Hall of Fame Speech #10: I Know Who Killed Me

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a second class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly seven years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. This is the last installment leading up to the fifth (seventh?) Smaddies Baddies bringing you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. We close with the Lindsay Lohan redemption story (er … strike that, this turned out to be the final nail in the coffin … whoops!) I Know Who Killed Me. The intention is to reminisce a bit about what we remember about the film, what we think of it now, and why it deserved a special place in BMT history. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for I Know Who Killed Me

If there is one thing the Bad Movie Twins love it is twin films. A classic in its own right this serial killer thriller was meant to be a redemption story for its star Lindsay Lohan, an actress who, at the time, was haunted by stories of outrageous behavior and drug use. Instead, the exploitative film turned out to be the last thing studios needed to see to confirm Lohan’s career was, for all intents and purposes, dead. The Bad Movie Twins pride ourselves in finding the wonderful badmovieness in even the most non-thrilling of thrillers, but sometimes you have to recognize greatness. This is a bad movie fan’s bad movie, the kind you just marvel at, so consider its induction more of a victory lap if anything.

As was the case with all of the Hall of Fame movies it has been over five years since we saw the film, so what did I remember?

  • The ultimate twin film! That’s right, Lindsay Lohan plays two girls who are, in fact, stigmata twins. She answers the age old question “if I hurt your twin do you feel it?” with a resounding YES.
  • The entire film is colored blue and red. It is quite in your face, which is basically because the director was not very experienced.
  • The killer is super telegraphed. Like it is obviously her piano teacher, he cuts off her hand and leg … which she is using to play the piano earlier in the film.
  • Yet another Neal McDonough film! He is just a jewel, savor him, he only has so many movies left to watch.
  • ROBOT ARM AND ROBOT LEG. That’s right, in the film Lohan almost inexplicably receives a futuristic robot arm and robot leg. You may wonder: wait? When does this movie take place? The near future I guess. It never quits, and it is almost entirely for budgetary purposes and it is awesome.

As usual I tried to keep the first and last entries as the most important. The twin film aspect of it is legendary. At the time we watched this we didn’t really have an idea of Twin Films or even that we were the Bad Movie Twins. We just had Bad Movie Thursday. We didn’t even have an email let alone a full-blown website. The stigmata twin aspect of the film is probably foundational to identifying elements of films that we couldn’t help but love. Black Eyed Peas, the Calendar, the Smellements, possibly all ultimately came from us personally identifying with twin films and trying to recapture that moment of just loving something in a profoundly illogical way.

The robot arm and robot leg on the other hand is completely unparalleled in bad movie lore. There is no other set piece in a bad movie that is as delightful as this (definitely budgetary) choice to give Lohan a robot arm and leg to drag around after getting them stigmatically removed by her sister’s torturer. They have to be plugged in and thus slow her down at times, it allows her to have a kind of super strength in other instances, and best of all it sets the film in some near future where this stuff not only exists, but is accessible to a high school student. For all I know it does exist! It leaves so many more questions than answers it kind of saves the middle of a film from being just boring as Lohan tries and figure out why she is hanging with this family she doesn’t know.

So how did the rewatch go? As you can kind of tell by my excitement above, it obviously went super well. Is the movie a bit slow at times? Yes. Is it gross and exploitative and make you feel terrible? It does! I actually did forget about that bit. The idea that this was supposed to allow Lohan back into the limelight by having her strip and show her “adult” side is just so misguided considering her main issue at the time was drugs and alcohol. But overall the film has to be the worst major serial killer film you can watch. As a plus you get to hang out with Lohan and McDonough in the slow bits, so it is still pretty fun even when it is a run-of-the-mill mystery thriller.

And there were some great bits I totally forgot about. Just how gross the film is is hard to describe. It is fully in the body horror genre at times, which is possibly my least favorite genre (maybe torture porn, but who can choose?). And there is an aspect of the direction I also forgot about: the mirror shot. We’ve watched a few films which use this conceit. Torque I think used mirror shots somewhat ironically, and Color of Night very earnestly. This is closer to Color of Night and kind of shows that the director just wasn’t really ready for a major motion picture, he was using directorial stylings from early-90s erotic thrillers. Might as well have shown us some Bruce Willis dong while you’re at it.

This film is the quintessential twin film and the quintessential bonkers set piece film. For the twin film aspect and the robot arm and robot leg the movie would easily slide head first into the Hall of Fame. But add that mirror shot directorial choice and it solidifies its place as the top of the serial killer bad movie genre. Congrats I Know Who Killed Me, you did it.

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I Know Who Killed Me Preview

A small note prior to this post: Once again we take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews back in 2011/2012 we also decided to provide a preview for the movie as well. This is the final preview in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediate afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

I Know Who Killed Me (2007) – BMeTric: 81.5

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(Something happened at the start of ‘08ish. The number of votes just stalls for what appears to be several months. At the same time the rating all of a sudden jumps up and then jumps back down once another archived page is sampled. My guess? Someone was gaming the system trying to get the rating for the movie to jump up, and IMDb got wise to it and locked down the page. After a bit they purged the fake votes and it returned to being one of the worst films of all time. The End.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Hopeless thriller in which a young woman is kidnapped and terrorized by a serial killer. When she wakes up in a hospital, she tries to convince everyone she is not who they think she is. Woefully inept, with an incoherent plot and incompetent cinematography.

(Directly to the point. Basically this movie isn’t just acted poorly, or written poorly, it is technically poorly made and it is crazy inept. Inept filmmaking. This is what we are here for boys.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZgwl7nlP5E

(Wowzer. That trailer looks terrible. The story could be interesting, but the way it is presented is decidedly not interesting. It makes it look unintentionally funny. Almost like 88 minutes actually. Interesting concept but obviously not well made or cared for.)

Directors – Chris Sivertson – (Known For: All Cheerleaders Die; The Lost; BMT: I Know Who Killed Me; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Director for I Know Who Killed Me in 2008; Notes: There is surprisingly little information about this guy. He broke onto the scene doing small horror films, had a flurry of films including this one around 2007, and since they has done relatively minor releases.)

Writers – Jeff Hammond (written by) (as Jeffrey Hammond) – (BMT: I Know Who Killed Me; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Screenplay for I Know Who Killed Me in 2008; Notes: Now this guy … yeah there is nothing about this guy. Literally nothing. I did stumble onto a few weird script review sites … but couldn’t find anything about him. The only article on Variety is the announcement for this film. WHO ARE YOU?!)

Actors – Lindsay Lohan – (Known For: Mean Girls; The Parent Trap; The Holiday; Freaky Friday; Machete; Herbie Fully Loaded; Bobby; A Prairie Home Companion; Future BMT: Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen; The Canyons; Just My Luck; InAPPropriate Comedy; Chapter 27; BMT: Scary Movie 5; I Know Who Killed Me; Georgia Rule; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for I Know Who Killed Me in 2008; Nominated for Worst Actress in 2007 for Just My Luck; and in 2014 for The Canyons; Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress in 2014 for InAPPropriate Comedy, and Scary Movie 5; Nominated for Worst Screen Combo for Scary Movie 5 in 2014; and Nominated for Worst Actress of the Decade in 2010 for Herbie Fully Loaded, I Know Who Killed Me, and Just My Luck; Notes: This film was meant to catapult her from teenage star to serious actress. But it managed to be a final nail in the coffin for her career at the time. It looks like perhaps she’s making a good move starring in 8 episodes of the Rupert Grint / Nick Frost television series Sick Note. Television could be the place to stage a comeback.)

Julia Ormond – (Known For: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Legends of the Fall; Inland Empire; My Week with Marilyn; First Knight; Sabrina; The East; Che: Part One; Chained; Albatross; Kit Kittredge: An American Girl; Surveillance; Smilla’s Feeling for Snow; The Music Never Stopped; Nostradamus; The Prime Gig; Future BMT: Rememory; BMT: I Know Who Killed Me; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress for I Know Who Killed Me in 2008; Notes: The was the next big thing among British actresses in the mid-90s, and has since then made a fine transition into television primarily. Has a great track record all things considered.)

Neal McDonough – (Known For: Captain America: The First Avenger; Minority Report; 1922; RED 2; Flags of Our Fathers; Star Trek: First Contact; Darkman; Ravenous; Greater; Traitor; Falcon Rising; Little Birds; Future BMT: The Hitcher; Angels in the Outfield; Walking Tall; Telling You; The Last Time; Three Wishes; BMT: I Know Who Killed Me; Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li; Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2; Fire Down Below; Timeline; 88 Minutes; The Guardian; Notes: A true BMT legend. One of the first actors I remember noticing being in an inordinate number of BMT films. People like him make me wonder about the best path to managing a career. He has been in an amazing number of terrible films, but I think he is a great actor, and he not only stars in a multitude of television series (Suits, Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow recently), but has five films coming out next year. How do you do it!?)

Budget/Gross – $12 million / Domestic: $7,498,716 (Worldwide: $9,669,758)

(A complete and utter bomb. It was known to be one of the worst films ever made when it was release, so it is no surprise no one went for it, despite the creepy promise of Lindsay Lohan being in some sort of strip club scene.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (5/75): Distasteful and ludicrously plotted, I Know Who Killed Me is a career nadir for all involved — particularly Lindsay Lohan in a dual role.

(Distasteful, tawdy, vile. Some of the words used to describe this film by critics. And honestly? It rings true. It was all of those things from what I can remember.)

Poster – I Sklog Who Killed Me (B)

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(The pros: I like the color scheme. I like the symmetry. Reminds me of classic 90s thrillers. The cons: The photoshop with the faces looks like crap. The flower looks cheap. The font looks like cheap 90s thrillers and it too easily mimicked. I’m going to bump it up to a B because if I saw this from across the street and I was in the mood for a thriller this immediately gets me curious and interested in seeing the film.)

Tagline(s) – If you think you know the secret…Think twice. (F)

(Boooo. I’m going to give it a bit of a pass because the poster itself is actually tagline-less, so it is less consequential. But this is a terrible tagline even if it does hint at the stigmata twin twist. I assume that is the secret. Also all of the twists in the film are glaringly obvious, so it isn’t even good from that perspective.)

Keyword(s) – stripper; Top Ten by BMeTric: 84.2 Piranha 3DD (2012); 81.5 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 79.8 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000); 78.7 Striptease (1996); 77.7 Universal Soldier: The Return (1999); 73.2 Showgirls (1995); 71.9 Zombie Strippers (2008); 68.4 Stan Helsing (2009); 67.5 It’s Pat: The Movie (1994); 66.4 The Crow: City of Angels (1996);

(Gross! We’ve seen Striptease, and will have to do a Showgirls viewing at some point as well for the record (at least one of us has definitely seen that one). The rest are kind of throwaway, which is actually weirdly disappointing. You’d think there would be better bad movies with stripping in it.)

Notes – Lindsay Lohan’s legal issues became a problem during filming as there were some days were she would either show up late or not show up at all, it got so out of hand that Chris Sivertson was forced to use a body double and digitally replace her face with Lohan’s while filming the climax of the film for the days she was not on set. (This was I think for drugs? I don’t think this was the stealing one)

Blue objects are dominant throughout the runtime of the picture (as the color represents Aubrey’s personality). In the first 35 minutes alone we see Aubrey’s dark blue shirt, along with her blue dress, blue gloves, a blue pill, blue football uniforms, football fans wearing blue sports shirts and blue body paint, Thomas Tofel’s blue ring, a blue mouth gag, a blue laptop bag, a blue cat collar, Aubrey’s blue Lexus car, Thomas’s blue car, blue tools of torture, a blue solution poured on a hand, blue everything in an operating room, a blue hospital gown, a blue iPod, blue roses, a blue pen with blue ink, a blue photo album, blue walls in a classroom, and blue hospital walls, even some characters have blue eyes. (Yup, it is super in your face, overwhelming, and honestly amateurish)

Lindsay Lohan actually took pole-dancing lessons to prepare for her role as a stripper but because of her strict no-nudity clause in her contract she was not willing to strip nude for the film. (Good for her I say. Don’t do it for some schlock like this at least. Perhaps for something you are proud of with a purpose to it all)

This is the third time Lindsay Lohan played two characters in one film. Her first time was as Hallie Parker and Annie James in The Parent Trap (1998) where she played twins and her second time was in Freaky Friday (2003) where she played mother and daughter Anna Coleman and Tess Coleman, whose bodies were swapped after an unfortunate Chinese curse.

In the first week of production, filming was halted after Lindsay Lohan had her appendix removed, filming was delayed even longer after the incision was infected and the filmmakers were waiting for a doctor’s approval for Lohan to continue working. This occured at the same time Lohan entered rehab for the first time in January 2007. Filming finally resumed in February. (Drugs, the above not was definitely about drugs)

Held the record for the most Razzie Award “wins” by one film in a single year, with 8 awards including Worst Picture of 2007. A record that was previously held by both Battlefield Earth (2000) and Showgirls (1995) and was later broken by the Adam Sandler comedy Jack and Jill (2011) (another movie where the lead actor plays two characters), with an incredible ten awards, including Worst Picture of 2011. The film received 9 nominations and only won 8 of those awards, the only award the film lost was Worst Supporting Actress for Julia Ormond who lost the award to Eddie Murphy for his role in drag in Norbit (2007). (The Jack and Jill “victory” was a crime in my opinion. Bucky Larson was a worse film that year)

Was not screened in advance for critics.

Because of her negative reputation, Lindsay Lohan could not even walk to her trailer without the paparazzi photographing her, sometimes they would even end up in the background of some shots of the film.

The only film that received an “F” CinemaScore from audiences upon its release in 2007. (I assume that is “in 2007” specifically. Mother! this year joined that club if I recall correctly)

Lindsay Lohan’s DUI arrest in late July 2007 prevented her from doing promotion for this movie. She was scheduled to appear as a guest star on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992) to promote the film. (DUI! Had to be drugs or alcohol related to involve rehab)

Scenes in the trailer that didn’t appear in the theatrical cut include Jerrod (Brian Geraghty) talking to Aubrey about her story “Dakota” and stating “Aubrey you talk about her like she’s real, it’s a stupid assignment for class” and an unidentified character talking to another character and saying “she looks just like her but it ain’t Aubrey”.

Chris Sivertson took inspiration from the works of David Lynch, Brian De Palma, and Alfred Hitchcock incorporating their use of surrealistic imagery and creative color choices for the film.

Jeff Hammond’s first (and last) film as a screenplay writer. (awwwww, but I can’t really feel that bad. You wrong I Know Who Killed Me, what did you expect?)

Chris Sivertson’s favorite works such as Vertigo (1958), Blue Velvet (1986), Dressed to Kill (1980), and Twin Peaks (1990) all served as inspiration for this film.

Film debut of YouTube celebrity Jessica Lee Rose.

Shay Aster, Leslie Cohen, Dan Walters, and Clint Johnson all played supporting characters in the film though their scenes ended up on the cutting room floor.

Oddly, while most store-exclusive bonus discs with special features are included in an envelope in the case, the bonus disc with cast and crew interviews for this film was instead included in it’s own case separate from the film. (Very odd … that was sarcastic by the way)

In Aubrey’s bedroom seen throughout the film, if looking closely behind her door, you can spot a familiar purple guitar leaning against the dresser drawer. Not only is purple a color made from combining blue and red, the two dominant colors of the film, it’s also the same guitar that appears on the cover of Lindsay Lohan’s album “Speak.”

When Dakota is about to do a Google search on Aubrey’s laptop, she finds it’s locked with a password and somehow figures out what it was. The password was actually Dakota, named after her story of the same name. Although we don’t see the password on the screen, if looking closely at the keys Dakota is typing, you can see she’s hitting the letters that spell that name. (excuuuuuuuuuuuuse me. She does not do a Google search. This movie takes place in an alternate universe in which Ask.com has won the search engine wars and is a groudbreaking technology)

According to behind the scenes interviews, during the interrogation of Daniel Fleming by detectives searching for a missing Aubrey, a mural containing several paintings and drawings can be seen right behind Daniel as he’s talking to them. This mural’s paintings actually contain several clues and hints towards the twists and turns that will happen in the film.

In her hospital room, after Dakota has been treated, she is interrogated by a psychiatrist. He starts asking Dakota questions and writes her answers down in a notepad divided in half, with various bits of info on Aubrey written in blue while Dakota’s answers are written in red.

The Flemings and Dakota are driven home from the hospital by the police to avoid the reporters, while in the backseat, Dakota’s face is lit up, alternately, in blue and red from the police car sirens. This is supposed to be a motif that plays on the idea on whether or not she is really Aubrey or Dakota. (This shit is just bonkers. Just ridiculous stuff)

The original ending revealed that the characters Aubrey and Dakota were not real and that the entire film was simply an unnamed college student’s script (also played by Lindsay Lohan). This ending was cut after test audiences found it “too predictable” (it is included on the DVD and Blu-ray extras). (Jesus Christ, you gonna Jacob’s Ladder this thing?)

The neon sign above the strip club entrance malfunctions with the arm and the leg fading in and out, a foreshadowing technique for the fact that Aubrey and Dakota have their arms and legs amputated. (Robot arm and robot leg, the best part of this crazy bad film)

Jeff Hammond said his main inspiration for writing the screenplay was to write a story that featured the concept of stigmatic twins, siblings with a psychic connection that lets them feel each other’s pain and experiences. Producer Frank Mancuso Jr. saw this script and helped get it greenlit for production because he was impressed by the original concept. (Stigmata twiiiins. Maybe the best twin film of all time)

Several moments in the film allude to the idea of doubles, or two halves. Aubrey at one point mentions that she feels like half of her soul is missing, a student in the biology class asks if cutting a worm in half will result in two more worms, and the motorist who rescues Dakota off the side of the road talks over the phone about feeling like “half a person”, all of which foreshadowes the revelation that Aubrey and Dakota are psychic twins.

Awards

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture of the Decade

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress of the Decade (Lindsay Lohan)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Picture

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Lindsay Lohan, Lindsay Lohan)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Lindsay Lohan, Lindsay Lohan)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Lindsay Lohan)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Rip-Off

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Chris Sivertson)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Jeff Hammond)

Won the Razzie Award for Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Julia Ormond)

Hall of Fame Speech #9: Texas Rangers

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a second class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly seven years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. Over the five weeks leading up to the fifth (seventh?) Smaddies Baddies we’ll bring you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. This is the fourth, for the James Van Der Beek tour de force, Texas Rangers. The intention is to reminisce a bit about what we remember about the film, what we think of it now, and why it deserved a special place in BMT history. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Texas Rangers

Probably the smallest and least known film to ever make a HoF induction list. Much like past inductee Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li and future inductee Here on Earth (spoiler alert… it’ll obviously make The Hall because it is amazing), this film represents BMT at its purest: us enjoying something that is nearly unwatchable. If a group of people took our recommendation and watched this masterpiece would they find as much joy as we did? Almost certainly not. No, this wasn’t a massive bomb, wasn’t an insane vanity project, and didn’t feature a major actor making impossibly weird choices. Instead it just made no sense at all and featured one of the funniest moments in BMT’s illustrious history.

As will be the case with all the BMT HoF films, it’s been five years since we watched this film. So let’s go through what I remember from that first viewing:

  • James Van Der Beek was… not great, but Ashton Kutcher was a thousand times worse. He’s an underrated stalwart of BMT, particularly in its early years, and this is probably his shining star. I actually forgot that we’ve seen him in an astonishing eight films.
  • I remember uncontrollably laughing when recapping this film with Patrick. Most of the time we are pretty clinical when it comes to breaking down a film, but for some reason a number of things in this film tickled us and I still remember the discussion to this day.
  • We mostly laughed about the ending of the film where James Van Der Beek corners the bad guy in a Mexican standoff of sorts. As the audience you don’t know what is going to happen. How will he get out of this predicament?! Just then our boy James bends his knees and leaps forward in the air and… somehow this allows him to kill the bad guy. It is the single dumbest looking thing I’ve ever seen put to film. It’s pretty much in the HoF because of that. I can’t believe it exists.

There is always one little treat that I get to go over in the recap that I didn’t remember from the first viewing. I certainly remembered the acting and that crazy scene at the end, but I did not remember just how little sense this film makes. There are so many moments where things were happening on the screen that had me scratching my head asking simply, “Wait… what?” Right from the jump James Van Der Beek survives a bandit attack by being left for dead… this despite the fact that we as viewers can see him moving around and making noise mere inches from the bandits who meant to kill him. He’s not even trying to play dead. It was so confusing that it made me feel insane. Like the film was gaslighting me. I was like, “Hey movie, you don’t make any sense. Why can’t the bandits see a very obviously alive James Van Der Beek?” and the movie was like “Shhhh, silly Jamie. This in fact does make sense and you just aren’t able to follow the narrative structure of a well written film. I would explain it but you probably wouldn’t be able to follow my explanation.” From there I had more fun pretending that the film was about a gang of spooky ghosts out for revenge and guess what? It made sense. Why can’t they see Van Der Beek? He’s a ghost. How does Ashton Kutcher survive being trapped in a burning building? Ghost. Why does the crazy leaping shot win a Mexican standoff? Ghost. Best ghost movie we’ve ever watched.

Before we discuss that most glorious Mexican standoff, we gotta talk a little about the acting in this film. I had remembered Ashton Kutcher as the main culprit. I can’t say he had the worst southern accent I’ve ever heard (looking at you Jonah Hill in Strange Wilderness), but it’s pretty close. That being said I had totally forgotten that Usher is actually the worst part of the film. I had apparently scrubbed his presence from my memory to the point where I was pleasantly surprised to have him appear on screen. We always appreciate a singer-turned-actor, but even I struggled to pick up what he was putting down. It was actually hard to watch and it seemed like maybe the director agreed because as the film went on his part in it dwindled until he was almost nonexistent. I would say he should use some of his vast fortune to bury this film forever, but I think the film did that OK by itself.

Finally, the crown jewel of the film: the leaping jump shoot. It’s exactly as I remember it… which isn’t surprising since I watch it on YouTube every few months or so just to remember what it’s like to truly live:

It’s almost impossible to describe why it is that it’s so amazing to us. Upon the rewatch I think it has a lot to do with the framing of the scene. Almost everything is done in extreme close-ups of Van Der Beek and Alfred Molina. The director switches back and forth between their faces staring intensely at each other engaged in a life or death duel. Just when the music swells and you know the climactic event is about to occur it quickly switches to a close-up of Van Der Beek’s shoes as they kick up some dust and rise a magnificent inch above the ground. Your brain is confused. Did he jump? Molina also seems baffled by Van Der Beek’s disappearance. Where could he have gone? He was here just a second ago. Too late, for he has fallen majestically to his stomach killing Molina with a single shot. It is absurd and amazing and profoundly confusing. Which basically describes every great thing in BMT: absurd, amazing, and profoundly confusing.

Overall I think this film will go down as one of the many BMT HoFers that really shine with one moment of glory. While one might suspect we were in for something special simply by the statement: Western starring James Van Der Beek, it’s not until that final climactic scene where it all comes together in its BMT HoF glory. Congrats to Texas Rangers and the other hundred or so people that have seen this film or even know what it is. You’ve just jump leaped your way like an idiot into the Hall of Fame.

Texas Rangers Preview

A small note prior to this post: Once again we take a look back at the movies that we watched over five years ago and choose a Hall of Fame class, five movies that we thought embodied BMT in some way. Perhaps they were particularly bad, or an example of a specific bad movie trope, whatever, something made them stand out as special in our minds. Since we didn’t do email previews back in 2011/2012 we also decided to provide a preview for the movie as well. This is the fourth in a series of five leading up to our yearly awards the Smaddies Baddies. A recap (Hall of Fame speech really) will follow immediate afterwards to explain why the movie was chosen, things we loved about the movie, and things we discovered upon second viewing. Enjoy!

Texas Rangers (2001) – BMeTric: 35.0

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(I secretly kind of love this graph. So 5.0 is distinctly below average. Not in the 4’s where you’d know that something is truly amiss, but still low. It stays there. Stuck, as more and more people watch and agree: This movie is very much below average but not … like horrible. No regression to the mean because this movie is already at its mean: 5.0 through and through and forever. Solid like a rock.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Young man joins the recently formed Texas Rangers to avenge the death of his family and becomes an aide to the unit’s enigmatic leader (McDermott). Beautifully mounted widescreen Western isn’t bad, but its story is superficial and derivative. Of the young stars, Van Der Beek fares best, while Molina has fun as a sneering villain. This sat on the shelf for almost two years.

(Right up until the end I was getting a bit scared there. But sitting on the shelf for two years? You think they let a 2.5 / 4 star film sit on the shelf for two years? Luckily we’ve seen this and know Leonard is being forgiving, but still, pretty strong endorsement from Leonard for a genuine stinker here.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTwLLnBbot0

(THE MUSIC. Just amazing. Running through that cast list in the end as well, just making my heart pound. I. Am. Into. It.)

Directors – Steve Miner – (Known For: Warlock; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Lake Placid; House; Forever Young; Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken; Future BMT: Big Bully; Soul Man; My Father the Hero; BMT: Friday the 13th Part III; Texas Rangers; Friday the 13th Part 2; Notes: Wow… I actually had no idea that one of the directors of Friday the 13th also did Texas Rangers. What’s even funnier is that he directed Soul Man, one of the most obviously racist major film releases in history.)

Writers – George Durham (book) – (BMT: Texas Rangers; Notes: Wait… this is based on a book?)

Scott Busby (written by) – (BMT: Texas Rangers; Notes: Now works as a communications consultant through his company The Busby Group.)

Martin Copeland (written by) – (Future BMT: The Heavenly Kid; BMT: Texas Rangers; Notes: Mostly teaches now. Has a PhD from UCLA and teaches there as part of the Writers’ Program.)

Actors – James Van Der Beek – (Known For: Downsizing; Scary Movie; Castle in the Sky; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back; Varsity Blues; The Rules of Attraction; Angus; I Love You, I Love You Not; Future BMT: The Big Bang; Stolen; Standing Still; BMT: Texas Rangers; Notes: You know who this guy is. Interesting thing I learned from imdb is that he was apparently paid $3 million for Texas Rangers. It earned one-fifth a Van Der Beek at the box office.)

Rachael Leigh Cook – (Known For: Josie and the Pussycats; Nancy Drew; The Baby-Sitters Club; 11:14; All I Wanna Do; The House of Yes; Living Out Loud; The Big Empty; Bookies; The Hi-Line; Future BMT: Blonde Ambition; She’s All That; Carpool; Tom and Huck; Descent; Antitrust; 29 Palms; The Lodger; Scorched; The Family Tree; My First Wedding; Blow Dry; Stateside; BMT: Get Carter; Texas Rangers; Notes: Married to future BMT actor Daniel Gillies who has a starring role in Captivity, one of the worst reviewed films in the torture porn subgenre.)

Ashton Kutcher – (Known For: No Strings Attached; A Lot Like Love; Open Season; Guess Who; Bobby; Future BMT: My Boss’s Daughter; Annie; Dude, Where’s My Car?; Just Married; Reindeer Games; Spread; What Happens in Vegas; Coming Soon; BMT: Down to You; Killers; Valentine’s Day; New Year’s Eve; Cheaper by the Dozen; Jobs; Texas Rangers; The Guardian; Notes: Underrated BMT talent and all around bad actor. Now married to Mila Kunis and living the life.)

Budget/Gross – $38 million / Domestic: $623,374 (Worldwide: $623,374)

(Yeah, so they essentially pulled this from release. Despite being made for so much they only put it out in 402 theaters for 17 days. Smacks of a contractual requirement.)

#66 for the Western genre

texasrangers_western

(Kind of a messy plot, but you can kind of see the genre surge back to life in the early 90s (e.g. Dances with Wolves), and not it is having a bit of a 2010s surge as well. People like westerns, and I want to like them more, but I often find them plodding. I need to put in the work though. Do the homework. I’ll get there.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 2% (1/49): As far as westerns go, Texas Rangers is strictly mediocre stuff.

(I feel like RT is underselling a 2% scoring film. There has to be something profoundly wrong with a film to score that low. Certainly the case here.)

Poster – Texas Sklogs (A-)

texas_rangers_ver1

(I actually think this poster is great. Nice symmetry and color (including the shading of the actors). Slight negative on font, which is OK but not perfect.)

Tagline(s) – Count Your Bullets. (D)

(Uh………………. Wot? I know I’m the boy who cried nonsense with a lot of this BMT stuff but this is nonsense.)

Keyword(s) – texas; Top Ten by BMeTric: 87.2 Crossroads (I) (2002); 83.3 Rollerball (2002); 81.7 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005); 68.5 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013); 64.1 Dr. T & the Women (2000); 63.1 North (1994); 62.4 Ghost Rider (2007); 61.3 Ishtar (1987); 54.0 The Return (I) (2006); 53.0 View from the Top (2003);

(Crossroads! We’ll watch that (again … for the third or fourth time in our lives). Dr. T comes up in a lot of these lists somehow, but alas, it does not qualify. Maybe someday we’ll have an also rans section where we can watch high BMeTric films outside of the scope of BMT.)

Notes – James Van Der Beek had never ridden a horse prior to this movie. (You don’t say)

The film was in development for many, many years. In its earliest stages, it was planned as a directorial project for Sam Peckinpah.

Unused score composed by Marco Beltrami

Joshua Jackson was considered for the role of Lincoln Rogers Dunnison. (They should just remake this movie with all the actors from Dawson’s Creek taking turns in the leading role. An avant garde artistic masterpiece.)

Hall of Fame Speech #8: 88 Minutes

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a second class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly seven years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. Over the five weeks leading up to the fifth (seventh?) Smaddies Baddies we’ll bring you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. This is the thrid, for the un-thrilling psychological thriller 88 Minutes. The intention is to reminisce a bit about what we remember about the film, what we think of it now, and why it deserved a special place in BMT history. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for 88 Minutes

88 Minutes? Sounds like 87 minutes too much! In our second year with the BMT Hall of Fame we had a lot more of our lower-key BMT success stories. Does anyone remember 88 Minutes? Is it a famously terribly movie in its time? Coming off of the first Hall of Fame year, with its Battlefield Earths and Norbits, considered some of the worst films ever made, it would be understandable to scoff at what amounts to a one-man thriller starring a distinctly non-thrilled Al Pacino. But in a way this film captured our hearts long before BMT came along. Let’s get into what I remembered about this legend before the rewatch:

  • The main thing is that it is Al Pacino all day all the time. And. He. Does. Not. Give. A. Shit.
  • Ben McKenzie from The O.C. is in it, and as usual he is looking glorious.
  • Al Pacino’s hair looks like a bird’s nest. Some costume designer was like “yes, it looks very good Al, we need to get to set. We’re about to hit overtime for the guild members”.
  • My favorite part of the entire movie is when Pacino walks up to a cab driver and gives him some money to allow him to drive the cab. For the rest of the movie (effectively) Al Pacino is driving a cab while the cab driver visibly sits in the back of the car. It is bonkers and makes no sense, in addition to being supremely distracting.
  • When we were kids my brother would say “he got a guuuuuuuuun” in a funny voice. It is a line from the trailer (and movie), and it is the number one reason this film was on our radar from day one of BMT.
  • It stars Leelee Sobieski and Neal McDonough. If you know anything about the Bad Movie Twins, you know that we love us some Leelee and McDonough, and to have both of them in the same movie always made it a legendary choice.

The first and last are the most important from an overarching BMT perspective. This movie is a great example of a one-man-show. They designed the entire film around a strong protagonist, landed him (Al-fucking-Pacino!!), and then didn’t bother to do much of anything else. And it has maybe the best supporting cast in the history of a BMT film. I didn’t even remember if it is a good thriller, or just boring.

But in the end a huge part of it is the small moments that just stick with you. Him driving the cab, the fact that we’d know of this terrible film for years prior to actually watching it, the extreme setting of Seattle. It’s got it all, the large and small scale BMT successes. It was time for a rewatch.

Let’s get into how that rewatch went. First, unlike the first class of the Hall of Fame, it shouldn’t be surprising that some films in the second year is … less than. I love this film as a BMT film, but re-watching it I couldn’t help but wonder what people would say if I showed it to them. It isn’t very thrilling and tends to kind of sag in the middle while Al Pacino runs around like an idiot in a rainy Seattle. Norbit, Battlefield Earth, and The Wicker Man you kind of stare aghast at. They shock you. This just kind of makes you wonder aloud what it might look like if Al Pacino gave a shit. It didn’t lessen my opinion of it, all of the above points still stand. It is just the first Hall of Fame where the re-watch so starkly displayed how over time all of the other fluff falls away leaving a rosy pictures of the best-worst parts of a film.

Second, there was one aspect of the film that is still absolutely legendary which I didn’t quite remember: the direction. The entire movie has a weird story of Pacino’s little sister having been murdered by a serial killer when he was a young psychoanalyst. This is told exclusively through slow motion (washed out) flashbacks and (BMT trope alert) audio flashbacks! Here at BMT Media Empire HQ we love audio flashbacks. They signal so heavily the disdain for the audience’s ability to understand even basic storytelling elements, and always seem like a tacked on thing after some producer was like “wait, why does Al Pacino hate serial killers so much though …?” There are dutch angles, weird crane shots, and an airplane taking off that is laid over a shot in such a way that it (technically) takes place in both the past (nine years ago) and present, an event I specifically remember making the same joke about: “That plane took off for nine years”. The movie doesn’t really make much sense, and the root of that is because of the trick they tried to pull (88 minutes real time) and the fact that the director wasn’t up for it. Would the direction alone make it Hall of Fame? Naw, but …

The still stellar cast it puts it over the top. Al Pacino, Neal McDonough, and Leelee Sobieski combine to form a super team which makes it all worth it. Neal is ever present on television throughout and has an amazing meltdown at the end when he realizes the jig is up. Leelee as the ultimate vessel of the twist is just so obviously the bad guy it is almost mind-blowing when it happens. And Al Pacino … wanted another house I guess. Because he doesn’t care. And it is amazing.

Overall, I think this guy stands tall as a great example of the one-man-thriller. And while the film sags, it is saved by the direction and cast. It is probably the height of the low-to-mid-budget thriller for BMT at the time, and for a serial killer film I think it stands tall as a counter weight to its HoF inductee twin I Know Who Killed Me (which tends much more towards horror). Oh, and the part where he drives the taxi? I thought I had maybe imagined  it all. That you couldn’t see the driver in the back seat at all, but … nope, the driver is just sitting there like an idiot. It is awesome. He got a gun indeed. Welcome to the club 88 Minutes.

Hall of Fame Speech #7: Strange Wilderness

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a second class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly seven years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. Over the five weeks leading up to the fifth (seventh?) Smaddies Baddies we’ll bring you previews and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films chosen. This is the second, for the catastrophic Happy Madison stoner comedy Strange Wilderness. The intention is to reminisce a bit about what we remember about the film, what we think of it now, and why it deserved a special place in BMT history. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Strange Wilderness

Remember when you were in college, a bit drunk, and you came back from a party, not ready to let that party die? So you pop on the television and find that well … the only thing on is a nature documentary. So you start watching and riffing a bit. Man it is hilarious! Everyone’s cracking jokes. It. Is. So. Funny. Now imagine you recorded that, wouldn’t that be so funny?! Nope. It isn’t. Because you were drunk and everything you said was stupid. You would watch it with shame the next day. Luckily you didn’t record it and everyone can forget about embarrassing themselves trying to be funny while watching some lions have sex. Unlucky for those involved with Strange Wilderness they did record it, and it is the worst. Let’s get into what I remembered before I rewatched this travesty:

  • Jamie HATED this film. With a passion. I remember being somewhat ambivalent to the entire thing. Seemed kind of dumb and boring, but whatever. But throughout the years (over five years now) he has insisted it is one of the worst BMT films we’ve ever watched.
  • There was at least one segment involving a shark where they just dubbed a stupid laugh over it for several minutes.
  • They murder bigfoot in the end, and that is just … kind of the ending to the film.
  • Jonah Hill plays just the most worthless character. He kind of just has a weird voice and is dumb. But something about him made it clear it was just the laziest choices all strung together. His character is grating and kind of epitomizes the terribleness of the entire thing.

The first and last are the most important thing when considering the Hall of Fame. One thing that should be pointed out is this movie was a borderline Hall of Famer in the first place. We almost considered only inducting four movies after being unable to reach a true consensus. Harkening back to when we watched the film originally I recalled the passion with which Jamie insisted this movie was one of the worst things he’d ever seen. And thus we threw a flier out on this borderline case. A movie that just annoys you to no end. Almost inexplicably. A movie that is mostly forgotten, might have a weird cult followed (that cult consisting exclusively of thirteen-year-old boys, I think), but is just dick and sex jokes from scene to scene. We’ve done a number of stoner comedies in our time, so it seems fitting that what is probably the worst of the bunch maybe finds a home in the Hall of Fame.

As far as Jonah Hill’s character is concerned it was nothing against him (per se). It was … more that he represents something kind of special in retrospect. The Three Musketeers is hailed as a landmark movie in BMT history by producing the idea of a Planchet. That character whose sole purpose in the movie it to get ripped on as comic relief. In this case Jonah Hill is almost an anti-Planchet. A guy whose sole purpose to the movie is entirely unknown. Who in every estimation makes the movie worse. Who is so grating and annoying he exposed the seams of the movie and forces you to totally reject everything in the film. It isn’t Jonah Hill’s fault. All of the characters are garbage in their own special way. But the laziness with which the character of Cooker is conceived and executed is just … I do think it might be the worst in BMT history. The Anti-Planchet.

So how did the rewatch go as a whole though? This movie is trash. I have to bust out a little Sklog-cabulary Quiz to explain a bit about how this “plot” is constructed:

Memoryless Markov Plot (n.) – a plot structure comprised of a sequence of events in which the transition from one event to the other is entirely dependent on the current state of the movie without a sense of history or in pursuit of a coherent goal.

This is a quintessential example of such a plot. It is similar to when we describe a movie as being comprised of vignettes instead of actual acts. This is somewhat different in that it kind of describes how the story moves along from one place to another. (1) They need to save their company, so they need a big splash. (2) Their friend comes from out of nowhere with a map to Bigfoot to save the day. (3) They stop on the way to getting the map and their friend is attacked by a shark. (4) They are waiting at the hospital and get into a fight that requires dental surgery. (5) They need money and one guy conveniently steals a bunch of nitrous from the dentist’s office that  they can sell. (6) They instead inhale all of the nitrous before they get to the cabin with the map … like none of the stuff in the middle needed to happen. The only actual consequence of that entire sequence of events is that they have one less person on their crew … that is it! They gained and lost nothing else! And where does it go from there? Obviously, the main character goes into the forest to go to the bathroom and a turkey bites his dick and they go back to the hospital! Obviously … obviously. It is just so insane.

Add to this that the characters are all either the worst people, or like caricatures written by a high school improv troupe. Like the hot girl who just wants the be one of the guys, she’s cool! She lewdly refers to having sex with the guys and dresses ridiculously, and is basically just there to be ogled by Steve Zahn and Allen Covert. “I don’t want to be that downer woman on the trip” written by a man for a woman to speak to the weird stereotypes held by teenagers. Just, kind of gross is all I’m saying.

Overall, I think this ended up being a great example of something like Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star and other second-tier Happy Madison productions. Basically, a starless comedy which is laughless, directionless, and totally devoid of any mature ideas or jokes. I applaud Jamie for recognizing it’s potential at a point in our young bad movie lives where a movie like this might not have stood out for what it is: just the worst example of what a stoner comedy can be. Period. I am proud to have it in the Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame Speech #5: Battlefield Earth

Brief note before we start: last July we got together and worked out a first class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. It has been nearly six years since we started BMT and the films we had seen more than five years ago, in some cases, deserved a rewatch and reassessment. This is the last in the series of Hall of Fame speeches we made leading up to the fourth (sixth?) Smaddies Baddies. You can find all of the previews in our archive and Hall of Fame Speeches for the five films in the Smaddies Baddies section of the website. The final speech is for John Travolta’s ultimate adaptation of the L. Ron Hubbard classic Sci Fi epic, Battlefield Earth. The intention is to reminisce a bit about what we remember about the film, what we think of it now, and why it deserved a special place in BMT history. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Battlefield Earth

Battlefield Earth? More like General Appeal Dearth (c’mon now!). I rewatched what many consider the worst movie ever made in Battlefield Earth. Last week I claimed it to be, probably, the most famous and rewarding bad movie we’ve seen. This movie isn’t nominated because it is the most BMT film, or the worst film, it is because it was made by the Church of Scientology and was hewn from a one-thousand page book that was called unfilmable. It has something that lurks deep within BMT and comes out only on rare occasions (and almost never with big budgets): A mad man wants a movie to be made, and he is going to make it no matter what! And that is what makes Battlefield Earth so special, it is to big budgets as The Room is to independent films.

First, let’s get into what I remembered from oh so long ago:

  • I remembered that the most striking thing about the movie was the directing. This was prior to the previews and recaps and the website, so I was compelled to look up the director after watching the film and, upon learning that he was a second unit director on some Star Wars films, everything kind of clicked. He does the same weird fades and wipe transitions. Perhaps that is the legacy of Battlefield Earth for BMT: it is probably the first real example where learning about the film prior to watching enhanced the viewing. And I think that is a solid reason for it to be in the Hall of Fame. Prior to the second viewing I was still learning stuff about the craziness that was this production!
  • I also remembered that the director constantly used Dutch angles. Dutch angles are used in a few bad movies, but this one was insane. And I remember thinking “I can’t wait until I see more movies with this kind of insane direction”. And with the wealth of bad movie information I now have at my disposal … it really isn’t as common as I had thought and hoped at the time. Again, a solid legacy for the film, for years I would call out Dutch angles whenever I saw them, which it turned out was rather rarely.
  • As far as the acting was concerned: I remember being very enamored with Barry Pepper and somewhat obsessed with how this guy ended up as the lead in this film. Travolta’s performance slaps you in the face. Given Wicker Man we were hitting some classic performances and this one stands tall among the best of the bunch. And for some reason I thought Whitaker could not care less about this film (during the second viewing that is false though, the guy kills it! He’s hilarious).
  • And finally I would always remember it as a precursor to the settings obsession of BMT it was blowing my mind that the movie/book was set in Denver for unknowable reasons. I figured it was from the book, but wouldn’t know until I (gulp) read the book … or at least most of it.

At the time I distinctly remember

thinking “oh yeah, so this is what a truly and profoundly terrible movie is like”. Over the years that attitude wouldn’t really change, and the movie will enter the Hall of Fame at the top of the class for incompetent directing, the pinnacle of Dutch angles, and the beginning of the BMT film previews (although not in real written form just yet).

To recap the second viewing I will, once again, go with my classic Good/Bad/BMT:
I need to include a short review of the book which I’m still in the process of reading (I started it in November … so you get the idea at how much I eventually disliked it). The first 30% of the book is what the movie is actually based on, and honestly I thought that 30% was quite good and I got through it at quite a good clip. From about 30%-50% might be the worst and most worthless book I’ve ever read. It might as well have been about nothing. I’m up to around 65% and it is getting okay again. Weird review, but never read this book. It is an exercise in writing totally-accurate Sci Fi and just isn’t very fun. All that being said: this movie is an okay adaptation of that first 30%, and it is probably the reason the script was able to be written and filmed at all. It is also shocking to realize that when Travolta says things like “crap-brain” that all comes from the book. I have a theory guys: Hubbard was kind of a crazy weirdo.

I’ll leave you with this: In the first six months of BMT we watched some very terrible films because we had basically all of the bad movie filmography to choose from. This always stuck out as the most wide appeal bad movie we ever watched bar none. It is a classic for a reason, and there is a reason it is one of the very rare big budget films on the IMDb bottom 100. Sometimes you just have to admit when greatness is great. And Battlefield Earth is a great bad movie.