Shaft (2019) Preview

Adam Banks, the producer of the latest Rich and Poe film, sits sweating as he watches Jamie and Patrick rant and rave around his office. Having already relented in allowing them to star in the film, he is shocked to hear that they now want to do their own stunts too. These stunts involve jumping between two helicopter cruise ships hovering over the blue waters of the French Riviera and Banks just isn’t sure he can insure it. He’s also not sure helicopter cruise ships exists. “Then invent one,” Jamie screams, “how much did our last film make?” He remarks with crossed arms waiting silently for a response. Banks mumbles the well known 2.3 billion dollar figure. “Then use is,” Jamie snidely remarks. There have been grumblings at the studio that this is some elaborate scheme set up by the auteurs to get out of there 20 film contract early, but Banks isn’t so sure. It seems to him that they have simply gone insane. Finally he relents and orders the helicopter cruise ships to be constructed. Once Jamie and Patrick are safely on the corporate jet back to the French Riviera he buzzes his secretary to set up a meeting ASAP. A few hours later Banks sits with a man dressed in dark glasses and a leather duster. “Rod, I need your help. I’ve got a delicate matter that needs some… discretion.” The man smiles, “Well Banks, you know that there’s only one thing I do better than discretion,” Banks nods and Rod finishes, “Sex is what I’m referring to.” And Banks nods again, “great well, really just discretion needed on this one.” At that they rise and shake hands. “You know, Rod, you really are one bad mother…” But Rod interrupts him “shut you’re fucking mouth.” That’s right! We are watching the 2019 entry in the Shaft saga that we were all scrambling for. Everywhere we went all we heard was “gee whiz I sure do hope we get a Shaft for a new generation.” Well we asked, they delivered in a neat BMT package. Gives us a chance to watch the original and the Samuel L. Jackson 2000 entry to get uptodate on the franchise, which is exciting. Let’s go!

Shaft (2019) – BMeTric: 19.6; Notability: 31

ShaftIMDb_BMeT

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(Genuinely strange. Usually things go the other way. Usually fans of the film come in hot with above average ratings during the initial theatrical run, and then it drops afterwards. This time people seeing it in theaters seem to hate it, but then it has stood steady at a pretty above average 6.4. I don’t really know what to make of that. Probably just need to wait a little longer for things to clarify.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars –  This movie is “ruin your childhood” bad, right down to the hideous auto-tuned end credits song they chose to use instead of the original “Theme From Shaft.” I say this flick Shaft is a bad movie. Shut yo’ mouth.

(Somehow this review is a lot kinder than I imagined it would be. Most reviews can be boiled down to “Ok, Boomer”. Mainly because whole scenes are (apparently) devoted to women lusting over Shaft shooting a bunch of people and making fun of Millenials … so just ruining your childhood seems like a step up in that context.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD41XdWcmbY/

(Sigh. So I know someone who’s seen this and he describes it as Boomer Humor. Now, I don’t hold prejudices against any movie. I’m happy to watch any film no matter how far from the intended audience I am. As Shaft says, I’m an equal opportunity stare-in-stony-silence-at-not-funny-films … person. But so far that guy seems right, so this is going to be one long film. Sigh.)

Directors – Tim Story – (Known For: Think Like a Man; Barbershop; Future BMT: Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Fantastic Four; Think Like a Man Too; BMT: Taxi; Ride Along 2; Ride Along; Shaft; Notes: He kind of has an amazing career. Everything from small indie films, to giant comic book blockbusters, and now he’s attached to Tom & Jerry, Ride Along 3, and Monopoly in the next few years! I look forward to watching many Tim Story films for the next decade to come.)

Writers – Kenya Barris (written by) – (Known For: Girls Trip; Barbershop: A Fresh Cut; BMT: Shaft; Notes: Childhood friend of Tyra Banks, he created the whole Black-ish series.)

Alex Barnow (written by) – (BMT: Shaft; Notes: A television writer almost exclusively. He wrote for a ton of shows including Family Guy and The Goldbergs.)

Ernest Tidyman (based upon the character John Shaft from the novel by) – (Known For: Shaft; The French Connection; High Plains Drifter; Shaft; Shaft in Africa; Shaft’s Big Score!; BMT: Shaft; Notes: I … did not realize it was a book series. He wrote seven Shaft novels between 1970 and 1975.)

Actors – Samuel L. Jackson – (Known For: Avengers: Endgame; Spider-Man: Far from Home; Pulp Fiction; Avengers: Infinity War; Captain Marvel; Goodfellas; Jurassic Park; Inglourious Basterds; Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace; Django Unchained; Kong: Skull Island; The Hateful Eight; Coming to America; Kingsman: The Secret Service; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith; Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children; Avengers Assemble; Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones; Unbreakable; Future BMT: Cell; The Spirit; Freedomland; Kite; Barely Lethal; Meeting Evil; Oldboy; Reasonable Doubt; Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Home of the Brave; The Samaritan; No Good Deed; Sphere; Amos & Andrew; Cleaner; The Legend of Tarzan; Loaded Weapon 1; Zambezia; The Exterminator; The 51st State; Rules of Engagement; Johnny Suede; Basic; Strictly Business; Glass; Country of My Skull; One Eight Seven; Life Itself; Gospel Hill; BMT: xXx²: The Next Level; Twisted; Jumper; Shaft; Notes: Still going strong at 70. He’s only a little younger than Richard Roundtree who plays his father in the film. He’s starring in a film called The Banker this year as well which will get a limited theatrical release in December.)

Jessie T. Usher – (Known For: Almost Christmas; Beautiful Boy; Future BMT: InAPPropriate Comedy; When the Game Stands Tall; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; Shaft; Notes: Kind of came up with guest spots in television, and then broke out with Independence Day: Resurgence. Also starred in the critically acclaimed The Boys television show this year.)

Richard Roundtree – (Known For: Seven; What Men Want; Brick; George of the Jungle; Shaft; Speed Racer; Shaft; Maniac Cop; Q; Shaft in Africa; Original Gangstas; Shaft’s Big Score!; Man Friday; Once Upon a Time… When We Were Colored; Future BMT: Boat Trip; Corky Romano; City Heat; Earthquake; Antitrust; Inchon; BMT: Steel; Theodore Rex; Shaft; Notes: There was a Shaft television “show” from 1973-1974 as well which he starred in. In actuality they were seven television movies, which is rather intriguing.)

Budget/Gross – $30–35 million / Domestic: $21,360,215 (Worldwide: $21,360,215)

(That isn’t good. But it released internationally on Netflix which was probably worth a few million … I don’t know, I’m not in the business. I guess I’m saying this probably lost money, but just not that much.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (38/119): Decades removed from the original, this multi-generational Shaft struggles to keep its characters interesting — or anything other than uncomfortably outdated.

(“Uncomfortably outdated”. That right there is 100% the reason we are watching this film. I am very intrigued by the reactions people have had to this film, it is all over the place. Reviewer Highlight: Ultimately, the only truly retro thing about this weirdly reactionary potboiler is its politics. – Keith Watson, Slate Magazine)

Poster – One Bad Mothersklogger (B)

shaft

(I like how artistic it is down the font and coloring. A little weird that they are apparently introducing a new generation of shaft but he’s pushed all the way off to the side. I also deduct it some points for an inordinate amount of whitespace. Looks odd.)

Tagline(s) – More Shaft than you can handle. (B+)

(I do appreciate a dick joke, particularly when used to advertise a multimillion dollar product. Really elevating the medium of dick jokes. Otherwise it is fine… better than average.)

Keyword – surname as title

Shaft_surname as title

Top 10: Hook (1991), Shaft (2019), Tolkien (2019), Constantine (2005), Snowden (2016), Lincoln (2012), Rambo (2008), Winchester (2018), Zoolander (2001), Salt (2010);

 Future BMT: 47.2 Winchester (2018), 34.1 Sgt. Bilko (1996), 22.6 Youngblood (1986), 14.7 Hook (1991); 

BMT: Shaft (2019), Rambo (2008), Gigli (2003), Jobs (2013)

(Nothing super big pops out in the graph, but the keyword kind of tickled me. I did it for Rambo as well, but not with the new expanded keywords section. Shocking that there are only eight examples. You can’t even make a cycle yet, but you are actually shockingly close if the Transitions and Chain Reaction films lined up.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Samuel L. Jackson is No. 1 billed in Shaft and No. 3 billed in Jumper, which also stars Michael Rooker (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 4 billed) => 1 + 3 + 5 + 4 = 13. If we were to watch Amos & Andrew we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – There is only a 6 year age difference between Richard Roundtree (Shaft I) and Samuel L. Jackson (Shaft II). This is humorously acknowledged in the film when Roundtree rhetorically asks, “How come you look 20 years older than my gray ass?”

This film will be released on Netflix streaming services internationally.

In Shaft (2000), Richard Roundtree’s John Shaft I was referred to as John Shaft II (Samuel L. Jackson)’s uncle. In the 2019 movie, John Shaft I is John Shaft II’s father.

At one point in the film Samuel L. Jackson tells his son that he got a real Super Bowl ring from L.T., referring to former NFL player Lawrence Taylor. This is also likely a reference to the previous Shaft (2000) in which Taylor appeared, although he was not playing himself but an actual character in the film.

At the time of the film’s release the main three actors ages are as follows: Roundtree 76, Jackson 70, and Usher 27.

In 2019, as the trailer made clear, all three generations of the family members named John Shaft exist in the Warner Bros-New Line Cinema-Netflix sequel confusingly also entitled “Shaft”. Further to add confusion, with three lead characters sharing the same name, from the original MGM version, the family tree relationships are broken down as; Richard Rountree as (uncle/great-uncle) John Shaft, Samuel L Jackson as (nephew/father) John Shaft (Senior/II from RR version), and Usher as (great-nephew/son) John Shaft (Junior/II from SLJ version/III from RR version).

The Hustle Preview

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

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

TheHustleIMDb_BMeT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poster – The Hustle and Bustle (B-)

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

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

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

Keyword – con-artist;

TheHustle_con-artist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filmed in Mallorca.

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

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

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

Countdown Preview

As Jamie and Patrick turn the corner of Square HQ with the intruder alarm blaring they are forced to come to a stop. At the end of the hallway Sticks and Stones stand. They flip the switch on some heavy-duty weaponry attached to their backs and immediately flex glistening muscles. “This is where this has always led. To us. We are the rightful champions. We are relegated to the Z-universe no more. Once you die we will be BMT,” they scream in challenge. But Jamie and Patrick aren’t cowed. Not now when their mission is so clear and their twin powers so strong. They fist bump and immediately fly into a choreographed fight dance. Legs flying, abs shimmering in the light, they backflip over Sticks and Stones, who are momentarily stunned by the pure beauty of the movements. Using that hesitation to their advantage Jamie and Patrick use a couple of patented Twin Chops to disable the weapon packs. “Noooooo,” Sticks and Stones scream, “This can’t be happening.” But it is and they stand no chance against the Bad Movie Twins. Using a triple deke maneuver, they fake out Sticks and Stones and render them vulnerable to a final double kick to their groins. Falling to their knees an alarm begins to blare and a countdown begins, “10… 9…” They must have had some kind of self-destruct trigger on their persons in case of just such an ass-whooping. Looking at each other Jamie and Patrick curse and flee the building leaving Sticks and Stone quivering on the floor holding their battered groins. They will never be able to get out before the building explodes and are certain to die… or will they? Bum bum bum! That’s right! We’re finishing up the final BMT Live of the year just in time for the start of the 2019 cycle by watching the newly released horror film Countdown. Excellent. And just in time for Halloween! Let’s go!

Countdown (2019) – BMeTric: 16.1; Notability: 20

(It isn’t worth posting the plot this early, but this is sitting well below 6.0 on IMDb, which is rather below average. Having said that, horror films tend to have fans who are, in general, critical of the genre they love. Which is good. But it isn’t a surprise a bad horror film opens that low. The hardcore fans watching this film are just the people who will be quick to rate it low online. Notability is a new metric which I will write about soon, but it is basically just the number of people involved in the project (from IMDb) who have a wikipedia page. That’s it. For horror 20 I think is not uncommon, but you’ll see all the way up into the 200s for the big releases of the year. I think it is an interesting proxy for basically budget / theatrical release without being subject to the whims of 3rd party data sources. So stay tuned for upcoming analyses related to that.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars –  “Countdown” pretty much fails on every level that a horror film can—the characters are uninteresting dullards, the story is idiotic, and the scares are nonexistent.

(Absolutely eviscerating review there. Unfortunately horror without scares is usually boring, so I’m not sure I’m going to be super into it, but I like that someone who appreciates horror (clearly) just hated this film. It is promising.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqvWtC2ae3M/

(Genuinely looks terrible. Terrible concept, and even the scares look cheesy and weird. Usually horror film trailers get to be quite well because I find horror films spooky scary, but this just looks dumb … I’m excited.)

Directors – Justin Dec – (BMT: Countdown; Notes: His first feature directing job. Was a second second assistant director on Bart Got a Room, which is a film I’ve heard of.)

Writers – Justin Dec (screenplay) – (BMT: Countdown; Notes: Also his first major writing job. He wrote all of the shorts he directed to some acclaim, and otherwise was a production assistant for years.)

Actors – Elizabeth Lail – (BMT: Countdown; Notes: Somewhat notably was Anna in Once Upon a Time, and starred in You which also stars the guy from Gossip Girl. Was considered for the role of Supergirl.)

Jordan Calloway – (BMT: Countdown; Notes: Was in Riverdale and Black Lightning. When he was young he starred in the Nickelodeon series Unfabulous.)

Talitha Eliana Bateman – (Known For: Robert the Bruce; Annabelle: Creation; Love, Simon; So B. It; BMT: The 5th Wave; Geostorm; Nine Lives; Countdown; Notes: She has eight siblings, of which Leah and Gabriel are both fairly well-established actors. Appeared in Hart of Dixie.)

Budget/Gross – $6,500,000 / Domestic: $18,102,635 (Worldwide: $21,802,635)

(Not this is as of the 6th of November, 2019. Obviously, releasing a horror film is like printing money at this point. People love watching horror films in theaters, and you can make them for nothing. It is incredible.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 24% (13/55)

(Again, as of November 6th, 2019. The consensus appears to be: rote thriller which relies too heavily on jump scares. You’ll feel cheated despite the two excellent lead actors. Reviewer Highlight: Rather than screaming for them to go the other way, you’ll be urging them to accept fate and die instead. – Benjamin Lee, Guardian)

Poster – Killer App (C+)

countdown_ver2

(I like the font. I like the red to highlight the zeroes of the countdown. But everything else is just a little clean. Looks a little cheap and not artistic enough. But fine.)

Tagline(s) – Death? There’s an app for that. (FFFFF—-)

(Noooooooooooooooooooooooo. This is the worst! The worst tagline of all time! I want to hide from it. It’s scarier than the movie is (probably).)

Countdown_characters-killed-one-by-one

Keyword – characters-killed-one-by-one

Top 10: Countdown (2019), Halloween (2007), The Cabin in the Woods (2011), Child’s Play (2019), Scream 2 (1997), Happy Death Day (2017), The Thing (1982), House of 1000 Corpses (2003), Friday the 13th Part III (1982), Happy Death Day 2U (2019); 

Future BMT: 82.4 Prom Night (2008), 77.8 Shark Night 3D (2011), 69.0 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), 68.0 The Darkest Hour (2011), 65.0 Seed of Chucky (2004), 60.5 The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999), 60.0 Pet Sematary II (1992), 56.5 See No Evil (2006), 54.4 Sorority Row (2009), 46.7 Saw 3D (2010); 

BMT: Countdown (2019), Friday the 13th Part III (1982), Ghost Ship (2002), Truth or Dare (2018), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Anaconda (1997), Ouija (2014), AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Sabotage (2014)

(This is the new and improved keywords section. Brought to you by: Box Office Mojo eliminated their genres section. I’ll be messing around with the process over the next few weeks, but I’m hoping to focus on keywords which are narrow (100-1000 films), but also illustrative of the films they represent (here, mostly horror films). Notability will be explained more in another post, but basically it is just the number of people involved in the film with a wikipedia page. A major release in the 2010s tends to have around 80-120 notability last time I checked. The data is windowed and weighted, so if the notability is something like 300 it could be because there are two very notable films released on the same weekend, or a lot of films released within a single year. One small bit on this particular keyword: I think you can basically see how horror films have gone from major releases (large notability) to smaller releases (small notability) from 2000-2020.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 26) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Tichina Arnold is No. 6 billed in Countdown and No. 11 billed in Wild Hogs, which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 6 + 11 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 26. If we were to watch Supernova, The Watcher, Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 20.

The Intruder Preview

“Let’s blow this joint,” Patrick says, approaching Jamie’s glass prison, but he’s greeted with a shush. The Baldwins are acting out their favorite roles for him and they just got to his favorite part of Bio-Dome. But the moment is ruined and the Baldwin’s ask who the dope with the Rambos is. “Fine,” Jamie says peeved, “we can go.” The Baldwin’s laugh. “No one leaves here, bro,” they say, pointing to the lock on the door, “It’s the latest BMTNSA encryption tech.” It’s Jamie and Patrick’s time to laugh. With that they look at the lock and their faces go slack. The Baldwin’s and the Rambos look on in wonder as symbols flash across their glassy dolls eyes as their twin brains crush the encryption software. They punch in a series of numbers and the lock falls to pieces on the floor. Jamie steps out of prison and they predator high five. “With our twin powers combined,” Jamie says. Patrick nods and in that moment they realize that only together can they solve the Rich and Poe problem. “You… you forgot your cable-knit sweater,” Patrick says. Jamie responds by pulling the sweater over his head as the prison erupts in cheers. But just as they start to head out an alarm goes off. “Oh no! I forgot about my magnetic prison boots!” Jamie says pointing to his incredibly heavy boots. “They must be rigged to a separate alarm,” Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert! It wails. That’s right! We’re watching the last of the Bring a Friend cycle, which also means we are transitioning to the final cycle of the year *gasp*. This is of course the current year cycle and so we chose the Dennis Quaid thriller The Intruder that looks just dumb enough in its thrills for our liking.

Meanwhile, Sticks and Stone look at the security feed with Vampiro. “What are we going to do?” Vampiro whines but Sticks and Stones slam their fists down on the table to silence him. “You know exactly what we’re going to do. We’re gonna stop those punks.” That’s right! We’re also watching the Randy Quaid kids film P.U.N.K.S. where he plays a major nerdy whose kid steals from top secret advanced weaponry. I always like to know what kind of stupid backronym they used to make the title P.U.N.K.S. but alas. It’s just a collection of all the characters’ last names. Booooo. 

The Intruder (2019) – BMeTric: 33.4 

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(Actually pretty impressive that it opened sub-6.0. Possibly there is a bit of something going on there, because usually rating open high because hardcore fans see it in theaters and review it well. But I choose not to read too much into it. A 30 BMeTric sounds about right.)

RogerEbert.com – 1 stars –  Like director Deon Taylor’s abysmal last film, “Traffik,” it takes forever to get to what would be considered “the good parts” in a better movie. It is also completely devoid of suspense despite numerous jump scares. Worst of all, its heroine not only does mind-numbingly stupid things, this film is so retro that it requires that she get rescued by her husband.

(Yeah sounds about right. Looking through the reviews it seems like it was designed as a “participation” film (plausibly a first of its kind? It is unclear whether a director has ever designed a film with that specifically in mind))

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKXvex7b1Ew/

(Meh. Looks kind of boring and predictable to be honest. And also, like the review, that all of the thrills are just from jump scares which are boring. Plus when the jump scares from from a lurking Dennis Quaid I’m not sure I find them thriller per se, but rather they seem more silly.)

Directors – Deon Taylor – (Known For: Black and Blue; Future BMT: Meet the Blacks; Chain Letter; Traffik; Supremacy; BMT: The Intruder; Notes: Black and Blue almost got bad reviews as well and was also considered predictable and boring. Notable for his Nitetale Series.)

Writers – David Loughery (written by) – (Known For: Nurse 3-D; Dreamscape; Lakeview Terrace; Future BMT: Obsessed; Money Train; Tom and Huck; Passenger 57; The Three Musketeers; Flashback; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; The Intruder; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Notes: Went to Iowa State and grew up in Chicago.)

Actors – Michael Ealy – (Known For: Think Like a Man; Last Vegas; About Last Night; Margaret; Barbershop; Kissing Jessica Stein; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; Unconditional; Future BMT: Bad Company; Think Like a Man Too; The Perfect Guy; Takers; Miracle at St. Anna; Jacob’s Ladder; November; Underworld Awakening; For Colored Girls; BMT: 2 Fast 2 Furious; The Intruder; Never Die Alone; Notes: Does a lot of television work including the new show Stumptown with Cobie Smulders.)

Meagan Good – (Known For: Shazam!; Don Jon; Friday; Brick; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; Think Like a Man; Eve’s Bayou; Jumping the Broom; A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.; Roll Bounce; Deliver Us from Eva; Future BMT: You Got Served; The Unborn; Biker Boyz; Venom; D.E.B.S.; Stomp the Yard; Saw V; The Cookout; 3 Strikes; Think Like a Man Too; Waist Deep; LUV; BMT: The Love Guru; One Missed Call; The Intruder; Notes: Has been acting professionally since she was four starting in commercials. Her sister is La’Myia Good who is in the hip hop group Bad Gyrl.)

Dennis Quaid – (Known For: A Dog’s Journey; The Day After Tomorrow; The Parent Trap; Traffic; Stripes; Footloose; Soul Surfer; Any Given Sunday; The Right Stuff; I Can Only Imagine; Frequency; Innerspace; Wyatt Earp; DragonHeart; Breaking Away; Far from Heaven; Enemy Mine; The Rookie; In Good Company; Dreamscape; Future BMT: Legion; Cold Creek Manor; Beneath the Darkness; American Dreamz; Yours, Mine & Ours; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Horsemen; Something to Talk About; Kin; Flight of the Phoenix; The Alamo; Caveman; Undercover Blues; Vantage Point; Switchback; Wilder Napalm; Pandorum; All Night Long; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Movie 43; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Playing for Keeps; The Intruder; A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: Y’all know Dennis Quaid. Or at least, you know his band The Sharks. I always forget he is actually the younger brother to the initially much more successful Randy Quaid.)

Budget/Gross – $5–8 million / Domestic: $35,419,122 (Worldwide: $36,599,361)

(Huuuuuuge success. Now you won’t see a sequel, but you might see another faux-remake of a 90s/00s thriller with a non-white cast and an older actor like Quaid.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (30/94): The Intruder might appeal to fans of shout-at-the-screen cinema, but this thriller’s ludicrous plot robs it of suspense — and undermines Dennis Quaid’s suitably over-the-top performance.

(Ohhhhh yeah. When this film came out all of the reviews all said it was basically created to be yelled at in theaters. I forgot about that. That actually kind of makes me love it more. That it is so specifically that. Reviewer Highlight: Nearly every scene is practically an invitation for the audience to talk back to the screen and ask these people if they’ve lost their minds. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Get Paid, Get Quaid, Gatorade (A)

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(Yes, yes, yes. Artistic, font has straight up people in it, and bold red in my face. Oh, and lest you think this doesn’t tell you a little about the plot of the film: check out those creepy Quaid eyes watching those people. I love it.)

Tagline(s) – Your House. His Home. (A)

(I also like this. It’s not impossible for a terrible film to have a good poster and a good tagline, but a pretty rare treat for us. Short, sweet, clever wordcraftsmanship, and tells me what’s up. It’s good.)

Keyword(s) – couple; Top Ten by BMeTric: 80.2 A Wrinkle in Time (2018); 79.4 Feardotcom (2002); 69.1 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 65.7 Chernobyl Diaries (2012); 60.9 Legion (2010); 59.7 Truth or Dare (I) (2018); 50.6 Couples Retreat (2009); 47.4 By the Sea (2015); 40.2 I Give It a Year (2013); 39.5 Life After Beth (2014);

(The twilight saga … when the hell are we going to do that now?! That is going to be brutal, those films suck. Not that they are particularly bad (the acting at least is fine), it is just a lot and shiny … nothings. They are all shiny nothings.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Meagan Good is No. 2 billed in The Intruder and No. 5 billed in The Love Guru, which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 2 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 5 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch Legion we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – In this movie Dennis Quaid plays the psycho terrorizing the couple who bought his old house. In Cold Creek Manor (2003), Quaid plays the husband of the couple who bought Stephen Dorff’s old house and are then terrorized by Dorff. (… this genuinely seems like a remake of that film. Too bad I can’t watch this one as a bonus at this point.)

Michael Ealy and Meagan Good also starred together in the Think Like A Man series.

This isn’t the first time Dennis Quaid played a Napa Valley resident. He previously played Nick Parker in The Parent Trap (1998), a Napa Valley resident who owned his own vineyard.

When Charlie is carrying Annie upstairs he says, “We’ve had this date from the beginning.” This is what Stanley Says to Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) just before he rapes her. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?)

Mercury Rising Preview

Patrick and the Rambos climb through the air vents of The Square. The Rambos bodies are well-greased and gleaming as they slip and slide their way around. “Here,” the eldest grunts pointing through an opening and Patrick gasps as he sees Jamie being carried by Vampiro and some scantily clad ladies. Patrick puts on his glasses to take a closer look and confirms that they are some bodacious babes. Patrick looks to the Rambos for help but they’re already moving. They drop into an area filled with glass cages. The Rambos start knocking on a few of the cages. “My god,” Patrick whispers, “The Baldwins.” Stephen, William, and Daniel Baldwin peer out from deep in their cages but they don’t recognize those names. They are Brian McCafferty, J. J. Hendricks, and Weed. Patrick is truly through the looking glass on this one. “Where?” grunts the youngest Rambo and the Baldwins look on with fear. Weed’s teeth chatter as he points to the ground, “Here.” Suddenly the door opens.

Buford Vampiro and his Beach Bunnies lead the way with Jamie in tow. Things were already looking dire, but they get even worse when Sticks and Stones join them with… Alec Baldwin? But he introduces himself as Kudrow. Jamie shakes his head. They all seem agitated about Patrick, but Sticks and Stones insist that he’s somewhere here and they could use Jamie as a trap. Not likely, Jamie thinks as he flexes his biceps. They enter a room full of glass cells and Jamie is left alone. He sees even more Baldwins around… he must be in some kind of Baldwin jail. Jamie smiles. Do you know what’s better than waiting for Patrick to save him from jail… waiting for Patrick to save him from jail with a whole mess of Baldwins. That’s right! We are going into a Baldwin extravaganza for the Bring A Friend entry in the Bring A Friend cycle. We are partaking in the classic thriller Mercury Rising. Big time thriller for Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin and I’m pretty excited because it’s about puzzles and we’re puzzle maniacs. As for the friends we tried to pick the worst of the worst from the other Baldwin bros. We settled on the truly terrible looking Dead Weekend for Stephen, Fallout (about space ships) for Daniel, and Backdraft 2 (yes they made a sequel) for William. Why are we doing this to ourselves? Let’s go!

Mercury Rising (1998) – BMeTric: 29.4 

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(I remember when this came out. I don’t remember it being particularly poorly received … and 6.1 is pretty high for a 30 BMeTric film. 60K votes! That’s a lot.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  An autistic nine-year-old boy innocently cracks a top-secret government code; cold-eyed bureaucrat Baldwin orders him killed, while over-the-hill FBI agent Willis tried to protect him. Except for the boy’s autism, a routine suspense thriller, but well made and interesting throughout. Willis’s standard action hero character shows a softer side here, while Baldwin plays out-and-out heavy.

(Sounds like kind of a boring rote thriller, but with maybe a boring performance by Willis and an insane performance by Baldwin … which is basically all I could ask for.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-L7Gbh4u0I/

(Yeah looks potentially pretty boring. BUT … I do like both Willis and Baldwin, especially in 1998, so sock it to me. Let’s do it.)

Directors – Harold Becker – (Known For: Sea of Love; Taps; Malice; Vision Quest; The Onion Field; City Hall; The Big Town; The Black Marble; The Boost; Future BMT: Domestic Disturbance; BMT: Mercury Rising; Notes: He started out as a still photographer, and was mainly a commercial and documentary filmmaker through the 70s. Most of his feature films were made in the 80s. He’s 90 years old.)

Writers – Ryne Douglas Pearson (novel) – (Future BMT: Knowing; BMT: Mercury Rising; Notes: Apparently Art Jefferson, the character Bruce Willis plays, is part of a series he wrote. Mercury Rising is the fourth Art Jefferson book.)

Lawrence Konner (screenplay) – (Known For: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Planet of the Apes; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; The Legend of Billie Jean; The Jewel of the Nile; Mighty Joe Young; Flicka; Future BMT: Desperate Hours; The Concierge; Mona Lisa Smile; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; The Beverly Hillbillies; Mercury Rising; Notes: Wrote on The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire as he’s mostly done television work since around 2000.)

Mark Rosenthal (screenplay) – (Known For: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Planet of the Apes; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; The Legend of Billie Jean; The Jewel of the Nile; Mighty Joe Young; Flicka; Future BMT: Desperate Hours; The Concierge; Mona Lisa Smile; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; The Beverly Hillbillies; Mercury Rising; Notes: He’s the long time writing partner of Konner, although he hasn’t done the same amount of television work, and mainly seems to work with Konner on features.)

Actors – Bruce Willis – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Motherless Brooklyn; Split; The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part; The Fifth Element; The Sixth Sense; Sin City; Die Hard; Twelve Monkeys; Unbreakable; RED; Looper; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Moonrise Kingdom; Ocean’s Twelve; The Expendables; RED 2; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; Die Hard 4.0; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Too; Vice; The Cold Light of Day; The Prince; Extraction; Lay the Favorite; Precious Cargo; Breakfast of Champions; First Kill; Reprisal; Cop Out; Once Upon a Time in Venice; Acts of Violence; The Bombing; Marauders; Fire with Fire; Perfect Stranger; Striking Distance; Rock the Kasbah; Rugrats Go Wild; The Story of Us; Blind Date; Billy Bathgate; Loaded Weapon 1; Surrogates; Sunset; The Jackal; Last Man Standing; Tears of the Sun; Hostage; Glass; Grand Champion; Four Rooms; 10 Minutes Gone; BMT: North; A Good Day to Die Hard; Color of Night; The Whole Ten Yards; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Hudson Hawk; Mercury Rising; Death Wish; Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Winner for Worst Actor in 1999 for Armageddon, Mercury Rising, and The Siege; and Nominee for Worst Actor in 1992 for Hudson Hawk; in 1995 for Color of Night, and North; and in 2019 for Death Wish; Notes: Apparently Ashton Kutcher (who married Willis’ ex Demi Moore) apparently was convinced his then-girlfriend January Jones had an affair with Willis on the set of Bandits in 2001 … they have a really weird relationship.)

Miko Hughes – (Known For: Tropic Thunder; Pet Sematary; Apollo 13; Kindergarten Cop; Wes Craven’s New Nightmare; Zeus and Roxanne; Future BMT: Spawn; Clockstoppers; Cops and Robbersons; BMT: Baby Geniuses; Mercury Rising; Notes: Still vaguely makes appearances, but not many. He was the son of a gynocologist in Kindergarten Cop who says a bunch of inappropriate stuff and has acted since he was 22 months old.)

Alec Baldwin – (Known For: Beetlejuice; A Star Is Born; Mission: Impossible – Fallout; Motherless Brooklyn; The Departed; BlacKkKlansman; The Aviator; Notting Hill; Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation; The Hunt for Red October; The Good Shepherd; The Royal Tenenbaums; My Sister’s Keeper; Rock of Ages; The Boss Baby; Concussion; Glengarry Glen Ross; Blue Jasmine; Rise of the Guardians; Working Girl; Future BMT: Aloha; Thomas and the Magic Railroad; Andròn: The Black Labyrinth; Hick; Along Came Polly; The Juror; My Best Friend’s Girl; The Getaway; Fun with Dick and Jane; Pearl Harbor; The Shadow; Running with Scissors; Heaven’s Prisoners; Elizabethtown; Blind; BMT: The Cat in the Hat; Pluto Nash; Mercury Rising; The Marrying Man; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Cat in the Hat in 2004; Notes: He is going to have his sixth child soon. He had one child, Ireland, with Kim Bassinger, and now will have five children with his second wife.)

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $32,935,289 (Worldwide: $93,107,289)

(That is pretty rough given the budget, an out and out disaster financially.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (6/35)

(I’ll have to make a consensus! Here goes: Boring without much action between the two leads. Only a scenery chewing heel-turn by Alec Baldwin saves this from complete disaster. Reviewer Highlight: If a 9-year-old kid can break your code, don’t kill the kid, kill the programmers. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Mercury Sklogging (B+)

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(Gah! If only they had some interesting font. Otherwise I think this is what we’re looking for. We got the stars of the film presented in an artistic way with a bold color scheme… maybe a little hint at what the film was about would also help. Not bad though. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I think this is the best one I’ve done. The color on the face isn’t quite right, and neither is my eyeline. Great fake tagline from Jamie though. A-)

Tagline(s) – Someone knows too much. (D)

(Terrible. So vague. Almost sounds like they did it as a joke but then forgot to replace it before printing the poster. At least it’s short.)

Keyword(s) – autistic child; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.0 The Darkness (I) (2016); 29.4 Mercury Rising (1998); 24.4 Dear John (I) (2010); 16.1 Silent Fall (1994); 15.6 Redwoods (2009); 10.6 Triangle (2009); 9.6 Hurry Sundown (1967); 8.6 Tully (2018); 6.8 X+Y (2014); 6.1 El faro de las orcas (2016);

(It is plausible this is the best example of this keyword ever made! I’ve never seen The Darkness though, so maybe an autistic child is a major part of that film as well … Wait, doesn’t Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close feature an autistic child?)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Bruce Willis is No. 1 billed in Mercury Rising and No. 1 billed in The Whole Ten Yards, which also stars Natasha Henstridge (No. 4 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Last Man Standing, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – Actor Miko Hughes spent time with many autistic children at a special school to understand how to portray an autistic child. Bennett Leventhal, head of the child psychiatry department at the University of Chicago, spent six weeks before the shoot tutoring Hughes at a school for autistic children. Leventhal, a big doctor on autism, complimented Hughes at the film’s premiere and said “Even I believed you.”. (Good for him, it was a much more unknown thing at the time I feel like)

The plot bears a striking resemblance to a real event in history as reported by Bruce Watson on DailyFinance’s Website on 24 December 2009: ‘…In December 1955, Sears Roebuck ran a newspaper ad with what they claimed was Santa’s direct number. Unfortunately, the phone number they offered was one digit off; instead of Sears, it linked to a top secret line at CONAD, the Continental Air Defense Command. When Colonel Harry Shoup, the command’s director of operations, answered the phone, he expected to hear about a missile strike against the US. Instead, he got a little kid who wanted to talk to Santa. Although the conversation ended with the child crying and Shoup fuming, the Colonel eventually came around and began giving the children updates on Santa’s travels through the night sky. The following year, CONAD offered a new, non-secret, phone number that children could call. In 1958, when CONAD became NORAD, the new command continued the tradition…’ (Holy shit, I’ve heard of that! That is a crazy origin story if it is true)

Alec Baldwin appeared in this film due to a contractual obligation to Universal Pictures. Baldwin had previously backed out of a film for Universal and signed an agreement promising the studio another film. Years later, this film was presented to him and he did it to avoid further litigation.

The wine that Art opens in Kudrow’s basement is Chateau Petrus from Pomerol (identifiable by the red seal at the bottom left corner of the label), is probably the most expensive Bordeaux red wine, and contrary to what Art said in the movie, even young Petrus costs much more than 75 dollars per bottle. (Fun fact)

This movie marks the second time Bruce Willis has battled a soldier believed to have died years before the events of the movie take place. The first was “Die Hard 2” (1990).

Chad Lindberg, who plays James, would go on to appear in The Fast and the Furious (2001), another movie from Universal Pictures, three years after this movie was released. Also, like his character in this movie, Lindberg’s character in The Fast and the Furious, Jesse, also gets killed. (Ha!)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Bruce Willis, 1999)

The Circle Preview

With his cadre of Rambos leading the way, Patrick enters the BMTverse. He breathes in the dull, uninspiring air and a part of him knows it’s home. The old rickety Rambo crouches down, his knees giving off loud popping noises, and tastes the earth. “Your brother, he’s been here.” The young spry Rambo with the sad eyes tastes a different spot, “another was with him. The man in black.” At that the older garbage Rabmo hisses, “Vampiro.” Patrick steps forward, “Which way did they head?!” At that the youngest of the Rambos replies bluntly, “No.” But Patrick pleads “I need to get to him before it’s too late. Please!” The Rambos nod, “OK.” At that they head off. From the few monosyllabic statements the Rambos make Patrick is able to glean that Vampiro is a Dracula who has been sucking the BMTverse dry in some mysterious scheme and that Jamie is in grave danger. “So what is the scheme Vampiro has set up?” Patrick asks, and immediately the Rambos point to a large building dominating the skyline of New Angeles. The sign reads, “The Square.” Patrick doesn’t want to say anything but to him The Square looks pretty hip. That’s right! We’re watching the 2017 classic The Circle starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks about a big ol’ company that totally spies on you. Sound the Ointment Alarm, cause this movie is topical. Let’s go!

Meanwhile, the man in black backflips from his skateboard and and grabs Jamie by the throat. He squints at him, “You really don’t remember me, do you?” Jamie looks closer and notices the sharp Dracula teeth of the Dracula that turned him into a Dracula at Dracula School a year ago. “Vampiro,” he wheezes. “Let him be, baby,” a young sexy voice says from behind Vampiro and four beautiful bodacious beach bunnies come out from the steam. “Sticks and Stone will not be happy if you kill him, Vampiro,” the sexiest of them coos. “Call me Buford, baby,” He replies. That’s right! We’re going for the only Jim Hanks vehicle in history, Buford’s Beach Bunnies. Tom Hanks’ bro plays the titular Buford being titillated by the titular Beach Bunnies. It should be a hoot and in no way sad probably. Let’s go!

The Circle (2017) – BMeTric: 56.8 

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(Ooooooo for a film like this low-5s is incredibly incredibly low, that is promising. And very consistent across the years as well. Interesting.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  When the story turns into something akin to a nightmarish cousin of “The Truman Show” or “Network,” or the kid sister of Cronenbeg’s “ExistenZ,” you want it to get bigger, wilder, more outrageous, more frightening, and it’s too nice and reasonable and conscientious to do that. The result feels undernourished in just about every way, although Hanks’s performance, John Boyega’s brief role as a founding programmer, and a couple of frightening action sequences break through the tedium.

(Yeah I would have expected it to go very broad in the end … it is pretty concerning that it doesn’t. Like what is this movie about then?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUlr8Am4zQ0/

(Watching that trailer and I’m thinking Firewall starring Harrison Ford. Reading the review above it … and I’m getting whiffs of The Space Between Us. Which is concerning because that movie was boring.)

Directors – James Ponsoldt – (Known For: The Spectacular Now; The End of the Tour; Smashed; Off the Black; BMT: The Circle; Notes: Went to Yale, and then got a Masters in Fine Arts from Columbia.)

Writers – James Ponsoldt (screenplay by) – (Known For: Smashed; Off the Black; BMT: The Circle; Notes: Is writing and directing a film about “wild animals in Los Angeles” called Wild City.)

Dave Eggers (screenplay by & based on the novel by) – (Known For: Where the Wild Things Are; A Hologram for the King; Promised Land; Away We Go; BMT: The Circle; Notes: Actually an amazing story concerning his parents both dying when he was a young man, and he dropped out of school to raise his youngest brother who was 8 at the time. It became the subject of his fictionalized memoir, the acclaimed A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.)

Actors – Emma Watson – (Known For: Beauty and the Beast; Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1; The Perks of Being a Wallflower; This Is the End; Noah; My Week with Marilyn; The Bling Ring; The Tale of Despereaux; Future BMT: Regression; BMT: The Circle; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for The Circle in 2018; Notes: She’s going to be in Little Woman later this year, obviously most famous for her roles in the Harry Potter films where she played Hermoine.)

Tom Hanks – (Known For: Toy Story 4; A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood; Forrest Gump; The Green Mile; Saving Private Ryan; Catch Me If You Can; Toy Story; Toy Story 3; Cloud Atlas; Sleepless in Seattle; Cast Away; Cars; Road to Perdition; Toy Story 2; Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; The Post; Apollo 13; Bridge of Spies; Saving Mr. Banks; Big; Future BMT: He Knows You’re Alone; Larry Crowne; Inferno; Ithaca; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: The Circle; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Notes: Ya’ll know Tom Hanks! He’s getting Oscar buzz for his role as Mr. Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.)

John Boyega – (Known For: Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi; Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens; Pacific Rim: Uprising; Detroit; Attack the Block; Half of a Yellow Sun; Imperial Dreams; Junkhearts; BMT: The Circle; Notes: British. You can hear his natural sccent in Attack the Block.)

Budget/Gross – $18 million / Domestic: $20,497,844 (Worldwide: $20,497,844)

(Hmmmm, given the budget that isn’t actually that bad I suppose, but it is a box office disappointment. Their Netflix distribution may have made a bit more of that back since. I’m a little surprised it could be made for so little.)

#55 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

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(Our 8th BMT film of this genre. Came right as these types of films stopped making money. Weirdly, not even close to the worst box office we’ve seen beating out The Darkest Minds, Midnight Sun, The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, and Vampire Academy)

#52 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated chart

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (20/135): The Circle assembles an impressive cast, but this digitally driven thriller spins aimlessly in its half-hearted exploration of timely themes.

(Yeah that sounds about right. Float through something significant, but straddle the fence and make it as milquetoast as possible. This is indeed what I expect. Reviewer Highlight: The Circle is a big honking sloppy mess of a movie, one that flops around so aimlessly that it’s baffling so many intelligent people had a hand in making it. – Will Leitch, The New Republic)

Poster – Corporate Sklog-vallience (C+)

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(It’s artsy in the framing and the color is fine. Font makes me sad. At least make the C in Circle be the company’s logo. Not just block bullshit.)

Tagline(s) – Knowing is good. Knowing everything is better. (A-)

(Do you know what’s better than a billion dollars? A gazillion dollars. While I don’t support the message of the tagline I can still recognize that it’s a good tagline.)

Keyword(s) – video surveillance; Top Ten by BMeTric: 82.3 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 79.5 The Devil Inside (2012); 67.8 College Road Trip (2008); 65.7 Captivity (2007); 65.5 Pulse (I) (2006); 60.4 Maid in Manhattan (2002); 60.2 Sliver (1993); 56.8 The Circle (I) (2017); 52.5 Everly (2014); 52.2 Bangkok Dangerous (2008);

(This is a pretty interesting keyword. Like is that really what Halloween: Resurrection has? College Road Trip? This seems to be one of the rare ones where it is a central theme to the film.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Tom Hanks is No. 2 billed in The Circle and No. 1 billed in Bonfire of the Vanities, which also stars Bruce Willis (No. 2 billed) who is in The Whole Ten Yards (No. 1 billed), which also stars Natasha Henstridge (No. 4 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 20. If we were to watch Angels & Demons, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Bill Paxton died before the film’s release. Glenne Headly, who played his wife in the film, died the same year after the film’s release. (What? I knew Pacton died, but I didn’t realize Glenne Headly died.)

Re-shoots took place four months before release, aimed at making Emma Watson’s character more appealing, but test audience reactions were even worse than previous test screenings. (Jesus THAT was their attempt at making her MORE appealing? She’s insane in the movie)

The scene where Annie video calls Mae was shot by Karen Gillan’s crew while they were filming Gillan’s feature film; The Party’s Just Beginning (2018) in Scotland. (Wow that is interesting)

In the U.K. this film did not get a cinema release but went straight to streaming service Netflix. (Yeah I noticed)

The logo of The Circle was created before the Uber redesign, despite them looking very similar.

The lead role of Mae was first offered to Alicia Vikander, which according to her, was one of three roles offered simultaneously, alongside the roles of Maria in Assassin’s Creed (2016) and Heather in Jason Bourne (2016). Due to fan factor, she opted to do Bourne, thus the producers moving on to casting second choice Emma Watson.

Received a “D+” CinemaScore, which is quite rare. [Variety 2017] (Not surprised)

This is the second time that Tom Hanks has a role in an adaptation of a novel by Dave Eggers. The first was A Hologram for the King (2016). (Never heard of it)

The auditorium scenes were filmed at Citrus Community College’s Haugh Performing Arts Center in Glendora, California.

Opening bridge shot is Dumbarton Bridge in Northern California near Silicon Valley. Fake image of the Circle building located on the Coyote Point recreation park.

The ending was changed significantly for the film adaptation. In the novel, Mae, fully believing in The Circle’s goals and mantras, betrays Ty in his attempt to bring down the company and he is effectively silenced. (WHAT?! THAT IS CRAZY)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Emma Watson, 2018)

Rambo: Last Blood Preview

“This how you got there?” the gangster squad says looking into the prison tunnel where Jamie and Patrick first got to the BMTverse and met Nic Cage, “didn’t peg you for a criminal.” Patrick just shrugs somberly. He can’t stop thinking about Sticks and Stones. A dangerous pair for him and Jamie together, let alone on their own. “Well we better get down there before they find us,” Patrick says, but the gangsters put a hand on his shoulder. “Woah there, big guy, you don’t think we’d let you go down there alone. Who knows who or what is waiting for you on the other side. We got you a guide. Someone who knows the terrain, someone who spent some time as a prisoner in the BMTverse. He’ll help you get down there and find you brother and if he don’t we’ll kill him,” they laugh as they grasp Patrick’s hand. “Thanks,” Patrick replies, realizing that these gangsters are his friends. Ever since he and Jamie made it big on the Rich and Poe series he had forgotten what it was like to have a friend and he smiles. Just then his guide emerges from the tunnel “You ready to go?” he growls and Patrick is stunned. “Woah! Sly? What are you doing in the BMTverse? You don’t belong there. You’re the best! The best!” But the man shakes his head. “No, the name’s Rambo. And I’ve spent my fair share of time in the BMTverse,” he says looking into the distance, “You better believe it.” As Patrick attempts once again to enter the tunnel he’s even more shocked to see three more Rambos emerge from the tunnel of varying ages. “You better believe it,” they all growl in unison. That’s right! The third BMT Live! Of the year is upon us and it’s an extra special Rambo extravaganza. We waited with bated breath for Rambo: Last Blood to officially qualify and once it did we realized that Rambo: FIrst Blood Part II, Rambo III, Rambo, and Rambo: Last Blood all qualify for BMT. Ohhhhhhhhh boy. Let’s go!

Rambo: Last Blood (2019) – BMeTric: 2.8 

(I don’t tend to post the graphs for films that literally came out. There won’t really be a fair assessment of this film for years to drown out the massive influx of Stallone-heads which are currently giving it 7/10 on IMDb. I would imagine it’ll settle in the mid-6 range though.)

RogerEbert.com – 1 star –  Pretty much a rip-off through and through (it clocks in at just under 90 minutes, at least 10 of those dedicated to an end credits sequence featuring highlights from all the previous films, including the one that just concluded), “Rambo: Last Blood” is junk from start to finish.

(Oooof. The guy is quite down on it. I didn’t want to spoil my experience, but basically hoped Rambo would get an appropriate send off in the sequel to 2008’s Rambo … and now he kind of hopes Stallone does another one to give it another shot.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPuhNtG47M0/

(Actually a really good trailer. Gives you just enough to tell that’ll you’ll get all the gore you want in a Home-Alone-esque final sequence, and suggests a bit you’ll get closure for the character. All of that makes sense.)

Directors – Adrian Grunberg – (Known For: How I Spent My Summer Vacation; BMT: Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Mostly a second unit director for things like Apocalypto and Jack Reacher 2 … I’m starting to see a trend with these Rambo films where it is almost like Stallone himself might be directed them alongside the second unit directors he hires …)

Writers – Matthew Cirulnick (screenplay by) – (Known For: Paid in Full; BMT: Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Wrote a few television shows prior to this. Now has two more in production including Run Away with Me which seems to have Amber Heard attached.)

Sylvester Stallone (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: First Blood; Creed II; Rocky; Creed; Homefront; The Expendables; Rocky Balboa; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Cliffhanger; Rocky II; The Lords of Flatbush; Paradise Alley; F.I.S.T; Future BMT: Staying Alive; Rocky V; Rocky IV; BMT: Driven; Rhinestone; Cobra; Over the Top; The Expendables 3; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Rambo; Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Has five children. We saw Sage in Daylight. Sistine is a model / actress.)

Dan Gordon (story by) – (Known For: Wyatt Earp; The Hurricane; Murder in the First; The Assignment; Future BMT: Surf Ninjas; Passenger 57; The Celestine Prophecy; Let There Be Light; Gotcha!; BMT: Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Served as a captain in the Isreali Defence Force during their war with Lebanon.)

David Morrell (based on the character created by) – (Known For: First Blood; BMT: Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Rambo; Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: While Rambo is by far his most famous series, he has a few others including the Abelard Sanction series.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: First Blood; Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Creed II; Rocky; Creed; Escape Plan; The Expendables; Rocky Balboa; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Cliffhanger; Cop Land; Rocky II; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Antz; Bullet to the Head; Death Race 2000; Nighthawks; Future BMT: Escape Plan II; Staying Alive; Rocky V; D-Tox; Escape Plan 3; The Specialist; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Avenging Angelo; Backtrace; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Oscar; Rocky IV; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Driven; Zookeeper; Rhinestone; Get Carter; Judge Dredd; Cobra; Over the Top; Daylight; The Expendables 3; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Demolition Man; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Rambo; Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Was married to Brigitte Nielsen for two years.)

Sylvester Stallone Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actor for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Winner for Worst Actor in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1989 for Rambo III; and in 1993 for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Spy Kids 3: Game Over in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990; Nominee for Worst Director for The Expendables in 2011; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1986 for Rocky IV; in 1987 for Cobra; in 1989 for Rambo III; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1994 for Cliffhanger; and in 2002 for Driven; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1987 for Cobra; in 1988 for Over the Top; in 1990 for Lock Up, and Tango & Cash; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for The Specialist; in 1996 for Assassins, and Judge Dredd; in 1997 for Daylight; in 2001 for Get Carter; and in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; 

Paz Vega – (Known For: Sex and Lucía; Kill the Messenger; Spanglish; Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; Talk to Her; Acts of Vengeance; Los amantes pasajeros; Novo; 10 Items or Less; La vida inmoral de la pareja ideal; El otro lado de la cama; Angels of Evil; Sobreviviré; Future BMT: The Spirit; All Roads Lead to Rome; Grace of Monaco; Not Forgotten; Cat Run; Burning Palms; Fade to Black; BMT: Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Born in Spain, her father was a bullfighter and her sister is a Flamenco dancer)

Yvette Monreal – (Known For: Lowriders; BMT: Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Is going to feature in the upcoming DC television series Stargirl.)

Budget/Gross – < $50 million / N/A

(I think the expectation is for this to make $100 million. That is about what the fourth made and it was declared a success. I don’t really get that, the math doesn’t really make much sense to me, but perhaps it is because they go for a cheaper limited showtime run because of the gore or something? It is unclear. It might make it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 31% (25/81): Like the sequels that preceded it, Rambo: Last Blood is content to indulge in bloody violence at the expense of its main character’s once-poignant story.

(Somehow this ended up being one of the worst reviewed of the entire series, which is pretty surprising considering how much people slam Rambo III online. Reviewer Highlight: “Rambo: Last Blood” features what’s easily the most violent movie scene of the year. It’s awesome. – Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post)

Poster – Poe: Last Sklog (B-)

rambo_v_ver3

(I like a little more color on my posters, but this does have a pop and the font is just barely unique. Got some artistic flair. Amazing that all the way through the series we get Stallone centric posters every time. Even when he’s like a million years old and is starting to look like a monster.)

Tagline(s) – N/A (F)

(I don’t see these taglines on the poster… which is generally how I judge which one to grade. So I’m gonna give this an F and leave it. I’m sure some taglines were used in trailers and stuff but who has the time?)

Keyword(s) – fifth part; Top Ten by BMeTric: 91.2 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 71.2 Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach (1988); 69.1 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013); 68.2 Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015); 67.9 Seed of Chucky (2004); 61.6 Transformers: The Last Knight (2017); 59.9 A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989); 58.9 A Good Day to Die Hard (2013); 58.1 Rocky V (1990); 55.6 Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989);

(I mean … yeah, I’m going to watch all of these films for BMT at some point. Makes me think we need to do more series. These all seem like they would be super fun.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sylvester Stallone is No. 1 billed in Rambo: Last Blood and No. 1 billed in Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 10. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.

Notes – On December 6, 2018, Stallone stated that this would be the last “Rambo” film, saying that his character would “finally find what he assumes to be peace.” However, at Cannes 2019, Stallone stated that he would continue to play the character of John Rambo, should “Rambo: Last Blood” prove to be successful. (Noooooooo)

Stallone stated on his personal Instagram account : “Great day! We got our HARD R rating today! What’s coming is going to be unlike anything you have ever seen…” (Gross)

The plot to this movie was intended for Rambo (2008) but changed. It was also partially used for Homefront (2013) with Jason Statham. (Which, yeah, Stallone wrote)

The first Rambo movie that Sylvester Stallone doesn’t have long hair as in the previous films. (Good choice, although I kind of secretly wish in the fourth he had a glorious flowing mullet and everyone could be like “wow, old school” and he could be like “are these out of fashion or something? I’ve been living in Thailand for like two decades wrangling snakes by myself.”)

At 89 minutes, this is the shortest film in the ‘Rambo’ series. (Glory glory)