Father Figures Recap

Jamie

Peter and Kyle are as different as twins can be. Kyle is a fun loving free spirit, while Peter is a down-on-his-luck sad sack. When Peter finds out that the story about their dead father was all a lie, they set out in search of their real dad. Can they find their dad (and maybe get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Father Figures.

How?! Peter is a divorced doctor who laments how his life turned out. His kid hates him, he does rectal exams all day, and the highlight of his day is watching TV alone. It’s all made worse when at his mother’s wedding he is reminded about the carefree, fun lifestyle of his fraternal twin brother Kyle. The cherry on top is that at the same wedding he finds out the story about his dead dad was all a lie! The man very well could still be alive. With Peter’s world crumbling, Kyle agrees to set off and find their father. First stop, Terry Bradshaw (duh) playing himself and boy does he. He’s ready to accept them into the family until he realizes that while their mom was great in the sack, they weren’t together at the time of conception. Time to head off again. This time to confront Ronald Hunt. The loser criminal doesn’t seem like the best dad, but they still give him a shot. Unfortunately he gets them wrapped up in trying to steal a car. Oops. Time to give up, but while heading to the airport they pick up a hitchhiker who gets them lost in the middle of nowhere. While arguing about the state of things, they almost get killed by a train and realize that all they need is each other… and the magical hitchhiker. So with their new Enterprise Rent-a-car they head off to none other than Worcester, MA (!) where they’ve got a hot tip on another potential dad, Patrick O’Callahan. On the way, Peter has a one night stand with a woman who he is shocked to find was Patrick’s daughter! Uh oh! But Patrick’s twin brother insists it’s not true, because Patrick didn’t have sex before marriage. Instead it must have been Peter and Kyle’s family vet, Dr. Tinkler. They head home to confront him where their mother reveals the truth: they were adopted. She doesn’t know who their father is, but their mother was a young drug addict she was trying to help. Realizing that life is more about what you have and that they have each other, Peter and Kyle team up to start a new billion dollar app and everything is looking pretty good. THE END.

Why?! For a film with a scene of a kid peeing on Owen Wilson, Ed Helms thinking he had sex with his sister, and a weird (but kind of good (but also out of place)) satire of the magical black person trope, it’s a pretty heavy film. It’s very much about finding and understanding your purpose in life and not getting hung up or dwelling on what you’ve lost, what you thought you had, or what you want, but appreciating what you have. Particularly when it comes to family. Peter and Kyle didn’t choose their family, but they realize that their family actually did choose them, and that despite how different they are the love they have is stronger than those differences. It’s really nice… for a film that’s not super great.

Who?! This isn’t Terry Bradshaw’s first BMT rodeo. We know him best from Failure to Launch, and that honestly was a better effort considering he wasn’t just playing a cartoon version of himself. Then there was The Cannonball Run where he played *check notes* Terry… huh… guess I’m not sure whether he was playing himself in that one.

What?! This is actually one of my favorite subtle product placements in recent memory. Peter and Kyle get their rental car destroyed by a train and we see them talking to a man delivering a new one and are all like “that’s for delivering the new rental car.” And I’m like “Ha, Enterprise up in here.” And then in the credits we see under special thanks: Enterprise. Even if you totally explode your car with a train, Enterprise will still deliver a new one.

Where?! Nice solid road trip film starting in Ohio and then going to Florida, New York, and Massachusetts. Finishing with a taste of Hawaii is also perfect. I also can’t really get over that they very specifically head to my old stomping grounds, Worcester, MA. Although I didn’t recognize where they went, so not sure they actually filmed there. B+.

When?! I do not know when exactly this took place. My guess is that it’s early Fall given the wedding setting, the changing leaves in New York, and shift towards sweaters as they journeyed north… yes, I’m insane. My guess is that if we really poured through all the footage we’d find something. Maybe the prop Enterprise Rent-a-car rental agreement has a date on it. F.

To me this seemed like a film that was written by three different people. Or perhaps even existed as three scripts before being merged together. It’s very surprising that there is just one writer considering how quickly and often they vacillate between comedy styles. You’ve got an indie Jeff Who Lives at Home vibe going on, then the next second it feels like Harold and Kumar, and then the next second it’s like Wedding Crashers. It just never seemed like they knew exactly what they wanted to make. As a result even something that could be good, like what I take as satire of the “magical black person” cliche, can get lost and confused in the muddle of everything. But I can’t say the underlying message wasn’t touching, it’s just the journey to get there didn’t come together well at all. As for Twin Sitters, I couldn’t have been more tickled by the bizarre Paul twins and their twin extravaganza of a film. Twins everywhere and they are just muscley freaks of nature with fashion for days. I disagree with Patrick a bit, much better than Santa with Muscles and for one main reason: I kinda liked that the Paul twins weren’t afraid to play stupid. Big muscle guys seem to shy away from that (Hulk Hogan being a prime example). They always want to be big brain business people or scientists. Wrong! Give me some twin dum dums! I love it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Ugh, fraternal twins. Whatever, I guess we had to watch a film with fraternal twins eventually. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – The film has been on our radar for a long while, but for an odd reason: it might have one of the best examples of a terrible movie poster ever! Just look at all of those faces staring out at you from a snow white background. Really just useless garbage. Anyways, modern bad comedies tend to just be boring and no fun, and I doubt this would be any different. It can’t help but end up being wholesome in the end. That fact that it has bad reviews suggests it is boring. What were my expectations? To be bored and to laugh zero times.

The Good – Funnier than I expected, and that is entirely due to Owen Wilson. Something about his exudes charm, and while he is leaning into his vague surfer/stoner hippy schtick in the film, it ends up working (except when they make him anxious and sad in the middle of the film). I think his performance, plus a surprisingly surprising twist involving Katie Aselton, end up saving the back half of the film. Oh and out of nowhere I really liked the diversion involving Katt Williams’ hitchhiker character. There is a weird amount of stuff to like for a film that is really not very interesting. Oh and I secretly liked the silly connections drawn to The World According to Garp right at the end. Best Bit: Owen Wilson.

The Bad – It is indeed pretty not funny and boring, especially the first half of the film. I didn’t really like Ed Helms’ character who was so depressing that he had to end up with a happy ending because it was literally impossible to make him sadder at the end of the film. Terry Bradshaw was awful in the film, and surprisingly so was J.K. Simmons. The entire film felt inevitable. If you could start the film with a better first father than Bradshaw, and then flow right into them being depressed about a near miss there with the Katt Williams hitchhiker character, and skip the middle bit, I think the film ends up much better. Considering it is far too long for a comedy, I’m surprised they didn’t try and reedit it into a leaner film. Fatal Flaw: Trite.

The BMT – I think the only thing this film will be notable for in terms of BMT in the future is that terrible poster. It’ll be the poster child (heyooooo) for “throw a bunch of faces on a white piece of paper and call it a day” style of modern movie posters. Otherwise it might be a small stop on the Owen Wilson bad movie filmography,twin films (fraternal or not), and road trip films maybe. I will probably never watch this film ever again. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them, but in the wrong direction, it was too good. It had a few solid laughs, and the back half was too interesting to be boring.

Roast-radamus – A solid Product Placement (What?) with Dunkin’ Donuts. Turns out both America and existential-journeys-to-find-your-father run on Dunkin’. A great Road Trip (Where?) film covering Ohio, Florida, New York, and Massachusetts, including a ton of driving (and presumably stops at Dunkin’). I do think we have a MacGuffin (Why?) for the search for the ultimate MacGuffin: Dad (awwwwwwwww). I don’t think any of the twists are bad unfortunately. I think this is closest to Good personally. I couldn’t help but be touched by the message being presented, and Wilson was solid.

StreetCreditReport.com – I was looking through all the lists and mainly marvelling that I’ve seen probably a solid 50% of the worst films of 2017 on any given list. That’s pretty impressive given the sometimes random choices some of these lists make (The Only Living Boy in New York is on the AV Club list and Transformers 5 isn’t … what?). Usually I’d say something like “I’m not shocked this film went under the radar” … but I am legitimately shocked that this film wasn’t on any list! And then I realized why, it was a Christmas film! Ah, well rest assured this had cred galore. I think it would have easily made most top 10 lists for the year, and is definitely the worst twin film of 2017. And this is coming from someone who kind of liked the film!

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we brought along another twin-based comedy in Twin Sitters. What a wild career Peter and David Paul had. Twin bodybuilders, they managed to star in four films. The last few are a lot like this where the twins straight up say “we’re big dumb brutes.” What a strange idea of a career, playing character that are almost too dumb to function but big and strong. And the entire film is very twin-centric with the twins baby-sitting another set of twins! The child twins are actually the actors who played the lead child role in Kindergarten Cop which is pretty fun. The entire film is really silly, directed by the actor who played the bad guy’s son in UHF (and Jambi in Peewee’s Playhouse) who also appears in the film. It really is just so dumb it is hard to articulate coherent feelings on. I guess the most interesting thing was the end is a lot like 3 Ninjas with a group of bad guys attempting to infiltrate the house to kidnap the children, and the Paul twins fighting them with household objects. Where did that cinematic trope originate? Looney Tunes? Are the Paul twins just big cartoon characters? Anyways, I bet there are better Barbarian Twin films out there. If I’m being honest, this just feels like a weird knockoff of other films. It feels like Santa With Muscles, so C-, wouldn’t really recommend it unless you are watching all of the Paul twin films or something.

Twin Analysis – I’m going to tell it like it is: fraternal twins start at a C. Sorry, not sorry, it is just the way it is. They might as well be brothers. Anyways, I did like the Polar Opposite Twin trope, that’s a classic. With Helms being an uptight doctor, and Wilson being a very laidback loser who fell ass backwards into money. The twin angle plays a decent sized role in the film as well. Lucky for the film there is an identical twin in the film (one of the potential fathers is an identical twin), and a set of twins at the end. Three twins!! I’m going to give it a B. Much better than I expected. Now, on the other hand we have Twin Sitters! My god, has there ever been a more twin film in the history of twin films. And another fortuitous connection, despite Peter and David Paul being very identical, they also play into the Polar Opposite Twin trope. Now that’s fun! There are, I think, five sets of identical twins in the film (and a set of identical triplets!). I was hoping the bad guy would have also turned out to be a twin, but alas, it was not meant to be. Regardless, I’m going to give this the true A+. They might not be stigmata twins, but this film has so many twins, and the idea of twins, and standing by your twin brother, and twin dynamics, and magical twin abilities … it has it all (as far as twins are concerned)!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Father Figures Quiz

Oh man, so here I was with my twin bro trying to find our father (and man was that a comedy of errors!), and all of a sudden Ving Rhames destroyed me while I was playing catch with Terry Bradshaw! And now I can’t remember a thing (and I think I shattered my spine, but whatever). Can you remember what happened in Father Figures?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open the film at a wedding, with two best men played by Ed Helms and Owen Wilson, twins with a somewhat rocky relationship. What do both twins do for a living?

2) Ed Helms learns that the person he thought was his father was not, in fact, his father. How does he learn this fact?

3) Name the four people the twins end up thinking is their father during the course of the film, and where do they live?

4) Prior to the big end scene, the twins meet Katt Williams, who plays a hitchhiker. Where is he trying to go and why?

5) In the end of the movie what new job do the twins have together?

Answers

Father Figures Preview

Rich is dragged into a dark ceremonial chamber. He looks wildly between the identical Nic Cages. How could such a monstrosity be? Their ideniticalness is perverse. Unnatural. And yet their grips are like iron, with full twin power. And Poe! Sweet Poe. Dragged to whatever depths by John Travolta’s dark magic. The horror, the horror. As Rich is strung up to a ceremonial table, the Nics prep a variety of terrible tools to extract the delicate shard of the Obsidian Dongle from his heart. They sing a jolly Christmas tune, showing off those pipes that both Nic Cage and John Travolta are well known for. The tune brings back memories, and spur on vivid hallucinations of his past life as it flashes before his eyes. His childhood in Louisiana, a place of wonder. His mother’s fresh baked bread, the smell mingling with his father’s pipe smoke. His denim jacket! Oh how he and Poe laughed over the jackets. They were a present from his parents to both of them. They always treated Poe like a son, especially after… the accident. The jackets were totally rad and had a couple white cobras stitched into the back with the words “No Rulez 4 Life.”. He remembers when they first put them on. It felt like they’d never take them off. In fact, they never had and have been wearing them this entire time. They were so intertwined with those jackets that there was no need to ever mention them before. And in that moment when they first donned their trademark jackets his father said, “look at my boys… brothers for life. As long as you have each other you’ll never lose.” His father… Poe’s father, too, after… the accident. Using the last of his strength, Rich utters one word, “No.” That’s right! We’re watching Father Figures from 2017. I remember seeing the trailer for this film and thinking, “someday we’ll watch that for BMT.” And here we are. Destiny that a twin cycle would come along and Father Figures would be there to take its rightful Place. Let’s go!

Poe awakens. He’s covered in dirt and rocks and can barely move. Suddenly he feels the Earth shift above him and two hulking hands pull him from the rubble. “Are… are you dead?” two hulking identical monsters ask him, their ludicrous fashion stretched to the breaking point by their muscles. Using the last of his strength, Poe utters one word, “No.” That’s right! As a twin friend for this twin cycle we are watching Twin Sitters starring bodybuilders-turned-actors David and Peter Paul aka The Barbarian Brothers. They are twins and they are babysitting twin. Need I say more.

Father Figures (2017) – BMeTric: 41.9; Notability: 32 

(That notability is precisely what I would expect for a big comedy, I now know enough about notability to know that. And I bet in a few years this is a 50+ BMeTric. Just need to drop a few points off of that IMDb rating.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – “Father Figures” is what you might call a bastard comedy, and not just for the fact that it was once boldly titled “Bastards” and tells of two twins (played by Ed Helms and Owen Wilson) road-tripping to find their biological father. As a kicked-around project originally meant for a November 2016 release, and then a January 2017 release, and now coming out in time to be the comedy alternative to “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” it has that uncertain lineage in its very construction. Filled with insincere wackiness and sappiness, “Father Figures” never quite figures out whether it wants to be a raunchy, zippy road movie or a more dialogue-driven dramedy. Despite having no personality of its own, this movie just yearns to be recognized at all.

(Love the twin shoutout in the review itself. And this appears to be a very common complaint: the film has the feel of a family friendly road trip film, but then swerves inexplicable into a rauchy sex farce randomly. That could be interesting I suppose.)

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

(This definitely seems like a cheerful road trip comedy for the most part. Really weird they kind of went the Wedding Crashers route in the end. Probably just was received poorly with notes like “I want to see Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers, and Ed Helms in Hangover again please.”)

Directors – Lawrence Sher – (BMT: Father Figures; Notes: Primarily a cinematographer he was nominated for an Oscar for his work on Joker. He also was the Director of Photography on the Hangover films, so he worked with Ed Helms before at the very least.)

Writers – Justin Malen (written by) – (Known For: Office Christmas Party; BMT: Father Figures; Notes: Wrote a Chinese comedy called Wished (under what I assume is a pseudonym Hongwen Mai), and is writing the script for the upcoming Clifford the Big Red Dog film.)

Actors – Owen Wilson – (Known For: Wonder; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Midnight in Paris; Cars; Wedding Crashers; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Inherent Vice; Night at the Museum; Cars 3; Night at the Museum 2; Meet the Parents; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; The Royal Tenenbaums; Starsky & Hutch; Zoolander; The Cable Guy; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; No Escape; The Big Year; The Darjeeling Limited; Future BMT: Breakfast of Champions; How Do You Know; Little Fockers; You, Me and Dupree; Are You Here; Drillbit Taylor; Hall Pass; Masterminds; Free Birds; Cars 2; Meet the Fockers; The Internship; The Hero of Color City; BMT: Zoolander 2; Anaconda; Marmaduke; The Haunting; I Spy; Father Figures; Around the World in 80 Days; Behind Enemy Lines; Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Zoolander 2 in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Notes: Went to the University of Texas with Wes Anderson with whom he’s collaborated a number of times including The Royal Tenenbaums. Says “wow” in a distinct and easily mimicked way.)

Ed Helms – (Known For: We’re the Millers; The Hangover; Tag; Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story; Night at the Museum 2; Monsters vs. Aliens; A Futile and Stupid Gesture; The Senator; They Came Together; Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay; Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie; Jeff, Who Lives at Home; Stretch; Everyone’s Hero; Mune, le gardien de la lune; Cedar Rapids; Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story; Future BMT: Meet Dave; Evan Almighty; Coffee & Kareem; The Hangover Part III; The Clapper; Semi-Pro; Confessions of a Shopaholic; The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard; Christmas with the Coopers; Corporate Animals; Vacation; Someone Marry Barry; I Do… Until I Don’t; The Hangover Part II; BMT: Father Figures; Notes: At this point maybe most famous for his role in The Office than anything else. Started in UCB, and was a correspondent for the Daily Show as well, and is an accomplished banjo player.)

Glenn Close – (Known For: Guardians of the Galaxy; Dangerous Liaisons; The Natural; Mars Attacks!; Fatal Attraction; What Happened to Monday; Air Force One; Tarzan; 101 Dalmatians; The Big Chill; The Girl with All the Gifts; In & Out; Crooked House; The Wife; The World According to Garp; Cookie’s Fortune; Hoodwinked; Albert Nobbs; 5 to 7; Reversal of Fortune; Future BMT: 102 Dalmatians; Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil; The Stepford Wives; The Divorce; Mary Reilly; The Wilde Wedding; Anesthesia; Hook; Maxie; The House of the Spirits; The Chumscrubber; BMT: Pinocchio; Father Figures; Evening; Warcraft: The Beginning; Notes: Has won three Tony awards for her work on Broadway. Her role in Hook is as the Boo Box guy in an undisclosed cameo role.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $17,501,244 (Worldwide: $25,601,244)

(Not great. A film like this you’d expect at the very least a $50 million take, but you’d be quite pleased if you could pull off that rare $100 million comedy. Instead it kind of scrapes out what was likely a break even result once VOD was counted.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (8/48): Success has many fathers, but failure is Father Figures.

(Wowza, someone pay whoever came up with that insane consensus! I kind of love it, but probably because I hate it so much. Reviewer Highlight: Distinguished mainly by its overqualified cast and lack of inspiration, “Father Figures” can’t decide whether it’s a gross-out comedy or an uplifting tale of brotherly love; it embraces the worst of both worlds. – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times)

Poster – Rad Dads

(Nooooooooooo. This is everything I’ve been fighting against in talking about these posters. Look at that color scheme. Just a bunch of dumb human faces on a white background. Gross. Look at the spacing, the font, what story does it tell?! My god, it’s horrible. F.)

Tagline(s) – Finding Their Father Would Be a Family Miracle (F)

(Is… is “family miracle” a phrase? Are they doing this on purpose just to hurt me? What the hell is this tagline? Either my brain isn’t working and I’m missing a pun or this is one of the most nonsensical, trash taglines in history. You better hope my brain is broken.)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Despicable Me 3 (2017), The Great Outdoors (1988), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), Meet the Robinsons (2007)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 13.4 Little Women (2018);

BMT: Jack and Jill (2011), Father Figures (2017), Pluto Nash (2002), The Identical (2014)

(Note for the coming weeks, I’ve added this keyword to a bunch of the upcoming films … so that’ll be nice. I mean, if they come in. I haven’t had much luck with IMDb keywords if I’m being honest, they are sticklers over there at IMDb. Unlike wikipedia, where I rule the roost. As for this film, you can see by 2017 we had entered the post-Harry Potter lull. I predict twins will be charging back to become a keyword force in American cinema yet!)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Owen Wilson is No. 1 billed in Father Figures and No. 2 billed in Zoolander 2, which also stars Penélope Cruz (No. 4 billed) who is in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (No. 2 billed), which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch The Internship, and Wicker Park we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – The script was sold less than two days after being pitched, in an impressive thirty-six hours.

Originally titled “Bastards”, but changed to “Father Figures” in September 2017, just three months before release.

The front desk worker in the hotel is Andrew Wilson; Owen Wilson’s older brother. (Oh wow, a rare Andrew Wilson sighting. He’s in quite a few small films at this point)

Bill Irwin filmed scenes as Dr. Tinkler, but Christopher Walken took over the role during re-shoots. (Big oooooof)

Although they play twins, Owen Wilson is five years older than Ed Helms in real-life..

Near the end of the film, Helen mentions that Peter (Ed Helms) and Kyle (Owen Wilson) were born “three days before Christmas” in December 1975. The film was released on December 22, 2017, Kyle and Peter’s 42nd birthday. (That’s fun, although likely unintentional since I think it was delayed for a bit before release)

Paramount Pictures was originally attached to the project, but they ended up dropping out, sending the script into turnaround and leaving Warner Brothers to release the film.

Ed Helms says that ” this is a ’75 stingray, the car is a 1981 corvette, not a ’75 (Huh)

During the epilogue, it is revealed that Kyle had twin babies. While there is no evidence that identical twins run in families., non-identical twins can do. (YUP. Actually also happened in The Identical where our Elvis stand in also is shown having had twins at the end of the film)

Towards the end of the film, Helen (Glenn Close) reveals to the boys their mother was an unmarried girl; she would not reveal the father’s name and her name was Jenny. Glenn Close played Jenny Fields in The World According to Garp (1982), a single mother who only knew her child’s father as “Technical Sergeant Garp”. (Now that is a fun fact!)

Black Knight Recap

Jamie

Jamal Walker is living his life in LA when he’s unexpectedly transported back to the Middle Ages. There he finds himself in the middle of a rebellion and at odds with the King and his eeevil minions. Can he save his own hide, take down the King and get back to the present (and maybe get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Black Knight.

How?! Jamal Walker is not serious. So when the medieval theme park he works at is threatened by a cooler, newer one he’s ready to jump ship and keep things flowing. That is until he falls into the moat and wakes up in the actual Middle Ages. Uh oh! At first he is mistaken for a messenger from France, while a lady of the castle is convinced that he is part of the rebellion hoping to reinstate the rightful queen to the throne that the eeevil King Leo stole with the help of his eeevil henchman Percival. He is treated to a feast where he busts some moves and smooches the princess only to inadvertently ruin a rebel assassination attempt much to the frustration of Victoria. As a reward Jamal is made a knight and everything goes swimmingly… that is until he is caught in bed with the princess. Uh oh! The marriage prospects of the princess ruined Jamal is set to be executed. Just before his execution he is rescued by a disgraced knight, Sir Knolte, at the behest of Victoria. At the rebel camp he is ready to get back to LA and heads for the moat, but ends up having a change of heart and returns to camp to find it in ruins and the rebel force decimated. Jamal musters up all the leadership he has and rouses the rebels for a fight and leads them into battle. Jamal himself is able to turn the tide posing as the Black Knight and ends up in direct contact with Percival. With the help of his friends (awww) he is able to win and the Queen is returned to the throne. Huzzah. Officially knighted he wants Victoria to return to LA with him but accidentally falls through time alone. With a new lease on life he turns the theme park around and makes serious strides in his professional life. Someone who looks a lot like Victoria *wink* even agrees to a date. Nice. He then inexplicably falls back through time to Ancient Rome… weird. THE END.

Why?! This is interesting only insofar as the setup for everything is so flimsy. Clearly meant to get Jamal to the Middle Ages as quickly and with as few questions asked (or answered) as possible. I wasn’t even sure what lesson Jamal was supposed to be learning by going back in time (there always has to be a lesson). Eventually you realize that he didn’t take life, his job, etc. seriously enough. Only by having to lead a revolt against the unrightful and eeeevil king is he able to learn the value of community and leadership and thus return to LA and take ownership and responsibility at his job (and quickly rise in the ranks as a result). Good for him.

Who?! We always note when we have a new President in a film. Here we have a new reigning King and then Queen of England. King Leo is the antagonist of the film. Interesting, since Leo wasn’t a common name for British Kings. Common in Armenia and like… The Kings of Leon, right? The Queen who takes back the throne at the end of the film is just credited as The Queen. Also weird that they reign from a tiny town in the middle of nowhere England apparently. Not much of a kingdom really.

What?! There is a bit of actual product placement at the front of the film and then Jamal is often making references to culture and stuff when he’s in the Middle Ages. But nothing that is necessary for the plot. It’s not like he fails miserably at inspiring the rebels only to realize that perhaps if he gave them a sip of a delicious, refreshing and yes, inspiring Coca-Cola, that they would rise to the occasion… in fact, note to self…

Where?! This is set in England. That is the extent of it. It doesn’t look like England, it doesn’t feel like England. It probably seems more like a Medieval Times than any part of Medieval England. Really the only way we know for sure that it’s in England is that they keep talking about Normandy and making fun of France. A-.

When?! We actually get an (approximate (likely (probably))) exact date on this guy. Confused and afraid, Jamal asks earnestly what the date is. It’s of course Sunday the 5th, silly. And he breathes a sigh of relief… oh… not 2001 (which presumably is August 5th, 2001… the only 5th that year that falls on a Sunday). It’s Sunday the 5th, 1328 (presumably September 5th, 1328… the only 5th that falls on a Sunday other than December and I mean, it wasn’t nearly cold enough for that). So yup, he left LA on August 5th, 2001 and landed in England on September 5th, 1328… case closed. A-.

At the start of the film I was pretty sure I was in for a rough night. The set up for him falling through time is nonexistent. It’s like they just wrote “Jamal ends up in the Middle Ages” on a sheet of paper and handed it to Martin Lawrence. It’s actually a wonder to see him make his way through full scenes without anything of substance to say or do. But once we were there and Jamal is both confused by his surroundings and employing all his people skills to simply survive, it’s actually a somewhat touching and amusing film. He is concerned for people who seem like they are unwell and covered in dirt. He’s titillated by all the ladies at the castle who seem to be there to serve him. And he’s enticed by the opportunities of knighthood after living without much opportunity in LA. It all unravels (and so does the film), but for a moment I was actually enjoying myself quite a bit. With as much grace as they started the film they ended it and it all crashed down in a terrible Monosklog, a kinda boring battle, and then a heartwarming ending. If only they didn’t have to have a beginning, middle, and end… if they could just have one long Martin Lawrence middle then they might have had something. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Man, the sequel to Big Momma’s House is WILD. I mean … Big Momma isn’t even in it! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Growing up on A Kid in King Arthur’s Court playing on television and I know that the film is likely to just be silly. But then I remember Big Momma’s House and how disjointed it is, and White Chicks and how … insance that film is, or Norbit and how unpleasant that film is and … there is an outside shot this film is absolutely awful in really weird ways. Only one way to find out though. What were my expectations? I’m hoping it is a disjointed delight like Big Momma’s, but I feel that it is going to be like A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (also qualified by the way).

The Good – The film is far more charming than it has any right to be. I think it is a testament to Martin Lawrence, who had transferred all of his manic energy from his stand-up and Martin directly into the Jamal character. I also personally appreciate how quickly they cut to the chase. There isn’t a huge amount of bookends to the film. It is like 10 minutes at the beginning setting up Jamal just kind of not caring about giving back to society, and then 5 minutes at the end to show how he changes. Easy peasy. The film isn’t funny, but it has a giant dance scene, so that’s fun. Best Bit – Martin Lawrence.

The Bad – The sheer number of sex and dick jokes in the film. It ends up just being too much. Jamal is stuck in like 1300s England, at risk of dying at any moment … but all he wants to do is smash that chambermaid and needle the king’s daughter about her sex life. The big monologue in the film (complete with outdated-at-the-time Rodney King reference) is really really bad. It ends up doing the opposite of the big monologue in Big Momma’s House, sinking the film, instead of tying it up in a big BMT Hall of Fame bow. The film isn’t funny, and ends up being unabashedly trite. Fatal Flaw – Too reliant on sex jokes.

The BMT – The film is ultimately too good to be on the same level as Big Momma’s House. It is also too linear, we very rarely get to see Jamal like … go and learn to joust, and then go and learn to sword fight, and then to the maypole or whatever. My point is, everything that allowed Big Momma’s House to transcend it’s reason for being and become a Hall of Fame BMT film is absent from this film. It was also absent from the other Big Momma films. It really is something quite special for comedies. This is just less than. Did it meet my expectations? No, in that it didn’t manage to roll into Big Momma territory, but yes in that that is what I expected. It is probably the same as A Kid in King Arthur’s Court or any of the number of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court adaptations.

Roast-radamus – Who What Where When Why How – Definitely a good Setting as a Character (Where?) film for England in general, and on a similar note a great Period Piece (When?) for taking place on an exact date in 1328. I don’t think there are good arguments for any of the others. There is a mysterious pendant, but that wouldn’t really qualify as anything unless Jamal had it taken from him the instant he was transported back in time, and then spent the entire film trying to get the inexplicably magically pendant back. I think it has the best shot at Good for the main superlatives.

StreetCreditReport.com – 2001 was a weird year because there weren’t really any lists of bad movies that year. I’m actually not sure if it predated the trend of online worst-of lists or what. I do think this is probably the best of the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court films, although it is likely one of the worst time travel comedies ever made. It mostly has cred for catching Martin Lawrence right around his Imperial Period. This might actually mark the turning point in Lawrence’s film career where his projects wouldn’t be immediately greenlit.

You Just Got Schooled – Now, I could have watched A Knight in Camelot starring Whoopi Goldberg, but I have plenty of time (and other films) I could do that with. It had occurred to me that despite seeing Martin a number of times somewhat randomly on Fox (and rerunning on cable channels) I had never really sat down and watched an episode. So I watched the pilot … it’s incredible. First, the show is actually quite good I think. Lawrence is manic and funny, and you can immediately see why he became a movie star in the late 90s/early 00s using the exact same formula. Second, Big Momma is in the show! Well, she isn’t fat, but Martin plays a number of characters in the show (interesting, considering it is a multi-camera sitcom filmed in front of a studio audience (I assume, it looks like it), including his own mother who has exactly the same mannerisms as Big Momma. The whole thing is a revelation in a way. Tisha Campbell is by far the best part of the show though, funny and a perfect foil to Martin’s silliness. I watched the pilot for Mad About You a few years ago and had a similar reaction, but it always surprises me how distinct sitcoms were in the 90s. In my mind they all kind of blend together, but naturally they all have their distinct hooks (in this case Lawrence playing multiple characters, and his trademark energy). A. I’m really liking going back and watching some of these old shows in the course of BMT.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Black Knight Quiz

Oh man, last thing I remember I saw this sweet necklace in a pond, fell in, and now it seems I’ve travelled back in time! I must have bopped my head on something in the temporal vortex. Do you remember what happened in Black Knight?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) When we meet Jamal he’s a cynical employee of a run down Los Angeles amusement park. Just prior to going back in time he plans to quit his job. Why?

2) Once back in time Jamal meets Sir Knolte of Marlborough, a disgraced knight. Why is he so disgraced?

3) Jamal quickly finds himself at a castle and very easily infiltrates the king’s court. Who do they think Jamal is, and why were they expecting him?

4) Jamal eventually does get caught and sentenced to death. How does he (and his friends) escape the clutches of the evil king?

5) At the end of the film they do a classic sequel setup (although the sequel makes no sense since there isn’t much else Jamal needs to learn … but whatever). Where does Jamal end up the second time through the temporal vortex?

Answers

1) He’s going to quit his job in order to try and get an even better job at a competing medieval amusement park that is opening nearby. Little does he know he’s about to learn a valuable lesson in service to one’s community.

2) He was disgraced because when the Queen was overthrown by the eeeeeeeeevil King, Sir Knolte escaped with his life instead of dying defending her. Later it is revealed that rather than condemn his for cowardice, the Queen valued his intelligence in escaping to fight another day.

3) They think Jamal is a messenger from Normandy. They are expecting such a messenger to arrive concerning the eventual arrival of a suitor for the King’s daughter from Normandy. Little do they know that, as Jamal will astutely observe, that the King’s daughter is a “freak” and the wedding will never happen as a result. It’s pretty gross.

4) They are sprung free by the defenders of the displaced queen who are lead by Victoria, a chambermaid of the court and secret resistance fighter. While Jamal initially fails to escape, he is picked up by Sir Knolte who finds his courage in saving Jamal’s life.

5) He ends up basically in the film Gladiator. It doesn’t make much sense because he really didn’t have much time to become cynical again or become in need of some other lesson. Plus I don’t think they ever intended on making a sequel.

Riiiiiight, that is what actually happened. I went back in time for no discernable reason … welp, better save this medieval kingdom from a tyrant, see you guys later!

Black Knight Preview

As John Travolta dances his heart out in their dreamworld, Rich and Poe’s heart sink deeper with each hip thrust. Travolta is bringing the heat like a sultry night in Havana. “It’s just so dirty,” Rich says in stunned admiration. “Filthy, really,” Poe agrees, his bright eyes brimming with tears. Breathing hard and wiping sweat from his well bronzed and eerily smooth brow, Travolta manages to just gasp out, “That’ll… show you… what it’s like.” Confused, Rich and Poe temporarily fear that what they have truly won’t be enough and perhaps they will know what it’s like. Knowing that fear can’t stop them trying, they nonetheless start their mesmerizing twin dance routine. Years of training have perfected not only their physiques, but also their dance moves. They move in unison and Travolta’s eyes bug out in amazement. But it’s not enough. Poe’s jaw clenches in frustration as even their dirtiest of dance routines can’t match Travolta’s absolutely disgusting moves. Rich still shows no fear, though, and just as the sweat on their muscles hits peak magnitude he signals to Poe and they simultaneously rip off their shirts, leaving them clad only in their sweat-soaked jorts. The beam of light bursts from Rich’s chest and gleams off Poe’s sweaty pectoral muscles. It’s like a supernova and in the blinding brightness they hear a final “nooooooooooo… never forget meeeeeeee!” from Travolta. As their eyes adjust, they find themselves in a boggy swamp and hear the faint words of Travolta, “Now all of time and all of Earth is our Battlefield.” They know this is the fourth and final trial. They just don’t know when it is. Suddenly a armor clad knight gallops up to the swamp and cocks his head, “Sirs Sklogsalot? What are you doing in that swamp?” he asks. That’s right! We’re watching Black Knight starring Martin Lawrence where he is transported back to the Middle Ages a la A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. We’re really watching it because of the promise of Big Momma’s House. If it can approach even a fraction of that film then we’ll be in a good spot. Let’s go!

Black Knight (2001) – BMeTric: 65.5; Notability: 39 

(The rating is a lot lower than I would have expected, which is basically the entire reason the BMeTric is so high. You know what is a bit odd? I feel like when I started making these plots it looked like the IMDb votes were just increasing with no bound. I think this makes it a bit more clear that around 2011 (which I previously pinpointed to the moment IMDb got a phone app) the vote counts increased, and now the votes are mostly tailing off for older films … could be. Only time will tell.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  A 21st-century homeboy who works at a run-down medieval theme park is magically transported back to 14th century England, where he must use his wits to survive, and forms an alliance with a disgraced knight (Wilkinson) to help restore a deposed queen to the throne. Comedy vehicle for Lawrence gives you pretty much what you expect, though it would have meant a lot more if a better more famous actress had played the queen.

(Interesting to condemn the film partially on just not getting a big actress for the queen? Although I guess I could see it. It would be like if you got a rando to play the part of the escaped convict in Big Momma’s House. Some of the power of the film is that they kind of randomly have Terrence Howard as the headliner of the B-plot of the film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw7dzS8UJ4Q/

(The ending there is not what you want. As a matter of fact for family entertainment the trailer gives the impression of a much more sexually explicit film that one would expect.  But otherwise the film looks a bit like Big Momma’s House,  a vehicle for Lawrence’s brand of very physical and brash humor.)

Directors – Gil Junger – (Known For: Think Like a Dog; 10 Things I Hate About You; BMT: Black Knight; Notes: Huge television director, probably most notable for 29 episodes of Ellen for which he was nominated for an Emmy. Seems to work on kids’ programming mostly these days.)

Writers – Darryl Quarles (written by) (as Darryl J. Quarles) – (BMT: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Big Momma’s House 2; Black Knight; Big Momma’s House; Notes: The Big Momma sequels are actually just characters, so this is the one true big budget follow up to Big Momma. He was a producer on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.)

Peter Gaulke (written by) – (Known For: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Future BMT: The Babymakers; BMT: Black Knight; Say It Isn’t So; Strange Wilderness; Notes: Was a gymnast at UCLA and would work his skills into his comedy routines when he was coming up. Wrote for SNL.)

Gerry Swallow (written by) – (Known For: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs; Ice Age 2: The Meltdown; Future BMT: The Babymakers; Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie; Ratchet & Clank; BMT: Black Knight; Say It Isn’t So; Notes: Was a stand-up comedian in Seattle before moving to LA. Clearly was the writing partner with Gaulke for a time, although not recently it would seem. Writes under the pen name Dr. Cuthbert Soup.)

Actors – Martin Lawrence – (Known For: Bad Boys for Life; Do the Right Thing; Bad Boys; The Beach Bum; Life; House Party; Boomerang; Death at a Funeral; Open Season; Future BMT: College Road Trip; Rebound; National Security; What’s the Worst That Could Happen?; Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins; House Party 2; Blue Streak; A Thin Line Between Love and Hate; Bad Boys II; Nothing to Lose; BMT: Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son; Big Momma’s House 2; Black Knight; Big Momma’s House; Wild Hogs; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son in 2012; Notes: Television star with Martin in the 90s, and then movie star in the 00s. After his divorse he seemed to kind of retire until the Bad Boys For Life this year. Notably almost died while running in extreme heat in preparation for Big Momma’s House.)

Marsha Thomason – (Known For: Priest; Future BMT: The Haunted Mansion; Long Time Dead; The Tripper; My Baby’s Daddy; Caffeine; BMT: Black Knight; Notes: British. Mostly a television star including a long stint on White Collar, and 11 episodes of Lost.)

Tom Wilkinson – (Known For: Selma; Batman Begins; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Burden; Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; The Patriot; Michael Clayton; Sense and Sensibility; Rush Hour; In the Name of the Father; RocknRolla; Snowden; Valkyrie; Shakespeare in Love; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; The Green Hornet; In the Bedroom; Belle; The Ghost; Future BMT: The Titan; Good People; Jenny’s Wedding; The Samaritan; Burke and Hare; The Catcher Was a Spy; Essex Boys; A Good Woman; A Business Affair; Little Boy; BMT: Black Knight; Unfinished Business; The Lone Ranger; The Choice; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars (In the Bedroom, and Michael Clayton). A huge character actor, especially in the 90s and early 00s.)

Budget/Gross – $50,000,000 / Domestic: $33,426,971 (Worldwide: $39,976,235)

(Pretty horrible bomb. It is pretty surprising Big Momma’s House 2 was made considering that. Although maybe 9/11 played a part in the depressed box office in the end.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (14/98): Black Knight feels like a lazily constructed movie, filled with lame gags and constant mugging from Lawrence.

(Constant mugging from Lawrence? What else are you expecting? Did you watch Martin? Did you watch Big Momma’s House? Bizarre consensus take. Reviewer Highlight: Martin Lawrence [stars] as a theme park worker who falls into a scummy moat and surfaces in the Middle Ages — perhaps in search of people who would find his humor fresh and original. No such luck. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper.)

Poster – Sir Sklogsalot

(This is a shockingly bad poster. Like… parody poster made as a prop for a different film level of bad. I can give it some props for trying to do something with the font but that’s basically it. It’s actually hard to look at. D.)

Tagline(s) – He’s About To Get Medieval On You. (B)

(It works. This got me thinking about where and when this phrase became popular enough to be a tagline. “Getting medieval on your ass” seemed pretty current. Turns out it is. Popularized in Pulp Fiction. A mere seven years and it’s headlining a major motion picture. Not the most clever, but as I said, does the trick.)

Keyword – time travel

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Back to the Future (1985), Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Interstellar (2014), Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991), Back to the Future Part II (1989), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016), Deadpool 2 (2018)

Future BMT: 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 62.9 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014), 59.5 Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015), 56.2 Land of the Lost (2009), 50.0 The Sin Eater (2003), 49.3 Mannequin: On the Move (1991), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 43.0 Freejack (1992), 34.4 Il mondo di Yor (1983), 33.6 The Time Machine (2002);

BMT: Assassin’s Creed (2016), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), The Lake House (2006), Jumper (2008), Timeline (2003), Lost in Space (1998), Paycheck (2003), Black Knight (2001), Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996), The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007), A Sound of Thunder (2005)

(Wow we’ve watched a ton of these! Seems pretty consistent over time. Maybe depressed a bit in the late-90s, although I don’t really have a theory as to why. I’m excited to watch Freejack if I have to choose any of the films in the Future BMT list.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Martin Lawrence is No. 1 billed in Black Knight and No. 3 billed in Wild Hogs, which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – The scene where Princess Regina trips over her bed sheets was not scripted, Jeannette Weegar really did trip and fall, but the director liked it so it was kept and put in the final cut.

Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism helped in the historical recreation of this movie by providing consulting work and playing as extras. (Ha!)

Chris Tucker was originally cast as Jamal Walker. (Huh, interesting. So I assume Quarles was hired onto the film to rewrite once they secured Martin Lawrence)

Martin Lawrence was paid $20 million for his work on the film.

In the DVD commentary, it was said that the black horse that Jamal rode at the end of his dream was taught to rear on command.

Based on the book “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” by Mark Twain

The film was rushed by Fox after the attacks on 9/11 to be released much sooner than it was intended. The film was slated for a Winter/Spring 2002 release and had just started the post-production process when Director Gil Junger and was called by the studio to speed up the editing on the film for a November 2001 release date to capitalize on family friendly entertainment, comedies, dramas and thrillers which some studios were filling with after having to reschedule films that were deemed too sensitive for that period of time. (Pretty gross)

The second of two films starring Martin Lawrence in 2001. The other was “What’s The Worst That Could Happen?” co-starring Danny DeVito.

In the Army Now Recap

Jamie

Bones and Jack are a couple of slackers with big dreams for an electronics store. To pursue this they accept an easy check from the National Guard assuming they would never see action. Wrong. They are immediately called into Chad on the verge of war. Can these unlikely heroes save the day (and perhaps get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… In the Army Now.

How?! Bones and Jack are a couple of cra-a-a-zy boys (to use their parlance) who are fired from their job at an electronics store for mostly being slackers. Immature dreamers, they have hopes of opening their own electronics store, but don’t have the money (or talent, really). Enter the National Guard, which will pay them some money to be weekend warriors. Once they are in the army they are confronted with the harsh realities of boot camp. They probably goof off and almost get kicked out, right? Wrong. They are model soldiers and grow into more responsible adults. In fact, after they leave boot camp for the water purification unit they are top of their class with their teammates Fred and Christine. Upon graduation they revert to their immature, partying ways until they are shockingly called up to the front lines of a potential war in Chad. After attempting to get out of deployment through pure, distilled homophobia, they finally accept their mission. In Chad things get tough when Bones is targeted and harassed by a macho special forces soldier… and then even tougher when their truck breaks down during a mission… and then even tougher when Bones drives them into the desert where their other truck gets stuck… and then even tougher when they wander through the desert on the verge of death. But through his leadership they are able to make it to an oasis… but then it gets tough again when they are captured by Libyan forces. At the Libyan base they find the special forces soldier injured and they all manage to escape during an air strike. Finding some sweet dune buggies dropped for the special forces they are ready to leave Libya, but are ordered back to complete the mission of taking out the Libyan chemical weapons. During the dangerous mission Bones leads the group to victory and the missiles are destroyed. Back home they open their electronics store and show how much the Army helped them be all that they can be. THE END.

Why?! That sweet green, duh. One interesting aspect of the film is that Bones and Jack are immature and all that, but once they actually join the army they are pretty immediately improved for the better. We are supposed to see them backslide into their immature ways when first called up to Chad, but the rest of the film they are not just competent, but perfectly good at their jobs. Even when they are put in a horrific position by the Army, they step-up and get it done. Afterwards they have improved so much on a personal and professional level that I actually did believe they had a decent shot at making the electronics store work.

Who?! This is, of course, the last film in which Bredan Fraser appeared as his star-making character Link. A main character in Encino Man, he then shows up for cameos in both Son in Law and then this film. Hasn’t aged particularly well at this point… I’d love to see someone’s reaction to that now if they had never seen (or probably heard) of Encino Man… I know, hard to believe, but I imagine that the youngsters these days aren’t popping down to Hollywood Video to grab a copy of that comedy gem.

What?! This is one giant advertisement for the military, which is a bit difficult to swallow. It’s even mentioned in a paper about the propaganda model in Hollywood. The paper argues that despite the reputation of Hollywood as liberal, pretty much every film about the military is primarily pro-military. Given this film, I tend to agree.

Where?! This is what this whole cycle was built for. Starting in California (and then likely moving from there to Oklahoma for basic training), we end up shipping off to Chad… what are the chances? The characters ping pong between there and Libya for pretty much the rest of the film. Interesting that it even has a role to play in the plot, as Lori Petty’s character mentions she chose water purification as a specialty because of the likely war in Chad and the need for such a service. Gotta give it an A just for that.

When?! I honestly don’t know. This is one of those films where there is a good chance there is some hidden information regarding when it takes place, but it’s not apparent for the viewer. Our only recourse is to get an original print of the film and scour the high-definition stills for the evidence. Until then this is an F.

This is… not a funny movie. Kinda hamstrings it for anyone who would even try to say it’s good. I’m not one of those people. It’s certainly not an offensive movie… or at least I wasn’t offended by how bad it was. It does have a pretty gross homophobic scene in the middle, though, where Bones and Jack try to get out of going to Chad by pretending to be lovers. Unconvinced, the commander requests that they kiss to prove it (even more offensive) at which point Bones and Jack resign themselves to the possibility that they may die. But besides that it flows along with Jack and Bones proving at each step that they are learning and maturing due to the time spent in the military. Overall, it’s impossible to say that I enjoyed the movie. To say that would be to say that I like not funny and periodically offensive “comedies”… but I guess I didn’t think it was the worst. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Amazingly we never watched a Shore film in the 500+ films for BMT. He was a star that shone so bright for an instant, and this is probably the least popular of his five major films. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I’ve (obviously) seen all of the Pauly Shore starring vehicles growing up given that I was his target demo in 1995 … except for this one. Until now. All I really knew about In the Army Now was that it was never really on television and seemed boring whenever I happened across it. Funny enough the notes suggest Pauly Shore’s agents were like “don’t do this, just be the weasel. Being something you aren’t is going to ruin your career” … and I distinctly remember just not being interested in the film partially because it didn’t really seem like a Pauly Shore film. Sounds like his agents nailed it. What were my expectations? To be bored. There was very little going for this. It isn’t that it is the worst Shore film of that era (that would be interesting). It is that it is the most uninteresting of the five films he starred in.

The Good – Weirdly, after a bit of a rough start, this film is probably Shore at his most charming. The weasel character is only funny when you are like 10 years old. As an adult I’m sure I would find Jury Duty and Bio-Dome especially grating. But here he seems like just a vaguely silly dude? It oddly works in what is mostly just a not very funny and not very interesting film. I thought the ensemble of Shore, Dick, Grier, and Petty was actually very cool. They work as a bunch of misfits who mature in the context of army training. Which brings me to the army storyline. It’s propaganda and a bit odd … but it is nice to see an anti-Stripes. Instead of the army changing to accommodate the silly slacker, the silly slacker matures to fit the army. I’ll get back to that in my You Just Got Schooled section.

The Bad – The film isn’t funny. Not at any moment. The film is also too obviously propaganda. That is the danger with going with that anti-Stripes track. Stripes, by making the army change to accomodate Bill Murray, ends up very earnestly poking fun at the U.S. military and thus doesn’t feel like propaganda. In the Army Now just feels like the message is “the army will mature you and make you a better person … join the army.” Just how mustache-twirling-ly evil the Libyans are in the film is also a little off. It doesn’t quite have the same amusing Cold War era needling of the Russians. Much like all of 90s U.S. foreign policy, it feels like they were just searching for a villain to fit the bill. What else … I mean the film is boring and unfunny, would not recommend. The end.

The BMT – We’ll finish off the Pauly Shore films eventually. That is the BMT legacy. And obviously the mapl.d.map aspect. There is very little chance another film will come along which takes place predominantly in Chad. So it’ll always have that going for it. As a matter of fact, it is possible this is the greatest obscure BMT setting we’ve ever had. I just wish the film was just a bit more good-bad. Did it meet my expectations? Yup, this film is almost precisely what I expected (except Shore being a competent soldier, that was unexpected). Unfunny, but it’s biggest crime is just being uninteresting. There are worse Shore films, and more entertaining Shore films, better Shore films, and weirder Shore films … this is the “other” Shore film.

Roast-radamus – I think this falls into a different category where a “team” is built. This is a decent team building movie. There is an odd Product Placement (What?) I think with the video game (3DO) playing at the top of the film … also it is a giant advertisement for the military as well. Obviously one of the greatest Setting as a Character (Where?) films as the film’s plot centers around an invasion of Chad. Otherwise I don’t think it’ll really have a chance at anything else … but hey, I think it has pretty good odds of snagging the Where? crown at the end of the year.

StreetCreditReport.com – It is amazing. Not only is the film not featured on any worst of lists for 1994 (including the Stinkers which gives dishonorable mentions to a ton of films), but I couldn’t even find it mentioned on worst military film lists! I think if I were to guess, it is because Son-in-Law was so well received, and the film doesn’t seem like a true travesty. Jury Duty would crater Shore’s career only one year later, so if anything this film only primed critics to wonder whether Shore had overstayed his welcome as a comedy star.

You Just Got Schooled – All of the reviews of this film focused on how this was very much not Stripes. If I hadn’t seen Stripes I would have watched that. Given that I had though I had to go a little deeper into the military comedy well: Private Benjamin. And there was a lot more in common with In the Army Now than I would have thought, particularly how Goldie Hawn matures via her training instead of the Army molding around her particular quirks. The movie itself has a strong performance by Hawn, but is very very scattered. The best bits are the basic training sequences in the middle third of the film. Then the film goes off the rails, with Hawn rising through the ranks extremely quickly, almost getting raped by her superior, parlaying that into an engagement to a rich French man, and then the film just ends with her breaking off the engagement leaving her out of the army and on the outs with her family … like what? Stripes also goes off the rails in the third act, so maybe this is just a military comedy thing. But in the end Hawn’s performance isn’t enough for me to actually recommend the film to anyone. So, much like with the In the Army Now reviews, just watch Stripes. It probably is the best military comedy ever made. C.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

In the Army Now Quiz

Huh, so I joined the army to try and commit a bit of light fraud, and I ended up in Chad of all places! The long short of it is my truck exploded and I got a pretty massive concussion and now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in In the Army Now?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Where do Pauly Shore and Andy Dick work prior to joining the army?

2) And how do they learn about the Army Reserve and that sweet sweet “free” money they are a-offering?

3) And further, why does Pauly Shore decide to join the water purification unit?

4) Who is part of Pauly Shore’s water purification team and what are their various quirks?

5) What was Libya’s plan of attack that Shore and his team foil at the end of the movie?

BONUS: Four animals play a big part in Shore’s adventures in the desert. What are they?

Answers

In the Army Now Preview

Rich and Poe plunge into the water. A slow motion shot shows them float slowly downward as sad music plays. They are seemingly dead and this is the end of their story… the end of their quest… the end of their world… or is it?! Suddenly a beam of light shoots from Poe’s chest pointing their way to safety. They swim like a couple of totally majestic dolphins and burst forth onto a beautiful beach, sputtering for air. They look around. Their surroundings are so exotic. Just being able to place their eyes on such a beautiful exotic location makes everything seem way better than it actually is. “I… don’t understand… is this a new quest? Or did they kill us? Also why did that random beam of light shoot from your chest out of nowhere to save our lives?” Rich has so many questions and yet Poe has no answers. He sniffs the air and he turns quickly to Rich in panic, “do you smell that?” Rich sniffs too and narrows his eyes. “Is that…” but before he can finish the thought they both scramble up the nearest sand dune and lay eyes on a sea of fire and desert. It was all a facade. An oasis in a world of shit. Suddenly a convoy of trucks come screaming through the fire and smoke to come to a screeching halt in front of them. A small military man steps out of the nearest car and looks them up and down before nodding to a nearby soldier. The soldier steps up to Rich and Poe and thrusts some guns into their hands. “Congratulations,” he says in an unidentifiable (but definitely not racist) accent, “General Tiniman has recruited you. You are officially in the army now.” That’s right! We’re watching the Pauly Shore classic In the Army Now, which is set in the African country of Chad for some reason. It is somehow the first of the five major Pauly Shore films that we’ve done for BMT, which seems like a mistake. Let’s go!

In the Army Now (1994) – BMeTric: 51.8; Notability: 41 

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(Great BMeTric obviously, and the notability is incredibly impressive. Looking through his filmography the notability for Shore-led films is always around 30-40. Sub-5.0 films are relatively rare. This is a film that was inevitable for BMT, and one I’m quite excited to actually see, since I’ve seen the other major Pauly Shore films.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Pauly is a pacifist who joins the army so he can “be all that he can be for free,” only to learn that there’s more to enlisting than receiving complimentary room and board. Latest in a long line of barracks comedies proves no competition for Buck Privates. Pauly’s fans might disagree. Brendan Fraser appears unbilled.

(Absolute deep cut with Buck Privates, a comedy from 1941. Just whip that ref out like it’s nothing. And yeah, I think between the two Iraq wars there was a sense of, I don’t know … comedy about the army again. That would obviously go away real quick in the 2000s. I can’t think of a comedy-army film that has come out since the 90s to be honest … A brief look suggests Delta Farce might be a rare breed indeed.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8WQ8sgWaVU

(Ha, they call Encino Man “California Man” in the beginning, so this trailer is maybe for European consumption? I had to change all of those in the autogenerated preview because I think that is what it is called in the UK. Other than that it looks like a Pauly Shore movie. If that is what “toning down” the weasel character was to the producers … I don’t know what to say really.)

Directors – Daniel Petrie Jr. – (Future BMT: Toy Soldiers; Stranded; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: Is the son of Daniel G. Petrie who won three Primetime Emmys, and Dorothy Petrie who won two Primetime Emmys. His brother, Donald Petrie, directed BMT classic Welcome to Mooseport.)

Writers – Steve Zacharias and Jeff Buhai  (story) – (Known For: Revenge of the Nerds; Future BMT: Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise; Johnny Be Good; Eddie; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: Long time writing partners. They released the Johnny Be Good screenplay as a book in the early 2000s.)

Robbie Fox (story) – (Known For: So I Married an Axe Murderer; BMT: In the Army Now; Playing for Keeps; Notes: Son of Charles Fox, a composer who was nominated for two Oscars for original songs in the 70s.)

Ken Kaufman (screenplay) – (Known For: The Expendables 2; Space Cowboys; The Missing; Curious George; Muppets from Space; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: In 2013 he wrote a novel called Ramblefoot.)

Stu Krieger (screenplay) – (Known For: The Land Before Time; Monkey Trouble; Future BMT: A Troll in Central Park; BMT: In the Army Now; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Where the Boys Are in 1985; Notes: Briefly wrote feature films in the mid-90s, he has mostly worked in television (both movies and shows). He developed the kid’s show Toot & Puddles.)

Daniel Petrie Jr. (screenplay) – (Known For: Beverly Hills Cop; Beverly Hills Cop II; Turner & Hooch; The Big Easy; Deadly Pursuit; Future BMT: Toy Soldiers; BMT: In the Army Now; Beverly Hills Cop III; Notes: Was was nominated for an Oscar for Beverly Hills Cop.)

Fax Bahr and Adam Small (screenplay) – (Known For: Bad Grandpa; Future BMT: Malibu’s Most Wanted; Son in Law; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: These guys worked on In Living Color and MadTV together. Just prior Bahr, to start his career, made Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, the acclaimed and award winning documentary about the making of Apocalypse Now.)

Actors – Pauly Shore – (Known For: A Goofy Movie; Pauly Shore Is Dead; Future BMT: Bio-Dome; Jury Duty; Sandy Wexler; The Wash; Encino Man; Son in Law; 18 Again!; Class Act; For Keeps?; BMT: Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; In the Army Now; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor in 1996 for Jury Duty; and in 1997 for Big Bully, Bio-Dome, Carpool, and The Stupids; Winner for Worst New Star of the Decade in 2000 for Bio-Dome, Encino Man, and Jury Duty; Winner for Worst New Star for Encino Man in 1993; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Century in 2000 for Bio-Dome, Encino Man, and Jury Duty; Notes: Debuted on MTV with Totally Pauly in the late 80s. From the 80s through 2010 he only actually starred in 5 films: Encino Man, Son-in-Law, In the Army Now, Jury Duty, and Bio-Dome. He hosts Random Rants on YouTube.)

Lori Petty – (Known For: A League of Their Own; Point Break; Free Willy; Tank Girl; Cadillac Man; Prey for Rock & Roll; Relax… It’s Just Sex; The Glass Shield; Future BMT: Dead Awake; Poetic Justice; BMT: In the Army Now; Notes: Was apparently originally cast in the Bullock role in Demolition Man, but left over creative differences. The Glass Shield was the last in a series of starring turns for her in the mid-90s.)

Andy Dick – (Known For: Old School; Road Trip; Laputa: Castle in the Sky; Zoolander; Dr. Dolittle 2; Funny People; The Cable Guy; Reality Bites; Hoodwinked; Permanent Midnight; For the Boys; Pauly Shore Is Dead; The Hebrew Hammer; Scotland, Pa.; The Independent; Future BMT: Inspector Gadget; The Comebacks; Happily N’Ever After; Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil; Blonde Ambition; Dude, Where’s My Car?; Loser; Employee of the Month; Bongwater; Best Men; Abducted; BMT: Zoolander 2; Double Dragon; In the Army Now; Notes: Allegedly reintroduced Phil Hartman’s wife to cocaine, something that would contribute to her murdering her husband and committing suicide. Had a years long feud with Jon Lovitz over it, although he denies any culpability. In the Army Now was a rare star turn for him, he was mostly a television actor (News Radio) and supporting comedic actor (like in Old School).)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $28,881,266 (Worldwide: $28,881,266)

(That’s kind of okay. $10 million less than Son in Law which is probably the benchmark they were looking at. This is the beginning of the end for his starring career. Jury Duty would make $17 million, and then Bio-Dome would make $13 million, and that was it, he wouldn’t star in a feature film (of consequence) again.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 6% (2/32): This 1994 Pauly Shore vehicle stretches its star’s thin shtick to the breaking point with a laugh-deficient screenplay that borrows shamelessly from Bill Murray’s far superior Stripes.

(The comparisons to Stripes are thick across all reviews. Would a movie like this made now draw such comparisons? Probably not. Just because its popularity (and the popularity of Bill Murray in general) has waned so much in the last 25 years. But it is interesting that a film made nearly 15 years later is getting condemned to comparing unfavorably to a classic … like, can people not make comedies about the military unless they are better than Stripes? Reviewer Highlight: The screenplay, work by five writers, based on a story by three others, seems to have been rewritten often enough that any individuality has been lost. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.)

Poster – Stupid Soldier

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(Hate the font. Hate the color. But I love the framing and think it’s a pretty well put together poster besides being aesthetically gross. B- Patrick’s Shallow Fake: Whenever these things compress they always look a bit off. Love that for no reason they have two totally different fonts. Decent shadow on my face this time, just needed to be a bit more matte? The idea behind the fake movie is that there is a super soldier serum that I take that makes me Captain America, but it also makes me super dumb for the duration of my super powers. Like … you can pay me for that spec whenever Netflix, the lines are open.)

Tagline(s) – America, sleep tight! The safety of the free world rests in his hands! (F)

(That is unpleasantly bad. Although now that Patrick is making parody posters and we have been trying to make up taglines for these films I do appreciate that there are probably larger forces at play a lot of the time when we get something bad like this. Like there is an obvious tagline in The Few, The Proud, The Stupid… but I think they had to tread carefully in their treatment of the military. So they went with something inoffensive but bad.)

Keyword – u.s. military

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Top 10: Midway (2019), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Top Gun (1986), Spider-Man (2002), Fury (2014), 2012 (2009), Platoon (1986), The Predator (2018), Stripes (1981), Black Hawk Down (2001)

Future BMT: 68.4 Delta Farce (2007), 34.4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), 33.5 Red Tails (2012), 30.4 The Monuments Men (2014), 27.8 Pearl Harbor (2001), 25.2 The Fifth Estate (2013), 23.2 The General’s Daughter (1999), 22.1 Renaissance Man (1994);

BMT: 2012 (2009), The Predator (2018), Hunter Killer (2018), The Mummy (2017), The Pacifier (2005), In the Army Now (1994)

(Vaguely ebbs and flows with things like the Cold War (peaking around 1990), and then post-9/11 … or maybe that is just the career of Michael Bay? Hard to tell. The kind of regular gaps in the 80s and 90s is interesting … makes me wonder if it has something to do with recruitment cycles for the U.S. military.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 23) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Art LaFleur is No. 7 billed in In the Army Now and No. 6 billed in Cobra, which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 7 + 6 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 23. If we were to watch Encino Man, and Extraordinary Measures we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – According to an interview, the scar on the back of Pauly Shore’s neck, visible when he first encounters the female drill sergeant, occurred during filming, when a shell casing ejected and landed on his neck, burning him. This scar is first visible when the barber turns him around after his haircut.

This is the third Pauly Shore movie to feature Brendan Fraser as Link in progressive life roles. The others are Encino Man (1992) (High School) and Son in Law (1993) (College).

Most of the basic training and war scenes were shot at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. A sign saying “Fort Sill” is clearly visible in one scene.

The video game Bones plays in the opening sequence is Return Fire (1994) for the 3DO.

In a 2017 interview with Joe Rogan, Pauly Shore admitted that this film was the beginning of the end of his movie career. While he enjoyed making it, and doesn’t regret doing it, he was offered the script when he was under a 3-film contract with Disney. He’d already made Encino Man (1992) and Son in Law (1993), which had been modest box office hits. Executives at New Line Cinema offered him a role in a film called “Totally London,” in which Shore would’ve continued a variation on his popular Weasel character. Disney CEO Jeffery Katzenberg refused to let Shore out of his contract. Disney bought the script from New Line Cinema, and decided to shelve it. Katzenberg then gave Shore the option to do this movie. Shore’s agents advised him against it because they thought the script was mediocre. They also felt audiences wouldn’t accept Shore without his usual Weasel style, since he would have to cut off all his hair in the beginning for the basic training sequences. Shore said he made the film because it was his only available choice at the time, and he desperately wanted to be on a movie set. When this movie earned less at the box office than his previous films, Disney wouldn’t let him make anymore movies for them. His next two films, Jury Duty (1995) and Bio-Dome (1996), were box-office failures, though the latter eventually gained a big cult following. (You can glean as much from his career trajectory. He started in supporting roles in major films, then made those five films as a leading man, and then immediately just churned out a bunch of supporting roles in non-theatrical films … it is bizarre, but he never really got many leading man roles for video releases. Just seems odd considering he was genuinely quite famous among teen audiences in the mid 90s)

Bones enlists as a Water Purification Specialist in the Army Reserve thinking he’ll be in safe position far from danger. In reality, a reserve water purification unit assigned to the 14th Quartermaster Detachment suffered the highest casualty rate of any American unit in the Gulf War. A Scud missile struck their barracks in Saudi Arabia, killing or wounded 81% of the soldiers of the unit. (Oooooooof, … could this have been a recruitment tactic to try and make that unit more appealing afterwards. I mean … assuming they are talking about the first Gulf War)

The script was originally much raunchier and was supposed to be Pauly Shore’s first R rated film similar to Stripes (1981). Disney rejected the original script due to Pauly Shore’s popularity at the time with teenage audiences and said the film could not exceed a PG-13 rating so the younger crowd could see it. The script then went through several changed and was toned down to its eventual PG rating.

Damon Wayans was considered for the role of Fred. He turned it down to work on Blankman (1994). (Wowza!)

Whoopi Goldberg was considered for the role of Drill Sergeant Ladd. She turned it down because she was filming Corrina, Corrina (1994). (Semi-wowza!)

Ed Quiz

Whoooooooo dogggy, the last thing I remember I was picking up this amazing ball player at the bus station. But then some animal knocked me on the noggin and I don’t remember anything else! Do you remember what happened in Ed?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) How do the coaches of the Santa Rosa Rockets decide on whether to cut a player after 30 days? What happens with LeBlanc? 

2) Why is Ed brought onto the team and where does he come from?

3) Why does LeBlanc seem to have terrible luck to start his single-A baseball career, why does he keep on getting smashed?

4) When Ed is subbed in for the first time he does something very special, so special the coach says it is the first time he’s ever seen such a thing. What is it? 

5) Eventually LeBlanc finds his luck, throws his fastball, and starts cooking with fire. How fast can LeBlanc allegedly throw a baseball?

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