Fire Birds Recap

Jamie

Jake Preston is the greatest! Helicopter pilot, that is. After his friend is killed by a South American cartel’s helicopter ace, Jake is recruited to train with Brad Little on the new Apache attack helicopter. Can he get through the training and take down the cartel (and perhaps get the girl?) before it’s too late? Find out in… Fire Birds.

How?! Jake Preston wants only two things in life: to fly helicopters like a mofo and to win the War on Drugs. When his friend dies at the hands of a cartel’s hitman/attack helicopter pilot extraordinaire he jumps at the opportunity to be part of the group trained on the new Apache helicopter to go after him. The teacher is Brad Little. He’s long in the tooth but still the best helicopter pilot the army has ever seen. But he sees something in Jake. Something he never thought possible: a pilot even better than he is. That’s cause Jake Preston is the greatest! He breezes through most of the training and even crushes Little in boxing to boot. He even finds time for a little on-base romance with his former flame Billie who he still has the hots for (and you better believe she still has the hots for him). Things are going swimmingly until the hardest test in the program: a simulation of a night mission. Turns out Jake has a dominant eye problem and only one other pilot ever was able to get over the issue. That pilot? A man by the name of Brad Little. Boom. Little helps Jake get over his problem and soon they are both off to South America to take on the cartel. When they get there they are surprise attacked by the cartel who not only have a helicopter but a couple of fighter jets too. The Apaches take off and go head to head with the cartel’s air force taking them down one-by-one. Little is injured, but remember, Jake is the greatest and so even alone he is able to trick the cartel hitman and take him out. Hooray. With that the War on Drugs is won and everyone high fives. THE END.

Why?! Did you not notice the mention of the War on Drugs? The funniest aspect of all this is the entirely unironic framing of the War on Drugs as an actual war… like… as if direct military intervention in Central and South American countries was a clear and obvious strategy that would be employed across the globe. 

Who?! I have to dive deep on the fact that Dale Dye has a story credit on this film. I know Dale Dye as Captain Lang in Operation Delta Force 2: Mayday. ODF was a series of straight-to-video military action films that started with a Jeff Fahey vehicle set on train and then managed to move into two separate sequels involving submarine hijackings. The one that Dale Dye is in features one of the best (read: insane) characters ever put to film: Flint Lukash. This is all to say that Dale Dye… well… let’s say the man works. And yet this is the only film he ever got a writing credit on. Blows my mind.

What?! While it is obvious to say that this is one long advertisement for the US Army (true), it’s also important to note on occasion that Patrick and I are crazy people. So when I saw Nic Cage guzzling the same black and gold labelled beer throughout the film I know I would have to mention it here. Turns out that they can’t get enough Miller Genuine Draft in Fire Bird. Probably what made Nic Cage the greatest.

Where?! They tell you a little about where the final battle is through an intertitle pointing to the Catamarca Desert. When I watched I was pretty sure that meant Chile, but apparently I was confusing that with the Atacama Desert. Catamarca is in Argentina, but is the name of a province, not a desert as far as I can tell. Where they train is less clear. It seems like Arizona, and Patrick told me he found some evidence for that, so I’m gonna go ahead and given this a C+

When?! Too much of this is made up to really be convinced of any specific time. They do open with a quote from President George H.W. Bush from September 5th 1989 about the War on Drugs, so you can imagine it’s around then, but not much better. Feel like we’ve been on a cold streak in this category. D-.

Great movie to put on at your next Cage-a-thon. Not only will no one have seen it, but it’ll really put into perspective for those that only know late stage Cage that Nic Cage has never really changed. He’s always been late stage Cage. It’s also fun and funny to varying degrees throughout the film. One the one hand you have the ludicrous War on Drugs setting and Nic Cage screaming “I am the greatest!” over and over in your face. On the other you have Tommy Lee Jones doing a pretty solid and even keel performance, which kind of anchors the film a bit. And this was in Under Siege/Blown Away era TLJ, so he really was a wild card. But he channeled his The Fugitive performance here. Anyway, the film was actually not all that bad. The only aspect I thought was just blah was unfortunately Sean Young, who was given a pretty good female character to play and seemed disinterested in it. Weirdly, I almost wish I could see this film with Demi Moore in that role. As for Airborne, we tried something new in how we choose the Friends this year and boy has it paid off so far with Airborne. I really enjoyed it. It’s pretty ludicrous and, while perhaps a little confusing for those that aren’t giant Gutes-heads like Patrick and I, I think most people who are at least somewhat familiar with his work would find the whole concept hilarious. Oh and if there’s one thing I’m a sucker for it’s a film where someone has a lucky coin and Gutes got on. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We got Nic Cage. We got Tommy Lee Jones. We got Top Gun with Helicopters. We got Fire Birds! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Uh, Top Gun with Helicopters, nuff said, right? Wrong, the cast is also spectacular. So what could have gone wrong? From the reviews it appears it was too gung-ho America for even the most patriotic of critics. And that’s saying something considering critics liked Top Gun. What were my expectations? I think I’ll easily be able to divide my brain into the “well, this celebration of the War on Drugs seems a bit unsavory” side and the “wooooooo mf-ing helicopters! Bro, like … helicopters!!” side. And that means I might just have fun with this.

The Good – It is, indeed, Top Gun with helicopters. And if that is what you are looking for I have no idea why you would go away dissatisfied with this film. It gives you what you want, which is Nic Cage screaming in your face while helicopters do loop-de-loops and shoot things. Tommy Lee Jones is great and plays the veteran who doesn’t want to call it quits perfectly. The Arizona setting is beautiful, and the soundtrack is bumping. I think there is a lot to love here. Best Bit: It’s between Tommy Lee Jones and the sweet red convertible Nic Cage drives around.

The Bad – Now, if you were looking for actual Top Gun level filmmaking then that’s where we go a bit wrong. Mainly, it has to be Nic Cage’s fault in the end. It feels like Tom Cruise manages to ground what is otherwise an absurd jingoistic and homoerotic film into a blockbuster. Nic Cage manages to Nic Cage it up. Which is all well and good now, but then? I think people balked at it. Otherwise the only real complaint was that I knew they didn’t have the guts to kill off one of the main three characters. While this pleased me, you didn’t get the emotional gut check of Goose dying to tell you that you were, in fact, watching a real movie. Instead you are left thinking you watched a feel good family action film. Which isn’t the same. Fatal Flaw: As much as it wants to be, it isn’t Top Gun, not even close.

The BMT – I kind of liked this film and I think there is something to be said about the absurdity of the various forms both Nic Cage and Tommy Lee Jones take within their BMT repertoires. I can respect that. And as an almost-forgotten part of both of their filmographies it is better than it had any right to be, and also was ludicrous. I think there is a ton of room to watch military films from the 80s and 90s like this in the future, I think we’ve left a ton of those on the table over the years. Did it meet my expectations? Yup, I successfully partitioned by brain into two halves and managed to like this film quite a bit.

Roast-radamus – Two solid Product Placement (What?) for Miller (which Nic Cage guzzles throughout) and Tide (in the pivotal laundry room scene). Solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for Arizona which, shockingly, is not mentioned anywhere on IMDb or Wikipedia as the location of this film (but it is definitely set there, you can see it on a map). I think that is it amazingly, no MacGuffins or Twists this week. Closest to BMT I think, although it is getting close to Good as well, I did genuinely like this film a lot.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I mean, we definitely need a Sequel. This time it is Nic Cage’s turn to be the grizzled veteran. And who’s a nice young star around 25-30 years old to be the hot shot? Maybe someone like Joe Keery from Stranger Things could work, he has that irreverent charm, but also comes across as too cool for school most of the time. And what better way to kick this film into the 21st century than to make Joe Kerry an ex-professional video game player who, after his father died, decided to follow him into the military to become the pilot he could never be. Operating drones, the new frontier on the war on terror is drone-to-drone warfare, and my god, Joe if the mf-ing best! He shoots everything down left and right, but alas, he never did tell them why he actually quit video games. He sustained nerve damage in his video gaming hand after a drug fueled night on the town and car crash. Well, Nic Cage can help with that. With a little bit of practice on the road, he helps Joe switch his dominant hand from the right to left. And in the end Joe gets the girl, destroys the drones, foils a terrorist plot, and high fives with everyone! Fire Birds 2: Drone Warfare. Sounds terrible, but also like something I would see on Netflix next to The Ice Road starring Liam Neeson.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we watched the Steve Guttenberg classic Airborne (nope, not the one with Seth Green, the one from 1998). Why? Well, obviously this is also a movie about flying and aircraft, right? … Right? WRONG! In an amazing twist of fate there is an airplane for approximately 5 minutes total of the film near the beginning and right at the end, the rest definitely has its feet planted firmly on land. The tagline is even “Pray it doesn’t land”!!! How does that happen? Is it just a trick to try and pull in that sweet sweet Turbulence money? The movie is pretty run of the mill, a standard Steel Sharks affair (complete with lucky coin), and is almost exclusively notable for Guttenberg playing a hardcore special ops soldier. Sean Bean being in it (for maaaaaaaaaybe 5 minutes of total screen time?) is truly bizarre as well. It is one of those films where there are seven weird things just floating around in a mostly boring story. Reminds me of a Dudikoff film. If not for it being called Airborne with barely a plane in sight it would be a C, but with that I’ll promote it to a B. Goes along at a good clip with a weird hook to legitimize watching it, plus the twist at the end is hilarious.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Police Academy 6: City Under Siege Recap

Jamie

Police Academy is back, Jack! When the city is hit with a crime wave, Lassard and his officers are called in to stop the baddies. Hijinks ensue and it looks like the police will fail until the officers figure out that the robberies are connected to a new train line. Can they find the gang and take them out before it’s too late? Find out in… Police Academy 6: City Under Siege.

How?! There is a big ol’ crime wave in the city and the mayor is concerned. He gets Capt. Harris in there to try to take them out, but being the bumbling fool that he is, he totally botches it. The mayor and the commissioner are furious and bring in Lassard and all our favorite former cadets to clean up the mess. Meanwhile we see that the crime wave is being caused by three ridiculous criminals who are really just doing whatever a shadowy figure known as The Mastermind tells them. With Lassard in charge things… go pretty much just as badly. They botch a sting operation and let a giant diamond get stolen on their watch. Despite these failures The Mastermind still wants the police out of the way and plants diamonds in Lassard’s office, leading to their suspension from the case. Knowing that time is running out and wanting to clear Lassard’s name, Nick gets everyone together and tells them that he’s noticed something odd about the robberies: they follow an old bus line. Wait a second! That’s no bus line! That’s a new train line! Knowing where they will strike next they are able to corner the baddies and do battle. Ultimately after a classic Police Academy Chase they subdue the baddies and chase The Mastermind to the Commissioner’s office where he’s revealed to be… the Commissioner? No, really it’s just the Mayor in disguise. With that our friends are once again honored for their bravery. THE END.

Why?! You see, the Mayor had inside information about the train line and knew that the properties along the route were going to be bought for big bucks by the city. By getting the robberies to hit up all the places along the route he could drive down property values and snap them up and make a big ol’ profit. It’s really a classic case of corruption.

Who?! Two interesting things in this one. One is that Robert Folk goes uncredited on the music. I can’t recall seeing that before, but he seems to have done it a number of times in his career. But maybe here it’s more because they just keep reusing the Police Academy music for every film. The other thing is that Billie Bird shows up in this film as Mrs. Stanwyck… just two movies after she was a titular Citizen on Patrol in Police Academy 4.

What?! Dunkin’ Donuts and Coca-Cola have some fantastic product placement in the fifth film and at least Coca-Cola said “sign me up for some more of that Police Academy action.” They show up once again as the drink of choice for our group of misfits. It’s what gives them the power to take out dirtbags while also tickling our funny bones. Put that on the bluray cover.

Where?! Sigh, back in our anonymous city. I think I speculated back in some other recap that this might be set in Jacksonville or something, but it’s all just a mishmash of random places (but mostly Canada). This one had a weird scene at the end where Harris is sent flying into the sky after Nick ties a bunch of balloons to his chair. We then see him float over the skyline of Boston. But, why? F.

When?! Just give me another F. They barely put any effort into giving these films a general plot, let alone putting things together to give an idea of when things are set. Let’s see if we can narrow it down. There is a blackout in the city and people aren’t going absolutely crazy so we can probably rule out summer. That’s all I got.

It’s also a classic case of a film with an actual plot?! Patrick and I were stunned when we watched this film and it read like an episode of Law and Order or something. They were picking up clues, tracking down criminals, and putting the baddies in jail. Where are the pratfalls? Where is Harris getting pooped on by a bird or something? It’s actually kind of amazing how straight it’s all played. I can’t tell if this makes it the best of the Gutesless Trilogy (all rights reserved) or the worst. On the one hand, I followed along with an actual plot. On the other, no one said any jokes. Well I guess at one point Winslow literally got on stage in a comedy club and started doing his act… but as I said… no jokes (zang). It’s a very odd entry in the series. Almost like they momentarily jumped back on the rails and transported back in time to Police Academy 2 or something. As for the poor, sad Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, it totally fell apart. No wonder they attempted a lackluster limited release, but ultimately shuttled it off to straight-to-video. It’s not just barely a movie, you can almost feel the anxiety of the actors as they attempt to carry out their duties. Well, at least Moscow was interesting to look at in the film. Crazy they shot there at that time. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The whole gang is back … uh, again! We have Tackleberry! We have Hightower! Wait … now House is gone? You’re supposed to add more characters to the ensemble cast, not less! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Out of all of the Police Academy films, this feels like the odd man out. You go from taking the gang to Miami (fun!) to … a rehash of the second film? At least let the gang go undercover or something. Police Academy 6: Undercover is not a bad idea actually. That might come up in the Sequel, Prequel, Remake section. Anyways, just thought this was an odd direction for the franchise this late in the game. What were my expectations? I was really hoping this would be the one where I was like “this is kind of okay actually” just to throw a curveball into these recaps.

The Good – The film actually has a storyline which is an interesting departure for the series (zing). There is a bad guy (obviously the Mayor, spoilers), a plot, a police investigation, and the inevitable chase using a silly vehicle (in this case a cherry picker and monster truck). I kind of liked the Three Stooges-esque bad guys. That type of bad guy works really well with the goofy cops. Best Bit: It is interesting to watch a Police Academy film with the plot of a 70s police procedural episode.

The Bad – Still not funny. Weird that they didn’t manage to one up themselves after taking the gags to Miami, instead it is just the second film again (with a plot). The twist … my god, there is literally only one person it could be the entire time. I was very skeptical they would have the Mayor actually be the bad guy because it was so obvious (and he’s a doofus), but there was no one else it could have been! I would have had mad respect for the film if they had Captain Harris steal a bunch of stuff to frame Lassard? That would have been great. Fatal Flaw: Still not funny.

The BMT – We did it boys! This isn’t the most impressive franchise we’ve done (the saga of Friday the 13th is still the best), but it is amazing we did it in like two years. Seven films, and at one point or another all of them qualified for BMT. And the back half is all 0% and BOMB films. It really does set the bar for just how bad a franchise can be, at least for comedies. Did it meet my expectations? Honestly, the film is dull. It is more amusing when the whole thing just explodes in a ball of fire. It was probably the best of the non-Guttenberg films, but that isn’t saying much.

Roast-radamus – Decent Product Placement (What?) for Coca-Cola being prominently displayed (oddly the seventh film was clearly brought to you by Pepsi, what happened?). And this might be the leader out of the gate for Worst Twist (How?) for the inevitable reveal that the only person in the film who wasn’t in a previous Police Academy film was the bad guy … This film is closest to BMT.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – You heard it above, let’s make the Remake of the sixth film to make it like it should have been. The gang is going undercover. They are tossing off their blues and donning their sweater vests because they are going to an actual academy to investigate a drug ring on a college campus! Hightower is an astrophysics professor, Hicks is a brash economics professor, tackleberry is undercover as a pacifist political science professor … you get the gist, I’m trying to cast them against types for the goofs, but it is now occurring to me that that is tough. Anyways, they think they know the bad guys are the frat bros, but boy are their faces red when it turns out they are just trying to raise money for the local hospital, and they are “taken off the case”. Not so fast! They figure out that actually it is the math club that is doing it, those dastardly nerd alerts! They have a big chase scene in the school’s solar cars (which run out of juice when a cloud floats by, doh!). In the end they get their guys, solve the case, and prove once again that a rag tag group of goofs can still do good. Police Academy 6: Undercover University.

Bring a Friend Analysis – Obviously, in order to finish up the series we just had to watch the seventh, and final (for now), Police Academy film, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow. Interestingly, this is also the only sequel to not officially have the number in the title. I should probably get this out of the way: the film is hot garbage. It is a shadow of the already-not-very-good Police Academy films, and is mostly fueled by bad ADR and sound effects (and not the faintly amusing sound effects from Winslow, sound effects from a 90s morning zoo program). It also very notably was filmed during the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis (you can see the damaged White House clearly during the final chase scene) which caused all kinds of issues with the schedule. If not for that I’m willing to bet the series would have successfully transitioned to straight-to-video and there would have been ten films in total, just based on how cheap this should have been to make. A solid friend though, a trip to see just how much the series fell apart with the four year break. C+. Not amusing to watch, but amusing in the context of the series as a whole. The issue is you have to watch seven films to get there, and the film itself is pretty aggravating.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach Recap

Jamie

Police Academy’s back, Jack! And boy are they ready for some fun in the sun. When Cmdt. Lassard is the honored guest at the big Miami police convention, the gang is invited along. But when they inadvertently get in the way of some diamond smugglers, things get hairy. Can they stop the burglars before it’s too late? Find out in… Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach.

How?! I think I just kinda summarized it. Cmdt. Lassard is wildly popular at this point, thanks to the success of his academy and his adoring pupils. But Capt. Harris (boooo) finds a law on the books that suggests Lassard is past the age for required retirement (double booo). But no before he gets honored with the Police Officer of the Decade (yay). He insists that his best officers come along (minus the Gutes) and so they are ready to live it up in Miami Beach. Hijinks ensue as Lassard inadvertently picks up a bag of stolen diamonds from a gang of burglars. Uh oh! Arriving in Miami they meet Nick, Lassard’s nephew and a definite Gutes type character, and partake in all kinds of beach/police convention fun. Oh and Harris totally embarrassing himself like a bozo, naturally. Anyway, the jewel thieves try all kinds of ways to get the diamonds back, but with their necks on the line they eventually resort to kidnapping Lassard, who mistakes it as the annual police procedure demonstration. Lassard totally charms the thieves, who start to regret their kidnapping ways, and even helps them acquire a helicopter to get them to the everglades where they are meant to hand off the diamonds. Fortunately our gang is there and they jump on some fan boats and totally take out all the baddies. Due to his heroics Lassard is allowed to stay on as Commandant and Hightower is promoted. THE END.

Why?! The films certainly fluctuate between entries that are more like regular films (having some gang the police must take out or something like that) and then those that are more just things happening around the academy. This is certainly the latter. This mostly involves the impending retirement of Lassard and everyone celebrating him in Miami. The diamond plot is really tangential to all this, but creates enough drama to give us the classic chase/fight climax we know and love from Police Academy.

Who?! The Producer of the film makes a few uncredited appearances in the film. Here he shows up as a homeless man. IMDb also lists Jerry O’Connell as having appeared as a kid on the beach… not sure I believe that. That feels very much like someone saw a kid that looked like Jerry O’Connell in the beach scene and added him to IMDb.

What?! I would dare to say that this is likely the best MacGuffin of the series in the stolen diamonds. I wonder if there is a reverse correlation between strength of plot and strength of MacGuffin. This really, really needed that MacGuffin to get the tissue paper thin plot from Point A to Point Miami Beach.

Where?! This whole series has been a disaster in terms of settings since they have always purposefully set it in an anonymous US city. Not so fast, says Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach. May as well call it Assignment A+ Setting Alert cause that’s what we got on our hands.

When?! Ah well, it was fun while it lasted. Who knows when any of these things are set. I guess I could see when the national police convention is… oh, now I guess. Like literally starting as I type this. That’s a weird coincidence. So there you have it. This is set in early September. Nailed it. F.

This is probably the closest the series came to dropping the pretense of plot in favor of people tripping over golf balls and Capt. Harris being lit on fire and stuff. If this was the first in the series I probably would have been like “WTF, mate? Put more shrimp on the barbie,” but this represents exactly why I like watching franchises so much. You get so deep into Police Academy that you just let it wash over you and wait for Winslow to pull out his problematic kung fu impression for the third straight movie. They clearly got to the point where they had so many characters and repeat gags that they could pretty much craft an entire film from just that. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it BMT? I’m not sure what it is really… it just exists. It’s kind of crazy that it does. Patrick?  

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The whole gang is back. We’ve got Tackleberry! We’ve got Hightower! We’ve got … wait … uh oh, where’s Mahoney? Uh, this ain’t good. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I don’t think I realized until we got to these last three films in the series just how much cred the series as a whole has. These last three films all have a BMeTric over 70. They all have a 0% Rotten Tomatoes score. And they all got BOMBs from Leonard Maltin. That is mind-bending. What it must have been like to actually experience the six straight years of Police Academy films coming out … it must have been like some sick joke. What were my expectations? I think for the fifth one I expected it to be Police Academy in Miami and thus have a ton of bad Miami jokes and not much else. These films really aren’t that complicated.

The Good – Huh, maybe some bits of the ending where Lassard thinks the whole thing is just a simulation and so he’s getting along with the mafia guys? That was faintly amusing. The few times where you could see Lassard physically press down on a fake golf club to deploy a dumb golf ball goof. Wait … do I just like Commandant Lassard? Best Bit: Commandant Lassard I guess, it is kind of the only amusing thing in the film.

The Bad – I mean … is this a movie? I swear to god there was a 30 minute stretch in the middle of the film where they just roll out the greatest hits of Police Academy’s past but in Miami. I affectionately refer to this as: Hightower smashes, Hicks yells, Tackleberry shoots, and Jones does a racist impression of a Japanese person. Usually there would also be a “Mahoney sexually assaults”, but he wasn’t in this film, that part was instead given to the new character Nick Lassard (and assaults he does!). Anyways, the film basically doesn’t have a plot. I can describe it in a sentence: Lassard is retiring and so is given an award in Miami where he accidentally steals a diamond from the mafia, nonsense ensues. Fatal Flaw: Written on a napkin during the Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol premiere afterparty.

The BMT – At a point while contemplating the Police Academy franchise I transcended the plane of existence and saw it all. It must be the quintessential bad comedy franchise. Even the progression is cliche: (1) Initial blockbuster, (2) on the streetz, (3) back to the academy, (4) new blood, (5) different city, (6)???, (7) foreign country. Only six is an anomaly, but we’ll get to that in that recap. There is something very pure about the fact that they released the first six films in six years. That will never ever be replicated again. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah. In a way it exceeded them, because watching a few in a short period of time really allows you to see just how odd the whole endeavor was.

Roast-radamus – Obviously a great A+ Setting (Where?) for Miami, which snuck into the title. And a really solid MacGuffin (Why?) for the stolen diamonds that Lassard accidentally gets ahold of and the bad guys chase throughout the film. Definitely closest to BMT, you can’t deny the franchise is so bizarre as to be amusing.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Uh oh … how do you do a sequel or prequel to a franchise with seven entries. I guess here I’ll think through the Remake since the eighth film only makes sense within the context of reviewing the sixth and seventh. I have to imagine you could remake Police Academy by making it like 21 Jump Street … actually, that’s the answer right? You make it the third 21 Jump Street film! Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, and Ice Cube are put in charge of the Police Academy in their city because they think there is a drug ring operating out of it. Unfortunately, since Hill and Tatum are now famous cops in the Jump Street crew, they can’t go undercover, but instead are installed as teachers. Inside, a rag tag set of recruits tagged as “unacceptable” (Jones, Hicks, Hightower, and Mahoney) are their eyes and ears on the ground. All the while they are fighting the nefarious Lieutenant Harris who is trying to oust an increasingly annoyed Ice Cube (who is undercover as Commandant Lassard, the head of the Police Academy). I dare say? Does it work? 23 Jump Street: Police Academy. I think “fans” of the franchise would be angry, but that is maybe the best option for an actual Police Academy “remake” possible.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Space Jam: A New Legacy Recap

Jamie

Welcome to the Space Jam… but tots on fleek for the gucci crowd. When LeBron James’ son is sucked into the Warner Bros. archive by an eeeevil algorithm, James has to team up with some Looney Toons to try to stop the dastardly plan. Can he beat the baddie at bball (and perhaps learn to be a better dad, awww) before it’s too late? Find out in Space Jam: A New Legacy.

How?! LeBron James is a bad dad. He’s all pressuring his son Dom to focus on basketball and not his real dumb dumb video games that never made anyone any money. Only basketball makes money. But Dom doesn’t just like video games, he like likes video games… like loves video games. He’s like a coding whiz and really wants to go to coding camp, but LeBron James is like “no, coding isn’t a real job like basketball.” Anyway, he feels bad for being a bad dad, so he takes Dom along to Warner Bros to check out a new offer: they want to use an algorithm to insert him into all kinds of sweet, sweet IP. LeBron is like no thanks, but the algorithm, which has taken on a life of its own and is named Al-G Rhythm, is not having it. He sucks LeBron and Dom into the Warner Bros computer and challenges LeBron to a basketball game. If he wins he gets to take over the world using LeBron’s brand. If he loses he sets them free. With that, LeBron is sent to Looney Tunes land where he meets up with Bugs Bunny. With Bugs’ help, LeBron gathers a team, although not exactly the team he was thinking. They are the rest of the Looney Tunes, who had been scattered across the universe by Al-G. LeBron is all “No, all fundamentals all day, no looney things or nothing,” and the Tunes agree (but they aren’t happy about it… kinda like Dom… hmmmmm). When the game starts, LeBron is shocked to see that Dom is the star of Al-G’s team and that the rest of the team are evil cartoon versions of his fellow NBA and WNBA superstars. They proceed to get shellacked and LeBron begins to learn and becomes a good dad. First he lets the Looney Tunes be real looney and they mount a comeback. Then, when Al-G starts to take it out on Dom, he apologizes and Dom forgives him. Finally, with the game on the line, LeBron decides to exploit a glitch in the system he learned from Dom. But it would kill him! So Bugs takes it instead and through the magic of being a great dad LeBron wins! In the end we see Bugs Bunny die and become a star in the sky (for real), LeBron drops Dom off at coding camp to become a great dad, and finally Bugs shows up because obviously he didn’t actually die. THE END.

Why?! Al-G is an algorithm that wants to have more influence on the world. For the moment he simply influences Warner Bros IP, but he wants to do more and he sees LeBron as the way to do that. He would hijack his followers and use his brand to take over the world (and maybe even break free of the confines of the WB computer? That part is a little fuzzy). So why doesn’t he just do that rather than challenge LeBron to basketball? That’s unclear. It has something to do with trapping a bunch of people in the WB computer for some reason, but otherwise I don’t know. Revenge? Anyway, LeBron just wants to be a great dad and teach everyone the fundamentals of basketball.

Who?! Obviously lots of athletes show up. LeBron is the main one, but then like Diana Turasi, Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis, etc. in cameos (and cameo might even be generous given how little they are in the film). It did get me curious as to how many roles LeBron James has had in major motion pictures. So far it’s three, with a fourth in the works. Interesting that MJ only did Space Jam and Kobe appeared once in a credited role (as himself). LeBron is already closer to Shaq than those guys in terms of acting.

What?! The film is more of a film placement within a WB commercial. Still, beyond that the products are almost too numerous to count. Nike is sprinkled everywhere, including a giant Nike swoosh that appears when cartoon LeBron smashes into Looney Tunes world. And then all kinds of video game stuff, like E3 and Nintendo, show up, including my personal fave: a flydigi controller for playing games on your phone. I just like when something weird shows up in a major movie like this and you can wonder why.

Where?! We open with an establishing shot of LeBron and all his greatest achievements, including The Decision, which seems to appear unironically. We go through Cleveland and Miami and all that, but obviously it takes place in the present day when LeBron is in LA. To be more specific, the film primarily takes place in a computer on the Warner Bros Studio lot. A.

When?! We actually do kinda get a date for this. It all takes place in the week leading up to E3, since Dom wants to attend E3’s video game design program for kids. That would place this in early June. Seeing as LeBron is just bumming around taking meetings at Warner Bros, I assume in this fictional universe the Lakers were eliminated early in the playoffs. Otherwise he should be in the middle of the finals. B

I’m not gonna sit here and pretend this is a good movie. We spend the first third of the film with Bad Dad LeBron basically listening to a pitch about Space Jam 2 and being like “dumb, no thanks.” Then the middle third is just animated LeBron bipping and bopping around with the Tunes. Finally, the last third gets us to the basketball game, which isn’t really basketball, but some other hip new DomBall or whatever. What I’m saying is that this is no doubt about it some dumb stuff. BUT, I think when you boil it down you just have to ask whether you like to watch the Looney Tunes do Looney Tunes things and whether you like to see Bad Dad LeBron become Better Dad LeBron. If neither of those things are to your liking (or if you are particularly bothered by product placement), then it’s not the film for you. I personally found that the weirder it got (looking at you Don Cheadle) the more I kinda liked it and the more they leaned into the cheesy dad stuff the more it worked overall. Unfortunately that was like 40 minutes of a 2 hour film. So still not great. Patrick?  

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’ve got the looniest of tunes! We’ve got the kingliest of kings! We’ve got a kind-of-sort-of-not-really basketball game! We’ve got Space Jam: A New Legacy. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Needless to say the last two years have been sparse for BMT. We had to completely cancel BMT Live! last year because nothing was coming to theatres. This year we lucked out and several wide release films seem to be debuting same-day on streaming services. And HBO Max delivered us a qualifying Space Jam sequel from on high. Praise the Al-G Rhythm! What were my expectations? I knew quite a bit about the complaints concerning the film going into the viewing. Lucky for me I watched Space Jam maybe seven years ago and realized then that it is pretty boring. So I figured I would like this more than most people seem to, but also probably wouldn’t actually like it.

The Good – I actually didn’t mind the WB clips as much as others seemed to have online, they were so short with decent costumes and effects that they worked for me. I loved loved loved Don Cheadle as the villain Al-G Rhythm (get it?). He was having incredible amounts of fun and seemed to know how to play just the right amount of winking at the camera to make the story work better than it should have. And the Looney Tunes are fun, even if most of them didn’t have much to do. Best Bit: Don Cheadle by a long way.

The Bad – The beginning paints LeBron as a bad parent and that was kind of weird as it took a long time to get to the redemption bit. I also wish they had went the Space Jam route where you are supposed to imagine Michael Jordan lives in a two bedroom house in North Carolina or whatever, instead LeBron lives in the most enormously gaudy mansion imaginable. The middle bit suffers because LeBron spends most of it as a cartoon which seemed like a cop out for either time or money or both. And the final basketball game lacked any tension because it wasn’t actually basketball meaning you could score 1000 points in the blink of an eye. And for the climax of the film the Looney Tunes are only-decent-looking CGI instead of looking hand drawn. Oh, and, spoilers, they fake-kill Bugs Bunny? That was odd. Jesus, and I didn’t even get to the comicon-level costumes for the WB characters watching the final basketball game! There is a lot not to like about the film compared to Space Jam. Fatal Flaw: I think allowing LeBron to be a cartoon for the bulk of the film is its biggest crime.

The BMT – Compared to the original it lacks charm by dropping the ball four different times and on almost every level. But compared to the original it isn’t boring as well for the most part. Don Cheadle maybe saves the whole thing from being a complete catastrophe. I think I’m somewhat immune to the insane A+ Produce Placement from WB because I’ve seen both The Emoji Movie and Ralph Breaks the Internet which both effectively do the same thing, but even grosser since those only seem to serve mega-corporations. Did it meet my expectations? I did indeed like it more than a lot of people online I think. Basically I think this was a mid-30% on RT, not a mid-20% like it ended up being. Space Jam is an appropriate mid-40%. Would I watch a third Space Jam? … I guess.

Roast-radamus – I think there is definitely a Planchet (Who?) in Khris Davis who plays LeBron’s friend Malik whose sole purpose seems to be to be a goober and not do anything right. Let’s not even get started on Product Placement (What?) for the entirety of the WB cinematic library. And a nod for Worst Twist (How?) for the inevitable switcheroo of Dom James joining the Tune Squad and then getting to go to the E3 Game Dev Camp. It’ll obviously get play in the Live! section and it probably in the BMT category in the end.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Uh oh, looks like it is time for the return of the BMT Crossover Episode. In the second Space Jam we saw Al-G Rhythm defeated by LeBron and Dom James, but that doesn’t mean he’s gone. On no. He’s only laying in wait until a new superstar supreme enters his life. And you guessed it, that man is Sasha Petrosevitch. Al-G Rhythm plans on capturing the digital essence of Sasha and holding a worldwide Aikido tournament to, once again, win the hearts and minds of the world and ultimately rule it. Well, Sasha won’t be having that! He decides to go digital, and forms a rag tag group of WB properties to Aikido alongside him against the Goon Squad (composed of eeeeeeeevil versions of the only person that could possibly pose a threat to Sasha in martial arts skill … himself!). And you bettah belieb that he’s going to aikido chop his way to victory. It’s called Akido Jam: Half Past Digital.

Live Theatrical Review – Obviously I didn’t get to watch this in theaters, but instead on HBO Max. Does it feel different? Honestly, it kind of does. I’m not sure how I would have felt if I had shelled out 15 dollars to go sit in a theater with a bunch of annoying people to watch this film. I would have almost definitely walked out with that sick feeling of “what the hell am I doing with my life.” Is it really BMT Live! without that feeling? I did enjoy getting to watch a new film in the comfort of my home and the comfort of my own schedule though. And I’m not one to be precious about the theatrical experience, but it seems likely that if I had seen this film in theaters I would have had different feelings than “meh, whatever, it was okay right?”. B. I’ll have to watch a few more “theatrical” films outside of the theater before I can have a true verdict as to whether the feeling is the same, or whether it can’t really count as “Live” without being live.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Wild Orchid Recap

Jamie

Emily is a lawyer. The best lawyer. James is a weirdo. The best weirdo. They are on a collision course in steamy Rio and nothing can stop their adventure of the senses. But can Emily seal the big deal for her company while also helping James get over his rich people problems and find love… before it’s too late? Find out in… Wild Orchid.

How?! Emily is a small town girl who’s made it big as a multilingual lawyer. Hired by a big new firm she is immediately sent to Rio de Janeiro to help facilitate the closing of a hotel deal with a Chinese company under the tutelage of Claudia. When things start to go sideways with the deal, Claudia runs off to Buenos Aires to reign in one of the people involved. This leaves Emily in charge of entertaining Claudia’s friend James Wheeler, a real rich guy who mumbles and stumbles creepily about showing Emily all his rich person stuff. Emily is intrigued by this weirdo but ends up fleeing when he takes her to an Eyes Wide Shut type party. The next morning James is just chilling in her room when she wakes up (sigh, really James?) and convinces her to go with him and a weird rich couple out to a party. While there the wife of the rich dude gets assaulted and James helps get everyone to safety. In the car ride back tensions are high… but apparently not high enough for our boy James Wheeler. He convinces the couple to have marriage reaffirming sex in the car in front of him and Emily. Emily is shocked (shocked!), but soon learns the truth: because of all his sweet moneybags, James can’t love like a normal person. Love has become a game and he can no longer stand being touched. So that night Emily gives into his desires and has sex with a random pervert (the only way James can get pleasure now… for real). The next morning Claudia returns and Emily is dismayed to find that the random pervert is actually opposing counsel on the deal! But Claudia is thrilled and uses the situation to the benefit of the company. Unfortunately, Wheeler is Wheeler and he uses his riches to circumvent the deal and buy up the hotel himself. Claudia is angry and pushes forward with the Chinese company. The next morning she tells Emily all about James (and her own obsession with him) and then they proceed to almost have a threesome before James busts in angrily. Emily calls out James for all his antics and ultimately he ends up signing over the hotel to her, saving the deal. Emily then goes out to find James and they have wild sex for at least an hour and then ride away on a motorcycle. Rad. THE END.

Why?! James Wheeler is a rich person from a bad background who made boatloads of money because basically he didn’t like being poor and didn’t like how people made fun of him for stuttering. You would think this would land him bodacious babes… and it does, but eventually he finds these babes shallow and only in it for the money and so love becomes a game for him and he’s all sad or whatever. For Emily, though, love isn’t a game. In fact it’s nothing. She’s been so focused on rising from her humble beginnings in middle America that she hasn’t had time for love. It is this yin and yang of perversion and innocence that is… Wild Orchid.

Who?! We probably should note when the two leads in a film are married or get married. Rourke and Otis started dating on set and created (almost certainly false) rumors of an unsimulated sex scene. They got married three years later and were together almost a decade, although not happily according to Otis’ memoir.

What?! Rourke shows off how totally rad he is by tooling around on his motorcycle. Eventually the motorcycle becomes a character of sorts as their wild love is sealed by a final ride on the bike into the sunset. As if he is a cowboy and the bike is his faithful steed. And if you weren’t sure what super cool bike he was riding, there is a scene where he goes by a truck full of American sailors who scream “Harley Davidson!!!” at him.

Where?! This surpasses Blame it in Rio for best Brazil film we’ve seen (even though it’s not A+), thankfully. It really takes every facet of Brazil and squeezes all the Brazil it can out of it. I think Zalman King would say it required the Brazil setting, although I would think this is set in Miami 9 out of 10 times… still, A.

When?! Patrick reminded me that this is really Secret Holiday Film Alert since we have a pretty significant Carnival scene and it’s mentioned several times. That is a February event so that’s pretty specific. I think this goes hand in hand with the setting since you can’t squeeze out all the Brazil without setting it during Carnival. A-.

You can see the blueprint for Fifty Shades all over this junk. Rourke is a creepy weirdo but also super rich so that makes him mysterious and exciting but he’s also damaged and doesn’t like to be touched and only Emily’s innocent love can fix this damaged, beautiful, dangerous super rich man that can have anyone he wants but wants little ol’ her. It is trash through and through and I debate whether it’s even interesting trash. It’s interesting because of how weird and bad it is… like how The Room is weird and bad but interesting in its weird badness. You get a sense you’re getting a peek into Zalman King’s outlook on life and love in an unusually unfiltered way, but it doesn’t really make any of it less offputting. I’m not sure I even have much good to say… the main actress is beautiful but not a good actress, Rourke mumbles his way into a performance that is somehow worse than his amateur counterpart, and it all feels a bit exploitative of Brazilian culture in pursuit of a steamy adventure of the senses. So it appears I do not have anything good to say. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’ve got creepy Mickey Rourke, we’ve got … actually that’s all I can remember about this movie, creepy Mickey Rourke will haunt my dreams forever. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – What can you say about a film that has been so long in the making for BMT? Ever since Color of Night we’ve been champing at the bit for more of ‘dem erotic thrillers. Well, this was the last jewel for our weird erotic thriller crown. I think we’ve seen most of the qualifying genre at this point, so this has to be good, right? … Right? What were my expectations? Well … the director comes across as an … eccentric if I were to be kind about it. It seems like he directed cable porn in the 90s if I were to be unkind. So with that in mind I really just desperately hoped I wasn’t watching porn.

The Good – I can kind of see what people must have seen in Rourke at the time. It is a bit like Kevin Costner in that his characters now come across as a bit emotionally stunted (if not in need of actual therapy), but at the time I think made sense from a “oh my God, this guy just sulks around and doesn’t talk … so hot!” perspective. Love the film for the Brazil setting, better than Blame it on Rio (although no less creepy …). As the crowning achievement as to the boundaries mainstream audiences were willing to see pushed, this is maybe a better example than, say, Showgirls (although I would have to rewatch that to be sure). Best Bit: Brazil and Carnival.

The Bad – My god could the guys in this film be any creepier? I don’t know what the writer/director of this film is thinking, but if any of this is sexy then count me out my friend. There is a bit in the middle where Bruce Greenwood’s character seems to propose that the main character some back to New York City to be his captive sex slave? I’m not sure about the visa situation in this plan, but it sounds sketchy. And Rourke is so repressed and brooding that all of his teachers thought he was mentally challenged when he was growing up … hot, amirite? For real, this went so far beyond Color of Night that it came back around a few times and just left me feeling bad. Fatal Flaw: Can we just not with these, please? More Bruce Willis hanging dong, less Creepy Rourke sexually assaulting women with his eyes.

The BMT – I mean it had to be done, but did it have to be done? I think this officially marks the point where the remaining erotic thrillers are either so small as to be really borderline wide releases, or so egregious as to have been forgotten to time. Too bad, I was hoping the genre would go out with a bang, but instead it taught us all a valuable lesson about the limits of enjoying bad things. Did it meet my expectations? Somehow I think so. It is tamer than you would think from an exploitative or gratuitous nudity perspective. It is just reprehensible, not actually pornography.

Roastra-damus – I think a genuinely bizarre Product Placement (What?) for Rourke’s two Harley Davidson motorcycles he “brings everywhere” (and a year later he would play Harley Davidson in a bad movie so …). Definite Setting as a Character (Where?) for Rio, as the film could not be any more Rio. A (not-so) Secret Holiday Film (When?) as they indicate it is explicitly Carnival in Brazil, which makes it late-February as well. And a pretty excellent MacGuffin (Why?) for the decrepit hotel that is the key to the big Chinese deal (and Rourke’s heart) that Emily is working on. I want to say it is bad, but it is actually closest to BMT since you can’t stop thinking about it after watching it.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I think this is the one to break the Half Past Dead cycle, we obviously have to get a Prequel in here to explain the brooding sexy nature of James Wheeler. We open in Miami, James Wheeler is a sweaty mess (so sexy) and has zero lines of dialogue for the first 45 minutes of the film (so sexy). He’s playing the game, you know the game … the one where it broods and thinks about women being objects to be manipulated (so sexy). In strolls Claudia Dennis, a woman of profound capability, and one to be supremely manipulated. They ride Harleys and look real cool, and then he gets the deal and strolls into the sunset with Claudia vowing she won’t let this silent, brooding, sexy man out of her life. Wild Orchid: The Wheeler Chronicles – Part 1: Origins. You better believe there are going to be a few more parts to the enigma that is James Wheeler.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

K-9 Recap

Jamie

Dooley is a cop that doesn’t play by nobody’s rules. He pulls out all the stops and takes charge of a police dog, Jerry Lee, to go after a major drug kingpin. But danger is around every corner as the kingpin goes after Dooley, the people he loves, and even *gasp* Jerry Lee. Can they stop the baddie before it’s too late? Find out in… K-9.

How?! Dooley is a cop that doesn’t play by nobody’s rules… did I mention that already? Anyway, he’s starting to think the drug kingpin he’s after, Lyman, is getting wind of his investigation. How? Well, Lyman blew up his car using a helicopter. Man he wants this bust so bad, but his captain says he needs a partner and Dooley’s like “I don’t play well with others, man.” But seeing as he’s got a drug kingpin to bust he gets a pretty sweet idea: drug sniffing dog. How hard could it be to handle a K-9? Pretty hard when that K-9 unit is Jerry Lee, a dog that don’t take no guff from nobody. Dooley and Jerry Lee are a pretty potent combination, both rude, crude, and full of ‘tude and Dooley ain’t liking it. He’s always fighting the dog (like physically), but also Jerry Lee is getting him out of jams and stuff too so there forms a begrudging respect. Just as he’s on the verge of the big bust (oh man, he wants it so baaad) Dooley is shocked and horrified to find that Lyman has kidnapped his girlfriend. Oh no! Dooley, playing by no rules and taking no guff, barges in on a big party at Lyman’s house and starts to act super crazy. But it’s all a ruse! After getting arrested, Dooley and Jerry Lee steal the police car and make their way to bust the big shipment, just knowing that Lyman won’t miss a chance to move his stuff while Dooley is (allegedly) in jail. He’s right and Dooley and Jerry Lee (but mostly Jerry Lee) chase down and steal the truck carrying the drugs. They drive it to the meet up with Lyman and a shootout occurs during which Lyman is killed and Jerry Lee is shot! Double oh no! Dooley and his girlfriend rush him to the hospital (like a human hospital) where he is saved and everyone is super happy. THE END.

Why?! I’ll have to think of the BMT term for this type of film. Where there is a higher concept to the film itself (human-dog buddy cop film) that has almost nothing to do with the motivations (wanting to bust a ruthless drug kingpin). It’s the A plot that’s really a B plot. Cause who gives a shit why Dooley ends up with a dog partner? Who really cares what Lyman’s up to? Not a single person. They just want that dog to make Dooley crazy with his dog antics. It’s the main storyline of the film that slips off the mind the instant you step out of the theater and could have been replaced with thousands of other storylines. There is a multiverse of possibilities for the plot and motivations of K-9.

Who?! Big time shout out to the dog who portrayed Jerry Lee. He also played Jerry Lee in the short lived TV series in 1991, which was also sadly when he passed away. Although this is all disputed. Some places say the dog was Koton, an actual K-9 officer from Kansas City that continued to work and was killed in the line of duty in 1991. Other places are like ‘not so fast,’ he was actually Rando, a dog from Germany with a much less interesting history. The latter seems like the truth.

What?! I want to note that Dooley’s house is a Diet Pepsi house as further evidence for his clinical insanity. Beyond that it’s super fun when video games (such an up and coming industry) make appearances in the 80’s and 90’s. In this case Dooley is always playing around with a Game and Watch from 1983. It’s version 2 of a game called Manhole.

Where?! This is the best of the categories for sure as it quickly becomes clear that Dooley lives and works in San Diego. It makes some sense with the drug running storyline and it’s a bit refreshing given that San Diego isn’t as common as one would think given proximity to LA. I’m going to give it a B+.

When?! Do I think there might be some hint in this film for when it takes place? Possibly, although I didn’t find any. It seems hot… like maybe summer hot and we do know it’s near the beginning of a month cause of a schedule in the police station. But these are just things I notice when I don’t have anything else to say. F.

The juxtaposition of a rather straight buddy cop storyline with a totally insane cop-dog relationship has to be seen to be believed. Jim Belushi literally gets in a fist fight with the dog. And you might be thinking I’m employing the modern usage of the term ‘literally.’ Nope. Jim Belushi, fed up with Jerry Lee butting in on his love life, takes the dog out and begins to fist fight him. And it’s not even the only time you wonder whether they found a buddy cop script lying around and just searched the name of Belushi’s partner and replaced it with the word ‘dog.’ The dog seems to be written more like a human than a dog. But honestly I didn’t mind all that. Cause the dog was kinda dope. What I did mind was the police investigation storyline, which paints Belushi as both dangerously incompetent and a menace to those he claims to love. For the sake of the citizens of San Diego the mad man should have been stopped long ago. Thank god he delivers not one, but two mega human-to-dog MonoSklogs the likes of which we’ve never seen. Overall, I think I would describe the film as quietly insane. If you can get past the general concept of a human-dog buddy cop film I think you could watch this and be like “OK, that was fine,” but it’s not fine if you think about it for even a minute and that helps make it an OK BMT film. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’ve got drug dealers! We’ve got a police officer who don’t play by no one’s rules! We have a police dog who also don’t play by no one’s rules! It’s K-9! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Was there a time in the late-80’s/early-90’s where critics were like “for real, just cut the shit with the dogs already!”? It sure seems like it. Coming out around the same time as Turner & Hooch, the critics eviscerated this film seemingly for no other reason than it was yet another human-dog buddy-[blank] film and they were sick of it. What were my expectations? There is a problem here. If I’m right about the critical thing then the film should be underrated because it was dunked on for its genre and not genuine quality. But … Jim Belushi isn’t funny or a good actor, so it seems unlikely to be true. So which will it be? I hope it is genuinely awful because that would be more interesting.

The Good –  I do love a good animal actor, and while this one isn’t as good as the dog in The Mask, he is still pretty good. Solid tricks including a silly drinking-from-a-straw trick. I also appreciated that they chose to treat the dog almost as an unruly human partner instead of a dog. At times Belushi gives random commands as if this thing is magical and will intuit that it needs to do. “Go get a search warrant and then get drugs and any firearms you find from this warehouse” might as well have been a command. The movie is at its best when there are a few people being charming with a dog. Best Bit: Doggies.

The Bad – The issue comes in with the A-story which a la 48 Hrs. or Beverly Hills Cop is a far more serious affair that you might expect from a comedy. Belushi is out of control. He goes so far beyond “I don’t have time for rulez” that he basically destroys his own investigation leaving the only option to be to get into a firefight and hope the bad guy dies in the process. He almost gets killed multiple times, and ultimately everyone he loves gets kidnapped or shot. And I just don’t see how he ends up not losing his job, he fired his weapon within a citizen’s house, escaped custody, stole a cop car, and then ended up in an altercation where three people died. In what universe would they just be like “well, got’em bud, our bad” at the end of that? Fatal Flaw: The main character hates rulez so much he might as well have murdered the bad guy in cold blood and called it a day.

The BMT – I’ll be up there in best bad dog-cop films (but surely Top Dog is worse right?). It sits as a nice introduction to leading-man Belushi who we will see again. It is a legendary San Diego film to be sure. But the police investigation is so absurd that it sinks the film. You simultaneously have to take it seriously for the film to work and can’t take it seriously because Belushi’s character makes no sense. It is a tough circle to square. Did it meet my expectations? I can definitely see a reason why critics might have hated this film since it makes no sense … but I do think it was underrated to a degree. A BOMB seems harsh from Leonard without specifically calling out the silliness of the police story.

Roast-radamus – I kind of love the Product Placement (What?) for of all things Game & Watch which plays a pivotal role in the climax of the film. A legendary Setting as a Character (Where?) for San Diego, which must be a pretty rare movie setting with LA just up the coast. And we have a MacGuffin (Why?) option for The Big Bust that Belushi is pursuing throughout. Closest to BMT I think, the police story is that weird.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Do I dare? … I do, we are going BMT Crossover Episode yet again, I’m going to do it until it isn’t funny anymore. Sasha Petrosevitch now runs the Half Past Dead division of the FBI where agents who have gone beyond death use their new found knowledge for law enforcement purposes. And guess who else is half past dead? That’s right, Jerry Lee! Sasha needs a drug dog to sniff out the culprits behind a drug running operation which is running drugs up and down the California coast. And guess who is behind it all? That’s right, Chad, the pilot from the first film. He is, in fact, an international drug smuggler using his pilot’s license and connections to get that sweet uncut snow into San Diego and up the California coast. Naturally, Sasha takes him down and gets a new doggie friend in the process. K-10: All Dogs Go to Heaven.

You Just Got Schooled – And do I dare? I do. I watched the television movie K-9000 which, according to wikipedia, is an attempted soft pilot for a television series based on this film … I somehow doubt it. First, it was made by a completely different production company (Fox instead of Universal). Second, no one involved in the film is involved in the series. Third, it is a sci-fi film about a guy who accidentally gets implanted with a microchip that allows him to talk to a super smart police dog. The film is pretty brutal, but a one season series could have been fun. It just ends up being overly long and the dog doesn’t even show up until 40 minutes into the film. Has that cheap sheen of made-for-syndication television of the early 90s, and is as boring as you would expect … but it does make me wonder why exactly people think it is based on K-9. I listened to a podcast on it that is one of two wikipedia sources for it being an adaptation and they suggest K-9000 was written in 1989 and shelved which is just more evidence that it definitely isn’t based on K-9, no way they make this weird adaptation the same year as the movie, right? It really really (really) seems like it isn’t. D. Not enough doggies and boring to boot.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Two of a Kind Recap

Jamie

We open in Heaven… seriously… where God is like “Earth is dunzo” but some angels convince him to give it another chance if a miracle happens. So God is like, “Fine, I’ll spare it if total trash human, Zack, becomes a not trash person.” The angels are sad, cause Zack is trash. Can Zack be redeemed (and perhaps even get the girl?) before it’s too late? Find out in… Two of a Kind.

How?! God is ready to dump Earth. Just trash it, cause it’s garbage. But the angels beg him to give Earth one more try. So he’s like, “Fine, if that guy over there miraculously turns out to be a good person then I won’t trash Earth.” When we look down, that person is John Travolta and we are like “shit.” That’s cause he’s Zack and he’s an inventor in debt with the mob. In order to get the money he owes he decides to rob a bank, but the teller, Debbie, has different ideas. Seeing a juicy opportunity she gives him a bag of trash and takes the money herself. Distressed and still on the run, Zack tracks down Debbie and despite being a total creeper is able to woo her and start a romantic relationship. Meanwhile, The Devil has joined the game and begins to try to mess with Zack’s journey to salvation. Things come to a head when, after a nice time out on the town together, The Devil has led the mobsters to Debbie’s apartment. Even after they escape, he has also led the police there with a tip about the bank robbery. Using the temptations of El Diablo, the police are able to get Zack to turn on Debbie. She refuses to turn on Zack and with the help of the angels is able to beat the rap. Realizing that Debbie never betrayed him, Zack has a change of heart and chases after Debbie. At the same time The Devil realizes that if Zack actually does lose and God destroys the Earth then he’s out of a job, so he orchestrates taking Debbie hostage. Realizing he’s in love Zack jumps in front of a bullet for Debbie, but miraculously survives. Thus we fulfill the requirements of the bet and Earth is saved. Hooray. THE END.   

Why?! I have two readings of this film. One is that Travolta is simply a survivor. Always running and scrambling to live (and invent) another day. That’s his motivation and the distillation of his character, so when he reverses course and takes a bullet for ONJ it’s truly a miracle. That’s the way I like to read it. I do wonder, though, whether the extensive God/Devil/Heaven/Angels storyline is pointing more towards a strained Adam and Eve metaphor. That Travolta and ONJ are simply human, no better or worse, who are able to be tempted by the Devil into their bad deeds.

Who?! Once again ONJ is pretty charming and puts out some bangers for an otherwise very strange movie. Like check out Twist of Fate. Daaaaaang. I just added that to my running playlist. Otherwise, it’s notable that Gene Hackman voices God and goes uncredited. Sometimes you can get a sense of why someone goes uncredited. In contemporaneous reviews everyone appears to assume it’s because he knew the film wasn’t good and decided not to take the credit.

What?! This has one of the craziest product placements (or probably not even product placements) I can remember. When Zack and Debbie have their grand date on the town, we see them on a ferry eating a box of Chicken Delight… a major chicken franchise in the US until 1971, when a legal victory for franchisees resulted in the owner pulling out of the US, leaving the franchisees to fend for themselves. By 1983 (and onto today) there would have just been the independent franchises left. So can’t really be a product placement. Maybe the director liked Chicken Delight, or maybe they felt it gave the film an NYC feel. Fun one though.

Where?! Given my reading of the film in the Why section I think there might be a chance this is more of an NYC specific film that one might first imagine. Could it have been set in LA? Sure, but given the time period I do wonder whether the miracle-of-miracles had some more special meaning coming in the form of an NYC dweller. A man living day to day, always scrambling, surviving like a cockroach. So I’m tempted to give it an A-.

When?! Not really many clues here other than a general sense that it’s summer in the cit-ay. In particular ONJ’s roommates are a couple of jokesters dead set on getting out to Fire Island to “catch some serious rays.” They are actually pretty mean about it too, huffing and puffing about missing their train out there after having to help Debbie following the bank robbery. C-

I think somewhere deep in this film there is something that might be worthwhile. There are moments between Olivia Newton-John and Travolta where you can see a little spark and you wonder why on earth they decided to a) muddle everything up with unnecessary and boring God vs. The Devil shenanigans and b) make Travolta a trash caricature of a person. Just slim this whole thing down: Travolta is a down-on-his-luck inventor who has fallen deep into the underbelly of NYC after crossing the wrong people. In a moment of desperation he robs a bank, but is duped by an equally desperate teller. After finding each other they go on the run and rediscover their own humanity. I mean, that’s the crux of the film, and yet this very serious concept is buried under a mound of silly fluff. You don’t even get to understand Travolta’s character because it’s mostly played for a laugh. Just play into the innate charm of ONJ and Travolta and let the steamy action carry you. They did the opposite and I guess it’s kind of fun in a stupefying way. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’ve got Travolta! We’ve got ONJ! What more could you need or want?! Well … a script would be nice, but them’s the breaks. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – If I got one chance to look at the post of this film and guess the plot I would have never guessed “two pieces of garbage fall in love while God tries and decide whether humanity is worth saving” … huh? We couldn’t just get a meetcute between Travolta and Olivia Newton-John and call it a day? What were my expectations? I don’t know. The film looks like it is barely a movie. Or maybe more accurately it looks like a television movie masquerading as an actual film. That usually means boring, but sometimes things like Can’t Stop the Music just end up being so silly and bizarre they are kind of okay. So who knows. I wish it was a musical though.

The Good – Bit here and there involving Travola and Newton-John falling in love are pretty okay. It all comes across as a television movie, but that isn’t actually that bad, it just means it looks cheap and is a bit trite. Travolta can play a surprisingly good heel at this point in his career. He is a believable grifter piece of garbage. Actually, Newton-John does too, although her character is far far more redeemable than Travoltas. Best Bit: The romance probably, they do pair up well.

The Bad – The whole thing with God and the Devil fighting over these two people concerning the fate of the world is amateur hour. It feels like the movie does need a hook, but this ain’t it brother, even if the angels and devil are fun in their own bizarre way. Travolta is a genuine piece of trash in the film. Every time you think he’s going to turn a corner and be a little good, he ends up revealing even further depths of his garbage heart. It actually ends up sinking the film. The whole thing would be trite nonsense if he was a normal human being. But he is instead a garbage man and it becomes incredibly hard to root for his redemption. Fatal Flaw: Travolta’s character is a big ol’ pile of trash.

The BMT – This film goes into a group of bad movies which are basically television movies that were released to theaters. Maybe you can track these back to holdovers from the pre-blockbuster era or something. And Travolta obviously rockets to the top of the BMT Villains list with his character of Zack … am I joking, or am I deathly serious? Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, it is a television movie which is pretty fun. It feels like an 80s episode of Touched by an Angel or something, like a soft pilot, but somehow released to theaters. That’s fun.

Roast-radamus – A very surprising Product Placement (What?) for Chicken Delight, and I’ll let Jamie get into that a bit more. A very solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for NYC which you see in multiple montages, and Newton-John is trying to break out on Broadway. And an entry for Worst Twist (How?) for the obvious life sacrifice by Travolta at the end to save the world. Closest to Bad I think, but I could be convinced of its BMT-ness as well.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I might have to add BMT Crossover Episode as an official category as I’m finding those delightful recently. This time, guess who we are adding to the cast? That is right, 90’s era Steven Seagal! He’s back as Sasha Petrosevitch, and he’s been called upon by God to do deep cover in Hell to try and figure out what that rascal Beasly is up to. Naturally, Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are along for the ride as they are good friends with all of the angels and Beasly and stuff. Sasha finds out that Beasly has been trying to find out the location of a stash of combination television/VCR players that was hidden before a real bad dude died and went to hell, but the bad guy (played by Brian Cranston, remember this is the 90s) isn’t giving up the secret. Can Sasha pry the secrets to the stash (and the afterlife) before Beasly gets the loot and destroys the world economy with cheap combination television/VCR players? Find out in Three of a Kind: Full Past Dead.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Soul Survivors Recap

Jamie

Cassie is off to college for one last hurrah with her boyfriend, Sean. But when a car accident leaves him dead she feels like she’s going crazy. Add to that a hovering ex-boyfriend, an antagonistic BFF, Sean’s spooky ghost, and a whole lotta creepy guys following her and she really feels insane. Can she uncover the truth before it’s too late? Find out in… Soul Survivors.

How?! Cassie and Annabel are BFFs going off to college. Tagging along for the first weekend is Cassie’s ex-boyfriend, Matt, and her new boyfriend, Sean. It’s a pretty boring weekend until Annabel suggests a weirdo rave and everyone is like coooool. Off they go where they dance the night away having a grand old time. At the end of the night a jealous Matt convinces Cassie that he needs one last kiss (you know, for closure) and she’s like, fine. But, uh oh! Sean saw and he’s a bit jelly. In the car they fight and a distracted Cassie ends up crashing. A few weeks later Cassie is mourning the death of Sean at school. She is struggling to keep up with her classes, Annabel is like ‘get over it’, and she’s starting to see ghosts and a couple of real creepy dudes she recognizes from the night of the crash. Fearing some sort of occult conspiracy and feeling like she is being chased she ends up fainting and being saved by a kind priest. The next day Matt arrives and starts to care for her in a definitely not creepy way… for sure not a hovering weirdo. Anyway, Cassie continues to see the creepy dudes everywhere and even starts to get a suspicion that Matt is in cahoots with the creepy dudes. Ultimately after a bunch of other nonsense happens and despite her fears about Matt, she asks him to drive her home. Instead he takes her back to the rave place and she’s like “what thuuuuu,” and tries to escape. It’s then that she (and we the audience, who never saw this coming for sure) learn that all the events of the film have been but a dream (what a twist!). A dream occurring in the final moments of Cassie’s life in the hospital after the crash. It’s all led to this question: does she want to live? And she’s like hellllll, yeah. Check out her boyfriend. He’s Casey Affleck… Ben Affleck’s brother. So… uh… yeah… she wants to live. THE END.

Why?! I mean, I could be snide and say, “seriously, what was the point of this totally ridiculous movie that meant nothing because none of it actually happened?”… and I will. But I’ll also say that the point is really about life and love and what makes someone want to live. Matt and Annabel are also fighting for their lives but in the end they are seduced by the weirdo rave people because they promise better things for them (for Matt it’s being with Cassie, for Annabel it’s being free). Cassie though has Sean waiting for her and that is what she chooses.

Who?! There are a couple credits that go to “Jump Rope Twins” which I don’t really recall much about in the film. I went back and looked and literally it’s just some twins in a school yard that are jumping rope… not a hallucination or anything. Cassie just sort of smiles at them and goes on her way. Weird. But at least this can now win Best Twin Film award.

What?! This is a pretty major twist. In fact it’s one of the holy grails of what we are looking for in a BMT twist-em-up. Some of the best of all time have employed this tragic mistake of a plot device (i.e. I Know Who Killed Me), so always a treat. Bonus points for being obvious from the jump.

Where?! It’s hard to pin down in a fun kind of way. From the license plates in the beginning they are from Illinois. They are heading East since Matt is tagging along on his way to Harvard, while Sean has to then fly out to California. Given the name of the college (Middleton) I presumed it was some play on Middlebury and we are in the Northeast. All checks other than Sean saying he’ll be 2000 miles away in CA. Likely just an estimate, but pretty vague overall. Interesting too that we see the characters drinking some Goose Island at one point that totally gives away they they filmed in Illinois and Indiana. D, cause it is fun to try to figure out.

When?! I agree with Patrick that it does appear that there is a September 2001 calendar indicating that the film takes place around September 26th. However, I would like to also point out that that’s bullshit. It’s also clear that she took her midterm on the 19th of some month. So she had a midterm on September 19th? Also there are children that jump out screaming trick or treat in costumes… in September? Also… ALSO… it’s all a dream. So this doesn’t matter. B… I mean it’s still a secret holiday film even if it’s a secret dream holiday film.

This is as close to not being an actual film as we get. Narratively it resembles a baffling dream more than a horror film and indeed about four seconds into the film you can be pretty sure none of it is actually happening. “It was all a dream,” is such a bad movie twist that you rarely actually see it in the wild, and yet… Soul Survivors exists. They probably should have just trashed it at some point. The acting wasn’t good, the story was a mish-mash of nonsensical sequences held together by a thread (or perhaps not held together at all), and ultimately the twist meant everything was meaningless. So of course I loved it! It is a truly horrid piece of BMT cinema! A relic of the Scream high school/college horror bonanza that (rightfully) barely qualified for BMT as a wide release. I’m a real sucker for a high school/college setting, but even that couldn’t rescue this dog poo. Like Half Past Dead from last week I think this film will get some play at the year end awards, but for very different reasons. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We got spooky ghosts. We got a barely-there Luke Wilson. We got (checks notes) Melissa Sagemiller. We got Soul Survivors! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – For a bit while reading the preview I thought “uh oh … this looks like a trite horror film from the 2000s.” But it does have a lot of cred. Top 10 BMeTric for 2001, a sub-10% on Rotten Tomatoes, a BOMB by Leonard Maltin. It is doing everything you want it to do. What were my expectations? I was obviously hoping for a The Fog (2005) situation, but secretly dreading that it was actually just going to be boring.

The Good – Hmmmmmmmmmm. Nothing I don’t think. I literally can’t think of a single thing they did well in this film, which is kind of mind blowing to think about. The only thing maybe is the goth aesthetic they have going for it? That is a very late-90s to early-00s thing and in a way it is a bit charming to see on screen 20 years later. Best Bit: Goth aesthetic.

The Bad – My god, let me count them. The two main actors aren’t as good as their supporting actors. It cribs from about five different horror films (not all of them good). The soundtrack is an abomination. Maybe back in 2001 it was a different story, but I made a YouTube playlist from the soundtrack to get a feeling for it and wooooooooof. Let’s just say I’m not a fan, a lot of death metal or whatever that genre is and I’m just not a fan. The bad guys are also just a weird choice, and the direction makes the film feel chopped to shit and borderline incomprehensible. I would call it incomprehensible, but because all of the ideas are stolen from other films it is actually pretty easy to follow. Fatal Flaw: Dare I? I do, the soundtrack makes me sad and I hate it, sorry.

The BMT – There is a long list of bad stuff and I got into it a bit, but the film is very flat and just kind of happens while you sit there wondering when they are going to reveal that she is in a world between life and death … because about 20 minutes in it is abundantly obvious that that is where it is going. It is a really bad horror film, but also not so bad that I would want to watch it again, so where does that leave us? With a flat kind of boring but genuinely dog poo in my face film I think. Notable for the year, but probably not to BMT overall. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, blessedly not as boring as it could have been. Just enough interestingly bad choices to keep me a bit entertained.

Roast-radamus – Eagle eyes Jamie with the Bad Movie Twin (Who?) as well for jump rope twins which I’ll add here for posterity. A fun Setting as a Character (Where?) for Middleton College, which is somewhere within driving distance of Chicago. A weird Super Secret Holiday Film (When?) because we see Trick or Treaters … but it is also by all accounts September, but also a dream? Which brings us to obviously the worst of the Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that it was all a dreaaaaaaaam. Otherwise just closest to BMT I think, as I said, just enough bizarre choices to keep viewers entertained.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Are you ready for that Sequel / crossover that no one was asking for? That’s right, we get to see what happened to Sasha Petrosevitch in Half Past Dead in the time between when he is shot and almost killed and when he becomes Half Past Dead! He goes to the in-between world where Ja Rule keeps trying to get him to stop jacking cars and come back to life with him, and his dead wife is smooching on him and trying to get him to stay with her in this definitely-not-death-ghost-world. All the time he’s getting back into Akito, dropping the pounds, and feeling better about himself every day. Could death be so bad when you look and feel so good and are smooching your wife every day? But in the end with the help of Ja Rule he realizes he has unfinished business in the real world, smooches his wife, and returns to the land of the living. Soul Survivors 2: Dead O’Clock.

You Just Got Schooled – At a loss for Melissa Sagemiller bangers I had to just turn to a similarly gothy film from the era, The Craft which I had never seen. The cast is stacked though. Neve Campbell (who says “sooory” with such a thick Canadian accent I didn’t even need to check that she is Canadian), Fairuza Balk (from The Waterboy), Robin Tunney (about to hit her apex with Supernova and Vertical Limit), with Christine Taylor and Skeet Ulrich in smaller roles! That’s a pretty solid cast top to bottom right there. And the film is good. I liked the good vs. bad witch thing they got going, and they didn’t bother really dealing with hanging a franchise off of it like they definitely would have these days. B+. Holds up well even 25 years later.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Half Past Dead Recap

Jamie

Sasha Petrosevitch is deep undercover with the FBI. How deep? Well he’s sent to the advanced prison Alcatraz 2 ahead of the execution of Lester McKenna. Low and behold a gang of terrorists take over the island and hold a Supreme Court Justice for ransom. Can Sasha make sense of all this craziness and stop them before it’s too late? Find out in… Half Past Dead.

How?! A lot is going on in this film. A LOT. At first we see Sasha as the partner in crime of Nick, a criminal in deep with the mob. When they are caught, Sasha takes a bullet for him and is dead for like five minutes… not sure why that’s important actually. Anyway, eight months later they find themselves back together in Alcatraz 2 just before the first major execution at the prison. Lester McKenna is ready to die for stealing $200 million in a bank robbery that left five people dead. He’s real sorry for everything and even the Supreme Court Justice who sentenced him comes to see him because she knows he changed… There’s even some weird sexual chemistry between the two and I was into it. Lester wants to talk to Sasha for some reason and while they are chit chatting about life and death a bunch of terrorists led by 49er One, who works for the prison, parachute in. They take down the security protection and with a big storm brewing isolate the prison. As they grab Lester and the Justice as hostages they nearly kill Sasha, but he escapes in time to start doing his classic Steven Seagal Under Siege shit. He’s moving around the prison all nimbly bimbly, kills a bunch of the terrorists, and even manages to get Lester away from the terrorists. After gathering an army of fellow prisoners with Nick, they set up a trade: Lester for the Justice. Lester even tells Sasha where all the gold is because he recognizes that Sasha doesn’t want it for himself. But the switch is actually a switcheroo! The terrorists get both Lester and the Justice and, after a major fire fight between the prisoners and the terrorists, manage to escape in a helicopter. Sasha is like “FBI, get me a helicopter.” They chase after them and when they catch up the terrorists push the Justice out of the helicopter. Sasha leaps out after her while the terrorists realize that they were also victims of a real twist-em-up. Lester is wearing a bomb! They explode just as Sasha is able to parachute down and save the Justice. Later we see that Sasha found the gold and helped get Nick released. Hooray! THE END.

Why?! This is almost an 80’s/90’s film in its motivations. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a bad guy talk about how doing good pays shit and he’s going to get what he deserves by doing bad. Blah blah blah. Have fun being a fugitive, Morris Chestnut. As for Sasha, he’s really in it to get revenge for the death of his wife. It’s such a minor aspect of the film that I didn’t even mention it in the recap, but yeah, he’s undercover and using Nick to get closer to his boss who was responsible for her death. At the end he offhand mentions that, oh, by the way, I got him. As always it feels like Seagal is just riffing some of these things at times and the director just has to be like, “whatever, sure his wife died, fine.” 

Who?! Obviously Ja Rule is a principal actor in this guy, but he’s not the only musician-turned-actor. Kurupt is also featured for a little comic relief and had a surprisingly substantial acting career. The only interesting credit here (besides a rare Supreme Court Justice character) is that Michael Bay got a Special Thanks for allowing the use of some establishing shots from The Rock… apparently he was good friends with the director of this that directly ripped off his own film. Didn’t seem to care, which is kinda cool of him.

What?! A little bit of a MacGuffin twist since Lester is more the MacGuffin himself. They need his sweet, sweet knowledge of where the treasure is and so the Supreme Court Justice is used as a pawn in the game. All kinds of trades and switcheroos going on, not to mention Seagal being such a bro that Lester willingly gives up the treasure location (thus removing his MacGuffin status) and blows himself to smithereens. Word up to Lester.

Where?! Alcatraz 4 Life, baby. I actually wonder whether this could be the only film set on Alcatraz (so not just shown briefly) that qualifies for BMT. It’s possible, but I’ll have to do my research. This obviously makes the film an A… pretty fundamental to the plot that this all takes place at Alcatraz 2. But it’s also not really a great California or even San Francisco film. Funny that there are places that can transcend their surroundings.

When?! The film has an excessive number of intertitles, so we are informed that the events take place, in total, over 9 months. Likely from early Spring to Fall. However, the more interesting aspect is that this clearly takes place in the future. Not only is there an Alcatraz 2, but news reports we are shown say that giant sharks are being caught and the ice caps have completely melted. That bumps you to a B-.

I cannot believe this was released to theaters. There was a very brief moment at the beginning of the film where I thought, “wait, are Steven Seagal and Ja Rule actually acting? Is this going to be a better than expected film?” The answer came fast and furious in the very next scene where they are both being sent to Alcatraz 2… nuff said. After that it is a blatant The Rock rip-off cranked up to 12 (only because The Rock was already cranked to 11). It’s only fitting that Seagal and his band of merry prisoners take on parachuting x-treme terrorists hell bent on taking a Supreme Court Justice hostage. It’s also fitting that this lunacy was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back of Seagal’s career. It is a very, very fun (and very, very, very dumb) action film, which make it a prime candidate for BMT. This should be making some noise at the Smaddies Baddies this year. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Steven Seagal is back!!! We are very very slowly moving through his filmography. In another ten years we’ll be through them I think. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – With this film we will officially be more than halfway through Seagal’s BMT filmography! BMT! BMT! BMT! Watching the preview and stuff just got me amped to watch Steven Seagal in a durag in prison. It is everything a little boy could dream of. What were my expectations? I guess rap music and Steven Seagal shooting guns because he’s too lazy to do much real fighting anymore since he was already fat at this point? Those were my expectations. If I recall correctly Exit Wounds in particular was pretty boring, and this came out after that, so there was definitely some risk we were officially seeing a direct-to-video Seagal film by accident.

The Good – The setting of Alcatraz is genuinely hilarious. To come out in 2001 and posit an idea where the U.S. Government / California decided a good use of money was to revamp the island prison of Alcatraz into a super duper max prison where they have a specialized highly efficient execution machine … I’m at a loss for words. The absurdity makes it go all the way past bad and it becomes good again. I love it. I’m in love with it. In a weird way I was also kind of into both Nia Peeples and Ja Rule. The energy they bring to the movie works well for what it is I think. Best Bit: Alcatraz babyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

The Bad – Steven Seagal? Steven Seagal is bad. It is ludicrous what he was doing with himself and his characters at this point in his career. I have no idea what he is thinking with these choices. There is zero doubt in my mind he was the one who said he was going to wear a durag. The entire end scene where Seagal blows up a helicopter at what appears to be 10,000 feet and then skydives with one parachute to save a Supreme Court Justice … yes, all of this happened!! The movie is absurd, and in a way it is delightful. But there is no doubt about it: this is a terrible film by almost any standard. Morris Chestnut as television-level sociopath spouting on about how he “feels nothing and could kill everyone in this room without feeling anything” isn’t helping matters. Fatal Flaw: Late stage Steven Seagal. This film has terminal Steven-Seagal-itis.

The BMT – Heeeeeeeeeeell yes. And I’m as surprised as anyone. I kind of had a feeling it was going to be pretty fun to watch because of the setting (Escape Plan-level nonsense prison films are almost always highly amusing to watch), but there was always that I-don’t-know-what-is-happening-in-Exit-Wounds possibility for this film. But no, they stuck to the (escape) plan and kept us in crazy-Alcatraz-2.0 and everything worked out for the better in my opinion. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them! And that is a shock. I think this is the last Steven Seagal film that was released to theaters, so I was very much expecting it to actually be secretly boring.

Roast-radamus – There is such a good Planchet (Who?) named Twitch (played by the rapper Kurupt) that he becomes the star of the direct-to-video sequel (more on that later)! A very very good Setting as a Character (Where?) for Alcatraz 2.0, the super duper max robot prison Steven Seagal is sent to. Huge MacGuffin (Why?) film with the $200 (or whatever) million dollar bounty of gold the soon-to-be-executed prisoner hid somewhere. And a solid Worst Twist (How?) for the not-so-subtle twist that Steven Seagal is an undercover agent, and not, in fact, a hardened criminal mastermind (who’da thunk it?!). Obviously closest to BMT and a spectacular list of superlatives to boot.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I mean, there are so many possibilities. Steven Seagal’s character is a deep cover agent for the FBI, so I’m thinking Prequel. It would star Kellen Lutz as a young Sasha Petrosevitch, a master of Akito, and FBI agent extraordinaire as he attempts to infiltrate a gang who is trying to pull off the biggest heist in history: steal all of the gold in Fort Knox. The plan is to set off a large-scale attack in the area, all while getting themselves sealed in Fort Knox posing as army officers. But how will they get out? Tunnels and motorcycles of course. Petrosevich has posed as their explosives expert (because he is … an explosives expert I mean), and is now on the inside. But is he willing to blow the tunnels, bury the gold, and kill his new found friends in the process? Nope, but is he willing to get into a high speed boat chase down the Mississippi River once they all successfully escape and bring his buddies to justice. In the end he gets the gold (and the girl, is that wedding bells and foreshadowing I hear?) and accolades galore … but the celebration is cut short when the news reports that Lester McKenna just stole a boatload of gold in a simultaneous heist across the country. Lutz looks at his captain like “here we go again” and laughs. Quarter Till Dead is maybe the best title in the universe and no one can tell me otherwise.

You Just Got Schooled – Naturally, after watching this film I was just jonesing for more of that sweet Half Past Dead action with Half Past Dead 2. The film starts off with crackling energy by featuring Twitch and the warden from the first film exchanging words on Alcatraz 2.0 and I’m like “wait, are they actually going to set it on Alcatraz, that’ll be expensive”. But alas, my fears were realized when Twitch intentionally gets himself sent to a supermax prison in (checks notes) Missouri so that they no longer have to pay for a single ocean vista. The storyline is basically that Twitch wants to escape to find the second half of the aforementioned gold stash, and Bill Goldberg (from the WWE) is a prisoner with a heart of gold who needs to save his daughter during a prison riot. Yada yada yada, they save the day, Twitch gets paroled, Goldberg gets $80 million in gold, everyone lives happily ever after. Well, except for me, since I wasted two hours watching Half Past Dead 2. C+. The film is garbage, but saved by the setting. Like a homeless man’s Prison Break, there is something fun about cheesy prison movies, what can I say.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Son of the Mask Recap

Jamie

The Mask is back, Jack! Tim Avery just wants to be an animator. His wife just wants a baby. Loki just wants his mask back. These dreams all come together when Tim finds the mask, impresses everyone at work, and conceives a son… of the mask. But Loki is still after them. Can they stop Loki (and learn to raise a baby!) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Son of the Mask.

How?! Tim Avery is a giant, terrible man child. His wife is wildly successful and wants to have a baby, but he’s like, “No, I’m a giant terrible man child and I have to become a successful animator so I can make any child of mine proud of me.” So instead he sets out trying to chase his animation dreams. Things are not going well until one day his dog brings home the mask and Tim is like, dope. When a costume party at work rolls around he is scrambling for a costume and decides to use the mask. You better believe is all the rage at the party where he dances, sings, and jokes his way into everyone’s hearts. That night he makes sweet sweet mask love to his wife who obviously becomes pregnant. His boss is also pregnant… with ideas about how great it would be for Tim to make a show about the mask. Enter writer’s block. With the stressors of a new job, new kid, and no idea where the mask went, Tim is struggling to juggle all his responsibilities. His wife (still wildly successful) has to go on a trip and things start to get pretty hairy. That’s cause his dog is jealous of the baby and uses the mask it found to terrorize everyone. The baby is also totally maskified and so he gives it right back to the dog. Meanwhile I forgot to mention that Loki is looking for the mask and enters the fray trying to take everyone out. There are a bunch of silly battles and shit and eventually Loki gets the baby and demands the mask in exchange. Tim and his wife show up and Tim (as the Mask) battles Loki for his son, which ends when Tim takes his mask off and his son, feeling his paternal love, runs to him. Loki attempts one more time to kill them, but is stopped by Odin who, convinced of the joys of fatherhood, reconciles with Loki. Hooray. They all live happily ever after. THE END.

Why?! Much like Freddy Got Fingered the plot is driven by the main character man-child and his dreams of becoming an animation superstar. All the meanwhile his son wants to get rid of Tim, the dog wants to get rid of the baby, and Loki just wants the mask. This is all resolved by the end after wasting everyone’s time.

Who?! Some fun ones here. The baby is portrayed by twin actors, as is common with child actors. Neither baby went on to do anything after this which makes sense… they were babies. Bear the Dog portrayed Otis and he did appear in a few other films, but this was by far the biggest. Which also reminds me that the original Mask had one of the greatest dog actors of all time. Just another thing this sequel totally whiffed on.

What?! Of course the titular Mask is a pretty famous MacGuffin. Here more so than in the original, even, as Loki is specifically after it the entire film. Some reviews talk about extensive product placement in this film, but really the only one I remember is at the beginning of the film where Jamie Kennedy is playing a Game Boy Advance. Specifically he is playing Mark Kart: Super Circuit.

Where?! The Mask in general takes place in a fake comic book world. The large city in the original is called Edge City. In this one the mask travels to a smaller city called Fringe City, which seems generally more idyllic. So really this doesn’t take place anywhere and they did a good job making it seem that way by filming in Australia. Looks kooky. B+, even though it’s fake.

When?! Solid time setting at the beginning of the film with the whole crux of Tim’s professional career riding on the big big big Halloween party at work. From there the timeline gets crazy. He impresses so much at work that he gets a big show deal, but it appears to be a full year later and they are just presenting the very beginning of a pitch to investors. I mean his wife got pregnant, had the baby, and is leaving Tim alone with the baby and he still hasn’t even drawn the pitch for his cartoon. Nuts. A-.

I rewatched The Mask in preparation for watching this film and boy, there might not be a better example of how far you can miss the mark on a sequel. It takes about five seconds of the original film to realize that Jim Carrey was born to play the Mask and there are zero other people that could have made it all work… so of course the film replaces him with a crazy faced Jamie Kennedy, a cgi dog, and a cgi baby. At that point it was over. There was no saving the film. Even if the whole thing wasn’t also filled with juvenile humor and an odd Norse mythology throughline it would have failed spectacularly. And it did. It was actually hard to sit through. Dog poo to the moon. I think the only thing I think might be OK is the general premise of growth and paternal love involving Tim and Odin/Loki. I mean… that’s not the worst message to see put to screen. Tim does end up being a good dad. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We are watching a true blue modern bad movie classic. That’s rare, we usually watch exclusively garbage even by bad movie standards. You’re welcome. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Kids’ movie? Classic top 10 worst films of all time candidate we somehow didn’t watch in the first ten years of BMT? Looks like dog poo in my face? That’s right, it is (finally) time for Son of the Mask! The best fact from the preview was that someone won a cameo in The Mask 2 from Nintendo Power, but then when the movie got canceled he ended up with $5,000 instead of waiting for a part in this film … good choice. What were my expectations? Dog poo in my face. Directly in there. Mostly just because it is a kids film.

The Good – Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. There is a kernel of a maybe okay kids’ movie in this film that has absolutely nothing to do with The Mask. Loki is a trickster punished to have his essence placed into a something (specifically NOT a mask) and himself trapped on Earth as an immortal for 1000 years or whatever. And then, just as he is supposed to get his essence back, it gets placed into a cartoonist’s baby. The baby does a bunch of classic cartoon stuff, and drives the father crazy. And in the end Loki learns to love Odin again, and Odin learns to accept Loki for who he really is (awwwwww). That is basically this movie, but cut all the nonsense about The Mask out (and no dog). That’s a maybe okay movie, right? Doesn’t sounds horrible. Best Bit: Loki I think (played by Alan Cummings).

The Bad – Anything where you can tell this was a semi-aborted sequel to The Mask. I’m pretty convinced that this film was only halfway made as a sequel to The Mask, the other half being the fight between the baby and the dog which forms the core of the storyline. And I don’t mean any real offense … but Jamie Kennedy is really really bad in this. It is like he is playing someone who is really really dumb, but then this person is also supposed to be responsible and smart and talented. But he seems really dumb, and Kennedy plays the character that way for some reason. If there was an inverse Oscars for Worst Makeup in Film History this would win for The Mask makeup. Also it basically just uses the dancing baby CGI thing from The Daily Show. How did this stuff get worse in the ten years between the two films? It makes no sense. This film is really bad, I recommend it to no one. Fatal Flaw: It being a sequel to The Mask makes me sad.

The BMT – Dog poo in my face obviously. Obviously. … Obviously, right? It is, but I will maintain that there is a kernel of something in there. I was a bit surprised the storyline was as normal as it ends up being. It is somewhat coherent with a normal weird-B-story (like all the best bad kids films do). So it has that going for it. Appropriately terrible. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, but since I would also never ever watch this film again, I bet it doesn’t really end up doing much as far as BMT history is concerned.

Roast-radamus – Solid Product Placement (What?) for the Game Boy Advance at the beginning of the film. Definitely a decent Secret Holiday Film (When?) for having their bit Halloween party at the beginning of the film. Obviously this is an A+ MacGuffin (Why?) for the titular mask, which is a solid claim to fame, especially for a kids’ film. This is obviously closest to BMT, it is appropriately insane as far as makeup and CGI is concerned.

Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I think the movie itself gives you the idea of what this should have been: a cartoon. As a matter of fact they already had a Mask cartoon in the mid-90s, presumably as they were trying to get Carrey back for a sequel. Here though you make a direct sequel to the cartoon series, but posit that after spending years as the mask, something indelible occurred with Stanley Ipkiss, he changed in some way. And so, as he happily retires the mask and settles down into some happy years as a mild-mannered bank manager, his new baby boy ends up taking on some of The Mask powers. In fact, the child has become, in some way, the son of Odin himself. In the first episode Odin comes down and offers to take his son to Asgard to be raised among a people who won’t fear his powers, but Ipkiss, using the powers of The Mask, decides to instead raise him himself and reign in his mischievous ways in an attempt to guide him to using his powers for good (much like Ipkiss in the original film eventually did). Would have been a fun concept I think, but the one thing is it has to be a cartoon! The live-action stuff only works with Carrey and he wasn’t down. Son of the Mask still works well as a title, or maybe The Mask Jr.

You Just Got Schooled – Of course in order to actually assess Son of the Mask I needed to rewatch The Mask. For those who don’t remember, Jim Carrey had an absurd 1994 where he starred in The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, and Ace Ventura in a single year. A tour de force. The Mask I remember being rather disappointed with. No longer! Having now watched it with an adult brain and without heaps of expectations the film is pretty awesome. Maybe one of the better comic book movies starring a normal person / sans superheroes? And Jim Carrey is amazing. It is an abomination that they thought they could make The Mask 2 without him … it makes no sense. He’s a living breathing cartoon character! And you replaced him with Jamie Kennedy. Just the worst. Not this film though. The Mask is great. A. Loved rewatching it.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs