Blame it on Rio Recap

Jamie

Blame it on Riiioooooooo. When his wife leaves him on the cusp of a vacation to Rio with his business partner, Matthew Hollis is crestfallen. But not enough to stop him from having a brief love affair with his friend’s teenage daughter. Uh oh! Can he explain himself (answer: no), blame it on Rio, and get his wife back before it’s too late? Find out in… Blame it on Rio.

How?! Matthew Hollis is ready to go on a beautiful vacation to Rio with his wife, daughter, best friend Victor, and his seventeen year old daughter Jennifer. They just need to have a little fun seeing as Victor’s in the middle of a nasty divorce. On the verge of the trip Matthew is shocked to find that his wife has booked a separate vacation in order to think their marriage over. Devastated, he heads to Rio in a somber mood. While Victor is dead-set on sowing his wild oats in this paradise, Matthew finds every excuse to get out of it. This results in him spending time with Jennifer at a wedding during which they end up having sex. Disgusted with himself he tells Jennifer that is was a giant mistake, but she reveals that she’s in love with him and continues to make advances toward him which Matthew is somehow unable to resist (maybe he’s really dumb… that’s the kindest way I can interpret this). He tries every way to try to hide/end the love affair with Jennifer eventually culminating in Jennifer telling her father about an older lover who has broken her heart. Enraged, Victor recruits Matthew to help find this terrible pervert. Just when this sham is about to result in violence against an innocent man, Matthew reveals that he is in fact the terrible pervert. Shamed, Matthew and Victor plan to end their vacation when Matthew’s wife shows up. She is shocked by the revelation, but also inadvertently reveals her own affair with Victor! Jennifer attempts to kill herself (with birth control pills, guffaw) and everyone is really sad… until Jennifer shows up with a more age-appropriate lover and they all look at each other and laugh and laugh and laugh and decide to go back to the status quo. THE END.

Why?! When trying to describe the motivations of the characters of this film you can only conclude that the entire venture is morally bankrupt. While Matthew is certainly portrayed as dopey and weak-willed, Jennifer is alternately portrayed as manipulative and mentally unstable. This puts even more blame on Matthew for taking advantage of Jennifer, but the film does nothing to put this point across. Instead it slowly turns Matthew into a sympathetic figure, driven to the affair by his own wife’s affair combined with his inability to resist Jennifer’s advances. It is unpleasant.

Who?! Probably the most bizarre aspect of the film is the music. It is off the hook. Check out the title song. Now you’re probably all like, ‘what a weird song,’ and be done with it. But how about this little factoid: the female singer? Lisa Roberts Gillan… Julia Roberts’ older sister. This would have been just a few years before Julia broke out in Hollywood, which makes sense as Lisa’s only a couple years older than her.

What?! In what is probably the only fairly amusing aspect of the film, Matthew’s own teenage daughter is left to her own devices as he carries on an affair with Jennifer. She is shown escalating her risky behavior from staying out a bit too late to hang gliding off a cliff. So I deem this a Secret Sports Film and a great entry in the hang gliding film canon. Harold and Kumar is obviously high on the list along with Escape from LA… in fact I think this calls for a 10-episode podcast series.

Where?! Rio, baby! This is truly a maximum A+ setting given the fact that the location is the entire crux of the plot. I mean, if you couldn’t blame all the criminal things you do on Rio then how could they have even possibly conceived of such a film? Not possible. It hits rarified air along with films like, oh, I don’t know. Manhattan. Just pulling that one out of thin air.

When?! I don’t recall a specific time that this takes place. Let me google “best time to vacation in Rio.” Hmmm, it suggests that between December and March is prime time to hit the beach… well, they hit the beach so let’s pencil that in. It also says around that year-around the samba beats are irresistible. So that’s not super helpful. Hmmm, I’m tempted for an A, but I think an F is the best I can give this.

It’s hard to describe Blame it on Rio without feeling like you are taking part in something unseemly. Every aspect seems to be geared towards portraying Matthew as the unwitting prey of seventeen-year-old Jennifer’s web of sexual intrigue. He is presented as redeemable and is in fact redeemed from the viewpoint of the film by the end. It gives vibes of Lolita, which have been interpreted in similar ways over the years, and yet here they seem to have crystalized that sentiment and not left it up for interpretation. For that I can understand why even in the moment critics were appalled. Add on top that the film is cheesy (particularly the music, which can only be appreciated somewhat ironically), lacking any interesting plot and any positive aspects of the film can never, ever make up for the plot itself. It is bad and I would never recommend anyone watch it. Let it continue to fade into time until it disappears. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Blame it on Rio? Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiikes. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – This was a weird one. I think the allure of the film overall is the A+ setting (which promised vistas of many kinds … get it? I’m talking about boobs). But also that the storyline of this film is obviously quite distasteful. A 50-year-old Michael Caine is hooking up with his friend’s teenaged daughter? Greeeeeeeeeeat. If not for Chain Reaction we might have just sidestepped this one for all of time … but here we are instead. What are my Expectations? Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiikes pretty much sums that up. For real I just kind of assumed this was going to be gross. Much less chaste than The Blue Lagoons.

The Good – Weirdly, I kind of agree with Maltin in that Caine is quite good in the film. I thought this was a film where Caine just phoned it in, but no, we would be nominated for Educating Rita only weeks after this was released. The acting is pretty good overall. So are the vistas, the setting is pretty great in the end. Are there still bedroom farces these days? Seems like they morphed into erotic thrillers in the 90s. And then later there were things like This is 40, and The Break Up, which is more dramatic and about life in general. Teen sex romps are maybe the closest, and those kind of died and morphed into things like The Kissing Booth. Sexy comedies are a weird animal, I should probably watch a few of the classic French examples at some point. Best Bit – Caine.

The Bad – I think the moment the phrase “this aged poorly” was invented right after someone watched this film. It is basically an exercise in jumping through hoops trying to legitimatize a 50 year old having sex (multiple times … over and over) with his friend’s 17 year old daughter. It is gross. It doesn’t feel like the film is sex positive, it feels like it is painting something problematic with a veneer of “she wants it” and it makes me very unforgettable and I hated watching this film. There isn’t actually anything else that makes the movie bad, that’s it. It is completely torpedoed by the premise. It feels like both of the female leads are uncomfortable in the topless scenes, which makes the statements made by the director surrounding the release pretty gross as well. Fatal Flaw – Gross premise.

The BMT – Ooooof. I can’t wait to forget this film entirely. While I think eventually I’ll look into Bedroom Farces a bit more, and I’m definitely getting more interested in 60s and 70s French cinema (which I think this is really reflective of that, as the original film was from the 70s). But otherwise I don’t think I’ll really remember this as a BMT film at all. Did it meet my expectations? Unlike The Blue Lagoon this did live up to the promise of being super outdated and gross as was expected. So yes, in that way I suppose it did meet my expectations.

Roast-radamus – Who What Where When Why How – Definite Setting as a Character (Where?). Both an A+ setting and, quite literally, you are intended to blame all of the gross misadventures on the character of “Rio” so … yeah fits the bill. Perhaps a small Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that Bologna and Caine’s wife are having an affair? Definitely a huge contender for Bad though in the end, perhaps leading at the turn.

StreetCreditReport.com – I can’t find any lists with this on it. I think it is an example of a studio burying it in the winter. Perhaps back in the day that used to work, because almost all of the lists I found (like the Siskel and Ebert episode) seem to focus almost exclusively on films that came out in that summer (which also appears to have been notorious for being a particularly bad summer for movies? Hard to tell). Anyways, the only real cred is a Razzie nomination for Michelle Johnson for Worst New Star … and its gross premise of course. Probably the worst film set in Rio? I think it is a pretty decent bet.

You Just Got Schooled – Speaking of Educating Rita. Released just a few months prior to Blame it on Rio, it was Caine’s third Best Actor nomination, and seemed well deserved. Both him and Julie Walters are great in the film. You can feel how it was intended to be blocked as a play set solely in Caine’s character’s Trinity office. I loved seeing the 80s Dublin, but it does seem like it could have been more effective using the original structure of the play. In a way the statement is ironic considering there is a whole discussion within the film about how one puts on a play using a story originally intended for radio. Anyways, I loved the film, and the idea of wanting to not necessarily sing a “better tune”, but a “different tune” in life is pleasantly thought provoking. A. I won’t give it a plus, because my brain is broken and I thought the film was maybe a bit too long.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Blame it on Rio Quiz

Oh boy, yikes. Well … so I was hooking up with my friend’s *gulp* daughter, and then I got bopped in the head (by a coconut I guess, we were in Rio) and I’ve blessedly forgot everything. Do you remember what happened in Blame it on Rio?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Caine and Bologna are good friends going on holiday to Rio (Rio babyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!). But how do they know each other? 

2) Who is going on the trip?

3) When they arrive in Rio it is time to hit the clubs and the beach. That first night, Caine dips out on Bologna and “accidentally” hooks up with Bologna’s daughter played by Michelle Johnson. Where did Bologna go? And what event did Caine and Johnson meet up at?

4) When Bologna learns his daughter is hooking up with a geriatric who obviously blows his stack. He, amusingly, enlists Caine to snoop about for him and figure out the culprit. Prior to admitting his guilt, two men are accused of being the mystery lover. Who are they?

5) In the end how do all of the tangle relationships ultimately end up?

Answers

Blame it on Rio Preview

Bessy the Alligator deposits Rich and Poe on the sandy shores of the island paradise before swimming merrily about the lagoon. “It’s so blue!” exclaims Poe in wonder. “So natural and beautiful and not creepy at all, just like Steve said!” shout Rich in glee. They frolic naked about the island, wild and free. Suddenly a beautiful girl peeks out from behind a tree. “Why hello young lady,” says Rich, extending a hand to the girl. Her name is Rio and she was shipwrecked here long ago and is ignorant about the world. Thus begins an entirely platonic mentorship between Rich, Poe, and Rio. They teach her the important things in life, like how to navigate the tricky politics of the male-dominated world of police work and a patented Twin Chop. Rio shows them the sources of water, an ancient abandoned sacrifice location, and how to fish. “Excellent, all very useful,” they say as they help Rio steady the glock she’s using for target practice. Time passes and they come to consider Rio like a daughter. She’s growing up so fast and while they worry about the danger of her pursuing her dream to become a detective, they can’t help but swell with pride. Just then a rustling in the bushes startles them and they realize that they had nearly forgotten about Steve, Bessy, and the civil war on the mainland! Has it finally arrived? Instead a couple of old farts stumble out of the woods and into camp. Their eyes twinkle at the sight of Rio, now a young beautiful lady. “Hoo hoo, who’s this?” they chortle. After Rio introduces herself they nudge Rich and Poe, “guess we can always blame it on Rio, right?” Rich and Poe scowl… a war is about to begin after all. That’s right! We’re watching Blame it on Rio as a connection from Glimmer Man in our never ending chain of BMT films. This is a 1984 Michael Caine picture about an old man who gets caught up in an affair with his best friend’s seventeen year old daughter. No, I’m not kidding. That’s actually what this movie is about. It sounds terrible and upsetting. Let’s go!

Blame It on Rio (1984) – BMeTric: 28.8; Notability: 22 

(Shockingly high IMDb rating given the subject matter. The notability is about what I would expect … like 20+ means it was a movie likely released to theaters it seems like. So it is kind of the minimum number of people to have a film released to theaters.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Caine has a fling with his best friend’s sexy teenage daughter while vacationing in Rio de Janeiro. Caine’s terrific, Johnson is voluptuous, Demi is obviously intimidated in topless beach scenes, and the script is kind of a sniggering TV sitcom, with a heavy-handed music score of too-familiar records. Written by Charlie Peters and Larry Gelbart. Remake of the French film One Wild Moment.

(Hmmm can I watch One Wild Moment … I hope so. I am skeptical Caine is “terrific”, but he gets to what I was thinking the film was going to be like. A television film that stumbled its way into theaters. It sounds gross by the way.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZOTSkgIP80/

(Wow. First, that trailer legit has bare breasts in it which seems crazy. Second, that is just a sequence of random scenes and jokes from the film, and then at the end it just says “I mean … come and look at beautiful shots of Rio I guess? There is probably naked ladies, and it is vaguely funny.” Really doesn’t get into the creepiness of the whole thing, you barely know that the two girls are their children!)

Directors – Stanley Donen – (Known For: Singin’ in the Rain; Charade; Funny Face; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; Bedazzled; Two for the Road; Arabesque; On the Town; What Lola Wants; Indiscreet; Wedding Bells; The Pajama Game; The Grass Is Greener; It’s Always Fair Weather; Kismet; Staircase; Future BMT: Saturn 3; BMT: Blame It on Rio; Notes: Saturn 3 and Blame it on Rio went back to back and it basically ended the slow wind down of his career.)

Writers – Charlie Peters (screenplay) – (Known For: Ruth & Alex; My One and Only; Future BMT: 3 Men and a Little Lady; Krippendorf’s Tribe; My Father the Hero; Her Alibi; Music from Another Room; BMT: Hot to Trot; Blame It on Rio; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Hot to Trot in 1989; Notes: He was hired on to Columbia in a program developed to garner good PR For Columbia which was dealing with the David Begelman embezzlement scandal at the time.)

Larry Gelbart (screenplay) – (Known For: Tootsie; Bedazzled; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; The Thrill of It All; The Wrong Box; Neighbors; Oh, God!; BMT: Blame It on Rio; Notes: Created M*A*S*H. He was nominated for two Oscars, for Tootsie and Oh God!)

Claude Berri (based on an original screenplay by) (uncredited) – (Known For: Jean de Florette; Manon des Sources; Germinal; Ensemble, c’est tout; Une femme de ménage; Le vieil homme et l’enfant; Uranus; Lucie Aubrac; BMT: Blame It on Rio; Notes: Mostly a producer, and wrote a bunch of French films throughout the 70s and 80s. He also won an oscar for a short film.)

Actors – Michael Caine – (Known For: The Dark Knight; Inception; Interstellar; The Dark Knight Rises; The Prestige; Dunkirk; Kingsman: The Secret Service; Batman Begins; Secondhand Lions; Now You See Me; The Eagle Has Landed; Children of Men; Get Carter; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; A Bridge Too Far; Youth; Austin Powers in Goldmember; Miss Congeniality; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Going in Style; Future BMT: Bewitched; The Swarm; Beyond the Poseidon Adventure; Sherlock Gnomes; King of Thieves; Dear Dictator; Cars 2; The Hand; Now You See Me 2; Sleuth; Mr. Destiny; The Statement; Around the Bend; Surrender; Water; BMT: Jaws: The Revenge; On Deadly Ground; Get Carter; The Last Witch Hunter; Blame It on Rio; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1981 for Dressed to Kill, and The Island; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Jaws: The Revenge in 1988; Notes: Was born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite in London and took his name from The Caine Mutiny.)

Michelle Johnson – (Known For: Death Becomes Her; Far and Away; Waxwork; Future BMT: Dr. Giggles; Gung Ho; BMT: The Glimmer Man; Blame It on Rio; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst New Star for Blame It on Rio in 1985; Notes: She was born in Alaska and starred in a series of non-theatrical films mostly in the late-80s and early-90s. She was Model of the Year in 1982.)

Demi Moore – (Known For: A Few Good Men; Ghost; St. Elmo’s Fire; The Hunchback of Notre Dame; One Crazy Summer; Rough Night; Margin Call; G.I. Jane; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Disclosure; Mr. Brooks; The Joneses; About Last Night…; Bobby; Deconstructing Harry; Flawless; Beavis and Butt-Head Do America; Forsaken; We’re No Angels; Love Sonia; Future BMT: LOL; The Juror; The Butcher’s Wife; Indecent Proposal; The Seventh Sign; Corporate Animals; Very Good Girls; Half Light; Bunraku; Young Doctors in Love; Passion of Mind; Wild Oats; Blind; Happy Tears; Now and Then; BMT: Striptease; Nothing But Trouble; The Scarlet Letter; Blame It on Rio; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 1997 for Striptease, and The Juror; and in 1998 for G.I. Jane; Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Striptease in 1997; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1992 for Nothing But Trouble, and The Butcher’s Wife; in 1994 for Indecent Proposal; in 1996 for The Scarlet Letter; and in 2001 for Passion of Mind; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; Notes: Somewhat notably is quarantining with her children, husband … and ex-husband Bruce Willis? In a series of bizarre photos Bruce Willis is creeping in the background. Turns out that Bruce Willis’ wife and kid were supposed to be there as well, but got trapped in isolation due to unforeseen circumstances. Was also married to Ashton Kutcher for a time.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $18,644,570 (Worldwide: $18,644,570)

(Also amazingly high … what it up with like The Blue Lagoon and films like this pulling in $20+ million takes? It just seems so weird. Probably cost a mint to make, this is Michael Caine’s “I want to buy a house, what garbage film can I be in this year?” peak.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (2/24): It isn’t clear who is most culpable for this creepy comedy’s sheer wrongness, but its smarmy laughs and uncomfortable romance will leave audiences feeling guilty long afterward.

(Hahahahahah, yes this is what I expected when this film was chosen. It should be hidden from the world, never to be seen again … right after we watch it I guess. Reviewer Highlight: This movie is clearly intended to appeal to the prurient interests of dirty old men of all ages. – Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Aging Poorly

(What was happening with posters. Do you want me to sit and read it? Because I won’t. If you want to show me a girl in a bikini, just show me a girl in a bikini. Why the other 1000 things on the poster? Also why is the girl looking in a mirror. Someone needs to write an essay about this poster. D)

Tagline(s) – You can blame the night, blame the wine, blame the moon in her eyes, but when all else fails . . . you’d better . . . Blame it on Rio! (C)

(This is upsetting on a moral level. Slightly less upsetting on a tagline level. I mean, it’s got features of a tagline despite being like twelve words too long.)

Keyword – rio de janeiro brazil

Top 10: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), Charlie’s Angels (2019), Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), The Incredible Hulk (2008), 2012 (2009), Geostorm (2017), Fast & Furious 5 (2011), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), The Money Pit (1986), Cars 2 (2011)

Future BMT: 72.2 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), 70.3 Mr. Magoo (1997), 58.2 Wild Orchid (1989), 44.4 Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990), 30.6 Cars 2 (2011);

BMT: 2012 (2009), Geostorm (2017), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), Blame It on Rio (1984), Driven (2001)

(The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is so bad, and indeed has a decent part in Rio. I’m intrigued by Magoo. Magoo is probably so so bad. Rio really had a moment in the 2010’s … well I guess just Twilight came out then.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Demi Moore is No. 4 billed in Blame It on Rio and No. 1 billed in Striptease, which also stars Burt Reynolds (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 5 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 4 + 1 + 2 + 5 + 4 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Surrender we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – According to contemporary news stories, special parental consent was required in order to allow the nude scenes featuring Michelle Johnson, as she was not yet eighteen at the time they were filmed. Publicity for this movie also stated that Johnson was around two months out of high school when she was cast. (Oh no no no no no no no no no no no no no)

The theatrical movie poster, featuring the rear view of a girl in a “Brazilian cut” bikini caused such a stir that an altered, airbrushed version of the same poster with a less revealing bikini was issued. (Oh God, no no no no no no no no)

Director Stanley Donen has referred to the production of this movie in Brazil as being “horrendous”. Donen has said that principal photography was marred by excessive bureaucratic requirements for personal information for the cast and crew; endless rainfall falling on days, in which the forecast said otherwise; and the late, and even non-arrival of goods, products, and services.

Yvette Mimieux and her then-husband, Stanley Donen, saw the original French movie In a Wild Moment (1977) — aka Un moment d’égarement — in Santa Monica, California, and decided that they wanted to remake it, and quickly optioned the property for an American version, which became this movie. In 2015 a French remake called Un moment d’égarement was released.

According to Allmovie, “(film) critics aptly noticed (Michael) Caine’s apparent discomfort throughout the film”. (Hahahahaha)

Final theatrical movie directed by Stanley Donen.

Michelle Johnson said during a 1984 interview that it wasn’t until after she was cast that she learned her role involved total nudity. “My parents were a bit concerned about it and I was too,” she said. “I always wanted to have a career (in film) and I wanted to make the right moves at the right time. So we read the script and we talked to Stanley to find out exactly what his intentions were for the film. My parents looked into Stanley’s reputation and seemed satisfied because he makes such quality films.” Johnson said she was incredibly nervous the first time she took her clothes off and stood around naked in front of the cast and mostly male crew. It was like hundreds of eyes were all staring at her exposed body. But once the camera started rolling, she was fine. “When I was being Jennifer, when I was really focused in on that character, I wasn’t aware that I was topless or completely naked in those scenes. That was the last thing on my mind because I was so focused. But the minute Stanley said “cut’ I was immediately aware that I was standing in front of 20 or 30 people with no clothes on and I picked up a robe and ran to my room.”

In her memoir Inside Out, Demi Moore reveals that she ended up in bed with a member of the crew one night. “Peter, a young guy who was running the second unit camera on the movie” is assumed to be Peter Lyons Collister. (This is the weirdest note I’ve read on IMDb I think)

This movie was released seven years after the original French movie, In a Wild Moment (1977). According to Randy Lofficier’s 1998 article “REMAKE… AMERICAN STYLE: American Writers Discuss the Writing and Crediting Process for Remakes of Foreign Films”, this remake “does not identify the French film and its writer, Claude Berri.”

Michelle Johnson said she didn’t even know who Michael Caine was when she was invited to audition. “This was so embarrassing,” she said in an interview when the film was released. “.So I called a friend who’s older than me. She goes to movies a lot. And she said, “Oh, that’s that Kung Fu guy.’ She was getting him mixed up with David Carradine. I immediately went out and saw “Alfie’ and “The Man Who would be King” and “Sleuth.’ I was very nervous at the audition, especially after seeing those movies.”

Sir Michael Caine performs a Greek Chorus role in this movie, which intermittently cuts to him talking to the audience from a studio shot with a gray wall background, explaining the twists and turns of the movie’s storyline. (Whaaaaaaaaaaa)

Director Stanley Donen said in a 1984 interview that he originally wanted an experienced actress for the role of Jennifer. He was looking for a young girl who was beautiful, lively, energetic and extroverted, but couldn’t find one that satisfied him who was willing to go nude. So he started auditioning new inexperienced actresses and he found Michelle Johnson. Even though she was a model, he thought it may be difficult convincing her and her parents that she would have to do nude scenes. But he said they were all fine with it. “Girls, you know, if they’re attractive, most of them are not at all unhappy about being topless,” he reasoned. “They are quite beautiful and they like to be admired.” (Oh no no no no no no no)

Demi Moore turned down the role of Lucy Lane in Supergirl (1984) to appear on this film. (I mean … uh, good choice?)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Michelle Johnson, 1985)

The Glimmer Man Recap

Jamie

When a kooky new age cop with a shady background, Jack Cole, is partnered with Jim Campbell on a serial killer case it seems like they might drive each other crazy. But as the case gives way to a larger conspiracy, they join forces to punch and kick their way to justice. Can they stop the bad guys before it’s too late? Find out in… The Glimmer Man.

How?! Jack Cole is a different breed of cop: a peaceful warrior with a shady past. He’s partnered with Jim Campbell, a straight-laced cop who finds Cole’s methods a little odd. Oh boy, hopefully they can solve the Family Man murders before they drive each other up the wall! In a wild coincidence, they stumble into the middle of a hostage situation that puts them at odds with one of the most powerful men in LA, Frank Deverell… who happens to be behind a string of contract killings being disguised as part of the Family Man murders. In an even crazier twist of fate, Cole’s ex-wife and new husband are the next victims of the Family Man… or so it would seem. Suddenly, Campbell is a bit suspicious of his partner (I mean… there have been several major coincidences in the 48 hours since he showed up) and Cole is starting to think all these things must be connected. Cole gets a lead on the real Family Man killer and realizes that the latest killings are the work of a pro right before having to blow him away. Deverell starts to suspect that things are unravelling and sends his hitman after Campbell who narrowly escapes. Cole and him quickly go and save Johnny from getting snubbed by his own father and find out that this is all part of a plan by Deverell to sell chemical weapons to the Serbian Mafia. They confront the contract killer downtown during the sale and a climactic shootout ensues in which Cole shows just why they called him… The Glimmer Man. THE END.

Why?! Fate? Or so it would seem considering the coincidences that were in play. Deverell loves money and wants to get some by selling weapons to the Serbian Mafia. How could he know that the person he hired to take care of loose ends would also happen to be the former employer of the cop investigating the murders that he’s using as a cover… and that this cop’s ex-wife is married to his son’s psychiatrist… and that this cop would also save said son during a police stand-off… all in a matter of a week.

Who?! Do we not consider Steven Seagal a musician? No? But are you sure? Still no? OK. The only other thing of note is that this was an early film for Alexa Vega, who went on to star in the Spy Kids films. She gets a very brief scene as Steven Seagal’s daughter.

What?! Major marketing push here for powdered deer penis. They really get a lot out of that joke and I’m sure sales got the classic Seagal bump following the release of the film. As for props there isn’t really much for sale… but there is a 1996 Glimmer Man t-shirt for sale on Etsy. Feels appropriate that it only comes in XL. I also want to point out that this has several clear films shown within the film. Most notably Casablanca (which plays a prominent part in the film) and Now, Voyager. So maybe check out those before checking out this one.

Where?! Los Angeles for days. I wouldn’t necessarily say that this is super LA… the climactic scene takes place in some run down hotel (so not exactly chasing the baddie through Dodger stadium or anything), but they really hammer home that Cole is a little out of the norm for the LAPD. B+

When?! During the investigation there are some phone records pulled up that clearly show that Cole’s ex-wife got a phone call right before her murder on a date in February 1996. For a second I thought there was a chance this took place on Patriot’s Day 1993, but alas… just a post-Valentine’s Day treat for us. B-

I think Patrick and I may end up disagreeing on the merits of this film. This is mostly because I think it’s much less common to find bad movies that are actually so-bad-they’re-good than the number of podcasts and blogs about the subject suggests. This certainly wears out its welcome over it’s slim(mer man) running time, but before that it veers so wildly outside the lines of logic that you can’t help but laugh at it. Throw in a number of bizarre writing choices and one-liners and I have to say I enjoyed myself. In particular the sheer magnitude of the coincidences in play have to be seen to be believed. I mean… no wonder Wayans thinks he might be the killer. I’m not sure even to this day we can fully rule him out. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The Glimmer Man? More like Not-So-Slimmer Man! Get it? Seagal is starting to look a bit heavy in this film. It’s a fat joke and I feel bad about it. I’m against body shaming. That doesn’t mean I won’t make the same joke fourteen times in this recap! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I actually knew nothing about this film going in besides that it was vaguely about a serial killer. And given that we’ve watched over 500 bad films we’ve watched surprisingly few Seagal films. Seeing Seagal transform from an extremely tall aikido master into a fat Buddhist weirdo (no offense …) is always a delight. What were my expectations? Hopefully it is Seagal being a fat Buddhist weirdo? It’s all about Seagal babyyyyyyyy. Give me tons of that Seagal.

The Good – The story is actually pretty coherent all things considered. I also like Wayans who comes across as just skeptical enough of this bead-wearing Buddhist weirdo that has all of a sudden shown up in LA to investigate a serial killer. A pretty good LA film as well. I also appreciate that they didn’t feel the need to give either Seagal or Wayans a love interest. Wayans is unabashedly single, and Seagal is on his second marriage in the film. Easy peasy, see how simple it is to have your heroes have normal personal lives?

The Bad – Alright this is the last time I’ll mention it … Seagal is overweight in this film and it is incredibly amusing. The martial arts are sub par. Especially by Wayans, who for whatever reason is required to try and kick people every so often. While this is a great LA film, there is a very confusing fact that it is constantly raining in this film. It is raining so much that no joke, a weatherman has to come on a television at one point and explain it is one of the wettest winters in history! Finally, the film relies on an incredible number of coincidences. Seagal comes to LA and happens to show up on the day in which a serial killer murder occurs, on the way back from the scene they (against protocol) take a suicide case, this case happens to involve the son of the guy who is working with Seagal’s former employer to smuggle chemical weapons into the US, and at the same time Seagal’s ex-wife’s husband is the kid’s therapist and thus they are targeted to be killed as part of this scheme … like, WHAT?

The BMT – Eh, I guess. I think the main thing is just that we need to watch all of Seagal’s films eventually. It is inevitable. And thus all of this just ends up as homework. I think the thing that saves it is Seagal’s performance. There isn’t much else going for it, too many buddy cop films do the buddy cop shtick better than it. But not many films allow you to witness a martial artist go insane right in front of your eyes. Did it meet my expectations? I think so. Basically if you want to pinpoint the moment in which Seagal misunderstood his own fame and went insane because of it, it is this movie. He has beads, he’s a Buddhist, and he kills like twenty people in cold blood. There isn’t much else to say about it, that’s all you need to know.

Roast-radamus – Definitely gets a shoutout for Setting as a Character (Where?) for Los Angeles. A setting so good apparently it gets shouted out in books about films set in LA. Otherwise I can’t think of any other categories it really qualified for. I think there is an outside shot for BMT as well, just based on Seagal’s performance. Surprising for a quality bad Seagal film if I’m being honest. I would have expected more from it.

StreetCreditReport.com – All of the cred comes from Seagal. Lists ignore this film (which is interesting, this isn’t too long after Under Siege and Executive Decision, both of which were relatively well received), and even someone like Siskel & Ebert don’t put it in their fairly expansive worst of show for 1996. This is basically just another Seagal BMT that we eventually have to watch. It is our duty. 

You Just Got Schooled – So this week I had a tough decision. I could watch Seagal’s first film (Above the Law) or arguably his best film (outside of Under Siege, which I obviously have to save for when we watch its sequel) in Executive Decision. Well … I think I might have chosen wrong with Executive Decision. Not because it wasn’t good. It is pretty serviceable. As far as a plane hijacking movie it has a lot going for it. Poirot is the bad guy. Platt and Russell are fun as the non-military heroes. And they have a ton going on at all times (they’re trying to figure out how to take down the terrorists, they are defusing the bomb, and they are trying to signal Washington, all at the same time). I kind of wish someone would make a film like this now, it just comes across as so earnest and serious about “getting things right”. No, it was a poor decision because (spoilees!) Seagal dies like 30 minutes into the film. I thought he was the co-star! I should have known better. Regardless, a fun movie in the end, and one more notch in my Steven Seagal belt. B-.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Glimmer Man Quiz

Oooof. I was minding my own business you see, and they I saw the faintest of glimmers and BAM! Someone knocked me unconscious and I don’t remember anything else after that. Do you remember what happened in The Glimmer Man?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Why does Jack Cole claim he has come to Los Angeles?

2) How does Jack Cole know the first victim he sees in LA is from Russia, and how do they ultimately trace her identity?

3) What makes Wayans and the LAPD suspicious of Cole’s identity and background?

4) Why is Jack Cole called The Glimmer Man? And why was he booted out of Mr. Smith’s Program?

5) What is Dunlevey smuggling, from where, and to whom is he selling it?

Answers

The Glimmer Man Preview

In between make-out sessions, Poe and Det. Halloway hash out the plot to the totally lit YA banger for the gucci crowd The Platonic Solids Series Part II: Love on the Blocks. In this entry… 

Jewel is thrown into heart wrenching despair when Kelton, her swamp monster lover, is forced by the job-deciders to play the deadly Cinder Olympics. The revolution is in tatters and realizing that little ol’ Jewel must live her unique life, Kelton convinces her that swamp monsters don’t know love and he actually wants to play. Blinded by her tragic despair she decides to conform and start working her assigned job. Later, Gregor checks in and he’s now totally ripped. Also he reveals that he’s a phantom of the opera, mortal enemy of the swamp monsters, and that Jewel is in great danger because Kelton won the Cinder Trophy. To punish him the job-deciders are going to kill her. Gregor offers to protect her with his muscles, but she knows she needs to share one final kiss with Kelton before her death. Running into the Cinder Lands she finds him and he realizes that the only way she’ll survive is to become a swamp monster. Jewel is torn because that would hurt Gregor, but also she wants some of that sweet swamp monster action. Kelton is torn because becoming a swamp monster involves him shooting a slimy spoor into her and that seems monstrous to him unless they were to get… *gasp*

Rich finds this all a little on the nose. He sadly walks down the corridors of the school. He’s despondent as it feels like he’s lost his best buddy. So different and yet so similar. As he turns a corner he sees just the faintest glimmer of someone sneaking around the next hallway… curious. That’s right! We are watching the Steven Seagal classic (masterpiece?) The Glimmer Man. May as well be called Buddy Cop: The Movie and that’s why we’re watching it. We’re also watching it as part of the chain going from Kiss the Girls through Brian Cox. We haven’t watched nearly enough Steven Seagal in BMT, so I’m excited. Let’s go!  

The Glimmer Man (1996) – BMeTric: 45.2; Notability: 41 

TheGlimmerManIMDb_BMeT

TheGlimmerManIMDb_RV

(Seems about right. Too bad there isn’t just enough votes to bump it over 50 BMeTric. The notability is off the chain. I think I’m slowly learning that there are only a handful of 50+ notability films per year, and they usually are good. So even getting close to 50 for a film like this is astonishing.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Seagal and Wayans team up to track down a serial killer who is terrorizing the L.A. area. Tired buddy/cop picture, even by Seagal’s fairly low standards; he also coproduced.

(That is one svelte review. Very nice to see that basically this is Buddy Cop: The Movie. Since, you know … that’s why we are watching it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGQ5Nq7r-Ho/

(That is some rough quality VHS rip. Jesus his beads, ponytail, and weirdo looking suits are off the chain. Looks truly awful. I’m excited.)

Directors – John Gray – (Known For: White Irish Drinkers; BMT: The Glimmer Man; Notes: Directed multiple episodes of Ghost Whisperer. Oddly, his wife wrote multiple episodes of Dog Whisperer.)

Writers – Kevin Brodbin (written by) – (Known For: Constantine; The Siege of Jadotville; Future BMT: Mindhunters; BMT: The Glimmer Man; Notes: He maybe wrote a pilot for a Mindhunters television show, but it is a bit unclear. The IMDb page lists zero episodes.)

Actors – Steven Seagal – (Known For: Under Siege; Machete; Above the Law; Executive Decision; Future BMT: The Patriot; Half Past Dead; The Foreigner; Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; Hard to Kill; Marked for Death; Contract to Kill; Out for Justice; China Salesman; BMT: On Deadly Ground; Fire Down Below; The Glimmer Man; Exit Wounds; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for On Deadly Ground in 1995; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1995 for On Deadly Ground; in 1998 for Fire Down Below; and in 2003 for Half Past Dead; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Executive Decision in 1997; and Nominee for Worst Original Song, and Worst Screen Couple for Fire Down Below in 1998; Notes: A 7th-dan black belt in aikido, he is now a Russian citizen.)

Keenen Ivory Wayans – (Known For: Scary Movie; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; Star 80; Hollywood Shuffle; Future BMT: Dance Flick; Most Wanted; A Low Down Dirty Shame; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; BMT: The Glimmer Man; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Little Man in 2007; and Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for White Chicks in 2005; Notes: Most notable for his groundbreaking comedy series In Living Color which gave Jim Carrey his start.)

Bob Gunton – (Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; Argo; The Lincoln Lawyer; Fracture; Patriot Games; The Perfect Storm; JFK; Glory; Born on the Fourth of July; The 33; Kill the Irishman; Trouble with the Curve; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; I Heart Huckabees; Get the Gringo; Broken Arrow; Dolores Claiborne; Rendition; Matewan; Future BMT: Boat Trip; Father Hood; Dead Silence; Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls; Jennifer 8; Unbroken: Path to Redemption; Cookie; Patch Adams; BMT: Bats; Runner Runner; The Glimmer Man; A Thousand Acres; Demolition Man; Notes: A major player in the late seasons of 24 moving up from Chief of State to Secretary of State under multiple fake administrations.)

Budget/Gross – $45 million / Domestic: $20,351,264 (Worldwide: $20,351,264)

(That is a disaster. It makes sense. If you look at the trajectory of Seagal films this is the last film released with the intention of actually making money. He slipped pretty quickly into straight-to-video releases almost immediately afterwards.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (3/26): A grimy, humorless glimpse of Steven Seagal’s direct-to-video future, Glimmer Man fails to shine.

(Cooooooooold Blooooooooooooded. That is one grimy, humorless view of Seagal’s obviously amazing career. Reviewer Highlight: John Gray’s The Glimmer Man is strictly for Steven Seagal fans (if there is such a species). – Quentin Curtis, Daily Telegraph (UK))

Poster – The Glimmer Sklog (C+)

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(This honestly looks like we made it ourselves. Really seems like the lowest possible level of effort was used in creating this. That being said… I like the blue. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I managed to get the shadow on my face to look … fine. It looks fine. I won’t call it good, but for a fake shadow it looks fine. Screwed up the font a bit, but couldn’t be bothered to fix it in the end, there are only so many hours in the day after all.)

Tagline(s) – Two good cops. One bad situation. (B)

(I mean, obviously this is amazing. Mostly because it fits right in with the idea that this is just Buddy Cop: The Movie. This could apply to every buddy cop movie in history and I love it. Can I ironically give it an A? Fine, it gets a B for not being original enough.)

Keyword – buddy cop

TheGlimmerMan_buddy cop

Top 10: Bad Boys for Life (2020), Men in Black: International (2019), The Other Guys (2010), Men in Black (1997), Cop Out (2010), Bad Boys (1995), Hot Fuzz (2007), Stuber (2019), 21 Jump Street (2012), The Nice Guys (2016)

Future BMT: 63.3 Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004), 55.1 Knock Off (1998), 49.1 Showtime (2002), 46.7 Cop Out (2010), 46.7 Men in Black: International (2019), 46.6 The Happytime Murders (2018), 44.7 National Security (2003), 44.6 Metro (1997), 41.6 Boiling Point (1993), 40.7 Brick Mansions (2014);

BMT: Judge Dredd (1995), CHIPS (2017), Wild Wild West (1999), R.I.P.D. (2013), Tango & Cash (1989), Ride Along (2014), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), Ride Along 2 (2016), Another 48 Hrs. (1990), Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992), Show Dogs (2018), Hollywood Homicide (2003), The Glimmer Man (1996)

(Very interesting that it grew up to a point and then collapsed. Usually I would say this is due to VOD taking over these minor sub-genres. Here though I have a feeling it is just television in general that took over cop partner media. Think True Detective, Broadchurch, etc. There is a long history of this genre in television and I think it is only getting bigger on the small screen.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Steven Seagal is No. 1 billed in The Glimmer Man and No. 1 billed in Exit Wounds, which also stars Isaiah Washington (No. 3 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 5 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 5 + 2 + 3 = 15. If we were to watch Out for Justice we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – According to Keenen Ivory Wayans, one time during production, after waiting for a long time for Steven Seagal to finally show up on the set, Seagal appeared with some script and said how it was the greatest script he ever read in his entire life. When Wayans asked him who wrote it, Seagal responded by saying; “I did.” (Sounds about right …)

Brian Cox replaced Tommy Lee Jones at very short notice.

After the film was completed, Warner Brothers conducted additional editing on the film to make it faster, and more like a regular Steven Seagal movie. Cut scenes included several comedic and dramatic exchanges between Campbell (Keenen Ivory Wayans) and Cole (Steven Seagal) and a great deal of Michelle Johnson’s scenes, as Cole’s wife, Jessica, were cut.

Originally envisioned as a much larger action picture, similar in scope to The Last Boy Scout (1991). Several action scenes were removed to cut down the budget. They included the bombing of a boat owned by Campbell (who lived on a houseboat instead of in an apartment), an encounter between Cole and a SWAT team that has raided his house and the final confrontation and gunfight at the Los Angeles museum. (The Last Boy Scout is great, watch that instead)

Steven Seagal championed Trevor Rabin as the composer of the film. Years earlier Rabin, an avid guitar enthusiast like Seagal, had coached and trained Seagal with his guitars.

In the original screenplay (114 pages), Cole was called Calhoun, Campbell was named Leary,and Donald Cunningham was called Abraham.

Easter egg: on the wall of the police station, there is a “wanted” poster for Erik Gauss, the character of Matthias Hues from Bounty Tracker (1993). (Someone is watching Boutry Tracker for You Just Got Schooled this week!)

According to Stephen Tobolowsky, Steven Seagal wanted to change the scene in which Cole (Seagal) kills Maynard (Tobolowsky). Due to his spiritual beliefs, Seagal did not want to kill villains in his movies anymore. Tobolowsky convinced him that Maynard would be able to be reincarnated and redeemed by being killed. Seagal agreed, and the scene was filmed as written. However, a few months later, Seagal wanted to change the scene, to show that Maynard survived the shooting. Tobolowsky was brought in to overdub lines to indicate that Maynard was still alive, but this was not used in the final cut.

Along Came a Spider Recap

Jamie

Alex Cross is back, Jack! And boy is he damaged. When a psycho kidnaps a Senator’s daughter, Cross is shocked to find the maniac communicating directly with him. Can he and his definitely-not-a-bad-guy secret service helper stop the baddie and rescue the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… Along Came a Spider.

How?! Alex Cross is stinging from the death of his partner in an undercover operation gone wrong. But when a prominent politician’s daughter is swiped from a high security school by a teacher, Gary Soneji, who seems to have meticulously planned out the crime years in advance he’s intrigued. He’s even more intrigued when the guy starts communicating with him and implies that he wants Cross to personally profile him for the historical record. Enter Alex Cross and his exquisite mind. He takes the school’s secret service agent, Jezzie, as his partner and together they start knocking down clues. “Why is that picture missing?” Cross asks! “Why take a measly Senator’s daughter and not some even more powerful person?” Jezzie chimes in! “Why does this maniac seem to just want fame?” Cross ponders. Oh how beautiful a mind he has… or should I say they! Because he and Jezzie together foil a second kidnapping and ruin Soneji’s day. With the plan ruined, Soneji (or is it?) demands a ransom and, through an intricate, wholly original plot whereby he forces Cross to run across D.C. answering a series of pay phones, is able to get millions of dollars in diamonds. At this point Cross is puzzled as the case doesn’t seem to have gone the way he thought. Even more puzzling is when a distraught Soneji shows up at Jezzie’s apartment and attempts to kill her resulting in Cross killing him. Realizing this doesn’t make sense Cross cracks Jezzie’s computer with his sumptuous mind and reveals that (what a twist!) Jezzie has been part of the plan. She and another secret service agent tailed Soneji, let him take the girl, foiled the other kidnapping, demanded ransom, and then stole the girl back. When Jezzie realizes that Cross’s mind is just too stunning, she runs to the hiding place to kill the girl. But Cross is too good and shows up and kills her and saves the girl. THE END. Big Question: Is Alex Cross’ mind a 10?

Why?! You have to applaud the adaptation because it does streamline the motivations whereas the book mixes Soneji up with all kinds of psychology stuff like split personalities. Here it’s simple: Soneji wants fame and considers himself the criminal of the century worthy of documentation by bestselling crime author Alex Cross. Jezzie on the other hand wants money and uses her position as a secret service agent to take advantage of Soneji’s plot for her own devices. Alex Cross just wants to solve the crime, his mind demands it.

Who?! At a certain point in the the hierarchy of the US government I have to cut my losses and not mention that we have an actor portraying the character. Senator Hank Rose seems to fit the bill. Even the characters in the movie are like “he’s not even that famous, why would anyone care to kidnap his children?” The only reason I even am mentioning him is that he is played by Michael Moriarty (aka Harry Potter, Sr. from the film Troll) and he appears to be quite kooky. He was kooky in Troll and he’s kooky here and I watched him in a film Full Fathom Five where he is also decidedly kooky. Always interesting to watch.

What?! Hey, anyone need a prop police badge from Along Came a Spider? No? Me neither. But speaking of props I did enjoy a cyberprop (just coined that) in this film. The kids in the elite D.C. school hide messages encoded in pictures, which they pass back and forth. Uncrackable unless you know the key that tells you where to look specifically in the data for the message. It’s a nice touch and actually seems believable.

Where?! This is a Washington D.C. special (honestly how an Alex Cross film should be). We get several prominent landmarks featured and the portrayal of a US Senator. Climax takes place in Northern Virginia. I would give this an A-, but the Tyler Perry Alex Cross film proved that they can really take Cross to a number of other cities and he settles in quite nicely. B+.

When?! I went back through and the closest we get is the dry erase board in the security area of the school that appears to have a note for the date 23/4/01. This would make some sense, but I’m thrown off by the apparent use of a European date notation. Regardless this is a D at best.

I found this one almost the reverse of Kiss the Girls. I thought Morgan Freeman sleepwalked through the film and Monica Potter was not particularly good. This was probably partially the fault of the script, which was pretty meandering. And that in turn might have been because the book itself was much much harder to adapt than Kiss the Girls. They did a pretty straight adaptation of that one, but in this case there was just no way. The book as written is unfilmable, so they had to do a lot of work to smooth everything out and it was smoothed into something slow and boring. Not a thrill and/or chill to be seen and an ending that is both nonsense and anticlimactic. The only good thing was that I felt like the director pretty deftly handled a twist in the middle of the film in order to obscure it from audiences who hadn’t read the source material. Somehow we had two Alex Cross films with nearly identical Rotten Tomatoes scores and I reacted totally differently to them. Interesting. I give it an upside down hand heart (aka The Butt). Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If I made this film I would have called it Along Came a Creepy Kidnapper. ‘Cause I’m scared of spiders. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Confusingly this film is the second in the series, whereas the book is the first in the long-running book series. The book is straight up b-b-b-b-b-bonkers (more on that later), but I had already seen the film back in the day before I realized it qualified for BMT. So the preview was me just kind of remembering that the film kind of sucked. What were my expectations? The further I get away from reading the book I wondered if I misremembered things a bit. The film is so far from the book that maybe things got muddled in that way … I don’t think so though, I bet the film is a mess.

The Good – Morgan Freeman is still pretty good as Alex Cross, although he seemed a bit less thrilled with the film. Seemed a bit bored. It is too bad he never got a chance to go at some of the later books which I assume eventually settled into something a bit less … weird. If you didn’t really expect a twist the twist at the very least kind of comes out of nowhere. The child actors do a shockingly good job.

The Bad – This movie is a mess. A complete mess. They botch the twist in the end. The two main villains (spoilees, one is Monica Potter, who seems like a good guy from most of the film) are terrible actors as well. It is a really bad adaptation of the book, but almost by necessity. You see … the book is insane. So when they adapted it they clearly had to cut half of it out and try and rebuild it from the ashes. It doesn’t work. The story makes no sense without the batshit insanity Patterson introduced with the main villain, because his motivations only make sense if his is batshit insane. It is a bizarre choice for a bizarre film. Small shoutout for them totally ripping off Dirty Harry with Alex Cross running around from payphone to payphone at the behest of the villain. Bold move.

The BMT –.I think this is one of those films where the book adaptation is so crazy that it makes it slightly more enjoyable … but it still isn’t good. I’ve seen the film twice … and I will do as much as possible to avoid seeing it a third time. Just not good or fun. Did it meet my expectations? Well I had already seen the film, and remembered not liking it and thinking it was dumb … nailed it. I remembered correctly.

Roast-radamus – Very small Setting as a Character (Where?) for Washington D.C. because the fact that high-level government children getting kidnapped is pivotal to the plot. Decent MacGuffin (Why?) … actually aren’t all kidnapping films centered around a MacGuffin? Interesting thought I’ve never considered before. And of course no bad thriller would be complete without a Worst Twist (How?) and this one is a doozy. Here is turns out the good guy is a bad guy, but then kills the other good guy (for no reason), and they are in a farm house … it makes no sense. It is fantastic. I’ll throw this into the Bad running early. I really disliked this film and just hated it.

StreetCreditReport.com – This is a lot closer to something that I can imagine entering some BMT pantheon. Maybe … worst book adaptations? I can’t really find any good lists from 2001, but the cred, as I said in the other recap, is just because of Alex Cross. Crazy pulpy detective series with a 100% BMT record? Yeah, we were going to do these eventually.

You Just Got Schooled – Ah, another book adaptation. This book is insane. It was the first Alex Cross film and I think Patterson didn’t really know what he wanted to do with it. It actually feels like multiple books smashed together. You have the kidnapper obsessed with the Lindbergh kidnapping … but then all of a sudden the kidnapper is a family man, who claims to have a multiple personality, and robs a McDonald’s, and then the Secret Service agent is involved, but Alex Cross is having a relationship with her, and one of the kids died! The multiple personality story is straight out of Primal Fear, which I had read just before this book. That probably didn’t help when I read it. It really did feel like a smash up of a cheap detective thriller with some early-90s legal drama (obsessed with split personalities obviously). The book is a C-, and somehow the adaptation is an F.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Kiss the Girls Recap

Jamie

Alex Cross is a psychologist/cop who specializes in understanding the criminal mind. When his niece is captured by a serial killer whose motives may not exactly be what they seem, it’s up to Alex to figure out his next move. Can he stop the killer and rescue his niece before it’s too late? Find out in… Kiss the Girls.

How?! Alex Cross, D.C. detective extraordinaire and part-time psychologist is the master of getting into the mind of a criminal. When he finds out that his niece has gone missing, along with a number of girls in the Durham, NC area, he will stop at nothing to solve the crime. He goes down there and is like “guess what, I’m now a part of this,” and the cops there are like “well yeah, duh, you’re Alex Cross, welcome aboard.” He gets all up in that investigation and things get pretty thrilling/chilling when the kidnapper, calling himself Cassanova, appears to communicate with Cross directly. When Dr. Kate McTiernan is kidnapped and subsequently escapes it becomes clear that the killer is collecting talented women and is keeping them alive as part of a fantasy harem he is building. From the drugs used on Kate they track down a doctor in LA that must be involved. Their sting goes disastrously awry, though, and things are looking pretty dire and the audience is like “how will Alex Cross recover?” but we all know how: he’s Alex Cross! He swiftly uses his beautiful mind to track down the general area of Casanova’s hideout and when he hears a gunshot is able to find and free the missing girls. The LA doctor, known as The Gentleman Caller, is killed, but Casanova escapes. While Cross is just chilling out waiting for a dinner date with Kate he realizes that Casanova is in fact one of the police officers working the case! He rushes to Kate’s house to find her having handcuffed Casanova to the stove and him threatening to blow the house up in a gas explosion. Cross again breaks out that gorgeous mind and shoots Casanova through a carton of milk, thus killing him and preventing the explosion. THE END. Big Question: This is just good, right?

Why?! Cross’ motivation is personal, as his niece is one of the kidnapped women. No need to go into more detail than that really. For Casanova and The Gentleman Caller, they get pretty deep into their motivations. Casanova considers himself a great lover and kidnaps and drugs talented women for his “harem” to live out his fantasy that he is irresistible and a man of great power. The Gentleman Caller is just a sadist really… so not as much thought for his character I guess. 

Who?! Interesting tidbit that Anna Maria Horsford went uncredited in the role of Vicki (Alex’s sister) in this film, but then reprised her role in Along Came a Spider and was credited in that. She basically had the same amount of screentime in each. Curious. Billy Blanks also made an appearance as Ashley Judd’s kickboxing instructor. He’s, of course, the inventor of Tae Bo.

What?! Sometimes when you’re watching a film that’s set in a particular place (especially when there is a good chance they actually filmed on location) you’ll see some funny product placement specific to the area. I always like to see local beers play a role in films. Here Alex Cross shoots Casanova in the climactic final scene through a Maola milk carton. You gotta run with that Maolo, get on the “Alex Cross’ Milk of Choice” ad campaign.

Where?! The beginning of the film takes place in D.C. and there is a small part in California, but otherwise all the action is in Durham, NC. Same as in the book. Interestingly there is a reason it does. Because of the Research Triangle in the area I think they were going for the idea that it would be a perfect place to pick up super talented women in a relatively small area. B+.

When?! I think this likely takes place in either April or May ‘96. They have a big wall that charts the disappearances of the girls. To the left is a series of calenders for January-May of 1996. Presumably this is the range over which the girls were kidnapped. Considering Alex Cross’ niece had just been the latest victim you presume that it’s somewhere near the end of that range. Although, weird that it seems so chilly in NC that time of year. C+.

I’ve realized that I have a soft spot for thrillers. Last year I raved about Mercury Rising and now I have to say… Kiss the Girls is closer to being just fine to being BMT. I thought Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd were excellent. In particular I thought Judd should have been a bigger star from what I saw in this film. Sad given what has been revealed about that in recent years. The thriller itself had enough thrills and chills for me and I think its biggest error was being way too predictable and stumbling over some lazy red herrings. I can’t really tell whose fault that might have been. The director I guess, but it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the film. So I give it the patented BMT hand heart of approval… you know, the classic rating system that fans of BMT have come to know and love. And for those that are wondering, yes I did think through the other hand symbols we’d have as part of the system. Turn that hand heart upside down and it turns into a butt for our “poo in the face” rating. For fun BMT films? Turn your hands into goggles through which we are watching the films in amazement. Everything we make up for BMT is the lamest possible thing and I’m very proud of this. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If I made this film I would have changed the name to Smooch the Girls. ‘Cause Casanova be smooching. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I had read this book ages ago after we watched Alex Cross. Out of the two books I read this is by far the most adaptable, although it is still rather disturbing. I will say, I very much enjoy serial killer fiction, and this is very much that. The book wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever read, but the subject was definitely up my alley. I was excited to see Morgan Freeman in the role as well. What were my expectations? I expected it to just be kind of confusing. Those are pretty common issues for thrillers, and I can very much imagine that being the issue since, honestly, I found the book pretty confusing.

The Good – I actually liked this film to be honest. We’ll get to some of the issues, but Ashley Judd must have been a revelation in the late 90’s. She is so good in the film, and it is pretty crazy the film got such bad reviews when the main two actors are so good. I thought the setting was cool, a very good use of the Research Triangle of North Carolina. I’m glad they kept it there instead of trying to force it back to DC (which is where Cross tends to be based in the earlier novels). And it wasn’t nearly as confusing as I remembered the book being, because they resolve the Casanova / The Gentleman Caller confusion really quickly.

The Bad – They try and half-heartedly foist the actual twist from the book (in which the reader wonders right to the end which of the police detectives is in fact Casanova) into the film even though it is abundantly clear Carey Elwes is the only logical choice. The fact that the twist is so obvious is an issue, and one easily solved: just make the detective such a minor character you’d never think he’s the culprit. But nope, it’s the late-90s, so you have to get that big name for the bad guy. Dumb. The Gentleman Caller serial killer story is as bad as in the book. It is so unnecessary it kind of annoys you that they are drawing you away from Casanova who is the far better story of the two.

The BMT – Just because we are completing the Alex Cross franchise. That’s really the only real BMT cred its got. Otherwise it’ll end up being one of my favorite BMTs ever I suppose, just because of Judd’s performance which is genuinely quite good. Did it meet my expectations? No, but in a good way. This is a very good adaptation of a book that deals with difficult subject matter and is somewhat confusing as written. The film manages to deal with the difficult subject manner tactfully, and is considerably less confusing that the book I thought.

Roast-radamus – I think this is a decent Setting as a Character (Where?) for North Carolina, with the Research Triangle in particular playing a big role in the film. I’ll also give it a shoutout for Worst Twist (How?) for even daring the headfake the audience about Detective No Name being a legit potential Cassanova. And finally I think this has a decent shot at Good since at least I expect this will be my favorite thriller this year.

StreetCreditReport.com – I guess it shouldn’t be that surprising that this doesn’t have much cred in the media at the time. It isn’t that bad, and there wasn’t as much media coverage of bad films at the time. The cred comes from Alex Cross anyways, both the amazing Tyler Perry adaptation, and the fact that the books have been around for so long. It isn’t even close to the worst serial killer film. Hell, it’s the best Alex Cross film ever made!

You Just Got Schooled – As I said I read the book long ago, but I’ll try and remember as much as I can. I read Along Came a Spider first (I’ll save that review for that recap), but that really set up the character for me. This takes him out of DC and sends him to the South, and I remember being supremely confused about how they were splitting the story between Cassanova and The Gentleman Caller (the two killers in the film). They kind of wanted you to wonder if they were the same person, but it was obvious that they weren’t. And then the twist of which detective was the killer was weak because … I mean, who cares? So yeah, the book was a bit more confusing and leaned into the lame twists a bit too much. These types of books are also terribly written … as I said, somehow the film is loads better than the book. C+.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Along Came a Spider Quiz

The last thing I remember I was trapped in a boat after being kidnapped from my rich-kid school. Otherwise because of all of the drugs I don’t remember anything … wait these two films are really rather similar, just a lot of drugs and kidnapping. Do you remember what happened in Along Came a Spider?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) At the beginning of the film Alex Cross’s partner is killed. How does she die?

2) Now distraught, Alex Cross is semi-retired and painting boats. Meanwhile a Senator’s daughter gets kidnapped. How does Alex Cross get involved in the case?

3) So Alex Cross goes to the scene of the crime and immediately figures out all about the sneaky sneaky kidnapper. First he locates a picture which opens an internet portal to a live feed. What was the picture and how does he subsequently figure out where the feed is located IRL.

4) In the end Alex Cross figures out our kidnapper isn’t really the kidnapper anymore because a second set of kidnappers have kidnapped the Senator’s daughter off his boat. Whoops! How does Alex Cross deduce this fact?

5) Finally it is revealed that the secret service agent Alex Cross has been working with is the culprit. What, vaguely, was their plan?

Answers

Kiss the Girls Quiz

So last thing I remember I was bopping around N.C. as a doctor, but now I appear to be drugged in a dungeon. I don’t remember anything … because of the drugs that my kidnapper gave me. Anywho, do you remember what happened in Kiss the Girls?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film Morgan Freeman’s Alex Cross comes home to find his partner Sampson waiting with some dire news. Naomi has been kidnapped! How is he related to Naomi?

2) So Alex Cross is off to N.C. to see what he can see. Once there he learns there have been a lot of kidnappings by a man named Casanova. He also meets Naomi’s boyfriend. What secretly useful interest does this boyfriend have?

3) And then we meet Ashley Judd, the most recent kidnapping victim. She’s a doctor, but she’s also an athlete. What sport do we see her participating in during her introduction?

4) After Judd escapes Casanova, they learn that the drug used against her was purchased by a doctor in California. He goes by a different nickname. What is it?

5) In the end Alex Cross figures out one of the detectives in N.C. is in fact Casanova (Carey Elwes). How does he figure it out?

Answers