Hall of Fame Speech #25: Dungeons & Dragons

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. While Dungeons & Dragons isn’t Here on Earth, it is a gritty buddy cop film about Det. Dungeons, a laced up wall street type cop, who gets teamed up with Det. Dragons, a rogue scofflaw who doesn’t play by the rulezzz…. Alright, so I don’t remember much from this film, but trust me it’s great. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Dungeons & Dragons

Full disclosure, Dungeons & Dragons barely made the HoF. In fact I initially watched Stone Cold starring Brian Bosworth for this spot and finding myself more disturbed than thrilled, I turned to Dungeons & Dragons and my god… what a tragic mistake it would have been if this film had not made it. This isn’t just an HoF film, it is clearly one of the best films we’ve ever watched for BMT. It’s a HoF of HoF. No moment is not hilarious and it falls apart so profoundly by the end that it’s almost indescribable. I actually came very close to watching it again this weekend. I’m saying this right now: I will own this film. In some form I must be able to watch parts of this film at the push of a button. The only mystery left is how it’s possible I was ever on the fence about it.

It has been five years since we watched the film. But what did I remember?

  • Nothing! Alright, not nothing, but close to it. It’s the only explanation for why my memory of it was only great instead of amazing when we were considering nominees for this class.
  • One aspect I did remember was the monosklogs in the middle. At the time of first viewing we were all about dem sweet monosklogs and this does give you a doozy as a couple of the younger actors in the cast go back and forth yelling at each other on the verge of tears. It’s Aaaactingggg! And I loved it.
  • I vaguely remembered the ending taking place on a computer generated tower and it being real dumb. I’d say my memory was accurate except it totally undersells the climax of the film.
  • Marlon Wayans dies and he has a funny death scene and remember during my first viewing being like “that’s weird, you’d think of all the people they’d want to keep around for a potential franchise it would have been him” and then I thought how funny it would be if they just brought him back to life at the end and he was like “what up?”… and then it happens.

So I guess the point of my introduction is that nothing that I remembered about the film is actually the most important. I didn’t really remember what ended up being my favorite aspects of the rewatch. This could be a good sign or a bad sign. On the good side it means that there was so much HoF goodness in this film that I forgot more than I remembered and it still made the HoF. On the bad side it tells you the faults of memory. Could there be other HoF gems we are overlooking? Maybe, and so that’s why we are rewatching every BMT film starting today… JK (or am I?). But if I had to choose a favorite from the things I did remember it would be the monosklog as that at least still was something beautiful to behold. But, boy… this film had a lot to offer in the many things that I somehow forgot.

The film can be summed up in this way: everything that comes before the climax of the film and the climax of the film. Before the climax of the film I was a totally different person. I was a person that appreciated the earnest monosklogging of our young heroes. I enjoyed Wayans joking around with stupid looking props and Bruce Payne’s inexplicable silver lipstick. I enjoyed the tragic death of Wayans’ character even though I knew they would just bring him back in the same old stupid twist ending that I remembered from the first viewing. I really really enjoyed the double MacGuffin of the Rod of Savrille and the Eye of the Dragon (and no I didn’t just make that up). 

In fact, I think that’s the one pre-climax thing I would put a cut above the rest: the MacGuffin game is on point. The Rod of Savrille… that shit’s dumb. Like real dumb. Almost to the point of not believing that they didn’t know how dumb it was. And the rod even looks dumb. It’s perfect. A perfect MacGuffin. And all that is hall of fame worthy. It is amazing and I laughed and cried (from laughing so much) and learned and lived and loved again. But it pales in comparison to the thunder that is brought in the climax. The climax is one of the best twenty minutes in the history of BMT.

Deep breath. I get dizzy just remembering the climax of the film. Let me set the stage. A large number of golden dragons are attacking Jeremy Irons as he screams in rage about not having the Rod of Savrille (deep breath). The narrative structure of the film is breaking down along with the visual effects. So while the plot is becoming harder to follow, the world starts to melt into a series of shapes and colors. Characters literally spring through wormholes out of nowhere, likely to help edit together disparate scenes in a last ditch effort to get to the end of the film. The queen tells her dragons to stop fighting only to be seen seconds later riding one into battle. Nothing makes sense and Jeremy Irons continues to scream, this time in glee cause he’s now clutching the Rod of Savrille (deep breath). More characters jump through wormholes and there is lightning and dragons and shapes and colors and Jeremy Irons screaming, this time in terror as the Rod of Savrille is smashed and he’s eaten by a dragon. It is a beautiful expressionistic painting of an ending. It’s not about impressions of a physical world but rather the emotional experience of BMT. 

So in conclusion, while I think it’s easy to say that Dungeons & Dragons fits the all important high fantasy/hard scifi aspect of reach-for-the-stars disaster genre of BMT, home to In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, After Earth, A Sound of Thunder and Battlefield Earth, it’s so much more than just that. It’s almost a combination of all of those films. We have Jeremy Irons one-upping Ray Liotta as he stares through the screen at us, laughing maniacally at both his puny adversaries and our life choices. We have young actors channeling Jaden Smith with all their acting might. We have a man with silver lipstick who looks no less ridiculous than dreadlocked John Travolta. And finally we have a climax worthy of A Sound of Thunder. One that falls apart both visually and narratively to the point where I’m surprised it’s considered a completed film.

So Dungeons & Dragons, I’m sorry we came so close to the ultimate insult of not including you in the HoF in the first place. You are a worthy member of a stellar class that will bring us joy for years to come. In particular me… cause I will own this film… and I’ll watch it… a lot. Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Dungeons & Dragons.

Hall of Fame Speech #24: Endless Love (2014)

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. Well, we might just have found the sequel, Here on Earth 2: Endless Lurv. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Endless Love (2014)

Earlier this week I was shaken to my core. Because I prepared the preview for this film and I just couldn’t quite figure out how we ended up picking it as a Hall of Fame candidate. All the reviews say it is boring. Even our own reviews from five years ago say the movie is worthless if you don’t watch the original film. I was preparing for the worst: a realization that we made a horrible mistake and would have to go and find another candidate for the Hall of Fame. But then … I watched the film. And I saw Alex Pettyfer and a bunch of other British people trying to specifically not do a southern accent in a film set in Georgia and I realized that we didn’t make a mistake. No, we merely matured into the correct and indisputable BMT opinions: this is a Hall of Fame film, you just need to know where to look.

It has been five years since we watched the film. But what did I remember?

  • Right there up front. Much like Billy Zane’s insatiable desire to go to Fashion Week, this film ended up becoming something of a catchphrase for BMT. Endless Lurv, always stylized as Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuurv, hit us right at the perfect moment where we were becoming more rigorous in our BMT reporting and definitely watching the 1981 film as a bonus. I think Jamie even read the book? The whole thing was a new paradigm for BMT and well well worth it.
  • The more I think about it and the endless blandness of Endless Love (2014) I can’t help but think we’ve made a mistake … but no, that can’t be possible, we never make mistakes. Instead, I have to assume that this film is basically Here on Earth 2.
  • And then I realized … wait, is Bruce Greenwood, BMT legend, the father of the leading women in both Here on Earth and Endless Love (2014)? Yes, he indeed plays both Earl Cavanaugh and Hugh Butterfield. Now those are some names!
  • And the film stars Alex Pettyfer of Beastly fame. This year’s class is definitely very actor driven. He’s an interesting actor just in that we watched all of his leading man BMT films at a good clip, Beastly in 2011, I Am Number Four in 2013, and then this in 2015. He hasn’t been in another (although he has a small role in In Time with JT, so we can still get our BMT fix if we wanted).

So which do I think is the most important? I think there is only one thing that could possibly be important here and that is just how much it evokes the feeling of Here on Earth. That combination of “I am not the audience of this film”, and “this film is amusingly cheesy” and “I kind of dig this in the same way I did The O.C. except The O.C. is good, fight me IRL.” If there is even the tiniest nugget of that in the film it will be well worth the rewatch. There is the outside shot that our enjoyment was completely driven by Endless Love (1981) and how unabashedly crazy that film is as well, so I might have to watch that again.

The genre of the film might as well be called Here on Earth, and it is an important micro-genre for BMT history. There are only so many hits. Here on Earth, of course, but this seems like it definitely was a hit, and I would argue that Midnight Sun and After both hit just the right note of teen melodrama to be an incredibly fun ride. Initially when looking through the preview a bit I had a moment of wondering whether I would watch this film and be sad realizing that we had overblown how good it is. Now I’m getting excited thinking of all the teen romance films we’ve watched and how good most of them are.

How did the rewatch go? Wonderfully. As Alex Pettyfer’s generic American accent washed over me and held me close I knew I was home. Is this Here on Earth? No, primarily because unlike that film the kids somehow aren’t the main characters. Instead, the main character is Bruce Greenwood. Come for the Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde teen romance, and stay for Bruce Greenwood being the biggest dick in the universe 100% of the time. There isn’t even a single moment where Bruce Greenwood isn’t a colossal dick to Alex Pettyfer. Alex Pettyfer, who, by the way, is the nicest, most down to earth teenager on the planet in this film. Here’s my impression of some dialogue:

Alex Pettyfer: “Hi, Mr. Butterfield. I just really appreciate you having me over to your house. I just want your daughter to have a good summer before going off to college, and gee, I sure do like her ever so much!”

Bruce Greenwood: “You got some goddamn nerve breaking up my family like this! I will ruin you and your father’s lives for what you’ve done.”

Alex Pettyfer: “Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?”

He is one bad sad dad.

In the original recap for this film (which was email-only at the time, we were technological marvels) I stated matter of factly that you could not enjoy Endless Love (2014) without watching Endless Love (1981). I think as my BMT skillz have matured I disagree with that, there is plenty to enjoy from the 2014 film (see below). But the original certainly makes the 2014 film more confounding. You see, the original and the book are about obsessive love between two teenagers. This … is about just teenage love. Run of the mill teenage love, and tragedy, and … that’s it. I will declare this now: this is the worst adaptation of a book ever created. And that is hard to know without seeing the original which, it turns out, did an okay job at adapting the book. So it wasn’t impossible to adapt, instead the writers took a look at the plot and decided “but what if it was The O.C. instead?” Obviously, being the worst book adaptation of all time is some serious street cred.

But this film stands on its own, outside of the source material and original film, via a multitude of amusing little things you’d only really notice after multiple viewings. The fact that the main cast is basically all British and are constantly struggling to keep their non-southern American accents together. The fact that this film is the second BMT film in which Alex Pettyfer breaks into a zoo (I rediscovered that fact and now feel ashamed for not considering Beastly for the Hall of Fame as well). And finally, possibly the funniest prop in the history of filmmaking, the mugshot of the very obviously 25 year old Alex Pettyfer where it states matter of factly “age: 14” … if I saw a 14 year old who looked like this I would flip out, my mind would break. It makes no goddamn sense!

So no, Endless Love (2014) isn’t Here on Earth 2. But nothing can be. Instead it is maybe the most confounding adaptation of a book ever created, with the biggest dick of a dad ever put to film, and Alex Pettyfer looking like a 25 year old cross fit coach on the worst prop in movie history. Welcome to the Hall of Fame Endless Love (2014).

Hall of Fame Speech #22: The Legend of Hercules

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. Welp, we definitely did that with The Legend of Hercules. I mean … Scott Adkins yelling with a beard in a genre of film right? Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for The Legend of Hercules

There appeared to be a moment in 2014 where film producers all watched Gladiator and were like “wait a second, we haven’t had a sword and sandals film for ages! Time to rake in dem awards and fat stacks!” Well, one of those producers actually wanted to just pay bad actors to do it, skip the awards, and go straight to fat stacks. And he got neither, and the sword and sandals genre literally died. Here it is, the amazing untold story of how The Legend of Hercules (probably) killed the sword and sandals genre. And if there is any reason to induct a film into the Hall of Fame, killing an entire genre is a pretty good one.

It has been five years since we watched the film. But what do I remember?

  • Huh … well there were certainly shirtless men in this film. A lot of them. All of the time. It is actually all they really talk about in the IMDb notes as well which is wild. I’m not joking, go and check it out, it is as if all of the notes were transcribed from a single Men’s Fitness interview with the cast.
  • Kellen Lutz, let’s really get into this. Kellen Lutz was in the Twilight films. And really not much else that would have been on our radar. He was then, randomly, in A Warrior’s Heart, a film I’ve never seen, but, for some reason, think about a lot. And then, further out of nowhere, he gets a starring role in this and Expendables 3 … say what? I actually can’t quite reason as to why we became moderately obsessed with him. After Expendables 3 his career has effectively been dead beyond a weird stint as the host of the game show Bullseye, and a now starring role in the FBI spin-off series FBI: Most Wanted. So why? Why did Kellen Lutz of all people get this role? His outstanding physique and Renny Harlin definitely being a weirdo about it.
  • The set pieces and action were just very very odd if I recall. A little like Game of Thrones, in that when they had to film a really big battle they’d film a bit against a wall with maybe like 4 people running around and then make it dark and fill it with smoke and the director would squint a bit and be like “alright, if we add a bunch of yelling and slow motion I think we can convinced people that there is a big battle going on and not run out of money”.
  • And this is an absolutely classic: “I’m hear to watch two things: Kellen Lutz’s outstanding physique. And Scott Adkins’ outstanding physique … what’s this now, a love story?” film. It is a huuuuuuge part of the film, arguably the entire film, and yet it is also the absolute last thing I want to see while watching Hercules run around. Where are the tasks goddamnit!?

The most important has to be Kellen Lutz right? If Kellen Lutz (or, let’s be honest, Jai Courtney) wasn’t in the leading role we probably wouldn’t have watched the film and we certainly wouldn’t be inducting it in the Hall of Fame now. It is possibly one of the last bastions of “this random guy who was barely in this huge teen series has a pretty good bod … let’s throw a flier out there to see if people will go and see a film that literally only stars him”. The answer is and always has been “nope”, and 2014 feels like just about the last year where something like this would actually be put into theaters instead of dumped as an Amazon Original or something.

And that is basically the same story with the genre. This and the Ben Hur remake from 2016 are two of the last true blue sword and sandals films I can think of with major theatrical releases. Turns out that you can get better and cheaper action when you don’t force yourself into a bunch of people wearing costumes and using spears and swords. Who knew? I actually just looked up 2014 for sword and sandal: Pompeii, this, Noah, Exodus, 300: Rise of an Empire, and the other Hercules … those are all huge disasters in one way or another! The genre is absolutely dead in the water after that.

You know what? I didn’t even know the thing about the genre before writing this paragraph, but I would argue that of those this is definitely the Sword and Sandal film I would want in the Hall of Fame. Right there, that’s the argument for why it deserves an induction. And then my god! It has Kellen Lutz as well? Buckle up, because this is going to be quite a rewatch.

How did the rewatch go? After describing Kellen Lutz and sword and sandals for like six paragraphs I turn on the film and it looks like absolute dog shit. It might genuinely be the ugliest film with some of the worst CGI I have ever seen. How much of that is because it was filmed in 3D and I was watching in 2D? A bit. For sure, that is part of it. But it is just astonishingly poor quality.

And then the love story is more than I even remembered. It is the entire film. There is no film without the love story, it is the A-story of this Scott Adkins / Kellen Lutz sword and sandals action film! It is so much of the film that Kellen Lutz spends what appears to be an afternoon as a slave before being freed to go back to pining over his lost love! It is at most a month.

The film is crazy, there are four different reasons to induct it into the Hall of Fame. One, it looks like crap. Two, it is a quintessential “whoops we accidentally made an action film into a rom-dram, sorry about that” film. Three, it killed an entire genre of film. And four, it stars Kellen Lutz. What the absolute hell is this thing? Where did it come from? Who is it for? It isn’t even that entertaining to watch, it is just more that scientists should study it to figure out how and why it was created in the first place.

I’ve gone on too long, but while writing this I think I went a little crazy thinking about the existence of this film and what it means for the existence of humanity itself. Welcome to the Hall of Fame The Legend of Hercules. May god have mercy on your soul.

The Roommate Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. Others might say we just want to see Cam Gigantic, Lyla Garrity, and Insane Leighton Meester fight it out Single White Female-style. Enjoy!

The Roommate (2011) – BMeTric: 68.0; Notability: 25 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 3.6%; Notability: top 65.1%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 0.5% Higher BMeT: Jack and Jill, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, Shark Night 3D, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Higher Notability: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Green Lantern, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Cars 2, Jack and Jill, Battle: Los Angeles, Hop, New Year’s Eve, Your Highness, The Smurfs, Immortals, In Time, Red Riding Hood, Johnny English Reborn, I Am Number Four, The Hangover Part II, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Larry Crowne, Priest, and 38 more; Lower RT: Jack and Jill; Notes: It has actually been going down in IMDb rating recently! That’s fun. A sub-5.0 is a guarantee of a solid BMeTric, so it is no wonder that it fits into the “small film which both critics and audiences hated” category.

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Young woman (Kelly) moves into her dorm at an L.A. college. At first, she likes her shy, somewhat disturbed roommate (Meester), but soon discovers the young woman has become frighteningly attached to her. Trivial, trite would-be thriller shamelessly copies Single White Female. You’ve seen this before and done much better.

(Incredible energy from Leonard here. He is usually pretty forgiving of trite films I feel like, but apparently it is such a rip-off of Single White Female that it doesn’t get that pass? I should probably watch Single White Female, huh?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NX30f8b1Oo/

(The trailer looks a lot more like a horror film that it actually is. All of the creepy night stuff isn’t really in the film, it seems like it was kind of post production nonsense. Weird trailer. If I saw that I would be like “cool, a horror film” and then what you get is actually a thriller version of The O.C.)

Directors – Christian E. Christiansen – (BMT: The Roommate; Notes: Nominated for Best Short Film, Live Action, at the 2008 Academy Awards. He is from Denmark and this was his one and only foray into the Hollywood system.)

Writers – Sonny Mallhi (written by) – (Known For: Anguish; BMT: The Roommate; Notes: Was a producer for years, this was his first writing credit. He almost exclusively writes / produces horror films.)

Actors – Minka Kelly – (Known For: The Butler; 500 Days of Summer; The Kingdom; She’s in Portland; The World Made Straight; State’s Evidence; Future BMT: Naked; Night Hunter; Papa Hemingway in Cuba; BMT: The Roommate; Just Go with It; Notes: This was one of her only major starring roles after Friday Night Lights ended. She is now starring in the television series Titans. Is the daughter of Aerosmith guitarist Rick Dufay, and was briefly engaged to Derek Jeter.)

Leighton Meester – (Known For: The Judge; Date Night; Going the Distance; Like Sunday, Like Rain; Life Partners; By the Gun; Future BMT: The Oranges; Hangman’s Curse; Country Strong; The Beautiful Ordinary; Brothers in Arms; BMT: The Roommate; Monte Carlo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for That’s My Boy in 2013; Notes: Was a huge star in Gossip Girl at the time. These days she’s in the shoe Single Parents. She is married to Adam Brody from The O.C. Released an album called Heartstrings in 2014.)

Cam Gigandet – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Magnificent Seven; Easy A; Future BMT: Who’s Your Caddy?; The Unborn; Dangerous Lies; Schlong Story; Priest; In the Blood; Plush; Free Ride; Never Back Down; Pandorum; 4 Minute Mile; BMT: The Roommate; Trespass; Burlesque; Notes: I know him mostly as Volchok on The O.C., but he is still a pretty busy film actor these days. Has a black belt in Krav Maga. We almost exclusively refer to him as Cam Gigantic.)

Budget/Gross – $16,000,000 / Domestic: $37,300,000 (Worldwide: $40,492,652)

(That is pretty solid actually. Where is my The Roommate 2: Fashion Week in Milan? I need more Billy Zane in my life!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (3/86): Devoid of chills, thrills, or even cheap titillation, The Roommate isn’t even bad enough to be good.

(Yeah that sounds about right, although I obviously disagree with the idea that is isn’t so bad it ends up being good … because it is in the Hall of Fame, by definition it was so bad it is good (in it’s own way). Reviewer Highlight: Kelly and Meester hit their marks and look pretty doing it, while supporting players Cam Gigandet, Billy Zane and Aly Michalka fade into the background so blandly that viewers will never remember they were there. – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post … how dare you suggest I would ever forget Billy Zane is in this film!)

Poster – The Roomsklog

(What I like: a little bit of weathered interest on the font, and the feel of the college campus atmosphere nails it. What I don’t like: The crazy time lapse effect in the middle, and only featuring Leighton Meester. It also feels a bit too bright maybe? Not a very thriller-y poster. C+. I think if it was more sinister it would be in the B range.)

Tagline(s) – 2,000 colleges. 8 million roommates. Which one will you get? (D)

(I don’t like it. It is too long, and there are too many numbers. The answer to the question being posed is: very likely one of the 7,999,999 roommates who aren’t Crazy Leighton Meester.)

Keyword – psycho thriller

Top 10: Inception (2010), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Seven (1995), Zodiac (2007), Split (2016), Shutter Island (2010), Ex Machina (2014), The Sixth Sense (1999), Don’t Breathe (2016), The Gift (2015)

Future BMT: 77.9 Boogeyman (2005), 58.8 Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), 56.7 See No Evil (2006), 53.5 The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018), 51.0 Eye of the Beholder (1999), 49.5 Unforgettable (2017), 44.5 The Purge (2013), 40.2 Gothika (2003), 39.1 The Forgotten (2004), 37.8 Never Talk to Strangers (1995);

BMT: Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), Friday the 13th (2009), House of Wax (2005), Perfect Stranger (2007), The Number 23 (2007), The Roommate (2011), Jason X (2001), Friday the 13th: Part III (1982), Jade (1995), The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), Twisted (2004), Godsend (2004)

(The days of the big budget, big Hollywood star psycho thriller certainly seems to have passed. You can even see it in the box office numbers. A $40 million return is fine, but you can’t have stars with those types of numbers, and you certainly won’t make a ton of cash like Blumhouse if you are wasting money on things like actor salaries. I’m not super excited about any of the Future BMT films listed.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Cam Gigandet is No. 3 billed in The Roommate and No. 4 billed in Trespass, 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) => 3 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 15. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Leighton Meester was originally cast as Sara but then opted to take the role of Rebecca instead.

When the audience first meets Sara, a drawing of Leighton Meester as her character Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl (2007) can be seen in the background.

Minka Kelly was 30 while playing an 18-year-old in this movie. (Jesus, that means she was 28 playing a senior in high school in Friday Night Lights)

The college and ominous looking stairs leading to it on the movie poster is an actual college in Winfield, Ks. Southwestern College and its 77 steps are frequently used as backdrops in photos and used for exercise. (And they got sued for it)

In the original script, Sara’s favorite film was Coyote Ugly. In the finished film, it’s The Devil Wears Prada. (Why Coyote Ugly?!)

The name of the cafe Sara works at – Råzone – is the title of one of director Christian E. Christiansen’s movies. It’s in his native Danish and means raw zone. It’s design even matches that of the movie’s title design.

The two leads have pancakes in the same “Quality Cafe” seen in Se7en (1995) with Morgan Freeman and Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ghost World (2001), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000), and Catch Me If You Can (2002). (So it is a distinctive looking cafe in L.A., I guess at least all of those are set in L.A. rather explicitly)

The original script had Rebecca have a fight with Irene in the nightclub bathroom before killing her with Sara discovering her dead body during the final confrontation at Irene’s apartment. This was rewritten to have Rebecca seduce Irene and kiss her before kidnapping her. (I like the way they did it. Even the one death seemed a bit overboard in that it doesn’t make much sense that she would kill Sara’s ex-boyfriend as a favor to Sara)

Hall of Fame Speech #20: Tango & Cash

Brief note before we start: last July we got together yet again and worked out a fourth class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly a decade since we started BMT and as usual the films from more than five years ago might just deserve a rewatch, a reassessment, and a recap. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the seventh (ninth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films chosen. Tango & Cash (or is it Rich & Poe?) check off all the boxes: Sly Stallone, Sly Stallone, and Sly Stallone. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Tango & Cash

There is a term in music for when an artist can, professionally, do no wrong. Songs that have no business even getting airplay just magically work and hit number one, and any project, no matter how vain, is easily launched. It is called the Imperial Period. Tango & Cash is right at the end of Stallone’s Imperial Period, falling among the entire Rambo franchise, the last three Rocky films, and other classics such as Over the Top and Cobra. This is actually an odd film in BMT lore. Patrick was off on a holiday, but had randomly watched this film previously. At that time in BMT history we were, for some reason, under the impression that we would not rewatch films for BMT. But Patrick’s absence lent us an opportunity. He enjoyed the insanity of the film so much he insisted that I watch the film to fill in the gap. And thus, a legend was made. Let’s get into it.

It has been five years since we watched the film. But what do I remember?

  • That it’s basically a spoof of action films but somehow wasn’t meant to be.
  • That it is filled with one-liners that mostly don’t make sense
  • Bromance to the max with penis jokes, cross-dressing, Stallone and Russell showering together, and homophobic jokes galore.
  • One of the greatest villains of all time with Jack Palance, who has an office with a literal hall of mirrors and mouse mazes built into it. He’s an insane person.
  • We made our Bad Movie Twins alter egos, Rich and Poe, based almost entirely on Tango and Cash.

So which do I think is the most important? Practically speaking the last point is the biggest. When writing the Bad Movie Twins storyline I spend a lot of time pondering WWT&CD? Would they buck the rulez? Yes. Would they pound some skulls for justice? Yes. Would they bro hug one minute and then slay the ladies with their shredded physiques? Yes, yes, yes. But, unfortunately, I also recognize that the influence on our own very specific disease is not necessarily the point of the Hall of Fame. So begrudgingly I’ll have to recognize that the fact that a film made entirely unironically is somehow still the best spoof of the 80’s action genre ever made is a crowning achievement for any aspiring BMT Hall of Fame candidate.

How did the rewatch go? I think every time I watch this film (and I watch this film not infrequently outside of the scope of BMT) it gets better. I pick up a new little nugget each time. For example I had forgotten that when we are introduced to Rich… I mean, Cash… he chases a bad guy through a parking garage and we are treated to a brief glimpse of classic 80’s nudity where a couple have decided to engage in sexual intercourse in said parking garage. This is obviously insane and fits right in with the idea that this film is actually a spoof… but it’s not. I also think that you can probably watch the film a thousand times and never really get the full picture of Jack Palance’s plan to frame Tango and Cash. I mean, Tango is given the information about the bust from the police chief himself. And we are supposed to believe that he would then let himself get caught despite knowing that the police are aware of the entire situation? What, is he dumb? No, obviously not because he wears glasses and trades in the stock market and wears a suit and keeps on correcting people on their eating habits. Clearly he has a big ol’ brain. So don’t even bother thinking about it. It’s nonsense. 

In fact, I think this may be the dumbest movie ever made. A true check-your-brain-at-the-door action fare that would leave you scratching your head raw if you didn’t just throw up your hands from the jump and say “Forget it, Jake. It’s Tango & Cash.” I mean, Jack Palance has an office fit with a House of Mirrors, a mouse maze, and a box filled with mice that people bring over to him to snuggle! Teri Hatcher “plays” electric drums in front of a giant fan while dancing around NOT taking off her clothes and paying customers are going nuts for it! Kurt Russell dresses up like a lady and instead of people being like “Hey that’s Kurt Russell in a dress” they are like “hey hot stuff, hubba hubba.” It’s all insane and you just have to bask in the glory that is almost every second of the film.

I actually think this goes hand in hand with Here on Earth in that it’s incredibly rare for a film to be made unironically and yet still could be considered a spoof of the very genre to which it belongs. They are two shining stars in the constellation we call BMT (and this journey we call life (and this adventure we call BMT4Life)) and for that it not only deserves its spot in the Hall of Fame, but perhaps will someday help define what it is to be BMT for the aliens that arrive to the apocalyptic wasteland that Earth has become. Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Tango & Cash.

Hall of Fame Speech #19: After Earth

Brief note before we start: last July we got together yet again and worked out a fourth class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly a decade since we started BMT and as usual the films from more than five years ago might just deserve a rewatch, a reassessment, and a recap. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the seventh (ninth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films chosen. After Earth is this generation’s Battlefield Earth… you know if John Travolta had used Battlefield Earth as a way to insult his children. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for After Earth

I wasn’t so sure about After Earth going into the Hall of Fame. Sure I had a grand old time watching Jaden Smith bumble around a CGI forest mumbling his insane futuristic dialogue and making friends with a giant bird, but was that all this was? Just a vehicle for me and Patrick to say “Bird Friend” to each other? While this has brought great joy to our bad movie addled minds, I’m not sure it means the film has proven significant in the history of BMT. But boy howdy was I wrong. Buckle up, cause this is some Operating Thetan Level 8 kind of shit. The truth was revealed. Let’s go!

It has been five years since we watched the film. But what do I remember?

  • Bird Friend, duh. Jaden Smith (aka Kitai Raige) is nearly eaten by a bird, but then tries to help it defend its nest. At the time I remember thinking “it would be hilarious if this bird now comes back and saves Jaden like some Bird Friend”… and then it does!
  • There are a couple super intense Monosklogs in the middle of the film where Will Smith speaks for approximately an hour and then Jaden says some stuff before screaming a line directly into the camera. I remember being startled when Jaden screamed in my face and it was bad.
  • Speaking of bad things, pretty much everything Jaden mumbles throughout the film. He is not only saying futuristic nonsense, but at times it’s like he’s reading a cue card or something. Or like if I was acting in a film, but the film was in French.

So which do I think is the most important? I swear, I thought Bird Friend was the most important coming into the rewatch, which made me wary. I think if I had to choose from the three things after the rewatch I would say that the Monosklogs in the middle are probably the defining feature. They are, no joke, four hours long… fine, that is a joke, but between Will Smith’s and Jaden’s monologues they stretch over five minutes long. That’s not just long, that’s super long. It’s top 100 for most hilarious monologues to perform at an audition. And it would be top 2 if the top 99 places didn’t all go to Vin Diesel’s monologue in The Fast and the Furious. But really, that’s not the most important aspect of the film. The most important aspect wasn’t even one I remembered from the first time I watched the film. So…

How did the rewatch go? This film really surprised me. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by all of the Hall of Fame entries this year, as they’ve all been unique and interesting, but I really did think this one could have dropped off the ballot after rewatching it and finding it lacking. Instead I was stunned at how the story seemed to play with real life in a way that is somewhat uncomfortable. I could talk about Bird Friend (still hilarious). I could talk about the monologue (and I already did). I could talk about Jaden saying the line “my suit turned black. I like it but I think it’s something bad,” like he’s an alien pretending to be a human (he might be). But I can’t stop thinking about the fact that Will Smith got a writing credit on a film whose plot is basically: “You think you’re as good as me, Jaden? Prove it.”

What seemed to have occurred here is that Will Smith wrote a little fable about him and his son. It was about how his son idolizes him and wants to be him, but that they disagree on whether he’s ready to take on that challenge. The moral is supposed to be that they are both proven right: Jaden wasn’t ready, but is able to grow and learn to save the day by taking on that challenge. Satisfied with his writing skillz, Will Smith took off his glasses and said what every parent would, “now we will make this for $130 million.” What’s funny is that if it was a success it would be like “Woah, Will Smith kinda magically willed his son into being a movie star.” But instead it seems like a giant dig at Jaden. The whole beginning comes across as a meta commentary on the film itself: they are on their way to some fun father-son experience but instead disaster strikes and Will Smith breaks his (physical, but also metaphorical) legs and it’s all on Jaden to save the day (i.e. the film). So by being a total disaster, the film comes across like the moral of the story is that Jaden is simply not Will Smith. Oooooooooof.

I think this works nicely with Battlefield Earth in the way that it exemplifies what can happen when an actor who has accumulated a lot of power in Hollywood decides to make something purely for himself. This is a perfect example of a vanity project, where even though the film is ostensibly not about Will Smith… it’s still all about Will Smith. It’s certainly not as ridiculous as Battlefield Earth, but it’s more tragic, I think. Battlefield Earth is just a disaster. After Earth is a psychologically damaging disaster. Welcome to the Hall of Fame After Earth.

Hall of Fame Speech #18: Grown Ups 2

Brief note before we start: last July we got together yet again and worked out a fourth class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly a decade since we started BMT and as usual the films from more than five years ago might just deserve a rewatch, a reassessment, and a recap. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the seventh (ninth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films chosen. For this inductee we went looking for a bad movie for the people. A bad movie that the whole family could enjoy. And maybe, we’ll also get an extended commercial for KFC, or Dick’s Sporting Goods, or Hooters thrown in for good measure! That’s right, we are rewatching Grown Ups 2. The first Sandler inductee, and honestly very likely the only one. Just consider this a lifetime achievement award for his work in the 2000s. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Grown Ups 2

After releasing Funny People the Adam Sandler led films took quite the turn. Grown Ups, Just Go With It, Jack and Jill, That’s My Boy, and then Sandler’s first sequel in Grown Ups 2. We have, obviously, seen all of these for BMT. Jack and Jill we watched in theaters in a proto-BMT Live! So from the smorgasbord of BMT delight, how does one choose just one to induct into the Hall of Fame? In a way it just has to be treated as a lifetime achievement award for Sandler and Co. And what an achievement Grown Ups 2 is. We hated Grown Ups when we watched it, and then watched Grown Ups 2 in theaters and it appears to have melted our brain. The email concerning it is basically just incomprehensible gibberish, flabbergasted that they could make the original worse! But … maybe we were wrong. Let’s get into it.

It has been five years since we watched the film. But what do I remember?

  • The setting. I remember being supremely confused about the setting in both films as a matter of fact. It seemed to me that the first film was set in New Hampshire, but in reality it was likely set in Connecticut. The second film is more explicitly set in Connecticut (via license plates), but it is never really mentioned either. It blew my mind, and probably is part of the reason we are so obsessed with settings in general.
  • The opening to the film, obviously. A cartoon deer wreaks havoc in the Sandler household. It genuinely looks like a cartoon complete with cartoon reaction shots. It’s weird.
  • There is a whole underlying message of getting out from under your oppressive wife which isn’t the greatest A-story.
  • The side cast is crazy including Shaq in a large role, and Taylor Lautner very impressively just doing flips in the background and later doing a flip out of a car! I don’t know how much of that was camera tickery, but it looks real to me and looks crazy cool.
  • The entire film culminates in a giant 80s themed costume party at Sandler’s mansion, and then in a giant brawl. Much like in all late-Sandler films, the solution to life’s problems is to punch people in the face.

So which do I think is the most important? I think it is going to be the last one. The first one is more important in Blended, for example, where the setting is the perfect example of Sandler setting up a film to just be a vacation. The fourth is common to all Sandler films. There is often a who’s who of cameos and bit parts featuring ESPN personalities and former athletes. But the speciality of Grown Ups 2 is just the plotlessness. The entire film is about throwing a party. Why are they throwing a party? *Shrug* It’s the first day of summer. Let’s make it 80s themed on the day of said party, and yet everyone is in amazing 80s outfits hours later. And finally, we don’t really know how to end this film so … let’s have everyone brawl and then go to bed. The End. It is an astonishing failure of imagination that, I think, pushes this film over the top.

How did the rewatch go? Well the real question is how did both rewatches go. I naturally watched both the original Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2, and the differences are astonishing. In the first you have a group of (clearly) friends ripping into each other during a lake house vacation. The ribbing is brutal complete with forlorn reaction shots from those offended. “You’re fat haha” reaction shot of Kevin James looking sad, “you’re whipped haha” reaction shot of Chris Rock looking sad, “you’re short haha” reaction shots of David Spade and Rob Schnieder looking sad. The plotless film is only saved from being boring by the brutality of its mean-spirited humor, and ultimately that it is, at heart, a genuinely sweet film. The second film on the other hand is a cartoon (both literally with the introductory deer, and figuratively with its theme-park-esque Connecticut setting). It exchanges mean-spiritedness for an expanded cast of characters constantly tripping over themselves for screen time. It looks at the original’s plotlessness and asks “But wait … can we have less plot though?” The plot of the film is simple: we are throwing a party. Let’s film a commercial for KMart, and then throw a big bash where all of the characters in the film can josh around for a bit.

It’s been just long enough since we’ve watched a Sandler film of this era that I almost forgot why they were so disliked by critics. There is no lazier film than Grown Ups 2. It may not have even had a script. It’s performances are so undemanding that Shaquille O’Neal seamlessly enters the cast in a major (nearly a top ten credited) role without notice. There is an extended sequence during the film where it is revealed that all of the gang’s children are secret prodigies of some kind. Kevin James’s kid is a musical prodigy, Chris Rock’s daughter is a beautiful singer, and Adam Sandler’s son can smash through 50 yard field goals. All of them say the same thing “Wow, that’s amazing, where did you learn to do that?” *Shrug*. Absolute trash. A borderline parody of how actual meaningful comedies are written. I could go on all day about this film.

To be perfectly honest, this is a BMT film because in a way Sandler has taught me the most about movie making. The product placement, just wanting to hang out with friends, improvisational comedy, and pure undistilled laziness of the whole affair (he’s done it at least five times at this point) is what bad movies typically only aspire to be. While watching this film I distinctly remember thinking “My god, I’m transcending this film! I am all that is man, the alpha and omega. I can see the seams in this movie, and the blinding light that peers forth is glorious!” … You think I’m kidding? That is literally what I thought at the time. Sandler transcended bad movies. He became a genre himself. And this was the pinnacle of that genre. Others may say Jack and Jill, but I say nay! Grown Ups 2, in its glorious messiness, is when Sandler mastered the art of making a bad movie. Welcome to the Hall of Fame Grown Ups 2.

Hall of Fame Speech #17: Highlander II: The Quickening

Brief note before we start: last July we got together yet again and worked out a fourth class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly a decade since we started BMT and as usual the films from more than five years ago might just deserve a rewatch, a reassessment, and a recap. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the seventh (ninth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films chosen. This is the film so bad that we had to buy it on VHS in order to see it in its purest form. Like an uncut diamond, this is Highlander II: The Quickening. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Highlander II: The Quickening

Highlander II: The Quickening was a major milestone for BMT. Not only was it our 200th film (we were mere babes in the woods), but it completed a significant BMT journey. We journeyed from exclusively watching easily accessible films to buying a VHS tape and converting it to digital like a couple of crazy people. That was because Highlander II: The Quickening came with a long legacy in bad movie lore. The film was released to incredible critical derision and as a result the original cut was never released to DVD. Instead, the studios allowed for the film to be recut several times into increasingly palatable versions. But we don’t mess with that shit and we needed to drink straight from the clear mountain spring that is Highlander II: The Quickening. Oh how sweet and so cold. Our bad movie thirst was quenched and like lightning our bad movie power was quickened. But not until now did I appreciate the power that this film really holds when I dove deep into that spring. Let’s get into it.

It has been five years since we watched the film. But what do I remember?

  • Much like many films we watch for major BMT milestones I think I remember having way too lofty expectations for the film. Additionally, at that time in BMT we rarely did extra homework so neither of us watched the recut release. As a result I was aware that it was a great BMT film, but not exactly just how Highlander II: The Quickening is not just about the film put to screen, but also the story outside of the film.
  • They were all aliums the whole time but didn’t remember that fact in the first film… that’s real.
  • Sean Connery died in the first film and comes back in this one with no explanation… or more accurately there is an explanation, but, as is fitting, it makes no sense.
  • We also hadn’t watched any more of the Highlander series at the time, but now we know that the story of Highlander is just them remaking Highlander over and over again. 

So which do I think is the most important? Objectively, the fact that they are all aliens defines Highlander II: The Quickening. This is what the world correctly remembers the film for and the removal of the alien storyline was one of two reasons why the film was recut in the first place. The other reason is that they cut out a bunch of expository scenes in the theatrical release that better explain (the still ludicrous) plot of the film. So basically they released an incomprehensible film filled with alien stuff to theaters and then removed the alien stuff in order to put back in a bunch of exposition… which at times relies on understanding that they are all aliens. It’s truly stunning.

How did the rewatch go? Uh, spectacular, duh. I actually think I learned a lot watching the two versions of the film. You can see how two pretty different stories can be constructed from the same set of scenes. It made me kinda sad, too, when I realized that not everyone is as deranged as we are and have no access to the original cut of the film. That’s because the alien storyline is terrible, and yet vital to the full story that the creators clearly wanted to tell. So basically there is no available version of the film that correctly explains the plot: both alien and exposition preserved. Which leads me to the baffling conclusion that I am in fact one of the most knowledgeable Highlander II: The Quickening scholars on either Earth or Zeist. For using my formidable intellect I am one of the few that can now envision the creator’s true intent. I call it… Highlander II: The Quickening – Sklog Rebel Edition. I feels good… the power *lightning crashes from the sky* Aaaarrrrghhhhhhhhh THE QUICKENING!!!!!

And that is my (shocking) conclusion about Highlander II: The Quickening that I need to make abundantly clear: the recut version of the film is NOT a good film. While it is true that the basic storyline is better explained, the why and how of the immortals is totally botched by removing the aliens. We have a film where Christopher Lambert is in laughable old man makeup only to be turned young again and have his friend Sean Connery come back to life (after having his head cut off in the first film) and their explanation in the “Renegade” version that is meant to clarify this is a shrug of the shoulder and a handwave that it all took place on Earth but a long time ago or whatever… just have the balls, man! Say it! Say they were aliens! You clearly wanted to and now you don’t because people made fun of you. You can’t pretend like you never wanted them to be aliens. You did. Just admit it. Release the Sklog Rebel Edition! 

This is 1000% a BMT film and also complete justification of our more recent tendency to search and out and consume available materials related to the film at hand. It really is aging like a fine wine as they continue to tinker with releases (as recently as 2004). After the rewatch, I now think it’s high time for another recut and hopefully this Hall of Fame speech can be considered my official campaign to be put in charge of this new (and final) recut. But they probably won’t give us the reigns for such an important endeavor. And I’m not surprised because they probably don’t have the balls to make such a bold and daring move. Welcome to the Hall of Fame Highlander II: The Quickeneing. *Shrugs shoulder and zooms away on a rad flying skateboard*

Highlander II: The Quickening Preview

Brief note before we start: last July we got together yet again and worked out a fourth class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly a decade since we started BMT and as usual the films from more than five years ago might just deserve a rewatch, a reassessment, and a recap. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the seventh (ninth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films chosen. This is the film so bad that we had to buy it on VHS in order to see it in its purest form. Like an uncut diamond, this is Highlander II: The Quickening. This is a preview, the Hall of Fame speech will follow directly afterwards.

Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) – BMeTric: 79.8; Notability: 26 

HighlanderIITheQuickeningIMDb_BMeT

HighlanderIITheQuickeningIMDb_RV

(The rating is actually a little too high somehow. Low-4.0 is really really low … but this is legit maybe the worst film ever made. It should in reality be in the 3.0s, but maybe the Renegade Cut is actually not the worst.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars – This movie has to be seen to be believed. On the other hand, maybe that’s too high a price to pay. “Highlander 2: The Quickening” is the most hilariously incomprehensible movie I’ve seen in many a long day – a movie almost awesome in its badness. Wherever science fiction fans gather, in decades and generations to come, this film will be remembered in hushed tones as one of the immortal low points of the genre.

(Roger Ebert spitting hot fire here. And indeed, this movie is remembered in hushed tones as a nadir of its genre. It was such a disaster they recut it and you can’t see the original on home video anymore! That’s incredible.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV2yoL_GkEY/

(That heavy metal soundtrack! In another world this is an amazingly mind bending sci fi film. Instead they made the worst film ever. It is awesome.)

Directors – Russell Mulcahy – (Known For: Highlander; Ricochet; In Like Flynn; Razorback; Swimming Upstream; Future BMT: Tale of the Mummy; The Real McCoy; The Shadow; Resident Evil: Extinction; Resurrection; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Notes: Directed nearly 40 episodes of Teen Wolf.)

Writers – Gregory Widen (characters) – (Known For: Highlander; Backdraft; The Prophecy; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Notes: A wild career. Wrote the original Highlander when he was in college. And then wrote the sequel to Backdraft (which we’ve seen). Still writing films.)

Brian Clemens (story) – (Known For: The Watcher in the Woods; The Golden Voyage of Sinbad; See No Evil; Future BMT: And Soon the Darkness; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Notes: Died in 2015. Directed a bunch of British television as well, including Father Dowling Mysteries.)

William N. Panzer (story) (as William Panzer) – (Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Notes: These are the type of people I don’t get … he has a few writing credits, but mostly producing credits. Almost all of these credits are Highlander films/television. He has been involved in this IP for like 40 years.)

Peter Bellwood (screenplay) – (Known For: Highlander; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; Notes: Mostly retired. He had a few notes in the mid-90s about teaming with Dennis Shryack, but from what I can tell they never actually produced anything as a team.)

Actors – Christopher Lambert – (Known For: Hail, Caesar!; Highlander; Sobibor; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Bel Canto; Fortress; Subway; White Material; To Kill a Priest; Future BMT: Highlander: Endgame; Beowulf; Fortress 2; Southland Tales; Adrenalin: Fear the Rush; The Sicilian; Gunmen; Loaded Weapon 1; Resurrection; Knight Moves; The Hunted; Electric Slide; BMT: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Highlander II: The Quickening; Highlander III: The Sorcerer; Mortal Kombat; Notes: Apparently he is a joy to work with. I remember this specifically from Mortal Kombat notes. Still working, he was just in the television show The Blacklist.)

Sean Connery – (Known For: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; The Rock; Murder on the Orient Express; The Untouchables; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; The Hunt for Red October; Highlander; Dr. No; The Name of the Rose; Never Say Never Again; Thunderball; Goldfinger; From Russia with Love; Time Bandits; The Longest Day; Diamonds Are Forever; A Bridge Too Far; DragonHeart; Marnie; You Only Live Twice; Future BMT: Meteor; The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Family Business; A Good Man in Africa; Rising Sun; Entrapment; Just Cause; The Man with the Deadly Lens; Sir Billi; BMT: The Avengers; Highlander II: The Quickening; Medicine Man; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Avengers in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Entrapment in 2000; Notes: Almost 90 years old. He is well and truly retired at this point, I can’t even remember the last time I saw him do any publicity. Probably still the best James Bond ever, there is a new one of those coming out soon.)

Virginia Madsen – (Known For: Her Smell; Dune; Better Watch Out; The Rainmaker; Candyman; Joy; Sideways; The Hot Spot; Burn Your Maps; The Prophecy; The Astronaut Farmer; Electric Dreams; A Prairie Home Companion; Ghosts from the Past; 1985; Modern Girls; Mr. North; Walter; All the Wilderness; American Gun; Future BMT: Father of Invention; Class; The Hot Flashes; Slam Dance; Diminished Capacity; Creator; BMT: Highlander II: The Quickening; The Haunting; Red Riding Hood; Firewall; Hot to Trot; The Haunting in Connecticut; The Number 23; Notes: Starred in Swamp Thing which became a huge disappointment for the ill-fated DC streaming service. It went over budget and got its second season cancelled during the post-production of the first season. Whoops.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $15,556,340 (Worldwide: $15,556,340)

(Absolutely terrible. It is a little okay just because the budget was $30 million, which for the time was high, but it doesn’t put it into like Cutthroat Island range. Still really bad.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/23): There should have been only one.

(Absolutely brutal reviews, mostly just saying this is maybe the worst film ever made and they shouldn’t have made it. Reviewer Highlight: Audiences unfamiliar with the first film will be hard put to follow the action [from a story by Brian Clemens] as it incoherently hops about in time and space. – Variety)

Poster – Skloglander II: The Sklogening (A+++++++++)

highlander_ii_the_quickening

(My god, it’s beautiful. Everywhere you look is another treat for your senses. Look! There’s his futuristic car! Is that a helicopter?! There isn’t even one in the film! The sword! The lightning! Sean Connery! The font! Arrrrghhhhhhhhhhh! THE QUICKENING!)

Tagline(s) – In all their centuries on Earth, nothing could prepare them for… (F)

(Except for the other time that they had to fight to the death and there were a thousand Quickenings, right? I mean… there was some reasonable preparation at that point. Oh and I hate when they try to incorporate the title into the tagline. Always confusing.)

Keyword – immortal

HighlanderIITheQuickening_immortal

Top 10: Wonder Woman (2017), Twilight (2008), Justice League (2017), Hellboy (2019), Deadpool (2016), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Avengers Assemble (2012), Logan (2017)

Future BMT: 89.4 Vampires Suck (2010), 78.1 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), 65.9 Highlander: Endgame (2000), 61.9 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 52.0 Green Lantern (2011), 50.0 The Sin Eater (2003), 39.4 The Forsaken (2001), 39.0 Once Bitten (1985), 28.8 Igor (2008), 27.7 Dark Shadows (2012);

BMT: Hellboy (2019), The Mummy (2017), Ghost Ship (2002), A New York Winter’s Tale (2014), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), Queen of the Damned (2002), I, Frankenstein (2014), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)

(Besides for a brief moment around 2010 this has kind of just grown out of the sci-fi in the 80s and reached a steady state. We do need to watch The Twilight Saga … bah, I’ve already seen those!)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Virginia Madsen is No. 3 billed in Highlander II: The Quickening and No. 3 billed in Firewall, which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 13. If we were to watch Rising Sun, Murder at 1600, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Michael Ironside recalled his experiences on this movie: “Yeah, listen, I hated that script. We all did. Me, Sean, Chris, we all were in it for the money on this one. I mean, it read as if it had been written by a thirteen-year-old boy. But I’d never played a barbarian swordsman before, and this was my first big evil mastermind-type. I figured if I was going to do this stupid movie, I might as well have fun, and go as far over the top as I possibly could. All that eye-rolling and foaming at the mouth was me deciding that if I was going to be in a piece of shit, like that movie, I was going to be the most memorable fucking thing in it, and I think I succeeded.” (Noice)

Christopher Lambert was so disgusted with the re-written script that he wanted to drop out of this movie. Contractual obligations forced him to finish it.

Director Russell Mulcahy disliked the theatrical cut so much that he left the premiere after only fifteen minutes. (And thus the Renegade Cut)

John C. McGinley made his character’s voice as deep as possible in an effort to imitate Orson Welles. He has since admitted that it was a bad idea.

Grossly contradicts the previous movie, Highlander (1986). All subsequent Highlander movies ignore this film. (Wellllll, to be fair they tend to ignore a good chunk of the lore at random times)

Christopher Lambert refused to use a fake sword for the fight scenes. In his first scene with it, he cut his finger to the bone and Michael Ironside dislocated his jaw in the dome fight. After these accidents, Lambert agreed to use a plastic sword.

Roger Ebert named it the worst movie of 1991.

Clancy Brown was asked to reprise his role as the Kurgan in a cameo, but declined.

Other than James Bond, Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez is the only character that Sir Sean Connery has played in more than one movie.

Christopher Lambert and Michael Ironside did most of their own stunts.

The idea for this movie came about because Christopher Lambert enjoyed working with Sir Sean Connery and really got along with him and Lambert wanted to work with Connery again for this movie, even though Ramirez died in Highlander (1986). A new story was written where Connor MacLeod, Ramirez, and the Immortals were aliens from another planet and Ramirez is brought back to life when Connor undergoes the Quickening and calls his name.

The movie’s initial budget was estimated at thirty million dollars. Sir Sean Connery received three and a half million dollars for nine days of work. Connery donated the money to charitable causes. (Haha)

After this film bombed at the box-office, it was decided that the following movies, Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994), Highlander: Endgame (2000), and Highlander: The Source (2007), would be true and faithful to the original movie, story, and mythology by pretending this movie never happened. A long-running joke amongst Highlander fans states that the official name of the third movie should have been “Highlander III: The Apology”.

Unused scenes revealed that the Kurgan from the first movie was also a resident of Zeist, and General Katana hired him to kill Connor MacLeod. The final battle between MacLeod and the Kurgan from the first movie is shown on a large screen to Zeist bettors, and when the Kurgan fails, Katana sends down the two assassins featured in the final cut of this movie to take out MacLeod.

Christopher Lambert has very bad eyesight. During one sword fight, Lambert, who was not wearing his glasses, nearly severed Michael Ironside’s right thumb.

An alternate ending, “The Fairytale Ending”, was shown in some European theaters. Louise and Connor magically return to Zeist, embrace in front of a field of stars, transform into light streaks, and fly off into space. (Whaaaaaaaaaaat)

A technician died during filming, after falling from a crane.

To recover the filming rights, producers made the television series Highlander (1992). Christopher Lambert declined to reprise his role as Connor MacLeod, and the producers chose to create a new character. Lambert then accepted, and appeared in the pilot, to introduce the new hero, Duncan MacLeod (Adrian Paul). (Oh … I’ve seen the pilot)

Director Russell Mulcahy was so frustrated at being locked out of production that he tried to have his credit changed to “Alan Smithee”. However, a section of his contract forbade him from publicly attacking this movie before it was released. The producers said that if he had his credit changed, it would be considered an attack, and he would be sued.

No bluescreen or special effects were used for the hoverboard fight sequence. Christopher Lambert wore wires and harnesses, set up by the team behind the flying sequences in Superman (1978). (Oh I couldn’t tell….)

Initial plans for a third movie titled Highlander III: The Reckoning, would have detached the story even further from the original. It would have taken place entirely on Zeist, and would have involved Connor training a rebel army to overthrow the rulers of the planet. However, the post-production editing of this movie, which changed the ending, plus the poor box-office performance, nixed the idea. (Jesus, that sounds terrible)

Virginia Madsen admitted to doing this movie for two reasons: to go to Argentina, and to work with Sir Sean Connery.

Sir Sean Connery was sued by an Assistant Director for sexual harassment. (Oh gross)

In the Director’s Cut, Connor and Ramirez’s backstory is changed. Instead of aliens from the planet Zeist, Connor and Ramirez are from Earth in the distant past who were sent to the future, as punishment for their rebellion, in which they were reborn in the time periods to which they were exiled, hence Connor forgetting his past, which he begins to remember at the opera.

Hall of Fame Speech #16: Big Momma’s House

Brief note before we start: last July we got together yet again and worked out a fourth class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly a decade since we started BMT and as usual the films from more than five years ago might just deserve a rewatch, a reassessment, and a recap. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the seventh (ninth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films chosen. For this week we are revisiting one of the quintessential 2000s cross-dressing comedies. You guessed it, Big Momma’s in the house! It’s actually her house if I recall correctly. So get ready for some karate / basketball / farting action. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Big Momma’s House

I honestly think we might end up watching every crossdressing comedy film ever made. And I also honestly think they might all end up in the Hall of Fame. Wait … were you thinking I was going to say this is a bad thing? Nope, this is obviously excellent. YOLO, #NoRegrets, BMT4Life, and all that, this is our duty to the world. Like Norbit or Diary of a Mad Black Woman before it, I unironically love crossdressing comedies. There is just something so pure about them. All the way back to Twelfth Night, even William Shakespeare understood: people dressing up as the opposite gender when treated with just the right amount of hijinks can be high comedy. Well … they can at least be something. Bring on the farts! Let’s get into it!

It has been five years … I mean, since I watched the original, I guess it’s been, like, three years since Big Momma herself was in my life. I also literally watched the basketball scene like a month ago because I felt like it. But what do I remember about the film itself?

  • The film’s concept is completely absurd. You have a person who is purported to be a large (and in charge) member of the community replaced by a man in a fat suit? How would no one notice? Don’t even ask the question because you know they aren’t going to answer it.
  • Compared to Norbit the makeup is insanely bad. If anyone ever doubts Norbit deserved an Oscar nod for makeup they should watch this film and compare. Rasputia is a living breathing character compared to this nonsense.
  • The cast is bumping, imagine being able to hook Giamatti and Nia Long into a film like this now. It was a wild time when films like this were an easy buck for actors and producers alike.
  • The B-story is basically about a murderer trying to go see his son … the B-story is just crazy over-the-top serious.
  • I think this is where we started to see the value in franchising BMT. The Big Momma trilogy ended up stretching across 3 weeks of BMT which is honestly unacceptable, but is definitely something to think about concerning its place in BMT lore.

So which do I think is the most important? This is definitely one of the BMT films where the sum of its parts are greater than the whole. I think the fact that you can compare it to Norbit and it comes up lacking is important. I think the fact that Giamatti is there lending a bit of shine is a historical and cultural oddity as well. And I think the fact that we watched the entire trilogy for BMT, it is a true BMT franchise, is an important BMT historical milestone. None of those by themselves a Hall of Fame make. But combined together I think this exemplifies the moment where we were able to transcend a bad movie, find the diamonds in the rough, and create a BMT classic. I do think that is what this is, despite the fact that I couldn’t necessarily tell you a single defining Hall of Fame feature of the film. But … that’s what the rewatch is for.

How did the rewatch go? Better than one could ever expect. Who would have thought despite picking out five memorable features of the film prior to the rewatch, I wouldn’t put any of them in the top three most important aspects of the rewatch. I have three words for you: Farts, Dunks, and Monologues. First, the film’s main feature (after the ill-advised decision to have Martin Lawrence dress in yellow face … huh, another connection to Norbit, who’d have thunk it?) starts with our hero breaking into Big Momma’s house and witnessing her fart/shit in front of him. It is such an important part of the film that multiple reviews mention it. I mean, when you have a character called Big Momma I suppose you can’t help but have the poor woman fart for an extended period of time. And fart she does.

Second, in addition to a weird subplot involving karate (complete with Martin Lawrence beating up Chris Anthony as Big Momma) there is an even better out-of-nowhere basketball scene. We see Big Momma drop buckets on some unsuspected teens, kick out dimes to his love interest’s young son, and win on a dunk that can only be described as both earth-shattering and definitely-on-a-seven-foot-hoop. Read any list of worst-ever dunks seen on film, and this will at least get an honorable mention. I suppose it fails Prerequisite 1 from The Ringer’s best movie dunks of all time, but for real I would put this at number one. Big Momma, an apparently morbidly obese grandmother, slam dunks on a bunch of teen ballers? Get out of here, that’s amazing.

Finally, this is one of the original Monosklogs. Here’s the thing, we used to send all of these things out as emails to our friends back in the day (fine we still do, but back in the day they pretended to read them). And we used to include the best monologues from bad movies. Unfortunately, with the website comes some responsibility of what videos we host on the site, and so all of them had to go. That’s fine. But this is legit one of the finest. And luckily, It is available on YouTube.

It’s glorious. Much like Mi Mama from Here on Earth, a good monologue or montage can sustain any bad movie. Right when you think the film might lag, here comes a monologue complete with singing to lift you up. I could watch it all day. Oh happy day.

And right there. That’s why this movie deserved the Hall of Fame. It is the definition of a bad film that keeps on giving and is greater than all of the small individual notes of bad/goodness during the film. You have terrible makeup, an amazing cast, a crazy serious B-story, franchise potential, farts, dunks, and one amazing monologue to lift you up right when the concept of the film is starting to feel tired. What else could you possibly ask for? Nothing, except for maybe Norbit’s makeup artists to bring Big Momma alive. Maybe they’ll finally get their number for Big Momma’s White House, where Big Momma is accidentally elected president. Whoops! What crazy crossdressing hijinks! Welcome to the Hall of Fame Big Momma.