and off they set. Everyone starts to get a little wary of their suicide mission until Columbus gets very lucky and they find land. He meets all the natives there and is pretty intrigued with this “paradise” that he has found. They leave a bunch of people there to set things up and head back to Spain. He is hailed a hero and even his skeptics are like “yo, that’s my dude Columbus.” He was also a shrewd businessman, so now he had a big stake in the land he discovered so he gins up support for a huge colonization effort centered on mining gold. When he gets back he finds all the people he left murdered and things start going pretty poorly. He tries to found a capital, but it falls apart, and he starts to meet resistance from his countrymen. There are a lot of tensions with the natives that result in Columbus doing some pretty terrible stuff (but according to the movie he feels really bad about it). He is relieved of his post and imprisoned in Spain, but the Queen has mercy and lets him have another voyage. His reputation is tarnished and he is real sad, but his son convinces him to tell his story, implying that it’ll make him a hero again. THE END.

I was so sure after watching this film that I would read what Ridley Scott thought about it and he would imply that maybe he misjudged the public’s hunger for Columbus content… but no! He basically said that Americans don’t like accents. What?! This movie is like reading a textbook. Maybe that’s why, Ridley. On a positive note, I think it’s beautiful to look at and I appreciate how much care was put into telling the story of Columbus without gross dramatizations. I think the historical inaccuracy accusations levies at it are overblown other than the fact that they show Columbus taking a whole bunch of natives as slaves and bother to have him sadly be like “I wish it wasn’t this way.” Seemed like they were trying to have their cake and eat it too in those moments. Overall, it’s just a little boring for a mainstream movie, but not bad for a movie that you throw on in history class for a little fun. As for Knight Rider 2000, that’s what I’m talking about. This is some real dumb funny stuff. It’s so stupid. It also has one of the greatest credits of all time “James Doohan as himself.” That’s right, they had Scotty from Star Trek do a cameo where everyone is like “OMG! OMG! It’s Scotty from Star Trek.” Every few scenes there was something bizarre on the level of the Scotty cameo to amuse and delight us. I loved it.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Get me some of that sweet Amerigo Vespucci drama. The reason the Columbus films haven’t worked are two-fold. It’s hard to weave a tale around a brutalizing dumbo. But guess what was actually dramatic (and kinda fun): the guy who they named America after. Why? Basically no one knows what he actually did or if he was a big ol’ scam artist liar. He’s even called the “most enigmatic and controversial figure in early American history” (that’s a quote). Uhhhhhh… drama, anybody? Get me that steamy Vespucci erotic thriller where he is hoodwinked by a femme fatale into falsifying letters about his voyages to America… man oh man, I’m getting all steamed up just thinking about it. Hot Take Temperature: Hot… that’s just a hot idea. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! 1492: Conquest of Paradise? More like 149-Snooze: Snooze-quest of Snooze-adise! Amirite? You better be ready for a nap because you are about to get the history lesson you didn’t want or need. Let’s go!

  • This is a history class film. This is a film you would be shown in history class that you had to get a permission slip from your parents because you see some breasts and some people die / get their hand chopped off.
  • It is a cool story I guess. In that a journalist went to Seville and looked over the primary source communications from Columbus about his trips and decided to write a script for a film about Columbus to coincide with the 500th anniversary of his voyage. Cool but boring.
  • Oh, I guess I did mention that: this film is a snooze. I don’t deny that it has qualities. It is usually a good idea to try and make historical films with accuracy (and this at least seemed to attempt to give some historical context to the atrocities committed by the genocidal maniacs that were explorers at the time). It is usually good to give a full telling of the events that occurred in a person’s life. But my god, the film is like an hour too long. Once he goes back to the New World there is just so little additional interesting stuff to tell.
  • Spoiler: Columbus was an idiot who thought the world was much smaller than it provably was at the time. He managed to bother the Spanish crown enough that they gave him some ships to go on his suicide mission to find Asia in precisely the wrong place. He accidentally found not-Asian instead and coincidentally it ended up being juuuuuuuuuust in a spot close enough to Europe that he didn’t die in the process. Good job man. Nailed it.
  • Depardieu is such an interesting actor in that he goes from the hot young actor in France, to a weirdly famous actor in America (somehow), to now … well, now he is an oddly obscure French actor who pops up as a mobster in French television shows because those parts don’t require him to move around much. He’s good in this I thought.
  • I could give or take basically everything else in the film. Beautiful though, so I guess you can give Ridley Scott credit for that.
  • Okay Setting as a Character (Where?) for Spain / the New World I suppose. A+ Specific Year Setting (When?) for the very rare year-in-the-title for a film set in the past. I think that is it. This film is closest to Bad, too boring.
  • Along with a year-in-the-title film from the past, we had to find a year-in-the-title film from the future (much easier). Jamie pointed out the TV movie Knight Rider 2000 was, indeed, set in the distant future of the year 2000 when being made in 1991. This. Film. Is. Bonkers. I watched the pilot for the original series. That is pretty bonkers as well, but it comes across as basically a standard how-solved-it, although very very 80s. This film though (1) is set in San Antonio and is arguably an extended advertisement for the Riverwalk there, (2) has the very important stakes of solving the assassination of the Mayor of San Antonio (?), (3) has an odd 2nd Amendment thing running through the film and (4) purports that Dan Quayle is president of the United States and there was a war with the Philippines and junk. Also, clearly a backdoor pilot for a new Knight Rider series starring Susan Norman and Carmen Argenziano (it feels like precisely the setup for the Highlander Series, except that was picked up). A. I’m definitely down for watching more backdoor pilots as BMT Friends. They are always amusing since they have to set up the premise of the show, but also can’t have huge stakes or else the pilot would waste a big storyline. The assassination of the Mayor of San Antonio. C’mon.

Read about the sequel to 1492: The Conquest of Paradise called 1585: Roanoke. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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1492: Conquest of Paradise Quiz

Oh man, so get this. I was floating my boat to Asian when my boat ran aground about halfway there! Yup, I found a new world, bully for me I guess. Problem is, when my boat hit that sweet new world I fell out and bopped my head! Now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in 1492: Conquest of Paradise?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We meet Columbus as he is just planning on sailing that ocean blue. Where is Columbus (an immigrant to Spain) crashing while trying to get that sweet sweet royal commission?

2) Screw it, I don’t even think they say it in the film, but here’s a question straight from fourth grade history: what were the names of Columbus’ three ships?

3) Once they get to the New World Columbus and Friends meet some Friendly native Americans (nice!). Those natives though, they got something Spain wants. They got something Spain needs. What do they got?

4) What does Moxica (the bad guy … he just looks bad you know?) do that sets off the war with the natives which ultimately results in Columbus being removed as governor of the Spanish New World?

5) In the end an elderly Columbus witnesses a lecture about the New World where the academic elite tell the world that who discovered the New World?

Bonus Question: A dying Columbus cradles a small glass orb. His son approaches. And Columbus struggles he gets out on final world, dies, and the orb smashes to the ground. What is the word?

Answers

1492: Conquest of Paradise Preview

Patrick puts on his glasses, but then remembers that he’s Stallone and has perfect 20/20 vision, naturally. His beautiful mind goes into overdrive and his fingers dance over the keyboard of the Apple IIe that Kyle had set up in his room. With only BASIC available and 64Kb of memory at his disposal, what he is doing is anything but basic. It’s a full blown Jamie simulation. “Hello, Patrick. So glad we can be together again,” the simulation says and the breath catches in Patrick’s throat. It’s perfect. “How can we tell if you are you?” he asks the simulation which cryptically answers “try me.” Patrick thinks long and hard and eventually has an idea. He sets up millions of situations where Jamie and Kyle meet. Try him, they will. He puts the cursor over the program he’s entitled “ConquestOfParadise.exe” and takes a deep breath. Here goes nothing.

“Welcome to the hurt locker,” Kyle says as he pulls off the blindfold he’s had Jamie wear for the trip. Jamie’s knees are quaking at the thought of his worst nightmare, but when his eyes refocus he is surprised to see they’ve arrived at the hottest waterpark in town, The River of Death. It’s 24/7/365 lazy river action at The River of Death. Kyle shrugs and admits it was all a ruse. “Let’s have some fun today… maybe that’ll loosen things up in the ol’ noggin’”. Off they rush and have quite the day. Lazy River Amazon, Lazy River Nile, Lazy River Hudson. By the end of the Danube they are Lazy River pooped. “Oh wait, now I remember what I was thinking,” Jamie says as they walk out of the park. Kyle was right, the stress of time travel really was messing with his head. “His car.”

That’s right! We are conquesting some paradise by watching the Christopher Columbus epic we know and love, 1942: Conquest of Paradise… or at least one of the Christopher Columbus epics we know and love. I’ve never really thought about watching this film, but with Ridley Scott directing it’s worth it. Pairing that up with another film with a year in the title, we are watching Knight Rider 2000. I also never really thought about watching this film, but I’m not sure why. It sounds amazing. Let’s go!

1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) – BMeTric: 19.5; Notability: 50

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 19.6%; Notability: top 4.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 21.1%; Higher BMeT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Body of Evidence, Cool World, Pet Sematary II, Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice, Toys, The Lawnmower Man, Sleepwalkers, 3 Ninjas, Sidekicks, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Freejack, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Beethoven, Aces: Iron Eagle III, Evil Toons, Ladybugs, Dr. Giggles, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, Encino Man, and 29 more; Higher Notability: Toys, Cool World, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Newsies, Freejack, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, The Bodyguard, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Innocent Blood, Universal Soldier; Lower RT: Once Upon a Crime…, Live Wire, Folks!, Frozen Assets, Love Crimes, Year of the Comet, Cool World, Man Trouble, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them, Body of Evidence, Claire of the Moon, Passed Away, Ladybugs, Mr. Baseball, Mom and Dad Save the World, The Distinguished Gentleman, The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, and 28 more; Notes: Surprisingly high Notability there, for a historical epic starring Depardieu at least. Otherwise not a super amount of cred.

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – Still, in its own way and up to a certain point, “1492” is a satisfactory film. Depardieu lends it gravity, the supporting performances are convincing, the locations are realistic, and we are inspired to reflect that it did indeed take a certain nerve to sail off into nowhere just because an orange was round.

(Ebert liked this one as well?! That’s a stunner. I would definitely have thought sheer boredom would have doomed it for him. I can’t imagine it is “good for what it is” in any capacity.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmnLrzG2zKw/

(Is this a real trailer? This film gets a weird hip hop beat trailer, and a “ONE MAN” voiceover. That is insane.)

DirectorsRidley Scott – ( Known For: Gladiator; Alien; House of Gucci; The Last Duel; Robin Hood; Blade Runner; Prometheus; Legend; Thelma & Louise; The Martian; Alien: Covenant; Black Hawk Down; American Gangster; G.I. Jane; Body of Lies; All the Money in the World; Black Rain; Matchstick Men; The Duellists; White Squall; Future BMT: Hannibal; Kingdom of Heaven; Exodus: Gods and Kings; The Counselor; A Good Year; BMT: 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Notes: Nominated for four Oscars (The Martian, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, and Thelma & Louise). His brother Tony Scott was also a big name director.)

WritersRose Bosch – ( Known For: The Roundup; My Summer in Provence; Bimboland; BMT: 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Notes: Wow, so she is Spanish and came across Columbus’ correspondences while in Seville as a reporter. The film was then created specifically to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Columbus landing in the Americas. That’s a crazy story.)

ActorsGérard Depardieu – ( Known For: Life of Pi; Going Places; Hamlet; Last Holiday; Lost Illusions; Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra; La Vie en Rose; 1900; Paris, je t’aime; Maigret; Cyrano de Bergerac; Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar; Green Card; Nathalie…; Let the Sunshine In; How Much Do You Love Me?; Mesrine: Killer Instinct; Jean de Florette; Asterix at the Olympic Games; City of Ghosts; Future BMT: The Man in the Iron Mask; 102 Dalmatians; My Father the Hero; BMT: 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Babylon A.D.; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Cyrano de Bergerac. That was 1990, so this film really is just coming on the heels of that when his cred is sky high with American audiences. It should be said that he’s said in interviews that he has raped people and that things were different in the 80s or whatever. It is pretty nuts. Read his wiki if you are curious.)

Armand Assante – ( Known For: American Gangster; The Road to El Dorado; Smile; Private Benjamin; Little Darlings; Prophecy; The Lords of Flatbush; Dead Man Down; Hoffa; Q&A; Paradise Alley; When Nietzsche Wept; The Match; The Mambo Kings; I, the Jury; Funny Money; Diamond Cartel; The Neighborhood; Chicago Overcoat; The Line; Future BMT: Two for the Money; Unfaithfully Yours; Trial by Jury; BMT: Striptease; Judge Dredd; 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Fatal Instinct; The Marrying Man; Notes: Won an Emmy for Gotti (playing Gotti) and was nominated for Jack the Ripper as well. He’s one of those actors who was huge in the 90s and then just dropped right off into straight-to-video in the 00s almost immediately.)

Sigourney Weaver – ( Known For: Avatar; Ghostbusters; Ghostbusters: Afterlife; The Good House; Alien; The Cabin in the Woods; Aliens; Call Jane; Ghostbusters: Answer the Call; Ghostbusters II; The Village; WALL·E; Holes; Alien³; Galaxy Quest; Alien: Resurrection; Master Gardener; Working Girl; Paul; Annie Hall; Future BMT: Exodus: Gods and Kings; Chappie; You Again; Vantage Point; The Cold Light of Day; Happily N’Ever After; Deal of the Century; BMT: 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Abduction; Notes: Nominated for three Oscars (Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl, and Aliens). The first two were in the same year too. She’s playing like a kid in the next Avatar? It is insanity.)

Budget/Gross – $47,000,000 / Domestic: $7,191,399 (Worldwide: $7,191,399)

(What a disaster. What a complete disaster. But how? How is a realistic film about Columbus making like $100 million?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (7/22): Historically inaccurate and dramatically inert, Ridley Scott’s retelling of Christopher Columbus’ exploits is an epic without grandeur or insight.

(Yeah for a film that wants to be gritty and realistic the stories about them just making stuff up is kind of wild in the end.)

Reviewer Highlight: This $50 million spectacle must be one of the least entertaining epic films ever made. – David Ansen, Newsweek

Poster – 1492: Close Enough

(I like the vibrant colors, but the whole poster seems like a bunch of nonsense. Just like a due with a sword running through some water and some terrible font. C+.)

Tagline(s) – Centuries before the exploration of space, there was another voyage into the unknown. (F is for Funny)

(Wooooooah. Legendary. It’s like a little short story. Really crazy this is the tagline. I like to extend this analogy out a little. It’s like Topher Columbus going around to the US government and being like “Yo, I think Mars is way closer than the math says, let me try to get there.” And then him flying to the moon and being like “Wooooah, I found Mars!” Make that the tagline.)

Keyword(s) – past

Top 10: The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Forrest Gump (1994), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Django Unchained (2012), Gladiator (2000), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Schindler’s List (1993), The Prestige (2006), Shutter Island (2010)

Future BMT: 88.7 BloodRayne (2005), 73.0 The Unborn (2009), 70.4 Texas Chainsaw (2013), 70.2 Black Christmas (2006), 67.4 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 66.0 The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2014), 64.6 The Final Destination (2009), 62.1 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 59.8 Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), 56.8 Robin Hood (2018), 55.1 Annabelle (2014), 54.9 The Quiet Ones (2014), 54.5 Snow Dogs (2002), 53.8 Spy Hard (1996), 53.2 Porky’s Revenge (1985), 52.4 2016: Obama’s America (2012), 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 51.6 Porky’s II: The Next Day (1983), 50.2 Halloween Kills (2021), 50.2 The Last Legion (2007)

BMT: Epic Movie (2007), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), The Fog (2005), Movie 43 (2013), Super Mario Bros. (1993), Glitter (2001), Holmes & Watson (2018), The Master of Disguise (2002), The Legend of Hercules (2014), Grease 2 (1982), The Bye Bye Man (2017), Jonah Hex (2010), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), Wild Wild West (1999), Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994), The Ridiculous 6 (2015), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Black Knight (2001), Chernobyl Diaries (2012), A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), Cool World (1992), The Musketeer (2001), An American Haunting (2005), Apollo 18 (2011), Ishtar (1987), The Curse of La Llorona (2019), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), The Nun (2018), Pinocchio (2002), Bolero (1984), Bones (2001), Shanghai Surprise (1986), Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991), House of Wax (2005), Season of the Witch (2011), The Tuxedo (2002), Mannequin: On the Move (1991), Pompeii (2014), Ghost Ship (2002), Assassin’s Creed (2016), The Scarlet Letter (1995), Dolittle (2020), Timeline (2003), The Quest (1996), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Wagons East (1994), The Three Musketeers (2011), Diana (2013), Ben-Hur (2016), Rambo III (1988), Around the World in 80 Days (2004), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), The Blue Lagoon (1980), Cutthroat Island (1995), Texas Rangers (2001), Sucker Punch (2011), Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001), Jobs (2013), Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004), Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981), Original Sin (2001), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), American Outlaws (2001), Universal Soldier (1992), Winter’s Tale (2014), Harlem Nights (1989), I Dreamed of Africa (2000), Pearl Harbor (2001), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), The Identical (2014), The Chamber (1996), The Marrying Man (1991), Wild Bill (1995), In Love and War (1996), Sleepaway Camp (1983), Gods and Generals (2003), The Lone Ranger (2013), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Halloween II (1981), September Dawn (2007), Young Guns II (1990), Oscar (1991), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Evening (2007), The 13th Warrior (1999), White Comanche (1968), Gangster Squad (2013), Now and Then (1995), A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

Best Options (year-in-title): 19.5 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)

(The best option sub cycle thing is kind of fake. That is, I knew I wanted to do films with a year in the title (aka an A+ film set in the past), but I also knew the option of 1492 already existed. The eventual choice of Knight Rider 2000 was with the knowledge that we obviously also had good straight-to-video / tv movie options for films set in the future as well.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Armand Assante is No. 2 billed in 1492: Conquest of Paradise and No. 3 billed in Judge Dredd, which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in The Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed) which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (2 + 3) + (1 + 1) + (2 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 14. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – The replicas of Columbus’ ships used in the film were built in Spain between 1990 and 1992. In 1992 they sailed the route of Columbus’ first voyage to commemorate to 500th anniversary of the discovery of America. Today they are exhibited in Palos de la Frontera, Spain, and they are visited by approximately 200.000 people each year.

Hans Zimmer was originally chosen to compose the music for the film until Sir Ridley Scott decided to approach Vangelis.

Screenwriter Rose Bosch got the idea for the project when she discovered millions of untranslated parchments while researching an article on Columbus. After joining forces with a French film executive, she finally found an interested director in Sir Ridley Scott, who had always wanted to make a movie about Columbus. Scott agreed to direct the film on one condition: Columbus must be played by Gérard Depardieu. Depardieu was contacted, and eager to take the part.

The film was released in France on October 12, 1992, 500 years to the day after Christopher Columbus’ expedition made landfall in the Caribbean and landed on the island of Guanahani. This was the first land in the New World sighted and visited by Columbus.

The film shot for 16 weeks.

The original title was simply “Columbus”.

This project was concurrently developed with Alexander and Ilya Salkind’s Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) to be released on time for the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage. The Salkinds’ first choice for director for their film was Sir Ridley Scott. Four months after rejecting their offer, Scott started working on a rival “Christopher Columbus” project which ultimately became 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992). As a consequence of this, the Salkinds unsuccessfully tried to sue Scott for stealing their idea. They were forced to drop their lawsuit when it was proved that “1492”s producer Alain Goldman and writer Roselyne Bosch’s first proposal of a Christopher Columbus project predated theirs.

Original Sin Recap

Jamie

There was a brief moment in time where we made a very big deal about the fact that no BMT film was set in the state of Delaware. Already a dubious state, this made it all the more dubious. Could a state be real if they don’t even care to set a terrible wide release horror or action film there? We said no. Eventually we collapsed under the weight of our own joke and lowered ourselves to watching Survival of the Dead, the sixth entry in the Night of the Living Dead series, in order to tally Delaware. It was released to 20 theaters and it’s one of our greatest shames. What does this have to do with Original Sin? Well, Jolie’s character came to Cuba from Delaware (allegedly). It’s probably why Banderas was like “Hoochie mama, how did such a hot dame come from Delaware?!” So we contemplated watching it as the Delaware film. Good thing we didn’t. Not a glimpse of that “state” to be seen.

Let’s recap this GD thang. Banderas is a workaholic coffee plantation owner. He decides to get a mail order bride so that he can get married without it getting in the way of his work. That’s why he got the Delaware Special. Just a Plain Jane gal from Dover that won’t distract him. Unfortunately out walks Angelina Jolie and… let’s just say he’s a little distracted. They are super into each other for realz and we get some steamy scenes that required me to clean my glasses (for science). Soon Jolie’s sister is writing her and a detective shows up asking to see Jolie. By the time the sister shows up to inform Banderas that Jolie is an imposter who killed his real bride, she’s already long gone with his fortune. Fortunately an extremely creepy and grimy detective is hanging around willing to help him out. How nice and not suspicious! When they track Jolie down, Banderas is basically like “sooooo, we can still bone, right?” and she’s like “yeah, NBD.” So now he goes on the run with Jolie like an absolute crazy person. They live a nice life on the lam only to have it upended when the detective comes a-knocking and Banderas “kills” him. Unfortunately for Banderas this all turns out to be an elaborate ruse. The detective and Jolie are actually working together (what a twist!) and this is just the next step in the plan. Convince Banderas that he’s a murderer, get him into financial straits, get him to sell off his company to give more money to Jolie, and then kill him. But Banderas finds out and, willing to die for his mad love (starring Drew Barrymore), knowingly accepts a poisoned drink from Jolie. But she has a change of heart and they together dispatch the fake detective and live out their crazy life like the couple of crazy kids they are. THE END.

I’m not sure I totally minded this film. Banderas is an absolute imbecile with a screw loose, but in kind of a funny way. Like you can’t believe all the terrible decisions he’s making at every step of the film. I think I actually liked Jolie and I really liked Thomas Jane who seems to be having a ball. The real issue is that it is pretty boring at times, lacking a bit of coherent forward motion, and some of the situations get unnecessarily and unpleasantly grim. That makes it a little hard to recommend cause it lacks a little of the “fun” needed to call it “steamy fun.” As for Swept Away, woof. Maybe that’s why I didn’t mind Original Sin. I had to endure Swept Away. You don’t get to say this often, but Swept Away might actually be the worst movie of all time. There is basically nothing redeeming about it. It is unwatchable. I shudder even remembering the experience of watching it. I can’t believe how much Patrick and I discussed it considering it wasn’t even the main film of the week, but we couldn’t stop marveling at how horrible it was.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Jolie and Jane are bad at their jobs and the plan only works because Banderas is the dumbest human being alive. Almost from the jump everything about Jolie is suspect. Banderas’ response? “Look at those knockers! Better sign all my personal and business accounts over to her.” Then even when she steals everything from him and runs away, what happens when he finds her? “Look at those knockers! Better run off and ruin my life for her.” Literally at any point Banderas could have been like “You know what, fool me once.” But he gets fooled like a thousand times. And then even after he wins, he ends up setting up a poker ruse with Jolie that is bar none the worst attempt at cheating in history. He’ll be dead in a month cause he’s a real dumbo who’s hitched his wagon to a bad con artist. Hot Take Temperature: Sweet BBQ. Patrick?

Patrick

Original Sin? More like Not So Original Sin, amirite? Well, I was promised bodice-ripping excitement by Roger Ebert. But I can’t recall there necessarily being a bodice ripped in this film. I’m mostly positive there was nary a bodice in sight! Anyways, let’s get into it!

  • These past few weeks I feel like a few things have happened. I’ve discovered that foreign films tend to be a bit more sexy and plodding than American films (at least the non-comedies). And that translating these films directly into American films often leave the actors they get to play the parts a bit lost at sea (especially the comedies). Original Sin I guess it helped by being a book. But ultimately I fear it was hurt by being based on, maybe, not a very good book.
  • I wouldn’t know I didn’t read the book. Nor did I watch the Truffant film it is based on, although it is on the list of films I’ll want to check out in the future.
  • But ultimately the film’s plot line seemed depressing, decidedly unsexy in most regards (unless you live in Cuba in the 1890s maybe?), and didn’t really lead anywhere.
  • I don’t think I liked this film. But I also couldn’t really put my finger on why. Maybe because Banderas seems like an idiot who is duped by an obvious conwoman and her partner in crime at every turn. Maybe because I don’t like watching someone’s life fall apart for two hours. Or maybe I was ready for dangerous sexiness and then was treated to not very much bodice ripping and undangerous sex scenes. I don’t know. But I feel like I would not recommend this film to anyone.
  • The worst part of the film: the extremely obvious poker cheating. Come on guys. Put some effort into it! You can’t just have Angelina Jolie cross her throat to be like “that guy has a bad hand” and ogle the cards over everyone’s shoulder. It is ludicrous. My hot take? Banderas deserved it. Not because cheating is bad. But because bad cheating is especially bad.
  • A good Setting as a Character (Where?) for Cuba in the end. And I’ll just throw out a Rare Temporal Setting (When?) for late 19th century, I think people get so caught up in doing 20th century stuff they forget the Gilded Age. And a Worst Twist (How?) for the inevitable reveal that Jolie did it again and seduced the priest into taking her place in prison. I think this is a Bad film, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
  • As the friend cycle we decided to go with maybe the most notable European remake which is also considered one of the worst movies ever made. Swept Away, ever heard of it? This Madonna vehicle is, how do you say? An abomination. Boom, DOG POO IN MY FACE babyyyyyyyyy. This is actually the worst film ever made. It is shocking to say, but it is actually the worst film ever made. I don’t know how they decided on: horrible person Madonna treats poor fisherman like shit, fisherman in exchange explicitly makes her his slave on deserted island thus revealing that he too is a piece of shit, they fall in love and decide to be pieces of shit together, but instead Madonna goes back to her oppressing life with her insufferable husband leaving fisherman to be a sad piece of shit alone. Oh and there is like some underlying capitalistic stuff going on. For real, how is this written and directed by Guy Ritchie? It is actually a little deranged. Rest assured, if you want to feel horrible about people and movie making, Swept Away is the movie for you. It’ll make you say: “Movies were a mistake.” It is genuinely that bad. A+ Friend in a way, because I no longer have to think about what might be the worst movie ever made. I now know.

Check out the sequel Original Sin 2: Purgatory. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Original Sin Quiz

Alright, so basically I got a mail order bride who was supposed to be pretty plain, but then Angelina Jolie showed up. Needless to say I passed out, and now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Original Sin?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Banderas is a rich farmer in Cuba at the turn of the century who wants a mail order bride because he just like … wants a wife, right? Anyways, what does his plantation produce?

2) Wowza, this mail order bride is actually a mail order hottie! Huh, better hand over access to all of my business accounts. But then who comes a calling which really cranks up his suspicions that something is amiss?

3) After Jolie runs away with all his money, where, ultimately, does Banderas find her and what is she doing?

4) After scraping together some money by cheating at cards things finally come to a head when Banderas correctly surmises that Jolie is going to kill him. By what method is he intended to die?

5) In the end, how does Jolie escape from prison and where does she go?

Bonus Question: During the mid-credits scene Banderas and Jolie are living it up in Morocco. But uh oh! Who walks into their swanky tent and why?

Answers

Original Sin Preview

Jamie and Patrick get off the Paris Metro. They look at the thirty story apartment building where they were told the Dongle is housed. It’s tough, but nothing a little dew can’t solve. They cheers with their limited edition Fuchsia Fusion Mountain Dew Deluxe brought to you by Mountain Dew. With the smallest sip they feel the power (and it feels good). Five minutes later they parkour flip their way onto the roof and get into a Twin Chop stance. But there isn’t anyone there to chop. Suspicious. As they walk their way down to the low level terrorist’s apartment they do the calculus on what might be going on. “What if they knew we were from the future so they sent us here to get us out of the way while our past selves went to Budapest?” Jamie says. It’s a reasonable guess, but they had Kyle take the past Jamie and Patrick on a hiking trip to Greece and they seem to be having a grand old time according to their Insta posts. When they amble into the apartment they gasp. There’s the Dongle, sitting on the kitchen table, not a soul in sight. Is it a trap? Or is this their moment to seize the Dongle and finally remove it from the equation? Just as Jamie reaches for it, Patrick stays his hand. “Look around,” Patrick whispers and only in that moment does Jamie realize that the apartment is an exact replica of the apartment from the hit television show Mad About You. My God! It’s a trap! They must have made the apartment specifically that way as an elaborate ruse. They turn to run, but are stopped at gunpoint by Future Mikey. “Pick it up,” he demands, “this is the moment. This is your…” That’s right! We’re watching the Banderas/Jolie smash hit Original Sin which is about… something… I’m not sure, but you better believe it’s steamy. As for Bring a Friend, we are pairing this with another erotic (?) thriller (?) Swept Away starring Madonna which just didn’t qualify for BMT cause it was so bad they couldn’t release it wide to theaters. Let’s go!

Original Sin (2001) – BMeTric: 32.3; Notability: 30

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 22.0%; Notability: top 28.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 8.4%; Higher BMeT: Glitter, Jason X, Freddy Got Fingered, Driven, The Animal, Ghosts of Mars, Black Knight, Valentine, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, Soul Survivors, Monkeybone, The Musketeer, Corky Romano, Scary Movie 2, The Wedding Planner, Bones, Summer Catch, The Order, Say It Isn’t So, The Wash, and 35 more; Higher Notability: Pearl Harbor, Monkeybone, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Hannibal, Impostor, Ghosts of Mars, Not Another Teen Movie, Bubble Boy, 15 Minutes, Swordfish, The One, Town & Country, The Affair of the Necklace, Scary Movie 2, I Am Sam, America’s Sweethearts, Along Came a Spider, 3000 Miles to Graceland, Texas Rangers, Joe Dirt, and 51 more; Lower RT: Texas Rangers, Soul Survivors, Glitter, All the Queen’s Men, Corky Romano, The Forsaken, Summer Catch, The Wash, Out Cold, Say It Isn’t So, Joe Dirt, Head Over Heels, Megiddo: The Omega Code 2, What’s the Worst That Could Happen?, Freddy Got Fingered, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, Perfume, The Musketeer, Valentine, Double Take; Notes: Pretty minor. And when you are going against heavy hitters like Glitter it is no wonder a film like Original Sin would cruise under our radar for so long.

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – The movie is not intended to be subtle. It is sweaty, candle-lit melodrama, joyously trashy, and its photography wallows in sumptuous decadence. The ending is hilariously contrived and sensationally unlikely, as the movie audaciously shows an irrevocable action and then revokes it. I don’t know whether to recommend “Original Sin” or not. It’s an exuberant example of what it is–a bodice-ripping murder “meller”–and at that it gets a passing grade. Maybe if it had tried to be more it would have simply been watering the soup.

(Wow. This is the second in a few weeks where Ebert is like “what are you guys going on about? This is a good movie” about a BMT film. I can see it for both Wicker Park and this. They both are a specific genre or indie film that could be liked for the performances and not be bothered by the execution in the end.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5xoAd6ejWk/

(I sure hope I can call it “extremely steamy”! And cha Ebert gave it a thumbs up, he was like “good for what it is.” It actually it a great example of that. The trailer? It did seem bodice-ripping, so I give it a thumbs up.)

DirectorsMichael Cristofer – ( Known For: The Night Clerk; Body Shots; BMT: Original Sin; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1991; Notes: Won the Pulitzer for his production of the play The Shadow Box which he eventually wrote a tv adaptation for. Seems like he was a pretty major actor, was in 32 episodes of Mr. Robot.)

WritersCornell Woolrich – ( Known For: Rear Window; The Window; Cloak & Dagger; Black Angel; The Bride Wore Black; Mississippi Mermaid; The Leopard Man; No Man of Her Own; Seven Blood-Stained Orchids; The Chase; Phantom Lady; The Guilty; Street of Chance; Night Has a Thousand Eyes; Union City; Fear in the Night; Deadline at Dawn; Nightmare; Seven Footprints to Satan; She’s No Angel; BMT: Original Sin; Mrs. Winterbourne; Notes: He wrote the original novel and died in the 60s. All of these films, amazingly, are presumably made from various novels and short stories.)

Michael Cristofer – ( Known For: The Night Clerk; The Witches of Eastwick; Casanova; Falling in Love; Chuck; Mr. Jones; Breaking Up; BMT: Original Sin; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1991; Notes: Nominated for two Emmys for writing, for Gia and The Shadow Box.)

ActorsAntonio Banderas – ( Known For: Uncharted; Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Official Competition; Spy Kids; Shrek 2; The Mask of Zorro; Philadelphia; The Skin I Live In; Desperado; Frida; Shrek the Third; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Once Upon a Time in Mexico; Security; Four Rooms; Knight of Cups; Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!; Evita; Shrek Forever After; The Laundromat; Future BMT: Life Itself; Machete Kills; Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World; The Legend of Zorro; Assassins; Play It to the Bone; BMT: Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; The Expendables 3; Dolittle; Original Sin; The 13th Warrior; Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: Broke into Hollywood with The Mambo Kings, but originally was a major actor in Spain. Was nominated for an Oscar for Dolor y gloria.)

Angelina Jolie – ( Known For: Eternals; The Good Shepherd; Girl, Interrupted; Kung Fu Panda; Wanted; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Maleficent; Those Who Wish Me Dead; Kung Fu Panda 3; Kung Fu Panda 2; Changeling; Beowulf; Salt; By the Sea; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; The One and Only Ivan; Come Away; Playing by Heart; Pushing Tin; Foxfire; Future BMT: Alexander; The Tourist; Maleficent: Mistress of Evil; Shark Tale; The Bone Collector; Taking Lives; Life or Something Like It; Beyond Borders; Playing God; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Gone in 60 Seconds; Original Sin; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Hackers; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 2002 for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Original Sin; in 2003 for Life or Something Like It; in 2004 for Beyond Borders, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; and in 2005 for Alexander, and Taking Lives; Notes: Daughter of Jon Voight. Won an Oscar for Girl, Interrupted, and was nominated for The Changeling. Recently I read she spite-sold half of a winery she owned with Brad Pitt. Baller.)

Thomas Jane – ( Known For: Boogie Nights; The Mist; Face/Off; Scott Pilgrim vs. the World; Deep Blue Sea; Magnolia; Vendetta; Hot Summer Nights; The Thin Red Line; Run Hide Fight; LOL; 1922; Nemesis; Murder at Yellowstone City; Before I Wake; Breach; The Vanished; White Bird in a Blizzard; The Last Son; Money Plane; Future BMT: Buffy the Vampire Slayer; The Punisher; A-X-L; The Crow: City of Angels; BMT: The Predator; Original Sin; The Sweetest Thing; Dreamcatcher; Notes: Used to be married to Rutger Hauer’s daughter. I’ll always remember him as a weird choice for The Punisher.)

Budget/Gross – $42,000,000 / Domestic: $16,534,221 (Worldwide: $35,402,320)

(Yeah that’s a bomb, but I’m also very skeptical of that $42 million budget. I know it is a period piece, and I know Jolie was famous, but still. You think this is pulling in $100 million?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (11/90): Laughably melodramatic, Original Sin features bad acting, bad dialogue, and bad plotting.

(Melodramatic could be good, but this also just kind of screams “boring.” But maybe I’m just biased against bad dramas in general. The Owen Gleiberman quote below is amazing and probably 100% true.)

Reviewer Highlight: A textbook case of a movie that would have been better had it been worse. –  Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Poster – Original Sklog

(I mean, yes, I will watch that, thank you. If you want to get butts in seats that is certainly a way to do it. Lot’s a flesh on this poster so you know what you’re in for. Everything else is merely OK. B)

Tagline(s) – Lead Us Into Temptation (A+)

(I like that a lot. I’m gonna go ahead and rock an A+ on that guy. Four words. Connected to the title/plot. Clever twist on a common saying. It’s a master class.)

Keyword(s) – European Remake

Top 10: 12 Monkeys (1995), The Italian Job (2003), Insomnia (2002), Scent of a Woman (1992), Clash of the Titans (2010), Some Like It Hot (1959), Vanilla Sky (2001), True Lies (1994), Dawn of the Dead (2004), The Tourist (2010)

Future BMT: 54.5 Eye of the Beholder (1999), 54.0 Downhill (2020), 49.2 The Omen (2006), 44.8 Catch That Kid (2004), 43.1 Diabolique (1996), 43.0 Village of the Damned (1995), 41.8 I Think I Love My Wife (2007), 41.2 Clash of the Titans (2010), 41.2 Mixed Nuts (1994), 39.8 Intersection (1994)

BMT: The Wicker Man (2006), Taxi (2004), The Haunting (1999), Get Carter (2000), Jungle 2 Jungle (1997), Pathfinder (2007), Fathers’ Day (1997), Nine Months (1995), The Big Wedding (2013), Brick Mansions (2014), Sleepless (2017), The Blue Lagoon (1980), School for Scoundrels (2006), Original Sin (2001), Blame It on Rio (1984), The Loft (2014), Vanilla Sky (2001), Wicker Park (2004)

Best Options (Razzies (Picture, Actor, Actress)): 39.8 Intersection (1994), 32.3 Original Sin (2001), 17.2 Oscar (1991), 15.6 Jakob the Liar (1999)

(We are going to watch Oscar next week as a transition. I wanted a Worst Actress nod in particular anyways to go with Swept Away. That BMT list is getting gaudy!)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Angelina Jolie is No. 1 billed in Original Sin and No. 3 billed in Gone in Sixty Seconds, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (1 + 3) + (1 + 1) + (5 + 1) = 12. If we were to watch The Bone Collector we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – The plantation house was a real sugar cane plantation manor, albeit abandoned.

Michelle Pfeiffer’s production company had originally purchased the rights to the novel, with the intention that Pfeiffer herself would star. However, the actress opted to simply serve as producer on the film.

Director Michael Cristofer said in interviews, and in his commentary for the movie, that before the sex scene between Luis and Julia was filmed, Angelina Jolie told him that she would only film the scene if she was fully naked and without tapes or anything else to cover her up. Antonio Banderas also decided to do the scene fully naked after talking with them, and only Cristofer and a couple of more crew members were involved in filming it. This meant that lot of footage filmed for the scene, however, could not be used in the film because it was just too graphic and explicit to show onscreen. Cristofer said he was unable to even include it in the NC-17 unrated version, which is why in all versions of the film, the sex scene has very obvious cuts which are covered with editing and fade outs in between the shots. This was also where the rumor started about how Jolie and Banderas had unsimulated sex, which was said to have been another reason for why the scene was cut down. Cristofer said he still had copy of original cut of the film which, amongst other deleted scenes, also included the original uncut sex scene.

In December 2000, Ted Casablanca from E! Online reported how the infamous uncut version of sex scene between Jolie and Banderas was, on its own, 20 minutes long.

This film was a remake of François Truffaut’s Mississippi Mermaid (1969), starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Catherine Deneuve.

This was the last film produced under Michelle Pfeiffer’s production company, Via Rosa Productions.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Angelina Jolie, 2002)

Fortress Recap

Jamie

Fortress is my kind of film. Don’t hate. Participate… in unironically watching Fortress, a future prison film starring Christopher Lambert. If the description itself doesn’t get your juices flowing then… uh… I guess you shouldn’t watch it. That’s probably a prerequisite to enjoying this film. Alright, shall I do the honors? It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! 

To briefly recap, Lambert and his wife are attempting to escape to Canada. There is an ultra strict one child policy in the United States and even though their first child died they are not allowed to have the second. They would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those damn kids… or more accurately a boneheaded mistake by Lambert. Anywho, he ends up in a future prison deep in the ground in the desert where they put an explosive probe inside you to keep you in line and there are laser beams and robots and stuff. And not just any robot either, it’s a Kurtwood Smith robot/cyborg warden. Word. Lambert is former military so it isn’t long before he gains the trust of everyone and he learns that his wife didn’t make it to Canada like he had hoped. She is being kept captive by Kurtwood himself. Lambert is like “helll noooo” and they form a plan. They incite a riot and are able to overcome the robot guards and make it to the top of the prison. Kurtwood is dispatched by his robot overlords because he kinda screwed everything up by falling in love with Lambert’s smoking hot wife. But before they can dispatch the prisoners, one of them (a real leet haxxor) implants a virus in the prison computer system. With everything shut down, Lambert is able to escape to Mexico where his wife has her baby. Sweet success. THE END.

So this movie is pretty rad. It’s not a work of art or anything, and Lambert is… well, he’s Lambert, but it looks cool and the concept is cool. I don’t have too much to criticize even before gushing about Kurtwood Smith. Not only is he a fun actor, but his character was legit interesting. So he’s a cyborg and suddenly sees Loryn Locklin and is like, “What doth rumble in these robot loins?” He is smitten even though he really doesn’t even know what it all means. They explain that illegal children born in the prison are taken from the mothers and are used to create the cyborgs. So Kurtwood would be such a product. And so I wonder if in some way he is creating his own family. He will save her, the baby will become a cyborg, and truly will become the offspring of he and Locklin. Obviously none of this would have ever happened and it’s secondary to the sci-fi shoot-em-up of the rest of the film, but you have to give them some credit. I’ve thought more about that part of Fortress than I have about critically acclaimed films. So yeah, I think I actually liked this movie. As for Beowulf, the point of the bring-a-friends are to find some weird fun not-quite-theatrical releases to enjoy and enjoy Beowulf I did. It is super duper weird. Like have to be seen to be believed type of weird. Some truly hilarious moments during several of the fight scenes. At one point Lambert gets totally roasted by a CGI monster after doing a thousand backflips in a row. So yeah, mission accomplished.

Finally, Hot Take Clam Bake: Lambert and Karen made a selfish mistake by escaping. So you’re saying that the United States is in such disarray that they have imposed a strict one child policy where you can’t have a miscarriage? And yet Mexico and Canada are going to be totally cool with you guys setting up shop? Unlikely. You, your wife, and a newborn are going to def be on the run. Great life for a child, bro. Guess what is a good life? It’s called cyborg life. If it’s good enough for Kurtwood Smith, it’s good enough for your baby. They got your genes, bro, that cyborg gonna run that prison. Sounds pretty great, cause the rest of the world seems like shit. Hot Take Temperature: Mango Habanero. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Fortress? More like Bore-tress! Amirite? Nope! Because there are two things in life I enjoy: Christopher Lambert, and films set in future prisons. And lo! What do we have here? Let’s go!

  • I unironically like this film. Sue me! I wasn’t joking when I said I love films set in future prisons. They are so simple. There is an evil warden (who maybe is a robot). It is some brutal hellscape with prisoners basically just killing each other in a gladiator type setting. There is often a sweet “hook” for the prison design. In this case the prison is a giant pit in the desert, how brutalist of you Prison Director Poe. So modern. So chic. See I love this garbage! It’s great.
  • Christopher Lambert … is there. He has an interesting acting quality to him. In many ways he shares some qualities with someone like Seagal. His acting is unique, charming in its own way. When used correctly you get a Highlander or Hard to Kill out of it. But his demise as a star was inevitable. His accent, like with Van Damme, lends a flat quality to the dialogue and eventually you have seen everything he is able to do. By all accounts he’s a delightful person though, and he had a very solid career, so there is no shame.
  • Kurtwood Smith on the other hand is maybe the coolest villain actor of that era. With this and Robocop it is incredible that you don’t see the looks-like-a-nerd-but-is-a-horrible-piece-of-garbage-who-will-gladly-shoot-you-in-the-face villain a lot more often. It is incredibly unsettling and sinister when done well. This is no exception.
  • The set design is pretty sweet. The prison break idea is pretty sweet. His friends are all pretty sweet! So again, is it any surprise I unironically like this film? This film isn’t bad. What were the critics thinking?! … They were thinking that the film was a downer that focused too much on the fascism and sadism involved in the prison. I mean, maybe fair, but also undeniably entertaining! This film probably won’t qualify in a few years. Book it.
  • I’m going to give it a Setting as a Character (Where?) for the future prison, although I could have made a compelling argument that the entire film is specifically set in the Mojave Desert, but I won’t. A great Future Film (When?) for the film taking place in 2017, you mean I missed Fortress year? That’s all for the superlatives, but you know this might be the front runner for Good this year, I don’t see how I don’t continue to think it is amazing six months from now.
  • I’ll close with saying that our friend this cycle, Beowulf (1999), is crazy. B-b-b-b-b-b-beowulf is b-b-b-b-b-b-b-bonkers. It is like they had a set from, I don’t know, a medieval Power Rangers knockoff, and were like “You have seven days to make a movie, go!” The first half of the film is a bit boring maybe, but amusing in realizing this odd mismash of future and past is intended to be Beowulf in any capacity at all. And then, oh ho, you get the big battle between Beowulf and Gredel and let’s just say it involves two words: endless backflips. Christopher Lambert’s character can’t just do a dozen backflips in a row, he insists on doing a dozen backflips in a row. Multiple times in this film he does a dozen backflips in a row, often while splashing through ankle deep water. It is hilarious, and makes it all worth it. Close on a bad CGI villain that puts The Scorpion King to shame, and we have a recipe for an incredible friend. A-. If you add one more fight with a dozen backflips near the beginning of the film then this is gold. As it is it is a bit of a struggle to get to the goods. Still worth it though.

Look for the sequel to Fortress Fortress 2: The Raid Prison Break Season 4 in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Fortress Quiz

Oh man, so get this? I was thrown into a future prison forever for trying to make babies, and now I have to karate chop the evil robot warden to get out! Unfortunately, a big baddie bopped me on the head during a fight and now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Fortress?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning we see the horrible crime that Lambert and his wife committed. Making babies. How do they plan on getting by the scanning on the Canadian border so they can have their babies in peace?

2) Welp, that obviously didn’t work. And now both of them are in Future Prison, and Future Prison SUCKS. Future Prison is run by Prison Director Poe. What makes Poe so special?

3) Tangentially, what happens to all of the babies born in Future Prison?

4) How do they get the map of the prison from Poe’s office?

5) Ultimately how do they figure out they can get the Stomach Exploder Devices out of their stomachs so they don’t explode when they try to escape?

Bonus Question: At the end of the film we see Lambert and his wife taking care of their child in Mexico. But what a twist! What happens in the mid-credits scene?

<!–more Answers–>

Answers

1) Lambert and his wife are in the military, and thus they have access to flak jackets. Apparently this blocks the bio sensors enough to allow them to sneak by the guards … that is, if the guards don’t notice, which they do!

2) Poe is like a human cyborg-y thing. He has a lot of installed robotics and he doesn’t have to eat or sleep or anything, he just exchanges various fluids ever so often in his office. He believes that his kind are the future, and that soon enough all of humanity will be horrible robot people. We’ll see about that!

3) The babies are all turned into cyborgs. Mostly they seem to be lowly drones whose jobs seem to be to just be a standing army for the corporation that runs the prison. But every so often you get a sweet Poe who can do so much more (until he BLOWS IT).

4) One of Lambert’s prison buddies is the barber / general helper for Poe in his office. He is promised consideration when parole comes up … but everyone knows he isn’t going to be paroled ever. So he decides to help, and with the aid of Lambert’s wife he manages to sneak the map out to Lambert so that they can plan their escape.

5) So earlier in the film the original Big Bad guy gets got and in the process Lambert ends up palming an exploder device. They pass it off to another prison buddy (an explosives expert) who studies it and figured out that it is highly magnetic, so you can draw it up and out of your stomach (easily although painfully). Et voila, it is time for the great escape.

Bonus Answer: We see Lambert’s wife turn on him and attack him, and indeed, what a twist! She has a robot brain! Replaced at some point in prison. Lambert kills his wife, but now will do anything to avenge her death. Sneaking back into Future Hellscape Los Angeles (FHLA) Lambert finds what is, in effect, the inverse of the Future Prison, the Men-Tel Coporate Headquarters. Getting together a ragtag team made up of vengeful relatives of his prison friends, Lambert plans for his version of Prison Break Season 4. It is time to break in and steal Scylla kill the Men-Tel CEO. Moving from floor to floor a la The Raid (wait, is this movie just a montage of other IP? … yeah probably), Lambert finally reaches the top only to realize that Men-Tel is being run by a robot!? No matter, time to eat lead robot CEO! Taking down the corporation Lambert triumphantly returns to Future Prison and releases everyone and they live happily in Mexico with Lambert’s son Abraham.

I would buy that for a dollar. It is called Fortress 2: The Raid Prison Break Season 4. Just tell it how it is.

Fortress Preview

“No, no, no, this is a mistake,” Jamie pleads as Kyle approaches with a glint in his eye suggesting he’s ready to pound some dweebs. “Who are you?” he yells, gripping Jamie by the collar. “Stop it, Kyle,” Patrick says calmly, “Think of everything you’ve gone through? When you were tracking our path through time, what did you find?” Kyle’s grip loosens as he remembers. “It was… better. You were making things better,” he says, breathing heavily. “That’s right,” Jamie continues, rubbing his neck and taking a step back, “and if we were these other twins, or whatever, why would we have come here? They are clearly hiding. Whoever these other twins are, they are the imposters. We are the Bad Movie Twins.” Kyle nods and they share a triple bro hug. Tears streaming down their faces they turn to Rachel and ask that she show them exactly what they are dealing with. An hour later, wearing the patented BMT black canadian tuxedos they designed for just such a situation (and they never leave home without them), they peer over a small hill at the lakeside Hallston Academy compound. Rachel wasn’t kidding. Armed guards, search lights, barbed wire, oil slicks, tacks, guard dogs, robot guard dogs, laser drones, half-cyborg bears, several hornet nests filled with specially trained hornets, several other hornet nests filled with regular hornets, you name it. “This isn’t a compound, this is a gosh darn fortress,” Jamie mutters, “And you know what a fortress needs?” Kyle, Patrick and Jamie all say it at once and without an ounce of irony: “Teamwork, yeah!” Searching the town, they not only find LePumice and Ty, they also conveniently find a couple more black jeans suits. With that Jamie pulls out one of his classic catchphrases, “Fortress schmortress.” That’s right, we’re watching another Christopher Lambert classic in Fortress. A high-tech futuristic prison that Lambert has to escape from? Say no more. Seriously shut your mouth, I’m busy watching this high-tech prison movie. Oh, I guess we do have to mention that we are pairing this with the amazing looking Lambert vehicle Beowulf. Fun fact, this was the first english language film adaptation of Beowulf. For real. Let’s go!

Fortress (1992) – BMeTric: 33.1; Notability: 22

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 10.0%; Notability: top 21.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 26.4%; Higher BMeT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Body of Evidence, Cool World, Pet Sematary II, Toys, Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice, 3 Ninjas, The Lawnmower Man, Sleepwalkers, Sidekicks, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Freejack, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Beethoven, Aces: Iron Eagle III, Evil Toons, Ladybugs, Dr. Giggles, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, Encino Man, and 5 more; Higher Notability: Toys, Cool World, Newsies, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Freejack, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, The Bodyguard, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Innocent Blood, Universal Soldier, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, This Is My Life, Encino Man, The Mighty Ducks, Radio Flyer, The Distinguished Gentleman, Kuffs, Mom and Dad Save the World, Man Trouble, and 34 more; Lower RT: Once Upon a Crime…, Folks!, Year of the Comet, Live Wire, Love Crimes, Frozen Assets, Cool World, Man Trouble, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, The Opposite Sex and How to Live with Them, Body of Evidence, Mom and Dad Save the World, Claire of the Moon, Passed Away, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Ladybugs, Mr. Baseball, The Distinguished Gentleman, The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, and 41 more; Notes: Ah that’s more like it. After a few crazy high Notability films in a row, 22 is just about what I would expect for this. Just a little push to get this to 6.0 and it’ll basically be “average”.

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Husband and wife flee futuristic society (which forbids them from having a second child) because she is pregnant again. They’re captured and sent to a high-tech maximum security prison run by the sadistic warden. (Is there another kind?) Intriguing premise is sabotaged by weak acting and a weaker script. Incredible international success resulted in a sequel.

(Yeah I could see that. All of the notes are about how everything was looking promising and awesome for a bit, and then all of the money disappeared and you got a borderline straight-to-video release in the end.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3U6oLx3xy8s/

(Ha, halfway to hell. God I love cheesy sci-fi nonsense. Combine that with a future prison filled with robots? Forget about it. Leonard Maltin is a fool, this movie must be great!)

DirectorsStuart Gordon – ( Known For: Re-Animator; From Beyond; Dagon; Dolls; Space Truckers; The Pit and the Pendulum; Robot Jox; Edmond; King of the Ants; Stuck; The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit; BMT: Fortress; Notes: Well known for producing H. P. Lovecraft adaptations on a small budget. He is known for casting Jeffrey Combs in films, and this is no exception.)

WritersTroy Neighbors – ( Known For: Fortress 2: Re-Entry; BMT: Fortress; Notes: He was the casting director for Enemy Mine. He gets character credits for the sequel, so I assume he wrote the original script.)

Steven Feinberg – ( Known For: Fortress 2: Re-Entry; BMT: Fortress; Notes: His biography claims he produced Moonrise Kingdom, but IMDb suggests he got a “grateful acknowledgment”. He has a crazy number of “grateful acknowledgement”s. He’s still getting them. He has a “thanks” for Hocus Pocus 2 coming out this year.)

David Venable – ( BMT: Fortress; Notes: He’s written a few TV Movies, but otherwise this is his only feature film. He wrote a single episode of SeaQuest 2032.)

Terry Curtis Fox – ( BMT: Fortress; Notes: Almost exclusively wrote for television including JAG, Stargate SG-1, and Diagnosis Murder.)

ActorsChristopher Lambert – ( Known For: Highlander; Hail, Caesar!; Southland Tales; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Resurrection; Subway; Beowulf; The Sicilian; Knight Moves; Bel Canto; Sobibor; White Material; Fortress 2: Re-Entry; Un + Une; Why Me?; Nirvana; Druids; North Star; The Point Men; Future BMT: Loaded Weapon 1; The Hunted; Gunmen; BMT: Mortal Kombat; Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Fortress; Highlander: Endgame; Highlander: The Final Dimension; Notes: Lambert is French, although born in America and raised in Switzerland as his father was a diplomat. By all accounts a great guy, at least on the set of Mortal Kombat, and still acting with 10 projects in a state of production.)

Loryn Locklin – ( Known For: Catch Me If You Can; Denial; Future BMT: Taking Care of Business; BMT: Fortress; Notes: She was on JAG for six years, after which is seems like she retired.)

Kurtwood Smith – ( Known For: A Time to Kill; Girl, Interrupted; Dead Poets Society; RoboCop; Deep Impact; To Die For; Turbo; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Broken Arrow; Hitchcock; Boxing Helena; Cedar Rapids; Last of the Dogmen; Heart and Souls; Amityville: The Awakening; Quick Change; El Camino Christmas; Citizen Ruth; Prefontaine; Shadows and Fog; Future BMT: Firestarter; The Crush; Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; Staying Alive; Oscar; BMT: Rambo III; Fortress; Notes: Most people probably know him for either That 70s Show or RoboCop. He’s in That 90s Show as well, which is coming out soon.)

Budget/Gross – $8,000,000 / Domestic: $6,739,141 (Worldwide: $6,739,141)

(Sources claim that it did well internationally, but I guess I don’t really trust Box Office Mojo prior to around 2000 completely. Could also just mean it did well on television and home video though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 38% (6/16)

(Fact: I don’t think this is qualifying in a year or so. I think someone will give it a good review and then eventually it’ll settle at like 44% or something and never get close again. The consensus is basically: Fun with a unique look the problem with the movie is just that it is kind of a bummer.)

Reviewer Highlight: Even the requisite gore is sub-par, so it’s not even neat when some poor sap explodes and his entrails whiz by. Perhaps Gordon should go back to mining H.P. Lovecraft’s territory. – Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

Poster – Fortress Schmortress

(Hahaha. Nope. That could honestly be the poster for any Christopher Lambert film. I’m not even really sure what they were trying to do. At least it has a color scheme and the gradient on the font is OK. C-.)

Tagline(s) – In the year 2017 one corporation is building a fortress for the ultimate takeover… your mind. (F)

(What thuuuuu. I don’t know what any of that means or really what it has to do with the film Fortress. They are not doing that. They are building a fortress as a prison.)

Keyword(s) – dimension

Top 10: Sin City (2005), Spectre (2015), The Others (2001), Scream (1996), Equilibrium (2002), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), The Mist (2007), Death Proof (2007), 1408 (2007), Scary Movie (2000)

Future BMT: 86.6 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005), 82.8 Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011), 77.5 Who’s Your Caddy? (2007), 77.0 Superhero Movie (2008), 70.1 Black Christmas (2006), 68.6 Pulse (2006), 66.9 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 64.9 Scary Movie 4 (2006), 61.8 Cursed (2005), 59.0 Apollo 18 (2011)

BMT: Scary Movie V (2013), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), Highlander: The Final Dimension (1994), Halloween II (2009), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), My Boss’s Daughter (2003), Highlander: Endgame (2000), Dracula 2000 (2000), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998), Phantoms (1998), Boys and Girls (2000), Texas Rangers (2001), Reindeer Games (2000), Halloween (2007), Fortress (1992), Senseless (1998), Impostor (2001), Mindhunters (2004)

Best Options (Christopher Lambert): 33.0 Fortress (1992), 30.5 Gunmen (1993)

(Phew. Not that Gunman looks terrible, it looks pretty amusing. We chose this first and then went for Lambert’s best non-theatrical release for Dimension. There aren’t that many people who made multiple Dimension films and less that made both theatrical and non-theatrical, so this was pretty limiting. Very excited for Fortress though.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Christopher Lambert is No. 1 billed in Fortress and No. 5 billed in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (1 + 5) + (1 + 1) + (5 + 1) = 14. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – According to an interview with director Stuart Gordon, Arnold Schwarzenegger was to star as John Brennick since Arnold was a big fan of Re-Animator (1985) in which Arnold’s stunt-double, Peter Kent was a cast member. Stuart Gordon: “…it was Arnold Schwarzenegger that got me the job and it was because of Re-Animator. We used Arnold’s body-double in Re-Animator. The first reanimated corpse is a guy named Peter Kent, Arnold’s double. He’s got those big muscles. He got Arnold to see Re-Animator and Arnold liked it so much that he had a screening of it in his home, inviting all of these people, including producer John Davis. John had the rights to Fortress and Arnold was going to do it. For some reason, I’m not sure why, Arnold finally decided that he wasn’t going to do the movie and dropped out. They had a big budget, probably like 60 million, 70 million dollars, which was a huge budget in those days. Now it sounds small. [laughs] Anyway, he dropped out and the budget went down. They cut the budget to about 15 million dollars.”

The film takes place in 2017.

Due to the fact that star Christopher Lambert had worked on several large scale productions, he was hired by the film’s producers as a consultant and oversaw filming.

Filmed at Warner Brothers Movie World in Queensland, Australia.

The film performed very strongly internationally, especially in Europe where Christopher Lambert is a bigger name, and in Australia, where it was filmed. The film also enjoyed a long and profitable afterlife on VHS.

Zed-10, the artificial intelligence running the prison, is voiced by Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, wife of director Stuart Gordon.

Although the film opened strong in the US on its opening weekend, Dimension Films found their movie losing screens when a wave of new releases in the next coming weeks took over most of the multiplexes.

Stuart Gordon was set to direct Body Snatchers (1993) when he got Arnold Schwarzenegger and producer John Davis’s offer to direct Fortress instead. Gordon accepted, although Schwarzenegger would eventually drop out.

A television series based on this film was briefly considered: the “Fortress” television series would continue on from this film and would follow John and Karen as they are pursued by the Men-Tel Corporation and they raise their baby son Danny. It became a sequel instead, Fortress 2: Re-Entry (2000).

Surviving the Game Recap

Jamie

“What’s Surviving the Game?” is the only real response to learning that we watched this for BMT. It came, it qualified for BMT, it did not conquer. It ultimately feels a little like what streaming films are like today. Could have been (should have been?) on HBO instead of in theaters. But that is the long past. This is the present and in the present we can only watch what’s on the screen (and on any sweet, sweet DVD extras they might have graced us with).

So first and foremost I have to say that Surviving the Game is serviceable. It services the human race’s apparent need to watch humans-hunting-humans. It’s a tale as old as time (if time started in 1924) and it is a pretty straight adaptation despite the 70 year gap between source material and adaptation. Ice-T is a homeless man offered a nice sum of money to participate as a guide for a hunt. He has no experience, he exclaims, but whatevs, they are looking to help Ice-T out. Not suspicious at all. When he gets out to the secluded cabin in the wilds of Oregon he is shocked to find that all the hunters are rich maniacs. He is fortunate to have a place to sleep at night given all the scenery these rich maniacs are chewing. But alas, these aren’t just your regular Joe, scenery-consuming rich maniacs… these are rich maniacs who like to hunt Ice-T. Uh oh! So Ice-T starts his escape and through cunning and mostly a desperate desire to live, he is able to pick off the richie riches one-by-one. Just as he is about to kill the main player and make his escape he is blown up by a timed explosive in a decoy plane. Darn, looks like Rutger Hauer got away. Not so fast! What a twist! Ice-T survived and shows up in Seattle to take out Rutger before he makes his final escape.

As you can see the film is straightforward, which is nice. There is some funny stuff in there too. All the actors are way way way over the top and I’m there for it. There are also some funny random moments in the film including some pretty suspect practical effects and the fact that Hauer sets up a bomb for Ice-T at the end, but after blowing him up doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t find a body. It’s like Hauer assumed that Ice-T was entirely obliterated by the bomb and not a speck was left… like a cartoon. No wonder Ice-T is able to nab him by the end. That’s just not good thinking by our bad guy. So overall, not bad, with some fun mixed in to boot. Before I jump into Hot Take Clam Bake, just a quick word on our Bring a Friend, Sonic Impact. I found this movie confounding, at times hilarious, and eventually a pretty good Friend. It’s a film constructed around clips from Airport 1975, but set up like a Die Hard scenario, so there is a lot of meandering about until the big action scene comes into play. My favorite was how they keep telling the main character that he should take a vacation, so for the first half of the film we see him discuss it with people, pack up his bag, drive to a travel agency only to get called into action seconds from booking the trip. The bad guy nicely hammed it up, too. So as I said, good Friend.

Anyway, for Hot Take Clam Bake I’m making the case that the man who recruited Ice-T, played by Charles S. Dutton, was actually a good guy who saw the potential of Ice-T as the hero he needed to finally put a stop to the evil cabal he became involved with. He saw through Ice-T’s seeming lack of interest in life and fall into destitution to see the man within. A man who’s superior smarts and skills could finally stop Hauer in his tracks. Hauer is even like “come on, are you sure?” but Dutton is adamant that this is the man they want… truly the most dangerous game, and in fact a game so dangerous that he would tear it all down. Sure, Dutton dies in the end, but that was the sacrifice he was willing to make. Why do you think he’s laughing deliriously after being blown up by Ice-T? The student has become the teacher and even in death he knows his plan has worked. Who else could survive a bomb blast, bury himself in the sand convincingly enough to escape detection, and then reappear hundreds of miles away to swoop out of the darkness like Batman to kill Hauer? Ice-T, that’s who, and Dutton knew it all along.

I give that Hot Take Clam Bake a rating of Scorching Hot. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Surviving the Game? More like Surviving this Movie?! Amirite? Who would have thought that the best adaptation of The Most Dangerous Game would star Ice-T. Wait … no, strike that, I meant “worst”. Let’s go!

  • Weird movie. Based on The Most Dangerous Game, but also only a year after Hard Target starring Van Damme which is ostensibly the exact same story, all the way down to Van Damme effectively being a vagrant recruited into the game. Ice-T is basically what makes this movie unique, I suppose representing a different underclass being exploited … still feels a bit pointless.
  • The testosterone on set must have been off the chain! Hauer, Busey, and McGinley are all trying to chew the scenery to such a degree that I don’t know how the director could even have wrangled them. Especially McGinley. There are moments where he’s stumbling and screeching and grabbing other actors to such a degree that I wonder if people were telling him to take it that far or whether there was no one there to tell him to chill out.
  • Fun little picture though if you are into the underlying story. Feels more like a “friend” than an actual wide release, but the 90s were crazy man, and Busey at least still felt like a bankable star. Makes sense that the director openly said he regretted killing him off early.
  • Interesting Setting as a Character (Where?) for Washington state, which is made explicit through several references to the beginning of the film taking place in Seattle. And honestly that is it. I think it is closest to Good in the end, just because you’ll get some mileage out of seeing Ice-T kill a bunch of people and the generic story is a classic for a reason.
  • This cycle’s friend is also an Ice-T vehicle called Sonic Impact. Films like this I usually find rather boring, but for some reason this one enamored me. I think it is a combination of having watched enough mediocre/bad movies that I can recognize Sonic Impact as merely a poor man’s Turbulence mixed with a poor man’s Executive Decision. And then half the film being literally Airport 1975’s shots of an airplane flying near the Rocky Mountains. And then Ice-T spending half the film looking embarrassed that he got captured and is in handcuffs with nothing to do. All it needed was the poorly-named bad guy Jeremy Barrett to have a sweet hook … like being obsessed with poetry, or being like an accomplished mathematician or some weird choice. As it is, it’ll settle as a solid B+ friend, something I might watch once more before realizing that it isn’t worth it.

Go and check out the sequel television movie crossover event, Law & Order: SVUing the Game, detailed in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklog