Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life Preview

Rich and Poe are surprised to be greeted by a convoy when they arrive on the Isle of Dr. Killmore. They had meant to slip in, grab the Staff of Gabragorn, and slip out without notice, but apparently their arrival was kept less than secret. Dr. Killmore laughs at their look of shock. “There are no secrets on this island,” he explains, “I knew when and why you were going to arrive, but rest assured, the Staff of Gabragorn is not here. Also rest assured that I’m assuredly, most obviously, not insane.” At that Dr. Killmore chuckles and a couple of cat monsters throw black licorice jelly beans into his mouth. The man is clearly deranged. As they walk to inspect the island Poe suddenly has a thought. “What if, my dear Rich, the Staff was never stolen at all?” Everyone is puzzled at the theory, but Rich is picking up what he’s putting down, “Ah, you mean…” suddenly he whirls on Dr. Killmore, “he was the culprit in the first place!” (what a twist!) Dr. Killmore babbles incoherently before breaking under the breathtaking minds of Rich and Poe. “Magnificent,” Dr. Killmore exclaims, “and exactly what we hoped would happen.” Rich and Poe are befuddled and only become more baffled as the cat monsters reveal the Staff and snap it in half. “A mere knicknack,” he explains, “but necessary to prove that you were capable of the real task.” (what a double twist!). Dr. Killmore goes on to describe Hammerthorn’s Sword, which is found in the ancient tomb of the goblins. Legend foretold that only a couple of truly rad explorers (check) with beautiful minds (check) and abs for days (also check) could wield the Sword and defeat the gamemaster. “So we’ll basically be a couple of totally cool…” That’s right! We’re (finally) finishing the video game franchise Tomb Raider by watching the sequel Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life. Ohhhh, so close to the double colon. They didn’t have the balls and ultimately that is (probably) the reason the film failed. Fortunately for us the Tomb Raider reboot everyone forgets exists didn’t qualify for BMT, so this should do it for the franchise. Let’s go!

Meanwhile, a hand reaches from smoldering rubble. It struggled to pull a battered and broken body to the surface. An equally battered and bruised body lays nearby. “Are we… are we… dead or alive?” it croaks. That’s right! We’re pairing Tomb Raider with another video game meant as a means by which men can ogle women doing flips and kicks. This one didn’t quite get the desired theatrical release for a full-blown BMT film, but we thought it would be a good Bring a Friend. It’s DOA: Dead or Alive and as far as I can tell it’s women fighting in bikinis. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. Let’s go!

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003) – BMeTric: 51.2; Notability: 56 

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(This is a lot lower than I would have expected. This film feels like something like … Die Another Day. And yet that film is floating around 6.0 on IMDb. That’s where I would have expected this to be … maybe this is a lot worse that I expected.)

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – This is a better movie than the first one, more assured, more entertaining. The director is Jan de Bont (“Speed”), who demands a certain logic from his screenwriters, so that although the story is completely preposterous, of course, it is consistent within its own terms. I was relieved to discover I am not tired of movies like this after all. They have to be good, is the thing.

(Wowza. Ebert was one to take films on their own terms. And this (and Speed, as referenced) are certainly films that require you to buy into odd logic presented in ultra-serious terms. Respect Ebert.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5VugO68swI/

(The Chinese setting is pretty insane. And then when I thought things couldn’t get any better … super young Gerard Butler, and submarines and shit. C’mon this looks rad as fuck. Get the fuck out of here, I’m loving these wing suits!!!)

Directors – Jan de Bont – (Known For: Speed; Twister; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; The Haunting; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director in 1998 for Speed 2: Cruise Control; and in 2000 for The Haunting; and Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; Notes: He was the cinematographer for the ill-fated film Roar which is famous for using real (and dangerous) wild animals in production.)

Writers – Dean Georgaris (screenplay) – (Known For: The Meg; The Manchurian Candidate; Future BMT: Tristan + Isolde; BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Paycheck; Notes: Created a wrote the Jimmy Smits television series Bluff City Law.)

Steven E. de Souza (story) – (Known For: Die Hard; The Running Man; 48 Hrs.; Commando; Die Hard 2; Ricochet; The Return of Captain Invincible; Future BMT: Street Fighter; The Flintstones; Knock Off; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Bad Dreams; BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Judge Dredd; Beverly Hills Cop III; Hudson Hawk; Another 48 Hrs.; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Notes: Seems mostly retired, but relatively recently wrote a rebooted graphic novel of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.)

James V. Hart (story) – (Known For: Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Contact; Tuck Everlasting; Muppet Treasure Island; Epic; The Last Mimzy; Future BMT: Sahara; Hook; BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Notes: Developed the HartChart story mapping tool with WriterDuet creator Guy Goldstein, it is available online.)

Actors – Angelina Jolie – (Known For: Maleficent; Girl, Interrupted; Salt; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Wanted; Beowulf; Kung Fu Panda; Kung Fu Panda 3; Come Away; Changeling; The Good Shepherd; Kung Fu Panda 2; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; Playing by Heart; Pushing Tin; A Mighty Heart; Hell’s Kitchen; Future BMT: Alexander; By the Sea; Life or Something Like It; The Tourist; Shark Tale; Playing God; Original Sin; Taking Lives; Foxfire; Beyond Borders; The Bone Collector; Maleficent: Mistress of Evil; Lookin’ to Get Out; BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Hackers; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 2002 for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Original Sin; in 2003 for Life or Something Like It; in 2004 for Beyond Borders, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; and in 2005 for Alexander, and Taking Lives; Notes: Y’all know Angelina. Recently announced she’s going to develop a television news show for children on the BBC. Nick News is back jack!)

Gerard Butler – (Known For: 300; How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; Den of Thieves; RocknRolla; Olympus Has Fallen; How to Train Your Dragon; The Vanishing; Tomorrow Never Dies; Reign of Fire; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Coriolanus; Beowulf & Grendel; Nim’s Island; Mrs Brown; Dear Frankie; Harrison’s Flowers; The Cherry Orchard; Future BMT: Tale of the Mummy; The Ugly Truth; The Game of Their Lives; A Family Man; Machine Gun Preacher; BMT: Movie 43; Dracula 2001; Geostorm; Gods of Egypt; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; The Bounty Hunter; Timeline; Gamer; Playing for Keeps; London Has Fallen; Angel Has Fallen; Hunter Killer; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2011 for The Bounty Hunter; and in 2017 for Gods of Egypt, and London Has Fallen; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble for The Bounty Hunter in 2011; Notes: Y’all know Gerard. Recently it was announced that he’d carry the torch for one leg of the journey towards the Olympic games this summer.)

Chris Barrie – (BMT: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: He played Rimmer on Red Dwarf for over 70 episodes.)

Budget/Gross – $95,000,000 / Domestic: $65,660,196 (Worldwide: $160,099,222)

(That seems really expensive for the time. And it isn’t a very good return. Maybe the foreign take made them think with a slightly better reception they could make a return on a third? There was some planning for that at the time, but it fell through.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (42/171): Though the sequel is an improvement over the first movie, it’s still lacking in thrills.

(Better than I would have thought. Why did I think this film was like a 15% or something. I guess the Ebert review was closer to average than I thought. Reviewer Highlight: Scenery can’t save this blindingly dull sequel. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone.)

Poster – Bad Movie Twins: Sklog Raiders – The Obsidian Dongle: Quest for Fire (C-)

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(Wow, I mean. It’s bold. It tells me one thing and one thing only, and it has nothing to do with the plot of the film. Or perhaps Angelina Jolie is the plot of the film. I like the font, though. Goes with the bold style. Everything else is bizarre. Why is she splashing in the water? You know what, I don’t need to know.)

Tagline(s) – None (F) 

(Boooooooo, but it’s true. No tagline because it would have been the same as the poster. That’s the tagline. They aren’t even trying to tell you anything about the thrills and adventure that are in store. They just want to make it very clear that Angelina Jolie will appear in a skin-tight cat suit.)

Keyword – based on video game

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Top 10: Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019), Tomb Raider (2018), Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018), Resident Evil (2002), Rampage (2018), Assassin’s Creed (2016), Mortal Kombat (1995), Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), Street Fighter (1994)

Future BMT: 89.1 House of the Dead (2003), 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 87.9 BloodRayne (2005), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.1 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), 40.8 Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), 33.6 Ratchet & Clank (2016), 30.7 Pokémon 3: The Movie (2000), 27.6 Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), 25.5 Pokémon the Movie 2000 (1999);

BMT: Warcraft: The Beginning (2016), Assassin’s Creed (2016), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Silent Hill (2006), Doom (2005), Super Mario Bros. (1993), Max Payne (2008), Silent Hill: Revelation (2012), Need for Speed (2014), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), Hitman (2007), Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003), Hitman: Agent 47 (2015), Double Dragon (1994), In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007), Alone in the Dark (2005), Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009), Wing Commander (1999)

(How do we still have so many of these left?! I even have a tone left in the top 10. I’ve seen so many of them too! Anywho, they’ve been trying to make video game films happen for a decade now. They tried in the early 2000s as well, but eventually they wore themselves out in the late 00s and had to rethink things. This is one of the bigger ones clearly.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Angelina Jolie is No. 1 billed in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and No. 3 billed in Gone in 60 Seconds, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 12. If we were to watch The Bone Collector we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – In Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Angelina Jolie had to wear bra padding, in order for her bust size to measure up to the videogame character. Jolie wears considerably less (and possibly no) padding in this film, as the decision was made to give Lara more realistic dimensions.

In the scene where Lara Croft and Terry Sheridan jump off a building wearing “flying suits”, called wingsuits, the stunt was performed by the two men who developed the suits. No CGI, wires, nets, or other special effects were involved. This suit was invented by Patrick De Gayardon, who died in a parachute accident in April 1998, while testing a new type of parachute in Hawaii.

At one point in the movie, Lara Croft attacks a bad guy using very sophisticated movements with an antique rifle. Her movements are taken from the Queen Anne Salute used by the U.S. Army Drill Team. (Yeah, its real dumb)

The skin on Lara’s upper left arm is rarely seen exposed in this film. Angelina Jolie sports a large tattoo on her upper left bicep which requires make-up to cover up. The fact her left arm is rarely bared in this film (her opening scene in a bikini is shot in such a way her right arm, not her left, dominates) may be due to criticism that the tattoo was sometimes poorly concealed in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001).

Just as in the first film, there are several scenes in which the live-action Lara mimics the computer game version, in particular, a scene in which she climbs around a pagoda and pole vaults to a helicopter.

The character of Jonathan Reiss exposes his private jet passengers to a form of Ebola. The “antidote” is a clear capsule with small black pills in it. In reality, this is an herbal medicine made in China, and is a cure for an upset stomach. (Weird, why would anyone know this)

In the film, Lara (Angelina Jolie) and Terry (Gerard Butler) walk into a mall in Hong Kong called “Times Square”, after which they make their way to a then-unfinished taller building, called the “IFC tower”. The film treats the two buildings as if they are attached, but in fact they are a subway train ride apart. The large skylight that looks up the IFC tower from Times Square was digitally added into the scene.

Jan de Bont’s last directorial credit.

Much of the background story of this film revolves around Alexander The Great (Alexander of Macedonia). Angelina Jolie portrayed Alexander’s mother, Olympias, in Alexander (2004). (oooo Fun, I forgot about that)

Initial trailers and publicity material credited the story to Producer Lloyd Levin and Production Designer Kirk M. Petruccelli, as well as James V. Hart. However, just before the film was released, the Writers Guild of America decided to credit the story to Hart and Steven E. de Souza. (Huh, I wish there was more information about this kind of stuff)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Angelina Jolie, 2004)

The Island of Dr. Moreau Preview

“A clue!” exclaims Detective Cross (a.k.a. Poe) looking closely at a shrub. The goblins, Sorsaron, and Brawl all gasp as they too notice the map hanging in the branches. A map that appears to show the exact burial spot of the Crown of Blizarion. “Hmmm, convenient,” concurs Detective Criss (a.k.a. Rich). Everything seems to have lined up quite nicely for the detectives. They didn’t have to break out even one patented Twin Chop or standing backflip… suspiciously convenient. As they make their way to the supposed hiding spot of the crown Rich has a sudden realization. “What if, my dear Cross, the crown was never stolen at all?” Everyone is puzzled at the theory, but Poe is picking up what he’s putting down, “Ah, you mean…” suddenly he whirls on Sorsaron and Brawln, “they were the culprits in the first place!” (what a twist!) Sorsaron gulp and babble nervously but break under the drop-dead gorgeous minds of the detectives. “Stupendous,” Brawln marvels, “and exactly what we hoped would happen.” Rich and Poe are confused and only become more bewildered as Brawln unburies the Crown and easily snaps it in half. “A mere bauble,” he explains, “but necessary to prove to the goblins that you were capable of the real task.” (what a double twist!) “You see,” he continues, “long ago the gamemaster stole something from the goblins, something that would close the well worn path that brought us here. This something would return us to our world and defeat the gamemaster, thus saving your world as well. It’s what we in the biz call a… win-win.” Rich and Poe are intrigued. “What and where?” they ask. “The Staff of Gabragorn,” Sorsaron explains, “the Isle of Killmore. But be careful, the Honorable Dr. Killmore… is quite insane.” That’s right! We are watching a true classic in The Island of Dr. Moreau. I remember watching this as a kid and finding it pretty creepy. I’m sure I’ll be less creeped out now that I’m older. *Takes a looks at some screenshots of the animal-humans* Nevermind. This is based on the book by H. G. Wells, which has been adapted a couple of times for film. It also feels like we’re getting close to someone thinking it’ll be a good idea to adapt again… excellent. Let’s go!

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) – BMeTric: 73.1; Notability: 47 

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(It is actually a bit confusing that it is arriving significantly above the low-4.0s. That is obviously insanely bad. But this film is insanely bad. I’ve seen it multiple times in pieces on cable. It is so weird and bad.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Heavy-handed retelling of H.G. Wells’ novel, as Thewlis is rescued at sea and brought to Dr. Moreau’s island, where he’s horrified to discover experiments turning animals into humans. Grotesque in the extreme, obvious, and ultimately pointless, but Brando devotees will want to check out his flamboyantly silly performance, and makeup buffs should admire Stan Winston’s remarkable creations.

(I enjoy that Leonard managed to find the good among the bad here. Obviously 1.5 stars is very bad, but there are absurdly amusing things to see in the film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJP3cb2RcII/

(Holy shit! We’ve been having a debate for like four days about what year this takes place. The Wikipedia page suggested 2010, but nowhere in the actual movie did it seem to say it. The script, which you can find online (I have no idea if it is real) suggests the year is 2007. But then, here it is. This trailer says 2010. As the only explicitly public mention of a date I would assume the 2010 date it thus canon. Wild.)

Directors – John Frankenheimer – (Known For: Ronin; The Manchurian Candidate; Seconds; Seven Days in May; The Train; Grand Prix; Birdman of Alcatraz; Black Sunday; 52 Pick-Up; French Connection II; The Iceman Cometh; The Challenge; All Fall Down; The Fixer; The Young Savages; The Fourth War; Future BMT: Reindeer Games; Prophecy; Year of the Gun; Dead Bang; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: A good friend of RFK, he was originally reported to have also been shot at the Ambassador Hotel the night RFK was assassinated.)

Richard Stanley – (Known For: Color Out of Space; Hardware; The Theatre Bizarre; Future BMT: Dust Devil; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: Was fired four days into production, the details of which is described in the documentary about the making of this film.)

Writers – H.G. Wells (novel) – (Known For: War of the Worlds; The Time Machine; The Island of Dr. Moreau; The Invisible Man; The War of the Worlds; Dead of Night; Island of Lost Souls; First Men in the Moon; Things to Come; The Invisible Man Returns; The Invisible Man’s Revenge; Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet the Invisible Man; The Passionate Friends; The Man Who Could Work Miracles; Future BMT: Empire of the Ants; The Food of the Gods; Village of the Giants; The Time Machine; War of the Worlds: Goliath; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Notes: Y’all know H.G. Wells, a quintessential voice in science fiction literature. His grandson, Simon Wells, directed The Time Machine.)

Richard Stanley (screenplay) – (Known For: Color Out of Space; Hardware; The Theatre Bizarre; Future BMT: The Abandoned; Dust Devil; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: Color Out of Space is the adaptation of the story by notorious racist H.P. Lovecraft which stars Nic Cage. It is supposed to be quite good, and that it likely the kind of crazy visuals Stanley wanted to bring to this film which got him fired.)

Ron Hutchinson (screenplay) – (BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: He’s written a crazy amount of television. I think he was a producer who was probably brought in to adapt Stanley’s script on the fly after he got fired. Just a guess.)

Actors – David Thewlis – (Known For: Legend; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas; Wonder Woman; The Big Lebowski; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1; The New World; The Theory of Everything; Seven Years in Tibet; War Horse; RED 2; DragonHeart; Macbeth; Naked; James And The Giant Peach; The Zero Theorem; Anomalisa; Future BMT: The Omen; Regression; London Boulevard; The Fifth Estate; Justice League; Total Eclipse; The Trial; The Inner Life of Martin Frost; BMT: Basic Instinct 2; The Island of Dr. Moreau; Timeline; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2007 for Basic Instinct 2, and The Omen; Notes: )

Marlon Brando – (Known For: The Godfather; Apocalypse Now; Superman; Last Tango in Paris; The Score; A Streetcar Named Desire; On the Waterfront; Guys and Dolls; Candy; One-Eyed Jacks; Don Juan DeMarco; The Missouri Breaks; Mutiny on the Bounty; The Wild One; The Freshman; The Chase; Sayonara; A Countess from Hong Kong; Viva Zapata!; Julius Caesar; Future BMT: Christopher Columbus: The Discovery; Free Money; The Formula; The Brave; BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1981 for The Formula; and in 1993 for Christopher Columbus: The Discovery; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The Island of Dr. Moreau in 1997; Notes: )

Val Kilmer – (Known For: Jay and Silent Bob Reboot; Heat; Top Gun; True Romance; Willow; Real Genius; Tombstone; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; Top Secret!; The Prince of Egypt; Song to Song; Deja Vu; Kill the Irishman; The Doors; The Ghost and the Darkness; MacGruber; Bad Lieutenant; The Missing; The Super; Palo Alto; Future BMT: Twixt; The Traveler; Alexander; Red Planet; Planes; Delgo; 5 Days of War; Hard Ca$h; The Real McCoy; Masked and Anonymous; The Saint; At First Sight; Mindhunters; 10th & Wolf; Wonderland; Stateside; Summer Love; BMT: The Love Guru; The Island of Dr. Moreau; The Snowman; Batman Forever; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for The Saint in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1997 for The Ghost and the Darkness, and The Island of Dr. Moreau; and in 2005 for Alexander; Notes: )

Budget/Gross – $40,000,000 / Domestic: $27,663,982 (Worldwide: $49,627,779)

(Unmitigated disaster. I’m actually a bit surprised they managed to make the film for less than $50 million, this has a Cutthroat Island level disaster vibe to me, but it is only a modest financial disaster.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 24% (8/33): Timid and unfocused in its storytelling, The Island Of Dr. Moreau is more lackluster misfire than morbid curiosity.

(Rotten Tomatoes trying to make clear this film is not so bad it’s good. I’m pretty happy with a misfire honestly, the disastrous production is funny in itself. Reviewer Highlight: )

Poster – The Island of Dr. Sklogenstein (C+)

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(I like the green. Very Rosemary’s Baby. Needed better font and probably needs to do a bit more to convey what the audience is in for (hint: it’s a wild ride). But have to give Brando props. Always impressive when an actor manages to be on the poster twice.)

Tagline(s) – Through DNA experimentation Dr. Moreau has upset the balance of nature. By turning animals into humans, he’s turned heaven into hell. (D-)

(I can actually imagine that Brando wrote this himself. That’s not a good thing. It’s insane. Bumped it from an F just because it does have strange mesmerizing cadance to it.)

Keyword – mutant

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Top 10: Suicide Squad (2016), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Deadpool 2 (2018), Deadpool (2016), Logan (2017), Annihilation (2018), Toy Story (1995), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989), Overlord (2018)

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 87.9 BloodRayne (2005), 84.5 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005), 78.6 Superhero Movie (2008), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 62.4 The Hills Have Eyes II (2007), 57.6 The Fly II (1989), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.0 Graveyard Shift (1990), 50.0 Masters of the Universe (1987);

BMT: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Super Mario Bros. (1993), I Am Number Four (2011), Epic Movie (2007), Judge Dredd (1995), Double Dragon (1994), Chernobyl Diaries (2012), Troll (1986), A Sound of Thunder (2005)

(This is a really fun plot. You can see how mutant films prior to 2000 were like this. The Fly, Double Dragon, Judge Dredd. The mutants are kind of monster bad guys. And then in 2000 you get X-Men and all of the comic book films where they are the good guys in much larger films. I’m skeptical Honey, I Shrunk the Kids has a “mutant” in it though.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Val Kilmer is No. 2 billed in The Island of Dr. Moreau and No. 1 billed in Batman Forever, which also stars Tommy Lee Jones (No. 2 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 3 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 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 15. If we were to watch At First Sight, and The Replacement Killers we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – After being fired by the studio, original director Richard Stanley was rumored to have prevailed upon the makeup crew to turn him into one of the background mutants, so that he could at least keep tabs on the making of his dream project. He supposedly did not unmask himself until the wrap party. (That’s insane)

Marlon Brando wore a small radio receiver to aid him remembering his lines. Co-star David Thewlis claimed “He’d be in the middle of a scene and suddenly he’d be picking up police messages and Marlon would repeat, ‘There’s a robbery at Woolworths’.” (A British joke BTW. There was surely filmed in some remote jungle somewhere, right?)

Val Kilmer described the shoot as “crazy”. Marlon Brando was still recovering from his daughter’s suicide. The day production started, the French government set off an underwater atomic bomb near Tahiti, where Brando owned an atoll. Kilmer turned on the TV and learned that he was getting divorced. Two days later, the studio fired director Richard Stanley due to their concerns over the film’s direction. John Frankenheimer who was hired to replace Stanley, clashed with Brando, Kilmer, and studio executives from the start about the film’s direction. (This is all in the documentary I’m going to eventually watch about this film)

When Val Kilmer encountered Richard Stanley during the wrap-party, he apologised for costing the director his job. Marlon Brando later offered to compensate Stanley. To his regret, he didn’t take it.

Richard Stanley had spent four years developing the project, only to be fired after four days.

Richard Stanley had been offered his full fee on condition that he left the production quietly and did not speak about his sacking, so his disappearance caused consternation at New Line, who feared he might try to sabotage the filming. His removal also predictably sent shock waves through the cast and crew. An outraged Fairuza Balk stormed off the set after a heated exchange with the New Line executives, and then reportedly had a production assistant drive her all the way from Cairns to Sydney – a distance of some 2500 km- in a rented limousine. However, by her own account, Balk’s agent then warned her in blunt terms that the studio would ruin her, and that she would never work in films again if she broke her contract, so she was soon forced to return to the set.

Richard Stanley said of Val Kilmer: “He’d do [the lines] but he’d throw it all away. And he kept insisting on odd bits and pieces of his wardrobe that didn’t make sense, like a piece of blue material wrapped around his arm. It was like, ‘Why is that around his arm, and will he take it off?'” (It is crazy that these notes seem to suggest Kilmer was worse than Brando during the shoot)

Marco Hofschneider’s part was originally much bigger. His role was cut down because Val Kilmer didn’t want to be upstaged by him. Then Marlon Brando became obsessed with Nelson de la Rosa, the world’s smallest man, and insisted the script be revised. Some of Hofschneider’s scenes were given to De La Rosa. (WTF!)

Due to the many problems with the production, and the evident ongoing attempts by both Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer to sabotage it, the location shooting eventually stretched from a scheduled six weeks to almost six months, and the atmosphere on the production became almost a mirror of the plot of the movie, with the long-suffering cast and crew becoming more and more alienated by and hostile towards its megalomaniacal co-stars and their tyrannical director.

Rob Morrow spent a couple days on set to shoot his scenes as Edward Douglas but became unhappy with the production and its increasing lack of direction. Wanting to get back home to Los Angeles for his family, Morrow called New Line Cinema chairman Bob Shaye and pleaded to be released from the role, which Shaye honoured.

When David Thewlis arrived onset, Marlon Brando said to him, “Go home, David. This is not a good film to work on. It’s cursed”.

Val Kilmer felt obligated to ask Marlon Brando’s permission to “impersonate” him for the scenes where Montgomery imitates Moreau.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Marlon Brando, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Edward R. Pressman, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Val Kilmer, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (John Frankenheimer, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Richard Stanley, Ron Hutchinson, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Marlon Brando, Nelson de la Rosa, 1997)

Along Came a Spider Preview

As Rich and Poe approach an encampment with Sorsaron and Brawln they reflect on the walk through the waste. It sure was a walk to remember during which Poe met a wandering beauty and fell in love only to have her perish due to a rare medical condition. It was all very sweet and yet devastating. But no need to dwell on the past, time to focus on the future and the task at hand. As they peer down toward the camp they are told that the gamemaster spoke of the goblins within as thieves who stole a magical crown that would help Sorsaron and Brawln escape back to their dimension. “The Crown of Blizarion?” asks Rich and the centaur nods his head, “You’ve also heard of its power? Get it for us and we’ll take you to the school.” Rich and Poe are confused as to why everything feels so familiar and yet slightly different, but agree to the task nonetheless. First off they must ingratiate themselves with the goblins. While Rich wants to mesmerize and bewilder with their chiseled abs and spectacular dance moves, Poe has a different idea. A short time later they bust into camp. “Police!” they shout and the goblins freeze, demanding to know what they’ve done wrong. “How about a little thing called… MURDER!” shouts Rich waving his gun wildly around the crowd. The goblins gasp and implore them to help find the real culprit, for they are innocent. Rich and Poe agree and ask to take a quick look around, particularly in places where people hide things. The goblins sigh with relief, “thank you, officers. What are your names?” At that Rich and Poe look at each other. “Uh… well… this is Officer Chriss and I’m Officer Cross. Officers Chriss and Cross.” That’s right! We’re diving (back) into the world of Alex Cross only seven years after watching Tyler Perry play the character in Alex Cross. This time should be better as we get the precursors Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Both star Morgan Freeman and had considerably better reviews than the later adaptation, but still bad enough for us. I’m ready for some thrills and/or chills. Let’s go!

Along Came a Spider (2001) – BMeTric: 21.1; Notability: 49 

AlongCameaSpiderIMDb_BMeT

AlongCameaSpiderIMDb_RV

(Actually still quite good. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a big contingent of people who forgive the film because of Freeman. Even acting in terrible movies he is usually good and elevates the material.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – A few loopholes I can forgive. But when a plot is riddled with them, crippled by them, made implausible by them, as in “Along Came a Spider,” I get distracted. … [Y]ou [are] gonna be talking when you come out of this movie! Saying things like “but why . . .” and “if she . . .” and “wouldn’t he . . .” and “how come . . .” as you try to trace your way back through the twisted logic of the plot. Here’s a sample question. Dr. Cross mentions a $12 million ransom and later explains that the person he was talking to should have known it was $10 million but never said anything. And I’m thinking, should that person have even known about the ransom at all? Well, maybe, if . . . but I dunno. There are places in this movie you just can’t get to from other places in this movie.

(Haha, riddled with plotholes. It isn’t what you want with your early-2000s thriller. As he says, if the killer is interesting you forgive a few, but when there are too many it ends up taking all the fun out of figuring things out.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kswRbwYqn3k/

(Ohhhhhhh snap, I think you can see the aborted ending in the trailer. That scene where the daughter and the parents are hugging by the water isn’t in the film. In the film it all ends at night at a barn. Also, they very much indicate that the President of the United States is involved. He is not, it is the son of the Russian Ambassador.)

Directors – Lee Tamahori – (Known For: Die Another Day; The Edge; The Devil’s Double; Once Were Warriors; Mahana; Future BMT: Next; Mulholland Falls; BMT: xXx: State of the Unionl; Along Came a Spider; Notes: From New Zealand, started as a photographer and then transitioned into the film business as a boom operator.)

Writers – James Patterson (novel) – (Known For: Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life; BMT: Alex Cross; Kiss the Girls; Along Came a Spider; Notes: He apparently came up with the slogan Toys R’ Us Kid.)

Marc Moss (screenplay) – (BMT: Alex Cross; Along Came a Spider; Notes: Was also uncredited on Kiss The Girls doing a continuity check / re-write or something. So he’s been involved in writing all three films.)

Actors – Morgan Freeman – (Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Seven; Batman Begins; Unforgiven; Lucy; Oblivion; Deep Impact; Now You See Me; Olympus Has Fallen; War of the Worlds; Million Dollar Baby; Wanted; Going in Style; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; RED; Gone Baby Gone; The Lego Movie; Bruce Almighty; Future BMT: Evan Almighty; Just Getting Started; Edison; The Nutcracker and the Four Realms; Eye for an Eye; Chain Reaction; The Contract; Ben-Hur; Momentum; Last Knights; High Crimes; Now You See Me 2; Harry & Son; Feast of Love; Levity; That Was Then… This Is Now; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Dreamcatcher; The Bonfire of the Vanities; London Has Fallen; Hard Rain; Transcendence; Along Came a Spider; Kiss the Girls; Angel Has Fallen; Notes: He owns a jazz club in Mississippi, and learned to fly at the age of 65.)

Michael Wincott – (Known For: The Count of Monte Cristo; The Crow; Ghost in the Shell; Alien Resurrection; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Treasure Planet; Born on the Fourth of July; Knight of Cups; Dead Man; The Doors; Strange Days; Hitchcock; The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Basquiat; What Just Happened; Talk Radio; Before Night Falls; Curtains; Seraphim Falls; Forsaken; Future BMT: Metro; The Sicilian; The Three Musketeers; 1492: Conquest of Paradise; Romeo Is Bleeding; BMT: Along Came a Spider; Notes: Is the brother of Jeff Wincott who we’ve seen as Jeff Devreaux in the two Universal Soldier television sequels.)

Monica Potter – (Known For: Saw; The Last House on the Left; Con Air; Without Limits; A Cool, Dry Place; Future BMT: Head Over Heels; Bulletproof; Patch Adams; Martha – Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence; BMT: Along Came a Spider; Notes: Starred in over 100 episodes of the television show Parenthood, she has mostly focused on television in her later career.)

Budget/Gross – $60,000,000 / Domestic: $74,078,174 (Worldwide: $105,178,561)

(Hmmm, I wonder why they felt the need to double the budget. It isn’t like this film is particularly more complex than the first. At least the way they adapted makes it pretty straightforward.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 31% (39/125): Derivative and contains too many implausible situations.

(Wait a second … this one did better review-wise than the first? That doesn’t make much sense. I’ve read Along Came a Spider, it is effectively unadaptable, which means it is either a terrible adaptation, a terrible movie, or both. Reviewer Highlight: Like a paperback plucked from a counter at an airport, Spider is an impulse buy of a film, a time killer that will neither tax your brain nor challenge your memory. – Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today)

Poster – Along Came a Spiderman (B)

along_came_a_spider

(I think this is solid. Although maybe a little too close to their faces. Back it up a bit. Also could have done with some sweet font.)

Tagline(s) – The game is far from over. (D-)

(That is decidedly mediocre. When did the game even start? What game are we talking about? Is this somehow a continuation of the previous film. This is a very confusing choice… but blessedly short. It’s just a few words away from being an F.)

Keyword – ransom

AlongCameaSpider_ransom

Top 10: Tropic Thunder (2008), The Big Lebowski (1998), Fifty Shades Freed (2018), In Time (2011), Captain Phillips (2013), Inherent Vice (2014), Angels & Demons (2009), The Rock (1996), A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014), All the Money in the World (2017); 

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 73.5 Snatched (2017), 62.1 Half Past Dead (2002), 50.3 Son of the Pink Panther (1993), 46.4 The Wash (2001), 45.3 A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995), 41.5 Excess Baggage (1997), 39.7 Pink Cadillac (1989), 39.3 That Darn Cat (1997), 35.2 City Heat (1984); 

BMT: Fifty Shades Freed (2018), Along Came a Spider (2001), The Avengers (1998), Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005)

(This I think is even more straightforward than the serial-killer one. This is basically just showing the trajectory of kidnapping thrillers. And indeed, they have tailed off as VOD absorbed most of the schlock that genre has to offer.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Morgan Freeman is No. 1 billed in Along Came a Spider and No. 5 billed in Transcensdence, which also stars Paul Bettany (No. 2 billed) who is in Firewall (No. 2 billed), which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 5 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 17. If we were to watch Chain Reaction, Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – When Alex is looking through Jezzie’s computer, there is an article on the Casanova Killer from the previous film, Kiss the Girls (1997).

The ending for the film was re-shot, due to poor test audience reception. (Oh God, I wonder what the original ending could have been)

The film takes place over the course of a few days, but in the novel the story takes place over approximately two years. Also, in the book Alex Cross is 38 years old with two kids, whereas in the film he is in his mid to late fifties.

The film’s title comes from its source novel by James Patterson. The title is taken from a nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffet”. The early Cross novels were all named after nursery rhymes (Jack and Jill, Pop Goes the Weasel, etc.), while the later ones used Cross’ name in the title, either in a punning context (Cross Fire, Double Cross, etc.) or a matter-of-fact one (The Trial of Alex Cross, The People vs. Alex Cross, etc.) (Huh, I didn’t know that, I kind of like how it splits it up into eras)

Gary Soneji’s prosthetic makeup and affected British accent make him look and sound like actor David Thewlis. (It really really really does)

Kiss the Girls Preview

As Rich and Poe approach an encampment with Sorsaron and Brawln they reflect on the walk through the waste. It sure was a walk to remember during which Poe met a wandering beauty and fell in love only to have her perish due to a rare medical condition. It was all very sweet and yet devastating. But no need to dwell on the past, time to focus on the future and the task at hand. As they peer down toward the camp they are told that the gamemaster spoke of the goblins within as thieves who stole a magical crown that would help Sorsaron and Brawln escape back to their dimension. “The Crown of Blizarion?” asks Rich and the centaur nods his head, “You’ve also heard of its power? Get it for us and we’ll take you to the school.” Rich and Poe are confused as to why everything feels so familiar and yet slightly different, but agree to the task nonetheless. First off they must ingratiate themselves with the goblins. While Rich wants to mesmerize and bewilder with their chiseled abs and spectacular dance moves, Poe has a different idea. A short time later they bust into camp. “Police!” they shout and the goblins freeze, demanding to know what they’ve done wrong. “How about a little thing called… MURDER!” shouts Rich waving his gun wildly around the crowd. The goblins gasp and implore them to help find the real culprit, for they are innocent. Rich and Poe agree and ask to take a quick look around, particularly in places where people hide things. The goblins sigh with relief, “thank you, officers. What are your names?” At that Rich and Poe look at each other. “Uh… well… this is Officer Chriss and I’m Officer Cross. Officers Chriss and Cross.” That’s right! We’re diving (back) into the world of Alex Cross only seven years after watching Tyler Perry play the character in Alex Cross. This time should be better as we get the precursors Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Both star Morgan Freeman and had considerably better reviews than the later adaptation, but still bad enough for us. I’m ready for some thrills and/or chills. Let’s go!

Kiss the Girls (1997) – BMeTric: 16.1; Notability: 50 

KisstheGirlsIMDb_BMeT

KisstheGirlsIMDb_RV

(Honestly, given the rest of this preview, that 6.6 is right on target. It seems like maybe at the time it wasn’t very well received, but some of the reviews feel like maybe it actually wasn’t that bad.)

RogerEbert.com – 3.5 stars – When the film is over and we know all of its secrets, there’s one we’d like to know more about: What exactly is the dynamic of the relationship between the two most twisted members of the cast? But being left with such a question is much more satisfactory than being given the answer in shorthand Freudian terms. What we’re also left with is the real sense of having met two very particular people in the leads. Freeman and Judd are so good, you almost wish they’d decided not to make a thriller at all–had simply found a way to construct a drama exploring their personalities.

(This actually might legit be the best review we’ve ever features on a recent BMT film! Basically, Freeman and Judd are good actors and it is a fine thriller … so why does everyone seem to hate this film? Hinteresting. Methinks I’m going to enjoy this film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiHGk64-eNE/

(I like this old school trailer. Also a bit surprising that they manage to give away a good chunk of the film, but then don’t touch on The Gentleman Caller. So they manage to restrain themselves possibly as a red herring to distract the audience from realizing the two killers are distinct people initially.)

Directors – Gary Fleder – (Known For: Homefront; The Express; Runaway Jury; Future BMT: Impostor; Don’t Say a Word; Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead; BMT: Kiss the Girls; Notes: Primarily has stuck to television more recently, and is primarily a producer at this point. Homefront I think was his most recent feature release in 2013.)

Writers – James Patterson (novel) – (Known For: Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life; Future BMT: Along Came a Spider; BMT: Alex Cross; Kiss the Girls; Notes: He started as an advertising executive for Burger King.)

David Klass (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Desperate Measures; Walking Tall; Emperor; BMT: Kiss the Girls; Notes: Has produced and written a handful of Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes.)

Actors – Morgan Freeman – (Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Seven; Batman Begins; Unforgiven; Lucy; Oblivion; Deep Impact; Now You See Me; Olympus Has Fallen; War of the Worlds; Million Dollar Baby; Wanted; Going in Style; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; RED; Gone Baby Gone; The Lego Movie; Bruce Almighty; Future BMT: Evan Almighty; Just Getting Started; Edison; The Nutcracker and the Four Realms; Eye for an Eye; Chain Reaction; The Contract; Ben-Hur; Momentum; Last Knights; Along Came a Spider; High Crimes; Now You See Me 2; Harry & Son; Feast of Love; Levity; That Was Then… This Is Now; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Dreamcatcher; The Bonfire of the Vanities; London Has Fallen; Hard Rain; Transcendence; Angel Has Fallen; Kiss the Girls; Notes: He became so concerned about the decline in honeybees that he turned his 100+ acre estate into a bee sanctuary.)

Ashley Judd – (Known For: Heat; Divergent; Olympus Has Fallen; Natural Born Killers; A Time to Kill; Frida; A Dog’s Way Home; Bug; De-Lovely; Dolphin Tale; Simon Birch; Smoke; Barry; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; Animal Attraction; Dolphin Tale 2; Ruby in Paradise; Helen; Normal Life; Come Early Morning; Future BMT: Tooth Fairy; Eye of the Beholder; Allegiant; Insurgent; The Identical; Kuffs; Good Kids; High Crimes; Flypaper; Big Stone Gap; Double Jeopardy; The Passion of Darkly Noon; Crossing Over; Where the Heart Is; Trafficked; BMT: Twisted; Kiss the Girls; Notes: IT was rumored that she would run for Senate in Kentucky where she went to college, but ultimately decided not to.)

Cary Elwes – (Known For: Bram Stoker’s Dracula; The Princess Bride; No Strings Attached; Saw; Liar Liar; Twister; The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn; Hot Shots!; Robin Hood: Men in Tights; Glory; The Jungle Book; Ella Enchanted; A Christmas Carol; Shadow of the Vampire; Lady Jane; Whisper of the Heart; Porco Rosso; The Cat Returns; Another Country; The Cat’s Meow; Future BMT: The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure; Behaving Badly; Black Christmas; Saw 3D; Edison; The Alphabet Killer; Billionaire Boys Club; Days of Thunder; The Crush; The Chase; Collection; Sugar Mountain; The Bride; The Queen of Spain; The Magic Sword: Quest for Camelot; Factory Girl; Delhi Safari; Being Charlie; BMT: New Year’s Eve; Georgia Rule; Kiss the Girls; Notes: Was recently features in the third season of the smash hit streaming television program Stranger Things.)

Budget/Gross – $27,000,000 / Domestic: $60,527,873 (Worldwide: $60,527,873)

(That’s not great I don’t think. You would have expected more from a Morgan Freeman vehicle in the late 90s. Bad thrillers though probably had terrible word of mouth back in the day.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 29% (9/31): Detective Alex Cross makes his inauspicious cinematic debut in Kiss the Girls, a clunky thriller that offers few surprises.

(Surprises? This must have come out right when a few thrillers really smashed the Twist-y McTwist side of thrillers out of the park. As a matter of fact Primal Fear did come out the year prior. Reviewer Highlight: Even those engrossed by the build-up here are likely to kiss off the rest after suffering through Girls’ groaner of a wrap-up. – Mike Clark, USA Today)

Poster – Kiss the Sklogs (C-)

kiss_the_girls

(Ha. Well… this is less than a stellar effort. Looks like Alex Cross is going to battle a spooky ghost or something. Only good thing is the pop of color that ghost brings with it. But also not offensive.)

Tagline(s) – A detective is searching for a deadly collector. His only hope is the woman who got away. (D)

(They chose the wrong tagline for the poster. This is too long and not clever. It’s just telling us what the basic premise of the film is… and wasting our time in the process. It is still at least understandable.)

Keyword – serial killer

KisstheGirls_serial killer

Top 10: Joker (2019), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Pulp Fiction (1994), Zodiac (2007), Heat (1995), Shutter Island (2010), Split (2016), Glass (2019), Seven (1995), American Psycho (2000); 

Future BMT: 74.3 Psycho (1998), 68.4 Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), 65.9 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), 64.3 Valentine (2001), 63.6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 62.4 The Hills Have Eyes II (2007), 59.1 Child’s Play 3 (1991), 57.6 Sorority Row (2009), 55.8 Jury Duty (1995), 51.1 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010); 

BMT: The Snowman (2017), Kiss the Girls (1997), Friday the 13th (2009), Basic Instinct 2 (2006), Cobra (1986), Leprechaun (1993), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Zoolander 2 (2016), Color of Night (1994), Alex Cross (2012), Righteous Kill (2008), Species II (1998), Untraceable (2008), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Jade (1995), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Twisted (2004), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), 88 Minutes (2007), Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Bless the Child (2000)

(For a bit I wondered if notability tailing off like that was a quirk of the underlying data, but I don’t think so. I legitimately think “thrillers”, much like horror, went through a popularity boom and bust in the late-90s and early 2000s. They now mostly got to VOD with smaller big names. This was one of the big ones in the 90s though.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Morgan Freeman is No. 1 billed in Kiss the Girls and No. 5 billed in Transcensdence, which also stars Paul Bettany (No. 2 billed) who is in Firewall (No. 2 billed), which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 5 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 17. If we were to watch Chain Reaction, Hardball, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Ashley Judd took kick-boxing lessons from stuntman David Lea before filming. She insisted on doing many of her own stunts, but the studio finally put their foot down, when she wanted to leap off a 150 foot waterfall. A stuntman, wearing a wig, made the jump instead, narrowly missing the rocks as he plummeted through the falls to the water below. (Uh … yeah you can see it, he gets really close. I can’t believe they put it in the movie)

Gillian Anderson was initially going to play Dr. Kate McTiernan during her hiatus from The X Files (1993). (Huh interesting. They are the exact same age)

At one point, Denzel Washington was to star, but he had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts, and Morgan Freeman was brought into the project. (That would have been a cool Alex Cross)

A split diopter lens is used in the final kitchen scene. The two-shots show both characters in sharp focus, even though one is much farther from the camera. Normally, one or the other would be out of focus. But a half-width lens placed in front of the camera’s main lens adjusts the focal plane of one side of the scene, allowing close and distant subjects to appear sharp. Brian De Palma often uses this filming technique. (Yeah … it is really old school. I was watching an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and they got the same effect but clearly there is some digital way to do that because instead of being weirdly fuzzy and looking like shit in my opinion, it looks super smooth.)

It was during the making of this film that Ashley Judd was subjected to sexual harassment by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. She would finally open up about the ordeal in 2017. (Gross!)

Campus officials at the University of North Carolina refused to agree to allow filming on campus in Chapel Hill, because of the subject matter of the film. Hence the only UNC-Chapel Hill campus scenes are the flyover shots. There is one other scene shot on UNC’s campus. After the flyover shot of Duke Chapel, the next scene is the detectives car turning onto Medical Drive in Chapel Hill.This can be seen by the sign behind the tree which is the old School of nursing sign on Columbia street.

Whenever Casanova speaks from the shadows, as well as in the opening credits, it is Tony Goldwyn’s voice being heard. Goldwyn’s voice was used to throw the audience off the trail so the unveiling of the real killer at the end would be more of a surprise. Goldwyn’s Casanova voice is easily distinguishable from Cary Elwes’ affected Casanova voice, which Ruskin uses as he is revealed as the real killer at the film’s close. As a result, when Rudolph is shouting at the hidden Casanova, Tony Goldwyn is essentially arguing with himself. (Yup, you can tell they are too totally different voices, it was an odd stylistic choice. Why not just have Elwes use his own British accent?)

MythBusters (2003) proved that it is nearly impossible for the muzzle flash of a gun to cause a room full of natural gas to explode.

A Walk to Remember Preview

“Wait wait wait,” Rich yells to the centaur as he gets dangerously close to cutting their tree free of the cliff. Just as Rich and Poe lament the end of their adventure, they hear a tiny voice, “Wait Sorsaron, let’s hear them out.” A tiny man in a robe appears next to Sorsaron, “Well?” he asks expectantly. Thinking quickly, Rich and Poe lay it all on the line. “Help us and you save the world,” they say solemnly. The centaur’s eyes softens, “Brawln, throw down a rope.” As they walk, Brawln and Sorsaron explain their gritty origin story. Such a mismatched pair! One a barbarian, the other a diminutive mage, they were brought together by fate under a blood wolf moon only to be captured by the evil gamemaster that is helping run the tournament. With each word, Rich and Poe can’t help but have a sense of deja vu. Have they heard this story before? It sounds suspiciously like an adventure they’ve already had except… worse. “We don’t care about this world,” explains Sorsaron, “but combine your earnestness with your muscled physiques and I had my first hope that perhaps you can defeat the gamemaster… even if the chances are still so slight.” Rich and Poe are deflated, it’s starting to sound like they have just as little idea about the well worn path as they do. But when they mention their task, Brawln and Sorsaron look startled. “The school,” Brawln mutters and at that Rich and Poe press them for more details. What and where is this school? “You must complete a task for us first,” Sorsaron insists. Rich and Poe look at each other and then agree. “Where to?” they ask and Brawl points across the desert. Well this should be a walk to remember. That’s right! We are watching teen drama A Walk to Remember. And before you riot and scream blasphemy against its inclusion in BMT just remember, we don’t make the rules… or I guess, we do technically make the rules, but by all metrics this did not get good reviews. So, tough. Deal with it. It’s based on a Nicholas Sparks book and was part of his rise to Hollywood prominence in the 2000’s. Let’s go!

A Walk to Remember (2002) – BMeTric: 4.5; Notability: 22 

AWalktoRememberIMDb_BMeT

AWalktoRememberIMDb_RV

(This might genuinely be the highest rated film (according to IMDb) that we’ve ever done. I have a feeling I’ll be doing a bit of crying this week.)

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – “A Walk to Remember” is a love story so sweet, sincere and positive that it sneaks past the defenses built up in this age of irony. It tells the story of a romance between two 18-year-olds that is summarized when the boy tells the girl’s doubtful father: “Jamie has faith in me. She makes me want to be different. Better.” After all of the vulgar crudities of the typical modern teenage movie, here is one that looks closely, pays attention, sees that not all teenagers are as cretinous as Hollywood portrays them.

(See! Roger Ebert loves it! How is it possible it got such bad reviews? I have a theory: With things like Dawson’s Creek and The OC and 90210 kind smashing television from the late 90s to the early 2000s people were just burnt out on melodramatic teen dramas. And so even the good versions of it, like this, got dunked on by mainstream critics. Prove me wrong!)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq02sBe5xko/

(Landon Carter is a bad boy. And then he meets a good girl. And he wears headphones, and looks super cool. And they’ll fall in love, and everything is super sweet and awesome. But then he’s like “I’m too cool”, but then he’s like “I love you”.)

Directors – Adam Shankman – (Known For: What Men Want; Hairspray; Rock of Ages; Future BMT: The Wedding Planner; Bedtime Stories; BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen 2; The Pacifier; Bringing Down the House; A Walk to Remember; Notes: Got into Juilliard for dance without ever having taken a formal dancing course, and then started as a choreographer. He clearly has a relationship with Steve Martin, whom he directed in Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and Bringing Down the House. He also helped organize the 82nd Academy Awards which Martin hosted.)

Writers – Nicholas Sparks (novel) – (Known For: The Notebook; Future BMT: The Last Song; Nights in Rodanthe; Message in a Bottle; Dear John; The Lucky One; The Best of Me; BMT: The Choice; Safe Haven; A Walk to Remember; Notes: Apparently he still holds a Track and Field record at Notre Dame. He tends to write Christian-themed romance novels centered around tragedy.)

Karen Janszen (screenplay) – (Known For: Dolphin Tale; Dolphin Tale 2; The MatchMaker; Gracie; Digging to China; Duma; Future BMT: Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home; BMT: A Walk to Remember; Notes: Created the recent television show Mars.)

Actors – Mandy Moore – (Known For: Midway; Tangled; Ralph Breaks the Internet; The Princess Diaries; 47 Meters Down; Saved!; Dr. Dolittle 2; Romance & Cigarettes; Dedication; Future BMT: Southland Tales; Love, Wedding, Marriage; Racing Stripes; American Dreamz; Swinging with the Finkels; How to Deal; Chasing Liberty; Try Seventeen; Hotel Noir; BMT: License to Wed; Because I Said So; The Darkest Minds; A Walk to Remember; Notes: Was already a famous singer by the time this movie came out. Played herself on a season-long arc on Entourage as well.)

Shane West – (Known For: Get Over It; Awakening the Zodiac; Here Alone; Liberty Heights; What We Do Is Secret; Future BMT: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Whatever It Takes; Echelon Conspiracy; The Lodger; BMT: Dracula 2001; A Walk to Remember; Notes: Is in a band called Jonny Was (which was Average Jo when this film came out, they have a song on the soundtrack). Played Bane on the television show Gotham.)

Peter Coyote – (Known For: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial; Erin Brockovich; Bitter Moon; Femme Fatale; Good Kill; The Legend of Billie Jean; Southern Comfort; Jagged Edge; Cross Creek; Outrageous Fortune; Kika; Resurrecting the Champ; The Hebrew Hammer; Northfork; Heartbreakers; Bon voyage; Suddenly Naked; Here; La rançon de la gloire; Future BMT: Sphere; Moonlight and Valentino; Unforgettable; A Little Trip to Heaven; Patch Adams; BMT: Random Hearts; A Walk to Remember; Notes: Changed his name to Coyote because he took drugs once, hallucinated that he was a coyote, and then saw a coyote later and someone convinced him it was a sign. That is straight from his Wikipedia page.)

Budget/Gross – $11,800,000 / Domestic: $41,281,092 (Worldwide: $47,494,916)

(That is a decent hit. Honestly I’m a bit surprised it is that low. I would have expected a bit more from the movie that I think obviously kicked off the Sparks craze.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (28/103): Though wholesome, the Mandy Moore vehicle A Walk to Remember is also bland and oppressively syrupy.

(Sounds about right, that is certainly part of why I’ve never seen the film. Comes across as syrupy sweet. Reviewer Highlight: Just because A Walk to Remember is shrewd enough to activate girlish tear ducts doesn’t mean it’s good enough for our girls. – Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – A Sklog to Remember (B)

walk_to_remember

(You have to admit that this is effective. If people are looking for some romance in their lives then this seems like a solid advertising scheme, with some soft colors and love in the air. Hate the font though. That would have helped immensely.)

Tagline(s) – She didn’t belong. She was misunderstood. And she would change him forever. (B)

It all comes down to who’s by your side (D)

(The first has the elements you want but just doesn’t get there in a reasonable amount of time. It’s nice though so it still gets a good score. The second one is a little confusing. First, why does the poster need two taglines? Second, what does this have to do with this movie? Third, this is a simple statement without even a sense of cleverness. It’s bad.)

Keyword – high school girl

AWalktoRemember_high school girl

Top 10: Lady Bird (2017), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Mean Girls (2004), The Breakfast Club (1985), Superbad (2007), Old School (2003), The Craft (1996), A Walk to Remember (2002), Never been Kissed (1999); 

Future BMT: 33.2 Drive Me Crazy (1999); 

BMT: A Walk to Remember (2002), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), The Gallows (2015)

(This has inspired me to update this section to take on multiple keywords. Like I want to just lump in all of the keywords to give the impression of “high school teen rom dram” you know? And probably do something like take the top 200-300 only so that it is a bit more manageable to generate. Makes me excited. EDITOR’s NOTE: Box Office Mojo appears to be blocking me from getting information, which is their prerogative. But I should be able to update this section to focus on the notability anyways, so I’m ultimately fine with it. Stay tuned)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Mandy Moore is No. 1 billed in A Walk to Remember and No. 2 billed in Because I Said So, which also stars Diane Keaton (No. 1 billed) who is in The Big Wedding (No. 2 billed), which also stars Robert De Niro (No. 1 billed) who is in Righteous Kill (No. 1 billed), which also stars Al Pacino (No. 4 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 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 = 17. If we were to watch Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – This movie was filmed in only thirty-nine days, despite the fact that they only had Mandy Moore for ten hours a day because she was still a minor. (Wow, that is actually impressive)

Shane West loved the car he had in the movie so much that he actually bought the car; the price was only $5,000. (Nice, that’s cool)

Much of the movie’s soundtrack includes music from the band Switchfoot, who, at the time, were really only recognized in their native San Diego and in Contemporary Christian music circles. Mandy Moore was a huge fan of the band and had a great deal of influence in their participation on the film. When they were approached to do the film, however, the members really had no idea who Moore was and were not familiar with her music (despite her status as a pop star with several hits on the charts). Once they came on board, they contributed four existing tracks to the soundtrack. In addition, lead singer Jon Foreman recorded a duet with Mandy Moore, “Someday We’ll Know.” Moore also sings a version of the Switchfoot song “Only Hope” during the play in the film. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat??)

The inspiration for Jamie Sullivan’s character and some of the events in the book/movie are from Nicholas Sparks’ sister, Danielle Sparks Lewis (whom the book and movie are dedicated to).

The pictures of Jamie, on the mantle of the fireplace in the Sullivan house, are real pictures of Mandy Moore when she was a little girl.

The movie was shot in North Carolina; many of the sets were from the TV show Dawson’s Creek (1998), particularly the school, the hospital and Landon’s home. (NOICE)

The second film adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, and the first to be rated PG.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Preview

Rich and Poe glide down the mountainside away from the smoldering ruins of the Wicker Man. The wind is in their hair and they feel as free as a couple of birds (you know, if birds had washboard abs and slammed Mountain Dew to the extreme). Distracted by the wonders of flight, they fly a little too close to the edge of a cliff and suddenly a minotaur is upon them, thrusting a spear through the wing of their beloved hanglider. Only through their poly extreme athletic skillz are they able to master their damaged craft and steer it directly into a tree growing out of the side of the cliff. Rich laments the appearance of the minotaur, clearly sent by their tournament foes in an attempt to stop them. Their zen oneness with the air prevented them from counteracting such an obvious trap. “We were playing by the rulez, bro,” he says to Poe, “we gotta remember that rulez aren’t coolz in this universe and not everyone is gonna play by them.” But Poe isn’t listening. A man has appeared just above the crag on which they’re trapped. Perchance this man could lower a rope and help them out of this jam. Maybe he even knows about the tournament and where the well worn path Nic Cage mentioned is at. Suddenly the man emerges further from the bushes and Poe’s heart sinks. While the top half is a man, the bottom half is a horse. These -taurs are going to be the death of them… literally. For at that very moment the centaur pulls out a chainsaw and revs the engine before starting in on the base of the tree they are sitting in. “This is going to be a massacre,” Rich says forlornly. That’s right! We’re hopping right back into that Texas Chainsaw Massacre saddle and watching the 2003 remake of the film along with the 2006 prequel that followed. These are often grouped together not just because the actor portraying Leatherface is the same, but BMT fav Michael Bay produced. I’m always down for some Bay action. Let’s go!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006) – BMeTric: 39.2; Notability: 37 

TheTexasChainsawMassacreTheBeginningIMDb_BMeT

TheTexasChainsawMassacreTheBeginningIMDb_RV

(This is held basically stock still over time. I still find it somewhat insane that this one is nearly over 6.0 as well. This film got absolutely ruined by critics. In this case I am fairly convinced the relatively high IMDb score is because of the gore. It is just one of those underserved markets.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  When the ideas for endless sequels wear out, bring on the prequels! This one creates a backstory for the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface, set in the 1970s. Two teen brothers and their girlfriends go on a final fling before shipping off to Vietnam, get caught up in the infamous house of horrors and face-lifts after a car accident brings them to the attention of the evil local sheriff. There is nothing to suggest the ‘70s period; it’s all about graphic violence. This is one “beginning” whose ending can’t come quickly enough.

(Now that I’ve automated the review section off of RogerEbert.com it is more rare to get the OG Leonard’s take on film. RogerEbert.com though didn’t see this film. We got semicolons and Leonard’s usual disdain for horror films. So check and check. He only liked the original, and partly because it isn’t nearly as violent as it is reported to be.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OKXd2j6Fmo/

(I was kind of okay with this right up until Amazing Grace started playing. Then it started to feel like a cynical cash grab.)

Directors – Jonathan Liebesman – (Known For: The Killing Room; Future BMT: Darkness Falls; Wrath of the Titans; BMT: Battle Los Angeles; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 2015; Notes: Born in South Africa he apparently got the notice of producer Michael Bay because of his short film Rings which connected the first two American Ring films.)

Writers – Sheldon Turner (screenplay & story) – (Known For: X: First Class; Up in the Air; Future BMT: The Longest Yard; BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Up in the Air.)

David J. Schow (story) – (Known For: The Crow; Future BMT: Critters 3; BMT: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; Notes: He allegedly came up with the term stalk-and-slash to describe the emerging horror genre that would later be referred to as “slasher” films in 1977.)

Actors – Jordana Brewster – (Known For: Fast & Furious 7; Furious 6; Fast & Furious 5; The Faculty; Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!; Nearing Grace; Future BMT: American Heist; D.E.B.S.; Home Sweet Hell; Annapolis; The Invisible Circus; BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; Fast & Furious; The Fast and the Furious; Notes: )

Matt Bomer – (Known For: The Nice Guys; The Magnificent Seven; Magic Mike; Magic Mike XXL; Walking Out; Papi Chulo; Duplicate; Space Station 76; Anything; Future BMT: Flightplan; In Time; BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; A New York Winter’s Tale; Notes: )

Diora Baird – (Known For: Star Trek; Wedding Crashers; Hot Tub Time Machine; Transit; Future BMT: Stan Helsing; Night of the Demons; My Best Friend’s Girl; Young People Fucking; Accepted; BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; Notes: )

Budget/Gross – $16,000,000 / Domestic: $39,517,763 (Worldwide: $51,764,406)

(Ah that makes sense. It was such a let down from the original they basically decided to reboot it instead of trying to salvage it. That is still a healthy profit, but considering how much the original made it killed the franchise.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 13% (11/85): The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning is full of blood and gore, but not enough scares or a coherent story to make for a successful horror film.

(If you read just the big reviewers the consensus seems to be: remember how some of us thought the last one was sadistic? Well, now all of think it is sadistic. Reviewer Highlight: Attention sadists: Demand more from your gorefests than this pro forma return to the well. Has mass murder ever been this dull? – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Sticks & Stones Origins: The Beginning (B+)

texas_chainsaw_massacre_the_beginning

(Gotta say, still digging it. Artistic and dark… still, not really telling a story. I mean, he looks all grown up in the poster. I’m looking for a little baby Leatherface.)

Tagline(s) – Witness The Birth Of Fear (A)

(This is good. The more I read it the more I like it actually. Birth of fear is a nice turn of phrase and packs a wallop in a small package. It’s quite good.)

Keyword – extreme violence

TheTexasChainsawMassacreTheBeginning_extreme violence

Top 10: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019), Hellboy (2019), Rambo: Last Blood (2019), Goodfellas (1990), The Hateful Eight (2015), Logan (2017), Drive (2011), True Romance (1993), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Casino (1995); 

Future BMT: 66.7 Halloween II (2009), 60.0 Pet Sematary II (1992), 52.8 The Green Inferno (2013), 46.7 Saw 3D (2010), 44.6 Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992), 40.1 Gothika (2003), 34.2 Hell Fest (2018), 30.5 Marked for Death (1990), 30.2 Halloween (2007), 29.6 House of 1000 Corpses (2003); 

BMT: Hellboy (2019), Rambo: Last Blood (2019), Rambo (2008), Gangster Squad (2013), Silent Hill (2006), Cobra (1986), Ghosts of Mars (2001), RoboCop 2 (1990), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), Punisher: War Zone (2008)

(Let’s see. Most of those, weirdly, I don’t completely hate. I don’t really like excessive violence, but most of what we’ve watched it like amusing 80s versions of excessive violence which I’m apparently fine with. This has definitely become more popular recently with things like John Wick and Logan, both of which I also quite liked.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jordana Brewster is No. 1 billed in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and No. 4 billed in Fast and Furious, which also stars Vin Diesel (No. 1 billed) who is in Babylon A. D. (No. 1 billed), which also stars Michelle Yeoh (No. 2 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 4 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) => 1 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 20. If we were to watch Chasing Mavericks, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 19.

Notes – During filming, R. Lee Ermey was called away to his mother’s death bed. For the remainder of the time, filming was done around his character.

When Eric gets his face wrapped in cellophane by Sheriff Hoyt that’s actually real, Matt Bomer’s head was actually being wrapped in Saran Wrap, R. Lee Ermey said he was very concerned for him. They left a small gap opening at the bottom of Matt’s chin for him to breathe but that didn’t help much, so when ever he was having trouble breathing he would indicate by knocking his knees together

The cow that gets hit by the jeep was made of fiberglass and filled with blood, fake entrails and fake bones then screwed together. (Huh, that’s cool to know)

Producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller decided not to make a sequel to the 2003 movie. But the fans kept coming to them, asking how the family got that way and wanting to know several unanswered questions in the 2003 version (some of them include how Monty lost both of his legs, to how Sheriff Hoyt lost his front teeth, and how Leatherface got his nickname). And after a meeting with Michael Bay, they let Sheldon Turner write the script for a prequel and they were prepared to make it. (Stupid fans, no one should want to know these things!)

Jordana Brewster initially got made fun of for the way she ran during filming scenes in which her character Chrissie had to run. (YES! I love weird running)

Jordana Brewster said while filming with future husband Andrew Form ‘Everyday Andrew wore these work boots to the set, and if I was lying down in the shot or there was equipment in the way, I’d look for his shoes. It was comfortable just to know he was nearby.’ They married in 2007.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Prequel or Sequel (2007)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) Preview

Rich and Poe glide down the mountainside away from the smoldering ruins of the Wicker Man. The wind is in their hair and they feel as free as a couple of birds (you know, if birds had washboard abs and slammed Mountain Dew to the extreme). Distracted by the wonders of flight, they fly a little too close to the edge of a cliff and suddenly a minotaur is upon them, thrusting a spear through the wing of their beloved hanglider. Only through their poly extreme athletic skillz are they able to master their damaged craft and steer it directly into a tree growing out of the side of the cliff. Rich laments the appearance of the minotaur, clearly sent by their tournament foes in an attempt to stop them. Their zen oneness with the air prevented them from counteracting such an obvious trap. “We were playing by the rulez, bro,” he says to Poe, “we gotta remember that rulez aren’t coolz in this universe and not everyone is gonna play by them.” But Poe isn’t listening. A man has appeared just above the crag on which they’re trapped. Perchance this man could lower a rope and help them out of this jam. Maybe he even knows about the tournament and where the well worn path Nic Cage mentioned is at. Suddenly the man emerges further from the bushes and Poe’s heart sinks. While the top half is a man, the bottom half is a horse. These -taurs are going to be the death of them… literally. For at that very moment the centaur pulls out a chainsaw and revs the engine before starting in on the base of the tree they are sitting in. “This is going to be a massacre,” Rich says forlornly. That’s right! We’re hopping right back into that Texas Chainsaw Massacre saddle and watching the 2003 remake of the film along with the 2006 prequel that followed. These are often grouped together not just because the actor portraying Leatherface is the same, but BMT fav Michael Bay produced. I’m always down for some Bay action. Let’s go!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) – BMeTric: 27.3; Notability: 32 

TheTexasChainsawMassacreIMDb_BMeT

TheTexasChainsawMassacreIMDb_RV

(I think this, weirdly, hits just the right spot for a bad horror film. Usually horror fans are very down on horror done poorly. But then there does seem to be a contingent of fans that are all about the gore. And from what I can tell this film is all about that gore, so maybe it makes sense that it crept up to above 6.0. Also the film is not really that bad, it barely qualifies, so there is that as well.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.0 stars – The new version of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is a contemptible film: Vile, ugly and brutal. There is not a shred of a reason to see it. Those who defend it will have to dance through mental hoops of their own devising, defining its meanness and despair as “style” or “vision” or “a commentary on our world.” It is not a commentary on anything, except the marriage of slick technology with the materials of a geek show.

(Oh shiiiiiiit. I actually can’t remember the last time we hit a full thumbs down from RogerEbert.com. This sounds like I’m going to hate this film. Gore-based horror is by least favorite of the genre.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dg3LWY70rvw/

(Man back in the day “from producer Michael Bay” actually meant something. I have to admit though, the end of the that trailer is banging. If I didn’t know it wasn’t very good I would think that was a pretty good way to reenvision the series.)

Directors – Marcus Nispel – (BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Pathfinder; Friday the 13th; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: We did it! We completed his filmography! He’s basically stopped working, although I’m going to guess he’ll pop up at some point when Arnold Schwarzeneggar does some small time film as they are apparently friends.)

Writers – Kim Henkel (1974 screenplay) – (Known For: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre; Future BMT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Texas Chainsaw 3D; Leatherface; Death Trap; BMT: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: As mentioned in the previous installments he is a professor in Texas at the moment. He seems to still produce / write randomly, although only once or twice since 1995.)

Tobe Hooper (1974 screenplay) – (Known For: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2; Future BMT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Texas Chainsaw 3D; The Mangler; Leatherface; BMT: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: Apparently had a small cameo in the second film as a man in a hotel corridor.)

Scott Kosar (screenplay) – (Known For: The Machinist; The Crazies; Future BMT: The Amityville Horror; BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: He was the producer for The Haunting of Hill House for Netflix which is supposed to be quite good. Also wrote a few episodes of The Bates Motel.)

Actors – Jessica Biel – (Known For: The A-Team; The Illusionist; The Rules of Attraction; Hitchcock; Cellular; The Tall Man; Easy Virtue; Ulee’s Gold; Future BMT: Accidental Love; Blade: Trinity; A Kind of Murder; I’ll Be Home for Christmas; Home of the Brave; Planet 51; Next; Total Recall; The Truth About Emanuel; Elizabethtown; Powder Blue; Spark; The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea; Shock and Awe; London; BMT: Stealth; Summer Catch; Valentine’s Day; New Year’s Eve; Playing for Keeps; I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 2008 for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, and Next; and in 2013 for Playing for Keeps, and Total Recall; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry in 2008; Notes: Starred in the television show Limetown which is the second television show I know of based on a podcast (the other being Homecoming). It is not supposed to be very good.)

Jonathan Tucker – (Known For: Charlie’s Angels; The Next Three Days; Sleepers; The Virgin Suicides; Sweet Virginia; 100 Girls; The Ruins; In the Valley of Elah; The Deep End; Criminal; Bee Season; An Englishman in New York; Future BMT: Pulse; Stolen Hearts; Hostage; As Blood Runs Deep; Stateside; BMT: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: Performed in The Nutcracker for the Boston Ballet as a third grader. That’s a big production that involves a lot of kids … so somehow both impressive and not impressive at the same time.)

Andrew Bryniarski – (Known For: Batman Returns; Any Given Sunday; Higher Learning; Mother’s Day; The Program; Sky; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Scooby-Doo; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; Pearl Harbor; Necessary Roughness; BMT: Rollerball; Hudson Hawk; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: Naturally he is a former bodybuilder and trained professional wrestler. That’s about all you need to be Leatherface honestly. Was Zangief in Street Fighter.)

Budget/Gross – $9,500,000 / Domestic: $80,571,655 (Worldwide: $107,362,708)

(A huge success. No wonder it got a sequel. How badly must the second have done for them to cut the cord I wonder.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 37% (57/156): An unnecessary remake that’s more gory and less scary than the original.

(That is actually a lot better than I would have expected given Ebert’s review. A lot of people seem to like it as a gorey B-movie basically. Reviewer Highlight: Weakens, dilutes, disinfects and otherwise undermines the legacy of Tobe Hooper’s 1974 original. – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – True Story, Bro (A-)

texas_chainsaw_massacre

(This is actually good. Artistic and dark for a horror film and gives the sense of leather for Leatherface. Unique font. Doesn’t exactly tell a story but good enough.)

Tagline(s) – Inspired by a True Story (F)

(What the fuck… seriously, how is this the tagline to the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Is it a meta joke that it’s based on the true story of the film Texas Chainsaw Massacre? I’m confused and unhappy.)

Keyword – horror icon

TheTexasChainsawMassacre_horror icon

Top 10: It Chapter Two (2019), It (2017), Aliens (1986), The Cabin in the Woods (2011), The Terminator (1984), Annabelle Comes Home (2019), The Conjuring (2013), The Ring (2002), The Predator (2018), Scream (1996); 

Future BMT: 80.8 Halloween: Resurrection (2002), 74.0 Psycho (1998), 69.0 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), 65.5 Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), 65.0 Seed of Chucky (2004), 63.0 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 60.6 A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), 60.5 The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999), 58.6 Child’s Play 3 (1991), 56.9 A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989); 

BMT: The Predator (2018), The Nun (2018), Friday the 13th (2009), Predator 2 (1990), Jaws 3-D (1983), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Friday the 13th: Part 2 (1981), Friday the 13th: Part III (1982), Jason X (2001), Rings (2017), Jaws: The Revenge (1987), The Ring 2 (2005), AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem (2007), Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

(Awwwww snap, we’ve seen so many! Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play are the big ones left obviously.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jessica Biel is No. 1 billed in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and No. 2 billed in Valentine’s Day, which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 1 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) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 13. If we were to watch Next we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – A then-unknown John Larroquette provided the narration in the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). Despite becoming a distinguished actor in the years since, he happily agreed to reprise his role for the remake.

After learning about the remake, Andrew Bryniarski (Leatherface) went up to producer Michael Bay at a Christmas party and personally asked him for the role.

On his final day of shooting, Eric Balfour stripped down, threw his wardrobe back to the crew, and walked off the set only wearing a baseball cap. (weird!)

There’s a homage to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) regarding each film’s leading ladies Erin (2003) and Sally (original). In the remake, Erin pulls out a knife to pick a lock. When asked where she got it from, she replies “from my brother.” In the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Sally’s brother Franklin is obsessed with his knife, and at one point in the film gives it to Sally. She never returns it. (I kind of like that)

In the original script, the character Jedidiah was going to wear a Felix the Cat T-shirt throughout the movie. This was later scrapped because the copyright holders of Felix the Cat wouldn’t allow it. However, the novelization of the movie features the character wearing the shirt. Also, Jedidiah was going to be killed by Leatherface by slicing his chainsaw through his back because he let Erin and Morgan go. This was later scrapped because the filmmakers thought it was too intense. (I love novelization facts)

The only time we actually get to see Leatherface’s “real” face.

To prepare for his role as Leatherface, Andrew Bryniarski ate a diet of brisket and white bread in order to get his weight to nearly 300 pounds.

Dolph Lundgren was first considered to play Leatherface, but he turned them down so he could spend more time with his family. (What a bizarre choice that would have been)

The severed head of Harry Jay Knowles from Ain’t It Cool News can be seen in the basement of Leatherface’s house. (Huh?)

To avoid an NC-17 rating in the USA, the more graphic shots of Morgan’s death were cut. The original version of the scene featured the shot of the chainsaw slicing into his crotch and then having intestines and blood falling out of him. The cut version cuts away when the chainsaw is about to cut him and totally cuts out the intestines falling from his body. The hitchhiker death scene was also cut severely. The original scene has her ear flying off of her head and blood and brain matter being more dark in color and more in amount flying out of her head. Jedidiah was originally supposed to be killed by Leatherface for helping Erin and Morgan escape, but the scene was scrapped for being “too intense”. (gross!)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (2004)