Eragon Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Eragon? More like Era-Don’t! (I could think of something that actually rhymed, this was honestly the best I could do). Oh, I get to tell you guys the story of Eragon, what an absolute pleasure (I guess sarcasm is the main place that an email like this fails where a podcast would succeed, but such is life):

  • The Good – The landscapes were beautiful. The CGI was amazing (especially for the time). I’ve seen worse swords-and-sorcery movies. Jeremy Irons was solid. The story itself has something there, I can feel it. It’s just that …
  • The Bad – The story is so tired and the way it is told is so cookie-cutter and the overall result is just banal from top to bottom. As is usual when you get a bunch of professional actors together dress them up in ridiculous costumes and tell them to do what you want the performances were … spotty. The absolute reliance on this being a trilogy (eventual tetralogy) is kind of nuts.
  • The BMT – The more I think about it the more the movie kind of comes apart at the seams. It is kind of lower-mid table as far as its genre, so maybe 30/100 on our bad movie scale. Above average, but nothing special. The fact that it has a 60+ right now is a testament to just how angry fans of the book series got about it.

Audio Sklog-entary! Listened to the director commentary. The guy seems like a really solid visual effects supervisor. He was obsessed with sets and CGI and knew his stuff. But holy shit, he was just putting a movie together like it was a puzzle. Paint-by-numbers movie, what time is it? Can I talk to my CGI artists in Germany yet? Explains a bit I think. Seems like he probably just had no interest in directing a movie after the reception Eragon got.

Sequel/Prequel/Remake I’m going to go with Prequel. Tell me more about Bron the dragonrider and his adventures with the mad king Galbatorix! All real words. I’ll keep it short, because Jamie’s review is loooooong.

Jamie

Eragon fits nicely into the relatively rare subgenre of Sword and Sorcery and as BMT progresses we get a nice broader picture of these small subgenres. We can start to rank and put films into a bit of a hierarchy. I would say that we’ve watched five films that would fit the genre: Conan the Destroyer, Seventh Son, Eragon, Dungeons & Dragons, and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (I love writing out its full title). I’m sure you’re all gnashing your teeth and rending your clothes at the fact that I’ve left off Highlander II: The Quickening and The Legend of Hercules, but playa please. We’re talking true, blue Sword and Sorcery, not a film that takes place on Earth. I want imaginary worlds and made up bullshit, thank you very much.  So where do these five films fit in our BMT Sword and Sorcery landscape? Like a beautiful Bob Ross painting, Seventh Son is the happy little mountains in our fantasy realm. Eragon is a happy little tree off to the side and Conan the Destroyer is a happy little lake from which happy deer drink happily to sate their thirst. Dungeons & Dragons is unfortunately a happy little castle that Bob accidentally painted pink and couldn’t change it cause it was too late and besides he only has thirty minutes to paint this and the viewers probably won’t notice anyway… right? As for In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Well that is the happy little toxic waste spill that poisons our happy little lake and ends up wiping out the entire happy little deer population in the valley. It’s poison leaks into the ground water destroying the ecosystem in the area for generations to come and causing widespread illness among the populous in our happy little valley. Oh woe are those in our Sword and Sorcery Valley. Woe indeed. Oh! And if you didn’t follow the metaphor: Seventh Son > Conan the Destroyer = Eragon > Dungeons & Dragons >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.

Obviously for my game I’ll be doing my BMTsolution. Eragon was definitely adapted from a book and I, of course, read it. It’s a *gulp* 500 page young adult novel following the adventures of our titular hero as he discovers he’s super lame (oh, and a dragon rider too). Probably the funniest thing about the book is just how similar it is to Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey, except replace Edward/Christian Grey with a dragon and Bella/Anastasia with Eragon (no, I didn’t make a mistake in how I classified the characters). Eragon is super headstrong. He’s always getting into trouble and subsequently getting saved by his dragon. The dragon is always like, “I can’t handle you being in danger, you have to stay with me all the time so you can be safe,” and Eragon has to fight for his independence while also being like, “I love you so much dragon. It flips my world upside down. I was an ordinary boy a second ago and now you make me feel so special with your love.” Then if you thought it couldn’t get any weirder, Eragon rides his dragon for the first time and it hurts him badly. He is then resistant to riding the dragon again, for he is afraid of how much it hurt him the first time they did it. But the dragon is reassuring and wants him to ride her because that is how they are meant to be. Then when he finally plucks up the courage he realizes that flying doesn’t have to hurt and in fact is wonderful and they can look through each other’s eyes and souls while they fly together. Oh it’s beautiful! How it feels to fly with a dragon you feel so connected to!… … … Incredibly uncomfortable stuff. The whole time I was like, “He’s basically having sex with this dragon… and it’s weird as fuck.” Besides that, the book is a blatant rip-off of Wheel of Time (not Star Wars like the reviewers claimed for some reason), and so I probably would have loved if it came out when I was in 6th grade. Who am I kidding, I didn’t mind reading it now and I’m an adult(ish).

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Bulletproof Monk Recap

Jamie

There are a lot, lot, lot of things to talk about with Bulletproof Monk. I’ll let Patrick take control of talking about the film itself, while I talk about my true passion: settings. Remember when we watched The Tuxedo a couple weeks back and I was all like, “wait, why does this movie go out of its way to specifically not be set in NYC?” I even created a whole new game, BMysTeries, asking the question of why films occasionally are not set anywhere in particular. Who would have thought that just weeks later, Bulletproof Monk would also seemingly go out of its way to not be set in NYC? And who would have thought that it would provide information that (partially) solves the mystery? Here’s what I learned. Both were filmed in Toronto in 2001 (in fact several locations in the films were filmed in the same buildings). In the writers’ commentary for Bulletproof Monk (which Patrick and I try to listen to now) they mentioned how the film was originally set in NYC, but they decided to scrub out all the references to New York. Why? September 11th! Of course! Basically it was deemed unnecessarily dicey to set a film in NYC, especially one where there may be a shootout or threat of an attack. So in post they CGI’d all the NYC references out. So those “Great State” license plates? More than likely CGI, used to replace the NYC plates with the generic plates that are typically used in films without a setting. So the specific Tuxedo BMysTery was solved! And not only that, solved by our crazy decision to start listening to DVD commentaries while we run. Already paying dividends.

While Bulletproof Monk was not based on a book, it was based on a three-part graphic novel series! And guess who used the fantastic public library system in his local community to obtain said graphic novel series? That’s right, this guy. The series was pretty good. Nice mix of action and Far East philosophy. Really took that part seriously. Reminded me a little of Wanted though. Like I hated the characters. They kinda sucked. But otherwise a good story. So how was the adaptation?… well “adaptation” may be a strong word. The writers and producers were pretty open about just wanting to use the title. It started out with just the words “Bulletproof Monk.” Chow-yun Fat liked that idea and wanted to play that character, so they bought the rights and made a film where he was a character. Everything you see in the film is only loosely based on anything in the comic. Which in some ways is a good thing, since the comic ends after the third issue and doesn’t actually finish the story. The creator just stopped making them for reasons that we can only speculate on. Probably the most troubling thing is that the entire cast of the graphic novel is Asian. The film? Not so much. Kar and Jade are both whitewashed. This would have been huge news if this happened today (see: Gods of Egypt) and may have even stopped production for recasting, but at the time no one thought twice about it. The final note, generally when Patrick and I are looking to see if a film is based on other material we look to writers credits on IMDb. Oddly, the writers of Bulletproof Monk did not get credits on the film. In fact, only the creator of the comic got credit as a producer. I tried to figure out why this is and it would seem the creator is just kind of an asshole. It seemed like he may have created the comic in order to sell it to Hollywood, because once he accomplished that feat he closed up shop, never continued the series (which was written as more of a prequel to a larger story), and became a talent agent in Hollywood. He claimed he couldn’t get credit for everyone because they would have pulled the adaptation, but everyone involved in the comic seems to think that’s bullshit and he just kind of threw everyone under the bus. Fantastic.

Told you there was a lot to talk about.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Bulletproof Monk? More like Man This Goof Stunk! Watch out everyone, we tried something new, but more on that later, let’s get into it:

  • The Good – Chow Yun-Fat and Seann William Scott were pretty solid, funny and clearly into the project. Uh ….. Um …. I laughed during the movie.
  • The Bad – Ooof. The longer I think about it the more it seems like a surreal dream. The movie is a complete mess, hacked together into a loose storyline that really doesn’t make sense. The fight scenes were bad. The Nazi centric storyline was bonkers. And sorry, but Jamie King was simply awful. The movie is very dark and grimy as well, but I think that was a comic book thing.
  • The BMT – Again, the more I think on it the more I think this is a solid 50 in BMeTric terms. But the first two thirds are so boring I tend towards a 40. I’ll have to watch it again obviously.

This movie was really rather crazy. Hacked to shit is putting it kindly. And that new thing I mentioned? I listened to the commentary from the writers! (My life! This is my life! What hath our mere human minds created!?) Here is a quick takeaway. I loved listening to it, it was basically them telling stories about production for two hours. It actually operates perfectly as a podcast. And the writers … yeah, they sounded kind of like sellouts. The entire time they were talking about how everything changed due to producer or director pressure and seemed quite cheery about it all. Just like “Oh yeah, the director told us he wanted someone to die, so we said ‘bye Mako’”. They killed off a top ten billed character because the director felt like the Nazis had to kill someone at some point … the scene doesn’t even make sense! Whatever. Really fun. I look forward to Audio Sklog-entaries becoming a new thing in my life.

Quick game I’ll call WTF Did I Just Hear … That Can’t Be Right. Here I’ll highlight a line from the movie that just boggles the mind. This exchange was between Seann William Scott (SWS) and Jaime King (JK):

SWS: “Coming with me takes some gut. Guts and insanity. An interesting mix.”

JK: “Not making it out alive. That would really suck. Under the circumstances.”

SWS: “Yeah, definitely.”

Seriously …. What did I just hear?

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Down to You Recap

Jamie

Was there some fad in the early 2000s that I don’t remember where romance films eschewed the typical “meet cute” device in favor of a super earnest “we were always meant for each other even if we didn’t always know it but we still kinda knew it” device? Why do I ask? Because Down to You and Here on Earth are essentially the same movie and were released within weeks of each other. I’m not saying that Down to You is as good a BMT film as Here on Earth. That would be impossible. Here on Earth is a unique star in the BMTverse that shines with no comparison. But it feels the same. So if there wasn’t some earnest teen romance film fad, then I like to think they this is some bizarre example of a twin film scenario. Like Deep Impact and Armageddon or White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen. As if Miramax heard that Fox was putting Here on Earth into production and Harvey screamed at his assistant, “Get Freddie on the phone, we’re making a movie,” while dusting off an old script of Here on Earth he had lying around and grabbing the closest intern to be the director. They even play the same god damned song in the middle of the movie! You know, the song that plays when Chris Klein is dancing in the barn before drunkenly crashing the fair… what am I saying, obviously you remember it. That’s all my mind was able to focus on while watching the film… it was just so similar. And yet, it wasn’t nearly the BMT film that Here on Earth was. Felt a little in on the joke… which makes sense, it’s a comedy after all.

Quick game for me. This film was not based on a book. Strangely, though, Stiles is a book cover artist in the film and in the end gives Freddie a book called Down to You that she illustrated. So what was that book about? My guess? It’s the story of an endless love between a girl and a boy who always and forever knew they were meant for each other. Life gets in the way, but they always find their way through. Yeah, she cheats on him and he can’t handle their drifting apart, but when all’s said and done they recognize their own faults and how they make each other better… Oh, and the book also stars Chris Klein and is the best and is actually called Here on Earth: the Book and it won the Pulitzer. Perfect.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Down to You? More like Down on This Movie! And I was, let’s get into it.

  • The Good – I think I’ve said this every week in our one and done director cycle, but passion. The writer-director here had a vision (I think). He wasn’t that successful, but I appreciate it. See below for more details. I did appreciate that they shot it in NYC though. It was obviously NYC. It was so NYC it hurt.
  • The Bad – I don’t think I appreciated how not-good Freddie Prinze Jr. was as an actor until this movie. The movie was really kind of gross-weird in a gross-weird kind of way (you know?). The fact that the characters talk directly to the camera was just a horrible horrible (horrible) decision.
  • The BMT – What? Yes. I would give it a 50 on the BMeTric which is where it was really. It is a poor man’s Here on Earth. But who would be shocked? Freddie Prinze Jr. is a poor man’s Chris Klein (in BMT terms). Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Not sure.

One last thought on the film. Basically, I have the distinct feeling this movie was the director’s passion project. It is extremely reminiscent of Cusack films like One Crazy Summer. A little bit more drama (so maybe throw in a bit of Hughes for good measure), The main characters talked directly to the camera, it felt like a person telling their own story of their one great college romance (and how fleeting that can be and feel), and there is a strange surreal storyline woven throughout the film with Zak Orth as a porn auteur. And yet … the film kind of falls flat on its face throughout. Who to blame? Impossible to know. Perhaps seeing a young writer-director’s singular vision of a film just slo-motion explode is punishment enough, I don’t know. I think I’ll have to come back to this movie someday (ugh), just to really sort through things ….

Quick Sequel Prequel Remake, Sequel duh. Fast forward 16 years, the movie is called Down to Earth (I’m already excited about the potential Here on Earth, Down to Earth, Down to You trilogy!) and shows our protagonists struggling to rekindle the romance after ten years of marriage and two kids later. Hard drama. Revolutionary Road style, it comes out to rave reviews and snags both leading actor awards at the Oscars. One reviewer notes the “real pain behind Freddie Prinze Jr’s revelatory performance, … demanding your attention and admiration all at once”. First time writer-director Patrick Smadbeck was shut out of all major awards much to his chagrin. Bah, now I’m angry.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Maximum Overdrive Recap

Jamie

Hello students. Welcome to Dr. Smadbeck’s lecture on Trucks and its adaptations. I am the foremost authority on this subject as I’m actually the only person currently alive that has read the original short story by Stephen King, watched its first adaptation known as Maximum Overdrive, and the 1997 Canadian TV Movie that returned to the original title of Trucks. Let’s begin.

There is nothing in the short story that screams “I must be adapted.” Nothing. The story simply details a bunch of people hanging out in a truck stop while driverless trucks prowl about outside. People die, they end up pumping gas for the trucks (becoming their slaves), and end the story contemplating whether one day they may once again be free from their new masters. Like most Stephen King tales, the story is somewhat abstract in its creepiness. It makes one confront a fear that they may not have even known they had (like the helplessness that would go along with our own creations turning against us).

So you might expect that Stephen King (the director of his own adaptation) must have looked at this particularly abstract scary story and thought “I’ll have to jazz this up to get this to work on screen.” You would be wrong. As King is wont to do, he instead made an nearly exact replication of his work. Few details were added other than a shitty explanation for why the machines have come to life (answer: Earth passing through the tail of a comet… cool beans, bro). It was boring, it was silly, and it had a terrible ending. Worst of all it just wasn’t any fun, and that’s usually what I love about King. A pulpy 50’s feel.

Anyway, you’d think it couldn’t get worse. You’d be wrong again, because I then watched Trucks, a TV movie adaptation of the same work that originally aired on the USA network back in 1997 (egad! What has my life come to?). Oddly, I had a sneaking suspicion that whoever made the film ripped off Maximum Overdrive as several key elements, which were not in the original source material, appear in the TV movie. How little creativity do you need to have to steal from the adaptation that absolutely tanked? Even odder? I think this absolutely terrible TV movie managed to have a better ending than the major motion picture (double egad!).

I also have a more minor gripe I’d like to voice. Emilio Estevez is understandably cool as ice in this film. He looks cool, he seems cool, he is cool. A short time into the film a girl enters his life. She looks cool, seems cool, and is cool as well. They are basically the heroes. They run around saving people. She seems tough as nails and so does he. It’s perfect. It was one of the few things working in the film. Obviously, though, they end up boning (why wouldn’t they? They are both rad). Immediately after boning our once badass chick is no longer running around saving people. She throws on a short skirt, kisses Emilio, and tells him to be safe. She stays behind waiting for him to come back and kiss on her some more. It’s super duper lame. What happened to the badass chick that I liked so much?! It was really infuriating. From what I’ve read it was actually a conscious choice by the producer Dino De Laurentiis. He told King to stop dressing her in pants and to have her just be a typical girl in a short skirt for guys to ogle. Talk about having an old fashioned feel. Guess Dino never saw Alien.

With that I’ll conclude the lecture. I hope you’ve learned enough to never have to watch either of these films.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Maximum Overdrive?! More like Movie That Patrick Derides! Weak, but I think this is a historic moment, the first Bad Movie Title Pun (BMTP) with my name? Maybe. Anyways, I hated Maximum Overdrive. Oops, spoiled it one sec:

  • The Good – I liked Emilio. I liked Laura Harrington. Some tense moments, although few and far between.
  • The Bad – I hated this movie (there it is). Let’s see. Most of the acting was terrible. The entire movie is bookended by title cards explaining (unnecessarily) an origin for the machines awakening. The movie looks like it was made in 1975. By extension, this movie had the opportunity to have seriously sweet practical effects, but I’m convinced King as director waylaid any hope of pulling off anything interesting. The ending was straight hot garbage.
  • The BMT – Not really. I mean, for street cred purposes sure. But in general I would never really want to watch this film again. Borderline I guess.

But that kind of exemplifies the problems we often have with watching films from the 80s for BMT. Context. In context what did people think of this film in 1986? It really does look like it was made in 1975, it looks like Jaws. Did people notice that? Were 1980s horror fans going in and just baffled by the quality. Or was it just a shrug and a “not very scary, kind of boring” attitude. Without context for me it makes this movie very puzzling. I don’t like the movie either as a movie or as a BMT film. It satisfies Bad Movie Street Cred (BMSC) and nothing more.

Game? I do actually want a remake. I think there is something here with one simple change. Play it straight to start. Hey we can just wait out the trucks. They’ll run out of gas. Whatever is causing this will end. But no. The machines get their energy elsewhere, they don’t need gas. Show them rebuilding their fallen brethren. Evolving into better machines. Until it dawns on our protagonists that they are doomed. This movie comes across as silly without a sad ending unfortunately.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

On Deadly Ground Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. On Deadly Ground? More like Not Made For Patrick! Let’s get into it.

  • The Good – The directing was shockingly solid. You heard me right. Makes me think Seagal just didn’t like directing. The action was brutal, some of the practical effects were genuinely amazing, and the entire part with Caine is kind of strangely appealing in a cynical fuck-you-corporate-America kind of way.
  • The Bad – It often comes across as a barely film. McGinley is terrible. The lines often cross into WTF-am-I-hearing territory, no human beings would talk like this. An unnecessary hallucination sequence in the middle which is just baffling. And a crazy monologue at the end which could not have been more trite.
  • The BMT – Of course. But I was right, it is like a 40 (borderline but not quite legendary), not a 60. Nailed the Seagal Adjusted BMeT (SABMeT).

I kept that part short on purpose because something happened while I watched this film, and it kind of relates to the SABMeT. Every so often when I watch a movie I think to myself “oh this is unpleasant”. Usually it is with movies like Sabotage where I get physically repulsed by the amount of violence and gore on screen. I’m a sensitive lad. Super violent movies just aren’t my jam. That happened during this film. Which is weird. I’ve only seen two Seagal films (On Deadly Ground and Fire Down Below, both for BMT), but for some reason I had the impression he was like JCVD, whose movies I find far more palatable (and with super karate action! Is it karate? I honestly have no idea).

And then it struck me: “Oh, this movie isn’t made for me”. It appears (I assume) to be serving a niche underserved market. People who want to watch Aikido (or perhaps any martial art), ‘splosions, and people getting shot in the face and blown up by claymore mines in gruesome and unyielding detail. No wonder Seagal appears to exist in his own realm of movies. Such unpleasant films are few and far between I imagine. Get yo money Seagal. Get yo money.

No time for another game. I was going to do a Tril-Oh-Geez (landmines featuring Double Team and this gem: I. Am. Not. Joking. ). But I’ll just leave it here. So philosophical these last couple of week. Loving the One-and-Done Director Cycle!

Jamie

There is a set of actors in the bad movie universe (not the BMTverse… there’s a distinct difference) where I’m not totally sure why they are so appealing to their loyal fanbase. On the rare occasions that we actually watch one of their films, I like to take the opportunity to try to better understand them. Steven Seagal is one of those actors (Jean-Claude Van Damme and Tyler Perry are two others that I can think of off the top of my head). We have watched one other film starring Seagal (Fire Down Below) and I can tell you I did not understand his appeal AT ALL after watching that shit. But that was late Seagal. Not fat Seagal, but still late. His star was fading. This was the first true blue Seagal film I have actually ever seen (shocking, I know). And I can tell you: I now get it. Seagal is three things: swearing like a sailor, the environment, and gruesomely murdering people that he deems deserving. Can I see why people are into that? Uh fuck yeah (minus the whole environment thing, which is kinda a Seagal quirk). Am I into it? Not totally. While fun, I was getting a bit queasy around the seventh time he shot someone in the face at point blank range. Regardless, I get it. And that’s what BMT is all about.

One small thing to note is that this film didn’t just take place in Alaska. It is Alaska. I loved it. Great setting film.

Anywho, this movie was not based on a book (although two Seagal films are: The Patriot and Exit Wounds), but if it was it would be based on a book called The Rainbow Warrior where an Inuit warrior, Aklark, fed up with the oil company destroying his home, decides to fight back. While the oil company may have the firepower, The Rainbow Warrior has the power of nature behind him. The book is notable for the number of times that Aklark calls upon the animal kingdom to gruesomely murder someone, as well as a climactic scene where Aklark transforms into a bear and mauls the president of the oil company to death. Reviews for the book were… poor.

The Tuxedo Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The Tuxedo? More like The Tuxe-don’t!!!! No time to waste, I got BMT Theories to attend to:

  • The Good – I am nearly always charmed by Jackie Chan. The ending was a solidly entertaining twist on a tired trope (the guy finally getting the girl he fawned over in the beginning, asll you need is confidence!). Some of the practical effects were genuinely impressive (if terrifying for a kids movie). The directing choices showed passion (this is becoming a theme)
  • The Bad – The plot is linear but convoluted, so weird that it make suspension of disbelief nearly impossible. They utilize wire-work in such a way as to make me not enjoy the one thing I should be enjoying in a Jackie Chan film (martial arts), unbelievable and not fun same as in the Medallion. Hewitt was a bland sidekick (more on this later). The entirety of Jackie Chan pretending to be James Brown, the scene is a travesty to filmmaking in general. The directing choices are out of date (diagonal wipes for scene transitions? What is this, Star Wars?!).
  • The BMT – Yes, although Jamie and I disagreed a bit on the exact level. If you recall the actual number is 50+ (amazing). Jamie thinks that is about right. I thought this was more like a 30-40. Really just bonkers crazy, but it ain’t no Medallion. Which brings me right to my game.

Welcome to BMT University and a new edition of BMT Theories where I give you a probably terrible theory on bad movies. Let’s roll out the main big budget Chan movies/franchises between ‘98 and ‘08: Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon, The Tuxedo, The Medallion, and Around the World in 80 Days. These all have three common denominators besides Jackie Chan. First, martial arts. Second, a kind of ridiculously convoluted plot. Third, a companion, someone who can make fun of how Jackie Chan looks, speaks, and is in general (comedy!).

My Theory: you can pretty much just rank these movies by the interest of the companion. Chris Tucker and Owen Wilson are a bit neck and neck, but I go Owen Wilson all day (and I like Shanghai Noon over Rush Hour, so there). After that we have The Tuxedo, Hewitt did an admirable (although overly silly/bland) job in the role. The Medallion had Lee Evens in a perpetual gay panic, so that was not a great look. And then Around the World in 80 Days had Steve Coogan sleepwalking around Epcot Center-level sets. Voila, it works!

I do think this movie was slightly better than The Medallion which is where the 30-40 BMeTric assessment comes in. I think The Medallion is 50+, but this one was saved slightly by Hewitt. I’m excited to see how the theory holds up with Spy Next Door where Jackie Chan is paired with three children.

Jamie

As usual I allowed Patrick to tell the story of The Tuxedo to our loyal audience, while I concerned myself more with some of the underlying themes and characteristics that interest us in the BMTverse. Briefly I’ll say that I thought The Tuxedo was bonkers. A great BMT film. Really hacked to shit in editing, super odd pacing to a confounding story arc, and a scenery-eating antagonist extraordinaire. I liked it a lot. Some might disagree.

I’m tired of making up fake book adaptations. Instead, I’ll play a new game called BMysTeries. The Tuxedo provides a perfect opportunity for me to talk way too much about one of my favorite BMT subjects: the setting. I love settings. I find it fascinating to try to figure why particular films are set in particular places. Is it necessary that Chill Factor take place in Montana? Nope. Could have been Small Town, U.S.A., but they chose Montana. Why? Hard to say. But it’s easy to see why New Year’s Eve takes place in New York. Interestingly it’s rare for us to watch a film that doesn’t have an identifiable setting, and even rarer for a film to go out of its way to obscure where it takes place. The Tuxedo is one such film. How do I know it’s not set anywhere? Well whenever I watch a BMT film I always look for evidence pointing to where a film is set (I’m a weirdo): license plates on cars, landmarks, business cards, etc. In The Tuxedo every license plate was the same: “The Great State” listed on top, “Freedom” on the bottom. Additionally, the home address of one of the characters is shown explicitly on screen no less than three times. The state on the address? LI. A made up state abbreviation! Perhaps an underhanded way of implying Long Island = New York… but hard to say as the town names are all made up. You have to give the film credit for going all in on not having a setting. But why? It’s the question I’ve been asking myself all week. Why? Why is it important that the film have no setting? I could understand having fake license plates (cheaper?), but a fake state abbreviation doesn’t save anything (other than saving you from having to specify a setting). It’s a BMysTery. BMysTery #1: Why do settingless films not have a setting?

I will be researching this topic for future entries. Perhaps if I collect enough datapoints, I’ll be able to figure out the benefit that The Tuxedo gained being set in The Great State of LI. For now it’s a spooky mystery.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Can’t Stop the Music Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Can’t Stop the Music? More like Please Stop the Movie! Amirite!!!!! Wowwy Wow. Let’s get into it:

  • Good – Guttenberg was certainly enthusiastic. Really really into it. The director has some tricks up her sleeve that, while not wholly original, at the very least showed passion. If you like beefy man bods there is puuuuuhlenty to work with here. Paul Sand was funny. Caitlyn Jenner was actually really good at acting, at least relatively. If you hadn’t told me that was Caitlyn Jenner I would have guessed he was just a no name 80s actor.
  • Bad – Let’s start with 90% of the music in the film. A lot of it was genuinely bad. Most of the actors were terrible, especially the leading lady. They put way too much on the shoulders of the Village People who were all really really bad. The movie was also literally 40 minutes too long. I was shocked it was over two hours. This should have been a 70 minute barely movie from conception.
  • BMT – Uh, yeah. But you have to really get into it, or else it is merely boring. Watch the musical sequences and marvel at their length. Revel in each gratuitous shot of Dr. Pepper as they sip it casually in every other scene. Wonder aloud “did Guttenberg really suggest that Perrine should eat two snowballs and a ding dong for his music career? What a bizarre sexual innuendo that is simultaneously disgusting, offensive and inventive”. If you are there this is a 70 BMeTric movie, creme de la creme. If you are like me though, this was a borderline 25, something that needed to be watched more for bad movie street cred rather than specific enjoyment. Can’t Stop the Music, you’ve just been served (speaking of future music-based BMT choices…).

I was trying to gauge where on a bad movie musical scale this fell. You might be surprised if you had looked it up because it is rare to find Can’t Stop the Music on any online list. I saw it listed #31 on one list and left off of multiple other lists entirely. At the very least Spice World, Glitter, From Justin to Kelly and Rhinestone (all BMT) are all pretty universally considered worse. The Apple shows up more frequently as a similar contemporary. I would kind of agree, this ain’t nothing special. Get over yourself Can’t Stop the Music.

Game time, I needs a prequel baby! It’s called It Takes a Village and is focused on Sam Simpson’s rise through the mean streets of the fashion world while staying grounded in her crazy loft in the Village. As her career skyrockets a new hot designer, Chili Piper, invites her to fashion week in Paris. But will her blossoming romance with young music exec Steve Waits derail this huge opportunity with the smarmy Piper (who wants her body for more things than just pictures)? A cameo (somehow) by a young Steve Guttenberg delights. Billy Zane is electrifying as Chili Piper (spoiler, he doesn’t make it to Fashion Week in Paris, poor Billy Zane).

I want to see that movie.

Jamie

Now that you know a little about the “film” we can get a little into what the film means. It both causes me to exclaim “Why don’t we watch more older film? This film is nuts!” And “This is a perfect example of why we try to stay away from older films.” Why? Well like White Comanche before it I think Can’t Stop the Music exemplifies a type of film that occasionally crosses our BMT path. This is the “inherently hilarious” film. A film whose mere premise will make people say “You have got to watch this. It’s stars William Shatner playing a Native American…” And then you watch it and indeed, there’s William Shatner playing a Native American. Are these types of films fun to watch? Yes, occasionally. I think Can’t Stop the Music is a good example of one that is pretty fun to watch (albeit way too long). But often times once you get past the inherently hilarious part, there is nothing underneath to capture your attention. It’s actually just a really boring film that stars William Shatner as a Native American. And Native American William Shatner can only take you so far. That’s mostly why Patrick and I have steered clear of these types of films for BMT, which populate the 1980s at a much higher rate than the late 90s and the 2000s (mostly due to the rise of mid-major studios in the 80s… and probably cocaine). Thus our predilection for more recent fare. For us it’s just more fun to make fun a film that managed to sneak out of the studio system and still end up a complete disaster. So Can’t Stop the Music holds a place in the niche section of BMT whereby we build credibility as BMT experts. “Yes, we’ve seen Can’t Stop the Music. But have you seen Here on Earth?” That’s what BMT is.

Hope that wasn’t too philosophical. It’s sometimes hard to explain why BMT generally lives in the more recent past than most bad movie ventures. Can’t Stop the Music provided a vehicle for the explanation. As for my BMTsolution, Can’t Stop the Music is not based on a book. If it was it would be based on the Village People’s memoir called Macho Men. The book details the group’s rise from the anonymity of the streets of NYC to global stardom. The climax of the book involves the making of the Village People biopic called Can’t Stop the Music, which ends up being a massive flop and tears the group apart. In the book, the film is based on a memoir written by the group called Macho Men, which details the group’s rise from anonymity of the streets of NYC to global stardom. The climax of the book within a book involves the making of the Village People biopic called Can’t Stop the Music, which ends up being a massive flop and tears the group apart. In the book within a book, the film is based on a memoir written by the group called Macho Men, which details…

Oh dear, seems like my book collapsed in on itself and created a tiny black hole. Oops. Cheerios,

The Sklogs