Repo Men Recap

Jamie

After an unironically promising start to the cycle we finally hit our first stinker. Repo Men is about a couple of former military jackasses who use their skillz to repossess mechanical organs that people fail to pay off. Jude Law ends up getting shocked by a piece of faulty equipment and receives a heart transplant. Aahhh, repossessor has become the repossessee. Quickly realizing he doesn’t have… the heart… for his job anymore and thus can’t pay for the organ he goes on the run with a cyborg lady (more or less). Forest Whitaker is hot on his trail and they get into a big ol’ battle. Realizing that he’ll never outrun Forest, Law and his cyborg friend break into the transplant factory, delete all their organs from the files, and live happily ever after on the beach… or did they? It’s a twist, baby! Whitaker actually totally owned Law earlier and put him in a coma. They then did a brain transplant which gave him a happy life to live out.

So yeah, the biggest issue with all of this is a classic doozy. It’s pretty rare to find an “it was all a dream” plot device in the wild. So well-worn and unsatisfying for audiences, it’s basically a guaranteed ticket to the BMT zone. About 20 minutes into the film Whitaker started talking about a neural transplant he saw at a trade show and I immediately texted Patrick to ask if it was possible we were going to be treated to such a twist. His coy reply was everything I needed to know. It never works and it didn’t here. Particularly given just how weird his “dream” is at the end.

That’s a nice parlay into my second biggest gripe with the film. While Law and Whitaker get to have a bunch of fun, the female characters in the movie are either drugged up weirdos or total wet blankets. This culminates with Law’s “dream” where after getting into an argument with his ex-wife, his son inadvertently shocks her into unconsciousness with a taser. Law can barely contain his glee. He then proceeds Oldboy style into the transplant HQ and has a super super super (super) weird pseudosexual transplant extraction scene with his primary love interest. It is straight out of a deviant art page from the early 2000s. I honestly am having trouble shaking that part of the film. It is startling… and to think that that whole sequence was part of his neural transplant induced life of perfection is upsetting. As for good things, I will say it’s stylish and has some superb acting by Forest Whitaker. That’s as far as I’m willing to go with the complements.

I’m feeling my soon to be trademarked segment of Hot Take Clam Bake, where I stake my claim on a hot take about the film. This time I’m making the claim that a large portion of this film is actually a dream. “But Jamie, we already knew that!” But did you? I’m claiming that even more of the film is a dream! What a twist! My claim is that the shock that resulted in Law’s heart transplant was actually a shock that resulted in Law’s neural transplant. My primary piece of evidence is that the film takes a real weird left turn at that very moment. Law awakens in the hospital with Whitaker and Liev Schreiber giddily telling him he had a heart transplant. Already weird. Then after he has lost the nerve for his job he stumbles upon a lady who he saw singing earlier in the film. Weird, she’s singing the same song now… in the middle of nowhere… and also has had a transplant… and also loves him. It’s all so coincidental and weird. Finally, no matter where he goes Whitaker seems to always find him. It’s like he’s the center of the universe… but he’s not. In the plot of the film he’s just another nobody who can’t pay for his organ. Three things all add up to this being a dream and the original dream being a Wicker Man level dream within a dream. Case closed.

I put that Hot Take Clam Bake at “Steaming.” Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Repo Men? More like Please No, Man! What everyone was a-clamoring for in the post-’08 financial meltdown world: the heartwarming story of people falling behind on payments and literally dying at the hands of repo men … Let’s go!

  • This movie is bleak. The kind of film that was exclusively made (mainstream) in the late 2000s I feel like. That gritty real nonsense version of sci-fi with in-your-face gore, washed out backgrounds, and a narrator.
  • SPOILEES! It was all a dream. I honestly didn’t really think movies actually Jacob’s Ladder-ed you. But this is a full blown Jacob’s Ladder. Like half the film doesn’t exist. It is so stupid.
  • We watched the Unrated version (bully for us) so we apparently got a ton of extra stuff including John Leguizamo who was cut out of the theatrical release. That’s crazy.
  • As pointed out in the Flophouse podcast on this film (from years and years ago, around when it came out) they posit a world in which basically 60% of people have artificial organs. It is begging for an explanation where it is shown that The Union is also releasing chemicals into the world which is causing people’s organs to fail or something.
  • What else … the film is entirely narrated, that is a blast from the past. Forest Whitaker is great, like legitimately quite good, that’s a surprise. Everything else you can just give or take.
  • Solid Product Placement (What?) for Volkswagon throughout. I’ll throw out the Future Movie (When?) for this as this is a very good example of an actual sci-fi future film, which is more rare than you would think. And this might be the runaway winner of Worst Twist (How?) for Jacob’s Laddering us. Definitely closest to Bad just for being a bit boring and weird for my tastes.
  • Special Features Alert! The DVD (from the ‘brary as I like to call it) was chockablock with special features. We got deleted scenes (B-, a good number, but none were particularly interesting), we got fake commercials (F, not funny and pointless), we got a sfx short documentary (A, funny and interesting to see that some of the shots were entirely CGI), and, of course, we got an audio commentary with the director and both writers of the film. The commentary was fine, a solid B. The director was funny and seemed to be really proud of the film (they recorded it three weeks prior to opening weekend, so they didn’t know how it was going to be received), and overall they told a bunch of interesting production tidbits. It ain’t Ben Affleck dunking on Armageddon, but it was enough for a commentary-head like me to enjoy.

As usual, go to the Quiz to find out about the long lost sequel to Repo Men. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Men in Black II Recap

Jamie

This movie is good. Patrick?

Oh right, I should probably elaborate. This is the same movie as the first Men in Black, which is a good film. On rewatch I found the first film to be a lot weirder than I remembered. There was a strain of 90’s indie film in it mixed with the broad Will Smith action and Danny Elfman score. D’Onofrio is nuts and it’s not at all what you would expect from a Will Smith vehicle after Independence Day. I probably shouldn’t have worked a la Wild Wild West, but it did and we got a second film.

That second film is basically them finally getting the gang together after five years and running it back. Not exactly a way to get reviewers on your good side. But as far as I can tell that is pretty much the only reason this qualified for BMT. They looked at the film and said “we expect more from you Men in Black II.” It’s all expectations at this point. That is unless they got really hung up on Johnny Knoxville getting a role that was just too substantial for his talents at the time. He needed a bit more time to warm up and was pretty annoying. You could also nitpick the plot, but really you could probably say that about the first film too. Men in Black is all MacGuffins and aliens. So to all of a sudden be like “your MacGuffin and alien plot isn’t well thought out,” seems like a weak critique.

I feel like I’m going too strong on this. I’m not a big time MIB 2 fan or something. I’m not staking my reputation on this film. I’m not even sure what will happen come Smaddies Baddies time. I think my problem is that I was surprised to even see MIB 2 on the list of qualifying films. It’s right on the boundary. Usually those borderline films come out as just that: borderline BMT. This doesn’t even really feel borderline. Should have been a 50-60% RT score probably. It offends my BMT senses that we watched it.

I think if I were to do an in depth Wrong Analysis (patent pending) for this film I would go all in on the second film actually being better than the first. Here is my evidence:

  • Much improved special effects. You can accomplish a lot in five years, particularly when the five years run from 1997-2002 and special effects are making leaps and bounds by the day. But it’s not just the CGI I’m talking about. Even the puppet work is better. Case in point are the worms. They play a minor role in the first film, but by the time we are part of a smash hit they are all over the film and doing some real cool practical effects to bring them alive.
  • The best scene in the movie. Aliens in the locker is all you need to know. It’s great and nothing in any of the films beats it. So how can this be bad when that is so good?
  • They imply Tommy Lee Jones had sex with an alien. Strike that. They didn’t even really imply it. It seems pretty clear that Tommy Lee Jones had a love child with an alien.
  • It’s the same move as MIB with better effects, the best scene in the franchise, and the implication that Tommy Lee Jones is getting down with aliums on the regular. Case closed.

But that analysis is probably wrong. Patrick?

Patrick 

‘Ello everyone! Men in Black II? More like Men in Black Too … like as well. Because it is the same movie as the first one. Whatever, let’s go!

  • Much sillier than the first film I can see why it got relatively poor reviews.
  • BUT I also watched the first film, and while fun it is basically an exercise in how something novel can blind you to how poorly put together it is. Both films feel a bit like they are barely held together by Will Smith’s charisma alone.
  • Bar none this has the funniest scene in the entire franchise with the little weirdo aliens in the locker. The ending is the best part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9sd10CHAP8
  • This film suffers most in just feeling like a fun movie (J and K following clues around New York) bookended by the barest of all possible introductions and endings. The movie literally opens with an intentionally shoddy fake tv show (which they play again later to better effect) and then a really poorly done introduction to Serleena in Central Park. And then the film ends with a half-assed battle in MIBHQ stretched out to the twist ending.
  • And ultimately isn’t that the issue? They actually did have a MIB television show. I forgot about it, but they had a decently long running animated program (53 episodes). But the film feels like a television show that would exist now. A comedic version of The X-Files. Forcing it into a $100+ million budget blockbuster mold seems ultimately like a waste. And too bad, because you obviously can’t do anything with the original cast, and MIB: International was a colossal bomb, so they are kind of stuck.
  • Although it is a little funny to say that considering the Men in Black comic has six issues … total. Like there were only ever six issues of this property. If they work at it they could get more feature films than issues of the original source material. Bring back the MIB/21 Jump Street crossover! You know that would have been amazing.
  • There was a lot of product placement I’m sure, but my favorite Product Placement (What?) was when Rosario Dawson is asked to go get a whole mess of Mountain Dew from the basement (Do the Dew!). Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for New York City which they use to excellent effect. Really incredible MacGuffin (Why?) work on the Light of Zartha. Which then rolls right into a Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that Dawson herself is the Light of Zartha. Closest to Good, the film is undeniably fun to watch.

No sequel in the quiz this week, but I do outline my mid-credits scene / short film involving J going on a hot date. Check it out. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

What Happens in Vegas Recap

Jamie

Welcome to the future, because What Happens in Vegas should have been named What Happens when Skynet Writes a Rom Com Script. Thank you. It is as generic a Rom Com as you’ll find anywhere, so rife with cliche that it made me wonder whether it was the film that launched a thousand listicles about generic Rom Coms. Just to recount a few of the many tropes. Diaz has the visually distinct job of working the floor of the Stock Exchange; both Diaz and Kutcher have hilarious best friends (and Zach Galifianakis is added later just for funsies); the very unlikely meet cute happens when Diaz and Kutcher are mistakenly booked into the same room at Vegas; we can’t just have Diaz and Kutcher drunkenly marry each other, they have to also win a big Vegas jackpot, go to court to split the winnings, and get sentenced to “try to make their marriage work” at therapy; they hate each other; or do they?; they don’t, in fact they love each other. The end. I think the only thing it really lacked was Diaz and Kutcher finding out that their respective best friends who hate each other in fact love each other and have been sleeping together. Or wait… did that happen? I can’t remember because all the cliches are mixing around in my head.

After that long paragraph you probably think I hated this film. Not true. I thought the film was quite dumb, but there is also a reason why all this stuff has worked over and over again for decades. It is enjoyable to watch two charming people fall in love. Also a bit refreshing that they are never actively bad people. In fact they are generally pleasant people and you really do start rooting for them to be with each other. Why not? They are hot and pleasant. Be hot and pleasant together.

I’m gonna do a quick game I just made up called What Would I Change. So what would I change? Fine, you don’t want Diaz and Kutcher’s best friends to fall in love? I get it, they are more fun as frenemies and in a weird way it would be like cousins kissing. Just too similar. But what about expanding Galifianakis’ role? It already seemed like they originally got him for a scene but then liked him so much they had him show up a couple more times. So let’s just make him Kutcher’s roommate. Plays nicely as a way for Kutcher to originally try to sabotage the marriage. He refuses to kick out his deadbeat roommate even after Diaz moves in. What does Diaz do in response? She gets a third roommate and has her move into Kutcher’s woodworking studio. Uh oh! But egad, the weirdo she gets to sabotage the marriage falls for Galifianakis and soon they sit down Diaz and Kutcher to tell them they have to move out because they need their own space for their love to grow. Awwwww. 

All in all not a bad film. Just a dumb one. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What Happens in Vegas? More like That Film was a D+! Remember back, young children, to an age where romantic comedies were released to theaters with the thinnest of tissue thin plots. Let’s go!

  • Wait … is this movie good? Why is it that this cycle in particular seems to be giving us oh so many at-least-okay films? I have a theory (I know you want to hear it). The cycle is very very specific. We are requiring a film to star a notable rapper and we aren’t allowing ourselves to double up. And when you get that specific (our old M.O. really) you end up having to choose a lot of borderline films. Et voila! Les films, ils sont bons!
  • In reality the film has a stacked supporting cast (Zach Galifianakis, Lake Bell, and Rob Corrdry) who are all laugh-out-loud funny at different moments. And Diaz, as usual, is a charmer. I don’t think Kutcher’s man-child schtick works here, but I get what he’s going for and the concluding scene is genuinely emotional.
  • Is it the funniest film I’ve ever seen? No. But I laughed a few times. That is above average for BMT. One laugh is like … an okay BMT film. More than one is a genuine anomaly.
  • Oh, and the films premise. Dare I say that it works? A light coincidence in our leads being booked into the same room in Vegas. And just merely-odd that the wacky Dennis Miller decides that these two people just must stay married for six months.
  • Enough about what worked in this film. Let’s leave it on a sour note. The entire middle of this film is a pretty unnecessary sequence of the two leads very half-heartedly trying to get the other to botch the marriage. It never even gets close to working. They should have definitely thought of a better way to punch that up.
  • Hey an A+ Product Placement (What?) for Vegas! It really is a giant advertisement for it at one point. And hey, an A+ Setting (Where?) for Vegas! Although the film mostly takes place in NYC. Ooooooh, and a great MacGuffin (Why?) for the $3 million waiting for those who can merely live in holy matrimony for six months. Closest to Good easily, the film is kind of funny, especially Corrdry.

One again, check out my sequel idea (What Happens in Vegas 2: Baby Boom) in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Morbius Recap

Jamie

Hooo hooo, now this is more like it. It feels like the more common reaction during a BMT Live is a hope that we didn’t screw up a little by jumping the gun and watching a film that is merely bad and not BMT bad. No worries this time as Morbius is complete trash. Not trash in the way the boring, Flatliners remake was. That had us asking “why did they make this and why are we watching it?” No, this is an actively horrible, mostly incomprehensible, one of the worst endings I can remember type of film. I never wanted to walk out of the theater. It was a tragedy in three parts. 

First, the very premise is inane. I could go on and on (and on) about the science behind this film. So Dr. Morbius has a genetic disease… caused by a mutation or alteration of some sort (I presume) and yet he has to use vampire bat DNA to fix it. Uh, why not the several billion other people on Earth who don’t have the alteration? Surely that would be easier. Then when he incorporates this alteration into his DNA he requires blood for sustenance (fine) and can’t use the artificial blood that makes him uber successful (fine, fine) but it also has to be human blood specifically. Hold up. Why? Do vampire bats only sustain themselves on human blood? Or bat blood? Or whatever would ever make that make sense. Oh yeah, and he’s totally a human when he drinks blood but turns into a monster other times, cause that’s also how DNA/bats work. Again, I could talk about this forever.

Second, to prop up this premise they fill the script with “they sound like jokes, but I assure you they are not” types of jokes. What do I mean? No one ever has anything to talk about other than the pseudo-science mumbo jumbo so when they can’t talk about bat DNA they are delivering quippy one-liners. And these one-liners sound like they are being written $10 a pop for an awards show. At times so much noise and motion was happening on screen that I couldn’t really even tell what was and wasn’t a joke. The delivery was so flat and the moment so fleeting that it was lost in the wind (and straight out of my brain) immediately.

Finally, and most egregiously, you literally couldn’t tell what happened in the back third of the film. They set up a big climactic fight and then decided to have it take place while everyone was falling off a building through smoke and a swarm of bats. Suddenly the bad guy died and the movie ended, but not before bringing Morbius’ love interest back to life (as a bad guy? Who knows) and delivering Michael Keaton as Vulture FROM AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FRANCHISE! My head exploded. Making heads or tails out of this film is impossible in the moment. Scientists will have to study it like Dr. Morbius studied that bat DNA.

And I will study it forever if they give me the chance. Give me a sequel! I want The Mummy 2 starring Tom Cruise. Keep this going and don’t you dare give up! Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Morbius? More like Why Us?! amirite? After Venom and … uh, a second Venom, people were clamoring for that sweet Sinister Six. And who’s better for that than (checks notes) Morbius? Who the hell is Morbius? Let’s go!

  • For real, it is hard to even figure out Morbius because he is barely a character it seems. Is he in the Sinister Six? He was in the Sinister Sixty-Six and Sinister Sixty … so he’s like the deeeeeeep bench of the Sinister Six. But time to call him up to the show, show us what you’ve got Morbius!
  • That’s it? That’s what you got? You ooze smoke and are a not-really-vampire? He can move fast, but for real, you trap him in a box for a day and he’s toast! A perplexing decision top to bottom.
  • Let’s add bar-none some of the worst action scenes I’ve ever seen. Completely incomprehensible, and I assume, when producers realized all of the action scenes looked like trash they screamed “Uh, quick, have him ooze smoke so the audience can’t see how crap it looks!” Because Morbius is nonsensically oozing smoke all over the place.
  • And wait … why does he have to drink HUMAN blood? Vampire bats drink like cattle blood, shouldn’t that be sufficient? Seems easy peasy and like an actual cure when you put it that way …
  • And not since Hitman: Agent 47 (inducted into the Hall of Fame this year) have we seen so many humorless jokes in an action film. Leto calmly and quietly says “I’m Venom” at one point and it takes five seconds before you register “wait … that was supposed to be a joke.” And that was the best joke in the entire thing.
  • So what are the chances of a sequel? I think 0%. There is no way that any of this ends up going anywhere without Tom Hardy carrying it over the finish line as Venom. They still have three more people to go! I guess they could just get bad guys from older Spider Man films and stuff. Doc Ock and Green Goblin would actually probably both do it in the end because why not?
  • Decent Setting as a Character (Where?) for New York City. Is the mythical cure for Morbius’ rare disease a MacGuffin … yeah why not, a MacGuffin (Why?) for that nonsense. And a for real Worst Twist (How?) for none of the Sinister Six set up, but instead the reveal that Morbius’ doctor girlfriend is still alive.
  • Theater rating? You best believe I had a solid time at AMC Framingham. Surprisingly busy, so I had to sit a little close to the screen, but otherwise nice and quiet and relaxing. I have a feeling this section for Live! will end soon since I’ll just be heading off to AMC Framingham for cheap matinees for the foreseeable future.

I’ll once again point out that I put sequel ideas into my quizzes, so I’m going to stop doubling up on that in the recaps. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Bones (2001) Recap

Jamie

Welcome to the Bones Zone where I’m prepared to talk about all things Bones. So let’s get going. Fact number 1: *checks notes* Bones is a film that I watched. And thank you, that’s all I got. I have already forgotten the details of Bones but it’s a fun enough cheapo horror film. Definitely different than the typical fare given the concept. A bunch of musicians buy a house that unbeknownst to them was where a numbers runner, Jimmy Bones, was murdered. They try to open a nightclub there and inadvertently raise Bones from the dead and he goes around killing those that wronged him in the past and then other people to gain his evil strength. You see? Definitely different. It just didn’t really have the means to make it actually good.

For example, there are a number of cheapo horror films that I love. Night of the Demons, Pumpkinhead, Basket Case, etc. What made those stand out? They are highly original and also actually creepy. They use whatever means they have available to bring the horror to life. This is certainly a unique viewpoint for a horror film, but seems more inspired by Halloween 5 or something. It also had some of the worst old person makeup that I can remember. Which is a pretty big deal when you are in a genre that is known for some dope special effects. Like how can you even think about being in the same genre as something like The Thing while just caking a guy in plaster and saying that he’s old now? Anyway, it’s by no means a bad movie, but also not a cult classic like I was led to believe by some very reputable sources (read: wikipedia). But maybe I’m being a little too harsh because I like watching horror films and was kinda excited for this one. 

So I said this was a pretty original film and that’s true as you don’t get a blaxploitation inspired horror film every day, but that’s not the only thing that clearly inspired this film. I love weird connections so I thought I’d detail the obvious, the maybe not so obvious, and the awesome inspirations for this film:

The Obvious –  Amityville Horror. This is a haunted house film at heart but this takes it even a step further in the visual look of the house involved. Amityville Horror made a lot out of the general creepy, face-like house heavily used in its poster. Guess what this house looked like? 

The Maybe Not So Obvious – Hellraiser. This was actually the first film that came to mind as I watched it. We have an evil spirit that gains strength as people are murdered and his ghost/dog consumes the flesh and blood. You even see him come back to like in a very similar way, from skeleton on up.

The Awesome – I’ve always loved the idea of weird, unexpected adaptations. Add this to the pile cause this junk is Julius Caesar. We have Bones ruling the roost until he is betrayed by his supposed friends and stabbed to death. We even have Bones’ gf trying to persuade him not to go to the meeting due to a premonition, just like in the play. And just like in this film Julius Caesar came back to life and murdered everyone in a nightclub… right?

Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Bones (2001)? Wait … 2001? Were we not doing all 12 seasons of the television series Bones from 2005 starring Emily Deschanel as the titular Bones? I watched 245 episodes of David Boreanaz for nothing?! Let’s get into it!

  • Naw I was joking, I’ve never seen an episode of the show Bones … although given by love for Psych, Muder She Wrote, and other cheesy murder mystery shows I’m sure I would love it.
  • Bones, what is there to say about Bones … literally what is there to say? The film is somewhat of an enigma. A Blaxploitation-style Haunted House movie. Can you name another film like it? The closest I can really get is something like Candyman where they took urban legend themed slashers into housing projects.
  • Snoop Dogg is a terrible actor, but I can forgive him for that since he isn’t an actor. I liked Pam Greer.
  • Oh, the film does have bar none the worst makeup I’ve ever seen. The anti-Norbit. You have to see this shit, there is a character where they are trying to age him up, but instead of just putting some white hair on his temples they decide to put him in a terrible fat suit … it is a very distracting and perplexing decision.
  • Perplexing is also how I would describe the main character’s decision to buy a decrepit building and make it into a nightclub and, seemingly, open that night club within a month of buying a decrepit building full of rats. The party looked kind of fun I suppose, although they were just serving pizza on paper plates and stuff? Odd choice for a night club. Then again, I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a real nightclub. Is that a thing? Just ordering a mess of za to the club?
  • Man, turns out I had a lot to say about Bones, except I barely talked about it still somehow. A run of the mill haunted house film with some bad looking 70s flashbacks concerning crack flooding into American cities. I’m not at all surprised it got terrible reviews since it is a bad horror film.
  • I’m honestly at a bit of a loss for any superlatives I could throw its way, because it isn’t really set anywhere, and the people aren’t really looking for anything (except a good time at a party house). Closest to Bad, just for its terrible fat suit and makeup on the police officer.

I’m going to leave it there. Look for the sequel plan in the Quiz as usual. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

How High Recap

Jamie

It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! Boy oh boy, as Patrick implies it’s not common for me and him to disagree about films, at least to a significant degree, but I guess I was in the mood for a real dumbo stoner flick cause I dug this movie. I could almost end my review there, cause I simply had a good time watching Method Man and Redman joke around about taking Harvard by storm. Is there a story? Not really. Does anything make sense? Obviously not. Is it structured like a coherent narrative? Not in the least. Are all the scenes with the improving pimps unnecessary and terrible? For sure. Did it matter to me? Nope.

The very concept of this film falls into the category of “how the hell did they make and release this film.” It’s kind of hard to explain but I’ll try to be concise. Essentially, Method Man is a botanist and after his friend dies he grows some weed using the dude’s ashes. When he then shows up to a college admissions test he meets Redman and they smoke the weed. It’s good. So good that the dude’s ghost shows up and gives them all the answers to the test. Harvard comes a-knockin’ and by the time they are in college (and getting hounded by the straight-laced nerd-alert dean) the narrative falls apart and you just need to know that they are trying to get a couple of gals and stay in school. So why did I like it so much? I’m going to give you my ranked list of the five craziest things that happened in the film:

  1. In a poorly aged sequence, we see Method Man and Redman decide they need to get some ladies. They find some coeds on campus who seem enchanted by them and proceed to have sex. Why is this crazy? We then cut over to their roommates filming them, followed by a sequence where they sell the tapes on campus. Gross and crazy it made the cut. 
  2. Redman woos the daughter of the Vice President. It’s not all that crazy other than imagining the writers being like “the daughter of the President is obviously not realistic. Let’s make her the daughter of the VP instead.”
  3. At the big climactic alumni party the gang gets everyone high on the special weed and demonstrates that Benjamin Franklin’s newly discovered artifact is not a cannon like they thought, but a giant bong. When everyone doesn’t believe them the ghost of Benjamin Franklin shows up and is like “Yup, it’s true” and that’s how they win the day. 
  4. The Dean is named Dean Cain. Like for real.
  5. Realizing they are going to flunk out of school without their special weed they decide they need to smoke a different dead guy. Who is buried on campus? Check out President John Quincy Adams. From there we get a full ten minutes of them digging up JQA, pulling a gross hyperrealistic corpse out, dragging it across campus as their friend pukes all over the place, and then scenes of them trying to break apart, mash up, and smoke the corpse. It… is… insane, and also hilarious.

And that’s not even mentioning the bicycle scene. It’s just funny. It is. You can’t deny it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! How High? More like How Low? Amirite? I think you guys are in for a bit of a treat, because I think this is a rare BMT moment where Jamie and I kind of disagree. Let’s go!

  • The tale of two movies for me. I thought the first hour of the film was not very funny, mostly weird, and kind of boring. But guess what? The last thirty minutes did a lot to save it. I laughed out loud several times throughout the climax of the film, which indeed left a somewhat better impression.
  • But I still maintain that while the set of the film is interesting, that first hour isn’t actually very funny. It is mostly annoying. But, of course, one could chalk it up to me not really being the audience for the film. Like … is it any more dumb than Hot Rod? No. And yet I find that movie A+ hilarious.
  • A very rare appearance of the actress who played Lisa Turtle in a feature film.
  • Method Man is actually a good actor, but we all knew this anyways.
  • Anything involving the two pimps (including Mike Epps who we just saw in Next Day Air) and the two ladies who Silas and Jamal secretly film (yup, gross) is terrible.
  • I’m actually a bit confused by the student villain character Bart. There is basically no pay off regarding him. He ultimately still goes to Harvard and is still an asshole at the end of the film. The character is basically the same as Richard Bagg from Van Wilder, but in Van Wilder they really really really give him a comeuppance (disproportionate to how terrible he really was, it is kind of nuts), whereas here they kind of just forget about him in favor of destroying Dean Carl Cain instead.
  • If there is only reason to watch this film it is for the scene where they dig up John Quincy Adams’s corpse. That is the level of absurdity I wish the rest of the film consistently had.
  • A definite Planchet (Who?) for Jeffrey, the frat-pledging roommate of Silas and Jamal who they beat up and demean throughout the film. Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for Massachusetts as the film is definitely set at Harvard University. And naturally why not throw in Worst Twist (How?) for the inevitable reveal of Ben Franklin’s bong. Closest to BMT for me dawg.

There is actually a sequel to this film which came out on streaming a few years ago which, truly, has nothing to do with this original film. Which is sad. They even set up a sweet sequel where they would live in the White House! I may or may not have outlined this sequel in the Quiz. Although it also may or may not have devolved into a knock off of the original xXx.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Next Day Air Recap

Jamie

It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! Phew, haven’t done that in a while. I was pretty surprised by Next Day Air. It’s a to-the-point vignette about a group of amateur criminals who accidentally come into possession of a very criminal amount of pure cocaine. How? A local delivery company, the titular Next Day Air, employs a couple of idiots who mostly smoke weed, steal stuff, and deliver things to the wrong addresses. Like a mini-Tarantino film a whole bunch of characters jump into the mix of trying to track down the drugs and we ultimately end with a surprisingly violent climax. Overall it almost felt like a part of an anthology film, and I mean that as a compliment. It doesn’t over complicate anything. It’s not perfect by any means, but it was surprisingly good in terms of storyline, characters, acting, and directing and so I was pretty pleased, particularly with the first half of the film.

I think the biggest critique is that while it starts out with some decent jokes it starts to get serious pretty fast by the back half of the film. Hard not to when you need to get yourself into a shootout over stolen drugs. But it is a little jarring that while Yasiin Bey and Donald Faison appear prominently on the poster, they are only used sparingly. Once they are out of the way and we have dropped the flashbacks that everyone gets (to a time when everyone was a little more hilarious, apparently), we are knee deep in death and destruction. Not exactly laugh-a-minute comedy material. Really moves from broad comedy to extra dark comedy across the runtime and this gave me a little whiplash. It also meant the back half of the film was a bit more boring. So mixed bag, but still not that bad!

I’m going to do a classic BMT drinking game for this one:

  • The title is spoken or seen (1 drink – I can’t tell if NDA is a joke or not)
  • Faison says a line (1 drink – this would be killer if he were actually the main character)
  • Someone dares to do drugs (2 drinks – it’s no laughing matter)
  • The elevator works… or doesn’t work (2 drinks – it works sometimes)
  • Flashback! (3 drinks – what happened before the movie is funnier than the movie itself)
  • A character dies (3 drinks – it puts the ha in ex-ha-cution style murder)
  • Yasiin Bey is on screen (waterfall – he is literally the entire poster and appears twice)

That’s not half bad. Despite the fact that I liked it, I can admit it’s a weirdly constructed film for the comedy it purports to be. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Next Day Air? More like Kind of Fair! Amirite? These are the toughest moments of BMT. Those moments where you just aren’t the audience for a film and you kind of like it, but then you don’t know if you kind of like it because you are dumb and have bad taste, you know? Let’s go!

  • This is an odd one because it is a comedy where everything but the comedy mostly works with the film. The film isn’t funny. There are maybe one or two things in it I would call “clever”, but nothing I would actually call funny.
  • But then the film is a better “clever” crime film anyways. Coincidences compounding on each other to rope a hapless delivery man (Faison) into the even more hapless world of small-and-big-time drug dealers.
  • That version of the film is pretty solid. I liked it. The comedy version of the film distracts you by just not really being funny.
  • Faison and Wood Harris in particular are quite good in the film as well. The rest of the actors I could give or take mostly.
  • This film might have one of the most misleading advertising campaigns I’ve ever seen. The trailer screams COMEDY at you when the film isn’t really that. And you barely see the drug dealers in the trailer as well. The trailer is 75% Faison (who is in the film for like 30 minutes total), with a healthy dose of Yasiin Bey (who, and I’m not joking, you see every single scene he is in in the trailer, he is in the film for maybe 10 minutes total).
  • I don’t want to say that is the reason the film was panned by critics, but I’m sure it contributed to it. “Not funny” is a death knell for a comedy film. But it shouldn’t have been for this film since the film is amusing enough to be what it was trying to be, which is an amusing (and surprisingly violent) crime caper.
  • Anyways. Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for Philadelphia. And I think that is mostly it. I couldn’t tell what wristwatch is in the film, but that could have been a good product placement if it was more explicit. I think this is closest to a Good film.

This is a rare time when I have to say Ebert is totally right. How could I make this film better? I kind of can’t. Because it is what it is. It set out to be a thing, and it is that thing. One of the main issues is how overtly they advertised it as a comedy (when it is barely that) and how much Faison and Bey feature in the trailer (when they are in the film for maybe 30 minutes total). So in a way it is all that other stuff that isn’t the movie that would make the most sense to change.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers Recap

Jamie

Lore, baby! Lore. This is what happens when a film becomes pure lore and it is a BMTutiful sight to behold. Let me riff on this for a second. And by a second I mean for far longer than that. You have to dive deep to understand the level of lore we are dealing with here. It’s not just an origin story for Michael Myers. Not just a simple “Freddy Kruger was the progeny of a hundred criminally insane maniacs.” No, this film takes all of the previous five films and like a crazed conspiracy theorist weaves them all together. Magnifique.

To start, the fifth film ended on an insane cliffhanger where Jamie and Michael are taken from prison by the Man in Black. The Man in Black was a wholly unexplained character in the film, so it was left to whoever made the sixth film to define him. Indeed, the screenwriters of The Curse of Michael Myers jumped right in and proclaimed that this mysterious character from film five was connected to the mysterious symbol on Michael’s wrist from film four. They are the Cult of Thorn and they are here to use Michael for their own nefarious deeds.

But who are they and what do they want? For that we actually are best served by going back to Halloween 3 (that’s right, the film that has nothing to do with Michael Myers… or does it?). That’s because when they veered away from Michael the focus of the series briefly shifted from the singular killer to the very idea of Halloween. They went back to the original idea of the holiday (aka Samhain) and its connection to sacrifices. Much like in the third film the primary antagonist isn’t Michael Myers anymore, but really a puppetmaster of sorts who is using the powers of sacrifice to gain strength. This is basically the entire plot here: Michael Myers was cursed by this cult and every so often on Halloween (when the thorn symbol appears in the stars) awakens and goes on a killing spree to murder everyone in his family (and beyond?). This benefits the cult in some vague way. So when Jamie escapes from the cult with her baby (Michael Myers’ final sacrifice) they are left with no other choice but to set him loose on Haddonfield again to finish the job.

This is also how the second film most strongly connects to the sixth. Not really through Samhain (which is mentioned briefly in that film as being connected to Michael), but rather through the killing of his family. It’s impossible to forget that the second film is where they made the terrible mistake of retroactively making Laurie Strode the sister of Michael. The later films are worse than the second, but I think that’s still the worst thing they ever did. Anyway, this gives a rock solid (and totally unnecessary) explanation for why Michael would want to kill his family. As if a maniac needs such an explanation!

Finally that brings us to the first film (and my favorite of the lore building). So Michael is loose on Haddonfield and thus, like the yin to his yang, the even more insane Dr. Loomis’ reign of terror begins anew. He teams up with his old colleague Dr. Wynn and Tommy Doyle (both not seen since that first film) to track down Jamie’s baby and keep him safe from Michael. This is all before Dr. Wynn is revealed to be the Man in Black himself! And you know what this clears up? In the first film there is some mystery around how Michael Myers knew how to drive like a pro after spending his entire life in a hospital and Loomis explains that he seemed to be driving just fine when he saw him so maybe “someone taught him.” You bet someone did. Dr. Wynn, Cult of Thorn maestro himself. It should be noted that in the novelization of the first book it is claimed he learned by watching Loomis. Bah! Trust in the Lore is my motto. You best believe Dr. Wynn spent many Saturdays giving driving lessons to Michael.

Behold my masterpiece on the pure lore that is the sixth film. So I must have loved it, right? Hell no. This is by far the worst of the films. I actually forgot what a catastrophe it was. It is horrible. Straight dog poo. The hilarity of the lore is its only redeeming quality. It was so bad that they had to basically smash cut and ADR their way to a reshot ending in the insane asylum that actually ended up as the best part of the film. A nonsensical reshoot was somehow better than the rest of the garbage they put to screen. 

As for New Year’s Evil? Well, for horror completionists I think this is a must. It’s such a weird film and I think indicative of just how lost some people got in trying to replicate the success of other slasher films. But it is quite fun for a few reasons: some really weird motivations for the characters, excessive use of the “punk” stereotypes of the 80’s, and a real dumbo killer. To elaborate a little on the last point: unlike many horror films that try to hide their killer, we spend about half the film riding around with the murderer as he does his murdering and he… is… terrible at it. Throw away the notion of an unstoppable force of evil. This is a very stoppable man who bumbles his way to his own death. Suicide by being real bad at stuff. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers? More like More Halloween? Curse you Michael Myers! Amirite? Only if you imagine me shaking my fist ruefully at Michael Myers. Let’s go!

  • My god, look what they’ve done to my boy! Halloween, you’ve never looked so bad. Top to bottom, front to back, side to side gobbledegook. Just nonsensical garbage. Dare I say it? I ran up to this film, a lover of horror mega-franchises and slashers in general and they slowly pushed dog poo right into my face.
  • You know I love to say it: this film is a slap in the face to fans of the franchise.
  • When I go back to school to get my PhD in BMT-ology (at BMT University) my dissertation will be entitled: How to Ruin Horror Franchises, Lore in its Many Forms. The crowning jewel of the thesis will be about this film.
  • The Cult of Thorn. Don’t you see? The mark of Thorn condemned a child to kill their family in a blood sacrifice according to Celtic legend. But then why does Michael only escape on occasion? Well, because a constellation in the shape of Thorn only appears every so often. … nailed it? What absolute drivel, answering questions no one is asking.
  • Weirdly, if they had just landed on that lore earlier in the series it could have worked. Michael is dead? Who cares? The whole issue was the insistence that The Shape NEEDED to be Michael Myers! So now he becomes an invincible unstoppable force and the whole thing is a retcon. Lore. Ruins. Everything.
  • I’m now very intrigued to see just how bad Halloween: Resurrection is. Because this movie is garbage. It might actually be the worst of all of the mega-franchise horror I’ve seen. Zero interesting kills. Terrible acting (yes even Paul Rudd). Perplexing decision making. Poor direction.
  • Obviously you always need to give a Setting as a Character (Where?) for Haddonfield when it comes to Halloween. And an A+ Holiday Film (When?) for Halloween. And I’m going to throw out the Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that the other doctor from the first film was the head of the Cult of Thorn and Man in Black the whole time. Definitely a BMT I think, just for how terrible it is.
  • Oh, and our friend! New Years Evil is an early slasher (1980) and actually quite interesting. An interesting killer obsessed with time. A very old school 70s feel. But … horrible acting and it feels like a television film. It is interesting to see how people were still creating that early slasher feel into the 80s when the big franchises were just starting to exploit the genre. And I’m shocked they have never tried to remake it or create a modern sequel. There is a nugget of a cool idea there for sure.

Time to dive into my reworking of the series. After the third film they should have stuck with Michael being dead. But then The Shape should appear again. And the big reveal there would have been something like Tommy Doyle was the new Shape. Loomis though begins to get confused. Tommy? He wasn’t a psycho, just in such shock from the events of the first film that he had gone to the same asylum as Michael had been at! The middle trilogy then is the unraveling of the Cult of Thorn, where it is revealed that Michael was the first test subject. A young sociopath that a cult-obsessed doctor had cursed with Thorn 10 years prior. And the three movie set then finishes with the destruction of Thorn … but can you contain such a powerful and ancient evil? Probably not. Would have set it apart from the other major horror franchises at least.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Priest (2011) Recap

Jamie

Bless me father for they have sinned. It’s been eleven years since they confessed. Here are their sins:

  1. Retroactively stealing the BMTverse from Patrick and I. The entire setting of this film is some alternate universe Earth where megacities are surrounded by a dangerous Waste/Scorch and supercops/priests go around blasting baddies with laser guns. Uh, excuse me? That is quite literally the stereotype that is the BMTverse. We’d like our royalties, father.
  2. Cam Gigantic… I love him… and by love I mean that I love to see him in films because they are guaranteed to be BMT. And he delivers, father, oh boy does he deliver. It’s not like anyone else is throwing the heat here except “Cam Gigantic Forever”. I’m ready to get him into the BMT version of the Expendables right now… no, I didn’t mean the Avengers, why?
  3. They dare (dare!) to set themselves up for a sequel. I guess it wasn’t unfounded. This was the age of Underworld and Resident Evil. Probably felt like we would be lamenting the gritty reboot of the Priest franchise in 2022 after six films that ended with the evil robot Priest turning against his makers and teaming up with the Priest clone army to destroy the werewolf/vampire/frankenstein’s monster horde that has surrounded Light City or some shit. Truly, some weird franchises came out of that time.

They are (probably) sorry for their sins. Amen.

Well that was fun. Kinda flipped the review with the game. Overall, the film seems pretty small. It runs from an opening exposition explaining the origin of our vampire world right into the kidnapping of Bettany’s daughter (what a twist!) and the rest of the film follows linearly from there to the climactic battle scene. To sum it up: the priests are supercops (not to be confused with time cops) born to fight vampires. A priest-vampire hybrid returns and kidnaps Priest’s (secret, shhh) daughter. That got him and Cam Gigantic all riled up. So why did the hybrid kidnap her? Uh, I guess to lure Priest into a battle so he could try to turn him to the dark side. Mostly cause I think he knew he sucked and needed more priests on his side so he didn’t get totally owned like the loser he was. But also, he was a loser and no one liked him so the Priest just owned him instead. The end. In retrospect not much of a plan. I would have gone with a sneak attack rather than the “alert everyone to your plan and hope to convince people to also become gross monsters” attack.

It very much feels like they tried to take a graphic novel to the big screen and ultimately that both worked and didn’t work. Like credit where credit is due, I think there are some fun visuals in the film. The plethora of Renfields are interesting, it’s bookended with some cool cartoons, and it ends with a train battle. But everything still felt a little flat. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Priest? More like Least, amirite?! I think I am!! Remember when Paul Bettany was an action star? I guess he still is, he’s Vision in the Marvel films, but still, there was a brief moment when a slight British man somehow led multiple action films. Let’s go!

  • Paul Bettany growls his way through this film a la Christain Bale in Batman and it just doesn’t work. I think maybe because Bettany neglected to … you know, look strong. He does attempt to lose his accent (poorly), so he was going for it.
  • I guess that begs the question though: why did we watch this prior to Legion? Shouldn’t we have gone in true Paul Bettany filmography order for the PBEU (Paul Bettany Extended Universe)? I can’t wait to find out how Priest connects to The Secret Life of Bees.
  • If you can’t tell by the notes so far the only reason this film exists at all seems to be as a Paul Bettany vehicle … it is hard to grasp that in 2011 that was something that was released to theaters. That new hot Paul Bettany vampire vehicle.
  • Karl Urban as the bad guy? Marissa’s grandpa from The O.C.? Christopher Plummer getting paid in the shade? CAM GIGANTIC?! How can Gigantic even look Marissa’s grandpa in the eyes, he (SPOILERS) killed Marissa in the show!
  • The creature designs were kind of cool I suppose, if you were going for a unique moleman kind of idea for vampires.
  • But then the setting is bizarre. Vampires have been around for a long time, but we are positing it is some unknown point in the future (I think, they have like robot bikes and stuff so it must be, right?). It is all based on a Korean manhwa series, so I suppose you just have to roll with the punches.
  • If I was more well schooled in Westerns I would be able to do a better job of seeing where the film (and probably comic) copied from more famous works. It seems pretty blatant, I think it is arguably an adaptation of The Searchers in some ways.
  • Really I can only give this an award for Worst Twist (How?) for the inevitable reveal that Priest is, in fact, Lucy’s father and not her uncle as we’ve been led to believe. Definitely a BMT.

The film in its own weird way reminds me a lot of Jonah Hex. An odd borderline steampunk Western with a gruff anti-hero. All it needed was Lance Reddick crowing “Happy Fourth of Juuuuuly” to me and this would have actually been a four star masterpiece.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Moonfall Recap

Jamie

Where are you? Why do you hide? Where is that moonfall trail that leads to your BMT Live, babbyyyyyy! That’s me just riffing on the Moonraker theme to psych myself up for a borderline qualifying BMT film. Me and Patrick watched with bated breath as Moonfall appeared to be on its way to the ultimate “good for what it is, eat your dumb moon movie, dummies,” film of all time. Every review was like “Good if you’re a big idiot who likes dumb shit, 3/5 stars.” But suddenly it seemed like it wasn’t so and it was heading to BMT town, choo choo. So we bet big, watched the movie, and we won, cause this is an easy qualifier now.

So you may be wondering, “Jamie, did it live up to the hype? Was it actually a bad movie that reviewers were letting slide because they can no longer tell if they are supposed to be reviewing films or trying to predict what people are going to like (and thus yell at them on twitter about)?” Uh… well no and yes. Sure this movie is about the moon being a superstructure whose engine appears to be failing. And yes, the conspiracy theorist who discovered it and two disgraced astronauts fly into the moon and defeat a big AI-driven swarm of robots or something. So you can definitely check the “big” and “dumb” squares off your BMT bingo cards. But honestly, I kinda dug it. It’s super weird and science fiction-y and I liked how weird it was, particularly the ending. That being said, if you read the reviews they are like “you’re going to have a blast with this dumb fun action romp,” and I don’t really agree with that. Really the worst parts of the film were when they did the whole 2012-esque action and adventure stuff. And the very worst part was when they inserted a Lexus commercial into the middle of the film and they used some kind of “sports” mode in the car like it’s a NOS button in The Fast and the Furious. So a mixed bag overall and probably makes sense that this arrives at BMT by the slimmest of margins.

Since Patrick did a State of the Theaters (SotT) I will do a classic Sequel, Prequel, Remake. Obviously this is a smash hit so we gotta start thinking about the Sequel. I’m going to say we go full Marvel and say that once the moon was discovered to be a superstructure, parts that had come off and fallen to Earth have been scavenged and found to unlock the secret of future tech. The world changes over night for what appears to be the better. But wait, what villainous creature appears in the sky to rain on their utopia? K. C. Houseman, the conspiracy theorist himself, now full moonman. He’s been living in the moon for years learning everything he can from the AI. Putting the pieces together he can see that mankind is heading for disaster and only he can stop it by breaking bad and attacking Earth. That’s right! He’s the bad guy and a whole bunch of disgraced astronauts have to Tokyo Drift all over space to stop him. Now that’s what I’m talking about. Wooooo. Wait, what’s that? I’m just getting word that this was not in fact a smash hit. It actually the opposite. Alright, well trash that. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! BMT Live! babbbbbbbbbbby! We pounced on this one when it was at like 39.8% on Rotten Tomatoes, and we were vindicated, it is now 38.3%! Let’s go!

  • Is this movie dumb? Yup. Is this movie poorly cobbled together? Yup. Does this movie have a giant ad for Lexus disguised as a boring B-story no one cares about? Yup.
  • But is this movie profoundly bad? No. It is weirdly entertaining. Absolutely blew by. Glanced at my watch and realized that I was an hour-and-a-half into the film.
  • But that’s what BMT Live! is all about, right? I’m pretty convinced that I would have watched Moonfall at some point streaming randomly and we would have never done it for BMT if not for watching it in theaters.
  • What percentage of people died on Earth during this film? 50%? 90%? 99%? I would say 99%, because all of the oxygen on Earth was lifted up and suffocated everyone in Colorado who didn’t have alternative breathing devices. But then maybe that was just because it was Colorado and thus higher up? John Bradley is like “take care of my mum.” Bro … I’m not sure your mother made it. I’m not sure if more than, like, 70 million people are alive on the planet. I’m sure if there was a sequel there would be some dumb thing being like “a million people died in the moon disaster” and I would be like WHAT, but whatever.
  • Is John Bradley a Planchet in this film? He’s on the heavier side, people are bewildered that he is around and tend to dunk on him at every opportunity. Then he is also oddly capable and helps the heroes out in the end … I’m going with no though. He is too capable. Planchet merely helps the Musketeers out. He doesn’t grab a sword and defeat Cardinal Richelieu himself.
  • Incredible Product Placement (What?) for Lexus, in that there is an entire commercial where Michael Pena puts the car into “hyperdrive” to get away from some baddies. Nice Setting as a Character (Where?) for Colorado. Decent MacGuffin (Why?) for just like evil AI that lives in the moon I think. And a terrible Worst Twist (How?) for obviously (obviously) Bradley staying behind to save the day (doesn’t mean I didn’t cry though). Definite BMT, even if Rotten Tomatoes thinks it is borderline.

I should probably do a very short report on the state of theaters. They are good. I was in a small theater (maybe like 30 reclining seats) with eight other people, but they were one giant group it turned out. But they were as silent as church mice and the experience was excellent. I think 2022 is looking good for theatrical experiences … only more so since I no longer have to go to Vue or Cineworld. AMC Framingham is like a palace compared to some of the theaters in London.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs