I Spy Recap

Substandard secret agent Alex Scott is paired with cocky boxing champ Kelly Robinson to recover a missing government weapon known as The Switchblade. Can they recover the weapon, stop the baddies, and get the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… I Spy. Also test your super-spy powers with the quiz!)

Jamie

What?! Alex Scott is a bumbling stumbling spy ready to make his mark (a real Patrick type character). When a secret government weapon called The Switchblade is stolen, Alex is teamed with a cocky boxing champ with an oversized ego, Kelly Robinson (a real Jamie type character). With this Jamie and Patrick type team of super spies assembled they head to Hungary where it’s rumored that a terrorist baddy is trying to sell the weapon (a real Tolstoy type character). Through the fame of Kelly Robinson they are able to infiltrate the bad guy’s hideout and plant a tracking device on the terrorist, but nearly get caught and have to escape. The next morning they track the terrorist to a turkish bath, but it turns out to be a trap (oh no!) and Alex’s lady love is tragically killed. Angry and despondent, Kelly Robinson heads to his boxing match while Alex continues to track the weapon. He is able to find it hidden in plain sight through advanced cloaking technology, but is captured in the showdown with the terrorists (classic Patrick). In a giant twist it turns out his lady love didn’t actually die but was a traitor in league with the bad guy (what a twist!). When all seems lost Kelly Robinson (in a real Jamie move) comes to rescue and they are able to recover the weapon, albeit in the most stumbly bumbly way possible. Credits roll and we are promised a spy franchise to laugh and cry with for the next decade. THE END.

Why?! I mean… I guess it’s just Alex’s job so he has to try to stop the terrorist. He does have some hang ups about being considered a second rate spy and feels like he has something to prove in order to get with the lady spy he’s crushing on. As for Kelly he’s mostly just an egomaniac that wants a parade. Finally, the bad guy wants to sell The Switchblade for cash monies plain and simple. In fact, even after being informed that the weapon will be used by its buyer to drop a bomb on Washington DC he kinda just shrugs. He don’t care as long as he gets that cash.

What?! MacGuffin alert! The entire conceit of the film is the recovery of a super secret government plane nicknamed The Switchblade. It also has a cloaking device that makes it nearly invisible to the naked eye. While it is unclear why a plane would need that given they are detected with everything but the naked eye, the bad guys still seem pretty jazzed for it, so must be good and definitely not dumb.

Who?! I could talk about all the boxing related celebs that had cameos in this film, such as Sugar Ray Leonard, but I’m much more interested in the fact that the actual Mayor of Budapest made an uncredited appearance in this film. That is so perfect I feel like I should already give this film an A+ for setting. Oh, and the IMDb trivia claims Will Ferrell voiced a faux George W. Bush in a scene, but he is not credited or uncredited anywhere that I can find… so is it real? Can’t say.

Where?! Hungary, duh. 80% of the film takes place there and some major landmarks take center stage. A perfect grade A setting. Even more interesting are some of the minor settings such as our recently departed Monte Carlo and an opening that takes place in Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is so rare that it’s very tempting just to use this film for that location too.

When?! I feel like some of our recent films has shaken my belief that the full setting for films are likely attainable as long as they aren’t purposefully obscured (a la The Tuxedo). But this film pulled me right back in. While there isn’t a huge amount of information available to place it, there is a newspaper where an article states that the baseball season has just opened and that the “three-time champ Yankees take up where they left off – winning.” This would place the events of the film around April 2, 2001. C+ as exact but obviously very hard to place.

Try to think of a film where you really liked the performances, but everything else in the film is cliched garbage. That’s this film. This was on the cusp of Eddie Murphy’s decline in Hollywood, but you still get a pretty solid, funny performance here (minus a couple politically incorrect jokes). Owen Wilson was really on the rise and certainly hits his comedic notes. Their dynamic worked and I think this film would have been successful if it weren’t for the fact that it was terrible. The plot is just bad and proceeds in a mundane, predictable way throughout. It seems almost like they thought “we have two superstars, don’t think too hard about the plot”… which is so on the nose I would actually believe that it happened. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I Spy is a film that dreams big, planning and yearning for that series, a new Shanghai Noon for us Owen Wilson-heads to revel in. Sadly, the American people are idiots who can’t even bother to appreciate the gifts bestowed upon them. Pshaw, sad. Let’s get into it!

The Good – This is probably one of the later films in the Eddie Murphy filmography where his kind of arrogant charm works. And Owen Wilson is an equal delight. It makes the film go along at a solid enough clip, and Budapest is indeed rather beautiful. And Eddie Murphy boxing is … shockingly believable.

P’s View on the Preview – This was a settings film through and through, half the notes were about how they wanted to film in Budapest because you never see Budapest in films. And this is very Budapest, all the way down to the final scene on the Chain Bridge. The only other thing of interest to me was the television angle, but I didn’t get a chance to do the homework to watch an episode of the old series, so it is basically impossible to comment.

The Bad – Despite all of the good I’ve said thus far I, uh, … did not like this film. It is a zero laugh comedy. It doesn’t really use Famke Janssen well, and the entire thing feels like an episode of a television show, and not a particularly good one. The film just washes off of me like water off of a duck’s back … I’ll probably forget we watched it in a couple of weeks.

Welcome to Earf – I’m still trying to figure out where I want to put this, but since I don’t have much to talk about concerning this film well … at least I’ll explain it. Like Jamie’s Phantom Zone from his Submersion podcast, the intent is to go from I Spy to Here on Earth, but I want to do it from memory, and only going from BMT films. For I Spy you can got to (1) Norbit via Eddie Murphy to (2) Blended via Terry Crews to (3) Jack and Jill via Adam Sandler to (4) 88 Minutes starring Al Pacino to (5) Here on Earth starring Leelee Sobieski. Welcome to Earf I Spy!

The BMT – Blah. The film is basically boring. It has a television angle, a buddy cop angle, Eddie Murphy, it is a ports film, and a war film, and a spy film … and it isn’t really a good-bad movie for any of them. It doesn’t have the legs beyond being yet another piece in the eventual complete Eddie Murphy BMT filmography project.

StreetCreditReport.com – Didn’t get much notice in the 2002 lists, but I did find it on a list of the 30 worst spy films where it got 13th. We need to step up our game because on this excellent list we’ve only seen seven films, which is a shame.

As I said above I didn’t get to the homework (again). I do promise I’ll get better, this month is just a tad bit hectic. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Monte Carlo Recap

Jamie

Grace is on her way to Paris to find herself and see the world. But when her wet blanket of a step-sister comes along, everything seems destined for disaster. That is until she is mistaken for a rich heiress and whisked away to Monte Carlo. Can she find her place in the world, find love, and avoid having the ruse uncovered before it’s too late? Find out in… Monte Carlo. And if you’ve seen it already, take the quiz and really test out your teen rom-com chops, are you a Grace or a Meg?! And now back to the recap.

How?! Grace just does not fit in. Not at school, where the popular kids look down their noses at her, or at home, where her Mom has remarried giving her a step-sister Meg she hates. She mostly just looks forward to seeing Paris after graduation and then heading off to her destiny at NYU. But when Meg is forced to tag along on the trip, Grace sees everything fall apart. The tour they signed up for is totes… ratchet (am I doing this right?), their hotel is shit, and basically everyone hates everything. Right when it seems like they are ready to give up Grace is mistaken for a high-flying heiress, Cordelia, and whisked away to Monte Carlo. While there they enjoy fancy balls that are real… turnt up (am I cool now?), dates with guys (both rich and poor), and learning about how the rich and fabulous can both be bad (boooo) or help the world (yay). When Cordelia arrives in Monte Carlo they seem bound to be discovered except that everyone hates her cause she sucks and they all like Grace so they’re like “Whatevs, sorry not sorry,” and everything turns out fine. The next year we find Grace working as a volunteer teacher in Romania where she is reunited with her rich and fabulous crush because they are in love now. Hooray. THE END.  

Why?! More like “Why not? YOLO!” amirite?… seriously am I using all this slang correctly? Grace wants to find herself and experience the world. That’s basically it. Finding love is just a convenient byproduct of this journey. Same goes for her two traveling companions. No one else in the movie really even has much motivation. Truly just a journey of self discovery for these ladies and guess what? I was OK with that.

What?! I guess the fact that a primary plot point in the film is the sale, theft, and recovery of a Bvlgari necklace is a product placement… but it also doesn’t seem like they’re actually thinking that their core audience is going to rush home and demand their parents buy them a $152,000 necklace either. Almost more of a MacGuffin than a product placement.

Who?! This features both singer-turned-actress Selena Gomez and actress-turned-singer Leighton Meester. This is of course just after Leighton appeared as the titular roommate in The Roommate, which will live on in BMT lore forever (Billy Zane just wants to go to fashion week guys!).

Where?! Mostly Monaco, babbbbyyyy! Although we get some hefty settings work done in Texas and grand Paris. Surprisingly not a casino to be seen in the film considering the setting, but despite this still a true blue A+.

When?! Finally we got one where the setting was obvious. We get several shots of passports being stamped on their way through French customs which clearly show that the trip, and thus the film, starts on June 19, 2010. Not vital to the plot though. B.

This movie… is just not that bad (Not that bad! Not that bad!). In fact, I actually think it’s a somewhat smartly done teen romantic comedy. Like Air Bud: Golden Retriever before it (yeah, I brought Air Bud 2 into this), it actually fairly deftly interweaves some real life teen issues into a silly adventure story. Like Grace is dealing with feeling like she doesn’t fit in anywhere anymore and just wanting to find herself. The two girls on the trip with her are dealing with their own issues and we get a fairly good sense of why and how they go through that process. Yeah the film isn’t a cinematic marvel, but it’s fun and kept me watching because I was interested in the characters, which is a lot more than I can say about most of the films we watch. I don’t care what you say! This films tots… not ratchet… it’s like… on fleek? Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Maybe it is just be getting old and sentimental, maybe I just love to get my girl power on every so often … or maybe, just maybe … It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! WHAT? Who’d have thunk it? Monte Carlo?! Let’s get into it!!

The Good – This movie does a ton of things right. It gives a strong message for all of the main three characters (Be yourself! It’s alright to enjoy the simple things in life! It takes time to heal … and that’s okay!), it has beautiful vistas (THE VISTAS), the soundtrack never quits and is surprisingly fresh (including a song by Selena Gomez herself), and it manages to subtly circumvent a few teen rom-com tropes along the way (the best being when Leighton Meester’s love interest tells here to “scream” to help her get over her mother dying … yeah, ain’t going to work. She tells him she just can’t and the eventual pay off concerning her recovery is saved for a much more well earned epilogue. Admirable). It does better than most rom-coms in basically every possible regard IMO, while being made for teens and starring Selena Gomez. It’s bizarre!

P’s View on the Preview – For a film like this I think the only thing to really look at is the genre. It is a teen-focused film, a romantic comedy of sorts, girl power. They are usually garbage. We aaaaaaaalmost don’t even do them because they are usually so worthless. Obviously testing these prejudices is the BMT way, can’t let our biases get in our way. And I’m glad we did, it is pretty hilarious that I thought this film was pretty good.

The Bad – The absurdity of Grace stumbling onto the perfect opportunity to replace Cordelia in Monte Carlo is just a little too much to handle no matter how well they manage the fall out. Unlike other iterations the people she’s meeting are mostly strangers, and her Aunt is immediately suspicious and figures it out rather quickly. But still, it is kind of unnecessary in the end.

Sklogification – Because I think you could set it up slightly better (although perhaps it works better now rather than six years ago). In my version Grace wins the trip to Paris, but (a la I Still Know What You Did Last Summer) it was all a set up by Cordelia who has managed to find Grace via social media as a perfect body double for herself. The rest of the movie is, indeed, a way for Cordelia to hang in Majorca while having Grace bumble about as her double getting a taste of a good life (or is it? Buh buh buuuuuuh). Anyways, could have been a fun twist, and people do have doubles right? Like … Saddam Hussein had like six of them didn’t he?

The BMT – I love it. I think it kind of rekindles my belief in the teen movie in BMT, even though this one was good. Being able to see that it can be good and have a good message and have a coherent story will allow me to recognize when a similar movie does all of that badly.

StreetCreditReport.com – None. It isn’t a surprise. I found a few blogs which ragged on it a bit, but the Rotten Tomatoes score (39%) kind of reflects that people found it quite innocuous at worst. Oddly Leonard Maltin, who usually goes easy on films like this, was one of the harshest on the whole affair. Whatever, no cred.

I did not read the book this was based on, so no homework. I have to get better at this stuff! But I’m in the middle of something else, just no room for Headhunters.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Chernobyl Diaries Recap

Jamie

A bunch of dumbos take a tour into a town near Chernobyl. Like dumbos they get trapped there and then must do battle with the mutant denizens of the town. Can these dumb-dumbs stop being dumb and escape before it’s too late? Find out in… Chernobyl Diaries. (If you’ve seen the movie, take the quiz as well! Test you nuclear disaster knowledge against the best of the best i.e. Jamie).

How?! Ah, to be young and dumb… emphasis on the dumb. Travelling Europe our heroes, Chris, Natalie and Amanda, make a stop in Kiev to visit Chris’s brother Paul. They mean to proceed from there to Moscow where Chris will propose to Natalie. Unfortunately Paul is super dumb and is like, “Forget proposing, bro. Let’s go to Chernobyl instead. Rad, right?” Nope. Not rad. Yet all these dumb-dumbs are like “Yup, obviously sounds amazing. We’ll get some super cool pix near that nuclear disaster. Good idea.” They join up with a tour group and head to the town, which is seemingly just an empty looking European town filled with wild dogs and a bear. Which I guess is terrifying in a non-horror film kind of way. Anyway, when they attempt to leave (presumably because they realize that they were super dumb) they find that their van has been sabotaged (a saboteur!) and they can’t leave until morning. While waiting their guide goes to investigate a noise and is killed and Chris is seriously injured. Realizing that Chris needs medical help they attempt to reach a checkpoint outside town only to be chased by dogs. When they finally make it back to the van it’s been attacked and Chris and Natalie are gone. They attempt a daring rescue only to be surrounded by mutants that have been living nearby. Their numbers are slowly whittled down until only Paul and Amanda remain. When they emerge from the reactor area they have severe radiation poisoning and are corralled by local authorities. It’s revealed that the mutants are escapees from a government experiment and we end with Amanda being thrown into that experiment to die… or perhaps become one of the mutants… or something. Bum bum bum! THE END

Why?! Did you not see where I said they were young and dumb? Isn’t that enough? You get a little backstory on the characters to show that Chris and his brother have had a rough relationship. Seems like Paul is always screwing up and Chris is always getting into trouble because of Paul. Unfortunately none of this is resolved in this film as Paul does the same thing here and everyone dies so… oh well. As for the mutants, well… they’re mutants!

What?! I do enjoy looking for products in these films just to see how much they tried given the very specific European locations. This gets an F right off the bat with a clear Telekom Srbija truck driving by in an early scene. As it sounds this is a telecommunications company servicing Serbia… where this film was actually filmed… not Ukraine. Even weirder is the beers they drink while partying it up in Ukraine: Bavaria 0.0%. This is a German beer but also a non-alcoholic beer… which is either because the actors couldn’t drink real beer in the scene or hints at a deeper backstory to our intrepid heroes. I choose the latter.

Who?! I literally had no idea the main character Chris was played by former boy band singer and child actor Jesse McCartney until I was looking around for this section of the email. Keep it up, my man, we always welcome more singers-turned-actors here at BMTHQ.

Where?! Ukraine all day never to be beaten (probably). It’s basically a perfect mapl.de.map film. Set in a weird location that is an integral part of the plot and in the title. A++ if I ever saw one.

When?! I do not know. I looked back through the film and didn’t get a glimpse at when this might take place. We certainly didn’t get anything after they got to the abandoned city… since it was abandoned. F.

I thought this movie was terrible. Not quite as bad as some of our least favorite BMT found footage horror films, but generally one of the most useless films we’ve watched in a while. I actually struggle to understand what the purpose of the entire affair was and why so much time was spent arguing and running away from wild animals rather than, you know, running away from mutants and discussing the presence of said mutants. This gets to the point where it’s very confusing as to exactly what the mutants were and why they existed (which is not a good thing since Patrick and I close watch these films). It also doesn’t help that the characters were so dumb (even for a horror film where all the characters are usually pretty dumb). Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What do you get when you cross the heart-pounding disorienting fear from Paranormal Activity, with the gripping stranger in a strange land horror of Hostel? Wait … this isn’t a found footage film? And it isn’t torture porn? Hmmm, yeah, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Let’s get into it!

The Good – Seeing Pripyat was cool. Basically the idea behind the movie is incredibly obvious. Chernobyl is legendary in a very unique way, a nuclear disaster leaving a desolate city in the former Soviet Union. Just sets up for a zombie apocalypse type movie with a creepy atmosphere on the cheap. And congrats you guys did it, you made a movie in Pripyat.

P’s View on the Preview – Going into the film I was mainly struck with surprise that the film wasn’t a found footage film. I could have sworn it was going into it. So seeing a movie that, in my mind, would have worked better as found footage being forced into something perhaps closer in style and tone to Hostel I thought would be interesting. It isn’t like Hostel either though … I actually am not sure I’ve seen a movie quite like this, although I’m sure there are stranger-in-a-strange-land type horror films shot in the traditional manner.

The Bad – I think this film would have worked a lot better as a found footage film. Given that I heavily dislike found footage films that … is not a compliment. The movie is incredibly dull, the “monster” part of the film is unimaginative and just feels cheap, and the twist ending didn’t work. The characters are so dumb it kind of ruins the whole affair.

Sklogification – The biggest crime of the film is, naturally, how stupid the characters are, epitomized by Chris leaving the van in order to … well to cripple himself and throw the tour into disarray. Let’s say instead he doesn’t leave the van. Now instead the whole band is mobile. Dawn breaks, they know where to go (Uri, the tour guide, naturally has a map), and they know it is 13 miles away. And they are off to the races. First chased by dogs, and then getting turned around by a mysterious band of men carrying Uri’s gun (uh oh are they friend or foe?). As they are picked off one by one can they make the checkpoint in time? … I like it more at least. Racing along a lonely road hoping to get to your destination in an abandoned city with wild animals. I wouldn’t even touch the mutant thing, too obvious, not to say offensive. Just the fear of whether what you are seeing is some urban legend come to life or guards protecting an abandoned city.

The BMT – Terrible. The movie is boring. For me, a person who has come to appreciate good horror films (partly by watching so many bad ones), this isn’t even bad. It merely brings nothing to the game. The more I think on it though the more I wonder about the tourist part of it … makes me want to watch An American Werewolf in London.

StreetCreditReport.com – Turns out critics agreed with me as none of them even bothered to report on this film as far as 2012 went. Even where there was 25 films in some of these lists there was no mention. I looked up the worst horror films and found this list interesting actually … because the guy calls the film found footage … it is not. It is traditionally shot. Bizarre.

No homework as has become usual it seems.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Extreme Ops Recap

Jamie

You ready to get X-treme!? When an extreme sports film crew stumbles upon the hiding spot of a war criminal high in the Alps they must use all their X-treme skillz to escape. Can they escape, beat the baddies, and maybe get the girl before it’s too late? Find out in… Extreme Ops.

If you’ve seen the movie and are feeling Xtreme you can test just how Xtreme you are by taking the Extreme Ops Xtreme Pop Quiz (Hot Shot)! I’m basically an Xtreme savant, so don’t fret if you don’t get them all. Back to this Xtreme recap!

How?! An X-treme commercial film crew is x-tremely excited to go to Austria and film a new skiing and snowboarding commercial. Unfortunately their producer has promised a real life avalanche will be used in the filming and a real life olympic gold medalist will make an appearance. Oh no! The most dangerous stunt of their lives and they got a total n00b in here! When they make their way to Austria a couple of the particularly X-treme crew members get in trouble with their hotel leading to them staying in a partially finished resort at the top of a mountain. Unbeknownst to them a war criminal is hiding there after faking his own death. While they film and make fun of the Olympian for totes being terrible at skiing, the war criminal gets wind of their presence. Oh no! Confronted by armed mad men on the mountain they stage an avalanche that results in the death of the war criminal’s son. Double oh no! They attempt a daring escape but are pinned in a crevasse by the baddies. The next morning they make their way out and blow up the bad guy’s helicopter. This explosion causes an avalanche that the Olympian successfully skis away from, fulfilling the requirements of the commercial they were creating. Back home their commercial is a great success and they all swear to never reveal the dark secrets of their past and how they killed a war criminal but they are fine with it because it’s fine… it’s fine… it’s totally fine… I’m fine… I SAID IT’S FINE! Oh and the main character gets the girl, duh. THE END.

Why?! The war criminal has faked his death because he was going on trial at the International Court. Like any good war criminal he pretends to be flying to his trial but blows up the plane that he actually wasn’t on. He then heads to the unfinished resort atop an Austrian mountain top to wait out a plot to blow up the court and then allow for the heat to die down. His discovery and accidental filming by the crew requires that he kill them to preserve his secret. The film crew really does only want to make a commercial. They seem like consummate professionals and really good at their jobs and we get an inordinate amount of commercial filming shop top given that this is a film about X-treme athletes escaping from a crazed war criminal.

What?! Just to really hammer home where this film was meant to take place we get an entire scene of our heroes getting extreme with a drunken game of truth and dare while chugging bottle upon bottle of sweet, sweet Edelweiss.

Who?! Not many actors to highlight but perhaps a hint of Planchet in both the producer (who is derided hard by the entire film crew despite being “the boss”) and Will, who spends the film trying to get with the lady of the crew only to be made fun of as a chubby loser at every turn… that is until he parachutes off a cliff to save everyone’s life. For real.

Where?! Austria babbbb-yyyy. Everywhere you look this film screams Austria. The back of the DVD, wikipedia, imdb synopsis, etc. etc. etc. Even if you had none of that you still have them saying that they are in Austria like 5000 times and doing everything Austrian they can find. It is still slightly strange when they have an orgy on a pile of wiener schnitzel. I was into it, but a bit heavy handed (is that real? You’ll just have to watch Extreme Ops and find out). A.

When?! I went back through and didn’t find even a little hint at the timing. They even had a perfect opportunity with a close up of a newspaper but chose not to. Too bad Extreme Ops because that gives you an… F.

I found the first half of the film to be oddly technical with large parts of the film spent discussing how they were going to get a shot, how hard it would be to teach the Olympic skier to ski, and trying to coordinate the shooting schedule. It was very informative, but odd for a purported thriller. The only thrills they gave us were rididididiculous wire-aided stunts that mostly just looked funny. Then there was a thirty minute section in the middle that was a surprisingly well done survival thriller as the extreme athletes used their skillz to avoid capture and certain death. Fortunately for us right when I could have been like, “you know what? I’m digging this,” It threw us an ending that was just flat out stupid looking. Fun BMT film. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When you’re all out of Mountain Dew and you have a few terrorists to handle who do you call? The extreeeeeme operations (ops for short) obviously. They’ll get it done and look gnarly doing it bro. Let’s get into it.

The Good – I thought when you actually watched people snowboarding and skiing the film was pretty cool. Like, you actually get to see people going down some incredible powder (broooo, alright I’ll stop) and it is … well it is like a documentary and that is actually pretty fine. I cared about all of the characters as well, which is stunning, and was quite glad that they decided not to kill anyone off … would have put a damper on their commercial too if they had. The vistas though, the vistas!!!

Ps View on the Preview – So we are recording a test episode for a Bad Movie Twins podcast today (exciting stuff for the one person who reads this far, hi Lou!) and for that we rewatched the BMT classic Getaway. And like Getaway, which is injecting a film directly into the veins of gearheads, I was most intrigued to see how they served up what would be, nowadays, a direct-to-VOD film exclusively for extreme sports enthusiasts. Plus, it came out the same year as xXx, so seeing how much of a knock off of that weirdly entertaining film this was would be interesting as well.

The Bad – Well it is a knock off, and the terrorist plot line is just gloriously ludicrous. The acting is terrible, and it is pretty stunning that they apparently sunk this amount of money into a film which was basically guaranteed not to make its money back. The CGI was absolutely horrible, as were the accents. But if you can look past all of that … the movie is actually not half bad. As crazy as that sounds. I make fun of the budget, but considering the success of xXx I really shouldn’t. You definitely need someone like Vinny D piloting your film if you expect to make a $40 million budget back, that’s just common sense. But really the biggest crime? Well, I think this needs its own coined phrase.

Sklogcabulary Quiz – Wire-faux (n.) – Applying high wire acrobatics to replace a film’s actual stunts in something other than a kung fu movie.

We make fun of it when it is done in a kung fu movie, but in an extreme sports film? It just looks crazy and makes no sense. I’m here to watch some people cut that sweet powder (brooo, alright, this time I’ll really stop), so having them flip around on obvious high wires is just … disappointing.

The BMT – I liked this movie in a weird way, it was very BMT. If it didn’t have the weird wire-fu though it would just be a borderline direct-to-DVD garbage film, but with it it is kind of special. I wonder how many genres have been Wire-fu-ified. Like … historical actioner in The Musketeer has very strange acrobatic action scenes I remember. Now that is a movie I’m interested to see.

StreetCreditReport.com – I think this flew under the radar a bit because it is so low budget. I found a blog which had it third worst of the year right above Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (which is impressive). And this possibly fake extreme sports blog mentions it among the worst extreme sports films (along with Gleaming the Cube and Surf Ninjas which is genuinely impressive). So street cred in the extreme sports genre, but not for bad films of 2002 in general it seems.

No homework here either.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo Recap

Uh oh, looks like the first Deuce Bigalow quiz was only half of the challenge, enter the PhD program for Deuce Bigology here!

Jamie

Deuce Bigalow is back, Jack! He travelling to Amsterdam to figure out who’s killing high-end gigolos. But don’t worry, he’ll also be dating some kooky ladies just like last time. Can he solve the mystery (and maybe get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.

How?! Deuce is back and ready for a vacation after the tragic death of his wife. He heads to Amsterdam to meet up with his former pimp TJ only to have him become a prime suspect in the high profile murders of gigolos across Europe. Oh no! Say it ain’t so, TJ! In order to figure out who might actually be the killer Deuce must re-enter the gigolo game. In that disguise he goes on some sweet dates with some interesting ladies that dated the murdered gigolos just before they were killed. This includes a hunchback. This includes a lady covered in dirt. This includes a lady with a tracheotomy. This includes a very tall woman. This includes a woman with… uh… a penis for a nose… that’s real… I didn’t make that up. Anyway, he comes no closer to figuring out who the killer is, but does help the ladies improve their confidence. Meanwhile he begins a relationship with the niece of the police chief only to discover that she owns the dress and lipstick used by the killer. Oh no! She must be the killer! He rushes over to the police chief, but it’s revealed that the police chief is actually the killer (what a surprise that was definitely hard to figure out!). This culminates in a showdown at the gigolo awards show where Deuce and the police chief due battle and he wins. Hooray! THE END.

Why?! Didn’t I say you shouldn’t look for motivation in Happy Madison productions. Deuce is just devastated and looking for love after the tragic loss of his wife. Yes, TJ needs rescuing. Yes, there is a gigolo murderer on the loose. But that is all ancillary plot details to the main motivation of our beloved Deucey: he wants to find love and help women feel more confident about themselves. The murderer just wants to avenge the tragic loss of his fiance and penis in a gigolo-induced penis pump accident… yup.

What?! Is it possible this was sponsored by an organization aiming to promote homophobia, racism, and sexism? Because that seemed to be the only overriding theme of the film. I do feel like Rob Schneider should have been macking on some Amstel Lights or something, but alas.

Who?! Norm MacDonald again appears unbilled in a more prominent role this time. Fred Armisen also appears in an uncredited cameo as does the actress who portrays Deuce’s deceased wife Kate from the first film. It’s just a bounty of uncredited roles up in here. I wonder why… oh, right. It’s garbage.

Where?! This is so set in Holland it is beautiful. We have scenes of Deuce trying pot brownies, we have scenes on a classic Dutch houseboat. We have scenes in the Red Light District. It is pretty much as perfect as we can get for our new mapl.de.map cycle. A.

When?! Again I’m not exactly sure on this one. It seems like the film exists outside of time because why would they care. Not even a soccer match or something to give us a hint. I’d have to look closely on a rewatch (ugh) to see if there is even a possibility. F.

This movie is terrible and offensive… like for real I’d be hard pressed to find a film where homophobia and gay panic are as central to the plot as this one. TJ literally spends THE ENTIRE FILM worrying over the fact that people may think he’s gay. He’d rather be perceived as a murderer than gay… what year was this made?! On top of that they have an Asian character that pops in no less than four times to make a joke about how small his dick is. For real? It is bad. Like real bad. Like dog poo bad. Racist, homophobic, sexist dog poo pushed into our faces. Fuck this movie. This literally might be worse than *gasp* Strange Wilderness. At least that wasn’t so homophobic and racist. That was just incredibly sexist. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone? What if you had a decently successful comedy a few years back and now you need to go back to that well? Do you: (1) Rehash all of the jokes and hope people still find them funny a second time? (2) Update the setting and hope that a fish out of water story can distract people from your otherwise plotless meandering script? (3) Shove dog poo slowly into my face. Well if you are Deuce Bigalow you slide head first into option 4: All of the above. Let’s get into it!

The Good – Ummmmmm. Nothing? I like Jeroen Krabbé if that counts. In these two previews I changed the structure a bit to help my section feel cleaner so that’s good I think. Don’t worry, it is still the good ol’ The Good, The Bad, and The BMT.

P’s View on the Preview – Going into the film I think the most intriguing thing was the note about Ebert and how much he hated this film. Combined with the trailer (and the wine / tracheotomy joke) and it was very clear the film was going full bore into that Bucky Larson / Strange Wilderness gross out territory. It was going to be intriguing to see where it stood in the poo poo platter (pun intended) of terrible Happy Madison productions.

The Bad – And oh my did it not disappoint. This was one of the most unpleasant films I have ever seen. It is racist. It is really really homophobic (really … my god, why is it so homophobic?!). It snatches the worst gay panic film mantle out of The Medallion’s hands! It is misogynistic, with Deuce’s heart of gold replaced with a heart of dog poo in my face. It is just unfathomably bad and confusing and distressing and just gross. I really don’t get grossed out  from films super easily, and three times I cringed at how gross this film is. Dog poo in my face, just a hard fastball of shit in my face.

Sklog-cabulary Quiz – A Sequel Out of Water (n.) – A sequel which takes the main character of a film and merely moves him/her to another location to generate a plotline.

I think I’m just going to coin dumb phrases in this section. As I said in the intro this film has two classic comedy sequel tropes. This one, where the plot is literally just “Deuce Bigalow is in Amsterdam”. And just reusing old jokes as the only source of humor (the SNLization? Catch phraserization? I’ll workshop it). Truly a groundbreaking film.

The BMT – Yeah, so this basically saves Deuce Bigalow from anonymity (congrats?). Because I think this will be in the early lead for worst film of the year for me, and kind of completes the Bucky Larson / Strange Wilderness / Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo Happy Madison trilogy. It is kind of what you want in a bad comedy, just distressingly bad but in a so-immature-it’ll-make-money-and-is-a-real-movie kind of way.

StreetCreditReport.com – Given the above section where Ebert’s review was specifically noted as particularly harsh, this film was naturally his worst film of 2005. I couldn’t find many official lists for the year, so I’ll just leave you will a quote by Ebert himself: “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo makes a living cleaning fish tanks and occasionally prostituting himself. How much he charges I’m not sure, but the price is worth it if it keeps him off the streets and out of another movie.”

No homework to report on so …

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo Recap

Before the recap take the quiz and prove you are the foremost thinker in Deuce Bigalow Sciences!

Jamie

When Deuce Bigalow destroys an expensive aquarium while housesitting for an high-end, homicidal gigolo he’s in quite the pickle. Can he enter the gigolo game and earn the cash necessary to repair the aquarium (and maybe get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.

How?! Deuce Bigalow just got fired from his job at the aquarium and has had to put his hopes and dreams on hold. Shortly thereafter, though, he’s asked by a mysterious and dangerous gigolo to apartment sit for him while he’s away. Deuce sees it as an opportunity to live out his wildest fantasies but almost immediately knocks over a very expensive fish tank. Facing certain death at the hands of the gigolo, he enters the gigolo game hoping to earn enough cash to fix the tank. A local pimp, TJ, notices the presence of a new gigolo and takes Deuce under his wing. With the help of TJ, Deuce is able to get some dates with women with particular characteristics. There is a tall lady. There is a fat lady. There is a narcoleptic lady. There is a Tourettes lady. Basically think of the first bunch of entries of an SNL sketch. You can even hear the theme song: “He was babysitting for a gigolo and knocked over a fish tank… oh no! He’s Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.” In the end the moral is that Deuce is actually a good guy and not sleeping with any of these women, but rather helping them with their self esteem and confidence. In the process he meets the love of his life Kate. Yay! But she breaks up with him after finding out that he’s a gigolo. On no! But then she gets back together with him and helps him fix up the apartment. Yay! But all this doesn’t matter because the gigolo still wants to kill him (?). Oh no! But then they fight and the gigolo gets arrested and Deuce and Kate get married. Yay! THE END.

Why?! Oh, sweet summer child, no. Let’s not plumb the depth of a Happy Madison picture for motivation. Deuce Bigalow merely is. He wants only to be and to love. Technically money ends up being the main motivation for him since he needs to that stave off the homicidal gigolo hell bent on killing him, but that is just because they needed something to be the (very thin) plot of this film.

What?! Interestingly both this film and its sequel are oddly bereft of any and all product placement, which is different for an Adam Sandler production. I presume this is because most companies actually paid Happy Madison not to be featured in the film. So may as well just give a shout out to the bowling date Deuce takes the narcoleptic lady on. Mark it down as a bowling movie in preparation for my new bowling movie podcast, Right Up Your Alley.

Who?! Radio personality Big Boy plays the large lady Flusia that Deuce goes on a date with. It’s actually a pretty solid performance all things considered. Norm MacDonald also has an uncredited but memorable cameo in the film.

Where?! LA, baby. Deucey dreams of living it up on the beach, but instead just cleans the aquariums and ponds of those apartments. LA certainly isn’t a required setting like it was for Bucky Larson, but it’s prominent. B.

When?! I literally have no idea. It could be figured out from the baseball game that Deuce attends with the lady with Tourettes… but I’m not that crazy… yet. F.

I think I disliked this film more than Patrick did. I could certainly see liking parts of this film as a teenager, but now it feels very Bucky Larson-y to me. A ridiculous idiot meant to evoke sympathy by being mostly harmless and naive. The story is just sooo thin and contrived. It is probably the clearest example of what people might mean when they say a film is an SNL sketch stretched to feature length. That is exactly what this is. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello Everyone! There was the briefest of moments in the late-90s / early 2000’s in which Happy Madison productions held a stable of comedic talent ready to deploy the instant the ink was dry on their latest killer script. But with A-list talent there will inevitably be a B-list as well, and thus Rob Schneider sauntered into our lives. Let’s get into it!

The Good – … well Jamie might disagree, but this film comes across as mostly harmless. While offensive (especially the tall lady just getting insults slung at her in the street), the primary story of Deuce getting women to believe their beautiful (no maaaatter what they saaaaay (that’s me singing)) is actually somewhat charming. Even if it takes a while to get there and creates a garbage character of Deuce Bigalow in the process.

P’s View on the Preview – Here I will try and describe my mindset going into the film and what I was interested in getting out of it or seeing, to give a kind of connection between the good and the bad. We’ve seen a lot of Happy Madison productions in BMT, but this is the first one ever made and predates their truly dire offerings (Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star and Strange Wilderness) by about a decade. I was very interested to see whether the tone was much different than many of the others or whether this would predict Bucky Larson with a B-list Happy Madison player creating a Z-list Adam Sandler film. On the good side of things I do think the tone changes, Deuce’s story is almost genuinely heart warming. But …

The Bad – Honestly a film like this ages like a warm gallon of milk. Deuce Bigalow is a terrible person who objectifies and ogles women. The character also barely makes sense: Is sex all he thinks about, or is he a fish-lover with a heart of gold? Is he basically a virgin, or some amazing sex God? It is very hot and cold. The B-story involving a crazy cop looking to take gigolo’s down which culminates in a very strange court scene which is then just kind of thrown away.

Sklognalysis – I kind of was thinking on Strange Wilderness and Bucky Larson and came to two conclusions. First, even though I like Steve Zahn more than Rob Schneider, I appreciate Deuce Bigalow more than the actors in Strange Wilderness mainly because all of the characters in that film were just really dumb and annoying. Here at least Deuce has that heart of gold which makes you think “wait a second, am I learning to love over here or what?!” Whereas Bucky Larson has kind of that same character, but everything in the movie is now taken to an extreme that ten years of arrested development has afforded the Happy Madison productions. If Deuce Bigalow was made now it would be direct-to-netflix and Rob Schneider would have been having sex with random women throughout the film. I think I liked Deuce Bigalow more than either of those other films because Deuce seemed to come from a more innocent cinematic time.

The BMT – Well … I guess you’ll see the legacy in the European Gigolo recap. Once we complete the Happy Madison productions filmography there will also obviously be a hearty debate about the general merits of those films as well.

StreetCreditReport.com – I have to admit, and this isn’t actually that surprising, there is no street cred. I can literally find no mention of this film on bad movie lists, even from people who mentioned like 20 bad films from 1999. But that isn’t a big deal, this is a bonus film after all. The sequel is all the cred this guy needs.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Snowman Recap

You think you know everything there is about Harry Hole … wait, that name can’t be right? He’s called Harry Hole? Whatever, take the quiz!

Jamie

Harry Hole is a gritty Oslo detective struggling with alcoholism. When a string of murders start, he and his partner suspect it’s the work of a savage serial killer. Can they catch the monster before it’s too late? Find out in… The Snowman.

How?! Oh man, Harry Hole is such a mess. Waking up drunk, not going to work, and dealing with a break-up with his ex-girlfriend (as he struggles to continue to be in her son’s life). But he’s obviously the best goddamned police detective Oslo has, so back off! Anyway, he just needs a juicy new case to keep his head straight. Turns out this case is the work of a serial killer that his new partner is already familiar with. While Harry seems to find links between the women murdered and their personal life involving adultery and children out of wedlock, his partner becomes convinced that it’s the work of a prominent businessman in town. As they investigate each murder the killer seems to toy with Harry, sending him notes, setting him up to meet victims before they are murdered, and framing a suspect as The Snowman. This culminates in the murder of his partner by The Snowman as she attempts to further investigate the businessman. When Harry finally gets too close to the murderer it is revealed that he is his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. He has kidnapped her and her son and taken them to his childhood home. In a final confrontation The Snowman is killed by falling through the ice on a frozen river. Harry wins again just like he always does and always will in the many sequels this wildly successful film will have… jk. This was terribly boring and unsuccessful. THE END.

Why?! Due to the nature of this film this is actually difficult to answer. Harry Hole is solving the crime because he is a detective. Duh. Boring. But the killer seems to be killing women because they have affairs… or is it that they are having children out of wedlock… or is it that they are having children who never know their fathers… or is it that they are having abortions? It’s all a little murky because the killer’s MO seems to change depending on his mood. Oh yeah and he also kills random people to try to cover his tracks… whatever. It all stems from his childhood in which he was the product of a violent affair that resulted in the suicide of his mother.

What?! No major product placement or plot devices so I’ll use this space to talk about the adaptation from the book, which I read years ago. I commend them on the changes they made to fit the story to a cinematic release. It’s pretty common now to take a story with a built in fan base and adapt it straight. They certainly didn’t do that here. At the same time almost all the changes made were for the worse or at least more confusing… that’s all I got.

Who?! There is a very special thanks to Truls Kontny, head of the Film Commission Norway, for obvious reasons. I’d rather reiterate the weirdness of Val Kilmer in this film. It’s understandable but still shocking that not more was made of his involvement in the film. He obviously has been significantly impacted physically from his illness and it was at times hard to watch him struggle through his scenes. Hate to say they should have recast his part but… yes, they probably should have.

Where?! Norway, duh, they gave a special thanks to Truls Kontny after all. If they had kept the book’s ending of Harry hanging off the iconic ski jump that overlooks Oslo then this would get an A… as it is it is just heavily set in Oslo but able to be set elsewhere. Like, if this film was made 20 years ago it would have been set in Alaska and starred Sly Stallone who wouldn’t have been an alcoholic but rather addicted to health and fitness. B+.

When?! Harry buys concert tickets as a birthday present for Friday, November 21st. We see him go to the concert so all the events of the film occur on or around that day. Weird thing is that you have to jump to 2020 or go back to 2014/2008/etc. to get a November 21st on a Friday. I guess I would think maybe this took place in 2008 or before since the book was set in 2004 and written in 2007… or they didn’t really care much. B+.

The murkiness of the motivations is part of the mess that is this film. Not only does it sometimes seem like parts of the film are missing, but it also seems to mix and match it with portions of the book. This messes with the internal logic of the film because while we see some motivation of the killer derived from childhood trauma (slightly different than in the book), the rest of the murders aren’t changed significantly enough to match the new motivation. Problematic. It’s actually startling that this film was released in this state. Should have thought about reshoots maybe. It did no one any favors and seems to have harmed the reputation of a young director in the process. And I didn’t even mention Val Kilmer. Egad. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When I am shaken awake by a terrible dream, sweating in the cold moonlight, staring out into the clear London night, I tremble, my mind running a thousand miles per hour over the anxieties to come upon morning. My heartbeat slowing, I whisper to myself “At least I’m not the person who had to edit The Snowman” and fall soundlessly asleep. Let’s get into it.

The Good (Sklognalysis) – I like Fassbender and many of the side actors in the film. The vistas are beautiful, what more could you ask for? Well … we’ll get to that. But if this movie was a screensaver it would be just magnifique. Unfortunately it’s actual intention is to entertain, sooooo … A tiny Sklognalysis to end it. The rumors surrounding this movie are basically that the production started before the director even got on board, they couldn’t afford to film in Norway as long as necessary, and thus only about 85% of the script was actually filmed. This is what I would call an uneditable film. The material wasn’t there to fashion a story out of the pieces, it is an editor’s nightmare. Given the condition of Val Kilmer (his voice still recovering from throat cancer and thus totally dubbed) it is pretty obvious they were not allowed to reshoot … it is just bonkers. Just, absolutely incredible stuff. Once the Bad Movie Twins Media Empire is launched we’ll get to the bottom of these mysteries.

The Bad (Sklogcabulary Quiz) – Val Kilmer is completely dubbed in this film and barely appears in it. I needed to come up with a catchy description of what this kind of represented and settled on:

Star Poser (n.) – An actor hired to bring star power to a film who instead, ironically, ends up being the weakest part.

Val Kilmer, in this film, is a Star Poser. It is no slight to Val Kilmer, but someone had to tell him he just couldn’t do it. His voice is shot and the voiceover is just … you couldn’t find a voice actor who could kind of sound like him? It is just weird. I’ve covered it several times, but the film is just put together very very poorly. They must have just had nothing to work with because the result is kind of indescribably bad.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The legacy I think is that this is kind of a rare example of a film I watched juuust after the Razzie awards were given where I thought “huh, kind of surprising this didn’t get a nod”. Most of the time we hit the big targets, so it is pretty surprising we hit something just a little too late to put it in our current year worst at the Smaddies Baddies. And street cred? Woof. Fourth worst at both AV Club and Variety. What more could we ask for really?

I did not read the book this was based on, but I can say with assurance this was very very Norway. Continue to check out the evolving Map Streets Map Alright! as we add more European countries Sklog-packing across Europe.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs