The Hustle Recap

Jamie

Josephine Chesterfield is a conwoman extraordinaire living it up in the south of France. But when a less refined conwoman, Penny Rust, strolls into town they decide their isn’t room for both of them. They set up a contest to con a bumbling tech entrepreneur out of money, winner takes France. Can they con (or be conned?) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Hustle.

How?! Setting: French Riviera, Objective: Deception. That’s what life is all about for Josephine who, with the help of a local policewoman, takes monetary advantage of the many wealthy men who pass through her world. Unfortunately that world is about to be rocked by Penny Rust, a loud Australian bore whose rough exterior hides a cunning ability to dupe unsuspecting men. Josephine first tries to get rid of Penny by steering her to a different resort town. When that doesn’t work she gets her arrested and plays hero by freeing her and getting her on a one way ticket out of town. Finally, she takes Penny under her wing and mentors her in a game whereby they trick a man into proposing to Josephine only to have Penny, dressed as some kind of insane monster woman, scare them away, leaving behind the engagement ring. But when she insists that Penny go unpaid she leaves in a huff and everything seems great, right? Wrong! That’s because Penny is still hanging around cramping Josephine’s style. Only one thing left to do: a con-off. They pick a bumbling young entrepreneur, Thomas, as the mark and off they go. Zany adventures abound as Penny pretends to be blind and Josephine a prominent doctor. Oh boy oh boy. It sure is zany. Long story short it all predictably ends with Josephine and Penny becoming the marks (what a twist!) as Thomas turns the tables on them and steal their money out from under them. They are all angry until Thomas returns to rope them into joining up with him for even bigger better schemes (in the sequel? No? OK). THE END. Big Question: Did Thomas actually invent the app YaBurnt that Penny gushes over… because she clearly implies it’s real… so did he invent a popular app as part of a small potatoes con scheme?

Why?! Cash money, baby. Somewhere in the middle of the film Josephine makes some argument about how it’s really about using the fact that men underestimate women against them, but really everyone is just in it for the lettuce. The green. The cheddar. Dollah dollah bills y’all.

Who?! I love when there is a little story with a credit. Here we have a Special Thanks for Christian Louboutin and you’re all like ‘the shoes?’ Yes, apparently he got a Thanks credit for providing the shoes that Anne Hathaway wore for the film. I like that.

What?! There is quite a bit of product placement in this film, mostly regarding the fashion mentioned above (you want to buy Anne Hathaway’s shoes? Too late). But easily the most prominent is how Anne Hathway organizes her life with a variety of Apple products. You too can orchestrate elaborate cons with the help of an iPad!

Where?! Like the original film this is very French Riviera centric. In particular Beaumont-sur-Mer. We get those sites, we get those sounds, and really I don’t think this could be set anywhere else given the original.

When?! We got rescued by a last minute intertitle. Right after Thomas offers to partner with our leading ladies we flash forward “6 months later” where we see the end of a three-person caper they are pulling off in London. What do we see in that scene? A large Christmas decoration on the bank of the Thames. Last second Secret Holiday buzzerbeater! B.

I’m not sure I understand why this exists. It’s almost a shot-for-shot remake of a classic comedy… except every change they made (and there weren’t many) was for the worst, in particular a plot hole the size of the French Riviera. As mentioned in my big question I just can’t figure how it’s possible for Thomas to orchestrate a con which involves pretending to be a tech entrepreneur of a wildly popular app. The inventor of the app would be featured somewhere in the news… or have his picture somewhere on the internet, particularly since Penny estimates that the popularity of the app would make him immensely rich. Do they do no research? Not even a double check that the guy is who they think he is before going full bore on an all out con job of the dude? It’s leads to only one conclusion: they are in fact terrible con artists… or I guess two conclusions: this is a terrible film. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We are fully into the 2019 cycle now watching a critically panned comedy, The Hustle. It is I who will be conned by this movie? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – A remake of a classic 80s comedy is always foreboding, but this maybe could work? I mean, it obviously didn’t since we’re watching it for BMT, but there was an original movie, Bedtime Story starring Marlon Brando, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels seems to just be that, but with 80s comedy … so why not Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with 2010s comedy? I don’t really see why not. Plus with the gender swap you can sidestep comparisons with Steve Martin. What are my expectations? A not-funny, lazy, cynical piece of garbage. Why? Because there is no explanations for why a film that is mainly comedians pretending to be overly posh should be a disaster otherwise. It can only be because it isn’t funny and makes people sad.

The Good – I like Anne Hatheway a lot, I think the character she created here works very well, specifically the accent which she specifically designed to make you wonder if she was just an American pretending to be British. There is a single laugh in the film (Train Bitch) which I guess is above average? The vistas! How could I almost forget the vistas! There are wonderful vistas. I also think it is genuinely well directed. Evokes a bit of the old 60s British model work (but with CGI) I think … I think that makes sense.

The Bad – It is a lazy piece of garbage. Every single beat of the film is incredibly predictable AND is it just a shot for shot remake of the original! The biggest offender being that you can’t help but immediately know the tech millionaire is just another con man, which then kind of ruins the film. Saves me from saying Alex Sharp is bad since he is kind of supposed to be acting that way? He’s far more entertaining in the brief bit at the end where he is an exotic animal smuggler from Texas. It also somewhat loses the thread at points. Probably the weirdest bit is that set up a training montage and a Lord of the Rings grift (which is pretty fun to be honest) but all of that takes maybe 15 minutes? The rest of the film ends up kind of drowning in setting up the “big” tech grift which itself is a giant plot hole. Like … did Alex Sharp actually invent the app or did Hatheway just not do any research into him? I’m sure Jamie will get into that more.

The BMT – I will forget about this film in about 15 seconds, and blessedly there is little chance it’ll get the sequel it was desperate to set up at the end of the film. This film, The Intruder, and Countdown is giving me a sense of dread about bad movies. All of them seem to be … overly workshopped? That’s what it feels like at least. Like they reshot, recut, and re-edited everything 100 times via studio intervention and what you get is passively entertaining (at least not really boring or laughably bad), but mostly shiny garbage. Did it meet my expectations? Sigh, yeah. You can’t open a box marked A Shiny Piece of Cynical Garbage and be surprised when inside there is a shiny piece of cynical garbage. Cynical is probably not the right word … just worthless vaguely entertaining studio nonsense? Whatever, I can’t even be bothered to think this through further.

Roast-radamus – Great Setting as a Character (Where?) for the French Riviera, a classic of the original as well. Some very minor Product Placement (What?) as well with some Apple computer tech stuff floating around. Obviously Worst Twist (How?) for the final twist that Alex Sharp somehow invented an app worth billions and is also the grandson of the most famous grifter in the world. That’s wild. It will in contention mostly for Live!, but unlikely to be considered for the other tree awards.

StreetCreditReport.com – Again, it is a bit too early for all of the lists to be complete, but it did get a shoutout on this Looper article. And also this very strange looking iDaily article. It’ll probably win a few Razzies because it is a pretty high profile target in the end. And it is somewhere among the worst con-man films as well (actually as noted in the preview it is probably the worst film that is actually primarily about con-men).

You Just Got Schooled – You know I had to do it, because I had somehow managed to never see Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in my life. And I’m glad I did, because I lost a looooot of respect for The Hustle after watching it. The film isn’t just a remake, it is a carbon copy of the original! It makes no sense to do it this way because you are now competing with Steve Martin toe-to-toe on comedy chops alone. And you’ll lose that every time. The movie is an A+, just watch that instead of The Hustle. How would I have done The Hustle? I would have made the two leads Bill Hader and Anne Hatheway. Keep Hatheway’s character of the rich con woman who resent men for thinking they are smarter than her. And give Hader Steve Martin’s character’s attitude than it was about time men got a chance to take money from rich women. And have the battle be applied to a rich couple. No con man twist at the end, just then make them realize they kind of fancy each other instead (and they also get twice the money, since they got to con both the husband and the wife). Close with them in Morocco performing a con that sounds suspiciously like the plot of The Man Who Knew Too Much. Big bang boom, flawless Jimmy Stewart impression by Hader (in case you were wondering why I cast him). Call me in the morning Netflix, I’m done.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Hustle Quiz

So I was pulling off this sweet con when all of a sudden I slipped on a slippery floor, crashed into the wall, and a vase bopped me right on the ol’ noggin’. Long story short I think I have a massive concussion, because I don’t remember a thing about The Hustle. Do you?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Prior to becoming Hatheway’s protege, Wilson is seen committed three cons. What are they? What is Hatheway’s con when we are introduced to her?

2) What big con do Hatheway and Wilson pull off together (i.e. what are both of their parts, and what is the code name for the con)?

3) What was the app that Alex Sharp invented called / what did it do?

4) When trying to con Alex, Wilson pretends to have what affliction? How does Hatheway butt into the con?

5) In the end how much money does Alex Sharp steal from both of them? Also what is his relationship with Medusa, the extremely famous female con artist?

Answers

The Hustle Preview

Jamie and Patrick watch as Square HQ burns to the ground. “There’s no way Sticks and Stones got out, right?” Jamie asks, but even he can’t get his hopes up. A part of him knows that though they totally crushed Sticks and Stones’ groins rendering them seemingly incapacitated, they will be back to haunt them again. It was not their time to die. With that they thank the Rambos and turn to go. Jamie reaches out to the power in Patrick and *boop* they’re back in their apartment in Brooklyn. They discuss the future of the Rich and Poe project and how they now realize that they can only accomplish their goals together. “But you know what, making the bad Rich and Poe film can wait,” Patrick says, “this adventure through space and time to defeat Sticks and Stones shall be our final Rich and Poe masterpiece.” With studios knocking down their doors for the next Rich and Poe installment it’s not hard to get a meeting with all the big names in town, but when they finally sit down and are about to sign on the dotted line they hesitate. Is this film not their magnum opus? The film that will detail their life and passion? Be their legacy? Will they just let some big shot actors stroll in and again tie for the Best Actor Oscar? No! “We have one demand,” they say and the studio head chuckles. The franchise is a worldwide phenomenon and they will give them anything: gold. Yachts. Gold yachts. Name it. “We want to star,” Jamie and Patrick state to the shock of the studio head. He hesitates, “star? For real? Are you… are you hustling me?” That’s right! We’re watching the 2019 remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Hustle starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson. I only know one thing about this film: it’s always playing on about 50% of the video screens on airplanes. People can’t get enough of The Hustle when they have very few other options. Let’s go!

The Hustle (2019) – BMeTric: 48.1; Notability: 25

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(You know … first the BMeTric is very high for a film that came out so recently. Could just be weirdo Dirty-Rotten-Scoundrel fans kicking off online, who knows. But the notability is really low I feel like. Big comedies should typically have big guest stars … this is why I need to do some genre analyses for notability. I have no feel for the metric yet. I like it though, very interesting stuff.)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  “The Hustle,” a con comedy starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson, is light and slight and utterly forgettable as soon as it’s over. It is the kind of movie you watch on an airplane—perhaps on the way to someplace luxurious and relaxing like the South of France, the film’s setting—while falling in and out of naps.

(So pretty meh. Hmmmmmm, was there really not a better more interesting comedy to watch here. Quickly checking my notes suggests it was Madea or this so … well at least with this I have an excuse to watch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_j5hwooOHVE/

(I don’t know, that seems kind of like fun. I do need to watch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels though. I’ll be missing something if I don’t at the very least watch that one (if not the original as well))

Directors – Chris Addison – (BMT: The Hustle; Notes: Was a main cast member of The Thick of It, which in the US was semi-adapted into Veep (which he produced and also directed 13 episodes of).)

Writers – Stanley Shapiro (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Operation Petticoat; Pillow Talk; That Touch of Mink; Lover Come Back; Come September; For Pete’s Sake; BMT: The Hustle; Notes: Died in 1990, has the credit via Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He won an Oscar for Pillow Talk.)

Paul Henning (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Lover Come Back; BMT: The Beverly Hillbillies; The Hustle; Notes: Died in 2005, also has the credit via Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He was nominated for an Oscar for Lover Come Back.)

Dale Launer (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: My Cousin Vinny; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Ruthless People; Future BMT: Eddie; Love Potion No. 9; Blind Date; BMT: The Hustle; Notes: Son of actor S. John Launer. He claims to have written the line “dead on balls accurate” for Mona Lisa Vito in My Cousin Vinny. Appears to have been retired since the mid-90s.)

Jac Schaeffer (screenplay by) – (Known For: TiMER; BMT: The Hustle; Notes: A writer on the upcoming Black Widow film and WandaVision Disney+ television show. Appears to maybe be the only original writer credited for the film.)

Actors – Anne Hathaway – (Known For: The Dark Knight Rises; Interstellar; Les Misérables; Ocean’s Eight; The Devil Wears Prada; Brokeback Mountain; Alice in Wonderland; Love & Other Drugs; The Princess Diaries; Don Jon; Colossal; The Intern; Get Smart; Rio; Ella Enchanted; Rio 2; Rachel Getting Married; Becoming Jane; Havoc; Neko no ongaeshi; Future BMT: Serenity; The Princess Diaries 2; Passengers; Song One; Alice Through the Looking Glass; Don Peyote; The Other Side of Heaven; BMT: Bride Wars; The Hustle; Valentine’s Day; Notes: Married to Adam Shulman, and is expecting their second child relatively soon.)

Rebel Wilson – (Known For: Jojo Rabbit; Isn’t It Romantic; Pitch Perfect; Bridesmaids; Pain & Gain; Pitch Perfect 2; How to Be Single; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Bachelorette; Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie; Future BMT: Pitch Perfect 3; A Few Best Men; Grimsby; Small Apartments; Struck by Lightning; Ice Age: Continental Drift; BMT: Ghost Rider; The Hustle; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Notes: Her two sisters appear to have competed in The Amazing Race Australia at some point, which is fun. Although they only managed two episodes.)

Alex Sharp – (Known For: To the Bone; How to Talk to Girls at Parties; BMT: The Hustle; Notes: Won a Tony in 2015 for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.)

Budget/Gross – $21 million / Domestic: $35,417,038 (Worldwide: $95,017,038)

(That is actually probably pretty good. Although I’m sure the expectation was higher, you’d maybe want $50 for a comedy, but worldwide that isn’t horrible.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (21/149): The Hustle’s stars might make an effective comedy team in a different setting, but this gender-flipped remake of a remake adds little beyond its feminine twist.

(Hmmmm that doesn’t sound great. Neither does all the reviews suggesting it feels super long because it is boring. Like this one … Reviewer Highlight: Even with a running time of 93 minutes, The Hustle felt about an hour too long. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times.)

Poster – The Hustle and Bustle (B-)

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(Striking poster. Truly awful font. And a classic case of really just using the stars for the marketing and not really needing the poster to tell a story. Obviously smart, when that’s your strength. Bumping it up because the color really does draw the eye. Very memorable.)

Tagline(s) – They’re giving Dirty Rotten Men a run for their Money. (D)

(God damn it. Why? Why would you willingly draw even more comparisons to the classic comedy that you are remaking? Also, is that really the audience you are trying to draw in? People who know what Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is? Don’t you want young people or something? I just really hate self-referential taglines.)

Keyword – con-artist;

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Top 10: Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019), A Simple Favour (2018), The Big Lebowski (1998), The Hustle (2019), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017), Ocean’s Eight (2018), Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Now You See Me (2013), Catch Me If You Can (2002), Zootropolis (2016); 

Future BMT: 87.9 Street Fighter (1994), 44.8 The Pest (1997), 43.0 Dunston Checks In (1996), 41.0 Boiling Point (1993), 40.1 What’s the Worst That Could Happen? (2001), 38.3 The Nut Job (2014), 36.8 The Brothers Grimm (2005), 36.5 House Party 2 (1991), 35.2 Duplex (2003), 34.4 My Best Friend’s Girl (2008); 

BMT: The Hustle (2019), The Three Musketeers (2011), Striptease (1996), Maximum Overdrive (1986), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993)

(The lull from around 2004 to 2014 is interesting. 2014 is basically Focus and Now You See Me. The early 2000s is basically Ocean’s Eleven and its various knock-offs. I think out of all of the future BMT The Pest is probably the weirdest and most interesting since against all odds I’ve already seen that film. Looking at the BMT list this is the first movie where a con is front and center to the plot of the film. Looking back at the future options, those do seem rare.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Anne Hathaway is No. 1 billed in The Hustle and No. 1 billed in Bride Wars, which also stars Kate Hudson (No. 2 billed) who is in Mother’s Day (No. 3 billed), which also stars Jennifer Aniston (No. 1 billed) who is in Just Go With It (No. 2 billed), which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 20. If we were to watch Serenity, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – Because the film’s PG-13 rating was originally an “R,” Rebel Wilson had to go out and argue with the board that the film was no raunchier than similar comedies that had received PG-13 ratings featuring male actors. Her efforts prevailed.

Anne Hathaway said in an interview on Good Morning America (aired on 5/7/19) that she avoided performing a traditional English accent for this film. She said that audiences know she’s American and could potentially scoff at her numerous English characters. So, because her character Josephine is a con artist, Hathaway performed as if maybe Josephine is not actually English at all but speaks in an English accent as another con.

On the Stephen Colbert show Anne Hathaway revealed that her ad lib line “Well that was unexpected” was based on a time when her father was given the wrong medicine and had to sleep it off in her apartment. He slipped and fell in the bathroom and hit his head. While she was alarmed and asking if he was all right, said “Well that was unexpected.”

Filmed in Mallorca.

The airport scene is filmed at Farnborough Airport in front of the terminal building. (That’s in London BTW, for private jets basically)

This is advertised as a remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) starring Steve Martin, Michael Caine and Glenne Headly. “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” is actually a remake of Bedtime Story (1964) with Marlon Brando, David Niven and Shirley Jones. (Interesting, I’ll want to watch both of those I imagine, sigh)

Alex Gaumond, the actor playing the Waiter on the Train featured at the beginning of the official movie trailer, is an Olivier Award nominated actor who starred in the stage adaptation of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” at the Savoy Theatre, in London’s West End. In the stage production, he starred opposite Robert Lindsay and played the role of Freddy Benson, which was played by Steve Martin in the original 1988 movie Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), and by Rebel Wilson in this remake.

Lost & Found Recap

Jamie

Dylan Ramsey’s love life is a total mess at the exact moment that a stunningly beautiful, professional cello player moves in next door. Realizing he’s in love he does anything to win her affection, including steal her dog so they can search for it together. Can he… give the dog back to her, I guess (and perhaps get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Lost & Found.

How?! Act I: Dylan Ramsey is a restaurateur extraordinaire in need of THE BIG LOAN, but his love life is a disaster. Just then he meets his new neighbor, Lila, and immediately knows this smart, super attractive, talented woman is perfect for him: a self-confident loser. If only she also had the self-confidence to realize it! Luckily the power of positivity is destined to bring them together. Or is it? Bum bum bum. That’s because Lila’s scummy ex-boyfriend, Rene, who totally cheated on her and didn’t foster her self-confidence, is in town. Uh oh! What’s a boy to do? You know, other than never go to work and steal Lila’s dog so that she all day searching for it with you. And so his life as a dognapper is born. Act II: The whole middle of the film is mostly him making snide remarks to Rene and lamenting having to spend a bunch of time with a lame dog that totally ate his best friend’s anniversary ring that he conveniently had to hold onto (that’s just good writing). Act III: Things come to a head at the big party Dylan’s restaurant is holding to try to secure THE BIG LOAN. Coincidentally Lila is also there so that she can speak to the head of the philharmonic to try to get a job. There’s a scene where Dylan sings Neil Diamond and totally gets THE BIG LOAN, but at the same time Lila finds out that he has her dog. Oh no! After a while of moping around Dylan finds that Lila actually forgives him for his transgressions and takes him back and they smooch a whole bunch. THE END. The film hinges on a regressive “low self-esteem woman needs the right man to fulfill her promise” plot with Dylan espousing the self-help stylings of The Secret. Dylan’s advice is to dream big, have confidence, and good things will happen. So the big question: Did Dylan imagine Lila into existence through the power of positive thinking?

Why?! Love, duh… at least as far as the “romantic” storyline goes. He’s smitten with Lila and all the insane things he does is tied up in that. She actually doesn’t seem as interested in love at the moment. She’s fresh out of a toxic relationship and just trying to find work in a new country (we could analyze exactly what kind of visa she has all day but I’ll spare you). Then there is the background business loan that Dylan needs to expand his successful (?) restaurant… but I choose to ignore that. Oh and a minor B-plot MacGuffin Alert as Dylan really needs to find the engagement ring he’s been tasked to keep safe… but no one else cares about that.

Who?! Movie Within A Movie Alert! Another rare type here as portions of a fake movie about a kid who has to shoot his own dog were shot for the film. The kid? Frankie Muniz. Speaking of dogs, I also appreciate when the canine actor is given an actual credit in the film. In this case Jack was played by Cody. Good dog.

What?! There are a number of small product placements, including an extended shot of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue and the forced consumption of Pepto-Bismol by a dog. I do love when there is something in there that is so small you can’t even think of how or why it would be product placement. Like there is a moment when a character is drinking conspicuously from an Orange Julius cup… did Orange Julius pay for that? If yes, why?

Where?! This is obviously set in California. From the beautiful vistas to the California license plates to the Dodgers paraphernalia. If that was it, I think I’d land this at C+/B- territory. However, there are two scenes set explicitly in the Hollywood Bowl… which means this probably jumps all the way up to an A-.  

When?! Because I’m insane, I went back through the film and made sure we couldn’t get an exact date. The closest we get is the Victoria’s Secret catalogue that Dylan gets in the mail. Clearly says Spring ‘98 on the cover and he’s getting the new issue so it is a rough estimate. Too bad I couldn’t find when those magazines were released more precisely. D+

Anyway, overall the film is pretty lightweight all-around and is particularly embarrassing at the end when Dylan secures the big loan from Martin Sheen by dressing up and singing a Neil Diamond song. I shudder even thinking about it. As for the Friend we brought, Soultaker starring Joe Estevez was a pretty enjoyable film to watch. It plot is thin, but the acting and writing are off the hook. The main actor in particular is just so weird it’s almost like meta-acting. Almost like he looked at the role and decided to play the type of actor that would take such a role instead of the role itself. The ending is nonsense too. Not bad in my opinion. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I was lost, but now … I am found. All it took was a meandering story about a vulgar restauranteur with a heart of gold. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I would have thought this film on first blush was a Happy Madison joint. In reality it seemed like a weird Spade vehicle that might have started as a Spade/Farley buddy comedy that was retrofitted after Farley’s death. Late 90s Something About Mary clones are maybe a blind spot for me, so that was probably the most interesting bit. What are my expectations? I would just be happy if there is enough gay panic, gross humor, and racial stereotypes to remind be that “yup, this is what comedies used to be like”. It was a wildly different time.

The Good – I genuinely liked Spade and how they made a big part of the film the idea that he needs to get this woman to know him because he comes across as a jerk. This is something that gets glossed over elsewhere: the sarcastic schlubby guy needs to have a sweet and funny side to make the mutual attraction at the center of the film make sense. I had one good chuckle which, again, is above average. We’ll get to the intricacies of the plot in the next section, but it is a surprisingly coherent plot given together it has to hold about five different threads together (main romantic storyline, restaurant needs a loan, Spade needs to hold his friend’s ring, French ex-beau in town, Spade’s employee is obsessed with him).

The Bad – Oh boy, the gay panic, child rape jokes, a hard f-bomb. It was a wild time indeed. The storyline is one of the best examples of the “plot cloud” I’ve ever seen. And little of it makes much sense … like, why is this bank allowing this restaurant to cater an event as part of a loan application (I know I know, Spade did it at cost, but why would Martin Sheen give a shit?)? Why does Sheen basically say loans aren’t based on money … and then turns around and gives the loan after Spade lip-syncs some Neil Diamond?! None of it makes sense. And finally, while it is clear the bad guy is a bad guy because he cheated on Lila we are told … most of his actions during the film make him look fine? He’s clearly controlling and smarmy, but Spade is kind of mean and inconsiderate to his friends as well. I can absolutely see why Leonard Maltin thought the bad guy came across as better than Spade during the film, especially at the time.

The BMT – It is weak. I think you can add it to the repertoire of late-90s and SNL-alum comedies. But the film isn’t over the top with the weirdness that you have to show it to people. Like, there isn’t a four minute long gay panic scene or anything, which would have made the movie a bit more must-see. We’ll see more Spade films, specifically Black Sheep with Farley qualifies. Did it meet my expectations? I feel like we are on an interesting streak of films kind of half meeting my expectations. We got gay panic, and child rape jokes, and gross humor out the wazoo. But it was too few and far between to sustain the shock-horror throughout.

Roast-radamus – I don’t think Artie Lange is a Planchet … he’s just filling into the Laurel and Hardy / Abott and Costello mold that Farley left behind with his death. Reading Jamie’s section I do think the Orange Julius thing was a real Product Placement (What?). Because SNL must have some connection to Orange Julius. They have to. Definitely a Setting as a Character (Where?) for Los Angeles complete with a trip to the Hollywood Bowl. And then there is a discussion about the dog. It isn’t a MacGuffin, but it is a “thing” that is a linchpin to the plot. You can imagine any plot: boy meets girl, boy steals [object, e.g. a car, a dog, a prized surfboard] from her to get closer to her, hilarity ensues. It is a something, not a MacGuffin, but it is the “why” of the film. We won’t use it for the awards, but it is something to think about.

StreetCreditReport.com – Almost nothing, which shouldn’t be a surprise since I basically didn’t know this movie existed until I watched it. Roger Ebert eviscerated it which is a plus. It probably is one of the worst dognapping films. Could definitely make a list of worst David Spade films. And probably could be considered for a Worst Films Starring a French Movie Star list of some kind as well. But even those are pushing it.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we watched the Joe Estevez and Robert Z’Dar classic Soultaker? Never heard of it? Well, it is about four people whose souls become displaced after they die in a tragic car accident. They then must race against death itself, players by Joe Estevez … kind of, he’s like a dark angel character, but Z’Dar is like his boss as well. Anyways, it was written and stars Vivian Schilling and it was clearly a passion project for her. As a bad movie the acting is probably its strongest attribute. The weirdness of Joe Estevez and Z’Dar’s interactions help. And finally some of the weird choices like the drug dealing alcoholic asshole friend, and very strange scene with the mother are probably what you’d see online. I really liked this film. It is wild, and just entertaining enough to sustain the run time. Probably the only time is starts to die a bit is in the end when it just takes forever to get to the point. I really liked this as a friend. A B I think, very entertaining, but nothing super special and specifically interesting.

You Just Got Schooled – This time I had it easy because it turns out Soultaker is considered one of the best episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 ever made. In a poll it ranked 18th among fans, and it was noted as a favorite of current MST3K writer Elliott Kalan. The episode is very good in my estimation, having watched a number of MST3K over the years. The comparison of the main character to Tonya Harding, the constant 60 Minutes references, the riffing on the screenwriting in general, and notes concerning Joe Estevez’s status as the lesser Estevez brother are all gold. I would say that while Soultaker itself is entertaining in its weirdness, the MST3K episode made it a very easy rewatch a week later. Indeed, while I may have only occasionally indulged in Soultaker by itself, I think if someone had never seen MST3K this is a fine introduction and companion to the film. It is nice that it, in a way, lends a stamp of approval to the film as an unqualified bad movie.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Lost & Found Quiz

Let’s see. All of this might have just been in my mind, but I’m pretty sure I stole a poor woman’s dog in an ill-fated attempt to make her fall in love with me … wait, is that right? That doesn’t make any sense. Do you remember what happened in Lost & Found?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) David Spade is a lovable restaurateur in Los Angeles with a heart of gold. When we first meet Spade he’s getting broken up with by his girlfriend. What job does she have?

2) Let’s get some facts straight about Spade’s restaurant. What kind of food does it serve? And why do they need a loan?

3) Meanwhile, a very attractive French woman, Lila, moves in next door and Spade just knows that if he can spend time with her, he’ll be able to make her fall in love with him. One problem, the suave Rene has arrived from France to cramp his style. Why did Lila break up with Rene?

4) In order to secure this time together Spade naturally steals Lila’s dog. Second problem, the dog then ends up being involved in the misplacement of Spade’s friend’s diamond ring! Whoops! What two things does Spade think could have happened to the ring, and which one was correct?

5) In order to secure the loan in the end Spade lip syncs (and then eventually sings) some Neil Diamond for the adoring crowd at the shindig he is catering. Why? Why would he do such an embarrassing thing?

Answers

Lost & Found Preview

Jamie and Patrick sit dejected in their tuxedos. Stallone just left, having thanked them profusely for winning him an Oscar for the 6-hour double feature release of Rich and Po3: Dark Web 3D/Daylight. ‘The irony!’ the critics exclaimed about the film. ‘A classic send-up of Hollywood excess!’ they raved. Sigh. Can’t anyone make something bad anymore? But Patrick isn’t so easily discouraged. “Time to put our big boy cable-knit sweaters on and get back to it. What should the fourth film be called?” But Jamie isn’t hearing it and rips off the sleeves of his tuxedo. “It’s time to take matters into our own hands and enter the tournament of champions ourselves. I know we can win. Look at these big ol’ muscles.” But Patrick insists that they need to find Rich and Poe. Nic Cage was very clear. “Humph,” sighs Jamie, “write it then. But I’m going back.” With that he reaches for the power in Patrick and *blink* he’s gone. Patrick tries to follow, but the power within him doesn’t work that way. Only gives him mad hacking skillz… and what use is that now? He sighs and settles down to write. Hours later, and only a few words typed, he hears a knock at the door. Opening it, two police officers greet him. “Bad Movie Twins? I’m Detective Lost and this is my partner Found. May we come in?” They look vaguely familiar to Patrick. That’s right! We’re watching Lost & Found starring the one and only David Spade. I didn’t even really know that this film existed until I was searching for a poorly reviewed Martin Sheen film and this seemed to fit the bill. And lest you get concerned that it wasn’t a real movie it got released to 2500 theaters and still has the 46th worst opening for a wide release film of all time. Probably because it was released at the same time as The Matrix… otherwise I’m sure it would have made mad bank.

Meanwhile, Jamie is back in the wasteland of the BMTverse. Better start his walk to New Angeles. In the distance a plume of dust rises and a bunch of rollerbladers approach. “Finally,” Jamie thinks, “some people a rad as I am instead of that dumb Patrick and his dumb scripts. Maybe they can help me find this tournament.” But as they approach they seem to morph into one dark figure… and the air around Jamie turns cold. That’s right! We’re watching the Joe Estevez vehicle Soultaker. We picked this mostly because it actually stars Estevez, rather than just featuring him, and seemed ridiculous, without us realizing it was a MST3K film from season 10. Apparently a well regarded episode, so something to watch in conjunction with the film.

Lost & Found (1999) – BMeTric: 41.8 

LostFoundIMDb_BMeT

LostFoundIMDb_RV

(Pretty stable. Seems like a genuine bad film, which everyone agrees is bad, and it only doesn’t cross the 50 mark because no one bothers to watch it. Just wait for the Bad Movie Twins bump!)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Spade plots to win his beautiful new neighbor’s affections while they search for her missing dog – which he has kidnapped. Crude, offensive, unoriginal, often painful to watch; only redeeming feature is the engaging Marceau. Fundamental error: her “slimy” ex-boyfriend is more likeable than the leading man. Spade also takes credit as cowriter. 

(Judging by the preview I find it hard to believe the boyfriend is more likeable. Crude and offensive is better than boring and unfunny. As a matter of fact, Maltin doesn’t really say it isn’t funny. It probably isn’t, but that is maybe a promising sign.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUNgL4jTPeQ/

(That music! That voiceover! I remember the “you couldn’t raise my shorts with a crane” joke … otherwise I literally don’t remember anything about this film. Looks dumb.)

Directors – Jeff Pollack – (Known For: Above the Rim; Future BMT: Booty Call; BMT: Lost & Found; Notes: I think he was a music video director, and then ended up producing and writing Fresh Prince. His directorial efforts all seem somewhat out of nowhere to be honest.)

Writers – J.B. Cook (written by) – (BMT: Lost & Found; Notes: Not much about him, except he then went on to write / produce mostly cartoons including Kind of the Hill.)

Marc Meeks (written by) – (BMT: Lost & Found; Notes: Almost all of his credits are for Location Management, which he now does for Netflix. If I were to guess I think he was likely in the general Sandler / Happy Madison production team, but never really got credits. He did other management stuff, and then got hired on in a more official capacity at Netflix after Sandler’s deal. Again, entirely a guess.)

David Spade (written by) – (Future BMT: Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star; Joe Dirt; BMT: Lost & Found; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Jack and Jill in 2012; Notes: Became famous alongside Chris Farley and Adam Sandler on SNL in the early 90s. Ended up starring in a series of buddy comedies with Farley prior to his death.)

Actors – David Spade – (Known For: Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation; The Emperor’s New Groove; Hotel Transylvania; Reality Bites; Tommy Boy; Hotel Transylvania 2; A Very Brady Sequel; Politically Correct Party Animals; Beavis and Butt-Head Do America; The Rugrats Movie; Light Sleeper; Future BMT: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Coneheads; Loser; Sandy Wexler; Racing Stripes; Father of the Year; The Do-Over; Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star; 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag; Joe Dirt; Senseless; Black Sheep; Entourage; BMT: Jack and Jill; The Ridiculous 6; Grown Ups 2; The Benchwarmers; Lost & Found; Grown Ups; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Jack and Jill in 2012; Notes: His older brother was the husband of the designer Kate Spade who passed away in 2018.)

Sophie Marceau – (Known For: Braveheart; The World Is Not Enough; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Al di là delle nuvole; Female Agents; Un bonheur n’arrive jamais seul; Firelight; Future BMT: Ne te retourne pas; Anna Karenina; BMT: Lost & Found; Alex & Emma; Notes: A very famous French Actress she’s been attached, but never married to a series of equally famous French directors / producers / actors including Christopher Lambert for 7 years.)

Ever Carradine – (Known For: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Dead & Breakfast; Future BMT: My Boss’s Daughter; Bubble Boy; Foxfire; Safelight; Constellation; BMT: Lost & Found; Notes: Daughter of Robert Carradine and married to Coby Brown who is a film composer.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $6,552,255

(Absolutely brutal. A top fifty worst wide openings ever, plausibly because they thought it could perform like There’s Something About Mary … but it didn’t.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 13% (7/52): Aside from a few laughs, everything else is entirely predictable, including the jokes.

(Predictable and not funny … great. Reviewer Highlight: A rancid little nothing of a movie! – Stephen Holden, New York Times)

Poster – Sklog-st & Found (F)

lost_and_found

(Oh boy… I’m trying to imagine seeing that in a theater. It’s like an anti-advertisement. Look at all that empty space? And no color scheme. And terrible font. And not even clear it’s telling me anything about the film. It’s simply awful.)

Tagline(s) – A comedy about a guy who would do anything to get the girl of his dreams – and did! (F)

One of these dogs must be Spade. (either an A+ or an F)

(The first is stupid and a bit embarrassing. The second is one that I’ll hold close to my heart for all eternity. It’s off the chains in both a supremely terrible and kinda good way. It’s like the BMT of taglines. So bad that it’s great.)

Keyword(s) – dognapping; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.4 102 Dalmatians (2000); 46.4 Once Upon a Time in Venice (2017); 45.8 Beethoven (1992); 43.5 101 Dalmatians (1996); 41.8 Lost & Found (I) (1999); 33.3 Good Boy! (2003); 28.4 Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco (1996); 21.2 Our Idiot Brother (2011); 16.9 Wrong (I) (2012); 14.8 Ingrid Goes West (2017);

(Wowza, likely our first dognapping film I guess. Those top four qualify from a quality perspective, although it is a bit unclear if Once Upon a Time in Venice was actually released to theaters. I don’t think it was.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: David Spade is No. 1 billed in Lost & Found and No. 4 billed in Grown Ups, which also stars Adam Sandler (No. 1 billed) who is in Jack and Jill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 3 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 15. If we were to watch Senseless, and Wicker Park we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – The part of Wally Slack was originally written for Chris Farley. After his death, it went to Artie Lange. (Makes sense)

Bye Bye Love Recap

Jamie

Ba-da-da-da-da! They aren’t loving it. That’s because Donny, Vic, and Dave are all divorced Dad’s who only get their children on the weekend and are dealing with the varied difficulties of the situation. Can they come to understand what divorce means and grow as people… uh… before it’s too late? Find out in… Bye Bye Love.

How?! Donny, Vic, and Dave are a group of divorcees struggling with coparenting. While Donny still pines for his ex-wife, Vic hates his and Dave can’t stop sleeping around (the cause of his first marriage’s demise). While the love of their children are often at odds with these struggles surrounding their ex-wives, they are not at odds with their #1 love: that sweet, sweet Mickey D’s. They look forward to picking up their kids not only because they love them but also because of the oasis of those Golden Arches. Your kids on the younger side? They’ll love the play place. They getting a little older? Let them ogle the rebel teen manning the cash register. They getting really old? Maybe they can take part in the McMasters program. No matter how old they are they’ll love the delicious hamburgers that no red-blooded American can resist… wait, what were we talking about? Oh right, Bye Bye Love. So anyway Donny is having trouble with his high school age kid who is growing out of weekends with Dad while also having trouble getting over his wife. This culminates in him finding love with Dave’s ex-wife (his long-time friend) and realizing that his selfish struggles with the divorce have made him shortsightedly overlook how hard it’s been on his daughter. Meanwhile Dave makes a right mess of a love polygon as a number of recent divorcees descend on his house wanting more than just to share his Big Mac. Through this debacle he learns that he needs to grow up. Finally Vic is a total boor who can’t help but get riled up by his ex-wife’s post-divorce lifestyle. But in the end you realize how much he has worked to be the best Dad he can be and that this troll of a man is actually a softy at heart (awww). I guess, in summary… this film didn’t really have much of a plot. THE END.

Why?! Love, duh. Seriously, the film is just three vignettes that give viewpoints on the struggles of a post-divorce love when children are involved. Three very white and very heteronormative viewpoints, which would have certainly not been the case if this was a film made today, but three viewpoints nonetheless. I think the moral of the story is that kids come first, and as long as that is kept in mind then everything will work out. Even if you seem like a terrible person, like Vic, everything is golden (arches) if you’re ba-da-da-da-da, lovin’ them (your kids).

Who?! There were a couple bit parts for future notable actors, the biggest being Jack Black who played a DJ at a party and has a single line. Additionally, Stephen Root showed up uncredited as a neighbor awakened by Eliza Dushku’s hijinks. The weirdest credit, though, is a special thanks for the Hon. Arthur J. O’Dea. He seems to have been a judge in Vermont… the only explanation is that he was used as a consultant for the script as it does appear he was a family court judge.

What?! Product Placement Alert! We occasionally get to talk about settings as a character. It’s much more rare to talk about products as a character (outside of Adam Sandler’s filmography). But here, McDonald’s is legit a character and several scenes center around those working at the local McD’s (and only having a tenuous connection to the rest of the plot). I’m actually not sure whether the reason for its inclusion is even real… is McDonald’s really a generally accepted, neutral site drop off location for divorced dads in the LA area? All evidence (this movie) points to yes. Ba da da da daaaaaa. I was lovin’ it.

Where?! Classic California. It just feels like California even before there was specific confirmation. But eventually you get some close-ups on some license plates. No clues from McDonald’s as people of all nations crave their tasty treats.

When?! Pretty obviously takes place around the end of May or early June as one of Paul Reiser’s plot points is the graduation of his daughter from middle school. Not sure we get any more specific. Probably should look closely at the McDonald’s menu and see if there are any specific seasonal offerings on there… or perhaps the film coincides with one of the returns of the McRib, which would really narrow it down.

I really didn’t mind the film as a whole. I think it kinda has a clever dynamic between Donny, Vic, and Dave where on the face of it you think Dave has his shit together and is processing his divorce the best, while Vic’s boorish behavior and hatred for his ex-wife is off putting and Donny is kinda pathetic in never moving on from his ex-wife. But as the film goes on, you realize that it’s kinda flipped around. Vic is a great Dad and he and his ex-wife just really should not have been married, while Dave is a man-child who doesn’t really understand what a real relationship means… Donny is still kinda just sad, though. Anyway, the only thing that really sets this apart is the absolutely stellar McDonald’s product placement in the film. It really is top of the line and I’d love to go back through BMT’s nearly 500 (!) films and figure out where it stands. It’s in the running at the very top. It’s really fun to have a film that is mostly fine, but with a crazy BMT aspect to it like this one. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Bye bye love, bye bye happiness, hello loneliness, I think I’m gonna grab a delicious Big Mac from McDonald’s. That’s how that song goes right? Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – The trailer and all of the notes were basically about how this was an extended advertisement for McDonald’s, so I got out my stop watch and got ready to count the TiMD’s for the episodes (that’s Time in McDonald’s, it’s not a real thing, and I did not really do this). It really was my entire fascination with the episode. Seeing Paul Riser and Matthew Modine act a bit had an outside shot of being interesting as well. My expectations for this film: It was going to be a weird, slow, boring film with a bizarre (but overblown) connection to McDonald’s.

The Good – The film has a much better message that I think it gets credit for. Quaid is a lunatic throughout, but they do go out of their way to show that while he ultimately manifests his mounting frustrations with his divorce in extremely destructive ways, he does love his kids and is arguably the best and least selfish father of the three. Similarly Modine seems to have everything together, a decent relationship with the ex and a girlfriend or two, but then he ends up being the most selfish and broken. The switcheroo on that level feels very earned and the film is an interesting tale of being divorced dads in the mid-90s. The highly touted Garofalo scene lived up to the hype as well, she was very funny.

The Bad – Could this film take place more in McDonald’s? It just felt the four or five scenes and probably 30 minute total run time just wasn’t enough. Tell me more about the McMasters program, and how it is helping unemployed seniors change careers late in life. Tell me more about how it is helping combat the adult homelessness problem in America. Ba-da-da-da-da I’m Lovin’ It! The film also feels very small in that everything in the three main characters lives come to a major crossroads all on the same day. Quaid is such a lunatic it is a wonder he wasn’t thrown in jail in the middle of the film (and then where would your kids be, dummy?). It was borderline mean-spirited. The entire structure of the film centers around a radio psychologist played by Rob Reiner which is very dated and in your face. But I guess without him the movie would literally have no structure.

The BMT – Sneaky great BMT. You know you have a weirdly good one when you can’t stop thinking about it for a few days and then end up writing a giant review where you probably miss about 14 things that blew your mind at the time. I basically didn’t mention Paul Reiser! He’s the main character! His storyline just doesn’t even end up in the review it is so tangential to the b-b-b-b-b-b-bonkers shit I’m seeing on screen. Sneaky great. Did it exceed expectations?: Yes! While weird and slow, the film was far from boring by being chockablock with McDonald’s. So much so that is amazing the McDonald’s executives saw the cut and didn’t say, “Yeah … but don’t you think there is too much McDonald’s?”

Roast-radamus – I mean … I would be shocked if this didn’t manage to win the Produce Placement (What?) award for McDonald’s. I think when I was a kid I got this movie in a Happy Meal, I swear to God. Does graduation count as a holiday? No? … fine. Definitely a contender in the BMT category as well. Really the entire legacy of this film rests on its status as a Mac and Me level product placement. It is right up there with Mac and Me.

StreetCreditReport.com – None! But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve it. I think if you made a list of worst films featuring McDonald’s it could have a shot. Or worst film focused on divorced dads. Worst Rob Reiner films? I guess you’d have to go with ones he’s acted in … Worst films which share a name with a song?

You Just Got Schooled – What could I possibly watch for this weirdo movie? Mad About You season 1 episode 1 starring Paul Reiser of course. While making this film he was in the middle of this series for which he was nominated for six emmys (he never won, he lost to Lithgow three times for 3rd Rock and Grammer three times for Fraiser). I have to say, now being thirty-something and married this series seems actually genuinely funny. Quaint, but not really old school, the first episode revolves around Hunt and Reiser trying to make time to have sex, and as a forgotten dinner party begins they end up having sex in the kitchen as the party is ongoing! Cheers would have went up to that door, but never really gotten through it, but this is the 90s, it was time to talk about being Master of Your Domain, and other more sexually explicit things in primetime. I don’t feel any particular need to actually watch the series, but a lot better than I expected. Fun to see the classic sitcom character as well: the friend who is only in one season and then disappears in Reiser’s friend Selby.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs