The Specialist Preview

“Welcome to Hell,” Santa says as his sleigh settles down in front of Rich and Poe. His well oiled muscles are fresh from destroying another horrific monster in this fantasy realm. Bathed in blood he nods cheerfully at Kilgorn, recognizing a kindred spirit. “Ho ho ho,” Santa laughs, his abs jiggling like a bowlful of rock hard jelly, “and what would you boys like for Christmas?” Just as Rich is about to tell Santa about their quest, Poe jumps in eagerly to ask for the latest Jim Nasium Jones action figure that has all the special add-ons, like the rocket pack and complete frolf set. “It’s really cool beans,” Poe gushes. Santa winks and out of thin air appears that most exclusive action figure. “Woah,” Poe says and honestly Rich can’t blame him, even if it did totally bone their quest to save Nic. Jim Nasium Jones is rad. Just as Santa is about to fly away, another satisfied customer in his wake, Rich calls out for him to wait. Santa turns a menacing eye on Rich, “Really? Another wish?” The rat-bat squeaks in fear and flies away. “You know the price. You must fulfill a wish of mine as well… if you dare. Ho ho ho.” His tone is menacing. “Yes,” Rich affirms, his voice cracking, “take us to Nic Cage.” Santa smirks and pops his knuckles. “Gladly, my boys,” Santa says in a suspicious, jolly tone, “But on one condition.” Rich and Poe lick their lips waiting for the other shoe to drop. “Just get me close enough to tell him something,” Rich and Poe look at each other. Just to say something to him? Seems harmless enough. They nod in agreement. “One very, very special thing,” Santa completes and begins to scream in maniacal laughter. That’s right! We are finishing 2020 with an extra special Stallonian Calendar Leap Week! Some very special years are blessed with 53 thursdays. In those years we get an extra week outside the cycles and BMT Lives to do what we wish and boy howdy do we wish upon a star for a new Sly Stallone movie. This year we gather under the traditional Stallone Day hanging slab of meat to watch The Specialist. Let’s go!   

The Specialist (1994) – BMeTric: 45.9; Notability: 42 

(Actually a lot lower Notability than I would have thought. It is a Sly Stallone film from 1994 involving, presumably, a lot of stunts and pyrotechnics. I wonder if given Sly’s undoubtedly absurd salary at the time they had to skimp on some of the crew to meet the production’s budget … could be. The rating is getting mighty close to a genuine cult classic. It it ever hits 6.0 on IMDb it would have to be one of the highest rated sub-10% Rotten Tomatoes films ever.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Rod Steiger, as the mob patriarch, employs an accent that requires him to say “chew” when he means “you.” Roberts, as his son, is real slick with chicks (“What I want, I take” is his opener with Stone). And the movie includes a dandy example of the Aquarium Rule, which teaches that whenever a large aquarium is introduced into a crime movie, we will eventually see a character’s head sleeping with the fishes.

(He actually seemed to like the film more than a lot of critics at the time. This is right around the time that I think Ebert started softening on “good for what they are” action in particular, and I think the very forgiving 2 star review is evidence of that.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqTrjDsEg4g/

(I mean, yeah. I’m down. Mid-90s Stallone flicks are at least entertaining if not always good. They do a nice tease of how much Woods chews at the scenery as well.)

Directors – Luis Llosa – (Future BMT: Sniper; BMT: Anaconda; The Specialist; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Anaconda in 1998; Notes: Born in Peru, he made multiple films set in the Amazon jungle culminating in Anaconda. Since 1996 he’s mostly been a producer on Peruvian soap operas.)

Writers – John Shirley (Specialist novels) (suggestion) – (Known For: The Crow; BMT: The Specialist; Notes: The series was a pulpy book series about the assassin Jack Sullivan. It was published under the pseudonym John Cutter, and Shirley, after becoming a famous novelist, disowned the series as garbage written for quick cash. Also wrote multiple full albums for Blue Öyster Cult and was a writer on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon which won an Emmy.)

Alexandra Seros (written by) – (Known For: Point of No Return; BMT: The Specialist; Notes: While only credited on these two films she seems to maybe be involved with the UCLA film school and is still (maybe) listed as a screenwriter on LinkedIn, so it is possible she has been doing mostly behind the scenes writing for the last 20 years.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Rocky; Cliffhanger; Creed II; The Expendables; First Blood; Creed; Rocky III; Escape Plan; The Expendables 2; Rocky Balboa; Rocky II; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Antz; Cop Land; Escape to Victory; Death Race 2000; Bullet to the Head; Animal Crackers; Future BMT: Escape Plan II; Escape Plan 3; Staying Alive; Rocky V; D-Tox; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Backtrace; Avenging Angelo; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Oscar; Rocky IV; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Driven; Zookeeper; Rhinestone; Get Carter; Judge Dredd; The Specialist; Rambo III; Cobra; Over the Top; Daylight; The Expendables 3; Rambo: Last Blood; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Demolition Man; Rambo; 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 for Cobra, Cobra, Lock Up, Lock Up, Over the Top, Over the Top, Rambo III, Rambo III, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rhinestone, Rocky IV, and Tango & Cash; 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; in 2002 for Driven; and in 2020 for Rambo: Last Blood; 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; in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; and in 2020 for Rambo: Last Blood; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Rambo: Last Blood in 2020; Notes: Y’all know Sylvester. Most of the recent news for him is about how he just bought a $35 million house in Florida. Good for him I guess.)

Sharon Stone – (Known For: Basic Instinct; Total Recall; Casino; The Disaster Artist; The Laundromat; The Quick and the Dead; Alpha Dog; Lovelace; Antz; Broken Flowers; Above the Law; Bobby; The Mighty; Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold; Stardust Memories; Irreconcilable Differences; Fading Gigolo; The Muse; Les uns et les autres; Beautiful Joe; Future BMT: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol; Sliver; Cold Creek Manor; King Solomon’s Mines; Diabolique; Simpatico; Action Jackson; Intersection; Gloria; Life on the Line; Sphere; Mothers and Daughters; He Said, She Said; Deadly Blessing; Last Dance; Last Action Hero; Year of the Gun; Jiminy Glick in Lalawood; A Warrior’s Tail; A Little Something for Your Birthday; BMT: Catwoman; Basic Instinct 2; The Specialist; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 1995 for Intersection, and The Specialist; and in 2007 for Basic Instinct 2; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Nominee for Worst Actress in 1988 for Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold; in 1994 for Sliver; and in 2000 for Gloria; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Catwoman in 2005; and Nominee for Worst New Star in 1997 for Diabolique, and Last Dance; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Casino. She appeared nude in Playboy in 1990 which is somewhat credited for getting her the role in Basic Instinct which would propel her to stardom. Still works a ton, just more sporadically on both television and film.)

James Woods – (Known For: Once Upon a Time in America; Casino; Hercules; Contact; The Virgin Suicides; White House Down; Any Given Sunday; Chaplin; Videodrome; Against All Odds; John Carpenter’s Vampires; The Way We Were; Surf’s Up; Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within; Straw Dogs; Stuart Little 2; Riding in Cars with Boys; Nixon; True Crime; Salvador; Future BMT: Big Fat Important Movie; Scary Movie 2; Play It to the Bone; The Getaway; The General’s Daughter; Kicked in the Head; Jamesy Boy; Pretty Persuasion; Bling; John Q; BMT: The Specialist; Be Cool; Jobs; Notes: Notably went to MIT and dropped out in his sophomore year to pursue acting. Nominated for Oscars for Ghosts of Mississippi and Salvador. Also notably a Hollywood conservative.)

Budget/Gross – $45,000,000 / Domestic: $57,362,582 (Worldwide: $170,362,582)

(That seems like a modest success to me. This probably didn’t end up leading to a sequel because of how poorly it was received critically.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (2/29)

(Wowza! That is absurdly low! Let’s make a consensus: A dmb story involving dumb people saying dumb things. That about sums that up. Reviewer Highlight: Llosa relies on stock action shots and tedious exposition to get from scene to scene. You keep waiting for something — anything — neat to happen, but nothing does. – Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle)

Poster – The Sklogalist

(I should have been keeping track of the posters we’ve seen where the star(s) appear multiple times. It tickles me that there is double stallone on this. So much is wrong with this but daaaannnngg, that’s some unique font… I believe they are going for a digital look based on The Specialist’s brand of time bombs. Or maybe not. I honestly can’t tell, but I very much appreciate the effort. C-.)

Tagline(s) – The government taught him to kill. Now he’s using his skills to help a woman seek revenge against the Miami underworld. (F)

(No. Stop. I didn’t even read it. Who would read this enormous tagline? Fine, I’ll read it… did a child write this? That might be the worst tagline in history.)

Keyword – time bomb

Top 10: Tenet (2020), Die Hard (1988), Inception (2010), The Dark Knight (2008), Justice League (2017), Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995), Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017), Spectre (2015), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), The Fifth Element (1997)

Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 63.9 Underdog (2007), 62.5 Big Fat Important Movie (2008), 56.9 Suburban Commando (1991), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.3 Son of the Pink Panther (1993), 47.7 Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995), 46.6 Solo (1996), 46.3 Machete Kills (2013), 44.4 Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990);

BMT: Armageddon (1998), Sucker Punch (2011), Batman Forever (1995), The Expendables 3 (2014), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), Point Break (2015), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Movie 43 (2013), Godzilla (1998), Tango & Cash (1989), The Specialist (1994), Rambo III (1988), Killers (2010), Abduction (2011), Soldier (1998), Hudson Hawk (1991), Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997), The Lawnmower Man (1992), Spice World (1997), Torque (2004), I Spy (2002), RoboCop 3 (1993), Fair Game (1995), On Deadly Ground (1994), Double Team (1997), Alone in the Dark (2005), Bad Company (2002), Universal Soldier: The Return (1999), Extreme Ops (2002)

(If you squint you might be able to get the impression that time bombs were a purely 90s thing. Like dumb 90s films love time bombs and that love just grew and grew. And now? Not so much. We are over time bombs now … I could actually believe that. As far as films with time bombs I hope to watch soon, look no further than Under Siege 2.)

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 The Specialist 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 – Sylvester Stallone had this to say on filming the shower scene with Sharon Stone:”OK. Let it be known, I didn’t want to do this scene because Sharon was not cooperating. We get to the set and she decides not to take her robe off. The director asks only a few of the crew to remain, and she still won’t take it off. I promised her I wouldn’t take any liberties, so what’s the problem? She said, ‘I’m just sick of nudity.’ I asked her if she could get sick of it on someone else’s film. She was having none of it, so I went down to my trailer, brought back a bottle of Black Death vodka that was given to me by Michael Douglas and after half-a-dozen shots we were wet and wild.” (Oh, that sounds awful Sly)

Sharon Stone was 36 when this movie was filmed, although her character was supposed to be in her early twenties.

Eric Roberts is only two years older than Sharon Stone. In the film his character was supposed to have killed her parents when she was a child. (haha)

Sylvester Stallone demanded for some of James Woods’s scenes to be cut out of the movie and for some of his scenes to be re-shot in order for Stallone to have more screen time. The reason for that was because Stallone was worried that Woods would “steal” the movie away. Stallone allegedly also cut out some Rutger Hauer’s scenes from Nighthawks (1981) for same reasons.

David Fincher was set to direct this at one stage. Sylvester Stallone liked Fincher but he was overruled by the producers, because Fincher’s career was still in deep freeze after the failure of Alien³ (1992) and wasn’t revived until the massive success of Seven (1995).

Ray Quick’s cat was named “Timer”. The cat who portrayed Timer (a Maine Coon) is also seen in Assassins as Pearl.

The producers got Sylvester Stallone to do the movie by threatening to replace him with Warren Beatty if he didn’t commit himself to the project within a fifteen-minute deadline.

In January, 1993 the Los Angeles Times listed The Specialist as the best unproduced thriller script in Hollywood, based on a poll of forty agents, producers and studio executives. (Interesting, an early blacklist thing)

“Turn the Beat Around”, covered by Gloria Estefan for this film, remains one of her highest selling singles.

Mario Van Peebles was attached to direct the movie in 1991, but left.

The music for this movie was written by John Barry who is more known for doing the music for the James Bond movies that starred Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton.

When Sylvester Stallone enters his computer to activate the massive explosion of his home near end of film, the password he uses is “Top of the world, Ma.” This is a slight paraphrase of Jimmy Cagney’s last line in White Heat (1949), just before Cagney shoots into the large gas storage unit he’s standing on, causing massive explosions. (“Made it, Ma. Top of the world!”)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sharon Stone, 1995)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Jerry Weintraub, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1995)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Rod Steiger, 1995)

Jingle All the Way Preview

As night closes around then, Rich and Poe hearts pound in fear. That strange, portentous book has spooked them and they no longer know what horrors await. Suddenly they feel very tired and homesick and shiver sadly in the gloom. They tense up when they hear a rustling in the woods. “Hello,” they call, peering into the darkness hoping that it was just the wind. Suddenly a monstrous rat-bat comes flying out of the trees! Egad! The horror! Woe is Rich and Poe, champions of the universe, who will be done in by this ghastly beast. Nic Cage will die and the prophecy will go unfulfilled. But instead of slaying them with its talons, the rat-bat instead screams  “Kout!” in a goofy, friendly voice as it flies down and kills a bush viper ready to strike and kill them. “Pissah of a snake, this one, ayuh,” it says as it perches in a tree above, “You boys lost yah cah or something?” It goggles its big disgusting eyes at Rich and Poe and snacks on mouthfuls of snake before a look of recognition crosses its rat-bat face, “Well, I’ll be. So the squirrels were right. You them boys gonna save the nuts or whatevah. Wicked cool. But what’re you doing out here in bush viper country? You’re going the wrong way, ayuh.” At the rat-bats words Rich and Poe deflate. Nic’s life hangs in the balance. They ask politely if the rat-bat could carry them in his horrifying claws and fly them to Nic, but the rat-bat lifts up his talons, dripping with fresh blood, and laughs, “these fellahs’ll rip yah to shreds, ayuh. No… I think I have something a little bettah.” And with that he winks and lets out a shrill whistle. Suddenly they hear a jingle jangle. That’s right! As a celebration of the end of 2020 we are doing a special live BMT Christmas spectacular. We thought maybe a Rocky marathon at first, but we realized only one BMT Christmas film would do. It’s Ahnold time. Jingle Jangle All the Way here we come. Let’s go!   

Jingle All The Way (1996) – BMeTric: 47.0; Notability: 73 

(The IMDb rating is shockingly low early on. I would have thought it would be higher since it always feels like Jingle All the Way has some cult following among people who were 10 in 1996. The Notability is amazingly high! I love it.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – “Jingle All the Way” was inspired, I suspect, by that panic a few years ago when stores ran out of Cabbage Patch dolls. As the movie opens, little Jamie Langston is watching the TurboMan show on TV, and of course he wants the TurboMan action figure for Christmas, complete with all its accessories. Jamie’s dad, Howard (Arnold Schwarzenegger), is a busy businessman, who says he has already purchased the toy–but lies. His adventures while trying to find a TurboMan provide the movie’s plot. …I liked a lot of the movie, which is genial and has a lot of energy, but I was sort of depressed by its relentlessly materialistic view of Christmas, and by the choice to go with action and (mild) violence over dialogue and plot. Audiences will like it, I am sure, but I have to raise my hand in reluctant dissent and ask, please, sir, may we have some more goodwill among men? Even TurboMen?

(Oh don’t worry Ebert, literally every single reviewer hated this film. So there is no need to bravely stand alone against Jingle All the Way and its materialistic message. It is possible that Ebert gave it the best review out of any major critic, 2.5 out of 4 stars is pretty solid.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuPc9QJcGJs/

(This actually looks really fun as a trailer. It is a very obvious idea that would have only really existed after Cabbage Patch Kids in the 80s, a truly modern Christmas message about how materialism has taken over the holiday. I’m sure they absolutely thought they had a shoe in Christmas classic on their hands.)

Directors – Brian Levant – (Future BMT: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; The Flintstones; Problem Child 2; Snow Dogs; The Spy Next Door; Beethoven; BMT: Are We There Yet?; Jingle All The Way; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for The Flintstones in 1995; and Nominee for Worst Director for Jingle All the Way in 1997; Notes: Has mostly been straight to video sequels for the last 10 years, but he has also been announced for the writer-director of the new Police Academy film.)

Writers – Randy Kornfield (written by) – (Known For: Eight Legged Freaks; BMT: Jingle All The Way; Notes: Apparently his grandfather worked in film back in the day. He seems like he probably is a staff writer of some kind for production studios, still writing, just not getting explicitly credited on screenplays.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: Terminator: Dark Fate; Total Recall; The Terminator; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; Predator; The Expendables; True Lies; Conan the Barbarian; The Expendables 2; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; Commando; Kindergarten Cop; Twins; Escape Plan; The Running Man; Welcome to the Jungle; The Last Stand; The 6th Day; Dave; The Long Goodbye; Future BMT: Hercules in New York; Junior; Collateral Damage; End of Days; The Iron Mask; Cactus Jack; Eraser; Terminator Genisys; Last Action Hero; The Kid & I; BMT: Batman & Robin; Red Sonja; Jingle All The Way; Raw Deal; Sabotage; Around the World in 80 Days; Conan the Destroyer; The Expendables 3; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 1983 for Conan the Barbarian; in 1994 for Last Action Hero; in 2000 for End of Days; and in 2001 for The 6th Day; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1998 for Batman & Robin; in 2001 for The 6th Day; in 2005 for Around the World in 80 Days; and in 2015 for The Expendables 3; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for The 6th Day in 2001; Notes: As with many old movies during quarantine, there was just a Kindergarten Cop reunion on Zoom, so that’s fun. He’s the father-in-law of Chris Pratt.)

Sinbad – (Known For: Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco; Crazy as Hell; Future BMT: Coneheads; First Kid; Planes; The Meteor Man; Good Burger; Hansel & Gretel; Houseguest; Necessary Roughness; BMT: Jingle All The Way; Notes: Apparently he suffered a stroke recently, sadly. Was in the Air Force prior to breaking into comedy, although he hasn’t really worked in film since the early 2000s.)

Phil Hartman – (Known For: Spaceballs; Pee-wee’s Big Adventure; Small Soldiers; So I Married an Axe Murderer; ¡Three Amigos!; Kiki’s Delivery Service; Amazon Women on the Moon; The Brave Little Toaster; Ruthless People; Quick Change; CB4; Future BMT: Coneheads; Sgt. Bilko; Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Blind Date; The Pagemaster; Loaded Weapon 1; Fletch Lives; Houseguest; Greedy; How I Got Into College; BMT: Jingle All The Way; Stuart Saves His Family; Notes: Sadly was murdered by his wife in 1998 who was troubled with drug abuse. Was famous for his impressions on SNL, his voices on The Simpsons, and his role on NewsRadio.)

Budget/Gross – $60,000,000 / Domestic: $60,592,389 (Worldwide: $129,832,389)

(Obviously not what they were expecting given the apparent budget. Kind of okay, would have come out as a wash at least over the years with the DVD sales and whatnot.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (7/46): Arnold Schwarzenegger tries his best, but Jingle All the Way suffers from an uneven tone, shifting wildly from a would-be satire on materialism to an antic, slapstick yuk-fest.

(Really low. And interesting how the consensus seems to see some sort of statement on materialism in parts of the film, whereas other critiques seem to focus on just how materialistic the whole film actually seems to be. Reviewer Highlight: You’ll need an awful lot of Christmas cheer to forgive Arnold Schwarzenegger for his fourth, and hopefully last, venture into comedy, a turkey that needs stuffing on the most inaccessible shelf of your local video store. – Neil Smith, BBC)

Poster – Pringles All the Way

(Gah! My eyes! Get that out of here and burn it before too many people see it. Just… not good. But not like The Avengers or anything. D-.)

Tagline(s) – Two Dads, One Toy, No Prisoners. (A-)

(Yes, yes, yes. This is what you want from a tagline. Give me the classic hits with my sweet pringles all the way twist. It’s almost so classic you are tempted to downgrade it for lack of originality. But I won’t.)

Keyword – christmas

Top 10: Home Alone (1990), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), Love Actually (2003), Elf (2003), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), The Santa Clause (1994), The Grinch (2018), Die Hard (1988), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Peppermint (2018)

Future BMT: 82.9 Home Alone 3 (1997), 75.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 73.7 Look Who’s Talking Now (1993), 69.1 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), 68.8 Black Christmas (2006), 68.5 Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015), 61.0 Legion (2010), 60.4 Maid in Manhattan (2002), 60.0 Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007), 59.8 Staying Alive (1983);

BMT: Jingle All The Way (1996), Christmas with the Kranks (2004), Santa Claus: The Movie (1985), Movie 43 (2013), Replicas (2018), Unaccompanied Minors (2006), Shaft (2019), Gangster Squad (2013), Soldier (1998), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009), A Madea Christmas (2013), Cobra (1986), Daylight (1996), RoboCop 3 (1993), Behind Enemy Lines (2001), Jack and Jill (2011), The Number 23 (2007), Jaws: The Revenge (1987), Get Carter (2000)

(Looks like that War on Christmas is working … I’m joking, but yeah, we really liked Christmas in the 2000s huh? Perhaps the completion of the “genre leaking” that Die Hard started where the keyword can be applied to any and all films since they all dare to be (ironically) Christmas movies? … Probably not.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Arnold Schwarzenegger is No. 1 billed in Jingle All The Way and No. 4 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 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Producer Chris Columbus wanted Joe Pesci to play Myron, but he was deemed too short at 5’3 next to Arnold Schwarzenegger who is 6’2. This was despite the fact that Schwarznegger had previously appeared in two films alongside the even-shorter Danny DeVito.

Sinbad improvised the majority of his lines. Arnold Schwarzenegger also improvised many of his responses in his conversations with him.

In March 2001, a U.S. District Court jury in Birmingham, Michigan ruled that 20th Century Fox stole the script idea “Jingle All the Way” from Detroit high school biology teacher Brian Webster. The studio was ordered to pay $19 million, later reduced to $1.5 million. Webster submitted the script, then named “Could This Be Christmas?”, to the studio in 1994, and never received payment nor credit despite the film making $129 million worldwide. 20th Century Fox appealed, and the verdict was reversed, since Webster’s script was submitted after the studio had already purchased a treatment (summary or outline) of what would become this movie’s script. (It is a really wild story. The wiki blurb about it either must be deceiving or wrong, because it says that the names of characters are the same … I don’t see how that could be the case without it being cut-and-dry plagiarism)

The story is based on the 1980s shopping frenzy over the Cabbage Patch dolls. However, it ended up perfectly mimicking the Tickle Me Elmo craze of Christmas 1996.

Verne Troyer has an uncredited role as the shortest Santa that gets punched while on Arnold Schwarzenegger in the warehouse.

Filming took place in Minnesota for five weeks from April 15, 1996. At the time, it was the largest film production to ever take place in the state.

You can buy official Turbo Man action figures on Ebay.

The world premiere was held on November 16, 1996 at the Mall of America in Bloomington where parts of the film were shot. A day of events was held to celebrate the film’s release and Arnold Schwarzenegger donated memorabilia from the film to the Mall’s Planet Hollywood.

Despite the Turbo Man being a fictional product created for the movie, the toy that Myron references in the diner that he did not get as a child (and later said to be the most popular boys’ toy aside from Turbo Man) is, in fact, a real toy. It is in real life called the Johnny Seven OMA gun (OMA meaning “one man army”), as it performed seven different functions. The Johnny Seven OMA gun was produced by Deluxe Reading under their Topper Toys toyline, and released in 1964, where it became the best selling boys’ toy of that year. The toy was marketed heavily on television, and the commercial went exactly as how Myron described it. The toy is no longer made, and has become a collector’s item.

The giant Santa in this film is WWE’s The Big Show.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was paid a reported $20 million for the role.

Although Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that the Minnesota locals were “well-behaved” and “cooperative”, director Brian Levant often found filming “impossible” due to the scale and noise of the crowds who came to watch production, especially in the Mall of America, but overall found the locals to be “respectful” and “lovely people”.

Chris Parnell’s first movie appearance.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger only signed on for the film in February and the film was shot so quickly, only six and a half months were available for merchandising, instead of the ideal year. As such, merchandising was limited to a thirteen and a half inch replica twenty-five dollar talking Turbo Man action figure and the west coast exclusive Turbo Man Time Racer vehicle, while no tie-in promotions could be secured. Despite this, several critics wrote that the film was only being made in order to sell the toy. Chris Columbus dismissed this notion, stating that with only roughly two hundred thousand Turbo Man toys being made, the merchandising was far less than the year’s other releases, such as Space Jam (1996) and 101 Dalmatians (1996).

20th Century Fox offered Arnold Schwarzenegger the project after development on a remake of Planet of the Apes (1968), which had been a longtime pet project for the actor, fell apart.

Some home media covers have Howard dressed in a Santa suit. Howard never wears a Santa suit in the course of the film.

Howard and the reindeer enjoy Grain Belt Premium Beer, which is a Classic Minnesota made beer, still very popular today.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Brian Levant, 1997)

Graveyard Shift Preview

As the balloon lands softly on the island, Rich and Poe marvel at all the beautiful fancy trees that surround them. Poe pulls out a notebook to note genus and species, but Rich stops him. No time for their botanical endeavors, they got a hike ahead of them. Almost as soon as they start, though, things begin to go sideways. First the sassy ghost gets to make peace with all those she wronged while alive, which is nice. Then Kilgorn gets to bathe in the blood of his enemies, which is less nice. Finally, Poe gets to reunite with his best friend Mr. Big one last time in order to tell him how much he liked The Skulls (both his club and the movie). Once Mr. Big disappears, they look around waiting for Rich’s most wonderful dreams to come true too. “Huh, that’s weird,” Poe says as they continue their trek. Rich turns to agree but finds himself sprawled out on the jungle floor. At his feet is a book half buried in the soft ground. Pulling it free, both Rich and Poe stare in wonder at the shiny hardcover image of their own faces. They wipe some dirt to unveil the title and gasp. “R&P: Rest in Peace: The Death of Rich and Poe.” Suddenly a cold wind blows and a shiver runs up their spines. Even Kilgorn’s blood bath was nicer than this. Rich and Poe look around the jungle in fear. A book they never wrote exists here and it’s hard to understand why. In fact it’s hard to understand anything about this terrible jungle. “We better hunker down for the night,” suggests Poe and recommends sassy ghost and Kilgorn get some rest cause Rich and Poe are gonna take the night shift. That’s right! We are technically (although only technically) transitioning to the first cycle of 2021 which will be (drumroll) films based on books. I love book cycles cause I get to read usually terrible books that they made into even worse movies. We’re starting it off, though, with a classic as we are doing one of the many Stephen King bombs. It’s Graveyard Shift, based on a short story that I actually really loved and currently celebrating 30 years of anonymity. Let’s go!

Graveyard Shift (1990) – BMeTric: 48.8; Notability: 16 

(Oh wow that is a really low IMDb rating. We are on a pretty good streak for that. It was between this and Mangler, and both of them amazingly had really similar stats. This did have a slightly higher Notability. A Notability of 16 is right on the cusp, but I think it isn’t as abnormal for the early 90s.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Bottom-of-the-barrel, cliche-ridden shocker chronicling the goings-on in a mysterious mill, whose workers are disappearing within its rat-infested bowels. Poorly directed, with even worse special effects. Based on a short story by Stephen King. 

(The key to a Leonard BOMB is obviously to watch a bad horror film from the 80s. It is far enough back that he was probably watching all of the films, even the ones he knew he wouldn’t like, and he haaaaates horror films.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6u4z-OqgSM/

(Looks cheap and cheesy … but that can be good. I love watching cheesy horror films, it reminds you of the time when people could take a camera, some no-name actors, and a few bucks and make a film … but this was apparently $10 million dollars, so it isn’t quite like that.)

Directors – Ralph S. Singleton – (BMT: Graveyard Shift; Notes: Was mostly a production manager weirdly. Won an Emmy as a part of the production of Cagney & Lacey. Was the production manager on the recent BMT film Supernova.)

Writers – Stephen King (short story) – (Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; Doctor Sleep; It; The Green Mile; The Shining; It: Chapter Two; Stand by Me; Misery; Gerald’s Game; The Mist; Carrie; Christine; Pet Sematary; 1922; Carrie; Pet Sematary; The Running Man; Secret Window; 1408; Hearts in Atlantis; Future BMT: Cell; The Rage: Carrie 2; The Mangler; Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice; In the Tall Grass; Sleepwalkers; The Dark Tower; A Good Marriage; Riding the Bullet; Children of the Corn; Thinner; Firestarter; Creepshow 2; The Night Flier; Needful Things; BMT: Dreamcatcher; Graveyard Shift; The Lawnmower Man; Maximum Overdrive; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Maximum Overdrive in 1987; Notes: The newest adaptation of The Stand is about to come out. I do enjoy Stephen King books, even though he can be a bit verbose at times.)

John Esposito (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Tale of the Mummy; The Theatre Bizarre; BMT: Graveyard Shift; Notes: He also wrote for a bunch of horror shows, like R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour and Creepshow. So definitely a horror guy.)

Actors – David Andrews – (Known For: Fight Club; Apollo 13; World War Z; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; Wyatt Earp; Fair Game; The Conspirator; Future BMT: Jessabelle; Cherry 2000; Arthur and Mike; Dear John; Hannibal; The Squeeze; BMT: Stealth; Graveyard Shift; A Walk to Remember; Notes: Apparently has written a few feature films, although none appear to have been producer in any meaningful capacity. One was called Bushido set in WWII.)

Kelly Wolf – (Known For: Less Than Zero; Margaret; Triumph of the Spirit; Infinity; BMT: Graveyard Shift; Notes: Her husband, Scott Burkholder, and their son Max are both quite accomplished actors. Max was one of the stars of the television show Parenthood.)

Stephen Macht – (Known For: The Monster Squad; The Choirboys; The Mountain Men; Outside the Law; Future BMT: Galaxina; Nightwing; BMT: Graveyard Shift; Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike; Notes: Appeared in 160 episodes of General Hospital and, among others, 6 episodes of Murder She Wrote (as six different characters). Almost got the role of Jean-Luc Picard. Father of Gabriel Macht who starred in Suits and who we’ve seen in Whiteout, Behind Enemy Lines, Bad Company, and Because I Said So.)

Budget/Gross – $10.5 million / Domestic: $11,582,891 (Worldwide: $11,582,891)

(That’s pretty rough. But let this sink in for a second. The film Fantasy Island, set in Fiji and involving serious special effects, cost about two-thirds as much to film as this 1990 adaptation of a Stephen King short story I had never heard of, starring nobody, and presumably set in a single dilapidated warehouse.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (1/8)

(I’ll make a consensus then: Really only worthwhile to horror novices who are just discovering the appeal of gorey horror. Reviewer Highlight: One of the worst of Stephen King movies. Don’t punch in for this mess. – Gerry Shamray, Your Movies)

Poster – Sklogyard Shift

(This looks cheap and so it has a ceiling, but I kinda like the kooky look to it. The font is nice too. It’s just weird enough that I could imagine wanting to hang up the poster semi-ironically. But still a C.)

Tagline(s) – Stephen King took you to the edge with The Shining and Pet Sematary. This time……he pushes you over. (F)

(Nope. I can’t abide by this sham of a tagline. You don’t need me to tell you everything that is wrong with this trash.)

Keyword – based on short story

Top 10: The Shawshank Redemption (1994), National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Arrival (2016), The Thing (1982), Total Recall (1990), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Brokeback Mountain (2005), A Few Good Men (1992), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

Future BMT: 57.6 The Mangler (1995), 55.9 Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992), 41.3 Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995), 41.3 Children of the Corn (1984), 39.7 The Heartbreak Kid (2007), 34.3 Double Take (2001), 27.4 Next (2007), 25.8 Creepshow 2 (1987), 24.8 Total Recall (2012), 23.4 Impostor (2001);

BMT: Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Maximum Overdrive (1986), Paycheck (2003), The Lawnmower Man (1992), Graveyard Shift (1990), A Sound of Thunder (2005)

(An interesting “genre” I do wonder if it is kind of fueled by bad horror to an extent. In the 80s and 00s pulp short horror stories (e.g. The Hellbound Heart) seemed like all the rage. Do people still write short stories? Is that why the genre is dying? Or is it just a quirk of this particular keyword?)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 29) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Brad Dourif is No. 7 billed in Graveyard Shift and No. 6 billed in Color of Night, which also stars Bruce Willis (No. 1 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) => 7 + 6 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 29. If we were to watch A Low Down Dirty Shame, and Kingdom Come we can get the HoE Number down to 21.

Notes – The name of the mill is “Bachman Mills.” “Bachman” is a pseudonym used by Stephen King, upon whose short story the movie was based.

When John and Jane are in the cafe together, Ippeston sitting in the booth behind them is reading a paperback of “Ben.” “Ben” is a story of a socially dysfunctional boy who befriends a rat and uses other rats to extract revenge upon others.

The movie was filmed in the village of Harmony, Maine at Bartlettyarns Inc., the oldest woolen yarn mill in the United States (est. 1821). The interior shots of the antique mill machinery, and the riverside cemetery, were in Harmony. Other scenes (restaurant interior, and giant wool picking machine) were at locations in Bangor, Maine, at an abandoned waterworks and armory. A few other mill scenes were staged near the Eastland woolen mill in Corinna, Maine, which subsequently became a Super Fund site.

Wisconsky mentions she is from Castle Rock, home to many other Stephen King books and movies.

The patch on Cleveland’s (The Exterminator) shoulder is the emblem of 33 (“Ba Muoi Ba”), a Vietnamese rice-brewed beer that was popular among American GIs who served during the war.

Stephen King heavily disliked the film and named it one of his least favorite adaptations, calling it “a quick exploitation picture”.

Fantasy Island Preview

“Quick, follow me,” Mr. Big says, pulling Poe through a trapdoor with the gray ninjas close on their heels. “To the plane, the plane,” he says urgently, quickly taking off. Behind them, the gray ninjas have procured a dirigible of some sort and are in hot pursuit. Gunfire crackles around the hull of the small biplane and Poe can tell that Mr. Big is nervous. The little plane can’t take much more heat. He hands the book over to Poe, opens the side window and begins to futilely fire a handgun at the approaching blimp. Finally he sighs and collapses in the pilot’s seat. “We have protected this book for generations. It’s up to you know,” he says somberly, handing Poe the only parachute, “but it’s important to tell you that in reality…” with a whistle, a bullet shatters the side window of the plane and kills Mr. Big. “Noooooo,” Poe screams. His best friend! The blimp sidles up the plane and the gray ninjas reveal themselves as Rich and the gang (duh). “We saved you!” Rich exclaims happily, “and you got the book!” But Poe is not talking to him right now because of the whole killing his best friend business. “What’s that smell?” Rich asks suddenly, wrinkling his nose at the stench. they both look up and see the blimp, sagging sadly, losing air through a small hole in the middle of the giant “G” that spells out its name: The Great Nut. “Huh,” notes Rich before looking down to where they are about to crash land, “looks like we are heading for that island. If we can get across it then it’s just a short trek back to Nic. Should be no prob,” he says cheerily. But that sounds like a fantasy to Poe. That’s right! We’re watching one of the few major 2020 BMT theatrical releases in Fantasy Island. A rare Blumhouse flub, it’s no wonder since they turned a mild 70’s fantasy show into a horror movie for some reason. It should be obvious why we chose the Bring a Friend 2020 nonqualifying film to be paired with Fantasy Island. That’s right, we’re watching the 2020 straight-to-streaming sequel to JCVD’s Sudden Death called Welcome to Sudden Death for some reason. I’m excited. Let’s go!

Fantasy Island (2020) – BMeTric: 64.8; Notability: 25 

(Shockingly low IMDb rating which is surprising. I know horror fans are quite harsh no bad examples of the genre, but it is so close to being a horror comedy I’m a little surprised there weren’t more people some of the silliness. High notability I feel like for a Blumhouse film, but maybe that’s the IP effect.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – So yes, “Fantasy Island” is a terrible movie—this probably won’t come as a shock to most people—but more than that, it seems to have been made with absolutely no one in mind. Anyone who might have actually wanted to see a straight-up adaptation of the show will be put off by the way that it lurches into more ostensibly horrific areas. Those in the mood for a horror film will be annoyed by the pedestrian scares and its pilfering from other examples of the genre. Fans of actors like Michael Pena, Maggie Q and Lucy Hale (who is hereby advised to let any further calls from Wadlow go directly to voicemail) will be put out with how thoroughly they are wasted here. Look, I am no “Fantasy Island” fanatic by any means—I’ve only seen two episodes in my life, both of them featuring Michelle Phillips as one of the guest stars, strangely enough—but even it deserved better than this brainless product that’s no sane person’s fantasy of a half-decent movie.

(Yeah, it does seem that it was mostly just incredibly confusing as to why this was chosen to be the adaptation. Once they tacked so far away from the original premise, why not just make it original? It feels like it would have been easy to do. I guess you still want that sweet IP street cred.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6O30nJ02PU/

(Pretty good trailer. Still feels weird that this is the direction they decided to take the property. It feels like an empty sci-fi horror film, and very unlikely to satisfy anyone familiar with the property.)

Directors – Jeff Wadlow – (Future BMT: Cry Wolf; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; Kick-Ass 2; Never Back Down; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Like with a lot of Blumhouse stuff he also is a producer on the film. That is typically by design as his salary is probably largely determined by the box office return.)

Writers – Jeff Wadlow (written by) – (Future BMT: Prey; Cry Wolf; True Memoirs of an International Assassin; Kick-Ass 2; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Bloodshot; Notes: Oh, he wrote two of our 2020 films, that’s impressive. Katie Couric’s nephew, he got his start writing and directing short films.)

Christopher Roach (written by) (as Chris Roach) – (Known For: Non-Stop; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Was an executive producer on multiple series of Big Brother, among other unscripted television series. It is interesting that he’s made the leap to scripted films.)

Jillian Jacobs (written by) – (BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Was a producer on Big Brother, so I imagine she is operating as a writing partner with Roach in some capacity.)

Gene Levitt (based upon the television series created by) – (BMT: Fantasy Island; Notes: Created fantasy island, and while he was a writer on a ton of television in the 50s and 60s this was the only one he created and he seemed to have retired right after. He died in 1999.)

Actors – Michael Peña – (Known For: The Martian; The Mule; Fury; American Hustle; Ant-Man; Crash; The Lincoln Lawyer; Dora and the Lost City of Gold; Ant-Man and the Wasp; Million Dollar Baby; Shooter; Tower Heist; End of Watch; 12 Strong; Babel; A Wrinkle in Time; Turbo; The Lego Ninjago Movie; My Little Pony; 30 Minutes or Less; Future BMT: The Vatican Tapes; Extinction; Hell and Back; Vacation; The Calcium Kid; Lions for Lambs; Jexi; Collateral Beauty; Star Maps; Cesar Chavez; The Lucky Ones; The United States of Leland; BMT: Fantasy Island; Battle: Los Angeles; CHIPS; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Gangster Squad; Notes: Born in Chicago, and has starred in character roles in film and on television across the years, like Eastbound & Down. Apparently plays bass guitar, hopefully he starts a band.)

Maggie Q – (Known For: Divergent; Die Hard 4.0; Mission: Impossible III; Rush Hour 2; The Argument; Rogues Gallery; Future BMT: Balls of Fury; The Con Is On; Priest; Allegiant; Slumber; Death of Me; Deception; Insurgent; New York, I Love You; Jekyll Island; BMT: Fantasy Island; Around the World in 80 Days; Notes: Played the lead role in the Nikita remake. Grew up in Hawaii, but ended up becoming a huge star in Hong Kong before breaking out in Hollywood.)

Lucy Hale – (Known For: Scream 4; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2; The Unicorn; TinkerBell and the Secret of the Wings; Future BMT: A Nice Girl Like You; BMT: Fantasy Island; Truth or Dare; Notes: Was part of the band American Juniors which was assembled on a reality series. Amazingly appeared in The O.C. way back in the day, but most well-known for her leading role in Pretty Little Liars.)

Budget/Gross – $7,000,000 / Domestic: $27,309,289 (Worldwide: $48,811,343)

(Still an incredible return on investment. Blum really can’t lose with these things. I wonder if they’ll think about doing another? I mean, in theory they could do the whole again with a new group. Could be a fun franchise if they fix whatever issues it had.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (8/107): Fantasy Island tries to show audiences the dark side of wish fulfillment, but mainly serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of exhuming long-dead franchises.

(“Who is this film for?” seems to be the common question. Not horror fans. Not Fantasy Island fans … so Blumhouse fans? Probably not that either. Reviewer Highlight: Contrived and loony, it feels like someone planted about a half-dozen different scripts all over this Fantasy Island. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Fancy Tree Island

(Clever. I think that’s a really good poster. Give me a little more on the font front and it might even be a perfect poster. Really artistic and beautiful. Too bad something so nice isn’t associated with a better film. Despite the font I’ll still give it an A. Just not an A+.)

Tagline(s) – Anything you desire. Everything you fear. (A)

(Blumhouse is good at what they do and despite flubbing a bit with the film as a whole you can still see that they know what’s up. Good poster, good tagline. This has the cadence, the length, and the specificity to the film at hand. I like it.)

Keyword – based on tv series

Top 10: Fantasy Island (2020), Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018), Charlie’s Angels (2019), Star Trek (2009), Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), Baywatch (2017), Addams Family Values (1993), Serenity (2005), State of Play (2009)

Future BMT: 83.1 Inspector Gadget (1999), 79.3 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000), 75.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 69.4 The Flintstones (1994), 67.3 Scooby-Doo (2002), 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 66.4 Yogi Bear (2010), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 65.0 Max Steel (2016);

BMT: Fantasy Island (2020), Baywatch (2017), The Last Airbender (2010), Masters of the Universe (1987), CHIPS (2017), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), The Lone Ranger (2013), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Wild Wild West (1999), Lost in Space (1998), Sex and the City 2 (2010), Æon Flux (2005), The Avengers (1998), Garfield (2004), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), I Spy (2002), Garfield 2 (2006), Marmaduke (2010), Dudley Do-Right (1999), Car 54, Where Are You? (1994)

(My God, we’ve watched so many. And we still have so many to go. And again, no need to remake television series anymore, you can just you know … make the television series again on Netflix or whatever. So it is no wonder it is dying as a mini-genre.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Michael Rooker is No. 8 billed in Fantasy Island and No. 4 billed in Here on Earth => 8 + 4 = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Jason Blum wanted Nicolas Cage to play Mr. Roarke but Cage passed on the role.

The movie is a reimagining of Fantasy Island (1977) in a horror genre, inspired by The Cabin in the Woods (2011) and Westworld (2016).

Principal photography on the film began in January 2019 in Fiji.In October 2018, Michael Peña, Jimmy O. Yang, Dave Bautista and Lucy Hale joined the cast. In November 2018, during an interview, Jeff Wadlow disclosed that Maggie Q, Portia Doubleday and Ryan Hansen had joined the cast, as well as suggesting Bautista may no longer be able to appear in the film. (Huh … I wonder who Bautista would have been. I guess maybe the Rooker role? Or many the army captain)

Congo Preview

Poe describes the beautiful road trip that he and Mr. Big would take, bonding over their shared interests of Tetherball and early 20th century Bildungsroman literature. Starting in Sacramento, California (for obvious reasons) they would proceed north through Idaho and continue straight on to Saskatoon. “Would we be able to stop at the Western Development Museum?” Mr. Big asks dreamily. Poe nods, “Darn tootin’. Wouldn’t be a trip to Saskatoon without it and we might even splurge for one of those old timey photos where we dress up in old western clothes.” Mr. Big frowns. He knows that Poe is really just saying these things because he wants to get the Book of Secrets… but he can’t help but tell him meekly to continue describing the road trip. “You’d think we’d be heading straight to Winnipeg at this point… but you’d be wrong. Cause we’re continuing east,” Poe explains. “No,” whispers Mr. Big, “you don’t mean…” but Poe nods, “The ‘Ware.” Mr. Big looks at him startled, “You’d take me to… Delaware?” And Poe shrugs his shoulders, “it seems only appropriate after you were so kind to let me into The Skulls.” With tears in his eyes Mr. Big walks over to Nic Cage’s Journal (all rights reserved). He picks it up, kisses it and brings it over to Poe. “I thought this,” he says waving to the large ornate chamber, “was The Skulls,” his voice cracking with emotion, “but today you proved that The Skulls… was inside you the whole time.” Just as he is about to hand the book over they are surrounded by people in gray ninja gear and lasers. “Give us the book,” one of them says. Poe, realizing what is happening, begins to speak up but it’s too late… the laser beams start a-flyin’. That’s right! If I mention laser beams there is only one film I’m thinking about. “Entrapment?” you ask… OK, two films. The other is Congo. The major film release where a lady mows down grey gorillas with a laser. Celebrate for us on this very momentus 25th anniversary of the release of Laser Gorillas aka Congo. Let’s go!   

Congo (1995) – BMeTric: 54.3; Notability: 81 

(It has a really low IMDb rating. It used to have a BMeTric of like 65 too! And a notability of 81? My god, when was the last time we had a film with that high of a Notability? I just checked and we haven’t done an 80+ since 2019 (where we actually did quite a few of them). I am very much looking forward to just how big of a disappointment this must have been.)

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – “Congo” is a splendid example of a genre no longer much in fashion, the jungle adventure story. Perhaps aware that its material was already dated when Stewart Granger made “King Solomon’s Mines” in 1950, the filmmakers have cheerfully turned it into an action comedy, and the actors have gone a step further, treating it like one of those movies like “Beat the Devil” that is a put-on of itself. The result is not a movie that is very good, exactly, but it’s entertaining and funny. False sophisticates will scorn it. Real sophisticates will relish it.

(Shots fired at the end. This feels like right around when Ebert started to consider things “good for what they are” and became a bit less pretentious (to use a loaded term) about things. This is pretty soon after Arachnophobia which is, by all accounts, a genuine horror comedy, so I could definitely see Marshall going back to the tongue-in-cheek creature feature well.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icu59hembVk/

(The thing I remember from the trailer was the guy stumbling down the stairs. It made me think it was a horror film. It isn’t a horror film and you barely see the gorillas in the end. Good trailer though regardless, even shows off the laser weapon.)

Directors – Frank Marshall – (Known For: Alive; Eight Below; Arachnophobia; BMT: Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Congo in 1996; Notes: Married to Kathlene Kennedy he has an interesting career having worked as a producer for LucasArts before leaving to form his own production company (with his wife) and begin directing.)

Writers – Michael Crichton (novel) – (Known For: Jurassic Park; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; Jurassic World; Twister; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Jurassic Park III; Westworld; Disclosure; Runaway; The First Great Train Robbery; The Andromeda Strain; Coma; The Terminal Man; Future BMT: Sphere; Rising Sun; Looker; BMT: Congo; Timeline; The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Twister in 1997; Notes: Almost 6’9’’, and married 5 times. He famously submitted an essay written by George Orwell in graduate school where he studied English which got a B-, and he quit soon after. He also trained to be a doctor and quit right after qualifying.)

John Patrick Shanley (screenplay) – (Known For: Moonstruck; Doubt; Alive; Joe Versus the Volcano; The Thief and the Cobbler; Five Corners; Future BMT: The January Man; We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story; BMT: Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Congo in 1996; Notes: Won an Oscar for Moonstruck and a Tony for Doubt. He also was nominated for an Emmy for Live From Baghdad. No apparently Grammy aspirations so his EGOT hopes are probably non-existent.)

Actors – Laura Linney – (Known For: Love Actually; The Truman Show; Nocturnal Animals; Primal Fear; Mystic River; Arthur Christmas; Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; Falling; Searching for Bobby Fischer; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; The Squid and the Whale; Dave; Absolute Power; Genius; The Mothman Prophecies; Kinsey; The Roads Not Taken; Mr. Holmes; Breach; You Can Count on Me; Future BMT: The Other Man; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows; Hyde Park on Hudson; The Nanny Diaries; The Fifth Estate; Man of the Year; Sympathy for Delicious; The Hottest State; The City of Your Final Destination; Maze; Lush; The Life of David Gale; BMT: Congo; Notes: Nominated three times for an Oscar (You Can Count on Me, Kinsey, and The Savages). Also the star of The Big C which she won an Emmy for.)

Tim Curry – (Known For: The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Clue; The Hunt for Red October; Annie; Charlie’s Angels; Times Square; FernGully: The Last Rainforest; Kinsey; The Cat Returns; Muppet Treasure Island; The Rugrats Movie; Rugrats in Paris; The Wild Thornberrys Movie; The Shout; Future BMT: Scary Movie 2; McHale’s Navy; Fly Me to the Moon; Valiant; Rugrats Go Wild; Christmas in Wonderland; The Shadow; The Pebble and the Penguin; Loaded Weapon 1; Ritual; Burke and Hare; The Secret of Moonacre; The Three Musketeers; Legend; Oscar; Bailey’s Billion$; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; Passed Away; BMT: Garfield 2; Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Congo in 1996; Notes: Was nominated for three Tony awards and an Emmy in his career. Had a stroke a few years ago and is now confined to a wheelchair, but he has started doing voiceover work again which is something he had become very famous for in his career.)

Dylan Walsh – (Known For: We Were Soldiers; Nobody’s Fool; Secretariat; Loverboy; Blood Work; Edmond; Betsy’s Wedding; Future BMT: The Stepfather; Authors Anonymous; Where the Heart Is; BMT: Congo; The Lake House; Notes: Ended up as a big name television actor starring in Nip/Tuck and Unforgettable and now does short stints on things like Blue Bloods and Law & Order.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $81,022,101 (Worldwide: $152,022,101)

(That’s actually a decent amount of money, although they were obviously looking for that Jurassic Park money. So in that sense maybe less of a bomb and more of a disappointment as expected.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (11/51): Mired in campy visual effects and charmless characters, Congo is a suspenseless adventure that betrays little curiosity about the scientific concepts it purports to care about.

(I’m not sure what scientific concepts they are referring to here. Is it the giant diamonds from King Solomon’s Mind which illogically are the only things that can produce a laser weapon? Or perhaps the killer ape guardsmen? Or the sign language gorilla robot arm? Reviewer Highlight: The entire tone of the book has been transformed from tension to tongue-in-cheek with dismal results. – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Goril-lazer Beamz

(The poster already tells you the film’s gonna be nuts. It’s just a giant fake gorilla face with a bunch of computer code on it and the dutchest of all dutch angle titles. I’m not sure what I would even think if I saw this in a movie theater. It’s bold, that’s for sure. But probably not in a good way. C)

Tagline(s) – Where you are the endangered species (B+)

(But this is solid. Congo… where you are the endangered species. Yeah that’s kinda nice. Flipping things around on you with the image of the gorilla. Telling you that you’re in for an adventure of derring-do. I dig it.)

Keyword – gorilla

Top 10: Red Sparrow (2018), Dolittle (2020), Green Book (2018), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017), 2012 (2009), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), Sing (2016), Zookeeper (2011), King Kong (2005), Trading Places (1983)

Future BMT: 72.1 The Last Exorcism Part II (2013), 54.8 Evan Almighty (2007), 48.9 The Omen (2006), 40.4 Hollow Man (2000), 34.1 The Tourist (2010), 28.8 Buddy (1997), 28.4 Baby’s Day Out (1994), 27.5 The Legend of Tarzan (2016), 27.1 The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981), 21.9 Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995);

BMT: Dolittle (2020), 2012 (2009), Zookeeper (2011), Congo (1995), Old Dogs (2009), King Kong Lives (1986)

(There weren’t very good keywords this time for some reason. I have seen most of these, which maybe Ace Ventura 2 being the one I’m most excited for. The plot doesn’t tell me much except maybe that in the 2000s with CGI technology it became a lot easier to put gorillas in films.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 23) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Ernie Hudson is No. 3 billed in Congo and No. 6 billed in Miss Congeniality 2 Armed and Fabulous, which also stars Sandra Bullock (No. 1 billed) who is in Demolition Man (No. 3 billed), which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), 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) => 3 + 6 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 23. If we were to watch The Nanny Diaries, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – Ernie Hudson stated that playing the character “Captain Munroe Kelly” is his personal favorite from his career. (He does seem to have a great time with it)

Executive producer and director Frank Marshall originally intended to use the computer work pioneered on Jurassic Park (1993) for the gorillas, but opted for models, as the computers weren’t capable of reproducing hair. (Yeah, it was a bit too early for that)

The “diamonds” used for the scenes during the climax of the movie were actually Herkimer Diamonds borrowed from the Herkimer Diamond Mines of Middleville, New York. They are doubly-terminated (two-ended) quartz crystals that are found in only two places in the world. They were the only gems that would look enough like diamonds and be that large. As a kind of tribute, Tim Curry’s character’s first name is “Herkermer” (his character does not appear in the Michael Crichton novel upon which the movie was based). (Wait … he isn’t in the book?! What a crazy character to add)

The part of the 727 pilot was played by musician and pop icon Jimmy Buffett. (huh)

Executive producer Frank Yablans had been involved in this project since its inception. Michael Crichton had pitched his idea for a modern-day King Solomon’s Mines to him, before he had even written the novel. Yablans liked the idea so much that, without Crichton’s authorization, he sold the movie rights to Twentieth Century Fox in 1979, a year before the book was published. The technology to create the apes was not available at the time, however, and the project never materialized. During the production of Jurassic Park (1993), Crichton was impressed with the dinosaurs that Stan Winston’s studio had created. Producer Kathleen Kennedy (who produced both movies) suggested using Winston again for the apes, and suggested the project itself to her husband, executive producer and director Frank Marshall, and Crichton agreed. This resulted in Yablans, Marshall, and Kennedy collaborating on this movie.

Although the movie mentions King Solomon’s Mines, it bears several key points in common with “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar”, the book and movies based on it.

There are rumors of a deleted scene where one of the gorillas, in a pivotal scene in the movie, wields a laser gun. Nobody is sure if these rumored scenes exist, but YouTube channel Funhaus has started an investigation after discussing it on their movie podcast. (This feels like a dumb Mandela Effect thing. People who say this 25 years ago probably has smushed Amy fending off the evil gorillas using her sign language translator, with Laura Linney shooting lasers at them right after)

Composer Jerry Goldsmith was originally brought on-board when this movie was being conceived in the 1980s. When it went into production again in the 1990s, James Newton Howard was hired to write the score. Howard composed the tribal chant used in this movie, but had to back out of the project. Goldsmith was then brought back on-board.

In addition to Amy, Stan Winston Studio created twelve genetically mutated gray gorillas for Congo, eight of which were built as fully articulated hero heads and suits. To initiate the design of the twelve grays, Chris Swift rendered a series of drawings. Stan Winston then gave key artists at the studio the opportunity to design and sculpt one unique character each. Because the grays were a fictional, mutant breed of gorillas, the sculptors enjoyed a lot of creative freedom in devising their designs. 

Rather than re-create the features of a mountain gorilla, the studio had instructions to design Amy so that she would more closely resemble the ‘cuter’ lowland gorilla.

Stan Winston’s crew lifecast the main Amy performer, Lorene Noh, at the studio, then sculpted Amy over her lifecast. From that sculpture, the crew created a ‘hero’ Amy head that was covered in silicone skin and hand-tied hair. It was one of the first times the studio would use these new silicone formulas, rather than foam latex, for a character.

Fred Thompson turned down a key role. (Ha, definitely the eeeeevil corporate telecom CEO)

Problems with the grays in the design stage only intensified when the characters started shooting. The mine in which the Grays’ scenes were set was essentially a large, empty cavern of red rock. There was no foliage of any kind, and without it, director of photography Allen Daviau was unable to justify the kind of dappled lighting that would have gone a long way in making the grays look more authentic. “In any kind of creature work,” Stan Winston commented, “so much of its success depends on the lighting and setting those characters are in. I wasn’t at all happy with the Grays’ environment. That big red cave didn’t allow for interesting or dramatic lighting at all.”

One of the most critical elements for bringing Congo’s gorillas to life was the performances of the actors and actresses inside the suits. Under the direction of veteran gorilla performer Peter Elliott, it took approximately six months of intensive rehearsal for Lorene Noh and Misty Rosas to become Amy, and for the gray gorilla actors to become mutant primates.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Kathleen Kennedy, Sam Mercer, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Tim Curry, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Frank Marshall, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (John Patrick Shanley, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Jerry Goldsmith, Lebo M., 1996)

Dutch Preview

Poe is led through the dank twisty turns of a stone passageway. He shivers, lamenting that he didn’t bring his ermine stole. Suddenly he is thrust into the light of an overly elaborate crypt. A ring of men and women stand above him. His breath catches, in the middle of the room is a book, but before he can grab it and backflip his way out of there, he feels a hand on his shoulder. “My fellow members of the most exclusive of dance clubs, The Skulls,” says Mr. Big, an evil look crossing his face, “We have a traitor in our midst. This is no foxy lady with legs for days. It’s a police officer in disguise!” And with that he tears off Poe’s dress to reveal his full detective uniform. A gasp rises from the room. How did he know? Poe’s got to think quickly. “No… no…” he sputters backing away from the dangerous mob of rich clubgoers, “you see I used to be a police officer… but they didn’t approve of my sweet beats and smooth rhythm.” The members stop in shock. How dare the police question sweet beats and smooth rhythm. But Mr. Big is suspicious and insists he, “prove it.” Wiping sweat from his brow, Poe pulls his emergency flute from ankle holster and begins to lay down the bangingest tune that anyone has ever heard. People are straight jamming to the phat flute beats. Suddenly Mr. Big shouts for everyone to stop. “That may have been the phattest beats I’ve ever heard,” he says enraged, “but that doesn’t mean you’re a Skulls.” Poe puts a hand on his shoulder and whispers urgently, “then let me prove it to you. Let’s take a little Thanksgiving road trip together… a road trip through our imagination.” That’s right! We’re doing a TGivs special with a true holiday classic, Dutch starring Ed O’Neill. I’ve seen this countless times and loved it as a child watching it on Comedy Central and now it’s time to see if it stands the test of time as our special 2020 BMT Live(ish) Thanksgiving Spectacular. Let’s go!

Dutch (1991) – BMeTric: 14.2; Notability: 42 

(If you are on reddit movies at all you’ll know that this film has become something of a cult classic. People unironically are declaring this as one of the very best TGivs films, on roughly the same level as Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. This happened around 2014, and it likely fueled by people in their early 30s who watched this film multiple times on cable in the late 90s. If you were like 10 in 1998 you would have seen this film a ton on television around this time of year.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – You’ve got to give John Hughes a certain amount of credit. At least when he makes a formula picture, he’s following his own formula. Hughes is the poet of the colorful domestic crisis, of the movie where typical Americans do typical things in typical places while learning to be better people than they were at the beginning of the film. Hughes has written, directed and/or produced so many of these films by now that perhaps we can even forgive him for beginning to repeat himself.

(Yeah, so the criticism at the time was definitely along the lines of: been there done that. This film is almost explicitly a mash-up of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (an odd couple travelling across the country for TGivs), Uncle Buck (the working class Joe interacting with the more upper class children), and National Lampoon’s Vacation (as it being a designed road trip for bonding purposes). It was so much so that Hughes didn’t want to direct because he thought he would get shit for just making Planes, Trains, and Automobiles again.)

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

(I feel like this is not really the message that comes through in the actual film. I’m actually a bit perplexed by the “he’s just a big kid” message on all of the advertising surrounding it. What I remember is the he is mostly a grumpy dude, perplexed by this uptight rich kid … the end. He tried to get him to loosen up, but it isn’t like Dutch is an arrested development loser or anything. I’ll guess we’ll see.)

Directors – Peter Faiman – (Known For: Crocodile Dundee; BMT: Dutch; Notes: A really weird choice. Was one of the creators of the Crocodile Dundee character, and this is his only genuine American feature (Crocodile Dundee was mostly filmed in Australia). Given just how explicitly American it is, it feels weird to go for a very Australian director.)

Writers – John Hughes (written by) – (Known For: Home Alone; National Lampoon’s Winter Holiday; National Lampoon’s Vacation; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; The Breakfast Club; Weird Science; Pretty in Pink; Uncle Buck; Sixteen Candles; Miracle on 34th Street; 101 Dalmatians; Some Kind of Wonderful; The Great Outdoors; Mr. Mum; She’s Having a Baby; Future BMT: Home Alone 3; Beethoven’s 2nd; Flubber; Maid in Manhattan; Dennis the Menace; Beethoven; Drillbit Taylor; Just Visiting; Curly Sue; Vacation; Baby’s Day Out; Career Opportunities; Class Reunion; National Lampoon’s European Vacation; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; Savage Islands; Reach the Rock; BMT: Dutch; Notes: Started by selling jokes to comedians, then moved into television advertising, and ended up working for Mad Magazine as a result. National Lampoon’s Vacation was based on one of his magazine stories. He would spend the late 90s making kid films and writing under pseudonyms. Notoriously prolific writer, and is considered the quintessential voice of 80s teen films.)

Actors – Ed O’Neill – (Known For: Ralph Breaks the Internet; Finding Dory; Wreck-It Ralph; Wayne’s World; Cruising; Wayne’s World 2; The Last Shift; The Spanish Prisoner; Spartan; The Dogs of War; Sun Dogs; Redbelt; Prefontaine; Disorganised Crime; Future BMT: Lucky Numbers; K-9; Sibling Rivalry; Blue Chips; Little Giants; Entourage; The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; The Bone Collector; Nobody’s Baby; BMT: Dutch; Notes: Was hired based on his character of Al Bundy, the father on Married … With Children. He was nominated twice for Golden Globes for that role, and three times for an Emmy for his role on Modern Family.)

Ethan Embry – (Known For: The Guest; First Man; Harold & Kumar Get the Munchies; That Thing You Do!; Can’t Hardly Wait; Blindspotting; Vacancy; White Squall; Late Phases; The Devil’s Candy; Defending Your Life; Cheap Thrills; A Far Off Place; Dancer, Texas Pop. 81; The Independent; Future BMT: They; Disturbing Behavior; Vegas Vacation; The Reunion; All I Want for Christmas; Standing Still; Eagle Eye; War on the Range; Empire Records; Pizza; BMT: Timeline; Sweet Home Alabama; Dutch; Notes: Ended up starring alongside Ed O’Neill in the Dragnet remake in 2003. He is mostly a television actor now, starring in shows like Grace and Frankie.)

JoBeth Williams – (Known For: Poltergeist; Kramer vs. Kramer; The Big Chill; Wyatt Earp; The Big Year; Stir Crazy; The Perfect Catch; In the Land of Women; Teachers; The Dogs of War; Timer; Barracuda; Desert Bloom; Just Write; Future BMT: Poltergeist II: The Other Side; Switch; SGT. Will Gardner; American Dreamer; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Jungle 2 Jungle; Dutch; Notes: Apparently the role of Murphy Brown was created for her, but she ultimately turned it down.)

Budget/Gross – $17,000,000 / Domestic: $4,603,929 (Worldwide: $4,603,929)

(That is a terrible return. Here’s the thing though: I bet it ultimately made money just by selling the rights to show this film every year around TGivs for the last 30 years. It is one of the best TGivs films by virtue of there just not being that many of them.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (4/23)

(The consensus here is really easy: As if made in a John Hughes factory via assembly line, this is not the worst he’s made, but far from his best effort. Reviewer Highlight: If a film like this is to be funny at all, it had better work when the warring principals still hate each other, before the rich boy is shown to be a sweet kid and the whole story turns to mush. – Janey Maslin, The New York Times.)

Poster – Driving Me Crazytown USA

(Interesting poster. Obviously the font is amazing. Patrick needs to immediately get a print of his name where that’s the “T”. Otherwise it’s just OK. Ed O’Neill must have really been riding that Married… with Children high. )

Tagline(s) – Can a big kid bring out the child in a little jerk? (C)

(I can’t decide whether this is totally mediocre or slightly good. I get the idea and I think they just ran into a stumbling block when it came to “jerk” at the end. Doesn’t really make sense and can’t save the long tagline.)

Keyword – thanksgiving

Top 10: Deadpool (2016), The Santa Clause (1994), The Mule (2018), Prisoners (2013), Boyz n the Hood (1991), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Spider-Man (2002), Contagion (2011), American Gangster (2007), Lady Bird (2017)

Future BMT: 78.6 Superhero Movie (2008), 67.9 College Road Trip (2008), 53.1 Hanging Up (2000), 44.6 Baggage Claim (2013), 33.2 Must Love Dogs (2005), 32.9 Son in Law (1993), 31.6 Free Birds (2013), 27.4 The Comedian (2016), 23.0 Don’t Say a Word (2001), 19.7 Art School Confidential (2006);

BMT: Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009), The Prince & Me (2004), The Roommate (2011), The Intruder (2019), Dutch (1991), Deadly Friend (1986)

(We’ve seen quite a few real TGivs films. Paul Blart and The Intruder for example, are real TGivs-centric films. Son in Law is easily the best of the remaining BMT films available. It is so good that it is the other TGivs film on the Calendar challenge.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: JoBeth Williams is No. 3 billed in Dutch and No. 3 billed in Jungle 2 Jungle, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 3 + 6 + 1 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – The film was mentioned in passing in an episode of Married with Children (1987) during an in-flight to London, as a joke to the film’s failure. Ed O’Neill was the star of the series.

John Candy was the first choice to play Dutch Dooley. (I think he comes across as too nice, although … in that version he would have probably been Uncle Buck which would have probably been fine)

There were plans to do a sequel, which never materialized. (What could the sequel have possibly involved? Just another roadtrip?)

Prior to filming, Director Peter Faiman, Writer and co-Producer John Hughes, and Producer Richard Vane took a road trip throughout Georgia, The Carolinas (North and South), Mississippi, and Tennessee to scout the route of the film’s characters, Dutch Dooley and Doyle would take to drive back home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. Faiman liked most of the places that he’d seen during the trip, and they ended up in final film. (I’ll have to watch closely what the actual idea is. So the kid goes to school in Georgia? And why is Dutch there to pick him up then if they all live in Chicago?)

If you pause it just right when Dutch is going through his wallet in the motel room, you can get a clear shot of his drivers license showing his address and name, which reads “David Dooley.” Which means “Dutch” must be a nickname. There’s never an actual mention of “David” in the film. (I love these fun facts)

At one point, Writer/Director/Producer John Hughes considered directing the film but then reconsidered because of the films’ similarities to his other hit film, “Planes, Trains And Automobiles” which revolved around two characters who at first really didn’t like each other and go on a road trip to get back Chicago after having a bunch of setbacks (which included a destroyed/burnt car, being robbed, etc.) for Thanksgiving with a happy resolution.

The surname of Doyle and his family is “Standish”, this name was also used in another John Hughes film, The Breakfast Club (1985), for Molly Ringwald’s character Claire Standish.

Released under the title “Driving Me Crazy” in the UK and Australia.

The large double doors, out of which Dutch bursts, are supposed to be the doors of Doyle’s dormitory. In reality, these doors are the main entrance to Hermann Hall, the administration building at Berry College, where the school scenes were filmed.

This was one of four films that was written, produced or directed by the late John Hughes in 1991. The others were Career Opportunities, this film, Only The Lonely (in which he produced and was Directed by Home Alone’s Chris Columbus) and his final film as director, Curly Sue. They all take place in Chicago, his hometown.

In the restroom at the bus station, the old man bathing in the sink is wearing the same shoes as Doyle after his were stolen on the bus.

There are similarities between the Dutch Dooley character and that of Al Bundy from “Married With Children” in which Writer/Producer John Hughes felt that Ed O’Neill was the right choice for the role.

JoBeth Williams full characters’ name is Natalie Wojejowsky Standish in which she mentions as she introduces herself to other women at Reed’s party early at the beginning of the film.

This was the first and only film that Director Peter Faiman ever directed in the US. He had directed the surprise hit, “Crocodile” Dundee in 1986, in which part of the film took part in New York City but the majority of it was filmed in Australia.

The film is essentially a remake of three other John Hughes films which he also wrote which are “Uncle Buck”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and “Planes, Trains And Automobiles”. (That sounds about right actually)

The shoes that Doyle is left with after having his own stolen on the bus are the same as the homeless man’s who he meets in the bus station restroom

At one time in the movie, a billboard is shown, showing that Dutch is actually the owner of a very successful trucking company.

The Skulls Preview

Poe shields his eyes against the blinding lights of the club and taps the glass of a giant aquarium filled with semi-nude women. The disguises worked like a charm to get into the club, but now what? Suddenly a mermaid lady swims up and after looking from the ghost back to Poe, winks and tilts her head towards a table in the back. Poe whispers softly to the sassy ghost, trying to make sure no one can hear them in the deathly quiet club. “Good,” murmurs the ghost, “that’s my contact. Seems like the key to getting to the book is already here.” The group sashays their way towards the back of the club, careful not to spill their flirtinis and Poe doing his best to wink dramatically at every guy that passes by. They are stopped by a security guard before reaching the table, but a voice behind them demands that the man let them through. A big man (let’s call him Mr. Big) gets up from the table and ignoring everyone else he extends his hand out to Poe. Poe smiles coquettishly and, channelling all the Samantha possible make a winking comment about the size of his hands, much to the embarrassment of the rest of the group. The man smiles devilishly, “My my, you are a sultry minx. What are you doing in a club like this? It’s so… 2000’s, am I right? Allow me to take you someplace a little more… exclusive,” and leaning in he whispers softly, “You ever hear of a club called The Skulls?” Poe titters shyly and Mr. Big takes Poe by the hands and leads him away. Alarmed, he looks over at the sassy ghost who nods her head and urges him forward. Looks like it’s all up to Samantha now. That’s right! We are watching the true classic of Dawson’s Creek era college thriller in The Skulls released 20 years ago. Much like Swimfan I can’t wait for this to both be incredibly stupid and yet my favorite thing ever. Let’s go!

The Skulls (2000) – BMeTric: 42.8; Notability: 25 

(Delightfully low IMDb rating there. I feel like this is often exactly the right spot you want to be in. A 25 notability is right in the ranger where the film is a wide release film, but there aren’t so many people involved that a disaster can be averted by throwing money at it. And a 50ish BMeTric is a genuinely bad movie that a bunch of people still managed to see when it was released to theaters. I wonder if I collected 40+ BMeTric and 25-35 Notability whether we’d end up finding a bunch of hidden gems. I bet so.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – I would give a great deal to be able to see “The Skulls” on opening night in New Haven, Conn., in a movie theater full of Yale students, with gales of laughter rolling at the screen. It isn’t a comedy, but that won’t stop anyone. “The Skulls” is one of the great howlers, a film that bears comparison, yes, with “The Greek Tycoon” or even “The Scarlet Letter.” It’s so ludicrous in so many different ways it achieves a kind of forlorn grandeur. It’s in a category by itself.

(I had never really heard of The Greek Tycoon, but that is quite a deep cut by Roger. And this review is just a delight. A “forlorn grandeur” … that is absolutely the perfect word for what we have been ever striving for at BMTHQ. I love it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B03lvL3pVp8/

(Hoooooooweeeee that rocking soundtrack? The dutch angles! The punctuated close up shots. I have to say … that is basically my dream BMT trailer. You know this thing is a melodramatic trash triller, which is the best type of thriller.)

Directors – Rob Cohen – (Known For: DragonHeart; Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story; xXx; The Hurricane Heist; Future BMT: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor; BMT: The Boy Next Door; Stealth; Alex Cross; The Skulls; Daylight; The Fast and the Furious; Notes: Was a producer in the 70s, and also ran Motown Records at the age of 24. He moved into television production and direction in the 80s, and then film directing in the 90s. Was considered a “baby mogul” in the 70s.)

Writers – John Pogue (written by) – (Known For: Quarantine 2: Terminal; Future BMT: The Quiet Ones; U.S. Marshals; BMT: Rollerball; Ghost Ship; The Skulls; Notes: Graduated from Yale and claims to have been part of a secret society, which is part of the inspiration for this film.)

Actors – Joshua Jackson – (Known For: Cruel Intentions; Scream 2; Bobby; Apt Pupil; Andre; Muppets from Space; One Week; Battle in Seattle; Sky; The Safety of Objects; The Shadow Dancer; Aurora Borealis; Americano; Future BMT: Cursed; Shutter; Lay the Favorite; Racing Stripes; D3: The Mighty Ducks; Gossip; D2: The Mighty Ducks; Inescapable; I Love Your Work; The Mighty Ducks; Magic in the Water; BMT: Urban Legend; The Skulls; Notes: You might also know him as Pacey in Dawson’s Creek, or his leading role on Fringe. A rare child actor who has managed to transition from a real deal kid actor through to teen soaps, to now adult television roles.)

Paul Walker – (Known For: Fast & Furious 7; She’s All That; Furious 6; Pleasantville; Fast & Furious 5; Flags of Our Fathers; Varsity Blues; Running Scared; Tammy and the T-Rex; Eight Below; Hours; The Lazarus Project; Future BMT: Vehicle 19; Brick Mansions; Meet the Deedles; Into the Blue; Hustlers; Takers; Noel; Brokedown Palace; BMT: The Skulls; Timeline; 2 Fast 2 Furious; Fast & Furious; The Fast and the Furious; Notes: Sadly passed away in 2013 as a passenger of a supercar which crashed in California. Was also something of a kid actor having a role in the tv show Throb in his teens.)

Hill Harper – (Known For: Concussion; He Got Game; The Sun Is Also a Star; Beloved; An Interview with God; 1982; Get on the Bus; Premium; Love, Sex and Eating the Bones; The Visit; Future BMT: The Breed; All Eyez on Me; For Colored Girls; In Too Deep; The Badge; Hav Plenty; Loving Jezebel; Destined; BMT: Steel; The Boy Next Door; The Skulls; Notes: Mostly a television actor, he had a major role in both CSI: NY and currently is in the main cast of The Good Doctor.)

Budget/Gross – $35,000,000 / Domestic: $35,046,120 (Worldwide: $50,802,120)

(Not great. I imagine the budget was inflated after it was clear it wasn’t going to do very well though. $35 million just seems way to high for a schlocky teen thriller. Still not a huge success though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (8/85): The Skulls is full of nonsense and empty of good script and plot.

(Always love sub-10%. And I’m always down for films that are “full of nonsense.” Yes please. Reviewer Highlight: If there was an Oscar for the Silliest Movie Category, then The Skulls might be in with a good chance of winning. – Ben Falk, BBC)

Poster – The Sklogs

(While the poster is not good from a scoring perspective I have to say it tugs a bit at my heart. Give me a thriller set in college and I’ll be pretty excited. But really, it’s a little drab and the font is terrible. I do like the artistic spacing of the whole thing and I’ll give a little shoutout to the tiny skull emblem at the bottom. So that saves it a little and gets it to a C+.)

Tagline(s) – A secret society so powerful, it can give you everything you desire… at a price. (D-)

Getting in is easy. Getting out is a killer. (B+)

(The first one is on the poster and is so long it’s almost unbelievable. What is this, school? It’s not even clever… just kind of straight forward. The second one… now that is kind of amazing and should have been on the poster. Just one note, shouldn’t it be “Getting in is hard. Getting out is a killer.”? Cause getting in was, like, incredibly difficult. Just seems weird once you watch the film.)

Keyword – secret society

Top 10: Hereditary (2018), Fight Club (1999), Get Out (2017), Spectre (2015), Glass (2019), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Future BMT: 87.9 BloodRayne (2005), 55.7 An American Werewolf in Paris (1997), 42.4 Darkness (2002), 41.7 Blood and Chocolate (2007), 19.3 Now You See Me 2 (2016), 19.0 Killer Elite (2011), 18.6 Mona Lisa Smile (2003), 18.5 The Hunted (1995), 18.0 Malone (1987), 17.0 The Da Vinci Code (2006);

BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), The Mummy (2017), Hellboy (2019), Assassin’s Creed (2016), Vampire Academy (2014), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Queen of the Damned (2002), Silent Hill: Revelation (2012), The Wicker Man (2006), The Skulls (2000)

(These are genuinely all films about secret societies. Maybe at some point I’ll need to look through all of these and rank all of the secret societies. It’ll be a two axis ranking. One by how secret it is, and one by how powerful it is. The Skulls are more powerful than secret. The Wicker Man cult is more secret than powerful. The Hellboy secret society is both. This is already great. And as should be obvious, secret societies boomed in the 00s. I have a feeling such things will crater over the next decade or two. With QAnon and other weird conspiracies seemingly in real world news, people might not want to hear about such things in their escapist fiction.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Paul Walker is No. 2 billed in The Skulls and No. 1 billed in 2 Fast 2 Furious, which also stars Eva Mendes (No. 3 billed) who is in Ghost Rider (No. 2 billed), 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) => 2 + 1 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Into the Blue we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – The Skull-and-Bones Society (on which this movie was based) actually gives out watches to each class of skulls, though not necessarily with the whole branding ceremony. After the movie was filmed, Joshua Jackson acquired one of the actual watches and gave it to director Rob Cohen. (Well .. obviously they don’t brand themselves on their wrists. That’s insane).

Hill Harper’s character, Will, who plays Luke’s roommate in the film, is modeled after director Rob Cohen’s real life Harvard roommate.

When the Skulls members are heading out to the island, the castle in the background is Singer Castle on Dark Island. The island that the Skull and Bone Society owns is called Deer Island. Both islands are in the Thousand Island of the St. Lawrence River. (The amount of this that is already real is insane)

Yale is never mentioned by name during the film, but there are plenty of references: – At the boat race, every team is mentioned by its school name, except for “The Bulldogs.” (They’re the Yale team.) – The characters wear Ys on their sports uniforms. – The Skulls are said to have “322 alumni worldwide.” The Yale secret society Skull & Bones uses the number 322 as an identifier on many of its symbols. – The characters are seen celebrating at a pizza parlor they refer to as “Mory’s,” drinking from a big golden cup. Mory’s is an actual place, and the tradition with the song and the big golden cup is accurate; however, it’s a formal restaurant, not a pizza parlor, and actual Mory’s cups are traditionally silver. – The new Skulls are sent to raid “Snake & Skeleton.” There is a Yale secret society called “Book & Snake.” – Some campus shots seem to purposefully mimic Yale buildings. There’s a tower that looks a lot like Harkness Tower, and the dining hall looks like the one in Saybrook College.

The wristwatch that each new member of the Skulls is given is the Breitling Old Navitimer. (This is what I come for right here, these fun facts)

The film is included on the film critic Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list.

Sex and the City 2 Preview

“You gotta help us!” Poe wails and he, Rich and their new BFFF Kilgorn follow close behind the fleeing ghost. But the ghost is having none of it. “Uh uh. You better back on up. I ain’t no Casper the Friendly Ghost and you ain’t no Ghostbusters and if it wasn’t for the good Lord Jesus I’d punch you square in the faces.” They all can’t help but smile at the ghost and how sassy she is. Suddenly Poe has an idea, “But that’s just it,” he explains, “we are doing this for the good Lord Jesus.” Suddenly the sassy ghost is listening. “You see the Book of Secrets is the devil’s book and we’re going to destroy it.” The ghost ponders for a minute and eventually relents and nods for them to follow. Soon they reach a brightly lit club with a neon sign blinking the words “Hollywood Badass.” Progressive psytrance music blasts each time the door opens and the group knows they have no chance at getting in. Unless… Rich and Poe leap to put their masters of disguise skillz to the test. “Alright, keep cool, I know this club” the big sassy ghosts says, “These disguises have got to be tight. So let’s go over our backstory. I’m Carrie, a gal about town looking for love. You three are my friends. You’re prim and proper Charlotte,” she says pointing to Kilgorn, who beams. “You’re the overworked voice of reason, Miranda,” she says pointing to Rich who acts upset (but is secretly thrilled). “And you’re Samantha,” she growls pointing to Poe. Poe frowns and starts to explain why the ghost is really more the Samantha of the bunch, but stops when he sees the scowl on the sassy ghost’s face. He gives a reluctant thumbs up. That’s right! We’re finally hitting up the classic squeak-quel Sex in the City 2, the one where they go to the Middle East for some reason and their old and married pretty much. We’ve been reluctant, and let’s see if it was for good reason. Let’s go!

Sex and the City 2 (2010) – BMeTric: 79.6; Notability: 67 

(An incredibly low rating. And an incredibly high Notability. I should check, but is that because of cameos, or literally just because the IMDb cast list is just enormous. I bet there are a lot of cameos. And now I’m excited.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – Some of these people make my skin crawl. The characters of “Sex and the City 2” are flyweight bubbleheads living in a world which rarely requires three sentences in a row. Their defining quality is consuming things. They gobble food, fashion, houses, husbands, children, vitamins and freebies. They must plan their wardrobes on the phone, so often do they appear in different basic colors, like the plugs you pound into a Playskool workbench.

(I mean, while true that “consuming things” wasn’t necessarily the crux of the show (Carrie has a thing about fashion and shoes, and Samantha works in that industry, but most stories were about, you know … sex and New York City), that definitely was a very obviously strange part of the first film. It is interesting to see how much more it seemed to grate on critics this time around.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Djz0q-GeboM/

(Wow that really doesn’t show much huh. I guess that is good. Somehow the fact that it is getting more obviously about worshiping consumerism and rich people in general does make its shininess seem … dirty. Also the more I look into this film for the preview the more perplexed I am that they chose Abu Dhabi. It seems like it could have just as easily been Paris, or Morocco, or Tokyo, or Sydney. Tokyo would have probably made the most sense since I think they went to Paris in the later seasons of the show.)

Directors – Michael Patrick King – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Directed 10 episodes of Sex and the City, and both movies. Won two Emmys for his work on the series.)

Writers – Michael Patrick King (written by) – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Wrote 31 episodes of the series. Ultimately went on to create 2 Broke Girls.)

Candace Bushnell (characters from the book by) – (Known For: Sex and the City; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Notes: Has had two of her books made into television series, the other being Lipstick Jungle.)

Darren Star (television series creator) – (Known For: Sex and the City; Future BMT: Teen Agent; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Notes: Notably created and produced Melrose Place, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Sex and the City. His current show is Younger which is in its 7th season.)

Actors – Sarah Jessica Parker – (Known For: Footloose; Mars Attacks!; The First Wives Club; Sex and the City; Ed Wood; Flight of the Navigator; The Family Stone; L.A. Story; Honeymoon in Vegas; Extreme Measures; Strangers with Candy; State and Main; Smart People; Miami Rhapsody; The Substance of Fire; Future BMT: I Don’t Know How She Does It; If Lucy Fell; Striking Distance; ‘Til There Was You; Girls Just Want to Have Fun; Blue Night; Spinning Into Butter; Hocus Pocus; Moving In; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Did You Hear About the Morgans?; Dudley Do-Right; Failure to Launch; New Year’s Eve; Escape from Planet Earth; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 2010 for Did You Hear About the Morgans?; and in 2012 for I Don’t Know How She Does It, and New Year’s Eve; Notes: Won two Emmys for played Carrie in Sex and the City. Had been married to Matthew Broderick since 1997.)

Kim Cattrall – (Known For: Big Trouble in Little China; Sex and the City; The Ghost; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Ice Princess; Horrible Histories: The Movie; Masquerade; Above Suspicion; Meet Monica Velour; The Return of the Musketeers; Ticket to Heaven; Midnight Crossing; Future BMT: Mannequin; 15 Minutes; Porky’s; Live Nude Girls; Unforgettable; Turk 182; The Tiger’s Tail; Rosebud; BMT: Crossroads; Baby Geniuses; Sex and the City 2; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Police Academy; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1991; Notes: Was nominated for an Emmy five times for her role in Sex and the City, but never won. Is somewhat notable as one of the last actors to have been part of the studio contract system.)

Kristin Davis – (Known For: The Knight Before Christmas; Sex and the City; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island; Future BMT: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D; The Shaggy Dog; Deck the Halls; Couples Retreat; Nine Months; Holiday in the Wild; Sour Grapes; BMT: Sex and the City 2; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress for Sex and the City 2 in 2011; Notes: Was nominated for an Emmy once for her role in Sex and the City. She was in Melrose Place for one year, but was written out, reportedly because viewer hated her character and they didn’t know what to do with her.)

Budget/Gross – $100,000,000 / Domestic: $95,347,692 (Worldwide: $290,745,055)

(That’s a success. I can see why you would look at the reviews and think that they really stretched the concept too far and should quit while they are behind. Also I bet at least one of the actresses would just have no interest at this point.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (34/217): Straining under a thin plot stretched to its limit by a bloated running time, Sex and the City 2 adds an unfortunate coda to the long-running HBO series.

(Uh oh. A bloated running time, how long are these films … they are both 2.5 hours. Shoot. I have to watch 5 hours of Sex and the City this weekend? Reviewer Highlight: It’s an almost avant-garde adventure in aimlessness. – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal)

Poster – Sklogs in the City 2

(While I do not personally find the poster aesthetically pleasing and question the need for a Dutch angle, I also cannot fault them for this poster. You have your four glam girls up front and a little desert and sky to give a taste of that desert heat. Throw in some fine font work and I think it’s doing a job. B.)

Tagline(s) – Carrie on (D)

(I’m glad to see this tagline isn’t on the poster and in fact this is probably one of the few times where I don’t think it needs one. Besides the tagline is trash. The only thing that would make it good is if the person who wrote it revealed that he was actually playing on the desert theme and the fact that they all will carrion for vultures one they succumb to the heat.)

Keyword – based on tv series

Top 10: The Addams Family (1991), Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006), Addams Family Values (1993), The Addams Family (2019), Star Trek Beyond (2016), Fantasy Island (2020), The Avengers (1998), Dark Shadows (2012), Brüno (2009), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Future BMT: 83.1 Inspector Gadget (1999), 79.3 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000), 75.9 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009), 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 69.4 The Flintstones (1994), 67.3 Scooby-Doo (2002), 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 66.4 Yogi Bear (2010), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 65.0 Max Steel (2016);

BMT: The Avengers (1998), Baywatch (2017), The Last Airbender (2010), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Masters of the Universe (1987), CHIPS (2017), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), The Lone Ranger (2013), Wild Wild West (1999), Sex and the City 2 (2010), Lost in Space (1998), Æon Flux (2005), Garfield (2004), The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Garfield 2 (2006), I Spy (2002), Marmaduke (2010), Dudley Do-Right (1999), Car 54, Where Are You? (1994)

(This is a rare instance where I think the plot actually is suggesting this filmmaking trend is well and truly dying. I think it is entirely due to television becoming prestige enough that television series don’t merely have to dream of becoming a major motion picture anymore. When you want to redo a series or make a sequel to a series you just make another series a la Twin Peaks. So I do imagine that in the future we’ll just stop seeing feature films based on television shows and instead we’ll get little 2 or 3 episode seasons instead.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sarah Jessica Parker is No. 1 billed in Sex and the City 2 and No. 2 billed in Dudley Do-Right, which also stars Brendan Fraser (No. 1 billed) who is in Escape from Planet Earth (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 4 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 + 1 + 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch If Lucy Fell, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Kim Cattrall occasionally came to the set wearing a wedding dress for the benefit of the paparazzi photographers, to trick the public into thinking that her character Samantha Jones would get married in this film.

The dress Carrie wears to dinner when Mr. Big picks her up from her old apartment is the same one she wore when apologizing to Natasha, Mr. Big’s ex-wife, for her and Mr. Big’s affair in Sex and the City: What Goes Around Comes Around (2000).

The government of Abu Dhabi did not allow filming, calling the film “too sexual”.

In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Penélope Cruz mentioned that she shot her cameo in two hours. She said that she wanted to do it because she was a fan of the series and Sarah Jessica Parker.

The airport, when the ladies arrive in the Middle East, is not the Abu Dhabi airport. It is the airport of Marrakesh, Morocco, famous as well for its architecture.

In May 2015, Sarah Jessica Parker posted a teasing photo of her with a shopping bag, in order to promote her collaboration with Bloomingdales. However, the photo went viral, when it proved so ambiguous, that several fans believed the photo teased a potential third “Sex and the City” movie. Several online outlets reported the announcement, and an unaware and puzzled Cynthia Nixon, co-star of the show, was asked about it during a live interview. In the end, Warner Brothers Studios had to make an official statement that there was no plans for a “Sex and the City 3”.

“Sex and the City 3” has been discussed, but not yet confirmed. Sarah Jessica Parker went a bit into detail in an interview on Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003), but in 2017 confirmed that it’s “not gonna happen”.

When Samantha makes a comment about Charlotte’s Irish nanny not wearing a bra, she says, “you mean Erin go bra-less”. “Erin Go Bragh” is an Irish saying that means “Ireland Forever”.

Jennifer Hudson’s character didn’t return for this film. Hudson herself still featured in the film, as she recorded the original song “Love is Your Color” for the production.

The film is included on Roger Ebert’s “Most Hated” list.

The blue Manolo Blahnik pumps that Carrie leaves in the penthouse and that Mr. Big uses as the “diamond to seal the deal” are visible over her left shoulder when she’s in her closet packing for Abu Dhabi.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, 2011)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble (2011)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel (2011)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Liza Minnelli, 2011)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Michael Patrick King, 2011)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2011)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Michael Patrick King, 2011)

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 Preview

“Ghosts shmosts,” scoffs Poe, walking boldly into the forest. “Yeah, ghosts… uh.. Shmosts,” says Rich hesitantly and both he and Kilgorn cling to each other as then more slowly creep their way forward. The forest is dark and their breath comes out in white puffs. When did it become so cold? “Poe?” Rich whispers urgently. Suddenly they bump into the back of Poe. Rich begins to explain how he and Kilgorn weren’t scared, per se, it’s just that with the forest being so cold they felt like they needed to stay close for warmth. But Poe doesn’t even react to the totally believable story (and why shouldn’t he believe it? It’s true), instead he stands frozen with a look of horror on his face. Shakily he raises a hand and mouths through lips white with terror, “gh-gh-gh-ghost.” Egad! For in front of them is indeed a ghost of a terrifyingly huge lady. Oh woe is he who grapples with such a monstrous phantom. Rich and Poe are ready to put their famous quick twitch muscles to the test when suddenly the ghost speaks, “Hellur.” Rich and Poe chuckle and even Kilgorn is amused because, as he says, “the ghost said hellur when saying hello.” Suddenly they are at ease, as if they’ve been reunited with an old friend, “Hellur to you, too,” says Rich but the ghost just looks cross and starts to lay into them about their general behavior. Daaaaang, this ghost got sass. Just as it’s finishing a story about prostituting themselves and running from the fuzz back in the day Poe is able to quickly interject and ask about Nic Cage’s Journal (all rights reserved) and the Great Nut. The ghost recoils and crosses herself. “We don’t speak about the Book of Shadows in these woods.” That’s right! We are watching the follow-up to the 1999 smash hit The Blair Witch Project which was turned around so fast that they couldn’t even figure out whether they wanted to try to capture the magic or do something totally new. By all accounts they instead made a garbled mess that destroyed what could have been a franchise. Nice one. Let’s go!

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) – BMeTric: 83.7; Notability: 29 

(Holy crap, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a film so slowly creep downward over time! That is really a new one. Like people just became more convinced of it over time that this was a generic piece of trash. The notability is also off the chart. That is huge for a found footage horror film I think … I suppose because everyone involved in the original became famous afterwards.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – “The Blair Witch Project” was perhaps one of a kind. Its success made a sequel inevitable, but this is not the sequel, I suspect, anyone much wanted. The opening scenes–the documentary showing the townspeople affected by the first film–is a more promising approach, because instead of trying to cover similar ground, it goes outside the first film and makes its own stand.

(This review is a bit better and more forgiving than I would have expected. In the context of the original, everything I’ve read is that it is just a regular horror film, so maybe this review is more right than the general consensus. Should the film be compared to the original? Maybe not, maybe it is fine to be fine on its own merits.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WtrIgbvsWU/

(Forget everything you’ve heard … like if you’ve heard this film is a generic piece of garbage, just go ahead and forget that … like it might not be, right? This does look like garbage though, what a perplexing decision.)

Directors – Joe Berlinger – (Known For: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: Famous documentary filmmaker for the Paradise Lost series about the West Memphis Three. Won an Emmy for the first one, nominated for an Emmy for the second, and nominated for an Oscar for the third.)

Writers – Daniel Myrick (characters) – (Known For: The Blair Witch Project; Skyman; Future BMT: The Objective; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: Developed the lore and screenplay for the original film in 1994 (which is when the original film was set) directly out of film school.)

Eduardo Sánchez (characters) – (Known For: The Blair Witch Project; Lovely Molly; Future BMT: Exists; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: Born in Cuba. Reportedly him and Myrick were paid $4 million as a result of the success of the original film.)

Dick Beebe (written by) – (Future BMT: House on Haunted Hill; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: His last film credit. He created the television series The Lazarus Man starring Robert Urich, which appears to be notable because TNT cancelled it because Urich was diagnosed with cancer and there was a lawsuit filed concerning the scandal.)

Joe Berlinger (written by) – (BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2001; Notes: This is the only non-fiction film he has a writing credit on.)

Actors – Jeffrey Donovan – (Known For: Honest Thief; Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile; Sicario; Changeling; Sicario: Day of the Soldado; Sleepers; Shot Caller; Hitch; J. Edgar; Villains; LBJ; Wonder Woman: Bloodlines; Come Early Morning; Believe in Me; Future BMT: Lucy in the Sky; Vegas Vacation; Extinction; Bait; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Notes: Has a black belt in Shotokan karate. Probably most notable as the main character in Burn Notice.)

Stephen Barker Turner – (BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; Notes: Seems to have mostly done one off episodes in his career, including single episodes of Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. The trifecta!!)

Erica Leerhsen – (Known For: Magic in the Moonlight; Anything Else; Hollywood Ending; Little Athens; BMT: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Notes: Seems like she’s mostly stopped acting at this point. Had a recurring role on The Guardian in the early 2000s.)

Budget/Gross – $15,000,000 / Domestic: $26,437,094 (Worldwide: $47,737,094)

(Obviously not what they would have been expecting. But also not the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It probably turned a profit just because the budget was small.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (15/108): This sequel to Blair Witch Project is all formula and no creativity, mechanically borrowing elements from the original and other horror movies.

(There it is. Yeah this is the consensus I heard. That it is just another horror film. Given that I’ll be watching the original directly before I suppose I will actually find out. Reviewer Highlight: Even formula-slasher-pic fans are likely to find this hectic, unfocused effort a letdown. – Dennis Harvey, Variety)

Poster – Blair Witch Too

(I like the font and I kinda like the boldness of the tree ring motif of the whole thing. I just think it looks a little cheap. Like I look at it and go “that’s not a good movie” so if that’s what they were going for then I guess it’s a success. B.)

Tagline(s) – Evil Doesn’t Die. (C)

(I don’t see a tagline on the poster which is a ding, but this one is on imdb so I’ll go with it. I guess I kinda like the vibe and the shortness of it, but a little generic.)

Keyword – supernatural horror

Top 10: Sinister (2012), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Doctor Sleep (2019), The Conjuring (2013), Poltergeist (1982), Insidious (2010), The Lost Boys (1987), Final Destination (2000), The Sixth Sense (1999), Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Future BMT: 77.9 Boogeyman (2005), 76.2 Paranormal Activity 4 (2012), 70.0 The Unborn (2009), 64.3 The Darkness (2016), 64.1 The Grudge 2 (2006), 64.1 The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008), 61.9 Poltergeist III (1988), 61.6 Soul Survivors (2001), 61.0 Legion (2010), 60.9 Darkness Falls (2003);

BMT: The Haunting (1999), Ghost Ship (2002), Silent Hill (2006), Hellboy (2019), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993), Rings (2017), Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000), The Fog (2005), The Ring 2 (2005), An American Haunting (2005), Troll (1986), One Missed Call (2008), The Gallows (2015), The Devil Inside (2012), Bless the Child (2000)

(I think it is fairly obvious Blair Witch Project helped kick off the big boom in the 2000s. And man they were huuuuuge in the 00s. I bet the drop more recently is just that they started not involving as many famous names as they did in the 2000s.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Erica Leerhsen is No. 3 billed in Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 and No. 3 billed in Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), which also stars Jessica Biel (No. 1 billed) who is in Valentine’s Day (No. 2 billed), 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) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Next we can get the HoE Number down to 18.

Notes – Unhappy with Joe Berlinger’s version of the film, Artisan opted to re-shoot certain scenes to add more “traditional” horror movie elements and re-cut the movie to make it more commercial. Berlinger repeatedly states on the DVD commentary that he doesn’t like the changes that were made and that they ruin the ambiguous tone of the plot.

Artisan Entertainment, who distributed the original movie, was keen to produce a sequel quickly, to take advantage of its predecessor’s popularity. However, Haxan Films, the producers of the first film (which included original directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez), weren’t comfortable working on a sequel so quickly, and preferred to wait until the hype had diminished a bit. Artisan (who had the rights) then decided to produce the sequel without Haxan Films. Myrick and Sanchez were given an executive producers credit, but both men later stated that they had very little creative input, and disliked the final film.

The film was to originally open with Frank Sinatra’s song “Witchcraft” to give off a lighter atmosphere before the plot unfolded but Artisan Entertainment forced Berlinger to instead include Marilyn Manson’s “Disposable Teens” for the opening scene for a punk rock feel instead. (The soundtrack is an abomination BTW)

When the tour group picks up Kim Diamond in the cemetery, she is lying on a tomb marked “Treacle.” According to the companion mockumentary Curse of the Blair Witch (1999), Eileen Treacle was one of the Blair Witch’s alleged victims who was drowned in a creek in Burkittsville in August 1825.

When Erica Leerhsen had originally auditioned for Kim Director’s role, she went to the audition with short blonde hair and as director Joe Berlinger described “completely Gothed-out”, but ultimately was given the supporting role of “Erica”. It was Joe Berlinger who decided to make her a longhaired redhead.

In the scene in which Jeffrey is sitting at a table in the madhouse and the camera moves towards him you can see an old s/w photograph hanging on the wall. This is a photo of Kyle Brody, the 8th kid kidnapped by Rustin Parr and the only one who wasn’t killed by him. Kyle Brody was the main witness in the Rustin Parr trial and he described how the children were killed. He spent most of his life in a madhouse. So the madhouse in which Jeffrey lives could be exactly the one in which Kyle Brody spent his life. As the photo shows Kyle Brody as a grown-up, it was shot in the madhouse, too.

The symbols referred to as “The Witches Alphabet” are actually Norse runic symbols known as The Elder Futhaark.

One of the Symbols written on the walls of the Rustin Parr Ruins, the one that looks like ‘Þ’, is the Celtic Symbol Thorn. The Bringer of Death (Somewhat famous in horror circles because the Cult of Thorn because a big part of the Halloween franchise and a reason Michael Myers is effectively immortal in the original series).

In the dream when the baby is submerged in the water, watch the lower right-hand side of the screen. You’ll see the shadow of a stickman emerge and come higher into the frame.

Unlike its predecessor, this film is not presented in a found footage format. It is also the only film in the series not filmed in found footage as Blair Witch (2016), the third film, is presented in this format.

Joe Berlinger: appears as Burkittsville resident “Joe” during the documentary opening sequence.

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (Bill Carraro, 2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Joe Berlinger, 2001)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, Dick Beebe, Joe Berlinger, 2001)

Boo! A Madea Halloween Preview

“The great nut?” Rich scoffs incredulously, “you serious?” He insists to Poe that this is all absurd. Yes, it’s true, that tiny cute squirrel scroll was rather specific in how they were meant to cure “the Great One,” and indeed that aptly describes our boy Cage, but I mean… this is all vague scroll nonsense… right? But Poe isn’t so sure. Looking around he mutters, “the great nut… the… great nut,” when suddenly a burly man on a horse rides up and rears gallantly into the sky. “Did I hear you mutter something about the great nut?” he says happily, “oh boy! I knew today would be a wonderful day where I could help someone! It felt a bit like… oh, I don’t know.” He scratches his head happily. “Destiny?” Rich hesitantly offers. “Yes! Like destiny. Oh boy! This’ll be fun and we’ll be BFFs forever. My name is Kilgorn from Abelstar and I had a dream about the great nut. Isn’t that fun?!” He’s bursting with glee. Rich and Poe shuffle their feet awkwardly for a moment before filling the silence with a soft affirmative. It will be fun. “I know! Hooray! Follow me! My dream told me to ride this way” and with that Kilgorn begins to ride off through the woods. Rich and Poe look at each other and sigh. “Maybe Nic Cage can tough it out without Nic Cage’s Journal (all rights reserved)?” Poe suggests but they both sigh again and start following their new BFFF Kilgorn. Up ahead they see him stopped at the edge of a wood. He’s quaking with fear and grabs Rich and Poe close against his bare, greasy chest. “This was also in my dream… or more like my nightmare,” he says, voice quavering, and then points into the woods, “gh-gh-gh-ghosts.” That’s right! We’re doing a special BMT Live (ish (not really)) by breaking out of the cycle in order to grab a festive Halloween edition of BMT. Gotta hit up some sweet Madea action with Boo! A Madea Halloween. I’m not sure where we stand on Madea given our up and down experience with the franchise, so maybe this’ll help us figure that out. Let’s go!

Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016) – BMeTric: 52.6; Notability: 17 

(Honestly? That is really impressive. You’d think the legion that is Perry’s fanbase who maybe do a halfway decent job at defending the rating. But then again, they would undoubtedly have to counter a brigade of racists who tend to deflate any black lead film. Still a bit surprising at how low the score is. As is the notability, but it was filmed in six days, so there are only so many famous people you could get involved.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – At 103 minutes, this film has way too much dead weight. Scenes are repeated over and over, and some of the acting would not cut it in a school play. But in the rare moments when “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween” is firing on all cylinders, it displays a cleverness which hints that, with more time and a few more iterations of the script, this might have been a good movie. For the most part, the film has a rushed, haphazard quality that makes it feel like a selfish cash grab by its creator. But I know better; Perry’s love for his audience radiates off the screen and is returned just as powerfully by his fans. The real problem isn’t that he’s preaching to a built-in choir, it’s that the choir too easily forgives cinematic trespasses like this. That’s the Christian thing to do, I suppose, but I’m going to be a heathen here. Madea would understand.

(Interesting. The entire review is actually pretty fascinating, as is Tyler Perry and his creation Madea. A character created essentially for someone who is the opposite for myself. I try hard not to presume much about what we are watching because of that. We’ve seen two other Madea films, and this is poised to be the worst one we’ve seen.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sPHseSGr9Q/

(Oh boy. Part of that actually looks kind of funny. The idea of random characters being in various horror films is just amusing. Like, imagine 23 Jump Street just being those characters in Friday the 13th or something? That’s a funny idea. Also Bella Thorne is in this film? That’s wild.)

Directors – Tyler Perry – (Known For: Why Did I Get Married?; I Can Do Bad All by Myself; The Family That Preys; Future BMT: Madea Goes to Jail; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Meet the Browns; Madea’s Witness Protection; Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Nobody’s Fool; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Good Deeds; A Fall from Grace; Acrimony; Daddy’s Little Girls; For Colored Girls; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor; A Madea Christmas; The Single Moms Club; Notes: Notably started out writing while living in his car. He parlayed a single play into a playhouse, and then a multimedia empire. He is estimated to now be worth nearly $1 billion, and will likely cross that threshold relatively soon as he makes $80 million a year himself from a deal with CBS.)

Tyler Perry Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress in 2014 for A Madea Christmas; and in 2018 for Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Nominee for Worst Director in 2013 for Good Deeds, and Madea’s Witness Protection; in 2014 for A Madea Christmas, and Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor; and in 2017 for Boo! A Madea Halloween; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, Worst Actress, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for A Madea Family Funeral in 2020; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Combo for A Madea Christmas in 2014; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2013 for Alex Cross, and Good Deeds; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Combo for Boo! A Madea Halloween in 2017; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Madea’s Witness Protection in 2013; and Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween in 2018;

Writers – Tyler Perry (written by) – (Known For: Why Did I Get Married?; I Can Do Bad All by Myself; The Family That Preys; Future BMT: Madea Goes to Jail; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Meet the Browns; Madea’s Witness Protection; Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Nobody’s Fool; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Good Deeds; A Fall from Grace; Acrimony; Daddy’s Little Girls; For Colored Girls; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor; A Madea Christmas; The Single Moms Club; Diary of a Mad Black Woman; Notes: I think he currently has maybe six television shows on the air. He has produced nearly 1000 episodes of television in general, which also likely make an enormous amount of money for streaming rights alone.)

Actors – Tyler Perry – (Known For: Gone Girl; Star Trek; Vice; Why Did I Get Married?; I Can Do Bad All by Myself; The Family That Preys; The Star; Future BMT: Madea Goes to Jail; Why Did I Get Married Too?; Meet the Browns; Madea’s Witness Protection; Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Good Deeds; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows; A Fall from Grace; Brain on Fire; BMT: Alex Cross; Boo! A Madea Halloween; A Madea Christmas; The Single Moms Club; Diary of a Mad Black Woman; Notes: He has received multiple lifetime achievement awards for his achievements in television and movie production, including the 2020 Governor’s Award from the Primetime Emmys.)

Cassi Davis – (Known For: School Daze; Future BMT: Madea’s Big Happy Family; Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; Madea’s Family Reunion; A Madea Family Funeral; Daddy’s Little Girls; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for A Madea Family Funeral in 2020; Notes: Almost entirely known for the roles of Aunt Bam (various Tyler Perry films), Ellen Payne (House of Payne) and also appeared as a voice in The PJs prior to that.)

Patrice Lovely – (Future BMT: Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween; A Madea Family Funeral; BMT: Boo! A Madea Halloween; Notes: Was the ringmaster for the UniverSoul Circus for years prior to acting with Perry on stage as Hattie.)

Budget/Gross – $20,000,000 / Domestic: $73,206,343 (Worldwide: $74,827,344)

(Given it was filmed in 6 days I’m going to guess that $18 million of that goes directly into Tyler Perry’s pocket. $1 million is for the crew and sets. $1 million for all of the other actors. And then Tyler Perry likely makes another $35 million straight cash. I bet he makes like $50 million dollars when he releases a movie … my god!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (8/43): Boo! A Madea Halloween won’t win Tyler Perry’s long-running franchise many new converts — but at nine films and counting, it hardly needs to.

(Shockingly high critic score now that I look at it. Looking through it the good reviews seem like a mix of “the least religious and thus most tolerable of the Madea films” and “Madea fans will like it.” Reviewer Highlight: Madea remains a distinctive, weirdly compelling character. Maybe someday Perry will make a good comedy for her. – Jesse Hassenger, AV Club)

Poster – Happy Hellurween

(I like my title actually. But this poster makes sense. It’s selling Madea, it’s got some sweet font, etc. I guess I’d like it if they were a bit more stylish in bringing in more orange. A little amateurish in that way. But still good. B.)

Tagline(s) – Trick or treat, fools. (B+)

(This is solid. You could have also used my Happy Hellur-ween. But don’t worry about it, not a big deal. This is catchy and I think it works quite well. Gives you the attitude of the film in a short and sweet package.)

Keyword – halloween

Top 10: Hocus Pocus (1993), The Addams Family (1991), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), The Karate Kid (1984), Addams Family Values (1993), Halloween (2018), Casper (1995), House of 1000 Corpses (2003), Zodiac (2007)

Future BMT: 92.3 Son of the Mask (2005), 82.5 Halloween: Resurrection (2002), 71.8 Bewitched (2005), 69.3 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), 67.0 Halloween II (2009), 63.7 The Crow: City of Angels (1996), 63.6 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 60.7 Skinwalkers (2006), 58.9 Pet Sematary II (1992), 57.7 The Next Best Thing (2000);

BMT: Thir13en Ghosts (2001), The Predator (2018), Batman Forever (1995), Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016), Made of Honour (2008), Deadly Friend (1986), Town & Country (2001)

(The Predator is a real deal Halloween film. The others I can’t really remember … Deadly Friend is I think, I think I remember someone smashing a pumpkin. Oh yeah, and Warren Beatty is dressed as someone in Town & Country, wild. The notability plot is somewhat inexplicable … maybe just holiday films in general have become smaller affairs with horror films dominating Halloween and blockbusters dominating Christmas? I would believe it I suppose.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Tyler Perry is No. 1 billed in Boo! A Madea Halloween and No. 1 billed in Alex Cross, which also stars Jean Reno (No. 3 billed) who is in Rollerball (No. 5 billed), which also stars Chris Klein (No. 1 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 2 billed) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 5 + 1 + 2 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Shot in six days.

Tyler Perry says the idea was conceived after watching the film Top Five (2014). In that film, Chris Rock’s character enters a movie theater and sees movie goers lined up for a fictional Tyler Perry movie about Madea fighting ghosts in a haunted house. That movie was also called “Boo!”

The film netted $74 million between domestic and international runs and $72 million of that was domestic. Having only a six-day shooting schedule, it made roughly $12.3 million per day of shooting.

YouTubers Liza Koshy, known by her fans as “little brown girl,” Mike Tornabene, a.k.a. “Dom Mazzeti,” Yousef Erakat, a.k.a. “FouseyTUBE,” YouTubers Kian Lawley and J.C. Caylen all have roles in the film (I combined a bunch of notes here. I wonder if this was a move to pull in a built in audience, or whether this was just because YouTubers are incredibly cheap actors …)

In the scene where BJ walks through the living room, the actor is holding the iPad of the film’s script supervisor which happened to have a PDF of the script on the screen as the prop was improvised as cameras started rolling on the scene.

While both Bam and Hattie call Madea by her given name, Bam also calls her ‘Dea’, and Hattie calls her ‘Ma’.

The first film in the franchise to feature Hattie and the second film in the franchise to feature Aunt Bam.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Tyler Perry, 2017)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Combo (Tyler Perry, 2017)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Tyler Perry, 2017)