Bulletproof Monk Recap


There are a lot, lot, lot of things to talk about with Bulletproof Monk. I’ll let Patrick take control of talking about the film itself, while I talk about my true passion: settings. Remember when we watched The Tuxedo a couple weeks back and I was all like, “wait, why does this movie go out of its way to specifically not be set in NYC?” I even created a whole new game, BMysTeries, asking the question of why films occasionally are not set anywhere in particular. Who would have thought that just weeks later, Bulletproof Monk would also seemingly go out of its way to not be set in NYC? And who would have thought that it would provide information that (partially) solves the mystery? Here’s what I learned. Both were filmed in Toronto in 2001 (in fact several locations in the films were filmed in the same buildings). In the writers’ commentary for Bulletproof Monk (which Patrick and I try to listen to now) they mentioned how the film was originally set in NYC, but they decided to scrub out all the references to New York. Why? September 11th! Of course! Basically it was deemed unnecessarily dicey to set a film in NYC, especially one where there may be a shootout or threat of an attack. So in post they CGI’d all the NYC references out. So those “Great State” license plates? More than likely CGI, used to replace the NYC plates with the generic plates that are typically used in films without a setting. So the specific Tuxedo BMysTery was solved! And not only that, solved by our crazy decision to start listening to DVD commentaries while we run. Already paying dividends.

While Bulletproof Monk was not based on a book, it was based on a three-part graphic novel series! And guess who used the fantastic public library system in his local community to obtain said graphic novel series? That’s right, this guy. The series was pretty good. Nice mix of action and Far East philosophy. Really took that part seriously. Reminded me a little of Wanted though. Like I hated the characters. They kinda sucked. But otherwise a good story. So how was the adaptation?… well “adaptation” may be a strong word. The writers and producers were pretty open about just wanting to use the title. It started out with just the words “Bulletproof Monk.” Chow-yun Fat liked that idea and wanted to play that character, so they bought the rights and made a film where he was a character. Everything you see in the film is only loosely based on anything in the comic. Which in some ways is a good thing, since the comic ends after the third issue and doesn’t actually finish the story. The creator just stopped making them for reasons that we can only speculate on. Probably the most troubling thing is that the entire cast of the graphic novel is Asian. The film? Not so much. Kar and Jade are both whitewashed. This would have been huge news if this happened today (see: Gods of Egypt) and may have even stopped production for recasting, but at the time no one thought twice about it. The final note, generally when Patrick and I are looking to see if a film is based on other material we look to writers credits on IMDb. Oddly, the writers of Bulletproof Monk did not get credits on the film. In fact, only the creator of the comic got credit as a producer. I tried to figure out why this is and it would seem the creator is just kind of an asshole. It seemed like he may have created the comic in order to sell it to Hollywood, because once he accomplished that feat he closed up shop, never continued the series (which was written as more of a prequel to a larger story), and became a talent agent in Hollywood. He claimed he couldn’t get credit for everyone because they would have pulled the adaptation, but everyone involved in the comic seems to think that’s bullshit and he just kind of threw everyone under the bus. Fantastic.

Told you there was a lot to talk about.


‘Ello everyone! Bulletproof Monk? More like Man This Goof Stunk! Watch out everyone, we tried something new, but more on that later, let’s get into it:

  • The Good – Chow Yun-Fat and Seann William Scott were pretty solid, funny and clearly into the project. Uh ….. Um …. I laughed during the movie.
  • The Bad – Ooof. The longer I think about it the more it seems like a surreal dream. The movie is a complete mess, hacked together into a loose storyline that really doesn’t make sense. The fight scenes were bad. The Nazi centric storyline was bonkers. And sorry, but Jamie King was simply awful. The movie is very dark and grimy as well, but I think that was a comic book thing.
  • The BMT – Again, the more I think on it the more I think this is a solid 50 in BMeTric terms. But the first two thirds are so boring I tend towards a 40. I’ll have to watch it again obviously.

This movie was really rather crazy. Hacked to shit is putting it kindly. And that new thing I mentioned? I listened to the commentary from the writers! (My life! This is my life! What hath our mere human minds created!?) Here is a quick takeaway. I loved listening to it, it was basically them telling stories about production for two hours. It actually operates perfectly as a podcast. And the writers … yeah, they sounded kind of like sellouts. The entire time they were talking about how everything changed due to producer or director pressure and seemed quite cheery about it all. Just like “Oh yeah, the director told us he wanted someone to die, so we said ‘bye Mako’”. They killed off a top ten billed character because the director felt like the Nazis had to kill someone at some point … the scene doesn’t even make sense! Whatever. Really fun. I look forward to Audio Sklog-entaries becoming a new thing in my life.

Quick game I’ll call WTF Did I Just Hear … That Can’t Be Right. Here I’ll highlight a line from the movie that just boggles the mind. This exchange was between Seann William Scott (SWS) and Jaime King (JK):

SWS: “Coming with me takes some gut. Guts and insanity. An interesting mix.”

JK: “Not making it out alive. That would really suck. Under the circumstances.”

SWS: “Yeah, definitely.”

Seriously …. What did I just hear?


The Sklogs

Bulletproof Monk Preview

It’s a pretty special week here at BMTHQ. That’s because it’s Bulletproof Monk week. Bulletproof Monk has been recommended for BMT not once. Not twice. But at least three times by three different people. From Minnesota to New Jersey to Massachusetts this movie apparently confuses and delights. Why haven’t we watched it before? It just never felt like the right time. Now is the right time. Not only is the film the epitome of the one-and-done director film, but it also happens to feature Mako, an actor featured in our last Chain Reaction film Conan the Destroyer. It’s almost as if the BMT gods smiled down on us and provided the perfect movie for the perfect moment. Let’s go!

Bulletproof Monk (2003) – BMeTric: 43.0


(Again, solid score. I think when you are looking at movies which started and ended a person’s career it is pretty likely you’ll end up near 50 BMeTric if it is bad. When these are bad they are very very bad indeed.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 1/2 stars –  Chow plays a monk that never ages while he guards an ancient scroll that possesses the secret to infinite power … but now it’s time to find a successor, and he think it may be young pickpocket Scott, of all people. Lively and amusing when it doesn’t get too silly; alas special effects take the place of genuine martial arts action most of the time. Coproduced by John Woo, and based on a comic book of the same name.

(First, strong semicolon game from Leonard as usual. Second, “young pickpocket” yes! Third, like The Medallion and The Tuxedo before it, silly movies with garbage CGI replacing genuine martial arts action is the bane of the martial arts action genre for me. Very few movies that try and replace actual martial arts with wire-work or CGI end up working out as far as I’m concerned. Crouching Tiger is an example of the rare exception)

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

(But … but why? Why is this happening to us? The music. The garbage humor. The terrible CGI. The racist/gay panic humor (I’m just guessing on that one). This is the early 2000s. I am officially excited. Brain, you are officially on alert, get ready for a world of pain this week.)

Directors – Paul Hunter – (BMT: Bulletproof Monk; Notes: Famous commercial and music video director that kind of blurred the lines between the two. You would know him best for the Nike Freestyle Rhythm commercial.)

Writers – Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris (written by) – (Known For: Kung Fu Panda; Robin Hood; BMT: Bulletproof Monk; Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight; Notes: Writing partners. Both attended NYU but met for the first time at graduation. The writers of the upcoming Karate Kid sequel… they really love martial arts films.)

Actors – Yun-Fat Chow – (Known For: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Anna and the King; Curse of the Golden Flower; Hard Boiled; BMT: Dragonball: Evolution; Beginning of the Great Revival; Bulletproof Monk; The Replacement Killers; Notes: Famous Hong Kong actor. Started in dramatic acting, not martial arts, so kind of the reverse of many of the stars we’ve seen in BMT.)

Seann William Scott – (Known For: American Pie; Old School; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Road Trip; American Reunion; American Pie 2; Evolution; Role Models; Ice Age: The Meltdown; Goon; American Wedding; Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; The Rundown; The Promotion; BMT: Movie 43; The Dukes of Hazzard; Mr. Woodcock; Dude, Where’s My Car?; Bulletproof Monk; Cop Out; Southland Tales; Planet 51; Notes: Grew up in Minnesota, not too far from Rochester. Got his break as Stifler in American Pie, for which he was reportedly paid $8000.)

Budget/Gross – $52 million / Domestic: $23,358,708 (Worldwide: $37,713,879 Worldwide)

(Jeez Louise, what a bomb. Just a catastrophe. I wonder where the misfire came from? The budget doesn’t seem absurd. I guess just a miscalculation of the genre in the wake of Crouching Tiger maybe? There were a few fake-martial-arts film flops in the early 2000s it seems.)

#17 for the Action – Wire-Fu genre, narrowly beating out (speak of the devil) The Medallion, and one spot below future BMT legend The Musketeer.

#108 for the Comic Book Adaptation genre, incredibly low. Right around The Spirit, I Frankenstein, and Elektra. For movies whose widest release is greater than 1000 theaters, recent BMT hit Steel is dead last. There are some dire films on this list. It is worth a glance.

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (31/133): Venerable action star Chow Yun-Fat is the only saving grace in this silly action flick that more often than not resembles a commercial in style.

(Honestly, I’m a bit surprised this is so high. Just considering how often this has been recommended for BMT. I wonder if RT was making fun of Hunter with the “commercial in style” part, since he was a commercial director.)

Poster – Bulletproof Font (B-)


(You may be surprised by that grade, but hear me out. The title font is incredible. Patrick would never be able to spoof that. It’s got a nice blue tone to it. It’s perfectly symmetrical. All good things. The bad? It’s oddly empty and dull. I couldn’t imagine anyone hanging that on their wall cause it’s just too lame. [Patrick Note: I find it simply hilarious that they have “Bulletproof” twice on this poster. It is like they realized Bulletproof Monk sounded dumb and they wished they had just shortened it to Bulletproof, but it was too late.])

Tagline(s) – A power beyond measure requires a protector without equal. (C-)

A monk. A punk. A chick. In a kick-ass flick. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat)

(The first one is the poster tagline and it’s… not great. Too long and not clever. Only positive is that it nicely hints at what the story will be about and has a slight rhythm to it. The second one is bonkers insane. Used on a secondary (oddly shaped) poster. Everything about that second poster is hideous.)

Notes – Jaime King broke her finger during filming, but not in any of the stunts – just while walking up the stairs talking on the phone. (coooooooooool)

The actors who portray the monks in the movie are real martial artists from the Sunny Tang Martial Arts Center located in Toronto, Canada.

Heath Ledger considered the role of Kar but turned it down to star in Ned Kelly (2003).

Conan the Destroyer Recap


‘Ello everyone. Conan the Destroyer? More like Phoned-In Performer (whatever that means, weak. Wizzeak. I am unhappy with my performance, for it was I who was the phoned-in performer). This week I spent my time (!) assembling a rudimentary website. Why? Posterity. Pure and simple, I want our legacy to ring from mountain top to mountain top for the centuries to come. The lack of recognition now will surely translated into

The Good – Not nearly as bad as people made it out to be. Arnold was solid. The story was fun in that kind of Krull or Willow kind of way. It by no means diminished the accomplishment that was the first film. I am genuinely surprised at the vitriol directed towards this movie.

The Bad – The effects were Krull-level laughable. The story gets seriously lost between acts two and three, both Jamie and I had no idea what was happening at one point. Complete misfire from a humor perspective, especially Malak the inept sidekick (whose sidekickness rivals Hall of Fame sidekicks like Todd Maniac Marshall from Wing Commander).

The BMT – Naw. I don’t think so. It was an okay movie. Silly, sure. It is like Willow. In retrospect the movie seems very crazy and silly. But that doesn’t make it bad. In fact that ambition in making both of the Conan movies is impressive.

Game. Let’s do a remake. Basically, Conan the Conqueror should have been the second film in the franchise. Conan earning his kingdom. Now old Conan, having accomplished his goals, looks back towards his love he wished to have sitting beside him as his queen. And he goes on one last adventure. An adventure to face death and either rejoin his love by the side of Krom, or to bring her back from Death’s clutches to reign beside him on Earth. The Conan the Barbarian, Conqueror, Destroyer trilogy can then be complete. It’s bringing a tear to my eye I tells yah.


Let’s start with a simple statement: I looooovvvveeeeeddddd Conan the Barbarian. It spoke to me. It spoke to me in a similar way that The Thing and The Warriors spoke to me. It was nearly perfect and even makes me a little upset that they remade it a few years back. This is not the type of film you remake. It’s the type of film you make an unwanted sequel or prequel to (like 2011’s The Thing). You can’t remake perfection.

As for my game, I didn’t have the DVD for this one, so couldn’t scoop out a MonoSklog (if there was one… I can’t remember). Instead I’ll use my BMTsolution as my game. For those that don’t know, my BMTsolution this year is to read the source material for any and all BMT films. For Conan the Destroyer, I simply read a couple Conan stories in prep. They seem to have done a pretty good job adapting the character. Generally he seems to be a thief/adventurer who has a preternatural fighter’s instinct. In the stories I read, Conan was already King of Aquilonia and was defending his throne or going off to perform heroic feats. They mention that his people (the Cimmerians) are known to be without humor or the ability to hold their liquor. Conan has both, but to a modest extent. He is also very sharp-witted. Overall, I think this came through pretty accurately. His backstory is kinda screwed up in the first one, but whatever. As Patrick mentioned, the most disappointing thing is that they never adapted his ascension to the throne into a film. Conan the Conqueror was abandoned after Conan the Destroyer. I want to see him take the throne from some assholes, damn it!

Make sure to check out the preview for the next film in the cycle, Steel starring Shaq.

Conan the Destroyer Preview

This week we continue our athlete-turned-actor cycle with the Chain Reaction category. Last time we watched Around the World in 80 Days, so we have an obvious next step in Conan the Destroyer through Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is the sequel to Conan the Barbarian which we both loved, and a film that appears to be universally abhorred by fans of the original. It notably costars Wilt Chamberlain in his only major motion picture role. It’s pretty much the quintessential athlete-inexplicably-starring-in-a-film film. Greasy Arnold fighting monsters straight out of Krull? Yes please. There’s not much more to say than that. Let’s go!

Conan the Destroyer (1984) – BMeTric: 33.4


(This is actually much higher than I expected. I already watched the first film and loved it… how could they really mess the second one up so badly? Seems so easy not to. For some weird reason the rating for this movie has been moving up substantially. I think it, again, has to do with this somehow being popular with kids when growing up … maybe)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Lumbering attempt to pit Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age hero against very derivative special effects – leading to ridiculous climax.

(So is it just worse special effects? That seems strange. I wouldn’t even say the special effects were a big reason why I liked the first Conan… it was more the writing and the character… so did they fuck that up? I’m so confused.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q15RX_fayv8

(I wouldn’t say that’s the worst trailer in the world for a Conan film. A few too many sidekicks in this one perhaps. But nothing in there that makes me especially worried… maybe it is that it just looks like shit now.)

Director(s) – Richard Fleischer – (Known For: Soylent Green; Tora! Tora! Tora!; Fantastic Voyage; The Vikings; The Boston Strangler; Mr. Majestyk; 10 Rillington Place; The Narrow Margin; Barabbas; Compulsion; Violent Saturday; BMT: Conan the Destroyer; Red Sonja; Doctor Dolittle; The Jazz Singer; Mandingo; Amityville: The Demon; Notes: Nominated for Worst Director, The Jazz Singer (1980 with Sidney J. Furie). Won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for Design for Death, which was written by Dr. Seuss. Seriously.)

Writer(s) – Roy Thomas (story) – (Known For: Fire and Ice BMT: Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Notable in the comic book world for his work at Marvel. Inducted in the Comic Hall of Fame.)

Gerry Conway (story) – (BMT: Conan the Destroyer; Notes: Also a big part of the comic book world. Worked at Marvel with Roy Thomas.)

Stanley Mann (screenplay) – (Known For: Eye of the Needle; The Collector; The Mouse That Roared; Circle of Iron; BMT: Conan the Destroyer; Firestarter; Meteor; Tai-Pan; Red Sonja; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Screenwriting for the Collector (1965). Died 3 weeks ago at the age of 87.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: Terminator 2; The Terminator; Terminator 3; Predator; Total Recall; True Lies; The Last Stand; Conan the Barbarian; The Running Man; Commando; Kindergarten Cop; The 6th Day; Escape Plan; Red Heat; Maggie; The Expendables 2; The Expendables; BMT: Last Action Hero; End of Days; Twins; Eraser (Dir); Jingle All the Way; Batman & Robin; Conan the Destroyer; Collateral Damage; Junior; Terminator Genisys; Red Sonja; Raw Deal; The Expendables 3; Sabotage; Hercules in New York; Around the World in 80 Days; Notes: Won for Worst Razzie Loser of Our First 25 Years. Nominated for Worst Actor, End of Days (1999), Last Action Hero (1993), Conan the Barbarian (1982). Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, The Expendables 3 (2014), Around the World in 80 Days (2004), The 6th Day (2000), Batman & Robin (1997). Mind boggling that he’s been nominated 8 times and never won anything besides worst actor for the first 25 years.)

Budget/Gross: $18 million / $31,042,035

(Modest hit. The 14th highest grossing “sword and sorcery” film of all time. The lowest (#31)? In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. As if there was ever a doubt )

Rotten Tomatoes: 26% (6/23)

(RT is able to do an OK job with this old one. No consensus though, so I’ll make one up. Consensus: Arnold is so greasy and muscled and his muscles are so greasy and sexy… what was I talking about? )

Poster – Looks and Reads Like a Novel


(Meh. Similar to the first one. Pretty good, all things considered. I wish IMDb listed that full paragraph on the poster as a tagline.)

Tagline(s) – The Darkest Side of Magic. The Strongest Side of Man. (B+)

(I like this quite a bit. I prefer when there are three things in a list though, so not perfect.)

Notes – After the phenomenon of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Universal thought Conan the Destroyer (1984) would make more money if it were family entertainment. Schwarzenegger argued against this change but they overruled him. Director Richard Fleischer agreed with Schwarzenegger, but complied with Universal’s wishes to make Conan the Destroyer (1984) more like a comic book. (Oh that is a serious change. The source material for Conan is very pulpy and the almost grindhouse feel of the original plays into that well. Here must be where it really went wrong. Making this more family friendly with humor and stuff would be really, really, really, really, really dissapointing.)

Wilt Chamberlain’s first and only credited film role. (That’s why we’re here boys)

Arnold Schwarzenegger recently confirmed Conan the Conqueror is moving forward. Previously it was suggested that the sequel would totally ignore this disaster area (methinks this is a good idea Arnold).

The original screenplay for the film became the graphic novel Conan: The Horn of Azoth (which I now officially want to read).

Around the World in 80 Days Recap


‘Ello everyone. On my way back to the US, doing my own trip across the world, I watched Around the World in 80 Days. All I have to say about it is: poo de chien sur mon visage (as the throwaway character Monique would say. I say dog poo in my face, straight up). We were a twin house divided on this one (a little) let’s get into it:

  • The Bad –  Jules Verne’s spinning corpse could power a small city, this is possibly the worst adaptation of a book in history, it is offensive. Lord Kelvin’s portrayal offends me as a scientist and resident of Britain. Literally a comically diabolical villain, it is offensive. The movie is objectively racist at times. The way they treat British imperialist rule (as a source of comedy) is offensive.
  • The Worse – The movie itself offended me and upset me so much that it made me question my life and Bad Movie Thursday as a construct. I will never forgive this movie for that. I could barely watch Terminator Genysis on the plane after. But I persevered. I overcame.
  • The Worst – Jackie Chan’s presence as (almost definitely) the star of the movie is inexplicable. The sets are straight out of Epcot, they are insanely and bizarrely terrible. Steve Coogan’s performance is lazy and by the end it seems like he is just begging for the sweet release of death at every moment. The aforementioned Monique (an impressionistic artist from Paris) was pointless, a walking talking romantic plot point. Even the cameos (Arnold as a Turkish prince, Owen and Luke Wilson as the Wright Brothers in particular) should have been fun, but ended up being tragically unfunny. This movie was garbage.
  • The Good – Arnold looked like he had fun. Good for him.
  • The BMT – I say bad. An unpleasant, boring, surreal experience I never wish to relive.

I hate hate hated this movie. Jamie seemed to think the middle was just bonkers enough to make you think “wait, maybe this isn’t a terrible adaptation, maybe it is … bold?”. I disagree, this movie is garbage. There is nothing bold about this adaptation, it is just an aggressively dumb children’s version of the story. Something like an updated mock travelogue version of the story? That’s bold. This was offensive and stupid.


Thanksgiving (more popularly known as TGivs) is the day we give thanks. Well I give thanks for my friends and family. I give thanks for the health and happiness of those I love. I give thanks for the opportunities that have been granted me. But I mostly give thanks for all the terrible movies that Hollywood provides to us each year. Oh you’re thinking of making Gods of Egypt? Why thank you. Super odd Warcraft video game adaptation? Thanks again! An inexplicable sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman that no one asked for!?!?! So many thanks to give Hollywood! And this is just looking forward to the first few months of 2016. Hollywood works hard for us and it’s long overdue to give them thanks. Back in 2004 the thanks would have gone a little something like this: “Wait, so you’re telling me that you’re making a big budget adaptation of a 130 year old property starring Jackie Chan and it’ll have a cameo by Arnold Schwarzenegger?! Uh, yah. Thank you, Hollywood!” And oh, how thankful we should have been.

Patrick’s assessment of my feelings on the film is spot on. The beginning and the end are so bad that it upset me. Everything with the Royal Society hurt me physically to watch. But the middle of the film was just so crazy insane that you couldn’t help but kinda give them some props for going so nuts with the adaptation. There is a scene where Jackie Chan is hanging from a rope attached to a hot air balloon and his pants get caught on a statue. A character says “Oh! That statue grabbed his trousers!” And we smash cut to the statue SMILING! The fucking statue was smiling. The only implication you can get is that the director truly wanted you to think that indeed, the statue grabbed and pulled off Jackie Chan’s trousers. And that’s when the film grabbed me by my trouser heart.

Alright, so for a little game this week I think I might Sklogify It. The sklogified version of this film would be called Around the World in 80 Sklogs and the entire conceit would be that me and Patrick would play every character in the film, plus have approximately 50 cameos that are totally tangential to the primary plot. Don’t worry, Patrick. I will play both the main character and his love interest. Although, that will not make the sex scene any less disturbing. “Why write in an unnecessary sex scene?!” you may ask. We’re trying to get the butts in the seats, aren’t we? Case closed.


The Sklogs

Around the World in 80 Days Preview

This week we are mired in the worst releases of 2015 as we wait for Razzie noms to be released and our long awaited switch to the Stallonian calendar to take effect. We no longer have any genres to adhere to (remember, we are waiting to use the Action selection to pick Fantastic Four when it gets released) so we are left with the more random categories of Razzies, Chain Reaction, and Scattegories. We decided to mix things up this week by using the Chain Reaction wild card. Why is it a wild card? Well our devoted fans will remember that the last Chain Reaction film was the major blockbuster What Goes Up starring Steve Coogan. It’s a small film with a small cast that didn’t really have the reach necessary to guarantee a 2015 connection worthy of BMT. So instead of forcing some small time film through the pipeline, we will take a little break from our Razzie tour and jump into the 2004 family adventure Around the World in 80 Days starring Steve Coogan and Jackie Chan. Wild card! Now Steven Coogan aficionados may be decrying our snub of his classic Marmaduke, but don’t worry, Marmaduke will have its day. There are reasons we picked Around the World in 80 Days. Reasons that will become clear far in the future (like 6 weeks). For now, let’s go!

Around the World in 80 Days (2004) – BMeTric: 33.8


(I’m very pleasantly surprised with this metric. It makes me curious as to whether it has gone up over time (impossible to tell with this plot, although I would tentatively say it hasn’t). Mostly it’s because the reviews at the time of release weren’t super low. Maybe it’s the opposite of a cult classic. People look back on it and are like ‘yeesh.’ Getting me excited. Note: Plot generated on February 23, 2016)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Absentminded Victorian inventor Phileas Fogg embarks on a global journey with a fugitive from justice (Chan) as his valet. Stumblebum remake of the Jules Verne saga is devoid of wit, and with so many CG effects shows no evidence of globetrotting in spite of having used several international locations. The 1956 had cameos by the likes of Sinatra and Dietrich; this one gives us Schwarzenegger in a funny wig.

(Stumblebum?! That’s my middle name. Jamie Stumblebum Smadbeck. I’m all about Stumblebum remakes. All in!)

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

(When Sugar Ray’s Fly started blasting I threw up all over myself. No longer all in! Not in!)

Director(s) – Frank Coraci – (Known For: The Wedding Singer; BMT: Click; The Waterboy; Blended; Here Comes the Boom; Around the World in 80 Days; Zookeeper. Notes: I need to see Here Comes the Boom stat. Gotta be that Coraci completist. Has somehow escaped Razzie nomination.)

Writer(s) – David N. Titcher (screenplay) – (BMT: Around the World in 80 Days; Notes: Only feature. He is probably best known as the writer of the Noah Wyle TV movie franchise The Librarian.)

David Benullo (screenplay) – (BMT: Around the World in 80 Days. Notes: Only American feature. He interestingly has written a couple Bollywood features.)

David Goldstein (screenplay) – (BMT: Around the World in 80 Days. Notes: There is literally nothing to find out about this guy so I’ll make something up. This is actually my pen name. Yep. That’s right. I wrote Around the World in 80 Days my sophomore year of high school. After having it come out to disastrous box office returns I was too ashamed to tell anyone about it.)

Actors – Jackie Chan – (Known For: Kung Fu Panda; Rush Hour; Rush Hour 2; Shanghai Noon; The Forbidden Kingdom; Shanghai Knights; The Karate Kid; Kung Fu Panda 2; Supercop; Enter the Dragon; The Legend of Drunken Master; Rumble in the Bronx; Police Story. BMT: Rush Hour 3; Around the World in 80 Days; The Tuxedo; The Spy Next Door; The Medallion; The Protector; The Cannonball Run; Cannonball Run II; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn. Notes: Funny note on his wiki. Says that he is not a fan of the Rush Hour series despite the incredible success it had. He says he didn’t like the stunts in the films and doesn’t understand American humor. Don’t worry, Jackie. We no longer think Chris Tucker is funny either.)

Steve Coogan – (Known For: Hot Fuzz; Philomena; Tropic Thunder; Despicable Me 2; 24 Hour Party People; The Other Guys; Night at the Museum; The Trip; Hamlet 2; Ruby Sparks; Our Idiot Brother; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Minions; In the Loop; The Trip To Italy; Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief; Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian; Alan Partridge. BMT: Around the World in 80 Days; Marmaduke; What Goes Up. Notes: Just published an autobiography called Easily Distracted. Seeing as I’m a library enthusiast I might have to look and see if that’s available at the always wonderful Rochester Public Library.)

Budget/Gross: $110 million / $24,008,137 ($72,178,895 Worldwide)

(Let that sink in. I wasn’t fully aware of just how disastrous the release of this film was, but oooo mama. That is rough. Opened at 9th (!) in the box office with the 129th worst opening for a 2500+ release film. Just ahead of BMT film The Big Wedding.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 31% (40/127), Hit-and-miss family fare that bares only the slightest resemblance to Verne’s novel.

(See, the reviews seem just mediocre. 31% is pretty high for us and the consensus hints at the idea that at the time of release people just thought ‘meh’ about it. Now, in retrospect, they probably look back and are like ‘what a stumblebum production.’)

Poster – Giant Golden Letters (F)

(Oh god. That is awful. First, the title font, while hilariously impossible for Patrick to spoof, is jarring. Second, look at dem colors. Third, Steve Coogan must have been pissed that when it was all said and done this film was marketed entirely as a Jackie Chan vehicle.)

Tagline(s) – The race begins: June 16. (Blech)

(This is easily the most common tagline you see on the posters and it is no good. It’s just too lazy. I just like to see people try to be clever. No fun when they don’t even try.)

Notes – Arnold Schwarzenegger’s last film before being elected governor of California. (Fantastic)

With a box office loss of around $80 million, this film is considered the biggest independently released flop in film history (it was made by an independent group under Disney). (Yeah it was made by the Walden Group which specializes in Christian family films like the Narnia films. This isn’t a Christian film, but wholesome enough).

Will Forte’s feature film debut. (Wow!)

Razzie Awards 2005, Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger; Nominated for Worst Remake or Sequel.

What Goes Up Recap

What goes up, must come down. Spinning wheel got to go round. Woooo! Love that song and love this documentary about the making of the Blood Sweat & Tears classic

… what’s that? Did I watch the wrong movie? It’s the one starring Steve Coogan, Hilary Duff, and Josh Peck, right? Yeah… I just assumed all the bullshit in the film was an extended allegory for the literal blood, sweat, and tears that David Clayton-Thomas poured into the making of that song and struggles of leading a contemporary American jazz-rock ensemble. No? Huh. Well then I’m completely flabbergasted cause nothing in the film really meant anything and it was all super weird and unnecessary. It was actually pretty unpleasant to watch. The main character was a doucher whose whole life is a sham and the kids all had upsetting lives. In particular, Olivia Thirlby’s character who had a pretty rough incest/abortion storyline. That’s right, second week in a row with an incest storyline! Last week it was A Thousand Acres, and this week What Goes Up followed it right up… because that’s what everyone’s clamoring for in their film selections: incest.

Alright, well I’m glad they made this film for the sake of my precious, precious map, but also kinda wish we could have just pretended we had never seen Eight Crazy Nights (or as I like to call it, Eight Cray Cray Nights). Like, would any of you have really cared or knew that Patrick and I tricked you? No. But we would have known in our hearts, and much like Coogan in What Goes Up, the lie would have been necessary, but also soul-consuming.

Anywho, gonna keep my MonoSklog section brief this week. Loved, loved, loved Josh Peck’s MonoSklog in What Goes Up. I call it Mi Panegírico, and if you can catch it it is worth it. There is something about how Josh Peck says “But everyone says ‘No… You gotta fucking accept it.'” that really make that scene. Just a really solid job right there. But like usual, Monosklogs are not for the website. Fair use just isn’t our bag you know?


‘Ello everyone! What Go Up … Brings me down! What a depressing, weird, small, weird movie.

  • It was weird. It is hard to even make fun of. There is just so much that goes into it that seems like it is super serious. Probably super personal. But I feel like it is a mess. Just a jumble of symbols and messages and nothing really gets done particularly right.
  • Side stories alongside side stories. There’s a girl who was paralyzed in an accident, we get to see a story about that. There is Hilary Duff’s story of trying to seduce Coogan. Another girl was in love with the teacher who died. Two other girls are weirdos, and get involved in a variety of shenanigans. Josh Peck has a strange story about being fascinated with the principal’s wife and newborn child. The music teacher (who was in love (?) with the teacher who killed himself) is having a meltdown for various reasons. And Coogan has been fabricating stories about the woman he loved for months to deal with her suicide …. None of these storylines are particularly interesting.
  • Probably because Coogan’s character is a bad person whom I do not like.
  • This is unpleasant and it was a bad BMT film. The BMeTric based on IMDB votes and rating nailed it again (11.7/100 (NOTE: As of July 9, 2016) if you recall, where 25 is just about the BMThreshold for Enjoyment). This week we probably have a bit better chance (Critters 2 has a BMeTric of approximately 35/100, not bad).

That’s it. I want to see the Prequel to this movie called The Shed. It is about all these characters, how they get to be in Mr. C’s class, and how they learn acceptance and love. It ends with Coogan rolling into town. Literally no one will watch this film. Netflix, get off the horn, this movie does not and never will need to be made.


The Sklogs


What Goes Up Preview

So now you probably looked at the title of this email and were all like “Crikey! WTF is What Goes Up, mate?” Again, this is a byproduct of mapl.de.map. A symptom of the underlying disease. As we get the last couple states we’re going to get weirder, and weirder, and weirder. What Goes Up is actually our Chain Reaction. By good fortune we happened to be able to find this film connecting to our last Chain Reaction, Cheaper By the Dozen, through Hilary Duff and it happens to take place in the great state of New Hampshire. Now you’re probably all like “Oy! Didn’t we already get NH with Grown Ups 2, mate? That’s not a knife. This is a knife. Put another shrimp on the barbie.” You’d be right, and yet so wrong. Turns out that Grown Ups 2 probably didn’t take place in New Hampshire (shocking, I know). Upon review of the tape, we determined that in all likelihood it actually took place in CT (we are in talks with Netflix to get this confirmed directly with Adam). So we had to call a quick audible and grab a new NH in this final cycle. If we hadn’t I would have been able to look at the map with nothing but shame rather than the sad, misplaced pride that I currently feel when staring longingly at my baby. So beautiful. Let’s go!

What Goes Up (2009) – BMeTric: 11.7 (July 9th, 2016)



(A pretty unusual plot for two reasons. First, the archive caught a super early snapshot of the IMDb page so the rating was an absurd 8.0+ which makes the whole ratings plot look ridiculous. In reality the rating didn’t really move much more that one would expect with regression to the mean. But, they you have that kind of weird jump from 5.3 to 5.7 very very late in its life which significantly drops the BMeTric. That is weird. Did it find an audience, is it British viewers rallying to defend Coogan, was it his relatively celebrity increasing at that point in time? Unsure, but it is strange. NOTE: Analysis written on July 9, 2016)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Interesting but odd, sometimes off-putting film, set in 1986, about a cynical N.Y.C. newspaper reporter who goes to New Hampshire to write about a teacher who’s traveling on the NASA space shuttle. Instead he falls in with a group of misfit high school kids who are mourning the death of a teacher who was their champion – and hero. Well acted but it’s uncertain what the point is supposed to be.

(Odd and off-putting? Sounds like the reviews for my Christmas album I’m Dreaming of a Sklog Christmas. The whole plot described here sounds like it could be in bad taste, but we’ll see.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kyyjv-oRu0g

(It’s funny that they used a trailer from 1996 for a film that came out in 2009… just think it’s an interesting choice. The whole tone of the film seems off. Almost like the trailer for Gooby, which makes it look like a family film when it’s clearly a horror film)

Director(s) – Jonathan Glatzer – (BMT: What Goes Up. Notes: This is his only major work in film, but currently a writer for the Netflix series Bloodline.)

Writer(s) – Jonathan Glatzer (written by) – (BMT: What Goes Up. Notes: Worked at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire as a screenwriting fellow.)

Robert Lawson – (BMT: What Goes Up; Notes: Also served as Hilary Duff’s acting coach on the set of What Goes Up. Uh oh.)

Actors – Steve Coogan – (Known For: Hot Fuzz; Philomena; Tropic Thunder; Despicable Me 2; The Other Guys; Night at the Museum; The Trip; Hamlet 2; Ruby Sparks; Our Idiot Brother; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; 24 Hour Party People; Minions; Coffee and Cigarettes; In the Loop; The Trip To Italy; Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief; Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian; Alan Partridge. BMT: Around the World in 80 Days; Marmaduke; What Goes Up. Notes: Nominated for two Oscars for writing and producing Philomena.)

Hilary Duff – (Known For: The Lizzie McGuire Movie; Human Nature. BMT: A Cinderella Story; The Perfect Man; Raise Your Voice; Material Girls; Cheaper by the Dozen; Agent Cody Banks; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Stay Cool; What Goes Up; War Inc. Notes: Nominated for the Razzie in 2007 for Worst Actress and Worst Screen Couple for Material Girls; Nominated for the Razzie in 2006 for Worst Actress for Cheaper by the Dozen 2, The Perfect Man; Nominated for the Razzie in 2005 for Worst Actress for A Cinderella Story, Raise Your Voice; Wow, three years in a row!)

Also stars Molly Shannon.

Budget/Gross: N/A / N/A

(Yup. I’m unashamed. This movie did not get a release. Not the first, not the last. But just enough in my opinion. We only use it when we need to.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 16% (5/31), Critics Consensus: What Goes Up squanders the charisma of Steve Coogan with a lazy screenplay, contrived plotting, and overall poor production.

(But… but… but… don’t you expect overall poor production when the budget is N/A? Honestly though, this sounds like trash.)

Poster – What Goes Sklog (A+)


(I love this poster. Just appealing to the eye and nice coloring.)

Tagline(s) – A Different Class of Misfits (C+)

(This is perfect, in the sense that it is indeed a series of words in the shape of a tagline. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to mean though… I guess just that they are misfits and are in school… but nothing else informative. I wonder what makes them so much different than other misfits. Guess I’ll have to watch and find out.)

Keywords – suicide; Top Ten by BMeTric: 79.1 House of the Dead (2003); 78.7 Skyline (2010); 77.0 The Room (2003); 76.8 RoboCop 3 (1993); 76.8 The Legend of Hercules (2014); 76.3 The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009); 74.4 Anaconda (1997); 72.2 The Devil Inside (2012); 71.6 Dragon Wars (2007); 69.8 Ouija (II) (2014);

(First, what a downer. Sorry guys. Second, super competitive category with just about 5000 movies having this keyword on IMDb! Third, yeah some of these don’t sound right … like, was there a suicide in Skyline? It is a super big stretch. I think Anaconda and Legend of Hercules are also probably stretches, where, at the very least, suicide doesn’t play a huge rule. Alas, such is the problems with data-scraping IMDb. NOTE: Analysis written on July 9, 2016)

Notes – The film was in production for many years. Originally Mandy Moore was cast as Lucy, Michelle Williams was cast as Tess and Peter Sarsgaard was cast as Campbell. Later, Steve Coogan was cast as Campbell and Amber Tamblyn was cast as Tess, Kelli Garner was cast as Peggy, Paul Dano was cast as Jim, Alison Pill was cast as Ann and the singer Nellie McKay was cast as Sue . In early 2008 all six dropped out and Amanda Seyfried was given the role of the character Peggy. She was then cast as Sophie in the film Mamma Mia! (2008) and dropped out of What Goes Up (2009) and was replaced by Sarah Lind. Hilary Duff and Olivia Thirlby were then cast in the roles of Lucy and Tess respectively. Josh Peck, Ingrid Nilson and Andrea Brooks were then cast in the roles of Jim, Ann and Sue respectively. (this is amazing. I love this note).