Amsterdam Recap

Jamie

One big perk of the past year is that Patrick and I have been able to go to the movies together a number of times (usually to partake in some artistic achievement like Tár or Prey for the Devil) and each trailer that plays gets a silent look between us. Usually these looks are balanced, like yin and yang. Equal and opposite looks. Like Banshees of Inisherin and Plane. It’s like “Boy, I can’t wait for that one,” but for opposite reasons. Then there is the look like “That seems like a bit much.” Like seeing the trailer for M3GAN and it’s kind of a good thing. Like wow… that seems like a lot… and it could be fun. The equal and opposite is a film like Amsterdam where we tiredly look over at each other and it’s just like… “that just feels like… a lot.” Amsterdam just felt like a lot. It’s just a lot.

To recap, there’s just a lot. Like… it’s a lot. Bale is a wounded veteran doctor in NYC who is called on by his black lawyer veteran friend, Harold, to help determine whether Taylor Swift’s father (a celebrated general) has been murdered. [Big breath.] He determines that he probably was, but when they go to tell TSwift she is unceremoniously shoved in the street and killed. The murderer tries to pin the murder on them and so they go on the run. In order to inform the rest of the film we are treated to a lengthy flashback where we meet Margot Robbie, a free-spirited artist/spy who helped treat them during the war. They become BFF’s Forever and live a great life in Amsterdam until Bale is like “I gotta go back to NYC to see my wife.” There he gets into hot water as he tries to help veterans with their pain and so Harold joins him to help, thus officially breaking up the trio. [Even bigger breath.] Back in the present Bale uses his connections amongst the veterans to stall the police and heads to Tom Voze’s house, a notable citizen of NYC, to try to get him to vouch for their character and they are surprised to find that Robbie is there. Turns out she’s a Voze. [Medium breath.] Tom Voze suggests they go talk to General Dillenbeck and try to get him on their side. In the meantime all kinds of shady stuff is happening with a group called the Committee of the Five and so they stop off to see Robbie’s spy friends. They say, indeed, the Committee of the Five are trying to establish a fascist state in America using Dillenbeck, so they should try to stop them. Dillenbeck agrees and sets up the climax of the film where he will lure the Committee to a veteran’s gala where they will reveal them to the authorities. [Final breath.] All of this occurs, but wait! Tim Voze is part of the Committee (what a twist!) and they use their power and influence to avoid jail. As a result Robbie and Harold have to go on the run, but it’s OK because they have love. Bale stays and I guess is fine. I don’t know. THE END.

There is too much going on to grasp what the purpose of all this was. There were aspects of the film I liked. For example, I thought the fact that Bale’s character was physically debilitated by his war injuries was an interesting idea to explore alongside Harold (struggling with the racism of the era) and Margot Robbie’s character (who’s art makes her family think she’s mentally ill). For a moment I thought the idea was that the broken and beaten down of the world were who really prevented the fall… but it’s just one of a million ideas that are ultimately explored in the film. So I can’t tell if that was even there. Maybe the idea is that Robert De Niro is what prevents the fall… could that be it? Anyway, the film looked good and the acting was generally pretty good I thought, but there’s nothing there to grab onto and by the end I wasn’t sure it amounted to much. It’s funny because I would say if you wanted something like this then you should just watch Don’t Look Up, which is just as big and (I thought) much more successful… but a lot of people also thought that was bad… so it kinda tells you everything you need to know about where this one ends up.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Maybe Robert De Niro should have just become the dictator of America… might have saved us from eventually starting BMT and now watching Amsterdam. Or maybe it’s the opposite, maybe under the fascist state art would have shrivel to a hard tiny prune and we’d be forced to eat our Amsterdam prunes every day extolling our dear leader, Robert De Niro. So now I’m not sure. Maybe Robert De Niro shouldn’t have become dictator of America. We’ll (probably) never know. Hot Take Temperature: Started as Carolina Reaper but shriveled to a Banana Pepper by the end.

Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Amsterdam? More like Amster-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang, amirite? Thank you David O. Russell, the only way we were getting the chain reaction to work this year was with a crazy huge ensemble disaster. Let’s go!

  • It must be the fact that we avoid giant ensemble cast films like this for BMT because I can’t really remember the last one we watched. Maybe they just tend not to be that bad? Maybe I’m misremembering. Funny enough the one we chained from was Pearl Harbor, which is also a giant ensemble cast disaster. This feels different because it is a straight drama (with comedic elements).
  • Christian Bale is good.
  • The rest … I would entertain arguments that anyone in this film is good. They are all acting very weird. They are all being acted off the screen by Christian Bale who is amazing as usual. It is a cyclone of quirks that kind of never works.
  • Well, except Robert De Niro who acts like De Niro. It is weird he is supposed to be a real person (kind of) but in the end he’s just De Niro.
  • Russell films are weird. He likes to take a real life event, then he fills it chockablock with weirdos with quirks, and in the end the not-very-interesting real life event is overwhelmed by the quirky acting. But most of the time it works to varying degrees. This time?
  • Yeah, it is just really dull. Every time Christian Bale is on screen the film comes alive. His character is so real and quirky and fun and funny and works really well. But then every time anyone else is on screen the film falls apart. I wonder how hard Russell pushed to get Jennifer Lawrence in the Margo Robbie role. Probably so hard.
  • The real life event is the Business Plot by the way, and don’t bother reading about it, it seems like a genuinely uninteresting non-conspiracy of questionable authenticity. It is very weird that a movie has been made about it. The Bonus Army would have been a more interesting setting.
  • Gosh how do I even keep on talking about this film. It feels like it was barely written, the acting is mostly average at best, and it is beautiful and a cool period piece. I guess that is what it has going for it, it is a fun period piece at best.
  • I guess I’ll call it an A+ Setting (Where?) for Amsterdam, you can’t deny it does take place in Amsterdam to some degree. The film is closest to Bad because there just is nothing to it besides Bale, and you’ve seen better performances by him anyways.

Read about the unlikely science fiction sequel, Amsterdam 2: Half Past Time, in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Amsterdam Quiz

Oh man, so there I was in WWI when I got my face and eye all blown up and junk. Now I’m a cast out doctor treating patients on the sly. Also I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Amsterdam?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open with a dead man in a box, Christian Bale, and John David Washington. Who is the dead man / how is he related to the two protagonists?

2) Flashback! They have to explain why Margo Robbie exists. Where did they meet Robbie, and what did she do with all that shrapnel?

3) They meet Michael Myers in Amsterdam. Who does he claim to be, who is he really, and what big conspiracy is he concerned with?

4) This movie is dense. Robert De Niro is in it. He plays a general. What does he have Bale, Washington and Robbie do to prove that they knew him in the war?

5) Ah, finally, the unraveling of the conspiracy. So, what were they trying to do?

Bonus Question: Flashforward and Bale is still running his business and things are looking up. But what’s this? A knock at the door! Who is it?

Answers

Amsterdam Preview

It was a classic Bad Movie Twins dance. Abs? Gleaming. Jorts? Brimming. Legs? Akimbo. Just when Kevin James thought it would end, his hand hovering over his patented “Not Good Buzzer,” the routine would ratchet up a notch. Jamie and Patrick stared daggers at him, their muscles burning at 45 straight minutes of experimental dance the likes of which a national audience had never witnessed. Ratings were spiking as other networks hopped on the broadcast. Over 200 million Americans watched as Kevin James was dragged from the stage screaming that Jamie and Patrick were punks. Punks who needed Punk’ding. The producers scoffed at his antics. They wouldn’t let a personal vendetta stand in the way of them getting the opportunity to declare the once Bad Movie Twins the Very Good Twins. Imagine! America is Very Good will be the top talent show on TV in no time as long as the Very Good Twins were part of the team. “That… that was amazing,” Producer Frank Brow exclaims, “and you can take that to the bank,” he finishes with a flourish. He doesn’t let his disappointment show when it becomes clear that Jamie and Patrick don’t recognize a classic Brow-ism. “Yeah, well we’re good now,” Patrick says shrugging. “Very good,” Jamie chimes in with a wink and The Brow almost faints, dollar signs dancing in his vision. “So this is the button… the Not Good Buzzer. You guys can just press it together if you like. Or we can get a second one.” Jamie and Patrick are confused. “Mr. Brow. This seems like a good gig for some Very Good Twins, but I think we just won the show… so…” Brow is picking up what they’re putting down. “The Prize. Of course. How would you like a trip to …” That’s right! We’re heading off to Amsterdam for David O. Russell’s very big bomb Amsterdam. It’s not a movie I wanted to see… but here we are. Let’s go!

Amsterdam (2022) – BMeTric: 28.5; Notability: 50

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 10.8%; Notability: top 1.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 12.2%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Bubble, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Firestarter, Moonfall, Morbius, Blacklight, Pinocchio, Me Time, Spiderhead, Deep Water, The Invitation, After Ever Happy, Jurassic World: Dominion, Senior Year, Blackout, The 355, White Elephant, Samaritan, Prey for the Devil, and 7 more; Higher Notability: Black Adam, Jurassic World: Dominion, Pinocchio; Lower RT: After Ever Happy, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Me Time, Poker Face, Blacklight, Firestarter, White Elephant, Prey for the Devil, Morbius, The Last Manhunt, Blackout, The Bubble, The Man from Toronto, Senior Year, On the Line, The 355, The Invitation, Pinocchio, Memory, Jurassic World: Dominion, and 2 more; Notes: That notability is off the chain for real though. I need to watch Black Adam at some point, got to hit up those big Notability films.

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – But despite these sporadic moments of enjoyment, “Amsterdam” is ultimately so convoluted and tedious that it obliterates such glimmers of goodwill. It’s so weighed down by its overlong running time and self-indulgent sense of importance that its core message about the simple need for human decency feels like a cynical afterthought. And whispering the word “Amsterdam” throughout, as several of the characters do, doesn’t even begin to cast the magic spell it seeks to conjure.

(Yeah that is what it feels like. But also, isn’t that kind of David O. Russell’s M.O. at this point? The huge ensemble cast desperately trying to hold an overblown ripped-from-the-headlines plot together? Or should I actually say the magnetic charisma of Christian Bale trying to kill such a plot afloat.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLs2xxM0e78/

(I watched this trailer when it came out. Looked good. Oh wait, I should be more specific. Christian Bale looked good. I was a little disappointed it apparently isn’t. Because I like Christian Bale. Such is life I suppose though.)

DirectorsDavid O. Russell – ( Known For: American Hustle; Silver Linings Playbook; The Fighter; Joy; Three Kings; I Heart Huckabees; Spanking the Monkey; Flirting with Disaster; Accidental Love; BMT: Amsterdam; Notes: Nominated for five Oscars for writing/directing American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook, and The Fighter. He might have defined Bradley Cooper as a serious dramatic actor.)

WritersDavid O. Russell – ( Known For: American Hustle; Silver Linings Playbook; Joy; Three Kings; I Heart Huckabees; Spanking the Monkey; Flirting with Disaster; BMT: Amsterdam; Notes: Born in New York City, he went to Amherst College and got his start with a Documentary short about the Hispanic community of Boston.)

ActorsChristian Bale – ( Known For: The Pale Blue Eye; Thor: Love and Thunder; American Psycho; The Dark Knight; The Prestige; The Dark Knight Rises; Ford v Ferrari; Batman Begins; The Big Short; Little Women; Knight of Cups; 3:10 to Yuma; American Hustle; Out of the Furnace; Equilibrium; Hostiles; The Machinist; Empire of the Sun; The Fighter; Public Enemies; Future BMT: Terminator Salvation; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Newsies; BMT: Amsterdam; Captain Corelli’s Mandolin; Notes: He won an Oscar for The Fighter, but has been nominated four times in total. Welsh, he was a notable child actor (in things like Empire of the Sun) and starred in Newsies which was supposed to be the return of the big Hollywood musical … it was not.)

Margot Robbie – ( Known For: Babylon; Once Upon a Time in Hollywood; The Wolf of Wall Street; The Suicide Squad; About Time; The Big Short; Birds of Prey; Dreamland; Bombshell; I, Tonya; Focus; Mary Queen of Scots; Terminal; Whiskey Tango Foxtrot; Peter Rabbit; Suite Française; Slaughterhouse Rulez; Z for Zachariah; Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway; Goodbye Christopher Robin; Future BMT: Suicide Squad; The Legend of Tarzan; BMT: Amsterdam; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars for I, Tonya and Bombshell. Australian, she obviously started out on Neighbours. They all do.)

John David Washington – ( Known For: Tenet; BlacKkKlansman; Malcolm X; Malcolm & Marie; Beckett; The Old Man & the Gun; Devil in a Blue Dress; Monster; Monsters and Men; Love Beats Rhymes; BMT: Amsterdam; Notes: Wait … wait. He is Denzel Washington’s son. And he was a professional football player, albeit as the running back for the United Football League’s Sacramento Mountain Lions. But still, what the hell.)

Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $14,947,969 (Worldwide: $31,245,810)

(That is a colossal bomb, but not surprising. Everything that was kind of mid-budget (and not fantastic) bombed this year. Hopefully that will change a tiny bit next year, but we’ll see.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (79/244): Amsterdam has a bunch of big stars and a very busy plot, all of which amounts to painfully less than the sum of its dazzling parts.

(Awwww. This film feels like it was just on the cusp of being kind of okay. But ultimately yeah, whenever Bale isn’t the center of attention the film kind of gets away from itself.)

Reviewer Highlight: Jaw-droppingly terrible, interminably dull… – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

Poster – Amsterdaaaang

(I kind of dig this. Could use some better font, but the colors are interesting and the framing as well. Not the worst. C+)

Tagline(s) – Let the love, murder, and conspiracy begin. (A)

(Helllll yeah. Now that fits what we want. It’s giving a little hint. Short and sweet and rule of three. Even a little clever with the “Let the [blank] begin.” It’s good. You can’t claim otherwise.)

Keyword(s) – year 2022

Top 10: The Batman (2022), The Kashmir Files (2022), Top Gun: Maverick (2022), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), Bullet Train (2022), Uncharted (2022), The Adam Project (2022), The Northman (2022)

Future BMT: 65.8 Jeepers Creepers: Reborn (2022), 64.8 Halloween Ends (2022), 63.9 Firestarter (2022), 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 50.5 Umma (2022), 45.9 The 355 (2022), 44.3 Jurassic World: Dominion (2022), 38.5 Memory (2022), 19.2 Black Adam (2022)

BMT: Moonfall (2022), Morbius (2022), Blacklight (2022), The Invitation (2022), After Ever Happy (2022), Prey for the Devil (2022), The King’s Daughter (2022), Amsterdam (2022), Don’t Worry Darling (2022), Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

Best Options (pearl-harbor): 28.2 Amsterdam (2022)

(Hey there, I like that. Maybe the crown jewel of any cycle this year we left it out here and there (for comedy for example) entirely because we knew that if we could wait to juuuuuuust this week precisely it would come out on HBO Max. Perfecto.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robert De Niro is No. 4 billed in Amsterdam and No. 1 billed in Righteous Kill, which also stars Al Pacino (No. 2 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) => (4 + 1) + (2 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Christian Bale stopped talking to Chris Rock on set. He claimed that he was very funny, which made it hard for him to act.

The eye drops the characters use near the film’s end, are likely allusions to the cocaine eye drops that Adolf Hitler reportedly favored enthusiastically.

Of working with Anya Taylor-Joy on this film, David O. Russell said, “Anya is fearless and intuitively vulnerable and confident in a manner that is uniquely her own. She is different and strange in ways that are fascinating both toward darkness and toward light.”

Was a box office failure, losing the studio an estimated $97 million, according to Deadline.

A rumored title of the film was “Canterbury Glass.”

Was originally set to release on November 4, 2022, but was moved up to October 7 to avoid competition with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022).

The cast includes three Oscar winners – Christian Bale, Rami Malek, and Robert De Niro – and two Oscar nominees – Margot Robbie and Michael Shannon.

Mike Myers also played a British military man with a similar look in Inglourious Basterds (2009).

This film was inspired by the Business Plot, a 1933 political conspiracy in which wealthy American businessmen and bankers plotted a military coup d’état to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt and replace him with a fascist veterans’ organization headed by U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler. Butler revealed the plot in a testimony under oath to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Special Committee on Un-American Activities in 1934. The committee concluded that a plot was indeed concocted, but none of the plotters were prosecuted. General Dillenbeck (Robert De Niro) is based on Butler.

Pearl Harbor Recap

Jamie

Back in the Age of Darkness (that would be B.B.M.T. by the Stallonian Calendar), Patrick and tried out a few ways to keep connected through long distance film watching. One such effort was essentially what we have in the Chain Reaction. We went back and forth giving each other movies to watch using connections made through the cast of the films. I recall almost none of the films we watched, but I do remember volleying it back to Patrick with Pearl Harbor. He reacted with horrified anger and I think he shot back a real doozy at me, which quickly led the venture into a death spiral. Fortunately we are much more mature than we were back then and BMT will survive this venture into the Bayverse.

To keep it short, Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett are best buds 4 life. They were born to fly and boy howdy do they. Just when Affleck finds his (other) true love in Kate Beckinsale, he’s informed that he’s getting into the action in the RAF. Hartnett is devastated (oh and Beckinsale, too). We see Affleck fly, earn everyone’s respect, and then crash into the ocean. Hartnett is even more devastated (oh and Beckinsale, too). Now both stationed in Pearl Harbor, they run into each other’s arms in their grief. Hartnett is super into it. Beckinsale is more conflicted, but ultimately they make sweet, sad love. Thrilled at this turn of events, Hartnett is super in love and Beckinsale is all like “sure, why not?” Well, maybe because Affleck is back, Jack! That’s right, he survived that ocean crash and has come back for his babe. He quickly catches wind of what’s up and is less than thrilled. He and Hartnett duke it out, but ultimately reach a truce of sorts just as Japan starts the titular attack on Pearl Harbor. Explosions galore as we witness a true feat of filmmaking. After the attack dies down the US plans the Doolittle Raid and guess who’s top of the list? Our boys. The Doolittle Raid is dope and so are Affleck and Hartnett who agree to let bygones be bygones for the good of the mission. They complete the raid and race to mainland China for rescue. There they crash and are captured by Japanese soldiers. Things go sideways and Hartnett sacrifices himself for Affleck and the rest of his crew. As he dies in Affleck’s arms he learns that Beckinsale is going to have his baby. Affleck and Beckinsale get back together and raise Hartnett’s son together and it’s beautiful and we cried. THE END.

I think Pearl Harbor would have rocked for real if they stripped almost everything but the love story. Follow your tagline, bros. You said it right, moments change history, but love changes lives. Make that the focus and a way to frame the actual events. Guess what people don’t love? Interrupting your dramatic love war story to watch Dan Akyroyd sweat out trying to convince Jon Voight that an attack is imminent. Tend to that love story and it will deliver you to drama that the overarching events deserve. Make it more like a classic story and less like a substitute teacher is scrambling for something to throw on the TV in history class. You can also probably tell the story in 2 hours that way. Only problem with my hypothesis is that I really dig the Doolittle Raid, which takes up a lot of time. So Maybe it’s still 3 hours, but you just have a better developed love story. As it is, the film struggles badly at points, but to me it is such an impressive feat of filmmaking that I’m willing to overlook most of that. I think it’s actually a bit underrated. Now it would be like Greyhound or Midway and feel like it was generated on a computer (which it would be). As for Slipstream, I kind of liked it. I expected cheapo trash, but there was real effort and care in the film, and it was actually kind of interesting. It ultimately seemed to suffer more from an inability to get it released so it could recoup even a little bit of the cost. Basically no one got to see it and it slipped into obscurity. It feels a little like Willow. If you caught it at the right time I bet you’d grow up being like “I used to watch this film about a robot and gliders and it was kind of cool,” but no one would know what you are talking about and they’d never make a Disney+ show about it.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Beckinsale should have ended up with Red. First of all, Affleck… kind of a dick. He’s all in love with Beckinsale but is immediately out of there at the faintest whiff of combat. Heroes are fun and sexy, but also crash a bunch (and crash Affleck did, multiple times). Not a great prospect. Second of all, Hartnett is a total weenie. I forgot how little his character does other than be all meek and mumbly. I faintly recall thinking that Beckinsale and him should have ended up together when I first watched the film. Nah, she doesn’t even really seem all that into him even after their sad lovemaking. Finally, Red seems like he’s got swag, man. Like he’s all gawky and weird looking and has a stutter but pulls one of the cutest girls around. He’s always ready for a party and everyone loves him. I’m shipping it. Beckinsale and Red forever, baby. Hot Take Temperature: Blazin’. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Pearl Harbor? More like Love Triangle, amirite? Yeah, that sounds about right. Let’s go!

  • I decided, since I’ve seen this film a few times, to watch it a bit differently. I cut it into 30 minute chunks and watched it how it was originally intended (I assume). As a mini-series.
  • Episode 1: We get a bit of backstory for our main heroes, Ben Affleck and Josh Harnett, involving them as kids. Ben Affleck is a bit of a hotshot, and volunteers to go to England to see some real action, but not before he falls in love and then smirks on a train saying “she loves me.” They are shipped off to Pearl Harbor / England. Grade: A, it actually is a good opening, I like all the people in it.
  • Episode 2: Ben Affleck is still a hot shot … but also “dies”. Everyone is real sad in Pearl Harbor … but also Hartnett is falling in love and things are getting a tad bit triangular. Meanwhile, Japan is planning to blow up Pearl Harbor and US Intelligence is like “dang, if only I were a bit more intelligent I would be able to figure out what Japan is going to do.” Grade: C, boring and mostly filler. Needed more actual action in Pearl Harbor.
  • Episode 3 gets a bit weird. You either have to cut it short, or you go to about when Affleck and Harnett wake up and realize the attack has begun. I think the latter makes the most sense. Affleck comes back, there is a lot of drama, and you see the beginning of the attack (but prior to the realization that it is an attack for most people). Grade: B, good set up and you get to see some action.
  • Episode 4 is obviously the big attack sequence and it is pretty incredible. Huge set pieces, pretty brutal, and culminates in the sweet dogfighting action. You can go right up until the Japanese decide to pull back the third wave and leave the quiet aftermath to Episode 5. Grade: A+, this is where the show would really shine and leave people wondering why the show is 6 episodes instead of 5 with this being the penultimate kicker of the bunch.
  • Episode 5 is the aftermath, but mostly about putting together the Doolittle Raid. Incredible. Just 25 minutes of them being like “we want skinny ladies, these ladies are fat” and stripping parts off of planes. The repeat of “we are going to win this war because there is something special about these American boys” from episode 2 is also fun. Grade: A. I like all the details about Doolittle and how crazy it was. It could have been a movie by itself.
  • Episode 6, the finale which is mostly just the Doolittle raid, and then Ben Affleck crying for 20 minutes. Pretty exciting stuff, even if it is a bit confusing that five Americans seemingly shoot and kill 40 Japanese soldiers in China to escape. B, exciting, but also a tad bit confusing as to the point? I guess it is because Pearl Harbor is actually kind of a downer, so they needed a solid American victory to put a proper button on the film.
  • So here’s the thing. Grades: A, C, B, A+, A, B. That uh … is a good movie? What’s bad about it again? Oh yeah, the C is actually an F if you watch the film straight through and it is way too long for one sitting. Michael Bay, release the Bay Cut mini-series, apparently it makes it better.
  • I’m going for Product Placement (What?) for Coca-Cola which is where they store blood in one sequence. In reality it is more like product placement for America itself, which is Bay’s MO. An A+ Setting (Where?) for Pearl Harbor. And a Specific Date (When?) for it all set around the date that will live in infamy, December 7th, 1941. In the end I’m doing it, this is a Good movie, it gets you going.
  • To go with Pearl Harbor we went hunting for another film about flying and found Slipstream, a very straightforward film set in a dystopian future where there is a stream of high wind that people ride on and everyone lives as nomads or in bunkers. It stars Mark Hamill as the main villain, and he’s great. The story is very weird, involving a robot who wants to go and find other robots to live with, and the consequences of that. It is definitely one of those films where you can tell whoever wrote or produced it was really into ultra lightweight flying and gliding and used this movie as an excuse to film a bunch of totally awesome shots of totally rad airplanes. He must have loved it. If you want an example of how Hamill’s career really turned sideways, this is as good as any, but it is a bit of a downer and feels really “60s British” (if you know what that means). B- I think.

Did you know they made a television movie sequel to the Pearl Harbor Mini-series? Yeah, it was called Pearl Harbor 2: The Manchurian Candidate, you can read about it in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Pearl Harbor Quiz

Wow. So I was watching Pearl Harbor for the third time when I slipped and fell on some popcorn butter I had spilled in my excitement. Not only are my pants now covered in popcorn butter stains, but I also bopped myself on the head, and can’t remember a thing. Now I have to watch the film for a fourth time. Do you remember what happened in Pearl Harbor?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) This movie is all about that meetcute. What is Affleck and Beckinsale’s meetcute story?

2) Oh but whoops, Ben Affleck died. That’s sad. But he didn’t? So where the hell was he for the last few months?

3) Time for a … well not really a meetcute, but it is a something between Hartnett and Beckinsale which makes them call in lurv as well. Where do they meet up for the first time since they both heard about Affleck’s death?

4) Where do Affleck and Hartnett get their airplanes from to go and shoot down a bunch of Japanese fighter planes?

5) Uh oh, the Doolittle Raid just got a whole lot more dangerous. Why and how do their initial plans change which makes it nearly impossible for the American pilots to come back alive?

Bonus Question: Ben Affleck is playing with Harnett’s son, it is 1946, the war has been over for a year. The phone rings. Who is it and what does he say? 

Answers

Pearl Harbor Preview

A few hours later Patrick and Kyle bid farewell to the maidens. At first Patrick thought he would have to put on his glasses and explain the way of the world to them. Take on that mentor role he’s sure Stallone has always craved. But soon the tables were turned. They had not only cured Patrick’s crippling writer’s block, but also bought and sold Stallone’s extensive wine collection at an immense profit. They taught Kyle how to fly a kite, lambada, and steal cable. By the time they were finished they really didn’t feel like having steamy sex with a random movie star. “You’re actually kinda… lame,” one of them admits, “but in a nice way.” Patrick smiles. It’s funny how you can learn something new, even when it’s all already happened, Patrick thinks. Suddenly his wheels are turning. History… history repeats itself. “Kid,” he says to Kyle, “buckle up, cause we’re going historical.”

Kyle stands in front of his lecture hall, chalk covering his hands. He breathes heavily as he finishes the diagram. Turning back to Jamie he says in a slow, deliberate voice, “OK, so let’s imagine you are a bad guy, right?” Jamie nods. “And not one with big muscles, sweet dance moves, or… uh,” he squints closer at the list he’s written detailing every way Jamie might obtain the Obsidian Dongle, “‘Jorts for days’, whatever that is. Right?” Jamie nods again, seems pretty straightforward. “So,” Kyle says dramatically, “how might you get the Dongle?” A light suddenly goes off in Jamie’s head, “I would pretend I’m not a bad guy at all.” Kyle gets excited and encourages him to keep going. “And then I would… I would…” he dramatically pauses, “nope, no… it slipped away.” Kyle snaps his chalk in half.

That’s right! We are going historical and watching a little Pearl Harbor. I have somehow seen this film several times in my life, which is really making me reflect on a lot of choices I’ve made. But we’ve never watched it for BMT so… *sigh* here we go again. As for the fried, we’re pairing it like a fine wine with Slipstream starring none other than Mark Hamill. He looks real nuts on the poster and that’s enough for us. Let’s go!

Pearl Harbor (2001) – BMeTric: 27.9; Notability: 193

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 24.0%; Notability: top 0.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 22.6%; 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 40 more; Lower RT: Nobody’s Baby, 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, and 33 more; Notes: Jesus Christo. Nearly 200 notability. Watch the film though, there are legit famous people who appear out of nowhere to speak one line and you’re like “is that Mr. Darcy from Married with Children?!”

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – “Pearl Harbor” is a two-hour movie squeezed into three hours, about how on Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese staged a surprise attack on an American love triangle. Its centerpiece is 40 minutes of redundant special effects, surrounded by a love story of stunning banality. The film has been directed without grace, vision, or originality, and although you may walk out quoting lines of dialog, it will not be because you admire them.

(Boom, roasted! But that is a complaint I feel like is warranted with a lot of, frankly, boring bad movies. That they had an hour long movie that was good, and then they needed to stretch it to feature length and it got boring or the third act fell apart. The difference here is they probably had a perfectly good (if intense) 2 hour film that is somewhat ruined by making it a 3 hour epic.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zf3KAiimeUg/

(You could be forgiven for not realizing Harnett and Beckinsale are also in the military. Also, Voight’s bizarre FDR performance being so heavily featured in this trailing is a bit insane as well. Still … kind of gets you amped for it.)

DirectorsMichael Bay – ( Known For: Ambulance; Transformers; 6 Underground; The Rock; 13 Hours; Bad Boys; Pain & Gain; Future BMT: The Island; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Bad Boys II; BMT: Armageddon; Transformers: The Last Knight; Pearl Harbor; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director in 2010 for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; and in 2015 for Transformers: Age of Extinction; and Nominee for Worst Director in 1999 for Armageddon; in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; in 2012 for Transformers: Dark of the Moon; and in 2018 for Transformers: The Last Knight; Notes: Bay has kind of retired? It is hard to tell, he’s released two films in five years, both to streaming. He still works, but after the most recent iteration on Transformers it feels a bit like he’s lost the magic. He’s a huge producer though.)

WritersRandall Wallace – ( Known For: Braveheart; We Were Soldiers; Heaven Is for Real; Future BMT: The Man in the Iron Mask; BMT: Pearl Harbor; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Pearl Harbor in 2002; Notes: Military writer. I would have expected him to have been in the military, but nope. Majored in religion at Duke. Has written seven books as well (although some are novelizations of his films). Nominated for an Oscar for Pearl Harbor.)

ActorsBen Affleck – ( Known For: Gone Girl; Clerks III; Deep Water; Good Will Hunting; The Last Duel; Dazed and Confused; Zack Snyder’s Justice League; The Accountant; The Town; Argo; Dogma; He’s Just Not That Into You; Daredevil; Triple Frontier; The Tender Bar; Shakespeare in Love; The Sum of All Fears; Field of Dreams; State of Play; School Ties; Future BMT: Suicide Squad; Justice League; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Smokin’ Aces; Live by Night; 200 Cigarettes; Surviving Christmas; BMT: Armageddon; Pearl Harbor; Paycheck; Gigli; Reindeer Games; Runner Runner; Phantoms; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor in 2004 for Daredevil, Gigli, and Paycheck; Winner for Worst Screen Combo for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2017; Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Gigli in 2004; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; in 2005 for Jersey Girl, and Surviving Christmas; and in 2017 for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Last Duel in 2022; Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for Daredevil, Gigli, Jersey Girl, Paycheck, Pearl Harbor, and Surviving Christmas; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 1999 for Armageddon; in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; and in 2005 for Jersey Girl; Notes: Won two Oscars, for writing Good Will Hunting, and for producing Argo. Famously dated J-Lo (as Bennifer), and more recently they got back together and married in July.)

Kate Beckinsale – ( Known For: The Aviator; Jolt; Serendipity; Much Ado About Nothing; Laurel Canyon; Vacancy; Love & Friendship; The Only Living Boy in New York; Contraband; Stonehearst Asylum; Absolutely Anything; The Last Days of Disco; Nothing But the Truth; Everybody’s Fine; Haunted; Royal Deceit; Farming; The Trials of Cate McCall; The Face of an Angel; Snow Angels; Future BMT: Van Helsing; Underworld; Click; Total Recall; Underworld: Blood Wars; Underworld: Evolution; Underworld: Rise of the Lycans; Underworld: Awakening; Brokedown Palace; The Disappointments Room; BMT: Pearl Harbor; Tiptoes; Whiteout; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Pearl Harbor in 2002; Notes: British. Went to New College, Oxford majoring in French and Russian Literature before dropping out to pursue acting. Is the lead in the entire Underworld series, which we’ve never done for BMT somehow.)

Josh Hartnett – ( Known For: Wrath of Man; Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre; Sin City; Black Hawk Down; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; The Faculty; The Virgin Suicides; 30 Days of Night; Lucky Number Slevin; Wild Horses; The Ottoman Lieutenant; Ida Red; Most Wanted; O; Blow Dry; 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain; Resurrecting the Champ; Bunraku; Valley of the Gods; She’s Missing; Future BMT: 40 Days and 40 Nights; The Black Dahlia; BMT: Pearl Harbor; Wicker Park; Hollywood Homicide; Here on Earth; Town & Country; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Pearl Harbor in 2002; Notes: Multiple BMT Love Triangle Award Winner (for Here on Earth and now Pearl Harbor). In 2002 he moved back to Minnesota and semi-retired from acting, but has gone back to acting a bit in recent years.)

Budget/Gross – $140,000,000 / Domestic: $198,542,554 (Worldwide: $449,220,945)

(I mean, that’s just fine indeed. I guess they were maybe looking for Armageddon money, so they missed by a little ($100 million worldwide difference), but surely Pearl Harbor would have expected to be less well received internationally right?)

Rotten Tomatoes – 24% (46/194): Pearl Harbor tries to be the Titanic of war movies, but it’s just a tedious romance filled with laughably bad dialogue. The 40 minute action sequence is spectacular though.

(Yeah, this is pretty much right. The bits where you see actual Pearl Harbor action are amazing. The bit where you see intense Love Triangle action, not so much.)

Reviewer Highlight: The bombs explode brilliantly but the story is a bust in “Pearl Harbor.” – Todd McCarthy, Variety

Poster – Love Triangle: The Movie

(This seems very appropriate for a Michael Bay film about Pearl Harbor. We gonna get some planes and smoke and not know what the hell is happening probably. Hate the font and it just looks dark and dingy. C-.)

Tagline(s) – It takes a moment to change history. It takes love to change lives. (B-)

(I don’t see any tagline on the poster, but I’m sure this was used somewhere. It was the better of the two listed. Still somewhat laughable of a tagline for Pearl Harbor. Obviously this is a love story, but I feel like Pearl Harbor still overshadowed it a bit. Not like everyone’s looking around at the end being like “sure that was a big event, but gosh darn it those kids are gonna make it and that’s what’s really important.” No, the event was also quite important.)

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), 69.9 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 65.9 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), 53.1 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 The Last Legion (2007), 50.1 Halloween Kills (2021) … (and many more)

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), The Nun (2018), Pinocchio (2002), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), 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), 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 (senseless): 46.4 The Black Dahlia (2006), 42.4 Insidious: The Last Key (2018), 27.9 Pearl Harbor (2001), 27.7 Knowing (2009), 26.3 If Looks Could Kill (1991), 23.8 Welcome to Marwen (2018), 19.3 National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007), 2.0 The Five Heartbeats (1991)

(Basically you want to do Harnett is what it is saying. And we finally had to do Pearl Harbor … I mean, officially, I’ve seen this film three times now. Ten hours of my life has been spent watching Pearl Harbor. May god have mercy on my soul.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 6) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Josh Hartnett is No. 3 billed in Pearl Harbor and No. 3 billed in Here on Earth, => (3 + 3) = 6. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – When shooting the scene where Rafe (Ben Affleck) and Danny (Josh Hartnett) manage to get off the ground during the attack, and are chased by three Japanese Zeroes, one of the real planes clipped a palm tree and crashed. The pilot was dazed, and suffered only a broken finger.

Jon Voight wore duplicates of the steel leg-braces that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had to wear. As a result, Voight suffered from bruising and chafing on his legs for weeks after finishing his work for the film.

The character portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr., Doris “Dorie” Miller, was the first African-American to be awarded the Navy Cross. He was later assigned to the escort carrier Liscome Bay. He was reported missing in action in November 1943, when it was torpedoed during the Battle of Makin Island.

Ben Affleck’s grandfather declined to see the film, explaining that he wasn’t interested in reliving the war in any way, shape, or form.

The scene that shows the Japanese planes attacking the hospital caused a great uproar, both in Japan and among Pearl Harbor veterans, because it never happened. The Japanese pilots were under strict orders not to attack civilian targets. Survivors note that even when the Japanese had a straight line of attack, they never attacked the hospital itself. Director Michael Bay said he added the scene to make the attack seem more barbaric.

To simulate the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsizing, the crew constructed the world’s largest-ever gimbal. It took special effects supervisor John Frazier four months to design, and four more months for he and production designer Nigel Phelps to build. It was made of pure steel and weighed 700,000 pounds. It could rise 25 degrees into the air, and do a 180 degree barrel turn. In the film, as the Oklahoma rolls over, the back 450 feet is CGI, but the front portion is the real gimbal, with over 150 real stuntmen on it.

The shots of the series of six explosions in Battleship Row were filmed by 14 cameras, and were actually staged on real Navy ships. While on a location scout above Pearl Harbor, Michael Bay looked down and saw a line of ships doing nothing. He learned that the ships were part of the inactive fleet, and so he decided to use them for the explosions. The charges were put on the real ships on plywood for protection, with 700 sticks of dynamite, 2,000 feet of cord, and 4,000 gallons of gasoline used. The six 600-foot ship explosions took a month and a half to rig (with 500 individual bombs on each boat). During the scene, over 100 extras were in the harbor, and six real planes had to fly past the ships. In total, the shots took seven months of coordination among every department on the film, the state of Hawaii, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Navy to ensure everything went off without a hitch. In the end, the explosions themselves lasted only seven seconds, and comprised only 12 seconds of on-screen time.

For the scenes of the Japanese planes taking off, an American carrier was used. According to Michael Bay, this greatly offended some of the Pearl Harbor survivors, who felt it dishonored the dead. Bay, however, pointed out to them that they destroyed all of the Japanese carriers later in the war, so an American carrier had to be used. He says that when he pointed this out, they agreed to the use of the American carrier.

Earned a place in the “Guinness Book of World Records” for the movie with the most explosives used.

The film has four pure CGI shots: the bomb falling toward the U.S.S. Arizona, two shots of the Arizona exploding as it jumps up in the water, and the two Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zeroes’ pitching down towards Battleship Row.

In the camera shots during the Doolittle Raid, where it appears the actors are actually flying the planes, they actually are. No CG was used. Alec Baldwin, Josh Hartnett, and Ben Affleck were all given basic flight training, so they could handle the planes. To get the various shots of the actors in the pilot’s seat, the “real” pilot would simply pilot the plane to the desired destination and then the actor would take over while the camera crew moved alongside to get the shot. After this the real pilot would take over.

The total amount of money spent on production and promotion roughly equaled the amount of damage caused in the actual attack.

Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay agreed to give up $4 million in salary, in return for a cut of the box-office, to get the budget down. The film’s stars also took a drop in salaries, in return for a cut of the box-office, for the same reason.

According to Michael Fassbender, this was the first film he ever auditioned for. He went for one of the leads.

The film’s premiere was held at Pearl Harbor, aboard the carrier U.S.S. John Stennis. Bleachers were set up on the flight deck, and the hangar bay was converted into a 1940s-style nightclub for the after party.

As of 2017, it’s the only film directed by Michael Bay to ever win an Oscar (for Best Sound Editing).

The production budget, $140 million, was, at the time, the largest ever given to a movie before filming started.

Awards – Winner for the Oscar for Best Sound Editing (Christopher Boyes, George Watters II, 2002)

Nominee for the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song (Diane Warren, 2002)

Nominee for the Oscar for Best Sound (Peter J. Devlin, Greg P. Russell, Kevin O’Connell, 2002)

Nominee for the Oscar for Best Effects, Visual Effects (Eric Brevig, John Frazier, Edward Hirsh, Ben Snow, 2002)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor of the Decade (Ben Affleck, 2010)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2002)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Ben Affleck, 2002)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale, Josh Hartnett, 2002)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (2002)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Michael Bay, 2002)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Randall Wallace, 2002)

Wicker Park Recap

Jamie

There is a paradox in my life. On the one hand I am constantly watching films (both good and bad), while others in my household pretty much never watch a movie. For example, my doggy seems totally uninterested in the art of cinema (what a rube). So when I find a film that piques the interest of those nearest and dearest to my heart I jump at the opportunity. Wicker Park was one such film. The result is that I actually watched Wicker Park in the not too distant past. My conclusion then is pretty much my conclusion now (and I’ll save that for the end), but a sneak peak is what one of the members of my household thought: “great soundtrack.” It’s true, classic early 2000’s soundtrack that coincided with the greatest soundtrack run of our lifetimes: The OC. The other member had a different view: “I’m a dog, I don’t understand music, but Matthew Lillard was surprisingly charming.”  Astute point, Sprinkles.

Quick recap, Matt has returned to Chicago to work for his (soon to be) fiance’s family’s advertising firm. We learn that a couple years ago he left Chicago heartbroken after the loss of his one true love: Lisa. Matt is given a big break by being sent to China to close a big deal, but just before he is set to leave he thinks he catches a glimpse of Lisa. He decides to delay his trip in order to find his true love. Thus begins the most suspenseful aspect of the film: the will he, won’t he… travel to China to close the deal. Come on, man! You can find Lisa when you get back. It’s like… a big deal for your company! If you’re not going to go, just tell them so they can send someone else to close it… gah! Sorry… I was just really worried about the deal. He left a lot of people hanging (I presume). Don’t be a dick. Anyway, with the help of his friend Luke he is able to find the apartment where “Lisa” is staying but finds a different girl there instead. Unbeknownst to him, this “Lisa” is actually an actress named Alex who is dating Luke (by coincidence?). In flashbacks we see that she was a good friend of Lisa who was secretly obsessed with Matt. So when Matt asks Lisa to move to NYC with him and Lisa balks (for reasons unknown) and coincidentally also gets a crazy urgent request to move to Europe it results in Alex playing a dastardly game of telephone where she deceives both of them into believing the other wronged them. In the present day, Matt sleeps with Alex (who he thinks is Lisa (but not that Lisa)), but almost immediately starts to get suspicious. In the meantime the real Lisa realizes that Matt is looking for her and tries her best to get him to meet her in… you know where. Ultimately Matt revelased Alex’s deception, chases Lisa to the airport, and they smooch right after he brushes away his GF and is all like “uh, I didn’t even go to China cause I suck.” THE END.

Confused? It’s actually not all that confusing because it’s actually just very silly. A lot of silly coincidences occur that keep Lisa and Matt apart. Like, think about the chances that Alex ends up dating Luke just when Lisa has returned to NYC and Matt runs into his old friend and starts hanging out with him? Or that Lisa has to leave for Europe within the hour just when Matt has asked her to move in with him? This is Coincidences: The Movie. The stakes also seemed very low. Just a bunch of silly people duping each other in mostly harmless ways and then everything working out. Acting was good though and the soundtrack is great. I do wish they made more films like this, but I’d suggest adding some thrills.

Very quick Hot Take Clam Bake. Josh Hartnett is the villain of the film. You had one job, man. Your future brother-in-law gave you the big job of closing the China deal. You are a low confidence weenie, but he believes in you. He honestly sounds like a great future bro-in-law and you could have a beautiful professional and personal relationship with him. But no, you totally leave him hanging. At least have the common decency to let someone (anyone!) know. Does it say something about me that this was the most stressful and memorable aspect of the film for me? I couldn’t stop thinking about that meeting and this idiot’s complete lack of professionalism. Lisa probably drops him like a hot potato once she finds out about the China Fiasco. She would probably be horrified by his behavior. Hot Take Temperature: Smoky Adobo.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Wicker Park? More like Sick and Dark, amirite? Remember when you could make a film about sad people walking around Chicago for two hours and then just end a film in the cheesiest possible way? Those were the days. Let’s go!

  • Two movies in a row where if someone asked me “should I watch this movie” I would scream “hellllllllllllls naw.” These films are bad (per se), that would make me recommend them (natch). They are just in the middle and kind of nothing.
  • And this is the king of the nothing film. There once was a time long ago where independent cinema became infatuated with stories that roamed across a city filled with greys and browns. Tired of that corporate humdrum the protagonists searched for the dream girl who could unlock the arteeeeest within them and allow them to live that bohemian lifestyle they truly aspire for.
  • Or something like that. The films, in reality, tended to wax poet about nothing for 90 minutes, and this is no exception.
  • I will say that I found this film to be anxiety inducing. Harnett misses not one but possibly three flights to China? He’s missing meetings. People are calling him. People are surprised he is there (and not, you know … in China). I can’t even imagine what is happening at Faceless Corporate Media HQ. “We missed what meeting? But we sent Harnett. Get Harnett on the horn now! Oh no, something horrible must have happened to Harnett, call the hospitals.” Meanwhile, Harnett is just sleeping in random hotel rooms trying to avoid his fiance and narrowly missing his ex. The movie might as well be called Patrick’s Anxiety Nightmare. Harnett goes to a play and misses his third flight to China! Why are you going to a play?! Go to China you lunatic! People are relying on you! You made a whole sales pitch about … something I’m sure was important. All a waste. What a shame.
  • I suppose the only interesting thing about it is the twisty twistiness. They did feel the need to layer coincidence upon coincidence upon coincidence until the whole story fell apart around Rose Byrne and her unrequited love.
  • And then as mentioned you get the cheesy ending where (presumably) Hartnett and his lady love live a poor bohemian lifestyle in the Wicker Park area of Chicago.
  • I thought Hartnett, as usual, was solid. If you are into these kinds of movies (and/or live in the year 2000) I can see why it could be a three out of four star affair. Which is what Ebert gave it. There is a compelling argument there. But not really my cup of tea overall.
  • A natural A+ Setting (Where?) for Wicker Park in Chicago. And a decent case for Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that Rose Byrne was behind all of the bad things in Harnett’s life. Closest to Bad just because it is boring, but I could entertain an argument for something else (although I’d never watch this film again, so it better be a good argument).

Hear all about the sequel to Wicker Park: Wicker Park 2: Huangpu Park. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Wicker Park Quiz

Oh man. So get this, I was wandering around Wicker Park (natch) looking for my long lost lady love, when I just slipped on some ice (Chicago winter amirite?) and bopped myself on the head. Now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Wicker Park?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film our hero Josh Harnett is going to a biiiiiig meeting for his company. At the conclusion of that meeting he is to set off for what country to close The Big Deal?

2) But oh ho, he is waylaid by the faintest glimpse of his old lady love from ChiTown, Lisa. What item does she drop that convinces him that she is the same Lisa he knew from oh so long ago?

3) Flashback time! How did he and Lisa meet?

4) After missing ooooooooooooooooh twenty flights and probably ruining his career, Harnett meets “Lisa” at her apartment. Who is she really?

5) So give me the whole run down, what happened to Lisa back in the day and who are all these people?

Bonus Question: In the mid credits scene we see a happy Harnett working where?

Answers

Wicker Park Preview

Nine months. Nine loooong months helping past Patrick care for his giant family, while also being careful it’s never revealed. Jamie and Patrick have had to live in a crawl space in the house surviving on only Flaming Hot Cheetos and Michelob Ultra (to keep their slim figures). They swap out so past Patrick is able to focus on his work-life balance. When the day of the European backpacking trip approaches they are pretty proud of themselves. The mental torture they have undergone for nine looong months will finally pay off cause past Patrick will finally let them know that… “Yeah, I think we’re still going to go. It seems like fun and Jamie has been really looking forward to it. But thanks.” What thuuuuuu… The Bad Movie Twins are aghast. They attempt to grab past Patrick by the collar and shake some sense into him, but they forget that he has rock hard muscles and lighting reflexes just like them… cause he is them. Shit. “Well now what?” Jamie asks, as they watch past Jamie and Patrick prepare for the trip. But it seems obvious to Patrick, they’ll just have to bide their time. Following them on the backpacking trip they relive some of their fondest memories. Snowmen in Norway and dog poo in The Netherlands. The X-treme hike in the Alps and then an even more X-treme tour of Chernobyl. Jamie rubs his neck where the mutant bit him and they laugh at how he transformed into an evil mutant until Patrick reminded him of who he was. Finally in Monte Carlo they have arrived at the moment of truth and they see the G-Men who first got them on the trail of the Dongle walking through Wicker Park towards past Patrick and Jamie’s hotel. Time to act. That’s right! We’re watching Wicker Park starring BMT faves Josh Hartnett and Matthew Lillard. And no, there isn’t a Wicker Park in Monte Carlo. I’m just a very professional writer. Let’s go!

 Wicker Park (2004) – BMeTric: 10.3; Notability: 25

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 36.0%; Notability: top 33.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 27.8%; Higher BMeT: Catwoman, Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D, You Got Served, Torque, Taxi, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Soul Plane, Seed of Chucky, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Garfield, Thunderbirds, Envy, Godsend, Fat Albert, Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, New York Minute, Exorcist: The Beginning, First Daughter, and 70 more; Higher Notability: Shark Tale, Catwoman, The Chronicles of Riddick, Van Helsing, King Arthur, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Alexander, After the Sunset, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Blade: Trinity, The Stepford Wives, She Hate Me, Fat Albert, Alien vs. Predator, Man on Fire, Meet the Fockers, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Around the World in 80 Days, Raising Helen, The Phantom of the Opera, and 63 more; Lower RT: Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, Twisted, The Whole Ten Yards, Godsend, Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie – Pyramid of Light, The Cookout, Christmas with the Kranks, Johnson Family Vacation, My Baby’s Daddy, Envy, Surviving Christmas, First Daughter, Catwoman, Taxi, House of D, Exorcist: The Beginning, New York Minute, Employee of the Month, A Cinderella Story, Against the Ropes, and 47 more; Notes: That IMDb score … is absurd. It is nearly at 7.0! I’m not joking when I say that might actually be the highest IMDb scores ever for BMT. I have to check this … A Walk to Remember (7.3), A Dog’s Purpose (7.2), Rambo (2008) (7.0), The Guardian (2006) (6.9), Crank (6.9), Vanilla Sky (6.9). Fun fact: Crank and Vanilla Sky don’t qualify, it predates us being quite as dogmatic about Rotten Tomatoes scores.

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – Once we understand the principle (if not the details) of the plot, “Wicker Park” works because the actors invest their scenes with what is, under the circumstances, astonishing emotional realism. There’s a scene between Josh Hartnett and Rose Byrne during which so much is said, and left unsaid, that we feel real sympathy for both characters. There’s an emotional craziness to the way the Hartnett character misses his plane to China and starts skulking around Chicago/Montreal like a sleuth. There’s an open innocence to the way Matthew Lillard’s character fails to realize he is about to become an innocent bystander. And Diane Kruger, whose Lisa is subjected to logical whiplash by the plot, always seems to know when it is and how she should feel. Now that’s acting.

(Amazing. This is a real rarity. A film that was just dunked on by (most) critics, but somehow also seems to be at least liked by a reasonably sized audience. Really weird.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFo0u-nXbGk/

(Wait wait wait wait wait … that’s the official trailer? Like an actual trailer people involved with the film put out? This isn’t a parody of like, what if Wicker Park was a thriller? Because it isn’t. You would be forgiven for thinking it is after watching that trailer, but it isn’t. It is a drama about a sad person wandering around Chicago thinking about the girl who got away. There is nothing (and I mean nothing) thrilling about this film. Truly and profoundly bizarre.)

DirectorsPaul McGuigan – ( Known For: Lucky Number Slevin; Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool; Gangster No. 1; The Reckoning; The Acid House; Future BMT: Push; Victor Frankenstein; BMT: Wicker Park; Notes: Scottish. Was nominated for an Emmy for directing A Scandal In Belgravia, an episode of Sherlock.)

WritersGilles Mimouni – ( Known For: The Apartment; BMT: Wicker Park; Notes: Wrote the original. Was scheduled to direct an English-language film called The Pretender in 2001, but it fell through due to compensation and budgetary disputes.)

Brandon Boyce – ( Known For: Bad Samaritan; Apt Pupil; Venom; BMT: Wicker Park; Notes: Wrote two episodes of the new miniseries Under the Banner of Heaven which is supposed to be good.)

ActorsJosh Hartnett – ( Known For: Wrath of Man; Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre; Sin City; Black Hawk Down; The Virgin Suicides; The Faculty; Ida Red; 30 Days of Night; Lucky Number Slevin; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Most Wanted; The Ottoman Lieutenant; O; Blow Dry; 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain; Wild Horses; Bunraku; She’s Missing; Valley of the Gods; Resurrecting the Champ; Future BMT: Pearl Harbor; The Black Dahlia; 40 Days and 40 Nights; BMT: Wicker Park; Hollywood Homicide; Here on Earth; Town & Country; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Pearl Harbor in 2002; Notes: Y’all remember Josh Hartnett right? He’s making a bit of a comeback, but for a bit he exited Hollywood to chill in his home state of Minnesota. He’s been doing a lot of television.)

Diane Kruger – ( Known For: Inglourious Basterds; Troy; National Treasure; Mr. Nobody; Unknown; Fathers & Daughters; The Infiltrator; In the Fade; The Operative; Joyeux Noel; Farewell, My Queen; Special Forces; Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy; Maryland; The Hunting Party; A Perfect Plan; Sky; Copying Beethoven; Anything for Her; Goodbye Bafana; Future BMT: The 355; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Welcome to Marwen; BMT: Wicker Park; The Host; Notes: German. Was originally a ballerina (which explains I imagine why the character is a dancer in this, or why she was cast in this), but then an injury ended that career and started her into modeling which (as it does) led into acting.)

Matthew Lillard – ( Known For: Scream; Scream; Trouble with the Curve; She’s All That; Scream 2; He’s All That; The Descendants; SLC Punk!; Looney Tunes: Back in Action; Serial Mom; Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms; Without Limits; The Groomsmen; Bloodsucking Bastards; Return to Nim’s Island; What Love Is; Love’s Labour’s Lost; Dead Man’s Curve; Bickford Shmeckler’s Cool Ideas; Endless Bummer; Future BMT: Scooby-Doo; Without a Paddle; Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed; The Perfect Score; Mad Love; BMT: Thir13en Ghosts; Hackers; Wicker Park; Summer Catch; In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Senseless; Wing Commander; Notes: The most sidekickening character actor of all time. But more recently he’s had a few notable character actor roles. In particular in The Descendents and in the new Twin Peaks sequel series.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $13,001,257 (Worldwide: $21,741,598)

(That is bad. But it is probably bad because the movie is a slow moving drama about sad people.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (36/135): Implausible coincidences and an overly convoluted structure make the movie hard to follow or believe.

(Hard to follow? Hardly. Believe? Seems immaterial. Uninteresting would be more like it, and yet loved by some. Interesting. It feels very very indie cinema for sure.)

Reviewer Highlight: It’s a sad day indeed when a movie’s most memorable performance belongs to Scooby Doo’s Matthew Lillard. – Jeannette Catsoulis, Las Vegas Mercury

Poster – Snickers Park

(I know I shouldn’t like this, but it’s like poster candy for me. They are taking something bad and doing everything right. It’s shaded yellow so the color scheme isn’t ruined by the pictures of people. We get cool and unique font. The only crime is the framing, which is all over the place. Oh and the fact that it’s all meaningless. But I forgive this, because it’s hard to explain what the film is actually about even after you’ve seen it. B-)

Tagline(s) – Passion never dies. (D)

(Blessedly short, but what is this nonsense? This isn’t Ghost starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. No one dies in this film. No one dies at all. I feel like the poster/tagline combination is setting up a murder mystery it can’t deliver on.)

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), 44.4 Brick Mansions (2014), 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)

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), Sleepless (2017), The Blue Lagoon (1980), School for Scoundrels (2006), Blame It on Rio (1984), The Loft (2014), Vanilla Sky (2001), Wicker Park (2004)

Best Options (senseless): 10.3 Wicker Park (2004), 8.9 The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

(We really only had one option here. The Thirteenth floor is an oddity because it is based on a German … television movie maybe? It was on the table. Luckily this is indeed very much based on a French film and stars Matthew Lillard of Senseless fame.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 4) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Josh Hartnett is No. 1 billed in Wicker Park and No. 3 billed in Here on Earth, => (1 + 3) = 4. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – The restaurant where Matthew overhears Lisa talking on the telephone is called “Bellucci”. Monica Bellucci was the female lead in the French original The Apartment (1996), of which this film is a remake.

Josh Hartnett signed on after Paul Walker was forced to drop out due to complications with the filming of 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003).

This is the second movie in 2004 to feature both Diane Kruger and Rose Byrne in central female roles. The other movie was Troy, released 4 months earlier.

When Lisa (Diane Kruger) is in the Lady Dragon shoe store, the black heels with the red soles she tries on are Christian Louboutins.

This is a remake of the French film The Apartment (1996). One of the reasons it was most likely changed to the title it holds now is that its distributor, MGM, already owns an American film of the same name- a Best Picture Oscar winner, at that- The Apartment (1960), which they inherited from their purchase of United Artists.

Senseless Recap

Jamie

In the not so distant past Senseless would have been prohibited from the BMT treatment. I distinctly remember watching this film when it came out. Probably perusing the aisles of Ye Olde Hollywood Video, Patrick and I saw the dope orange DVD case (VHS box? This landed right on the boundary) and were like “We gotta see the new David Spade joint, we loved him in PCU.” And boy would we have been right (because David Spade essentially plays the same character as he did in PCU). But even that vague recollection would have been enough for us to say, ‘No BMT Allowed!’ Good thing that rule is gonzo..

To recap, Marlon Wayans is a college student working numerous jobs to pay his way through school and support his mother and siblings. He has staked everything on getting a big junior analyst job, but with only one spot (and wealthy financier’s son, David Spade, in the competition) it would seem he’s out of luck. But oh ho ho, what’s this? An experimental drug that will enhance your senses? How fortunate for Wayans (and the audience, for surely hilarity will ensue). Soon he is hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, and seeing his way into the lead (not to mention a new hot GF). Still worried about his chances, though, Wayans takes a double dose of the drug and hears, smells, tastes… you get it, right out of the competition again. Off the drug for good, Wayans studies his butt off for the final event and manages to win, but ultimately confesses that he got a leg up in the previous events. He loses the position, but the head of the company likes his spunk and gives him a job in the mail room anyway. Ultimately he gets the job and the girl. THE END.

From the description you’re probably like ‘sounds dumb, probably BMT will rake this film over the coals. Let me get my popcorn ready with my special popcorn spices. Hopefully I can find the special popcorn spices because I so rarely use them since they are special spices and not everyday spices. That would be expensive if I used my special popcorn spices for any old event. Better be special.’ But stop! Don’t pour all those special popcorn spices down your gullet just yet. That’s because (could it be?) maybe this film wasn’t so bad? I won’t go so far as to say that it was not so bad, not so bad, but there were a lot of pleasant things about it. Matthew Lillard was fun and sweet as Wayans’ BFF, the message of the film was good, and David Spade played his character as an aloof nemesis in a pleasing way. The biggest issue is a classic 90’s treatment of the 2D love interest and the fact that the premise of the film is complete nonsense. It’s like a child wrote up what they thought the process of getting an internship was like… why do they care how good Wayans is at hockey? What does that have to do with anything? Why would there be so many different events? It’s wild.

That gets me to my Hot Take Clam Bake… is this a better way for hiring? Should all talent searches be run this way? The one thing it certainly did was separate the wheat from the chaff. Who has time for a Billy Madison-esque academic decathlon to get a junior analyst position? People who are going to be great junior analysts, that’s who. And as a bonus, the competition is such a roller coaster of emotions that even those that dare to cheat the integrity of the decathlon are so physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually spent that they immediately confess and become a better person (and thus a better employee). Hot Take Temperature: Buffalo Wild Wings. Patrick?  

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Senseless? More like … Senseless, but like, more pejorative. Remember the year 1998, when gas was 25 cents, living was easy, and Marlon Wayans was a star? Those were the days. Let’s go!

  • I’ve seen this film before, but the only thing I really remembered from it was that he takes too much of the drug and his senses go all crazy. That was it.
  • David Spade though is shockingly good. A really interesting character as well. Usually in a film like this his character would be an irredeemable piece of shit. Like the bad guy in Van Wilder. A guy who gleefully ruins the main character’s life (or tries to) because he’s rich and wants to (? That seems like the motivation sometimes). David Spade’s character might be rich, but he just kind of knows he’s the best. He just knows that it is very unlikely that Marlon Waynes will defeat him to get the internship. And so he ultimately is snarky but cordial to Waynes, because why not? Waynes really just doesn’t seem like a threat. It is an interestingly pleasant part of the film.
  • Fine, Spade humiliating Wayans at the frat is rough, but Wayans shouldn’t even have to try to be in a frat to get the internship in the first place.
  • The not so pleasant bits are things like the fact that Marlon Waynes definitely cheats on his girlfriend, and lacks any sort of genuine remorse about it, and ultimately she forgives him for basically no reason.
  • Lillard is a funny character, but feels out of place in the film. He appears to be there solely to make jokes about masturbation and to teach people what a Prince Albert piercing is.
  • Other than that the film is mostly notable for its ludicrous premise. An internship finally determined by a quiz show format oral exam which depends on you playing sports and being in a fraternity? Seems unlikely.
  • Some good Product Placement (What?) with Coca Cola products in general. And also a pretty rough Worst Twist (How?) in that I legitimately predicted that Waynes wouldn’t get the job and would instead get a job specifically in the mail room at the end, and then it happened. It was inevitable. The film is, again, closest to Good in that there is some pretty funny stuff in it in the end.

I’ll write about the sequel which will be called Senseless 2: Protectors Assemble! That’s right, Senseless is a true blue superhero now! Cheerios,

The Sklogs