Prey for the Devil Recap

Jamie

BMT Live is always a tricky balancing act. On the one hand you want to hit the big bad films when you get the opportunity. You don’t want to pull a “Keeping up with the Joneses.” You know, where you wait so long into a year to watch BMT Live that you end up watching Keeping Up with the Joneses… a comedy film so forgotten that I myself (a person who watched it in theaters), remembers nothing of the experience. At the same time you want a balanced year, one where you don’t just crush out a bunch of action films from January to March and call it a year. So we were in quite the panic as the end of the year approached and major releases were dwindling. Thank god for Halloween. Can always count on at least one horror film that fits the bill. We prayed for it and we got it, Prey for the Devil.

To recap, Sister Ann is a nun working at the major American exorcism school in Boston (you know the one). She really wants to learn, but exorcism is a man’s job and so she settles for being a nurse. One day a young girl comes in and Ann feels a connection. As things spiral out of control for the young patient and Ann is attacked by a possessed elderly patient, the school agrees to let her learn. In particular, the main priest recognizes that she brings something new to the table: the outlook that the possessed could fight back against the demon and not just rely on the priests’ prayers. She works well on an attempted exorcism of the young patient, so another student in the class asks her to help with his sister. He can’t get the church to do an exorcism, so they decide to do an illegal one. Ann uses compassion to try to help and it seems to work! But, uh oh! Turns out it didn’t cause the sister ends up killing herself and Ann is sent back to the convent as punishment. While there she hears that the young girl, who had been released from the hospital, has had a full blow demonic relapse (you know how that goes). Ann knows she can help. Why? Because she realizes that the girl isn’t any ol’ girl… she’s the daughter she gave up when she first ended up at the convent! (What a twist!) She arrives just in time to go down into the school’s dungeon (you know what I’m talking about), save the girl, get possessed herself, and then defeat the demon. NBD. The school agrees to send her to the Vatican for further training, but will she get there safely or will the demons get her first. Find out in Prey for the Devil 2 (probably). THE END.

Ehhhhh, I don’t have much patience for films like this. They all seem kind of the same as anything else you might find on Netflix. Sure maybe it’s a step above the thousand weird Amityville stuff that gets churned out, but really there isn’t much to write home about in this one. It’s got a very obvious twist that is rotely set up and knocked down. The one fun angle is just how ridiculous the whole school is. It’s like Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital from House. Just like super new age hospital… specifically for possessed people. And they have their own set of doctors and ambulances. How do we know? We see the little girl totally kill a whole mess of priests, demonolgists (I presume that’s what they are called) and demon EMT’s. It makes for a very funny last third of the film. We can only assume it takes place in some other universe. Overall just meh, meh, meh.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Some regulatory agency needs to step in here. How are these patients being treated? Are the doctors certified? We are told that numerous patients are deemed lost causes, shipped out of the country to the Vatican, and die. They die! No one is asking any questions about that? Where’s Geraldo with the inside scoop? And it’s not just the patients. The little girl rips apart numerous people. Then kills two or three priests as Ann helps depossess her. Families aren’t asking what happened? Police aren’t interested? Government isn’t organizing a committee? I want a sequel where it’s just a Spotlight style thriller about the investigation into what is happening at this “school.” They sit there asking how a girl who killed between 6 and 10 people walked out a couple days later. Hot Take Temperature: Spicy Garlic. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Prey for the Devil? More like Prey for the Bad Movie Twins! You know what horror fans were clamoring for? Another exorcism film, obviously. Can’t get enough of those. Let’s go!

  • When Jamie and I exited the theater. I posed a question: how many exorcism films had we actually seen for BMT? I thought it was like … ten. Really we’ve seen three others for sure (The Rite, The Nun, The Devil Inside) and there are probably four others that range from “probably not” to “maybe” (Season of the Witch, Bless the Child, Seventh Son, The Haunting in Connecticut). I guess that it is a testament to the genre that watching even four exorcism films feels like watching a dozen …
  • The main thing this film has going for it is the set design is pretty cool. It posits a world where there is an ultra sophisticated possession hospital in the middle of Boston (complete with ambulances) and that is just a thing. That people get possessed and go to the possession hospital when they do.
  • I didn’t think the main character was necessarily good as far as acting, but I liked the arc she went on.
  • Specifically that she’s the Michael Jordan of exorcists, people just overlook her because she’s a woman.
  • That she basically invents the Triangle Offense of exorcism tactics by deciding that the devil is taking advantage of the most devout by preying on their extreme catholic guilt, and so to combat the devil is basically to forgive oneself for the sins you believe you have committed.
  • And in the end they send her off to the National Exorcism League in the Vatican to train up other exorcists and start in on Advanced Exorcism Theory.
  • But the movie is silly and does absolutely nothing new. It generally feels like we’ve seen this film a dozen times so far and it begs for a raison d’etre.
  • Setting as a Character (Where?) for a fictionalized Boston which is all about exorcisms. Worst Twist (How?) option for the obvious and inevitable reveal that the possessed girl is the daughter of the main character, which can be seen a million miles away. Closest to BMT I think, there is something there about it being a very silly exorcism film in the end.
  • I actually do think I’ll have to stop doing the Live Theater Ratings because we now go to the same one each time and it is a solid theater. I guess the only amusing thing about this particular trip was it was a beautiful sunny 70 degree day in October and we roll up to the theater to watch a bad horror film at 1PM on Saturday. I looked into the mirror in the bathroom and asked “Who am I?” before shaking the ennui off and heading in.

Check out the sneaky sequel preview Prey for the Devil 2: Armageddon in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs.

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1492: Conquest of Paradise Recap

Jamie

Welcome to class, students, today we are learning the history of Christopher Columbus films. There are surprisingly few, which maybe shouldn’t be so surprising because he did some bad shit and I don’t think you can really win. Either you show the horrific stuff and it’s a bummer and no one wants to see it. Or you gloss over the horrific stuff and it’s a bummer and no one wants to see it. Anyway, in 1992 people took the opportunity of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage to throw caution to the wind and make not one but two major Columbus films. Neither were good and so we’ll enjoy another one in the (probably) not too distant future. But is that it? No! There was also a German animated film called The Magic Voyage which starred Dom DeLuise as Columbus and Corey Feldman as Pico, a talking woodworm who eats away at Columbus’ square globe (???), thus convincing him that the world is round… I… uh… wait, why aren’t we watching The Magic Voyage? Oh right, cause we had to watch the major motion picture 1492: Conquest of Paradise. Whatever… 

To summarize, Topher Columbus is a big ol’ dumbo who is like “who are you to say I can’t sail across the ocean and find Asia?” and everyone is like “Uh, math, though?” and Columbus scoffs. But the Queen of Spain likes his bravado and everyone eventually kind of shrugs and says “if he dies, he dies… but if he doesn’t=$$$.” So he gets some boats and a crew and off they set. Everyone starts to get a little wary of their suicide mission until Columbus gets very lucky and they find land. He meets all the natives there and is pretty intrigued with this “paradise” that he has found. They leave a bunch of people there to set things up and head back to Spain. He is hailed a hero and even his skeptics are like “yo, that’s my dude Columbus.” He was also a shrewd businessman, so now he had a big stake in the land he discovered so he gins up support for a huge colonization effort centered on mining gold. When he gets back he finds all the people he left murdered and things start going pretty poorly. He tries to found a capital, but it falls apart, and he starts to meet resistance from his countrymen. There are a lot of tensions with the natives that result in Columbus doing some pretty terrible stuff (but according to the movie he feels really bad about it). He is relieved of his post and imprisoned in Spain, but the Queen has mercy and lets him have another voyage. His reputation is tarnished and he is real sad, but his son convinces him to tell his story, implying that it’ll make him a hero again. THE END.

I was so sure after watching this film that I would read what Ridley Scott thought about it and he would imply that maybe he misjudged the public’s hunger for Columbus content… but no! He basically said that Americans don’t like accents. What?! This movie is like reading a textbook. Maybe that’s why, Ridley. On a positive note, I think it’s beautiful to look at and I appreciate how much care was put into telling the story of Columbus without gross dramatizations. I think the historical inaccuracy accusations levies at it are overblown other than the fact that they show Columbus taking a whole bunch of natives as slaves and bother to have him sadly be like “I wish it wasn’t this way.” Seemed like they were trying to have their cake and eat it too in those moments. Overall, it’s just a little boring for a mainstream movie, but not bad for a movie that you throw on in history class for a little fun. As for Knight Rider 2000, that’s what I’m talking about. This is some real dumb funny stuff. It’s so stupid. It also has one of the greatest credits of all time “James Doohan as himself.” That’s right, they had Scotty from Star Trek do a cameo where everyone is like “OMG! OMG! It’s Scotty from Star Trek.” Every few scenes there was something bizarre on the level of the Scotty cameo to amuse and delight us. I loved it.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Get me some of that sweet Amerigo Vespucci drama. The reason the Columbus films haven’t worked are two-fold. It’s hard to weave a tale around a brutalizing dumbo. But guess what was actually dramatic (and kinda fun): the guy who they named America after. Why? Basically no one knows what he actually did or if he was a big ol’ scam artist liar. He’s even called the “most enigmatic and controversial figure in early American history” (that’s a quote). Uhhhhhh… drama, anybody? Get me that steamy Vespucci erotic thriller where he is hoodwinked by a femme fatale into falsifying letters about his voyages to America… man oh man, I’m getting all steamed up just thinking about it. Hot Take Temperature: Hot… that’s just a hot idea. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! 1492: Conquest of Paradise? More like 149-Snooze: Snooze-quest of Snooze-adise! Amirite? You better be ready for a nap because you are about to get the history lesson you didn’t want or need. Let’s go!

  • This is a history class film. This is a film you would be shown in history class that you had to get a permission slip from your parents because you see some breasts and some people die / get their hand chopped off.
  • It is a cool story I guess. In that a journalist went to Seville and looked over the primary source communications from Columbus about his trips and decided to write a script for a film about Columbus to coincide with the 500th anniversary of his voyage. Cool but boring.
  • Oh, I guess I did mention that: this film is a snooze. I don’t deny that it has qualities. It is usually a good idea to try and make historical films with accuracy (and this at least seemed to attempt to give some historical context to the atrocities committed by the genocidal maniacs that were explorers at the time). It is usually good to give a full telling of the events that occurred in a person’s life. But my god, the film is like an hour too long. Once he goes back to the New World there is just so little additional interesting stuff to tell.
  • Spoiler: Columbus was an idiot who thought the world was much smaller than it provably was at the time. He managed to bother the Spanish crown enough that they gave him some ships to go on his suicide mission to find Asia in precisely the wrong place. He accidentally found not-Asian instead and coincidentally it ended up being juuuuuuuuuust in a spot close enough to Europe that he didn’t die in the process. Good job man. Nailed it.
  • Depardieu is such an interesting actor in that he goes from the hot young actor in France, to a weirdly famous actor in America (somehow), to now … well, now he is an oddly obscure French actor who pops up as a mobster in French television shows because those parts don’t require him to move around much. He’s good in this I thought.
  • I could give or take basically everything else in the film. Beautiful though, so I guess you can give Ridley Scott credit for that.
  • Okay Setting as a Character (Where?) for Spain / the New World I suppose. A+ Specific Year Setting (When?) for the very rare year-in-the-title for a film set in the past. I think that is it. This film is closest to Bad, too boring.
  • Along with a year-in-the-title film from the past, we had to find a year-in-the-title film from the future (much easier). Jamie pointed out the TV movie Knight Rider 2000 was, indeed, set in the distant future of the year 2000 when being made in 1991. This. Film. Is. Bonkers. I watched the pilot for the original series. That is pretty bonkers as well, but it comes across as basically a standard how-solved-it, although very very 80s. This film though (1) is set in San Antonio and is arguably an extended advertisement for the Riverwalk there, (2) has the very important stakes of solving the assassination of the Mayor of San Antonio (?), (3) has an odd 2nd Amendment thing running through the film and (4) purports that Dan Quayle is president of the United States and there was a war with the Philippines and junk. Also, clearly a backdoor pilot for a new Knight Rider series starring Susan Norman and Carmen Argenziano (it feels like precisely the setup for the Highlander Series, except that was picked up). A. I’m definitely down for watching more backdoor pilots as BMT Friends. They are always amusing since they have to set up the premise of the show, but also can’t have huge stakes or else the pilot would waste a big storyline. The assassination of the Mayor of San Antonio. C’mon.

Read about the sequel to 1492: The Conquest of Paradise called 1585: Roanoke. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Virtuosity Recap

Jamie

Sometimes I dream of a world where everyone has the very niche interests that Patrick and I have such that a flood of content would exist in those microgenres. It’s like point-and-click adventure games (King’s Quest 37, anyone?), Wheel of Time (Seanchan spin-off series, anyone?), or 90’s erotic thrillers starring Jeff Fahey (sex on a motorcycle, anyone?). Like I want to see the alternate dimension where Sierra Studios is crushing out the SCU and Leisure Suit Larry is played by… well… Jeff Fahey, obviously. The point is that Virtuosity belongs in that world. After Lawnmower Man and Hackers stole our hearts (and Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace stole our brains), I could just gobble up VR films like candy. Delicious Virtuosity candy.

To summarize, Denzel Washington is a former cop serving hard time for killing the terrorist who murdered his family. One of his cop buddies has got him into a secret police training program that is trying to perfect virtual reality, but it’s not going perfectly. In fact, the prisoners are dying. The plug is pulled, but the psychotic serial killer simulation convinces the developer to get him out before he does. Inexplicably this total idiot listens to the bot. Seriously… this computer program had no power and the guy is like “OK, sure” and then after using nanobots to create a body for the dude he’s like “oh, wait, shit that was a bad idea” and runs away. It’s crazy. Anyway, he goes on a crazy crime spree so naturally the police get Denzel and psychologist Dr. Madison Carter on the case… as vigilantes, I guess. Soon they are tracking him across LA as he takes numerous people hostage. They realize that he is enthralled by the limelight and so they are able to track him to a wrestling event, but he somehow sets up Denzel to look like he kills an innocent hostage. He’s sent back to prison, but freed by the killer in an attempt to set off a fail-safe the police put in his body in case he tried to escape (you following this?). But the police don’t fall for it and Denzel and Madison are able to track down the killer who has taken Madison’s daughter hostage. There they take out the killer and use a simulation to trick him into revealing where he’s hidden the girl. Denzel saves the day then smooches Madison (probably, although maybe not right away since that would be in bad taste). THE END.

I kinda dug this movie. It’s a little convoluted with a lot of plot points and motivations flying around in 106 minutes, but I like the vibes. It’s a vibes movie. Crowe is ridiculous and it’s a little hard to see how he got from this to three consecutive Best Actor nominations. But maybe not. The best way to describe him in this film is “game” and another actor that I’ve always thought about that way is Tommy Lee Jones, who is great and definitely hasn’t shied away from being a little wild and crazy in a film. Everything else is fun and looks interesting. My main critiques would be the way they got the killer out of the computer was clever but a little clunky. The motivations didn’t make a lot of sense. And then the end was clever, but it didn’t seem like they could figure out how to successfully pull it off. Could it be?… Not that bad? As for River of Death, I love Dudikoff. Seems like a guy genuinely happy to go out and make these straight-to-video action films that I love. This one, though, is a bit meh. It’s almost too competently made to the point where it hits an uncanny valley between theatrical release and video schlock. Not enough funny dumb stuff… or even just having a little fun with it… you gotta have fun when you’re in the video realm. This didn’t feel like much fun.

Hot Take Clam Bake! I leave a little taste of a Dudikoff hot take I’m working on (and maybe will deploy in the future): Dudikoff should have played Batman. You’re welcome. As for Virtuosity, switch the roles, baby! Oh you’re thinking I mean switch Denzel and Crowe? Oh, no no no. Denzel is perfect in his role as cop-turned-convict-with-a-heart-of-gold. No I mean switch Crowe and Kelly Lynch (who played Dr. Madison Carter). Make the killer a smoking hot blonde. The point is that they can do anything with VR. Most serial killers are big ol’ gross people. Not when you got a computer wizard behind the console. This serial killer is a temptress. Did I just make Virtuosity an erotic thriller? You bet your ass I did. Crowe is now the bookish criminal psychologist who ends up a little too intrigued by the sexy killer. Classic psychologist-killer dynamics at play just before Denzel gets to bust in a blow up the show. I’m loving this. I just paid myself $20 million for this script. Hot Take Temperature: Caribbean Jerk. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Virtuosity? More like Viciosity … get it? Like virtuous versus vicious? Whatever, I didn’t like it anyways. Let’s go!

  • I feel like my impression of this film was mostly that it had notoriously outdated special effects from that Lawnmower Man era of almost being able to do full CGI landscapes, but now it would just look ridiculous. Weirdly, that isn’t really the case. When they are in the virtual world it looks like the regular world. And when they do do full landscapes it looks fine and actually is kind of an interesting contrast between these old school graphics and, basically, the zoot suit Crowe wears prior to him coming to the real world.
  • This film also feels like a film where it is a bit confusing as to how a sequel series hasn’t been considered. Consider this. The generation of artificial life is completely possible. From advanced neural nets which are, for all intents and purposes, perfectly human in behavior. To the nanobot bodies which were perfected during the course of the film. Already there is an interesting premise. What is humanity? What happens when this “lower” life form is inevitably subjugated by humanity? Basically, it could be Westworld, but in the real world. It could be I, Robot, but built from Virtuosity’s ruined shell of an IP. I think it at least would have been worth a shot, but apparently that IP is ice cold.
  • Crowe is ridiculous in this film. Actually terrible, but I’m sure that was intentional.
  • Washington on the other hand is naturally amazing. And I do dig the serial killer / fugitive thing they had going as far as the story. Decent futuristic noir I think.
  • The movie relies on a strained coincidence that not only is the evil terrorist who killed Denzel’s family inside of Crowe, but that this person is also the dominate personality. If not for that it seems inevitable that Crowe would have killed Denzel in cold blood (he is a robot and pretty much invincible) and killed hundreds before being destroyed.
  • Decent Setting as a Character (Where?) for future Los Angeles. And I’ll throw it a tiny Worst Twist (How?) for the finale whereby it looks like Denzel screwed up again and everyone is going to die, but et voilà, actually he did do it, they were just psyching us out for no reason. This film is closest to Good, it is undeniably entertaining and Denzel is good.
  • Since we swapped things a bit and did a future film for the Achievement cycle, we had to go hunting for a non-qualifying film set in the past. Harder than one would think. Originally we were going to watch Titanic: The Legend Continues … a notoriously bad animated film. But I didn’t want to. Instead we settled into our never ending goal of watching every Dudikoff film ever made. This time it was the bizarrely serious River of Death. It opens with a Nazi doctor killing a bunch of people and then betraying Donald Pleasance to escape to the Amazon. Smash cut to the 60s (I think) where Dudikoff is helping a doctor try and cure a disease that only seems to afflict natives there. Spoiler, it actually isn’t true, in the end after defeating the doctor, Dudikoff still has to leave his lady love behind because she has contracted what is effectively super-leprosy which kills those without pure aryan blood. You see, the film is super duper serious. There are some fun things there, but it is naturally brought down by Nazis, disease, and probably-racist depictions of cannibal natives of the Amazon. D. Dudikoff is usually good for a watch, but in this case it just isn’t as fun as him being drunk and fighting terrorists in a submarine / robot office building / train, you know?

You can read all about the Netflix original series Virtuosity 2.0 in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs 

Pearl Harbor Recap

Jamie

Back in the Age of Darkness (that would be B.B.M.T. by the Stallonian Calendar), Patrick and tried out a few ways to keep connected through long distance film watching. One such effort was essentially what we have in the Chain Reaction. We went back and forth giving each other movies to watch using connections made through the cast of the films. I recall almost none of the films we watched, but I do remember volleying it back to Patrick with Pearl Harbor. He reacted with horrified anger and I think he shot back a real doozy at me, which quickly led the venture into a death spiral. Fortunately we are much more mature than we were back then and BMT will survive this venture into the Bayverse.

To keep it short, Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett are best buds 4 life. They were born to fly and boy howdy do they. Just when Affleck finds his (other) true love in Kate Beckinsale, he’s informed that he’s getting into the action in the RAF. Hartnett is devastated (oh and Beckinsale, too). We see Affleck fly, earn everyone’s respect, and then crash into the ocean. Hartnett is even more devastated (oh and Beckinsale, too). Now both stationed in Pearl Harbor, they run into each other’s arms in their grief. Hartnett is super into it. Beckinsale is more conflicted, but ultimately they make sweet, sad love. Thrilled at this turn of events, Hartnett is super in love and Beckinsale is all like “sure, why not?” Well, maybe because Affleck is back, Jack! That’s right, he survived that ocean crash and has come back for his babe. He quickly catches wind of what’s up and is less than thrilled. He and Hartnett duke it out, but ultimately reach a truce of sorts just as Japan starts the titular attack on Pearl Harbor. Explosions galore as we witness a true feat of filmmaking. After the attack dies down the US plans the Doolittle Raid and guess who’s top of the list? Our boys. The Doolittle Raid is dope and so are Affleck and Hartnett who agree to let bygones be bygones for the good of the mission. They complete the raid and race to mainland China for rescue. There they crash and are captured by Japanese soldiers. Things go sideways and Hartnett sacrifices himself for Affleck and the rest of his crew. As he dies in Affleck’s arms he learns that Beckinsale is going to have his baby. Affleck and Beckinsale get back together and raise Hartnett’s son together and it’s beautiful and we cried. THE END.

I think Pearl Harbor would have rocked for real if they stripped almost everything but the love story. Follow your tagline, bros. You said it right, moments change history, but love changes lives. Make that the focus and a way to frame the actual events. Guess what people don’t love? Interrupting your dramatic love war story to watch Dan Akyroyd sweat out trying to convince Jon Voight that an attack is imminent. Tend to that love story and it will deliver you to drama that the overarching events deserve. Make it more like a classic story and less like a substitute teacher is scrambling for something to throw on the TV in history class. You can also probably tell the story in 2 hours that way. Only problem with my hypothesis is that I really dig the Doolittle Raid, which takes up a lot of time. So Maybe it’s still 3 hours, but you just have a better developed love story. As it is, the film struggles badly at points, but to me it is such an impressive feat of filmmaking that I’m willing to overlook most of that. I think it’s actually a bit underrated. Now it would be like Greyhound or Midway and feel like it was generated on a computer (which it would be). As for Slipstream, I kind of liked it. I expected cheapo trash, but there was real effort and care in the film, and it was actually kind of interesting. It ultimately seemed to suffer more from an inability to get it released so it could recoup even a little bit of the cost. Basically no one got to see it and it slipped into obscurity. It feels a little like Willow. If you caught it at the right time I bet you’d grow up being like “I used to watch this film about a robot and gliders and it was kind of cool,” but no one would know what you are talking about and they’d never make a Disney+ show about it.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Beckinsale should have ended up with Red. First of all, Affleck… kind of a dick. He’s all in love with Beckinsale but is immediately out of there at the faintest whiff of combat. Heroes are fun and sexy, but also crash a bunch (and crash Affleck did, multiple times). Not a great prospect. Second of all, Hartnett is a total weenie. I forgot how little his character does other than be all meek and mumbly. I faintly recall thinking that Beckinsale and him should have ended up together when I first watched the film. Nah, she doesn’t even really seem all that into him even after their sad lovemaking. Finally, Red seems like he’s got swag, man. Like he’s all gawky and weird looking and has a stutter but pulls one of the cutest girls around. He’s always ready for a party and everyone loves him. I’m shipping it. Beckinsale and Red forever, baby. Hot Take Temperature: Blazin’. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Pearl Harbor? More like Love Triangle, amirite? Yeah, that sounds about right. Let’s go!

  • I decided, since I’ve seen this film a few times, to watch it a bit differently. I cut it into 30 minute chunks and watched it how it was originally intended (I assume). As a mini-series.
  • Episode 1: We get a bit of backstory for our main heroes, Ben Affleck and Josh Harnett, involving them as kids. Ben Affleck is a bit of a hotshot, and volunteers to go to England to see some real action, but not before he falls in love and then smirks on a train saying “she loves me.” They are shipped off to Pearl Harbor / England. Grade: A, it actually is a good opening, I like all the people in it.
  • Episode 2: Ben Affleck is still a hot shot … but also “dies”. Everyone is real sad in Pearl Harbor … but also Hartnett is falling in love and things are getting a tad bit triangular. Meanwhile, Japan is planning to blow up Pearl Harbor and US Intelligence is like “dang, if only I were a bit more intelligent I would be able to figure out what Japan is going to do.” Grade: C, boring and mostly filler. Needed more actual action in Pearl Harbor.
  • Episode 3 gets a bit weird. You either have to cut it short, or you go to about when Affleck and Harnett wake up and realize the attack has begun. I think the latter makes the most sense. Affleck comes back, there is a lot of drama, and you see the beginning of the attack (but prior to the realization that it is an attack for most people). Grade: B, good set up and you get to see some action.
  • Episode 4 is obviously the big attack sequence and it is pretty incredible. Huge set pieces, pretty brutal, and culminates in the sweet dogfighting action. You can go right up until the Japanese decide to pull back the third wave and leave the quiet aftermath to Episode 5. Grade: A+, this is where the show would really shine and leave people wondering why the show is 6 episodes instead of 5 with this being the penultimate kicker of the bunch.
  • Episode 5 is the aftermath, but mostly about putting together the Doolittle Raid. Incredible. Just 25 minutes of them being like “we want skinny ladies, these ladies are fat” and stripping parts off of planes. The repeat of “we are going to win this war because there is something special about these American boys” from episode 2 is also fun. Grade: A. I like all the details about Doolittle and how crazy it was. It could have been a movie by itself.
  • Episode 6, the finale which is mostly just the Doolittle raid, and then Ben Affleck crying for 20 minutes. Pretty exciting stuff, even if it is a bit confusing that five Americans seemingly shoot and kill 40 Japanese soldiers in China to escape. B, exciting, but also a tad bit confusing as to the point? I guess it is because Pearl Harbor is actually kind of a downer, so they needed a solid American victory to put a proper button on the film.
  • So here’s the thing. Grades: A, C, B, A+, A, B. That uh … is a good movie? What’s bad about it again? Oh yeah, the C is actually an F if you watch the film straight through and it is way too long for one sitting. Michael Bay, release the Bay Cut mini-series, apparently it makes it better.
  • I’m going for Product Placement (What?) for Coca-Cola which is where they store blood in one sequence. In reality it is more like product placement for America itself, which is Bay’s MO. An A+ Setting (Where?) for Pearl Harbor. And a Specific Date (When?) for it all set around the date that will live in infamy, December 7th, 1941. In the end I’m doing it, this is a Good movie, it gets you going.
  • To go with Pearl Harbor we went hunting for another film about flying and found Slipstream, a very straightforward film set in a dystopian future where there is a stream of high wind that people ride on and everyone lives as nomads or in bunkers. It stars Mark Hamill as the main villain, and he’s great. The story is very weird, involving a robot who wants to go and find other robots to live with, and the consequences of that. It is definitely one of those films where you can tell whoever wrote or produced it was really into ultra lightweight flying and gliding and used this movie as an excuse to film a bunch of totally awesome shots of totally rad airplanes. He must have loved it. If you want an example of how Hamill’s career really turned sideways, this is as good as any, but it is a bit of a downer and feels really “60s British” (if you know what that means). B- I think.

Did you know they made a television movie sequel to the Pearl Harbor Mini-series? Yeah, it was called Pearl Harbor 2: The Manchurian Candidate, you can read about it in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Bolero Recap

Jamie

There are times in BMT where we need to sit down and eat our broccoli. You’d think that would mean watching films that are kind of good (aren’t we aiming to watch the worst of the worst?) but really it’s the very bad films that aren’t just subjectively bad… but like… actually bad. Maybe they star Bill Cosby. Or perhaps they are spoof films (and not one of the few good ones). There are numerous flavors to these objectionable films and Bolero is one such film. Long considered one of the worst films of all time, you would think this would be primo, day-one type stuff for BMT. But like Blame it on Rio, it has a fatal flaw… it is gross. Like dirty old men ogling young women kind of gross. So we delayed, delayed, delayed. But you can only delay so long when a film is considered this bad. So here we are. Buckle up.

Bo Derek is a young woman just graduated from a prestigious college and thus able to inherit her considerable fortune. Now free to live as she wishes, she sets off with her best friend Catalina and her chauffeur Cotton to see the world (oh, that’s nice) and find a handsome rich man to give away her virginity to (uh oh). They first head off to Morocco where she meets a sheik, who seems like a nice candidate. However, just before they make love he overindulges and falls asleep. Immensely disappointed in the misadventure she insists they head to Spain. There she sees a handsome toreador, Angel, and decides he is an even better candidate. He has a GF and it’s implied he kind of sucks (and by that, I mean he’s kinda sorta maybe a bit of a sex criminal), but Bo Derek doesn’t care. She’s like ‘get outta my way’ and really very easily seduces him. Shortly thereafter, though, he is gored by a bull and to put it in medical terms: his dick broke. This broken dick situation is a real buzz kill for Bo Derek so she decides she gotta turn up the heat and fix his dick. This oddly involves her basically taking on his role in the relationship and becoming a toreador herself. Unsurprisingly, a bunch of this stuff doesn’t work cause it’s decidedly not sexy. After foiling the sheik’s attempt to kidnap her away from Angel, she returns and finally gets his mojo back. With his dick ailment cured, Angels and Bo Derek get married and that’s sweet as long as you don’t think about any of the other stuff in the movie. THE END.

This wasn’t nearly as unseemly as I thought it might be. Some aspects of the story definitely should be removed and never discussed again (looking at you, Paloma), but at its core the film is more about love than sex… and that’s not something I expected. The most unseemly aspect of the primary story is mostly that the sex scenes seem extraneous, which makes you think they were inserted for a particular, gross purpose. Which they were. Despite this, the film is quite bad. It’s boring and mostly just weird in how it presents the story to the audience. I like the supporting actors, but Bo Derek is not good. Basically whatever the Derek’s were up to wasn’t working, but the other non-Derek parts of the film were surprisingly fine. As for The Terror Within, I was impressed with how hard they tried in the end. The monster effects were pretty poor, which I would think would make it hard for the actors to take the film seriously, but they did. Kudos to them. That’s about all I can say though. Everything about it was mediocre to poor and there is only so much of that I can take before I lose interest.

Hot Take Clam Bake! I bet Angel’s dick worked the whole time. Literally Angel is mostly OK after the goring incident except these doctors specifically are like “his dick might not work.” You’re saying everything is working fine except just his dick. Just that one part of his body that also happens to be the plot of this film? How convenient. I bet the doctors were like “you gotta take it easy while you’re recovering.” and he was like “yo, docs, I got this lady and I can’t keep her off me… how about you just tell her my dick doesn’t work” and they were probably like good idea. But after they did that Bo Derek started doing all kinds of crazy stuff she thought was sexy (but he wasn’t into) like smoking cigars and battling bulls and he was so turned off that his dick started actually not working for non-medical reasons. It was an uphill battle from there. This is all leading to my spinoff film, Angel’s Dick: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It. Hot Take Temperature: Desert Heat.

Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Bolero? More like Boler-oh-shit-this-movie-sucks! Amirite? There are a million things wrong about this movie, and most of them involve people behind the scenes being perverts. Let’s go!

  • This is a movie we had to do for BMT, because it is considered to genuinely be one of the worst films ever made.
  • At the same time this film is made by a director who twice divorced his wife to trade up for an underage (at least Bo Derek was) new wife. It is insanely gross. Both times the rumor seems to be that people surrounding John Derek were like “I’m going to call the cops if you do this” and then he went to Germany or Mexico to evade potential prosecution. Allegedly I guess. I’m just mostly repeating what I read on IMDb, you can read all about it there.
  • This film had producers who were like “John … John, listen. We need it to be more erotic. I know it is already X rated and your wife has sex scenes so insane that people are thinking they are unsimulated, but for real, we need it more erotic to really get people’s engines going.” Apparently he said no, but you can hardly tell, the movie is mostly sex scenes.
  • And the kicker? There are nude scenes involving a genuine 14 year old. What the fuck? How is this legal to watch in America? How did I watch this on a streaming service legally? You’ve soiled my brain John Derek goddamn you! At least Olivia d’Abo seems fairly open about the production and being seemingly completely on board with it.
  • Ana Obregón is funny and fun in the movie. To some degree so is George Kennedy. And once they get past the initial “I want to lose my virginity to a Sheik” storyline the idea of this horse riding savant falling in love with an unconventional bullfighter and nursing him back to health works to some degree at least.
  • Good Setting as a Character for Spain (Where?) for the bulk of the film. That’s about it. The film is closest to Bad, it is boring and disgusting once you think about all the shit that went into the production.
  • We decided to bring along one of George Kennedy’s 80s creature features The Terror Within. Honestly, also a pretty gross film. The creature feature aspect is interesting, and the actors are very into it. The monster looks like shit, but overall the effects and the set design are decent enough to be entertaining. The problem is there is a huge underlying storyline involving the monster specifically seeking out, kidnapping, and raping women, and then this demon seed maturing and becoming a monster in a matter of hours. You know … the terror within. This feels like the hook for an early 80s Stephen King book where you’d shake your head and wonder exactly how much cocaine he was doing at the time. In a movie it ends up making it less palatable and grimier than I would have liked. D I think, I wouldn’t ultimately recommend it to anyone because I wouldn’t be sure if they would really enjoy it.

Man, what a downer of a review. But you can check out the sequel Bolero 2: Toro Enojado. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Don’t Worry Darling Recap

Jamie

Ooooooooh baby. BMT Live! This is the year that it’s back, baby. What better way to celebrate than to really mix it up. See some schlock, but also throw in an Oscar contender that maybe reached just far enough off track to qualify for BMT. That’s Don’t Worry Darling. Full disclosure, I was actually already looking forward to the movie. Pugh is one of my favorite young actors. Best part of both the good and bad films I’ve seen her in. I also thought the drama potentially was putting it in a no-win position. That it could be fun and well made, but still falter with critics because it wasn’t good enough to overcome the headache they had to endure while following its press tour. So I was really coming in with an open mind and pretty excited that we could include a film in BMT that I was probably going to go see anyway.

To summarize, Florence Pugh and Harry Styles are two very beautiful people living a utopian 50’s lifestyle sexing each other up like sexy people do. They live in a company town run by Victory headed by Chris Pine (also sexy). There are a lot of rules, the biggest one is that no unauthorized person is allowed to go to Headquarters. One day at a party everyone is minding their own business being sexy when one of their friends, Margaret, starts to freak out. Shortly thereafter, while riding the trolley, Pugh sees a plane crash in the mountains and runs out after it, eventually ending up at HQ. She touches the building there and blacks out, waking up back at her house. Her brain seems to go on the fritz following that event culminating in her witnessing Margaret slit her own throat and jump from her roof. Decidedly unsexy stuff. The town doctor (an unusually unsexy man) attempts to drug her, but Pugh resists and at a real bizarre party where Harry Styles gets a promotion and then dances like a maniac for like an hour, she confronts her friend Bunny who tells her to shut her sexy mouth. The climax of the film has Pugh realizing that she’s actually stuck in a VR world created by Pine, which Styles has purchased. Every day Styles wakes up and takes care of her body while her mind continues to live out her day. Horrified, she kills Styles and makes a break for HQ. She is able to make it just in time to break out of the simulation. THE END.

As I said, I was already interested in seeing this film. So I came in ready to be like “this isn’t as bad as all these dumb reviewers said!” Welllll, I mean I guess that’s technically true. I think Pugh is amazing and the visuals are very pleasing. I even think Styles is a lot better than people are making it seem. Is he miscast? Sure, I certainly think it would have been better with LaBeouf, who would have had a better sense of how to play the character (who is a loser pretending to be a winner in a simulation). But his hilarious (and I mean bonkers hilarious) dance scene is enough for me to give him some credit. So all that alone seems better than BMT qualification. That said I hated the twist and thought the whole simulation angle was pretty ridiculous and cliche. So basically change everything about the last third and it’s probably a pretty good movie. As it is, it’s a decidedly mediocre film with some really great performances.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Are we sure the simulation is bad? Hear me out. Obviously the specific situation that Pugh is in is horrible, but think about this: Styles is a giant loser. Like a super huge loser. And yet on whatever loser salary he can earn he is able to earn the pleasure for two people to enjoy what seems like a pretty sexy simulation life. You could have a lovely couple work half as hard as giant loser Styles, finish up their days, smooch, take care of their own bodily functions like normal couple do and then drop into their creepy Clockwork Orange bed and enjoy sexy food, sexy drink, and sexy sex in the sexy 50’s world they have at their fingertips. It’s good. That’s probably why Pine is killed by his wife at the end out of nowhere. She probably was like, “this idiot is running a genius simulation into the ground by marketing exclusively to giant losers!” She probably programmed all of it and is horrified by his poor job as CEO and so has to kill him. Hot Take Temperature: Lemon Pepper. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Don’t Worry Darling? I think I will worry thank you very much, but exclusively about the production troubles of this film. Let’s go!

  • This movie obviously has not only a kernel of something good in it, it has the kernel of something great. Like 60% of this film is great.
  • It is totally let down by the end though. The biggest crime isn’t even the weirdo twist that Harry Styles sucks and has forced his wife into a simulation against her will. That is just a pretty generic (and easily predicted) twist. The biggest issue is just like … why does the wife kill Chris Pine again? It seems totally unmotivated. As if they didn’t know quite how to end the movie after the reveal and so they had to figure out some reason for Pugh to truly extract herself from the situation without begging for a sequel to resolve this loose thread concerning Pine’s company and world crashing down around him.
  • It begs the question so hard that my mind can’t even really wrap itself around the full picture of the film after seeing it. I can’t square the circle. There is basically no indication of any sort of motivation for the wife to kill Pine. No friction. No concern over the direction of the company. Nothing about her being a victim in the affair as well (although that is the easiest explanation). If you cut out just that bit I think I could psych myself into liking the film quite a lot. With that bit though I can’t help but admit that it is, at best, merely a below average thriller with uninteresting sci-fi ideas.
  • Pugh is incredible in this film, and it is a bit sad that it will probably go unrecognized.
  • And Wilde’s direction is at worst fine, at best quite good. There are some reviews which suggest it is something amateurish or something? I don’t buy it. The set design and way it is shot is solid.
  • Worst Twist (How?) is all I got for this one, for the sci-fi reveal of Styles having trapped his wife in a simulation where he gets to live out his dream of not being a huge loser. Closest to Good easily, really just a step away from it.
  • Live Theater review time. I think this is the first ever BMT Live where both Jamie and I were in the same theater. I think he would agree that the AMC Framingham is quite good. I really have very very little complaints having gone there now probably a dozen times. It is so much better than most other theater experiences I’ve had over the years for BMT that it is kind of boring even to review it. It is a solid theater, with comfy seats, and I rarely experience problems with people talking and junk. It’s good.

I’ll leave it there. Check out the description of the sequel Keep on Not Worrying Darling in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Apollo 18 Recap

Jamie

There are some genres that have oversized importance in BMT. Exorcism movies, for example. I feel like we’ve watched like 1000 exorcism movies and they are all basically the same. Like some woman is in an insane asylum and the doctors are all like “she’s been here for thirty years and all she draws is this dumb picture over and over and she never talks.” Then our main character walks in and she starts singing like Ring Around the Rosie in a child-like voice before screaming with sharp demon teeth and lunging at the main character… that’s a general picture of all of those movies. They are some of the worst films we’ve ever watched. Then there are some significant genres that for whatever reason it seems like we’ve only ever dipped our toe. Found footage feels a little like that. Never even seen a Paranormal Activity film, so some real big ones are missing. So of course we decided to do a very minor (and very weird) entry in the genre with Apollo 18.

To summarize, my gawd! Someone just posted some secret footage on lunartruth.com. And boy howdy, you won’t even believe it. It’s all this stuff about a super duper secret Apollo 18 moon mission run by the government. The astronauts are psyched and agree not to tell their families and off they go to space. Everything seems to go well. Walker and Grey get to go to the surface and have some moon fun with their moon friends until, wait… what’s that? They find a Soviet moon lander. But the Soviets didn’t land on the moon. WRONG! They did and they died. Meanwhile the astronauts have also collected all these moon rocks and didn’t they put those rocks in one place? So why are they in a different place?!?!?!?! Spooky. They prepare to leave the moon cause it’s too scary but on launch the module is damaged by an unknown force. When they try to go out and fix things, Walker is attacked and we see an alien in his suit. By the time Grey is able to get him back inside he finds that he has a moon rock embedded in his chest. Walker begins to act very strange and is clearly a moon alien person, but Grey won’t give up on him and tries to get him to the Soviet lander as it’s their only chance. On the way to the lander Walker realizes he can’t go back and infect Earth so he runs off and Grey goes on to the lander by himself. He is just able to take off, but before he gets to the command module he is infected by the aliens and they all crash and die. THE END.

I am bewildered by the existence of this film. It feels like a SyFy original or something. I’m not even sure it would make it on some of the streamers nowadays and appears to only exist because there was a very brief moment where the demand for found footage was so high that supply couldn’t keep up. They had to figure out everything and anything that could theoretically be a found footage film. Its biggest crime is that there is never a single solitary scary moment in the entire 86 minute runtime. Not only is it not scary because all the events took place 50 years ago on the moon (not feeling the existential threat in that), but also because they actively appear to not want to do anything scary. It’s mostly just a couple of old timey pals saying “aw shucks” in a lunar module. I guess I appreciate it because it’s a supremely weird film, and I kinda dug some of the acting, but that doesn’t make up for this being barely a movie. Feels almost like a viral marketing campaign for a movie that never came out. Like during the credits it would say “JK, that actual movie is coming out next year. Hope you enjoyed the trailer.” As for The Dark Side of the Moon, it certainly fit nicely with Apollo 18. I liked the effort put forth and the more bizarre aspects of the plot (mostly concerning the Bermuda Triangle and an advanced AI computer system that was made to look like a sexy lady… odd). Works best just like it is: a low budget science fiction oddity that you can throw on late at night for some fun. Pretty much what we are looking for.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Lunartruth.com is a government website. It’s a set up. A government conspiracy to leak the Apollo 18 info and then be all like “whaaaa?” We see at the end of the film that the lunar module crashes into the command module. The footage was on these modules. So how did that footage get found? There must have been an Apollo 19 (spooky!) that set out just to collect the footage (scary!). Then Apollo 20 set out to collect the debris left behind by that mission after it was overrun with moon rock aliens and exploded. Apollo 21 set out to help Apollo 20, which found they didn’t have the power to lug all that back to Earth. Apollo 22 was set up to analyze the debris in space, once they realized they couldn’t let Apollo 20 or 21 return for fear of infection (they all died of hunger). Apollo 23-32 were sent up to supplement the analysis until Apollo 33 was sent to destroy all the previous Apollo’s, turn them into space dust, and then return with the pertinent info. Once back home they locked the footage away, killed the Apollo 33 astronauts and said they all died testing out weather balloons. Years later when some people started sniffing around the much scarier events surrounding Apollo 34 (you don’t wanna know, it’s too scary), the government decided to release the decidedly unscary Apollo 18 details in order to muddy the waters. Hot Take Temperature: Blazin’. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Apollo 18? More like Appalling 18! Amirite?! Oh, good, my favorite horror genre. Found footage. Let’s go!

  • Oh you piece of trash genre. You are the genre that keeps on taking. Taking hours from my life, and money from my pocket. Begone trash genre! BEGONE!
  • Sorry, just had to get that out of my system. This isn’t the worst the genre has to offer but it is pretty bad. Below average for sure. Because …
  • It isn’t scary.
  • It makes no sense.
  • You know everyone is going to die and you don’t care.
  • To start from the top: I was not scared once during this film. This is a problem because it is a horror film. This is self-explanatory.
  • This movie is nonsensical. You’re telling me that the Russians landed on the moon and the dark side of the moon is filled with rock spiders? That’s the conspiracy here. That for 50 years no one has figured out that there is life on the moon and that that life is rock spiders and the Russians landed on the moon at one point? Give me a break.
  • Which immediately points to the fact that obviously everyone is going to die in the film, because … then we’d all know about the rock spiders right? And the Russian thing? There is no way they could come back. A little deflating that.
  • Funny, that isn’t even the biggest crime of the film. The biggest crime is that they made a fake conspiracy website as an advertising mechanism and then IN THE MOVIE they pretend the movie was posted on that website. Thanks, I hate it.
  • I’m going to give it a resounding Setting as a Character (Where?) for the moon. That’s a rare one. And it is also a Secret Holiday Film (When?) because the launch is specifically right around Christmas, they say so. And of course a Worst Twist (How?) for the ultimate reveal that the dark side of the moon is filled with rock spiders which take over your body and kill you somehow. This is a BMT film through and through.
  • To go with Apollo 18 we obviously needed to find another film, set in the future, featuring the dark side of the moon. What’s this, there is a film literally called The Dark Side of the Moon?! How convenient. This movie is pretty bizarre. It is about a group of astronauts traveling behind the moon who suddenly lose power. At the same time a very old shuttle from NASA floats up and they’re like “what thuuuuuuuu?!” Ultimately it turns out that the pilot of the shuttle is the devil himself (not joking) who is gearing up to finally get his 666th victim (how inconvenient). Oh, did I mention that Satan lives in the triangular region that stretches between the dark side of the moon and the Bermuda Triangle? Yeah, the Bermuda Triangle is quite literally the devil’s playground. Anyways, they defeat the devil, the end. Weird film. B-, weird enough to be somewhat interesting, but not interesting enough to be fun.

You best believe I describe the super secret sequel Manchurian Candidate 2: Apollo 19: Rock Spiderverse Chronicles in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Ben-Hur (2016) Recap

Jamie

Even when you first saw the trailers for Ben-Hur (2016) you couldn’t help but think “that seems like a mistake.” The 1959 film version was the Titanic of its time and has mostly endured unscathed. So imagine the year is 2050 and you see a trailer for Titanic starring ZDawg (the biggest star on ZippyZapp, the only way people watch TV in the future). It’s 69 minutes long and was created using an AI system they’ve dubbed Camera-On. It took four and a half hours to make and ZDawg never shot a scene, he just said the Gettysburg Address into a microphone and they generated his performance from that. Would you go see it? The answer is of course, yes. That sounds amazing. Besides, I’ve heard ZDawg’s performance is transcendent. He’s a front runner for the Zoscar (the new name for the Oscars) and I can’t wait for his next film ZDawg Presents: ZDawg: The Story of ZDawg.

Alright, let’s get into it. Ben-Hur is the classic story of Ben-Hur, a prince in Jerusalem, and his adopted Roman brother Messala. Messala has got the hots for Ben-Hur’s sister and Ben-Hur’s mom is not into that idea at all. Messala decides the best course of action is to join the Roman army and become so hot that they’ll have to say yes. Flash forward years later and Messala returns as the head of the army in Jerusalem. Pontius Pilate is coming to town so Messala asks Ben-Hur to tell everyone to cool it so that he doesn’t look like a dope. Ben-Hur is kinda like whatever, but that doesn’t work out so well when a zealot attempts to assassinate Pilate from his house. Oops. Messala is quite peeved and sentences his family to death and Messala to salvery on a Roman ship. During a battle his ship ends up crashing and Ben-Hur is able to make it to land. There he encounters a chariot racer, Ilderim, who recognizes that Ben-Hur is the best he’s ever seen. Like the Michael Jordan of chariot racing. They head off to Jerusalem where Ilderim sets up a race between Mesalla and Ben-Hur. In the big climactic race, Ben-Hur is a master of disaster and crushes Mesalla, both figuratively and literally. Afterwards, Ben-Hur is still a big ol’ saddo cause he life kinda sucks but then he sees Jesus and witnesses his death on the cross and his family turns out not to be dead (and also are miraculously healed of leprosy) and he reconciles with Mesalla and they all leave Jerusalem together as a fambly. THE END.

Uhhhh, I mean, what can you say about a wholly unnecessary film? At no point was this ever going to get good reviews. Impossible. You can’t remake a classic film as a CGI centric action film and get rewarded. You must be punished and BMT is your ultimate punishment. All that being said, it’s not like this is the worst thing in the world. I didn’t mind 90% of the film and they didn’t botch the chariot race, which is the most important bit. I didn’t love that they chose to change how Ben-Hur gets in trouble with Messala. Rather than have it truly be an accident (a tile from his roof falls off at such a moment to foster a false accusation of attempted assassination) they switched it to where Ben-Hur harbors a fugitive zealot who ends up trying to assassinate Pilate for real. Messes a little with the plot. Also they had to condense the plot down to two hours, which really makes for a rushed middle act about Ben-Hur’s time at sea. Otherwise I think it got dinged more for what it represented than what it actually was. As for The New Gladiators, it’s important that we watch some of the foreign films that dominated low budget action films of the time. This included Filipino and, like The New Gladiators, Italian films. But we might have to give it another college try, cause I didn’t think The New Gladiators was all that good. It’s just too low budget. Really looks super duper cheap. Some of the acting was fun, but when a 1984 film looks like it’s from the 60’s my brain starts to tune out. I want some visual invention with my low budget film and this had literally zero.

Hot Take Clam Bake! You would come away from this film thinking, ‘boy, Ben-Hur’s natural athleticism clearly shows him to be the superior chariot racer.’ I wouldn’t blame you for being totally wrong like a dumb wrong person. That’s cause they never let us see Messala cook. It’s one race! Messala has clearly won thousands (perhaps millions?) of chariot races. He is the undisputed champ. You might be like, ‘but surely now Ben-Hur is going to go on a championship run that Messala could only dream of.” You wish! First of all, Ben-Hur was driven almost entirely by revenge. You think he’s going to have the competitive fire burning after that? Hardly. He’s going let things loose, put on a few pounds and his career will be done in a couple years. Messala was fueled by imagined slights. All he needed was a tile falling near him to be like “if you die, you die.” He’ll be back. Sure he’s been catastrophically injured, but he’s been through wars before and come back full strength. In total his career will far outstrip Ben-Hur. Hot Take Temperature: Spicy Garlic. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Ben-Hur? More like Ben-Huh?! Amirite? A remake of a four hour epic in a svelte 120 minutes? It’s a choice. Let’s go!

  • I’ve seen the 1959 Ben-Hur but not the original or read the book. I don’t think that matters ultimately though. This isn’t the 1959 film. That film is an oddly beautiful epic with a whole subplot that is, effectively, just Sunday School: The Movie. It is weird, but also, again, incredible in its scale.
  • This film is small potatoes. It is no wonder critics seemed to be perplexed. When comparing it to the epic scale of the 1959 film what are you supposed to think? This film is garbage when you consider that!
  • On the other hand I liked the acting well enough, and I think there were a lot of interesting ideas, specifically the idea of forgiveness between the antagonist and protagonist in the end. It necessitated the odd decision to make Pontius Pilate the bad guy … I’m pretty sure he’s not even in the original film, so that was either invented whole cloth or is from the book or something.
  • Morgan Freeman sleep walks through this though. Didn’t care for his part too much.
  • And I could have used a bit more chariot racing given that they were already cutting a huge amount of the Jesus stuff. Flesh out Ben-Hur’s natural elite athleticism a bit!
  • Oh, I should also mention that in this they show Jesus’ face which is a pretty big let down. One of the cool things from the 1959 film is that they never do, almost like the glory of his image is too much to film. Here he’s just some goober.
  • You like that very non-epic review of this very non-epic film? Sorry, not sorry.
  • I wish there was some sweet chariot product placement, but alas. Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for Israel. How about this for a Secret Holiday Film (When?) for the original Easter baby! I think this is BMT, it is an amusing bomb of a film, but also eminently watchable given its runtime.
  • This week we also watched The New Gladiators, a weirdo Italian film about … well, new Gladiators. After their television show about people on motorcycles killing each other ends, the television executives at Murder TV think up a new awesome show: “people on motorcycle kill each other, but this time in the newly renovated dystopian Colosseum.” There are some very fun Clockwork Orange-like scenes, and a lot of Italian actors dubbed over in English. Overall it is mostly just cool to finally watch one of these films, a film that was made for video release in a foreign country with mostly foreign actors (and one or two token Americans of intermediate fame) and then dubbed over. Wouldn’t recommend it though, just a little too much of a nothing film. D.

Check out the sequel idea in the Quiz: Ben-Hur: Back to the Minors. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Grease 2 Recap

Jamie

Generally for a BMT film there is some context as to how it has attained a coveted spot in the BMT rotation. Perhaps it was released around the time BMT was created and it’s stuck in our minds as a quintessential “bad movie,” even if it has now been forgotten to the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Perhaps it stars an actor we’ve come to know and love during our BMTventure. Perhaps it so perfectly fits an otherwise restrictive BMT cycle that it can’t be denied. But sometimes a movie has none of these things. It just is a movie that we have always heard is bad and so we say “sure why not.” Grease 2 is kinda like that. Did I have a burning desire to watch Grease 2? Not really. In fact, I don’t even really like Grease all that much. I remember seeing it in theaters during the 1998 rerelease and my main takeaway was “boy, that was long,” and it was only 110 minutes. So yeah… it’s Grease 2!

To summarize, Sandy’s cousin Michael has arrived at Rydell and is instantly smitten with Stephanie, the head of the Pink Ladies. One problem, she only dates T-Birds and her recent ex, Johnny, isn’t about to let him into the gang. At the coolest place in town, the local bowling alley (the one thing the movie gets right), the Cycle Lords show up to harass the T-Birds. Michael soon realizes how he can win over Stephanie: become the coolest biker in town. He buys a run down bike and starts training in a big ol’ training montage. In order to get spare parts he helps people cheat on homework for cash. Basically, he’s already the coolest kid around, but still pursues this mysterious biker persona to impress Stephanie. Soon thereafter he is able to crush the Cycle Lords and takes Stephanie out on a date, all as the Cool Rider, a masked vigilante that sounds a lot cooler than it is. The T-Birds are incensed and promise to take out Cool Rider at the big talent show… which I forgot to mention is a big part of the film. When the talent show arrives Cool Rider is chased off by the T-Birds who no joke think they accidentally kill him by running him over the side of a cliff. They all shrug because they are maniacs and go back to the talent show. There Stephanie sings a solo for her dead beau and is crowned queen of the show, with Johnny as her king. At the graduation party later, the Cycle Lords show up, but so does Michael and he’s like… super cool. He defeats everyone with his radness, becomes a T-Bird and smooches Stephanie for sure. THE END

My overall impression of the film is that it’s pleasant enough, but the songs suck. It’s a lethal combination because a pleasant film becomes real boring when 80% of the songs are laughably bad. It’s not without some positive notes, though. My favorite bit is that the T-Birds are legit losers in this one. It gives a better real world impression of the gangs as fleeting high school fantasies. The instant they graduate it will all fade, but in the moment they pretend that they rule the roost (even when it’s clearly not true, like in this case). As for our friend, Class of 1999 is quite a fun film. I’m a well known Keach-head (we talking about The Keach?) and he is in full on “I have to watch every film this maniac made” mode. Much like Brion James there seems to have been a point where The Keach decided that he would never say no and also when he said yes he’d also do whatever the hell he wanted. It’s pretty great. Recommend.

Hot Take Clam Bake! The songs in Grease 2 are good!… JK, not the case. I will say that it’s pretty obvious that Michael and Stephanie will last 3 months at best. He’s a genius. She won’t date him until he is part of a gang full of losers, showing questionable judgment at best. By the time he’s leaving to attend Oxford the romance will have fizzled. He’ll give her a lackluster, “come with me to England,” but like Hardin in the After series she’s going to be asking what there would be in England for her? She just gonna bum around with no friends while he goes off to his friends in the publishing/academic world? No! She’s Stephanie and she looks just like a young Michelle Pfeiffer. You can’t stop that train from rolling on up the street to Hollywood where she becomes the biggest star in the world. One day he’ll show up at her latest premier and say “remember me?” and she’ll say “nope.” Boy, that hot take was a journey. Hot Take Temperature: Truffalo. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Grease 2? More like Greasy Poo, amirite? Gross, but yeah, at least from one perspective I’m right. Let’s go!

  • If you were to think it through, what is the one thing Grease 2 needs to get right? The songs, right? The songs from Grease are classics. Summer Lovin’, Beauty School Dropout, Grease Lightning, You’re the One that I Want. You see, off the top of my head I can name four of them. So obviously the one thing you’re going to be 100% sure of is that you got some real bangers for the Grease 2 soundtrack, right?
  • WRONG. Besides Cool Rider (which is catchy enough I was singing the refrain from it for a week after), none of them are particularly catchy, and most are, in fact, downright terrible. Reproduction is probably the worst of the bunch, although not because it isn’t catchy (it is), but because it is an absurd pseudo-parody of what a Grease 2 should sound like.
  • Jamie likes to do hot takes. You want to hear mine? Rock N’ Roll High School is what Grease 2 should have been. You jump forward to a whole other era and thus you jump to a whole other genre of popular music. The film becomes about how classic musicals are out, and what is in is rock n’ roll and casting real life musical artists in films. Temperature: Caribbean Jerk.
  • Pfeiffer is actually incredible in this, she is head and shoulders above anyone else in the film IMO. Also some fun stuff with the T-birds which makes them kind of hapless losers once Travolta left. There are bits and pieces where you can see what they were going for, but ultimately the songs let them down.
  • I think we have a bonafide Planchet Alert (Who?) for Leif Green as Davey, complete with him riding exclusively in a sidecar the entire film, it is great. I don’t think there is anything else of concern. This film is closest to BMT, it is kind of crazy fun in its weirdness and easy breezy.
  • To pair up a future film with Grease 2 we obviously went to a classic in futuristic high schools: Class of 1999. The follow up to the quite good Class of 1984 (we are the future!), this film is one weird exercise in tepid special effects and the suspension of disbelief that Joshua John Miller is some sort of hardcore gangbanger in dystopian Detroit circa 1999. Much like RoboCop, what is the solution to the crime problem in the future where super criminal teenagers kill for fun? ROBOTS! The robot teachers, led by Crichton-esque albino (?) scientist Stacy Keach who compulsively eats bananas (?), obviously decide that murder most foul is the only way to really clean up the streetz. This ultimately leads to a showdown between the gang leaders and this unstoppable force. Seeing Pam Grier is fun. But really, the main thing this film has going for it is Keach in all of his snow-white colored contact lensed glory. What an absolute legend. A, would definitely recommend this as a weird watch, especially if you’ve seen the more self-serious Class of 1984.

Check out the quiz for the mid-credits sequence from Grease 2 (long lost) which explains why there was never a sequel. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Oscar Recap

Jamie

As all BMT super fans know, we operate on the Stallonian Calendar. It consists of 6 months of 8 weeks each, plus four random breakout weeks that represent the BMT Celebration of the Life, and then on very special years an extra week culminating in Stallone Day, where all laws are suspended and murder is legal (bum bum bum). The only law is Stallone himself and he goes around curing the disease of crime. I think we can all agree this has been a wild success. However, I have to admit that there was one unforeseen and unexpected consequence: the reduction in the number of Stallone films we watch. How paradoxical. This is because it has been foretold in one of the many BMT prophecies that when a Stallone Day arrives and there isn’t a qualifying film to watch then the apocalypse will be upon us. That’s… not great, but sometimes you gotta throw caution to the wind. We need Stallone like Stallone needs… Stallone. So here we are watching Oscar, a classic Stallone BMT film. 

To recap, “Snaps” Provolone (he is not named Oscar, I repeat, Sly Stallone is not the titular Oscar), is a gangster who has promised to go straight. With that in mind we enter a very important day in the life of Snaps. It’s the day he makes good on that promise by making a deal with the bank. Everyone is on their best behavior, but things just keep on getting in the way. Most significantly is his accountant, who announces that he is in love with Snaps’ daughter and as a result has stolen thousands of dollars from Snaps in order to make sure he deserves her hand in marriage. Snaps is enraged, but relents and goes to talk to his daughter Lisa. Turns out that she’s pregnant (not really) and not by the accountant, but rather the former chauffeur Oscar (ah, there he is, I’m sure he’ll play a major role). Snaps pushes the accountant and Lisa together, but they don’t seem particularly thrilled, so Snaps eventually sets her up with his speech teacher. She surprisingly seems quite thrilled with him and the worldly academic trips he takes. Meanwhile, the other “daughter” that the accountant actually likes shows up and turns out that she was lying to the accountant. He is angry and they break off their engagement as well. A bunch of people are spying on Snaps trying to figure out what he’s up to and when the bankers show up that blows up in everyone’s faces. Once that’s out of the way, Snaps finds out from his new maid (that turns out to be his former lover) that his fake daughter is his real daughter and they have a double wedding. THE END

Boy that is way worse to recap than the film is in reality. It’s actually not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. A bunch of the supporting actors are amazing and Tomei is a raw talent that picks up steam as the film goes on. You could dissect Stallone’s performance all day, but it is probably his strongest comedic performance. On the one hand he performs admirably when there is a lot of work to be done. He is the star through and through and has to support the entire film. On the other hand I’m not exactly sure what he’s doing some of the time. His character appears to be the straight man in a series of comedy bits and yet he plays it pretty broad. It seems like he enjoyed showing off his comedy chops, but not sure this is the film to do it. Doesn’t come together for me, but not a total disaster. As for Arena, I would highly recommend it. The film is just flat out fun. Lots of makeup and aliens and a strangely coherent style of alien boxing. I really dug it and thought it looked cool. Great start.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Exact same movie but with Al Pacino instead of Sly Stallone and it works. You’d think that’s not a hot take (Al Pacino was offered the role), but I mean it in the literal sense. When BMT makes us a million dollars… no wait, what’s better than a million dollars? Oh right, a billion dollars. So when BMT makes us a billion dollars we will sink that hard earned cash into digitally inserting Al Pacino (or a hologram of Al Pacino) into Oscar. Just word-for-word exactly the same, but with the correct inflection and straight-man energy that Pacino showed off in Jack & Jill. Now it’s good and it actually doesn’t have a sadly ironic name because it ends up winning the Oscar for Best Picture. Sorry, Silence of the Lambs. Hot Take Temperature: Mild. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Oscar? Not likely for this piece of garbage. Ziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing. Let’s go!

  • Sly Stallone of the 80s was a national treasure. A true triple threat who bet on himself time and time again to write himself to multiple Oscar nominations, and then (somehow) writing and directing himself into the role of Biggest Action Star in the World (for a time at least). He basically redefined action filmmaking. Not to mention when he beat Drago (in Russia!) he ended the Cold War. Word.
  • But Stallone also thinks (or at least thought) he was really funny, and seemingly just one comedy away from everyone realizing how funny he is.
  • He is not funny. His comedies are pretty much universally terrible and legitimately you could argue they almost ruined his career in the 90s before he came back (like three different times).
  • Oscar, weirdly, is maybe the most successful Stallone comedy. It turns out when you aren’t funny, a French farce works well enough to give you lines that sound like jokes and some people might be tricked into thinking you’re funny.
  • So let’s summarize. Stallone is a legend of an industry he basically single-handedly helped redefine. Stallone really really thought he was funny. Stallone is not funny. But when he kind of shouts lines and is surrounded by a weird French farce people who like French farces might find him funny. I laughed zero times during this film.
  • Marissa Tomei is quite good in the film.
  • It is not at all surprising Ornella Muti was voted as the most beautiful woman in the world in the early 90s.
  • I liked the two suit makers, they were actually funny (in a French farce kind of way).
  • This film felt endless.
  • It is a French farce through and through complete with people running around, near misses, and mistaken identity. Still not funny.
  • Amazingly this film doesn’t really have any superlatives. Fictional setting. Non-holiday. No planchet. A period piece so tough to place products. No real twist. No MacGuffin. Just a plain old Bad movie IMO.
  • We decided to pair the 1989 straight-to-video action film Arena. I have to say, this is a really fun film. Wacky sets. Funny huge alien costumes. Multiple actors from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine specifically. Maybe the funniest bit is that the main character is like … a Great Human Hope for this weird battle competition? Some nice bad acting to boot. Actually, we were already there. This felt like a bad episode from Season 1 of Star Trek: The Next Generation where some special effects coordinator was like “I can totally make huge aliens that look good!” and when it came to the day of the shoot the director was like “Yikes … welp, get some people to move this horrible looking giant tube legs around I guess?” But still, a funny and fun film. It is exactly why late-80s / early-90s direct-to-video films make the best Friends.

Check out the spin off series The Finucci Bros Fine Italian Suits in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs