Runner Runner Recap

Jamie

Richie Furst is a former Wall Street guru turned Masters student who is cheated out of his tuition on an online poker site. Taking his evidence to the site’s founder he is offered everything he’s ever wanted: wealth and ladies. And he only has to become a criminal to get it! Can he escape his life of crime (and get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Runner Runner.

How?! Richie Furst is a poor widdle former Wall Street guy who, having been unjustly robbed of his wealth due to the financial crisis, is now forced to get his Masters from Princeton (gross). Trying to make ends meet for tuition in the only legal way he knows how, he loses all his savings playing online poker. Given that he’s way too smart to lose he suspects treachery and uses big ol’ computers and his brain to discover that what happened is mathematically impossible. He decides to go straight to the source and confronts the owners of the poker company in Costa Rica and is all like “math, bitch.” The founder, Ivan Block, is impressed by his bravado and big brain and decides to give him a job and everything he’s ever wanted: ladies, money, and power. Richie of course suspects nothing of getting such an offer from an obviously terrible criminal like Ivan and is like “OK,” like a dope. From there he continues to act like a dope by throwing away all his scruples to blackmail and bribe people just like Ivan tells him too. Even when FBI agents are all up in his business he’s like “but Ivan said…” because he’s actually an idiot. However, when his friends start to bail on the company and one discovers that it’s actually a Ponzi scheme set up by Ivan, it finally dawns on him that literally everything is pointing towards him being involved in a terrible criminal activity. Uh oh! When his dad is used by Ivan as a bargaining chip, Richie has had enough and starts to set up an elaborate scheme to get the upper hand on Ivan. So when Ivan turns around and tries to move the company to Antigua, leaving Richie as the fall guy, Richie is already one step ahead and bribes the pilot to reroute his plane to Puerto Rico. Once there, Ivan gets arrested and Richie, with his big ol’ brain and his new girlfriend, fly off into the sunset. THE END

Why?! We can start from the beginning. We know that Richie is motivated mostly by greed. He feels somewhat robbed by having earned a bunch of money on Wall Street and watching all his money disappear while others got away with millions. He again feels somewhat robbed when he loses his tuition money in a rigged online poker game. This double swindling of our boy Richie apparently breaks his brain because this turns him into a criminal motivated only by greed. We even see him blackmail a guy who is about to have a new baby by purposefully tempting him with hookers and filming it. That’s just a shitty move, man. I know the guy is also shitty for giving into the temptation but our main character is just clearly a terrible person for purposefully setting all that up for a business deal. In fact, I’m not sure why I’m making this section so long. The motivation here is greed across the board. We are forced to watch a bunch of greedy assholes for two hours and it sucks. 

Who?! There is a very brief cameo by the DJ Deadmau5, who is DJing Ivan Block’s very exclusive party. It’s funny to think that in Hollywood you can be like, “hey we need a bunch of money to get Deadmau5 to DJ the fake party for the movie in order to lend credibility to the scene,” and then they just have a massive party and Deadmau5 is shown for less than a second. Also Laurence Mason (aka Lord Nikon and the reason we watched this terrible film) goes uncredited because his scene as the Governor of Antigue got cut… but don’t worry I saw it on the DVD extras. And indeed, totally unnecessary to the film.

What?! Lots of the classics in this one: cars, TVs, phones. I do like JT being like “no thanks” to the expensive stuff people are drinking because he can’t get enough Bud Light. Also they hide all of the evidence of Ivan Block’s nefarious deed in boxes of cereal, but mention that they use cereal that no one wants to eat… always makes me curious why companies would agree to have their cereal used in a film where the main character is like “that cereal is gross.”

Where?! Fantastic fantastic fantastic setting film. We start in Princeton and jump straight over to Costa Rica, which plays a prominent role in the plot. I’d have to look around but this almost certainly will be the top Costa Rica film we’ll get for BMT. Add it to the (imaginary) map! A

When?! The beginning of the film takes place in December most likely as it’s somewhat cold in Princeton and our boy Richie leaves just before finals (but don’t worry, he got extensions). From there it’s all lost to time. He could have been working for Ivan for a few months or over a year. Hard to tell. D.

I haaaaaaaaaaaaaated this film. I actually found it hard to watch. Despite being an objectively nice looking film (can’t go wrong with an exotic locale), I couldn’t understand how they wrote a film where I never cared what happened to any of the characters. I didn’t care whether he got the girl. I didn’t care how Richie was going to get out of the clusterfuck he got himself into. I just didn’t care. He was a criminal and a terrible person and I’m supposed to care about whether he gets out of the jam he’s gotten into through his own greed? No thanks. I’m not even sure whether the plot was coherent (probably not). And I’m not sure the acting is all that good (almost certainly not). I didn’t care. Because this movie sucked and I didn’t want to watch it. Not since Mile 22 have I had a collection of bozos I cared less about. Patrick?  

Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! This film had too little exciting poker action, and a little too much garbage people doing garbage things to each other and making me hate them … you know? Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I didn’t have much hope for this film to be honest. Here’s the thing, we always kind of get forced into films in the chain reaction category towards the end of the year. Regardless, I suppose I was most excited for the Costa Rican settings, I want to see those vistas! What were my expectations? Again, low low expectations, but if there could be some thrills and the film didn’t make me hate the main character and gives me something to root for I would have been delighted.

The Good – Not much. I mean, it looks good. They do a lot with the interesting setting. It certainly focuses on a unique subject as far as a film goes. Online gambling doesn’t get much play in Hollywood. I like Affleck and he does a good amount with the role in the end. And he gets his comeuppance. But otherwise it is pretty rote nonsense.

The Bad – JT is genuinely awful and it is kind of no wonder he doesn’t get a lot of leading man roles. He’s a decent second banana, but he isn’t a very good main character. Speaking of which the main character is a garbage person, and I did not care for a moment whether he lived or died. He did so many bad things in the end he kind of deserved everything he was getting. The glorification of these terrible people exploiting gamblers and living glamorous lives in the Central America doesn’t really make a compelling movie in my opinion.

The BMT – Naw screw this movie. I have no intention of ever watching this again. It does have the setting going for it. We would have watched it either way eventually I imagine as it is far and away going to be the best Costa Rica movie ever released. Plus it got actually destroyed by the critics, and it isn’t the worst goal to watch every sub-10% Rotten Tomatoes film ever made … there aren’t really that many of them. Did it meet my expectations? No, JT is a terrible person in this film and I didn’t care if he lived or died. That’s all I wanted with this film and it did the exact opposite.

Roast-radamus – I actually think this has a decent shot at the Bad section of the awards as I think both Jamie and I really didn’t like the film. I initially couldn’t remember a good Product Placement (What?), but then Jamie reminded me that JT guzzles Bud Light throughout which is awesome. I think looking through the rest of the things the only obvious one is Setting (Where?) and honestly it could win it. It is such a Costa Rica film it is amazing. Every country should get such a terrible film made in / about it in my opinion.

StreetCreditReport.com – Incredibly despite being a relatively rare sub-10% Rotten Tomatoes film it gets nary a mention on the year end lists. Only a small dishonorable mention on IndieWire. I would think this is maybe like … the second worst gambling film available. I’m of course referring to 21 as being the worst. It may not have gotten as bad of reviews, but I can assure you it is terrible. It didn’t help that the book that movie is based on (Bringing Down the House) is fantastic, and they just completely throw it out for … again, wait, it just ends up being a weird techno-thriller with a love story. It is the same movie! Two peas in a pod showing the evolution of gambling from Vegas card counting to online fraud … great.

Sklognalysis – Ohhhhhhh shiiiiiiiiiiit. It’s back. You see I have like 40 films to watch over the next few weeks so I couldn’t really be bothered to go with my original plan of watching Rounders. Instead I’ll go through some thoughts I had on thrillers after watching Swimfan and Runner Runner. With Swimfan I was rather upset. You see, in that film a high school student cheats on his girlfriend with a psycho who then proceeds to frame him for murder, dope him with steroids, and generally destroy his life. In Runner Runner you have a greedy garbage person getting stuck in a jam because of his greed and terrible behavior. You see the difference? In Runner Runner the consequences were proportional to the misdeeds of our protagonist. Which made me think of how thrillers like these are often morality tales of a sort. You commit a sin (lust in Swimfan, greed in Runner Runner), you get punished, you find redemption. But the punishment has to be proportional to the crime. You blackmail a family man and bribe some officials, you get framed for drug trafficking in response. You cheat on your girlfriend in high school and … fill in the blank, but the answer isn’t that your friend is killed, you get framed for his murder, and you get doped with steroids to ruin your life … that isn’t proportional, you see? This could, perhaps, be something fairly common in many genres across the board, but thrillers seem the most appropriate. The tension of seeing someone succumb to base desires, acts often left unknown and unpunished, getting punished in a spectacular and terrifying way, and narrowly escaping to find redemption is thrilling. I guess that is where Runner Runner fails … Timberlake doesn’t just succumb to base desires, he dives head first into a pile of money like Scrooge McDuck and just expects to get away with it like a goober. It just makes you feel gross. I’ll leave it at that, but I’ll be looking at other movies for such desires going forward for sure.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Runner Runner Quiz

Let me see. What is the last thing I remember … I remember getting the shit kicked out of me by a bunch of people and then feeding another guy to an alligator … Whatever, do you know what happened in Runner Runner?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Justin Timberlake, much like in real life, is a super genius. Why is he at Princeton, and what is he getting a degree in?

2) But soon our boy JT (super genius) is cheated while playing online poker with Ben Affleck‘s online gambling company. Where does JT find Affleck, and what is his grand plan to get his ill-betaken gains back?

3) And now JT is rolling in the dough. Problem in it turns out Affleck wants JT to do all kinds of gross / illegal stuff. Naturally, JT does all of these happily because … I guess because he’s a bad guy. Wait, I thought he was our hero? … Whatever, name the two super gross things JT does for Affleck.

4) After that things pretty swiftly go to shit. He’s being squeezed from two sides, by the FBI who want to arrest Affleck, and by Affleck himself. What are both sides using to squeeze him?

5) What was Affleck’s crime, how does JT get all of the evidence to implicate him, and how does he get him to the FBI?

Answers

Runner Runner Preview

Poe flips his bat, admiring the bodacious bomb he just hit to left field. As he crosses home plate he is greeted by a scowling Rich, “Isn’t it about time we bust these guys and get that tech? You’ve done enough showboating for the both of us.” Now it’s time for Poe to scowl, “Showboating? I think you’re slump has you a little jelly. Besides, this is all part of the plan. How else are we supposed to get to the tech if we can’t get close to Brock? A star player only hangs with a star player like me,” and with that he bumps Rich out of the way. “Locker room talk, am I right?” he says, sitting down next to a laughing Brock. Rich goes back to sit with Blaze. “Stupid Brock, stupid Poe. Whatever, I’m not jelly. He’s jelly. Besides, I’m not playing that badly, right Blaze?” But Blaze just looks at him. “Shit.” Just then an out of breath Bryce runs up. “Rich! I was wrong. This is just boring ol’ baseball.” He knew it! “I just stopped by the computer lab and saw some people playing a game. I asked what it was and they said it was some new tech. Something big.” Rich is intrigued. Perhaps they are finally on the right track. He turns to tell Poe the news, but sees him charging the mound after taking umbrage at a late called strike. Rich shakes his head sadly and turns back to Blaze and Bryce, “We’ll have to split up and take this on ourselves. We’ve lost Poe. He’s in too deep. Alright, so what’s this game you saw?” Bryce scratches his head, “well, it just looked like online poker to me, but no one ever seems to win.” That’s right! This week we’re moving ever forwards in the Chain by jumping from Armageddon with Ben Affleck to Runner Runner. This was a Justin Timberlake vehicle that I had no interest in seeing at the time and continue to have no interest in seeing. Great. Laurence Mason (aka Lord Nikon) had a bit part in the film. It counts. Let’s go!

Runner Runner (2013) – BMeTric: 45.7 

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(… Runner Runner came out in 2013?! Anywho, this is an amazing rating which just sticks at 5.6 no matter what. It is actually genuinely its rating: substantially below average. Maybe people just don’t give a shit about poker films?)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  As an exercise in style, “Runner Runner” has its moments, especially early on, but some of Affleck’s torpor seems to infect the film itself after a while. Inventive framing and shot selection give way finally to let’s-get-this-done conversations, filmed in unimaginative shot/reverse-shot style.

(Yeah the entire review is kind of a hit on Affleck for being a bit too big to allow the film to end on its own terms, instead it had to accommodate him as a star and the film suffers.)

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

(Do you need me to do it again! That is the Extraordinary Measures moment for the film. I always remember that from the trailer. Looks super generic and boring though.)

Directors – Brad Furman – (Known For: The Lincoln Lawyer; The Infiltrator; The Take; BMT: Runner Runner; Notes: Is attached to direct an upcoming Mel Gibson project, War Pigs.)

Writers – Brian Koppelman (written by) – (Known For: Ocean’s Thirteen; Rounders; Runaway Jury; The Girlfriend Experience; Solitary Man; Future BMT: Knockaround Guys; Walking Tall; BMT: Runner Runner; Notes: Big into the gambling scene which is basically what all of his films focus on.)

David Levien (written by) – (Known For: Ocean’s Thirteen; Rounders; Runaway Jury; The Girlfriend Experience; Future BMT: Knockaround Guys; Walking Tall; BMT: Runner Runner; Notes: Wrote / created smash hit Billions. Also has written crime novels.)

Actors – Ben Affleck – (Known For: Dazed and Confused; Triple Frontier; Gone Girl; Good Will Hunting; The Accountant; The Town; Field of Dreams; State of Play; Argo; Daredevil; The Sum of All Fears; Dogma; He’s Just Not That Into You; Shakespeare in Love; Mallrats; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; School Ties; Chasing Amy; Clerks II; Boiler Room; Future BMT: Surviving Christmas; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Reindeer Games; Suicide Squad; Man About Town; Pearl Harbor; 200 Cigarettes; The Third Wheel; Live by Night; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Justice League; Smokin’ Aces; BMT: Gigli; Runner Runner; Phantoms; Paycheck; Armageddon; 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 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: Ya’ll know Ben Affleck. Rumor his next project, I think called The Last Duel, is the first team up between him and Damon since Good Will Hunting.)

Justin Timberlake – (Known For: The Social Network; Trolls; Friends with Benefits; Black Snake Moan; Bad Teacher; Inside Llewyn Davis; Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping; Shrek the Third; Alpha Dog; Trouble with the Curve; Future BMT: Yogi Bear; Southland Tales; Edison; On the Line; The Open Road; Wonder Wheel; In Time; BMT: The Love Guru; Runner Runner; Notes: Married to Jessica Biel. Got in a spot of trouble by taking a selfie in a voting booth, whoops!)

Gemma Arterton – (Known For: Murder Mystery; Quantum of Solace; The Boat That Rocked; RocknRolla; The Girl with All the Gifts; The Voices; The Disappearance of Alice Creed; Byzantium; The Escape; Tamara Drewe; Their Finest; Gemma Bovery; 100 Streets; A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures; Song for Marion; Future BMT: Clash of the Titans; St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold; St. Trinian’s; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; BMT: Runner Runner; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Notes: Interestingly enough according to wikipedia she was born with extra fingers which were then removed. Fun.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $19,316,646 (Worldwide: $62,675,095)

(That is a terrible domestic take. Kind of amazing it didn’t do better actually. I would have thought some people would have just gone and seen a Timberlake / Affleck film out of habit. Maybe made back the budget worldwide, but it would have been close.)

#51 for the Crime Time genre

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(Crime Time! It is extremely depressing that films surrounding criminals absolutely peaked right after the financial crisis. Like that is the only way people could get a grip on it. Either in the glorification of comeuppance of criminals.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 8% (9/120): It has an impressive cast and an intriguing premise, but Runner Runner wastes them on a bland, haphazardly assembled thriller with very little payoff.

(Hmmmm. I’m only a thriller kick though. Methinks I can get something out of this. That being said 8% is astonishing low. Reviewer Highlight: The actors hit the jackpot, but only in terms of their paychecks. The audience gets a tension-free, tight-assed, Casino ripoff that leaves them thoroughly fleeced. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Renner Renner: The Jeremy Renner Story (D+)

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(The poster used for the DVD cover is better than this one, but we default to IMDb as presumably they know better than us what the primary theatrical poster was. This is not good. It’s got an overall blue tone that’s OK, but pretty much everything else kind of sucks. I would say it’s the most boring poster ever if I didn’t know the poster for The Tourist exists. Look at that… it’s almost a masterpiece in being a boring piece of shit.)

Tagline(s) – Play. Or be played. (C-)

(I mean, I guess it has something to do with the plot and it’s not overly long. But not clever and generic to book. Blah on top of blah.)

Keyword(s) – poker; Top Ten by BMeTric: 74.5 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011); 64.9 In the Mix (2005); 63.6 Boat Trip (2002); 51.4 McHale’s Navy (1997); 50.8 Iron Eagle II (1988); 49.1 The Specialist (1994); 47.5 MacGruber (2010); 45.7 Runner Runner (2013); 44.0 Unaccompanied Minors (2006); 40.4 The Break-Up (2006);

(Incredible that Runner Runner made it on.I only vaguely remember MacGruber’s poker scene, doesn’t he just lose all of his money immediately? Great film.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 14) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Ben Affleck is No. 1 billed in Runner Runner and No. 1 billed in Gigli, which also stars Al Pacino (No. 7 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 7 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 14. If we were to watch Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 7.

Notes – Although set in Costa Rica, the majority of the scenes in the movie were filmed in Puerto Rico. (SETTING ALERT. That is a high quality setting)

In a 2017 interview with Entertainment Weekly Gemma Arterton said on Runner Runner (2013) “It made me stop wanting to be an actor. The whole thing wasn’t right for me. It wasn’t the type of thing I enjoyed watching or doing. I had a moment where I thought, ‘Okay, I got into this because of Michael Haneke and Lars von Trier and now I’m making action movies.’ Not that I wouldn’t ever do [action movies] again but I realized then that it wasn’t for me and I decided to do more theater and collaborate with people.” (Lol, holy shit, Runner Runner made Arterton look at herself in the mirror and change her life!)

Canadian EDM star Deadmau5 makes an appearance as himself at a party playing a set. (Cool)

The Shorts Skyvan aircraft taking off near the end of the movie, is the same one that was used for the movie Welcome to the Jungle (2013), with tail number N106SW, and it was the property of MN Airlines until late 2014. (And now is presumably owned by a movie studio? Weird)

Armageddon Recap

Jamie

When an asteroid is found to be hurtling towards Earth, NASA has to turn to a group of oilmen led by Harry Stamper to figure out how to blow it up. Can Harry become an astronaut, learn to trust AJ (the hotshot boyfriend of his daughter), and stop that asteroid before it’s too late? Find out in… Armageddon.

How?! We open with the destruction of a space shuttle mission and parts of several major US cities (naturally, this is Michael Bay) and NASA scrambles to figure out what it was. Turns out a giant asteroid is on its way and boy howdy do they need some help figuring out how to drill a hole in it and blow it up (I feel like there’s a metaphor here). Who you gonna call? Harry Stamper, duh. But he’s also going through his own major catastrophe as he’s just found out that his cocky hotshot partner is dating his daughter. Oh no! That’s just as bad as that asteroid stuff. No time to figure it out though because the government comes and brings him to Houston. There they are like, can you help us? And he’s like “not with these jokester astronauts. Me and my bozo gang of misfits have to be your astronauts.” So they get the gang together, go through some real intense training, and then remember what they are fighting for by visiting family and going to a strip club (to two most american things you can do). The plan is to get some fuel from the Russian space station, swing around the moon, and land on the asteroid, but things immediately go wrong when the junky Russian space station blows up. They swing around the moon but get caught in asteroid debris and one of the spaceships go down, including AJ. Noooo. The other spaceship overshoots the landing spot and has to drill through an iron plate. It’s slow going and they keep breaking parts of the driller and it looks like all is lost when the drill monster truck blows up and flies into space. Things start going nuts with the government trying to blow up the nuke from the surface and people getting “space madness,” but unbeknownst to everyone AJ is being a total hero and he and a few of the others make their way from their wreck and arrive in time to save the day. AJ pushes that drill monster truck like no one has ever pushed a drill monster truck before and totally gets that nuke in there (still feeling like a metaphor), but uh oh! The nuke can’t be detonated from the surface! Someone will have to step in. That man is Harry and he gives a rousing speech to his daughter and saves the goddamn world! After coming back everyone forgets how shitty everyone was before and greet them like heroes. THE END.

Why?! You’re probably all like “for humanity, duh.” *shakes head sadly* you learned nothing. It’s for love, man. Love. And your eyes, your eyes, your eyes. They tell me how much you care. Ooooh yes, you will always be… my… endless looooove. Armageddon.

Who?! Hail to the Chief! We have the election of an unnamed President to the BMT Hall of Presidents played by Stanley Anderson. Has he played the President in other films? Why yes. In The Rock, also directed by Michael Bay and also the greatest film ever made. Does that mean those two films take place during the same presidential term? Probably. Also need to shoutout the least heralded member of the Armageddon crew: Noonan, played by Clark Brolly. I did not remember this character until this viewing and he really does get short shrift when all is said and done. As Ben Affleck is crying over Owen Wilson’s body he just kinda implies that Noonan was also killed on impact. Who is Noonan?!

What?! Some real iconic product placement here for Animal Crackers. There is probably some more blatant placement for Nokia or TAG Hauer, but the Animal Cracker scene is perfection. I don’t want to close my eyesssss. I don’t want to falll asleep. Cause I’d miss you babe and I don’t want to miss a thaaaaannnnngggggggggg. As for props there are some real gems here. A Stamper Oil hard hat?! AJ’s space costume?! How do I choose just one?

Where?! We got scenes all over the place. These are the types of films that really would help cover a large portion of a world map. But really this is set in Texas and Space… a solid choice for the catchall setting, Space. As specific as needed and quite necessary. A.

When?! I do not believe that they make it clear when the film takes place. Seems like the summer given the sweltering look of NYC in the beginning. Usually I’m all like “but only if I could get my hands on some props,” well from the website above I can… they purposefully don’t have any dates on it. So I think they never really make it clear other than to say that the events of the film take place over almost exactly 18 days. F.

Armageddon is the greatest film ever made. Patrick?… oh, should I elaborate on that? I sat down to watch this movie and was like “It’s pretty late, I’ll watch half the movie and then finish it tomorrow.” Three hours later, with tears streaming down my face, I finished watching Armageddon. I literally didn’t want to close my eyes… didn’t want to fall asleep… cause I’d miss Armageddon and I didn’t want to miss a thing. Now, just to be clear, when I say Armageddon is the greatest film ever made I don’t mean that it’s like the best film ever made or anything crazy like that. It just hits all the right buttons for me and allows me to forgive all the bad visual effects, scientific inaccuracies, ludicrous plot devices, and the fact that Michael Bay films America like it still is 1957… even when astronauts are flying souped-up space shuttles to an asteroid to plant a nuke using a monster truck space drill. I forgive all that because Ben Affleck is playing with animal crackers and is like “I hope other people are doing this, because otherwise what are we fighting for,” and Bruce Willis telling his daughter that he’ll look in on her from time to time before sacrificing himself for the good of humanity. As A1 steak sauce would say, it gets me right here *points to heart*. Patrick?

‘Ello everyone! Sometimes for BMT we re-watch a film we’ve seen before to give it the real BMT treatment. And sometimes we … watch a film for the like 50th time and revel in it and make fun of all the no-fun-having critics who hate explosions and America. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – You think I didn’t already know everything about Armageddon? The most interesting things were that it was nominated for several Oscars. More rare than you would think for BMT. You’d think more terrible films would still manage the technical awards. And that this was the most successful Michael Bay film outside of the Transformers films, which is also fun.

The Good – Uh … this film? The film is good? More seriously, the first half of the film is very fun. Just balls to the wall grumpy Bruce Willis telling the eggheads at NASA what’s what about drilling in space. Lots of funny characters, lots of funny lines, and great visuals that hold up. The cosmonaut character is still the best as well. Just absolutely the funniest. The last third is a bit melodramatic, and the asteroid set … has problems. But the movie is gosh darn entertaining. I would watch it again right now if you asked me to.

The Bad – The asteroid set is ludicrous. I think if they had had a bit more time they could have whipped something together that looked fine … but it doesn’t. Very melodramatic, and basically the definition of inserting a romantic subplot into an action film for no reason (and Bay would repeat the same mistake in Pearl Harbor). Some bits here and there are problematic (Buscemi suggesting he committed statatory rape being played for laughs isn’t great), but hey, it’s an action film in 1998.

The BMT – There is, in my opinion, more good than bad here. I don’t think this film comes out to the same reviews these days. I think it gets a very respectable “good for what it is” like … 50-60% on Rotten Tomatoes released today. So no. Of course it isn’t BMT. It is too good. I will never accept this film isn’t good. It is like Hook, I saw it at just the right time to love it and it’ll always tug at that bit of nostalgia. I can’t help myself.

Roast-radamus – Can we get a Where? for the asteroid? No? I’m going to give it a What? (Product Placement) though. What product? NASA and the US Military of course. Legitimately this is US propaganda, but whatever, I love it. Something about this film screams Why? to me. Is it a MacGuffin? No, but the entire thing about the 800 foot hole they are trying to drill on the asteroid is just too much. How they are all so sad when they are only at 250 feet. When they are so happy when they cross this arbitrary point. It is just so good. I have a sneaking suspicion this is a shoe in for Good as well because … well, just read my review.

StreetCreditReport.com – As usual, all of these films have a lot of cred already because Siskel and Ebert put it on their worst of list for 1998. And crazily … I can’t find any other lists where it was mentioned. There are so many bad disaster films it doesn’t even get close to the lists it seems. So good for Armageddon, it ain’t got the cred.

You Just Got Schooled – You may or may not have heard of the notorious Ben Affleck Armageddon audio commentary. The most famous bit is when he talks about how he asked Michael Bay why they couldn’t just send astronauts up to drill on the asteroid, and Michael Bay told him to shut up. (1) His Michael Bay and Billy Bob Thornton impressions are second to none. (2) His on set stories are really interesting, like about how much stuff leaked in from other projects, and how crap everything looked when you are actually doing it. (3) He basically has the same opinion as me about the patriotic aspects, he says he’s mostly a cynic about such things, but something about Armageddon he likes and he finds really powerful. People think he was drunk, but I think he was mostly just tired. If you listen to the entire thing, he is far too coherent for way too long while watching the entire film for the drunk idea to hold much water. A+ audio commentary, especially this svelte 30 minute cut which is just Affleck and not the other people:

Cheerios, and back to you Jamie!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Armageddon Quiz

Don’t wanna close my eyeeeeeeeees. Don’t want to fall asleep, ‘cause I’d miss you baby, and I don’t want to miss a thiiii-iiing. Did you miss anything?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Harry is the baddest m-f-ing oil driller on the high seas, and his crew? It’s the best. AJ though, he can get a little wild. What two major mistakes does AJ make to get himself fired?

2) Let’s get into some asteroid facts! How big was the asteroid, which city do we see get hit by the asteroid in the beginning of the film, and which city is completely destroyed by the asteroid in the middle of the film?

3) Describe in as much detail as possible the actual plan to destroy the asteroid. And while you do this please laugh as little as possible.

4) Who were in the crews, who died, and how did they die? No need for names, but please, an hour of silence for our fallen heroes.

5) At the end of the film all of the remaining heroes draw straws to see who has to stay behind and detonate the bomb manually. Why do they have to detonate it manually?

Answers

Armageddon Preview

Rich and Elvira the tree monster nanny are smooching hard. It’s real sexy and steamy and inappropriate to describe the scandalous nature of their forbidden love. Oh how forbidden! What a mismatched pair! What a indecent proposal! What a fatal attraction! What a… uh… wild orchid! In between bouts of steamy make-out sessions Elivira reveals that her real name is Jade and that Elivira is just a front that Gruber convinced her to put on to further his dastardly plan. “But what’s the plan?” asks Rich, taking a break from their sensual lovemaking. But Jade doesn’t know. “Well there’s only one way to find out.” Jade protests, but Rich quiets her with a kiss. “Nothing can stop us when we’re together,” and off they go to deliver him into Gruber’s hands. As they enter the arcade, it’s empty. Were they gone for so long totally frenching? Suddenly Gruber spins around in a chair, “well, well, well Rich. How nice of you to join us. Seems like you and Elvira have been having quite the time… or should I say… Jade?” Gruber already knows! Rich rips off his shirt ready to pound on Gruber, but he puts up his finger, “Not in front of your best friend and his little old granny.” Suddenly a panel in the wall spins around revealing Poe and his granny hanging suspended above a tank of electric eels. “You bastard,” Rich says through clenched teeth, “What do you want from us?” Gruber laughs, “Always so slow. Perhaps this will give you a clue.” With that another wall panel spins. “My god, it’s Jim McBrawn, renowned astronaut and sex symbol,” Rich exclaims. Gruber laughs again, “That’s right and you’re going to impersonate him and help me… hold the moon ransom!” That’s right! We’re watching one of the greatest movies ever made, Armageddon. You’re probably like, “bro, you even watch bad movies. That shit can’t possibly qualify.” Oh but it does. By the slimmest of margins. And that’s the first mistake, because leave an opening for us to watch Armageddon and we’re gonna slither in like a couple of greased up snakes at a county fair. Hooooooo weeeeeeeeeeeeeee… anyway, this indeed was Ebert’s worst film of 1998 while Siskel gave his award to none other than Patch Adams. All I gotta say is I’m much more excited to watch Armageddon than I would be to watch Patch Adams. Let’s go!

Armageddon (1998) – BMeTric: 14.8

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(Wow, the BMeTric just collapsed. Probably appropriate. Armageddon is ridiculously fun. I’ve seen it like 15 times. It is a little shocking just how much the critics hated the film. But that’s an opportunity for us to watch a good film for BMT)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Opens with a bang, and sets up an exciting (it improbable) story about NASA and the U.S. government turning to a veteran oil-well driller and his motley team to save humanity by flying to an asteroid and planting a nuclear bomb. After a while it becomes so routine, so predictable, and so redundant that all the fun is drained away.

(Hard disagree, but two stars sounds about right. It is a perfectly even film. On the one hand it is fun as hell and so so sincere. On the other it is just such a logical conclusion to 80s/90s action films that, as Leonard says, you can predict what is going to happen at every moment.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vizwnpbwO0w/

(I love it. “You have twelve days” … why? Why not just do it in 10 or 11? Why? Then you’d just have however long you want to complete the mission instead of literally (spoiler alert) blowing up the asteroid with one second to spare.)

Directors – Michael Bay – (Known For: Transformers; The Rock; Bad Boys; 13 Hours; Pain & Gain; Future BMT: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Pearl Harbor; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Bad Boys II; The Island; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Armageddon; 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: Loves English Mastiffs, and produces a bunch of horror films like the Friday the 13th reboot.)

Writers – Jonathan Hensleigh (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle; Jumanji; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; Kill the Irishman; A Far Off Place; Future BMT: Next; The Saint; The Punisher; BMT: Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Armageddon in 1999; Notes: )

J.J. Abrams (screenplay) – (Known For: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens; Super 8; Mission: Impossible III; Joy Ride; Forever Young; Regarding Henry; Future BMT: Gone Fishin’; Filofax; BMT: Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Armageddon in 1999; Notes: His father is Gerald William Abrams a television producer from the 80s. His sister is also a screenwriter.)

Tony Gilroy (adaptation) – (Known For: Rogue One; The Devil’s Advocate; The Bourne Identity; The Negotiator; The Bourne Supremacy; The Bourne Legacy; The Bourne Ultimatum; Dolores Claiborne; State of Play; Michael Clayton; The Cutting Edge; Duplicity; Extreme Measures; Future BMT: The Great Wall; Bait; Proof of Life; BMT: Armageddon; Notes: Has two brothers. Tony Gilroy is a very accomplished editor. And Dan Gilroy is also a writer (and married to Rene Russo).)

Shane Salerno (adaptation) – (Known For: Savages; Shaft; BMT: AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem; Armageddon; Notes: Was just 21 when he began writing on NYPD Blue. He is apparently writing Avatar 3.)

Robert Roy Pool (story) – (Known For: Outbreak; The Big Town; BMT: Armageddon; Notes: A little unclear what he’s been up to for the last 20 years, but worked with Laurence Dworet, a doctor, on writing the Outbreak screenplay.)

Actors – Bruce Willis – (Known For: The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part; Pulp Fiction; Split; Unbreakable; The Sixth Sense; The Fifth Element; Die Hard; Sin City; RED; Looper; Twelve Monkeys; RED 2; Moonrise Kingdom; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Die Hard 4.0; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Ocean’s Twelve; Planet Terror; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Too; Vice; The Cold Light of Day; The Prince; Extraction; Lay the Favorite; Precious Cargo; Breakfast of Champions; First Kill; Cop Out; Reprisal; Once Upon a Time in Venice; Marauders; Acts of Violence; Fire with Fire; Perfect Stranger; Striking Distance; Rock the Kasbah; The Story of Us; Blind Date; Rugrats Go Wild; Mercury Rising; Loaded Weapon 1; Billy Bathgate; Surrogates; Sunset; The Jackal; Last Man Standing; Tears of the Sun; Hostage; Grand Champion; Glass; Four Rooms; BMT: North; A Good Day to Die Hard; Color of Night; The Whole Ten Yards; The Bonfire of the Vanities; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Hudson Hawk; Death Wish; Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Winner for Worst Actor in 1999 for Armageddon, Mercury Rising, and The Siege; and Nominee for Worst Actor in 1992 for Hudson Hawk; in 1995 for Color of Night, and North; and in 2019 for Death Wish; Notes: Y’all know Bruce Willis. Famously married to Demi Moore for years, now married to model Emma Heming Willis.)

Billy Bob Thornton – (Known For: Tombstone; Love Actually; The Judge; Monster’s Ball; Princess Mononoke; Faster; Bound by Honor; Whiskey Tango Foxtrot; Sling Blade; Intolerable Cruelty; Dead Man; Puss in Boots; Friday Night Lights; The Man Who Wasn’t There; A Simple Plan; U Turn; Bad Santa; Bandits; Bad News Bears; Parkland; Future BMT: The Informers; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Bad Santa 2; Into the Grizzly Maze; London Fields; Indecent Proposal; School for Scoundrels; Waking Up in Reno; The Alamo; Our Brand Is Crisis; South of Heaven, West of Hell; Cut Bank; Eagle Eye; The Baytown Outlaws; Entourage; Levity; The Winner; The Badge; Jayne Mansfield’s Car; BMT: On Deadly Ground; Mr. Woodcock; Armageddon; Notes: Y’all know Billy Bob. All the news on google is about his band which I think is called Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters … I would have thought it was just The Boxmasters, but given the ‘t’ isn’t capitalized it has to include his full name.)

Ben Affleck – (Known For: Triple Frontier; Justice League; Gone Girl; Dazed and Confused; The Accountant; Good Will Hunting; Argo; The Town; He’s Just Not That Into You; Field of Dreams; Daredevil; Dogma; Shakespeare in Love; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; The Company Men; Chasing Amy; Clerks II; Mallrats; State of Play; The Sum of All Fears; Future BMT: Surviving Christmas; Runner Runner; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Reindeer Games; Suicide Squad; Man About Town; Pearl Harbor; 200 Cigarettes; The Third Wheel; Live by Night; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Smokin’ Aces; BMT: Gigli; Phantoms; Paycheck; Armageddon; 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 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: His next film Torrance sounds suspiciously like Hardball with Keanu Reeves. Had a giant Netflix success with Triple Frontier recently.)

Budget/Gross – $140 million / Domestic: $201,578,182 (Worldwide: $553,709,788)

(These days that would be an underperformance, but that is kind of okay in the end. Bay’s biggest success until the Transformer franchise, so I think this was basically the ceiling for the type of action film Bay was producing around that time.)

#7 for the Disaster genre

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(Absolute pinnacle of the genre in 1998. It tried to make a comeback recently, I think because people tend to like disaster stuff when things are going well in the US. Seems like that is waning now though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 38% (45/120): Lovely to look at but about as intelligent as the asteroid that serves as the movie’s antagonist, Armageddon slickly sums up the cinematic legacies of producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay.

(Basically nails it. Prior to the re-watch I decided this film was the logical conclusion to Top Gun and disaster films smushed together. Reviewer Highlight: It’s strictly a side issue whether mankind will survive colliding with an asteroid the size of Texas; the real question is whether Liv Tyler, who plays Bruce Willis’s daughter, gets to keep her boyfriend. – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader)

Poster – Sklogageddon (A-)

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(It’s actually beautiful. Well spaced. I like the orange color, which is both the color of fire and Michael Bay as a whole. A little on the fence whether the font is good or not… you can barely see that it’s unique because of the fire. But it is unique.)

Tagline(s) – For Love. For Honor. For Mankind. (A)

(Yes, yes, and yes. That tagline is nearly perfect. Maybe add a dash of wit and you’d be up at the top. I also feel like it would be a good advertising scheme. Like, “For Love. For Honor. For Mankind… Four Loko.” Nailed it.)

Keyword(s) – asteroid; Top Ten by BMeTric: 74.8 After Earth (2013); 52.0 Green Lantern (2011); 48.3 Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007); 46.5 Space Station 76 (2014); 41.9 Meteor (1979); 41.6 Ice Age: Collision Course (2016); 38.4 Galaxina (1980); 38.4 The Phantom Planet (1961); 34.8 The Green Slime (1968); 34.4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009);

(Wow, how haven’t we seen more of these? Well, I guess I’ve seen Green Lantern and all of the Transformers. I’m excited for Fantastic 4 2 though.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Michael Clarke Duncan is No. 8 billed in Armageddon and No. 4 billed in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, which also stars Chris Klein (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 8 + 4 + 2 + 2 = 16. If we were to watch Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 9.

Notes – N.A.S.A. shows this film during their management training program. New managers are given the task of trying to spot as many errors as possible. At least one hundred sixty-eight have been found. (Makes sense, I can’t help but laugh that they decided to have both space shuttles blast off at the same time)

Regarding the film’s premise, Ben Affleck asked Director Michael Bay, “Wouldn’t it be easier for N.A.S.A. to train astronauts how to drill rather than training drillers to be astronauts?” Bay told Affleck to shut up. Besides, the reasoning behind sending drillers, rather than training astronauts, is explained in the movie. (Straight from the notorious audio commentary. To be fair to Ben he acknowledges that it is explained in the movie … that explanation was “my guys are the best” which is equally ridiculous. I don’t doubt the scene was added to the script precisely because it was glaringly obvious that that was the better solution)

Steve Buscemi claimed that the role of Rockhound was pitched to him as a heroic geologist, which he eagerly accepted, wanting a change from the lowlifes, as whom he had been typecast. He noted that after he had been cast in the role, Rockhound’s sleazy characteristics were written into the script. (Great. Out of everything this aspect ages the worst. They suggest he’s a rapist basically so …)

Rockhound’s line about sitting on a million pounds of fuel in a rocket built by the lowest bidder is a variation of an actual radio transmission by Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, just prior to lift-off. (Cool)

Because of the patriotic nature of the script, and the success of using Top Gun (1986) as recruitment material, the producers persuaded N.A.S.A. to allow Director Michael Bay and company to shoot in the normally restricted space agency. This included the neutral buoyancy lab, a sixty-five-million-gallon, forty-foot-deep pool used to train astronauts for weightlessness, and the use of two ten-million-dollar space suits. The crew was also allowed to shoot in the historic launch pad that went out of service after the Apollo 1 disaster, and parts of the movie were filmed at Edwards Air Force Base in California. (Yup. Works really well it turns out)

Michael Bay had the actors write their list of demands on the papers from which Bruce Willis read.

The shuttle launches were filmed for real. Disney (Touchstone Pictures) was allowed to put cameras (about sixteen of them) all over the place. The camera on the launch pad was shaken so hard (25G) that all the screws fell out of the lens, and it had to be returned to Panavision in a box of pieces (which they put back together).

The film crew was also allowed to shoot sequences at the top of a real launch pad, with an actual space shuttle docked to it. The only condition was that they not step into the shuttle itself. Ben Affleck admitted to stepping inside the orbiter for a brief moment, before N.A.S.A. technicians ordered him out of the spacecraft. (Maybe for contamination reasons, but that’s hilarious)

Bruce Willis has said that he did not care for Michael Bay’s directing style, and he refuses to work with him again. (ha!)

When asked why he did this film, Steve Buscemi replied, “I wanted a bigger house”.

Bruce Willis came to the film after he decided a comedy he was filming called “Broadway Brawler” could not be salvaged, and sought a way to exit the project. Disney’s then-head Joe Roth worked out a deal where Willis would star in Armageddon and two future films for the studio, and in exchange, Disney would absorb the failed project’s costs as an advance against his initial salary. The two films Willis later made under this deal were The Sixth Sense (1999) and Unbreakable (2000). (I love these silly stories from Hollywood, what a weird business)

Michael Clarke Duncan improvised the line, “Come and get Papa Bear!” This later became one of the actor’s nicknames.

Despite playing one of the principal characters, Michael Clarke Duncan’s name does not appear in the opening credits.

Michael Bay thinks Armageddon is his worst film. “I will apologize for Armageddon, because we had to do the whole movie in sixteen weeks”, he told The Miami Herald in 2013. “It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could.” (Yeah, it is definitely the weakest part. The asteroid looks ridiculous, and the movie suffers a bit. Plus the time jumps are crazy. They’ll be like “Hey can we do this in two hours?” and then literally two seconds later “We only have ten minutes left!” It is really jarring)

Billy Bob Thornton told Michael Bay that his backstory for Truman was that he was on track to join N.A.S.A. as an astronaut, but suffered crippling nerve damage as a young man, and was only able to serve as an administrator. Bay loved the idea, and had a scene written that refers to this by showing a metal brace on Truman’s leg.

During the filming of this movie, the cast and crew worked around nineteen billion dollars worth of equipment, including a real oil rig and real space shuttle.

According to the Criterion Collection commentary, many of the errors found in the film were acknowledged by the director, and known even during filming and production and were left in deliberately (such as fire in space). Michael Bay said, “It’s a movie and not many people know about it”, so they were kept in for entertainment value.

Billy Bob Thornton has admitted to doing this film for the money and often jokes about acting in it. He has, however, called it “not THAT bad”. (It isn’t that bad)

By the time of its release, this was the Walt Disney Company’s highest-grossing live-action film (without adjustment for inflation). (Oh so times have changed)

The convenient existence of a fault plane passing right through the asteroid is not unrealistic. Several asteroids are now believed to be “contact binaries”, each apparently consisting of two separate lumps of rock that are just sitting on each other.

The original script did not include the romantic subplot between A.J. (Ben Affleck) and Grace (Liv Tyler), and instead had more emphasis on Truman. It was added after the success of Titanic (1997) with teenage girls. Most of the romantic scenes were written by Scott Rosenberg and were filmed late in production. (WHAT, that’s crazy. I think it works though, Liv Tyler’s scenes with Affleck and Willis is a touch of humanity the movie needs as cheesy as it all is)

Michael Bay said in a magazine interview that the solution in the movie for dealing with the asteroid was very clever, but not realistic, but that one idea for countering the threat was in line with actual N.A.S.A. research (anti-gravity systems). He also said that a problem with a film like this, was that it would make Americans erroneously think that if a situation like the movie actually occurred, then there was anything that could be done about it. (Yeah we’d all be dead. That being said, we would have known about the asteroid waaaaaay before that. We would have known about the errant comet and its path through the asteroid belt years before it ever happened, as if we wouldn’t track a comet flying through our solar system)

Stanley Anderson, who played the U.S. President, also played the U.S. President in The Rock (1996). (I love fake presidents)

Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered for the role of Harry Stamper. (Wow, what a movie that would be … that is blowing my mind)

Scott Rosenberg, Robert Towne, and Ann Biderman all did uncredited work on the screenplay. J.J. Abrams’ original contribution was also going to be uncredited, but Michael Bay liked it so much, that Abrams was brought back for additional dialogue work, and ended up sharing a Story credit with Shane Salerno.

Ben Affleck has practically disowned the movie, even repeatedly making fun of it on the commentary.

Bruce Willis was given a second trailer that housed a full working gym, at an estimated cost of one hundred seventy-five thousand dollars. It was reportedly never used. (HA, go get yo’ money Bruce)

Lawrence Tierney repeatedly turned down the part of Harry’s father, until he was offered a substantial pay raise. (……… he is uncredited in the film … but that must have been cut. I don’t recall a scene with Harry’s father)

DIRECTOR CAMEO (Michael Bay): As a N.A.S.A. scientist. Shown after Carl asks to name the asteroid Dottie. (I noticed this real time during the watch. It is super quick)

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #40. (It’s in the Criterion Collection?)

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Sound (Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell, Keith A. Wester, 1999)

Nominee for the Oscar for Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing (George Watters II, 1999)

Nominee for the Oscar for Best Effects, Visual Effects (Richard R. Hoover, Pat McClung, John Frazier, 1999)

Nominee for the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song (Diane Warren, 1999)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Bruce Willis, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Jerry Bruckheimer, Gale Anne Hurd, Michael Bay, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Liv Tyler, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Michael Bay, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Jonathan Hensleigh, J.J. Abrams, 1999)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Diane Warren, 1999)

The Postman Recap

Jamie

In the dystopian future of 2013 a wandering actor escapes from the clutches of a militaristic dictator and dons the guise of a mailman in order to gain access to local communities. His ruse inadvertently spurs a revolution and thus the ire of the dictator. Can he realize his destiny as a leader, defeat the dictator, and perhaps find love before it’s too late? Find out in… The Postman.

How?! Wandering across the West following a devastating disaster that has left the United States in a dystopian ruin, an actor uses his (meager) skills to get food. While performing in a town he is taken captive by a military dictator who leads a group called The Holnists. There he is told that he better be all cool with their way of life and there are a bunch of rules including one where the leader of the Holnists is whoever can defeat their leader in hand-to-hand combat. But don’t even worry about that because you’ll never defeat their leader played by Will Patton… wait… is that right?… Will Patton? Anyway, our actor hero is like “no way” and is able to escape. Finding shelter in a mail delivery truck he gets an idea and dresses up in a postman uniform. This uniform turns out to be magic and he becomes our hero The Postman, a man so powerful that he might just be able to beat up a middle-aged Will Patton (spoiler alert… also not all facts in recap are true). The minute people see this dude in a postal uniform they are super jazzed and he’s hailed as a hero. Literally women throw themselves at him and he totally bones the beautiful Abby as her request to get her pregnant with his powerful postman babies. While visiting the next town (and actually delivering letters) the Holnists catch up and blow everything up. The Postman is able to escape with Abby and they hide in the mountains and recover from their injures. Coming down from the mountains, they are surprised to find that a movement of Postmen has started and are bringing hope of a new United States. The Postman takes this movement over, but eventually after the death of several people he cares for he decides to disband it. Trying to get Abby to safety he finds that everyone he meets is super inspired by him and he realizes that perhaps his movement isn’t based on a pile of lies after all and once again he dons his Postman cape and collects an army. They ride to confront the Holnists, but he’s like “remember your rulez?” and challenges Will Patton. They tussle like a couple of dopes on the ground until The Postman prevails and unites everyone under the flag of The Postman. THE END.

Why?! Ah, one of the rare cases where the motivations of the hero are more interesting and complex than the bad guy. The dictator is just evil and insane and honestly doesn’t even look like he works out much, bro, so not sure why no one has come along and crushed him in hand-to-hand combat yet. The Postman on the other hand just wants a hot meal every once in a while, thus the reason he becomes a postman. He’s pretty cynical about the meaning of the movement this creates and tries to stop it couple times. It’s only at the end that he realizes that the world can be better (and not just in the tall tales he tells) and that he can lead the country back to unity. It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it… it’s just… just so boring.

Who?! All of Costner’s children appear in the film, including Annie who appears in a not small role as *checks imdb* Ponytail… that was her name apparently. Anyway, I thought she was actually OK in the role and a little surprised she hasn’t acted a bit more. Only odd bit was where her character seems like she wants to bone The Postman at a local dance. It’s weird not just because he’s a million years old but also because he’s portrayed by her dad. The singer Tom Petty also appears as the Mayor of Bridge Town and it’s a super weird performance. Really subdued. Doesn’t really seem all that comfortable acting.

What?! A number of articles online point out that the film acts as a pretty intense example of product placement for the USPS. Obviously had to be in the film because it was the basis of the books, but it is funny to think that it got an entire epic war drama devoted to it. The mere idea of delivering mail is the impetus for breaking away from a literal dystopia to found a new United States of America. Nuts. As for props I was specifically interested in whether the giant Kevin Costner statue shown at the end was ever for sale. The answer: yes, obviously. $610 at the time. Not bad. I also found a picture posted by the guy who owns it where it’s sitting in his garage next to his car. Weird and wild stuff.

Where?! We had considered this at one time for the Oregon entry of our mapl.de.map. Would have been a pretty good choice seeing as we get multiple intertitles telling us that that’s where we are. All in all I liked how the setting was used. B+.

When?! Takes place in the far future of 2013. It never gets old for a film to be set in a year that has already passed. Ages like a fine wine. Getting more specific is difficult. Presumably the film opens in the late summer or fall and then the middle takes place as Costner gets trapped in the mountains in the winter. After the thaw it seems to proceed fairly quickly to the climactic battle, so everything seems to occur over one year. However if they told me that it actually took place over a five year period I wouldn’t be surprised. Took me about that long to watch. A-yo. B-.

This movie is real long (read: boring) and can be separated into three pieces. I thought the first was fine or whatever… kinda sad. The second, where The Postman and Abby were recovering in the mountains, I thought was actually pretty good and reminded me of a traditional western. The third was actually quite bad. Unfortunately that third part dominated the film and just had a bunch of actors smiling at The Postman like he delivered rainbows and unicorns to them. They couldn’t get enough of this dude and how he delivered mail. It was unsettling. I love inspiring, sugar sweet movies (I am a red-blooded human person after all), but this was too much. I felt like they were waiting for the audience to stand up and applaud for two hours straight. Tone it down, Costner. We get it, you’re a hero. Patrick?

Patrick 

‘Ello everyone! There are only so many “The Postman is long and boring” jokes you can make before they feel trite, but I still think I got a solid dozen more available to me no prob. The Postman is so long and boring Rip Van Winkle was like “wow, this movie needs an editor!”. Heeeeeyooooooo. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I’ve never seen Robin Hood, or Dances with Wolves. I liked Waterworld well enough. Basically I had never really seen the Costner Classics. I liked him in Field of Dreams and such. But what I’m getting at it this: This is a Costner vehicle known for being long and boring, so I kind of knew what to expect going in … a Costner vehicle that was long and boring. And yet I was kind of excited because I hadn’t actually seen that many Costner vehicles. That’s all.

The Good – Most of the story is solid. You can definitely imagine the book (which, sadly, I didn’t read beforehand) being extremely good. If you don’t mind the cheesiness the film can deliver what is a pretty simple but good-hearted message to the people: believe in yourself, each others, and the goodness of man and you can change the world, you can make it better.

The Bad – The movie is two films kind of smooshed together. There is a war film in which a drifter is absorbed into a dictator’s army and reluctantly leads a rebellion against him. And then, about 40 minutes into the film he finds a postman outfit ( I forgot that was what the movie was about while I was watching the beginning, no joke) and there is this second film stuck right in the middle in which he kind of wanders around being a fake postman and being shot up and ill in the woods. I think the middle part is more interesting, and the entire beginning should have be cut. You can have the run in with the army being the instigating event without then spending thirty minutes with him joining the army. I don’t care that they would have to explain why Costner can challenge Will Patton to a fight, hell, they can merely explain that he was part of the army at one point in time, it doesn’t matter, it is more important that this movie be 30 minutes shorter than it is. Because it is long and boring.

The BMT – I would never watch the film again, nor recommend it as a bad movie. It is the perfect storm of why you wouldn’t want to: it is long, boring, and the message is so cloyingly sweet that to make fun of it makes you feel kind of dirty. It had to be done for BMT, but I don’t think it has the joyful badness to stand the test of time. It is a checkmark. Just look at the cred. It legit just had to be done.

Roast-radamus – Let’s see. It definitely has some Where? (Setting) appeal with Oregon, a very unique kind of post-apocalyptic setting there. The Who? (Cameo) option on Tom Petty is interesting, if underwhelming. He pops in and it like “I’m Tom Petty playing myself!” … coooool. What? (Product Placement) is there, Ford, Mercury, the cigarettes … the Postal Service? (Some people probably wish the Postal Service was some corporation which sponsored The Postman), but those are probably all mostly from the book and don’t really count. I think that is all of the plausible ones. It is neither Bad, Good, or BMT.

StreetCreditReport.com – So it definitely appears on some worst of the 90s lists, but I think this list of the 6 (!) most boring films is even funnier. On this weird ass site you can see that it is definitely in the top 5 worst flops ever. And then it won five Razzies. Triple threat. Not only is it long and boring and hated by audiences, but it then made no money and was also hated by critics. It’s got the cred, just not bad movie joy, ya heard?

You Just Got Schooled – Originally like a normal person I was going to read the book … but then I didn’t. Then I was going to watch Dances with Wolves … but I didn’t. So instead read this article! It is much shorter than both of those. Also … it isn’t really good? It is kind of weird. I’m not one to criticize other media, I mean … have you read the crap we write most of the time? But suggesting critics misunderstood Will Patton? I don’t think they did, his performance is hammy. To suggest audiences rebelled because dark edgy films like Seven were the flavor of the month at the time? This movie is cheesy no matter the context. As cheesy as Forrest Gump, but with worse performances and a worse story. And then ends with “Most people who hated Air Force One would criticise it for its blandness” … who hates Air Force One? This article is weird. Usually I enjoy these types of review because they give you nice nuggets about filming and the context of the film, but this is just making excuses for a film that is frankly long, boring, and pretentious (as Leonard Maltin would say).

Cheerios, and back to you Jamie!