Super Mario Bros. Recap

Jamie

Mario and Luigi are just a couple of plumbers trying to make ends meet in Brooklyn. When Luigi meets the love of his life, Daisy, only to have her taken through an interdimensional portal to Dinohattan the bros follow after her. Can they stop King Koopa from merging the dinosaur and human worlds (and find love) before it’s too late? Find out in… Super Mario Bros.

How?! In the midst of a string of kidnappings of women, two Brooklyn plumbers, Mario and Luigi, are just trying to get by. When a beautiful researcher, Daisy, who is excavating some strange fossils in a local construction site catches Luigi’s eye things seem like they are looking up. That is until she is becomes the next victim of the kidnappers. Even weirder is that Mario and Luigi witness Daisy getting dragged through what looks like a solid rock wall, but in actuality is a portal to another dimension (oooooooo). Luckily they grab Daisy’s necklace before she is dragged through because it turns out to be the key to everything (more on that later). Refusing to lose his chance at totally smooching this pretty lady, Luigi jumps in right after and Mario is not far behind. They find themselves in Dinohattan, an alternate dimension where the dinosaurs never went extinct, but instead evolved into intelligent humanoids themselves. This realm is ruled by the eeevil King Koopa, who needs Daisy’s necklace in order to make complete the meteorite that split the dimensions millions of years ago. By completing the meteorite he will merge the two dimensions and he can use his advanced deevolution technology to take over the world (bwawawawa). Hearing that the plumbers have the necklace, Koopa puts out an APB. Before they can be arrested, though, they are mugged and the necklace is taken. Once arrested, they are told the entire intricate MacGuffin-centric plan but totes escape before Koopa can do anything about it. Ending up in the wasteland they are helped by some of Koopa’s toadies (and now defectors) to get back into the city and locate the necklace. Almost immediately after getting it back, though, Koopa’s lady love Lena gets the necklace and decides that actually she wants to rule the world and goes off to use it on the meteorite. Mario and Luigi decide it’s time to rescue Daisy (and all the other kidnapped girls) and infiltrate Koopa’s building and take everyone out like the Super Mario Bros that they are. Once outside Mario confronts Koopa, while Luigi and Daisy confront Lena, who immediately is killed when she attempts to merge the dimensions. While the dimensions are briefly merged Koopa deevolves Mario’s biggest rival into a chimpanzee before Luigi and Daisy remove the necklace and Koopa is dispatched. Dinohattan rejoices, Daisy’s dad is reevolved from a fungus into a humanoid by unknown means, and Luigi and Mario return to their own dimension. Luigi is real bummed because he doesn’t get to smooch Daisy, but is surprised when she returns to let them know about their next great adventure in the sequel. THE END… or is it? (it is). Believe it or not this is me being brief… the plot is a disaster.

Why?! Major MacGuffin Alert over here. In fact, I’m going to call it right now. This is the best MacGuffin in the history of BMT. I’d have to go back through all our films to confirm it, but the Meteorite Necklace is kind of a perfect level of stupidity. You see, King Koopa really wants this Meteorite Necklace that Princess Daisy has. Why? Because it’s part of the meteorite that sent the dinosaurs into an alternate dimension. By putting the meteorite back together he’ll be able to merge dimensions because… why not. Obviously that would be the case. But that’s not all. Even if he had the piece of the meteorite he wouldn’t be able to merge the dimensions. Why? Because only Princess Daisy would be able to do that and survive the power surge (?). Again… why? I literally have no idea. Because it was laid down in an ancient scroll probably. Or maybe… like Princess Daisy’s mom was actually human and so she’s the offspring of both dimensions and thus can bridge the gap… I just made that up, but good enough for me. Everyone else is motivated by love (awwwww).

Who?! Weird musician-turned-actor in this as Toad was played by a guy by the name of Mojo Nixon, a psychobilly musician who’s heyday was in the early 90’s. He appeared a few films around this time… in fact this isn’t the first film we’ve seen him in. He was also in Car 54, Where Are You? I should also mention that Lance Henriksen has a very brief cameo as the Mushroom King after he is reevolved back into a… mushroom human, I guess. Never a real explanation why he even reevolves either. It just kinda happens at the end.

What?! Again, one of the greatest product placements in BMT history. So good that I remember being puzzled by it even when I watched this film as a child. In the climactic scene where the Super Mario Bros take out Koopa with a Bob-omb we get a very clear shot of the bottom of the bomb’s feet… which for no explainable reason are emblazoned with the Reebok logo. Magnifique.

Where?! Brooklyn, baby. In both dimensions Brooklyn/NYC exists and plays a prominent role in the action. The best part is that they actually give some pretty clear details of Dinohattan and the world that it exists in. Apparently it’s a small inhabitable city surrounded on all sides by a wasteland that covers the rest of the planet… which is exactly how Patrick and I describe the Z-Universe in our ongoing Bad Movie Twins saga. Great minds. A-.

When?! My guess is that this is actually identifiable given that there are a number of prop newspapers with news stories regarding the missing Brooklyn girls. I just couldn’t catch a clear glimpse of a date on them, but they exist. I just need to scour the dark web for some of those sweet sweet props. F.

There are moments in my life where I know I’m watching a first ballot HoF film. This was one of them. It is truly the crowning BMT achievement in multiple categories close to our BMT hearts. The MacGuffin is a masterpiece, the product placement is inexplicable, and the stories behind the production may very well be a case study in how arrogance and ego mixed with cynicism and disillusionment mixed with greed comes together into a perfect BMT film. They weren’t trying to make a BMT film, they were trying their damndest to make a hit, and yet they produced something that is so odd and weird and nonsensical that it became beautiful. A beautiful piece of trash. The only good thing about it was how invested it seemed that Bob Hoskins was in an obviously terrible role… and then I learned he was drunk the whole time and didn’t give a shit. Give the man an Oscar. I could not tell. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! For about two years now we’ve allowed ourselves to rewatch movies for BMT. Now, I thought Batman & Robin was going to be the quintessential example of why this is a good thing. Apparently I forgot about Super Mario Bros. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Everything I remember about the film and everything I heard about it subsequently kind of focuses on the set design of Dinohattan. All of the cast hated the two directors, and part of why the two directors were being insufferable was because they were being limited in their vision of a surreal alternate dimension Mushroom Kingdom. I noted during the Double Dragon recap that these two movies are kind of the same: let’s adapt this video game, but since we are a bit light on story … uh, it is also post-apocalyptic. I was intrigued and very very excited due to all three prospects.

The Good – In an alternate dimension this film is fantastic and ushers in a wave of bizarre metaphorical adaptations of video games. There is something just so bold and brash in the vision. The leads are solid I think, at least as good as you would hope given the material. Dinohattan in all of its misguided glory is kind of amazing, and tells you a lot about how films were being made in that sweet spot of the late 80s / early 90s. Finally, Yoshi is a very very impressive puppet, right before Jurassic Park killed the need for cinematic puppets once and for all.

The Bad – The story makes no sense. The fan service is off the chain. It is completely operating on the level of “well we have this script that is just a sci-fi post-apocalyptic film … how much Super Mario shit do we need to add to it to make it a Super Mario film again?”. Hopper is awful, just awful in the King Koopa role. It is clear the directors were out of their depth, the script was re-written daily, and Nintendo was offering no guidance. It is awful … even if it is incredibly fun to watch.

The BMT – The film is somehow one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, and a cinematic achievement. I absolutely expect to watch this film many more times in my life. I will show my children this film. They will watch it with me. And guess what? When they are like 30 years old they’ll say “What was that weird Mario film we watched with dad those twelve times when we were kids? Jesus, you want to watch that again in our holo-cinema, Robo-Butler?”. This is the first film in a while that might make the Hall of Fame simply on bad movie merits alone. It will endure for BMT.

Roast-radamus – Last week we had evil Laurel & Hardy, and this week let’s go with Evil Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Who?) because this film is somehow almost definitely a rip off of Hamlet, and the two cousins of King Koopa play R and G for sure. One of the best Produce Placements (What?) we’ve had in a while with Reebok sponsoring the grand finale bom-bomb. Naturally a small Setting as a Character (Where?) for Brooklyn and alternate reality Brooklyn (Dinohattan) which is pretty great. It actually literally is a character, as the Mushroom Kingdom is covered in Princess Daisy’s father who was de-evolved into a fungus. We have a fantastic MacGuffin (Why?) in the meteorite shard which will somehow merge the two dimensions back together. And finally I think this has a good shot at both the BMT award this year, and also an eventual Hall of Fame in the future, but we’ll see. That’s five years away. Very impressive award potential though.

StreetCreditReport.com – Obviously Siskel and Ebert put this in their worst of list of this year. Normally that would be well and good as far as street cred is concerned. Rifftrax has it on their worst of the 90s list at number 3. Gamestop puts it at number 13 on their worst video games list. And variety put it maybe at number one (but it seems to be in no particular order) as a top 7 worst video game films list as well. This has the cred. Up the wazoo as they say.

You Just Got Schooled – Another video game film, another speedrun. Well, not precisely. In this case it is Mario 64 TAS (tool-assisted super-run) involving not pressing the A button (at all) in the final level. But how you might wonder, well take a look at the video:

Basically the computer is just pressing B, manipulating its environment, and pausing to eventually get all of the red stars and defeat Bowser. Obviously this can only be done via computer, but still pretty impressive. The entire game can in theory be done with a single half-A press, which I understand to be that you come into the game with A pressed down and merely release it at a single point in the game to achieve the only jump currently required in the entire game. If that video intrigued you I would suggest watching the previous video he uploaded (it is in the description), and reading that description. It explains a bunch about how the B jump works. Other videos explain the pausing mechanisms, and other junk. And Games Done Quick (summer event is June 23rd to 30th) does a few TAS breakdowns as well which is the only reason I know anything about this. And there you have it, you’ve been schooled on deeeeeeep Mario 64 super-run knowledge.

And that’s it. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot Recap

Jamie

Det. Joe Bomowski is on edge when his overbearing mother comes to town. When his mom witnesses a murder and he’s faced with hosting her until the case can be solved he takes matters into his own hands. Can he solve the case and get rid of his mom (and perhaps find love) before it’s too late? Find out in… Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.

How?! It’s just not Joe’s week. First he gets in a wild shootout during a sting operation, then his girlfriend/boss (you read that right) breaks up with him because he’s an immature man-child, and then his overbearing mom comes the visit. Gah! Women! Am I right? Anyway, after his mom ruins his gun in a failed attempt to clean it she heads off to the bad part of town to buy him a new one. Unable to get a gun due to a waiting period she heads around the corner to buy some heavy duty illegal firearms out of the back of a van. Illegal transaction being what they are she finds herself in the middle of a shootout and subsequent murder investigation. Wanting to get her son a leg up for a promotion, she decides to withhold information (Probably ain’t going to work given that he’s been carrying on an inappropriate relationship with his immediate superior… oh, and he’s a bad cop). As a result she kinda forces him to team up with her and they start to uncover a (not so) intricate insurance fraud conspiracy. You see a company had all these (illegal?) guns. Wanting to double dip they faked a warehouse fire, collected the insurance, and then were going to turn around and sell them on the black market. Joe figures all this out with the help of his mom and even while navigating his personal relationships, growing a little as a person, and learning to live and love again, he is able to track the bad guys down. They attempt to escape to South America, but are confronted by Joe’s mom. Taking her with them (but, why?) Joe is forced to make a daring rescue, while his trigger-happy mom saves the day with the help of her gun. In the end Joe gets engaged and his mom heads home as her work there is done… you know until they start having babies and she has to come back for the sequel Stop! Or My Grandma Will Shoot. THE END.

Why?! Love. Obviously. The love of a mother for her child, the love of a bachelor for his independence, and the love of money for an anonymously eeevil business person. The funniest thing to dive into is the business person, just because they seemed to be so lazy with that part of the plot. He’s a business person who had an insurance claim on a shipment of guns and weapons. Being geniuses they decide to double dip and burn down the warehouse so they can turn around and sell the weapons on the black market. Unfortunately for them some of the people involved steal some of the guns and sell them on the street, where they are discovered and immediately traced. After that everything goes to shit. I am 100% certain this is also the plot of a Michael Dudikoff film. It just has to be. It’s so vague.

Who?! Some early(ish) roles for some actors that became well known, most notably Ving Rhames who has a very minor speaking role as “Mr. Stereo,” for real. Most important though is that I love when animals get credits. A lot of films will not actually give a credit for animals, even when they are pretty prominent parts of the action. Here though they have a credit for Pixie, who played Estelle Getty’s little Yorkie. Only credit Pixie got.

What?! There are a number of product placements in this film but I think Cocoa Puffs is the best one. He’s forced to eat it as part of a large breakfast prepared by his mother. This of course gives him an upset stomach. Why did I like this one the best? Well after discussion with Patrick he pointed out that normally Stallone writes into all his films that his character is a health nut, which allows his to provide sage dietary advice to all his coworkers and potential love interests. Since he didn’t write this film, he is eating Cocoa Puffs. Must have killed him inside.

Where?! This is a pretty good LA film as it plays into the plot a little bit. Like Stallone grew up in New Jersey with his mother and when he got old enough he escaped, moved as far away from her as he could, and become a police officer. Where is far away from New Jersey? LA of course. That’s more backstory, though, and not much in the actual film. A-.

When?! Second film in a row where it takes place in large part in a police station and yet I couldn’t for the life of me determine anything close to an exact date. I’m really pretty sure that for all these films there is a way to find this stuff out, but perhaps I would need to start getting in contact with propmasters and writers on the films. Yeah that’s what I’ll do. I’ll become a crazy person. Perfect. F.

This is probably one of the worst written films we’ve watched. It’s almost like one of those bikini car wash films or something. Everything is two-dimensional and the premise of the film has to keep on getting reset in order to get to feature length. One moment you’ll see Stallone realizing that his mom isn’t that bad and maybe she is just trying to help and the next he’s screaming “She’s going to kill me!” Just over and over and over. The interesting thing is that I thought Estelle Getty was actually kinda fun and charming as the overbearing mom. Stallone was really overreacting… she just seemed like a regular mom (with some characteristics ratcheted up slightly for laughs). Apparently this was one of Ebert’s critiques even as he noted that they seemed scared to make her an actual nightmare, but instead landed on a fairly likable character. The biggest problem I had with the film was Stallone’s love interest who is supposed to be his boss but is written like a two-dimensional, marriage-obsessed, needy stereotype. It’s insulting. She’s a lieutenant in the LAPD! You couldn’t make her even a slightly strong character? Instead she spends the movie wringing her hands over whether this dope is going to stop being a dope and love her? Terrible. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Stallone looked over at Schwarzenegger’s Kindergarten Cop and was “I’ll have what he’s having, but way worse and nobody will like it.” Well, Hollywood can dish that out in spades. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I needed something, anything, that suggested this was something other that a cynically made one-note comedy. ANYTHING. Because if it was what the trailer suggested, then there was never any hope for this. And without hope … what is BMT really? Where would we really be if we just walked directly into a film that offered no laughs and no entertainment. WHERE?!

The Good – The movie is yet another film that you can kind of call quaint. The further you get from the cash-grab cynicism it was obviously made with, the more it just kind of seems like a weird cop-based sitcom from the 60s. This hard-boiled LAPD detective has a new roommate … his mother! And boy are they an odd couple! I liked Getty, who played the mother. Stallone was mildly amusing. I can at least see why people are giving it better reviews as time goes on, it was far far less aggravating than I expected. I think that is a testament to Estelle Getty, she’s such a cute little old lady!

The Bad – The film is trash and should never have been made. “Hard pass” should have been the only two words the screenwriter heard from the instant the mere concept was put forward. It is sad it was made. It was also not funny (despite claiming to be a comedy). And the B-story was a complete nothing. Some jabroni wanted to commit some light fraud by burning down a warehouse full a guns, yada yada yada, he killed like a dozen people and tries to flee to Mexico. Like … okay? And the love life storyline is tacked on … and no one looks very good after that one. The detectives are harassing their female superior officer, and Stallone’s boss/girlfriend’s actions towards her subordinate in Stallone is wildly inappropriate. Of all of the cop-plus-something movies, I would guess this is the worst one … but that isn’t a surprise when your formula is cop-plus-his-mother. Wait … I forgot about the cop-plus-a-literal-dinosaur film we saw a few years ago …

The BMT – Somehow cop-plus-something films are a sub-genre. A ridiculously specific sub-genre, but a bad movie sub-genre nonetheless. And I think it is just ridiculous enough to either be brought up again on its own as just a dumb 90s comedy, or as a combo with Theodore Rex, the aforementioned cop-plus-a-literal-dinosaur film. It really is a great sub-genre, and we should find a time to fit in one of the many cop-plus-a-dog films that obviously qualify for BMT.

Roast-radamus – I think this qualifies for a Setting as a Character (Where?) for LA, it plays a huge part. There is kind of a new category here for Evil Laurel & Hardy (Who?) for the skinny and fat guy comedic combo bad guys who are always joshing each other and sneezing and stuff … legit, weirdly an amazing thing in film now that I think about it. That is probably it though, unfortunately they decided against having the mother ultimately be the bad guy in what would have certainly been the worst twist ever. Sigh, what could have been.

StreetCreditReport.com – Weirdly most of the 1992 lists for some reason ignored this. Luckily Roger Ebert was all over this as the time. “`Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot’ is one of those movies so dimwitted, so utterly lacking in even the smallest morsel of redeeming value, that you stare at the screen in stunned disbelief.” … so I take it you didn’t like it Roger?

You Just Got Schooled – On the DVD for the film there is a short 5 minute documentary (advertisement really, although I’m not sure where it would be shown … these days it would be one of the earlier commercials that play in a theater before the trailers) operating as a making of clip. It was interesting. Nothing much more than what the trailer gives you, except you can see Sly just razzing Getty the entire time. It is pretty impressive. He’s telling off color jokes (like how they just unfroze her because he needed some ice cubes for a drink … get it, she’s old) and Getty clearly is just loving it. There are like 30 parts where he’ll say something a little inappropriate and then she’ll laugh and give him a little punch. You can really see the charisma of Sly at the time, and also a bit of how smart he probably actually is, he was really coming at her quick with one-liners. I wish there were more of these things for the bad movies we watch, it makes me appreciate even more the genuine dynamic Getty and Sly had in the film.

And that’s it. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Vampire in Brooklyn Recap

Jamie

Maximillian is the last vampire in the world and he’s in search of a mate. Turns out Detective Rita Veder is the gal for him and half-vampire to boot. Can her and her partner stop Max from seducing her to the dark side before it’s too late? Find out in… Vampire in Brooklyn.

How?! Maximillian is a vampire in the Caribbean. Looking for his half-vampire bride, he travels to Brooklyn, killing a boat-full of people along the way. These deaths are investigated by Det. Rita Veder who, unbeknownst to her, is a half-vampire (what a coincidence!). Realizing she is his one true love, Max set out to woo her with his dancing skillz. Unfortunately Rita’s partner, aptly named Justice, is in love with her too and cock-blocks Max at every turn. Frustrated and angry Max starts to pull out all the tricks. In a really dark psychological turn, he employs manipulative tricks to try to isolate Rita to the point where she would want to give up everything and go with him (to the world of the undead, but he doesn’t tell her that). He seduces and kills her roommate and convinces Rita that her partner actually had sex with her. He transforms into a preacher and convinces her that her faith wants her to be evil. He transforms into a stereotype of an Italian gangster to further convince her that Justice is bad. Finally, he pretends to save her from a runaway cab and at her lowest convinces her to go to dinner with him. This dinner ends up being the first step to Rita becoming a vampire as she dances the night away. The next night Justice is shocked to find Rita all over him… but, like, in a vampire way, and he finds out that he’s got one last chance to save her. He’s got to stop her from feeding. Confronting Rita and Max, Justice is subdued, but at the last moment Rita retains her humanity and kills Max with a magic dagger (oh I forgot, there’s a magic dagger). With that Justice and Rita kiss (and presumably make some ¼ vampire babies), while Max’s ghoul, Julius, turns into a vampire for a sequel. THE END.

Why?! For love, baby. Or at least for trying to bring vampires back from the brink of extinction. Max is actually the last vampire in the world and needs to find his bride in order to help make more vampires. Apparently this will allow him to speed up the process… or perhaps they actually will just have a whole bunch of vampire babies. Hard to tell because at the end we see Max’s ghoul become a vampire without Max having to procreate in any way. As for Rita and Justice it’s both for love, but also to bring closure for Rita. She has always thought her mom was insane and feared that she would go insane too, but is probably relieved to find that it’s just because her mom boned a vampire and she’s half-vampire. Phew.

Who?! Obviously this stars major singing superstar Eddie Murphy. Seriously though I would hear an argument that Julius was actually a Planchet, although I don’t think he’s really competent enough. There has to be an element of unjust hate to a Planchet. There is an odd cameo in the film as Ray Combs, host of Family Feud, actually filmed a short spoof of the show specifically for this film.

What?! I do love looking for props. If this were 2013 I could be sporting a sweet black and red vampire coat worn in the film. Damn. I’d look real rad in that. Also, like Julius above, I think there is an argument that the magic dagger could mean something for BMT, but just not prominent enough to be notable.

Where?! It’s been a second since our last A+ Setting Alert! This obviously starts and end entirely in Brooklyn and it is a very large and essential part of the plot. I give it a bing thumbs up. A+.

When?! I searched twice through the film trying to find this, but alas could not. I’m not going to say it’s impossible since portions of the film take place in a police station (and there are always calendars floating around those sets), but it would be very hard and probably would take a while for me to figure out. F.

Meh, I mean the film is not very good. It’s much more a horror film than any other genre and Murphy seems to be unwilling to be even remotely funny in his role as Max. Likely purposefully so as this was also reportedly the case for Beverly Hills Cop III. Sounds like he was just trying to get out of his studio deal at that point. Only when he transforms into the preacher or Italian gangster does he let loose and both of those characters are offensive and have hands down the worst makeup jobs I’ve ever seen. It’s actually crazy just how bad the makeup is in this film. You know how bad it is? It’s so bad that I’m talking about the makeup. Anyway, I had high hopes for this film, but it’s hard to get excited when Murphy is so flat. The only good thing I can think about it is the kinda crazy psychological tools used by Max in the film… which was actually real creepy the more you think about it. The true horror was within humanity the whole time! *gasp* Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Watching Eddie Murphy films is just part of the life of any bad movie aficionado. You tick them off like a list of chores. Time for the Dracula one … let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – By far the most fascinating thing going into the watch was the directing / acting combination. The notes provide a contradictory story of Wes Craven either being annoyed with Murphy for making it too comedic, or being the one that insisted that it not be so serious. So dissecting which seemed to be right was going to be priority number one. This is also is another Murphy film where he plays multiple characters, so the makeup was also of great interest. I always go to bat for the make up in Norbit which is incredible.

The Good – I think there is a solid story deep within this film. The story of a desperate vampire facing mortality for the first time in hundreds of years, and the danger that poses to not only civilians, but also “creatures” like a half-vampire who wouldn’t really know who she was unless this situation arose. Julius and Silas showed what the silliest version of the film could be, and honestly the biggest crime is that they didn’t choose a side. The silly Julius / Silas version wasn’t that bad if it was actually funny.

The Bad – The movie is kind of a blah nothing film. Very very straightforward, nothing really complicated, and shockingly nothing to add to the vampire films that came before it. It either should have been funnier or scarier, but much like most genre mash-em-ups it manages to merely be poor examples of both genres. Murphy really doesn’t do much, but I think that is intentional, I think he was intending on playing a serious role and only punched things up after Craven asked him to be more “vulnerable”. For whatever reason he seemed to take that to mean “add jokes” when in reality I think Craven had an idea of playing it as a different type of vampire. A vampire facing death and acting recklessly. Craven was right, but I don’t think Murphy’s acting was poor per se. Oh … the makeup is atrocious, I’m not sure how that happened when they would end up making Nutty Professor the next year. Jesus, how could I forget Guido! Just another in a long line of genuinely racist caricatures played by Eddie Murphy. Fantastic. Now that you string them all together you can see why this is considered a terrible film …

The BMT – It has to be a BMT film because it is a poorly received film starring Eddie Murphy. But I don’t think I would ever recommend it or watch it again. At least not without a reason (like … if I’m watching a vampire movie marathon pairing this with Blacula could be a fun then-and-now version of what was originally a blaxploitation idea: Black Dracula). But no, beyond checking off another box in Murphy’s filmography it won’t last in my mind.

Roast-radamus – Obviously we got an A+ Setting (Where?) with Brooklyn right in the title and very much acting as a character. Surprisingly Julius is a decent Planchet (Who?) as Max rips on him throughout the film. I think that is it though. No real twist, and I doubt it’ll get either Good, Bad, or BMT in the final awards either. Pretty weak.

StreetCreditReport.com – I’m not surprised it didn’t get any play for 1995 itself, but it does get the second worst vampire film according to Screencrush. I think that is a bit high (it didn’t even make the other worst-of list for vampire lists I found). You can read around how people consider this a cult classic now for all of the obvious reasons: Murphy’s acting, Craven’s directing, and the on-screen chemistry of the leads.

Good Movie Twins – New game for when I feel up for an extra movie … which won’t be often. As an extra vampire film I settled on From Dusk Till Dawn as that was a similar mash up, a kind of crime thriller thing with the vampire horror exploitation thing. And honestly … the first half is way better than the second. It is a far better crime thriller than exploitation horror. The vampire design was garbage, and it didn’t really have anything interesting to say from a vampire perspective. Having just read ‘salem’s Lot, it is pretty sad that a 40 year old book brings more interesting ideas to vampire lore than basically any movie I’ve seen concerning them. I mostly agree with the New York Times, the effort was mostly sophomoric and leaned too heavily into the exploitation part of things. I’ll be watching more vampire films I think, we have Dracula 2000 (and 3000) coming up, what better time to do Bram Stoker’s Dracula?

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Hellboy (2019) Recap

Jamie

Hellboy is going through some serious existential shit at the same time that an evil witch, Nimue, is resurrected with the goal of bringing about death and destruction. Can Hellboy come to grips with the idea that he is a monster who has been chosen to live while all other monsters are doomed to death (oh and also save the world) before it’s too late? Find out in… Hellboy.

How?! When Hellboy goes off to find a missing friend in Mexico he finds him turned into a vampire and is forced to kill him. Let’s just say this isn’t ideal and causes him to spiral into an existential crisis as he realizes that he, a monster from Hell, is somehow allowed to be part of the BPRD’s occult crime-fighting biz, while other monsters are killed with little remorse. This unfortunately also coincides with the resurrection of a powerful witch named Nimue in England. Hellboy is sent there under the guise of fighting some giants with the Osiris Club, but is ambushed and nearly killed. Fortunately a psychic girl, Alice, who he saved in his past, is able to find and rescue him. The BPRD swoop in and team Hellboy up with MI11 and they go back to the Osiris Club to see what up with that ambush shit. Turns out they’re all dead and the spirit of the Osiris Club’s seer tells Hellboy that he is the key to Nimue’s plans so he better watch out. Hellboy’s real moody now that he knows all about his origin and how gritty it is and tries to walk out but is instead transported to Baba Yaga’s house (and she’s extra gross). She expounds some serious exposition on us and tells Hellboy the whole plan. Using this info they are able to confront Nimue right when she’s resurrected, but she is able to poison Alice and escape and start destroying the world. Hellboy takes Alice to a extremely old Merlin (Jesus this is complicated) and is like “bro, save her.” He’s like sure (and does) but is then like “take Excalibur and become all powerful, baby.” But Hellboy refuses because he’s a monster and Merlin turns to dust. Going back to confront Nimue again he becomes enraged when Nimue kills his adoptive father. This time he takes Excalibur and seems to be on the verge of causing the apocalypse until Alice channels his dad and he uses the rage to instead kill Nimue and dispose of Excalibur. After that they are a great team and ready to fight in a bunch of sequels. THE END.

Why?! Lot to unpack in this one. Not for the bad guy, she’s just evil and wants to end humanity. Hellboy though is Mopey McMoperson the whole time because he can’t come to grips with who he is. He sees himself as a monster and yet he goes around killing all the other monsters in the world… so why is he any better? Why was he the one that was saved? Because he can’t figure this out and no one wants to talk about it he becomes more and more angry. Only at the end when the gh-gh-gh-ghost of his father tells him why he was saved is he able to put that conflict behind him so that they don’t have to deal with that shit in the sequel.

Who?! So much potential in this film in some of our favorite categories, but none to be seen really. I should probably point out that this film was one of the latest examples of a film getting in hot water over casting. They originally cast Ed Skrein as Daimio, which was met with outrage as the character in the comic books is of Asian decent. As a result Skrein dropped out and Daniel Dae Kim jumped in. Kim was good, so worked out fine I think.

What?! As Patrick mentions, I’m sure there are some product placements here, but it’s hard to notice those in a Live film unless it’s a Mark Wahlberg film where he’s contractually obligated to drink Bud Light on screen for at least 30 seconds. I will give Excalibur a little MacGuffin shoutout, just because this magical sword popped up no less than three times in the film. Nimue gets killed by Excalibur twice! Twice! If you already got killed by Excalibur once before you probably shouldn’t use it in your latest plan to take over the world… because they will probably just use it to kill you again.

Where?! After starting off with a bang in Mexico and Colorado, Hellboy flies to England to take on the witch and basically stays there the rest of the time… kinda like The Mummy. Everything comes back to The Mummy. Now that I think about it Tom Cruise was kinda taking on a similar type of witch/mummy character in that one. Are we sure these weren’t the same scripts? I’m gonna put it up to an A- because they incorporated Excalibur and Merlin… are we sure this also wasn’t the same script as Transformers: The Last Knight?

When?! Middle of August actually. Usually when I watch something in the theaters it’s 50-50 whether I catch the temporal setting. This time, though, you see that the wrestling match he interrupts in Mexico takes place near the beginning of August. Later there is an August calendar visible, so I’m pretty confident in the setting. C+.

Much like The Mummy (which I found startlingly similar to this film in tone and execution), I felt like this film is getting such bad reviews because it fumbled expectations of a new franchise. In both cases I felt like the visuals and potential for future films were actually interesting, but the writing was awful and they got bogged down with starting up a franchise rather than just making something good and worrying about that later. We spend the entire film with Hellboy trying to understand his place in the world. He really gets into it and mopes around the entire time. A film series that’s supposed to be super fun is instead just dark and brooding and gory. Still though I feel like this should have at least been appreciated for some of the visuals, in particular the Baba Yaga scene, which is straight horror and really striking. Sometimes I feel like these franchise films are graded on a binary scale. Like “they delivered what people want” or “they did not deliver.” This is certainly the latter, but I still think it has worth and I do wish the franchise would continue. And not in a “I hope they keep making Fifty Shades films for BMT’s sake,” kind of way. Like I actually wish they would because I think it has the potential to be good. But they won’t. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! After four harrowing months waiting with bated breath we did it … we watched a film in theaters, the Hellboy remake! I’m going to add a little analysis at the end related to why basically BMT is dying and everything is terrible. But for now … the recap. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I think given the odd things I had heard about Neil Marshall’s behavior during the making of the film (basically f-ing off to Bulgaria for months with his girlfriend, slapping the film together, and butting heads with David Harbour) the main thing I wanted to pay attention to was how the film kind of came together and looked in general. David Harbour also had big shoes to fill from Ron Perlman, so his performance was of great interest.

The Good – I actually like Milla Jovovich’s performance. The creature designs were really really good with a lot of thought put into even minor featured characters like the giants, the monsters that take over London in the end, Baba Yaga, and the vampire in the beginning. A lot of cool visuals from that perspective. Before completely trashing the movie in the next section I should say I liked this film more than something like The Predator, where my hatred for it grew slowly for a week after seeing it. I feel comfortable with just saying Hellboy is not good as opposed to absolutely terrible.

The Bad – The film definitely leans into the gore-for-the-sake-of-gore, and vulgarity-for-the-sake-of-vulgarity. Not as much as reviews suggested maybe, but enough that it became aggravating by the end. This movie looks like complete crap at times. Mostly in the multiple completely unnecessary and terrible flashbacks that pepper the film. There are legitimately maybe six flashbacks. You can indeed tell they had and wanted to reshoot a good chunk of this, and I would guess it didn’t pan out quite like they hoped. The film as a whole feels like a Netflix series compressed into a few hours, all the way down to the low budget cast which … most are really not very good to be honest.

The BMT – Hmmmm. If they actually somehow make the third Del Toro film this will have that as a fun note, a reboot in the middle of another series. Maybe it’ll end up as a strange note as a bad comic book film in the age of the MCU? But no, despite the online reviews and the terrible critical reviews I don’t think this has the legs to last. Then again … as you’ll see there aren’t any bad films in 2019 so maybe this will actually be the worst one out there … that would be crazy.

Roast-radamus – There was some weird product placements maybe, rewatching the trailer there are definitely some conspicuous Monster Energy cans. I won’t count it. There was probably a car, but I couldn’t see it live. There are a ton of settings, but I definitely think a Where? (Setting as a character) could go to England with the finale in St. Paul’s in London, King Arthur’s sword coming into play, and the crew traipsing across the countryside in the second half of the film. Despite King Arthur’s sword being in the film, it kind of comes in too late to be a MacGuffin, but I do think a What? (Chekov’s Blank) could go to Chekov’s Mysterious Green Liquid for the medicine which keeps the were-…leopard (?) from becoming a leopard. Spoiler, he becomes a were-leopard. And naturally this very much qualified for Live.

Live Analysis – In lieu of the street cred section (which can’t really be discussed this early) I’ll instead go a bit into why this year so far has been so concerning for bad films. In 2017 by the end of April there were 20 films released widely with less than 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2018 there were 19. In 2019? … 7. It is a problem. Replicas, Serenity, Miss Bala, A Madea Family Funeral, and Wonder Park also didn’t have coinciding US and UK releases leaving us with only two options. Glass (which barely qualifies with 37.3%) and now Hellboy. It is insane, especially considering May, June, and July had 12 and 5 qualifying films in 2017 and 2018. I have a feeling we’ll have less than 15 films seven months into 2019. And I just don’t see how we get to 52 films by the end of the year without a bumper summer crop of bad films. Needless to say we are looking into options to deal with the situation.

Live Theater Rating – I’m actually a bit embarrassed. I really only could go to a single showing after going to Scotland for a week holiday last week and once I got to the theater … it was 4D. And I paid out of the nose for it. And I didn’t really want Hellboy to be my first 4D showing. That all being said, 4D is a theater with moving seats with little puffs of air and other exciting bits and I have to be honest … it was kind of fun? I definitely felt more engaged in the action scenes. And of all the films I guess you can do worse than Hellboy which has a kind of unrelenting set of action scenes one after the other. I guess the main complaint is that it is fun in small doses, but gets tiresome quickly … and then you are stuck there for like 2 hours with your chair shaking. I liked it more than I thought I would though. I’ll grade it a B with a demerit for being way too expensive and making me sad.

That’s it! Phew, long one. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Santa Claus: The Movie Recap

Jamie

When Santa’s forward-thinking assistant Patch attempts to streamline the North Pole’s production line he fails to maintain QA/QC and leaves in disgrace. Going to work for a ruthless toy maker in order to prove himself, he inadvertently turns the world against Santa. Can Patch and Santa patch things up before it’s too late? Find out in… Santa Claus: The Movie!

How?! The film starts with a gritty reboot of the Santa origin story. Who was he? Why a dumbo who took his family out on a sleigh during a horrific blizzard (against the advice of everyone) and ended up freezing to death. Or at least that’s an interpretation of what you see, as just as Mr. and Mrs. Claus are about to die they magically awaken to find themselves transported to the North Pole as part of a prophecy fulfilled. Santa will spend all of eternity doing what he loves, making toys and bringing joy to children across the world. Centuries later Santa is still chilling making toys and all the kids around the world kinda know he exists. One Christmas he seems particularly tired and he decides to get an assistant. Enter Patch, the overly-enthusiastic and forward-thinking elf dead-set on taking the North Pole production line into the 20th century. Unfortunately, despite being a mechanical genius, Patch doesn’t totally appreciate impact of his new technology on quality assurance (a message that every boy and girl can relate to). After Santa delivers the presents he is horrified to see that most of them are returned as defective. With no other choice he makes another elf his assistant. The only bright spot that Christmas is that he made friends with a homeless boy in NYC named Joe. In the intervening year Patch heads to NYC to convince a super evil toy maker to hire him so he can show his stuff to Santa, while Joe becomes friend with the evil toy maker’s niece, Cornelia. The next Christmas Santa is old news when Patch’s new flight-powering lollipop is a holiday hit. Super sad, Santa is pretty much Mopey McMoperson and ready to give up, but Joe and Cornelia overhear that the evil toymaker’s new super lollipops are dangerous and get Santa to come and help save the day. In the end Santa saves Joe and Patch using the classic Super Duper Looper (duh) and everyone loves Christmas and Santa. Also the evil toymaker dies when he flies into space using his own flying candy. Hoisted by his own petard. Nice. THE END.

Why?! Santa only wants to bring joy to children, but also gets real sad when a competing toy maker brings joy to them and Santa isn’t A-1 in their hearts anymore… so it’s kinda that he wants to be the only one to bring joy to kids. Oh and he likes to steal kids. At the end he just kind of keeps Joe and Cornelia in the North Pole. The bad guys are cartoons.

Who?! I swear if this was made five years later Donald Trump is in it. Alas, not much for this section other than a special thanks to Frans J. Afman, a banker that was involved in film financing for a while, particularly in the age of smaller studios like Cannon and the like. Apparently he was knighted by the Queen of The Netherlands for his contributions to film, so he’s no slouch. I look forward to my own knighting ceremony.

What?! The product placement in this film is art. Our poor homeless kid Joe spends his day looking longingly into the window of a McDonald’s. Not just for the delicious food but the sense of family and community (you know?). When he finally does get fed by Cornelia he doesn’t get his McD’s (bullshit), but she does leave a delicious Coca-Cola to quench his thirst and seal their friendship in iron.

Where?! Split almost evenly between the North Pole and NYC. Both play a pivotal role in the film and should rightfully get double billing in terms of the setting. I’m not sure where the beginning of the film took place before Santa almost froze to death… I guess probably Sweden or something. A.

When?! Not so secret Holiday Film alert. The story takes places over several centuries, but the most important things happen on Christmas… also Lithgow tries to start a new holiday on March 25th called Christmas II that is now a BMT Holiday. We celebrate that now. A.  

This truly had the makings of a BMT classic. It oozes earnestness. Even when they are throwing around delicious McDonald’s and Coca-Colas in our faces, it still smacks more of gee whiz than corporate exploitation. It’s that kind of earnestness that blinds people to just how ridiculous the film that’s being made truly is. Unfortunately the first thirty minutes of the film was actually a bit too good. The set design was actually impressive. To truly experience this film you have to just watch the latter half where things go way way way way off the rails. First and foremost is John Lithgow who puts on a masterclass in what is one of my favorite performances of all time. He ate entire set pieces with his giant fake chompers. Add on top a really odd QA/QC storyline and a Chekov’s Super Duper Looper sleigh trick (that no one could possibly figure out would be the key to saving the day) and you’ve got a BMT holiday classic on your hands. Can’t wait to force feed this to my kids every Christmas. As for Santa with Muscles it made me sad and not since Transmorphers have I felt such sadness as I watched something. I couldn’t tell if Hulk Hogan was just being himself or was actually acting or if anyone was actually trying to make a film.  Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! It’s the origin story everyone was clamoring for. They got it in stop motion, and now they brought it to the masses live action. It’s the movie that put the Saint in Saint Nick, and da da da da da I loved it! Not really, let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I literally had no idea what this film was prior to watching it. I was very shocked to realize it was our first John Lithgow film, and watching the trailer he was obviously the key to why this movie could be amazing. FOOOOOOR FREEEEEEEE?!?! Is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen and it makes me so so happy that the trailer editor didn’t hide that from the viewers. He or she knew what I wanted and gave it to me in spades, which made me a little more excited for a film I would usually default to probably-boring.

The Good – The beginning is actually a fine television movie level origin story for Santa. I actually genuinely think the first third is better than Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, the Rankin/Bass production it’s storyline is closest to. I also quite like how unabashedly it leans into the magical part of Santa. They don’t try and explain things too much, it is basically just like “you’ll live forever, this stuff makes reindeers (and children) fly, you just magic into and out of houses, don’t worry about it!”. I kinda dug that.

The Bad – The second half of this film is pretty bad. The instant Joe sits outside of a McDonald’s drooling at not only the delicious (and nutritious!) hamburgers, but the familial love that McDonald’s naturally attracts everything turns into a joke. Like, yo, Santa, you can do whatever you want, why not give Joe a house? What, is Joe the only homeless kid in New York City? The first half you have to buy into just magic existing. The second half takes it a step too far and tries to paint a world that is just far enough from how everything actually works that it is really hard to pick up what they are putting down. The movie is insane and could actually be one of the most misguided film we’ve watched, and as Jamie says, it is very very earnest in what it is trying to sell.

The BMT – You notice anything missing from the two above sections? No Lithgow! That’s because I’m putting him here. His performance is easily the most “thanks, I hate it” performance we’ve seen in BMT. It is off the wall, bananas, bonkers, I’m running out of adjectives to describe it! I both love it, and realize it is the craziest thing ever, and that is kind of the punctuation mark on why Santa Claus: The Movie is amazing. Pop that into a two hour long commercial for McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, and mix in a very (very) earnest Christmas film where Santa (probably) dies in the beginning and you get a perfect monster of a movie.

Roast-radamus – Easily a When? (Not so secret holiday film) as mentioned, an unabashedly pro-Christmas film. And also a What? (Product Placement) because Da-da-da-da-da I’m lovin’ McDonald’s now. And wash that down with an ice-cold Coca-Cola. I couldn’t tell but I think they cut the part of the film where Mrs. Claus was like “naw, green is not his color … can we dress him up as a giant Coca-Cola can?”. I actually do think we have a Who? (Planchet) for Lithgow’s assistant whom Lithgow shits on all film and insinuates is gay (I think? It’s hard to tell). The Where? (Setting as a character) for a New York City filled with McDonald’s loving families (and homeless children, and evil toy makers). And How? (Chekov’s Blank) for Chekov’s Super Duper Looper which is inevitably used to save Joe and Patch from their exploding flying car. And naturally this slides head first into a BMT award … my god, it’s running the gamut! It legit qualifies for all of the categories!!!

StreetCreditReport.com – As far as worst Christmas films? It gets seven here. And thirteen here. It is well known in bad movie circles for being a quintessential bad Christmas film. And I think as we quickly approach the end of this cycle I can safely say that the movie’s rejection from the worst movie of all time wiki page is cred enough. But this got the cred.

You Just Got Schooled – There wasn’t much in terms of direct Santa Claus: The Movie accoutrements to consume alongside the film itself, so I took the opportunity to listen to a movie podcast where they reviewed the film. We Hate Movies is one of the most famous bad movie podcasts around. And I have to say, this episode was very funny, and very informed. They basically rehashed the storyline while adding in funny asides (like the John Carpenter version of this film complete with synth soundtrack, and a Jessie Ventura impression that was spot on). I still think I like The Flophouse more. We Hate Movies felt very rehearsed and I found myself not laughing as much as I do with The Flophouse’s more off the cuff tangents. Be warned though, some of their podcasts appear to be behind a Patreon funded paywall which is fine, but just something to know up front, the whole catalog is not free.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week was Bring a Friend week and we watched another Christman classic: Santa with Muscles starring Hulk Hogan. So … I’m not sure why a movie like this exists. Why would Hulk Hogan do this? Was he trying to act? Or was this just his character at the time? It was supremely confusing, a strange mash up of two films. In one film the eeeeeevil businessman Hulk Hogan bumped his head, thinks he’s Santa, learns to love again, and saves the orphanage. In the second a mall Santa (Hogan) saves the orphanage from the eeeeevil businessman (Ed Begley Jr.) and his crew of eeeeevil scientists. And they just … put those two scripts together and went on their way? I hated watching this film. But I think it is valuable to see what the mid-90s direct-to-video kids’ market was like … and it was trash. Good to know.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Double Dragon Recap

Jamie

Billy and Jimmy Lee are just a couple of martial arts bros. Little do they know that they are destined to protect the Double Dragon medallion from falling into the hands of evil. Can they stop the eeevil Koga Shuko from getting both pieces of the medallion and taking over New Angeles before it’s too late? Find out in… Double Dragon.

How?! Jimmy and Billy are just a couple of bros living it up in the post-apocalyptic punk/crime world of New Angeles where you best not be found out at night or one of the many street gangs might get ya. Orphans, they are taken care of by Satori, a former work colleague (?!) of their dad, who teaches them martial arts. The entire conceit of the film revolves around a magic medallion that they are destined to protect. The medallion is broken into two parts of the Double Dragon, one piece that allows control over the body and the other that allows control over the spirit. The eeeeevil Koga Shuko has obtained one, but wants both in order to control the world. Realizing that the second piece must be with Satori, he attacks them and kills her, but Billy and Jimmy are able to flee with their piece of the medallion. Using the power of his half of the medallion, Koga combines all the gangs in the city into one giant gang (can you dig it?) in order to find Jimmy and Billy. After a couple narrow escapes they figure that their only shot is to join up with a vigilante gang called the Power Corps that love to stop gang violence, rollerblade, and play video games (duh). Rollerblading their way over to Koga’s HQ they confront him, but are defeated and Jimmy is taken captive. Koga then attacks the Power Corps and a climactic battle ensues that is super rad and in no way terrible and lame. During the battle Billy rescues Jimmy from Koga and they are able to karate chop him a whole bunch and fulfil their destiny of dressing up in silly clothes, calling themselves Double Dragon, and riding around in a dumb car with a monster person (oh, I forgot to mention, there’s a monster person in this). THE END.

Why?! MacGuffin Alert! Our boy Koga is corrupted by power. The power of the Medallion. He was there when the Medallion was uncovered in an archeological dig and tried to get it for himself. Basically he just wants to rule the world using the perfect MacGuffin. As for our heroes, they are mostly naive and only know that they have to stop Koga and avenge the death of their father and Satori. Eventually they realize their destiny is to protect the Dongl…er, I mean, the Medallion. So now they just gotta battle evil and ride around in a ghostbusters car.

Who?! As mentioned below they chose to not have the Lee Brothers be twins in this adaptation, which is horseshit. There were a few cameos as part of some RoboCop-esque news reports featuring George Hamilton, Vanna White, and Andy Dick. Finally, there was only one strange Thanks credit and that was to the Cleveland Indians. I couldn’t recall anything in the film that would require thanking the Indians, but found in my deep research that some of the cast threw out the first pitch at a game… so I guess that means you get thanked at the end of the film.

What?! For every video game film we do I’m required by law to state the obvious, which is that the film itself is a product placement for the video game (and vice versa in a weird way). Interestingly this film also actually does have a product placement for the video game as the arcade version is prominently featured in the climactic fight (which raises all kinds of questions that the film was not equipped to answer).  As for props, I obviously would have loved to find the Medallion, but alas, it’s probably lost to the sands of time. In fact I couldn’t find any listings for props from this film for sale. I can only assume that Scott Wolf still has them all.

Where?! Very nice setting here as Los Angeles has been transformed into New Angeles following the destruction of most of the city by earthquakes, war, and rising seas. It even goes out of its way to show you many sights and sounds of Los Angeles in varied states of destruction. Could this have been set in Miami or NYC? Probably, but still pretty solid. B+.

When?! Second film in a row that takes place in a far future that has already passed. In this case it’s the far future of 2007. Getting more specific than that is difficult. I tried to keep my eyes peeled for something more, but couldn’t find it. I did catch both Jimmy and Billy Lee’s birthdays, which only confirmed that they were indeed not twins… very disappointing. Still gets an OK grade because I like to reward when they provide a specific year in the future. B

After a murderer’s row of BMT films to start to year I feel like we’ve settled in for a series of interesting films. This film got me thinking a lot about video game films because this really didn’t feel anything like Double Dragon. They chose instead to steer towards a RoboCop, Warriors, Escape from New York, etc. etc. etc. post-apocalyptic cityscape punk action film. The exact same mistake Super Mario Brothers made the year before. It’s almost like in the early days of adapting video games they fished around for a genre that was hot and then forced the property to conform. As far as the film specifically, the beginning was actually interesting to look at and I was shocked to find myself somewhat engaged for the first hour. Sure it fell face-first into every single trope and cliche in the book, but it looked all kooky with crazy makeup and matte painting and giant gasoline explosions and I was kinda having fun. Then the last thirty minute happened. The end of this film could actually be the worst thing I’ve ever seen. If they could have finished it without falling flat on their faces I could have imagined it being a cult film of sorts. Instead it’s a (rejected) worst film of all time. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Jamie and I peering into Double Dragon and realized our destiny: to become karate twins! Who knew this was an actual job you could have? Thanks guidance counselors. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I didn’t remember much about the film, maybe just catching the boat chase scene every so often and every time just thinking how much it looked like crap (kind of a crazy set though). Along with Super Mario Bros. this film exemplified how poorly the early adaptations of video games went. For some reason they would just like … throw the idea of the film in the trash in favor of post-apocalyptic nonsense. In both of them! It is pretty nuts.

The Good – The beginning of this film is a lot better than I think people give it credit for. It can kind of be described in one word: quaint. It harkens back to when a film like this (or RoboCop, we’ll get to that in a second) could be made, where all of the world building is like: there was an apocalypse, then the gangs from The Warriors took over, but in like … a funny way you know? It is kind of like they were trying to put the horror film formula into a video game mold, film this thing on a budget, and hope the fans come out. They didn’t and it was a financial disaster. Alyssa Milano was kind of amazingly good (also very game for the crazy getup she had to wear during the entire film).

The Bad – Let’s set aside the fact that this film looks objectively like crap. The trailer itself told you that much. Let’s start with the most obvious issue with the film, that the last twenty minutes are just nuts. They are having a big rumble in a warehouse which houses the good gang run by Milano. There is a Double Dragon arcade. There are multiple body swaps. There is a very dramatic scene with the police officers refusing to police the city at night. And there are just problematic fight choreography involving cutting whips, and paint cans, and it really might be the worst martial arts movie ever. The last twenty minutes of this film is a catastrophe. But the biggest crime of the film? That the best part of it, the fake news stories giving us the backstory of New Angeles, is a complete and utter ripoff of RoboCop. Which means you can’t even enjoy that! For shame Double Dragon, for shame.

The BMT – Absolutely. I think it isn’t a bad goal to complete the Bad Movie Arcade, just run the gauntlet of all video game films ever made. And this one is probably in the top 10 as far as video game cred. So it had to be done. I think it also gives you a lot to chew on, has some interesting hot takes (like that it is decent outside of the third act), and is a good tag team with Super Mario Bros. Not much more to ask for there.

Roast-radamus – I don’t think Abobo is a Planchet, although he is something else (like, the ultra dumb bad guy who gets redemption in the end). It probably is a What? (Produce Placement) and much like other video games films is an A+ product placement by literally being an advertisement for the Double Dragon video game series. It definitely gets a Where? (Setting as a Character) for New Angeles, the post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. And finally you could make an argument for the medallion being a MacGuffin, although we kind of do know what it is meant to do, there are a lot of secrets … I’m going to give it to it, also an A+ MacGuffin (Why?). I think it is close to BMT as well, it could end up being one of the more entertaining films we watch this year, I could believe that. Wow, impressive list there.

StreetCreditReport.com – As said this is one of the worst video games films ever made I think, although this Vulture article puts it at 26th which is rather impressive. There was only one real worst of list at the time and it isn’t on it, but hey, it gets its cred mostly from the legacy video game films have left behind.

You Just Got Schooled – What you thought I was going to watch the 1993 animated Double Dragon television show? No way, this time let’s get a glimpse of the wonderful world of speed runs. Double Dragon has an 11-minute speedrun online. You can even see Abobo at about 1:25, he’s the first boss. Speed runs are usually a bit more fun when they can really glitch it, like beating Mario 64 in a few minutes using game breaking jumps and stuff. But this was still cool, seeing how an old game can just be memorized to finish it real quick. That appears to be the third fastest run which is pretty cool.

Cheerios, 

The Sklogs

The Postman Recap

Jamie

In the dystopian future of 2013 a wandering actor escapes from the clutches of a militaristic dictator and dons the guise of a mailman in order to gain access to local communities. His ruse inadvertently spurs a revolution and thus the ire of the dictator. Can he realize his destiny as a leader, defeat the dictator, and perhaps find love before it’s too late? Find out in… The Postman.

How?! Wandering across the West following a devastating disaster that has left the United States in a dystopian ruin, an actor uses his (meager) skills to get food. While performing in a town he is taken captive by a military dictator who leads a group called The Holnists. There he is told that he better be all cool with their way of life and there are a bunch of rules including one where the leader of the Holnists is whoever can defeat their leader in hand-to-hand combat. But don’t even worry about that because you’ll never defeat their leader played by Will Patton… wait… is that right?… Will Patton? Anyway, our actor hero is like “no way” and is able to escape. Finding shelter in a mail delivery truck he gets an idea and dresses up in a postman uniform. This uniform turns out to be magic and he becomes our hero The Postman, a man so powerful that he might just be able to beat up a middle-aged Will Patton (spoiler alert… also not all facts in recap are true). The minute people see this dude in a postal uniform they are super jazzed and he’s hailed as a hero. Literally women throw themselves at him and he totally bones the beautiful Abby as her request to get her pregnant with his powerful postman babies. While visiting the next town (and actually delivering letters) the Holnists catch up and blow everything up. The Postman is able to escape with Abby and they hide in the mountains and recover from their injures. Coming down from the mountains, they are surprised to find that a movement of Postmen has started and are bringing hope of a new United States. The Postman takes this movement over, but eventually after the death of several people he cares for he decides to disband it. Trying to get Abby to safety he finds that everyone he meets is super inspired by him and he realizes that perhaps his movement isn’t based on a pile of lies after all and once again he dons his Postman cape and collects an army. They ride to confront the Holnists, but he’s like “remember your rulez?” and challenges Will Patton. They tussle like a couple of dopes on the ground until The Postman prevails and unites everyone under the flag of The Postman. THE END.

Why?! Ah, one of the rare cases where the motivations of the hero are more interesting and complex than the bad guy. The dictator is just evil and insane and honestly doesn’t even look like he works out much, bro, so not sure why no one has come along and crushed him in hand-to-hand combat yet. The Postman on the other hand just wants a hot meal every once in a while, thus the reason he becomes a postman. He’s pretty cynical about the meaning of the movement this creates and tries to stop it couple times. It’s only at the end that he realizes that the world can be better (and not just in the tall tales he tells) and that he can lead the country back to unity. It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it… it’s just… just so boring.

Who?! All of Costner’s children appear in the film, including Annie who appears in a not small role as *checks imdb* Ponytail… that was her name apparently. Anyway, I thought she was actually OK in the role and a little surprised she hasn’t acted a bit more. Only odd bit was where her character seems like she wants to bone The Postman at a local dance. It’s weird not just because he’s a million years old but also because he’s portrayed by her dad. The singer Tom Petty also appears as the Mayor of Bridge Town and it’s a super weird performance. Really subdued. Doesn’t really seem all that comfortable acting.

What?! A number of articles online point out that the film acts as a pretty intense example of product placement for the USPS. Obviously had to be in the film because it was the basis of the books, but it is funny to think that it got an entire epic war drama devoted to it. The mere idea of delivering mail is the impetus for breaking away from a literal dystopia to found a new United States of America. Nuts. As for props I was specifically interested in whether the giant Kevin Costner statue shown at the end was ever for sale. The answer: yes, obviously. $610 at the time. Not bad. I also found a picture posted by the guy who owns it where it’s sitting in his garage next to his car. Weird and wild stuff.

Where?! We had considered this at one time for the Oregon entry of our mapl.de.map. Would have been a pretty good choice seeing as we get multiple intertitles telling us that that’s where we are. All in all I liked how the setting was used. B+.

When?! Takes place in the far future of 2013. It never gets old for a film to be set in a year that has already passed. Ages like a fine wine. Getting more specific is difficult. Presumably the film opens in the late summer or fall and then the middle takes place as Costner gets trapped in the mountains in the winter. After the thaw it seems to proceed fairly quickly to the climactic battle, so everything seems to occur over one year. However if they told me that it actually took place over a five year period I wouldn’t be surprised. Took me about that long to watch. A-yo. B-.

This movie is real long (read: boring) and can be separated into three pieces. I thought the first was fine or whatever… kinda sad. The second, where The Postman and Abby were recovering in the mountains, I thought was actually pretty good and reminded me of a traditional western. The third was actually quite bad. Unfortunately that third part dominated the film and just had a bunch of actors smiling at The Postman like he delivered rainbows and unicorns to them. They couldn’t get enough of this dude and how he delivered mail. It was unsettling. I love inspiring, sugar sweet movies (I am a red-blooded human person after all), but this was too much. I felt like they were waiting for the audience to stand up and applaud for two hours straight. Tone it down, Costner. We get it, you’re a hero. Patrick?

Patrick 

‘Ello everyone! There are only so many “The Postman is long and boring” jokes you can make before they feel trite, but I still think I got a solid dozen more available to me no prob. The Postman is so long and boring Rip Van Winkle was like “wow, this movie needs an editor!”. Heeeeeyooooooo. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I’ve never seen Robin Hood, or Dances with Wolves. I liked Waterworld well enough. Basically I had never really seen the Costner Classics. I liked him in Field of Dreams and such. But what I’m getting at it this: This is a Costner vehicle known for being long and boring, so I kind of knew what to expect going in … a Costner vehicle that was long and boring. And yet I was kind of excited because I hadn’t actually seen that many Costner vehicles. That’s all.

The Good – Most of the story is solid. You can definitely imagine the book (which, sadly, I didn’t read beforehand) being extremely good. If you don’t mind the cheesiness the film can deliver what is a pretty simple but good-hearted message to the people: believe in yourself, each others, and the goodness of man and you can change the world, you can make it better.

The Bad – The movie is two films kind of smooshed together. There is a war film in which a drifter is absorbed into a dictator’s army and reluctantly leads a rebellion against him. And then, about 40 minutes into the film he finds a postman outfit ( I forgot that was what the movie was about while I was watching the beginning, no joke) and there is this second film stuck right in the middle in which he kind of wanders around being a fake postman and being shot up and ill in the woods. I think the middle part is more interesting, and the entire beginning should have be cut. You can have the run in with the army being the instigating event without then spending thirty minutes with him joining the army. I don’t care that they would have to explain why Costner can challenge Will Patton to a fight, hell, they can merely explain that he was part of the army at one point in time, it doesn’t matter, it is more important that this movie be 30 minutes shorter than it is. Because it is long and boring.

The BMT – I would never watch the film again, nor recommend it as a bad movie. It is the perfect storm of why you wouldn’t want to: it is long, boring, and the message is so cloyingly sweet that to make fun of it makes you feel kind of dirty. It had to be done for BMT, but I don’t think it has the joyful badness to stand the test of time. It is a checkmark. Just look at the cred. It legit just had to be done.

Roast-radamus – Let’s see. It definitely has some Where? (Setting) appeal with Oregon, a very unique kind of post-apocalyptic setting there. The Who? (Cameo) option on Tom Petty is interesting, if underwhelming. He pops in and it like “I’m Tom Petty playing myself!” … coooool. What? (Product Placement) is there, Ford, Mercury, the cigarettes … the Postal Service? (Some people probably wish the Postal Service was some corporation which sponsored The Postman), but those are probably all mostly from the book and don’t really count. I think that is all of the plausible ones. It is neither Bad, Good, or BMT.

StreetCreditReport.com – So it definitely appears on some worst of the 90s lists, but I think this list of the 6 (!) most boring films is even funnier. On this weird ass site you can see that it is definitely in the top 5 worst flops ever. And then it won five Razzies. Triple threat. Not only is it long and boring and hated by audiences, but it then made no money and was also hated by critics. It’s got the cred, just not bad movie joy, ya heard?

You Just Got Schooled – Originally like a normal person I was going to read the book … but then I didn’t. Then I was going to watch Dances with Wolves … but I didn’t. So instead read this article! It is much shorter than both of those. Also … it isn’t really good? It is kind of weird. I’m not one to criticize other media, I mean … have you read the crap we write most of the time? But suggesting critics misunderstood Will Patton? I don’t think they did, his performance is hammy. To suggest audiences rebelled because dark edgy films like Seven were the flavor of the month at the time? This movie is cheesy no matter the context. As cheesy as Forrest Gump, but with worse performances and a worse story. And then ends with “Most people who hated Air Force One would criticise it for its blandness” … who hates Air Force One? This article is weird. Usually I enjoy these types of review because they give you nice nuggets about filming and the context of the film, but this is just making excuses for a film that is frankly long, boring, and pretentious (as Leonard Maltin would say).

Cheerios, and back to you Jamie!