Scarlet Letter Recap

Jamie

Jeez Louise. The Scarlet Letter is mind-boggling. Patrick took a lot on his shoulders concerning the movie, so I’ll speak mostly on behalf of the book and its adaptation. I generally like reading literature and thought I would love reading a masterpiece. This masterpiece was not exactly what I was expecting. It’s 200 pages of roundabout descriptions of the same thing over and over for chapters at a time. No one talks to each other… like ever. In short, it’s beautifully written but super, duper boring. I’m not even trying to insult the book (I still thought it was great), it’s just a fact. Hawthorne wrote a super boring book. I feel bad for all the high school students in the world that have to read it. All will not like it, some will cliffnotes the book just to get it over with, and the legendary few will watch this godawful film adaptation in its stead and fail… hard.

Speaking of which, this is easily the most hilarious adaptation in the history of film. Even knowing that Hollywood used to do adaptation like this all the time (take a known property, use just the barebones outline, and create a story of their own around that) doesn’t make this any less hilarious. The fact of the matter is that this film is more a prequel that an adaptation. If it had been marketed as such it may have been more evenly appraised (probably not, cause even beyond the adaption this is hilarious garbage). I wouldn’t even have called it The Scarlet Letter. Maybe something like A Scarlet Morning, to make the connection to the book with the implication of the impending storm. Further, having all the prequel stuff wouldn’t even have been all that bad if they didn’t shift a lot of blame from Rev. Dimmesdale to Hester in the movie (which kind of goes against the entire concept of the book). In order to make the movie a romance they had to have the Reverend less of a pathetic coward and more of sexy Oldman (cause what screams innate sexuality more than Gary Oldman?). In order to do that, Dimmesdale would have to do his damnest to admit guilt to the community, only stopping himself at the behest and insistence of Hester. He would scream to the heavens, ‘Damn you, Hester! Why hast though not let me unburden myself of this guilt which eats at my soul!’ and we would feel bad for him and love him all the more and hate that stupid Hester that tempted our sexy Oldman. We become the hypocrites the book rails against. Finally, the ending is a wonder to behold. Rather than have pathetic and cowardly Dimmesdale admit guilt and die in shame (SPOILER ALERT for all those still living in the 19th century), we have him and Hester rescued by an Indian attack as we sit and cheer at the gruesome deaths of our forefathers. It is absurd. This movie has a happy ending… and it is a travesty. I’ve never seen anything like it.

The only thing I’ll add to this is that I saw a lot of reviews talk about how Demi Moore was “miscast” in this film and seems out of place but can “sure fill out a costume” *lecherous laugh*. It honestly came off as super insulting. Like they were implying that an actress serious enough to play Hester Prynne wouldn’t look like her. What? Demi Moore literally fits the character’s description to a T. Hester is described as a beautiful, young woman with long dark hair who is fiercely independent and fiery… that’s Demi Moore. I’m not saying that Moore was good (in fact she was terrible). But to say that she was too pretty or sexy to play a serious role? That’s just demeaning. After all, we’re not talking a casting blunder like Selena Gomez in Getaway (reference no one gets but me and Patrick).

Since I spent some time defending the honor of Demi Moore (again, just want to make it clear: she was terrible in this), we don’t really have time for a game. Alls the better, since I’ve been getting back into MonoSklogs and this one didn’t have one (more accurately it had an amazing montage/MonoSklog combo that I couldn’t burn cause Netflix didn’t have the movie on DVD. Stupid Netflix). On with the show!

Patrick

The Scarlet Letter? More like Genuinely the Worst Classic Book Adaptation Ever (I couldn’t figure out any rhymes). The Scarlet Letter. A book so boring it is notorious as a high school literature course tradition. A movie so poorly done it makes you question everything good in this world. Let’s get into it:

  • It is almost not worth getting into just how poorly done this is as an adaptation (sorry “free adaptation” as prominently displayed in the opening credits) because this is one of the most noteworthy blunders in cinema history. Ebert included it among the movies he simply hates, and there is plenty of things to dislike beyond the adaptation. But it must be said:
    • The first half of the movie predates the book, as if they said “Hey, this book about puritan hypocrisy … can we make it into a romantic drama?”. The book starts more than halfway through the overly long movie. Dumb
    • Oldman’s character is a monster in the book, a hypocrite who wastes away with guilt, so cowardly as to eventually die as he admits his shame. In the movie he is a star crossed lover with a super hot bod and long greasy hair.
    • They change nearly everything to attempt to gloss over Hester’s guilt. Hester knowingly cheated on her husband. Here she thinks he’s dead.
    • In the end Hester wanders off to live her life alone in the book. Here they add a crazy “happy” ending involving Native Americans slaughtering all her enemies and she and Oldman go off to the Carolina’s to live happily ever after.
  • Other things:
  • Best bird performance since After Earth. I’m always into a good bird performance
  • Gratuitous nudity and dong shots. I knew Nathaniel Hawthorne forgot something in the original literary classic. That something was Gary Oldman’s penis.
  • Demi Moore’s accent is everything I could have dreamed of. When I first heard it my brain rejected it and I let out an audible “oh no”. No one escaped the terrible vortex created by this movie. Not even Gary Oldman (‘s penis).
  • A sex scene so long and bizarre you forget what it is like to not be watching it. Conspicuous absence of a Gary Oldman dong shot here (alright, that’s enough about Gary Oldman’s penis).
  • A sermon/monologue so long they had to cut it up and create the first church-sermon-montage in cinema history. The sermon monologue from Big Momma’s House is still the best though.

This movie is everything you could want in a Bad Movie Adaptation. It is the crown jewel of this rotation. I have a Remake for you: adapt the actual book into an actual movie. The end. It would probably still be boring, but at least it would add value to the world.

BTW August is a great Bad Movie Month. We’ve already got Fantastic Four (I can’t wait for the Fourth Fantastic Four disaster … actually, after everything being said about Miles Teller on set I have no doubt an actual sequel is going to be cancelled). I have a sneaking suspicious The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is going to be bad. And there are a few more coming our way soon enough. We are very quickly approaching the BMT Live! stage of the Razzie awards. Will we waste our time and money watching terrible movies in theaters? Stay tuned.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Seventh Son Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Seventh Son? More like God It’s Dumb. And it was. If you didn’t already know Seventh Son is adapted from a book that is literally for 8 year olds. And yet I read it. Would I go so far as to say I enjoyed it? Not really. It is so short I could almost (almost) see myself reading all 11 (or 12 or whatever) of them if I didn’t value time or money, but naw. No interest. And yet, once again, here we are with the source material influencing how I feel about a movie. Not much this time though, because …

  • This movie is horrible regardless. A bizarre mix between In the Name of the King A Dungeon Siege Tale, Season of the Witch and Dungeons and Dragons the movie is a perfect storm in the fantasy drama. Bad sets/CGI, bad acting and bad writing. A triple threat like that combined with the fact that these kinds of movies are geared towards people who like Renaissance Fairs it is a literal embarrassment. Like … I wonder what it is like to be on the set of a fantasy movie like this? How isn’t everyone just cringing and asking themselves how they ended up wearing silly hats and speaking in faux British accents? I don’t get it.
  • This movie should be called Cloaks, Hats and Staffs. There are a lot of them. Maybe Distractingly Overdramatic Swelling Music. Or Please, Stop Jeff Bridges. No One Wants To Hear Your Mumble Mouth Thing Anymore, We Can’t Understand You And You Are One More RIPD Away From Johnny Depp Territory. Long title.
  • Also, I got just a taste of Elektra in there (just a whiff). They have a merry band of transmogrifying baddies running around like idiots who are just way too easy to defeat in the end. Like in Elektra. Anyone? So only Jamie knows what I’m talking about?
  • Complete waste of a cast. The main guy is from Big Wedding (one of the worst BMTs ever, no joke), and then it has two pretty impressive leads in Bridges and Moore who thoroughly embarrass themselves. Thoroughly. Not a good look.
  • Also it was boring. Excruciatingly so. With that out of the way, let’s briefly touch on the book.
  • We are just one upping ourselves with the bad adaptations. It is a childs book so when they drop an F-bomb in there I was pretty stunned. They also took the main (and pretty much only) trait of the … spook sounds pretty racist, but it is his occupation, so I’m going to roll with it. The main trait of the spook is he doesn’t burn witches. In the movie it is literally all he does. He gets pretty angry with the main character because he’s not burning enough witches. A good book character is now a total bad guy in the movie. And a weird trait of the love interest (pointy shoes) shows up once in a very bizarre comment … I don’t know. This was the worst adaptation I have ever seen now. It doesn’t even make sense. It is totally different.
  • Why is Kit Harrington in this for 3 minutes and why does he have an American accent? The only thing I can thing is he was like “I’d like to practice my American accent. I’ll be in your dumb movie for a second if you’ll let me practice a bit”.
  • I’ll leave it at that. Um. I think I have enough to produce a Quote Me!: “The movie is a perfect storm in the fantasy drama … impressive leads in Bridges and Moore” – Patrick Smadbeck, Bad Movie Twins Entertainment. Sigh. Sounds about right.

Reboot, Sequel, Prequel? A Prequel would be pretty funny. Just a whole movie about Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore dating. A romantic comedy even. It would be called Burning Love. It’s the hilarious misadventures of a fire-happy spook (doesn’t get any easier to say with levity everyone, still weirded out by that little American-British racist misalignment, there’s a reason the title was changed from the Spook’s Apprentice in America) who falls head over heels for the witch he has been pursuing. Meanwhile little does he know that Mother Malkin and her sister Bony Lizzie have a bet to see who can bed (and behead) the witch hunter first. Misadventures with magic abound until Bridges finds out about the bet and Mother Malkin realizes she’s fallen in love with him! What an odd couple! The tagline will be: This January, Witches Love Fire!

My God, it is terrible. My first gut instinct of What a Witch! sounds better. I’m leaving it though.Back to you Jamie!

Jamie

That movie was straight dog poo in my face.

The prequel is great… and I’d give that second tagline an A+. Perfecto. Alright, so I kinda shirked my duties for actually recapping the film cause I knew that Patrick had a nice long recap for everyone to sink their teeth into. To briefly sum up my feelings, the book was OK in terms of what you can expect from a Harry Potter type book written for like 8-10 year olds. I would read more if I got the ebooks for free, but otherwise won’t read any more in the near future. As for the film, I thought it was an embarrassment. Seriously, straight dog poo. Awful. Dreadful. Really bad adaptation. Really bad production quality. It looked mostly like In the name of the King mixed with King Richard’s Fair. Perfect for BMT. So perfect in fact that is provided one of the longest MonoSklogs in recent memory. I call it Mi Bruja [EDITOR NOTE: Due to potential copyright issue we do not publish the MonoSklogs online, we do apologize]. A solid 2 and a half minutes of pure mumbly-bumblies from Jeff Bridges. I can just imagine the sound guys on the film being like “Damn it. We need to get Jeff back in here for another ADR session. I can’t make heads or tails of what he’s saying.” This is also my favorite type of MonoSklog, where it seems like there are pauses for another character to throw a random, terrible line out like “I’m sorry.” or “What happened?” and he looks like he’s about to say it and then… Jeff Bridges just keeps on talking. Keeps me on the edge of my seat.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Cheaper by the Dozen Recap

Jamie

BMT is truly a wonder. Just when you think it can’t get any better (seriously, how could it get better? It’s basically perfect), we go ahead and implement a BMT Book Club cycle to get us all jazzed up. It has been a joy to read these books and watch these films. In some cases it’s unnecessary (Fifty Shades of Grey is basically a straight-up adaptation, so you don’t really have to read the book), but in cases like Cheaper by the Dozen it takes what would have been a mediocre/forgettable BMT film and transmorphs it into a BMT extravaganza of insights.

And seriously, the adaptation of this truly wonderful book was a T-R-A-V-E-S-T-Y. There is no acceptable explanation for why this film turned out this way. They shit on the source material. Ripped all the interesting stuff out of a really interesting book and replaced it with cliches and garbage. It should really have been like what Patrick will explain: dad runs family like his occupation (football coach is actually a really good choice). Don’t make him a bumbling fool and make the family fall apart. Who wants to watch that? Wouldn’t you rather have the family use their unique skills to overcome the problems that face them (perhaps with a bunch of hilarious montages where their use their football knowledge to approach aspects of their lives?). Come on! So dumb. And to think! Without the book we would have had no idea that this was a pile of shit compared to what it was a remake of. Really makes me not want to watch the second one (which is supposed to be considerably worse). And with that I don’t really have much more to say about Cheaper by the Dozen.

I’ll let Patrick explain more though.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Cheaper by the Dozen? More like just Cheaper than the Original. This entire round of adaptations has been super interesting, but this one might be the most interesting. The Cheaper by the Dozen book (non-fiction, written in 1949 about events occurring around 1929) is probably the best of the source materials we’ve encountered thus far. The original movie is a super faithful adaptation (all the way down to the depressing end). The actual real life story is crazy cool (the mother was the first practicing female industrial engineer with a PhD, was inducted into the national academy of science, and is considered a pioneer of ergonomics). So … why? Why did they adapt it this way?

  • A few things it has going for it: Steve Martin is great. Bonnie Hunt is great. Most of the kids are fine. Even the older kids (limited in screen time) are fine. So what’s the problem?
  • While I was impressed with the movie’s ability to make the kids individuals and somewhat memorable (two twin boys are youngest, then another young boy, misfit kid, two fraternal twin girls, sporty girl, skateboard kid, chunky kid, Hillary Duff, Superman, Covert Affairs …. that’s in ascending order by age, or close to it), none of them have any kind of interesting story. Hillary Duff is upset about wearing hand me downs (resolved in the first half hour). Superman is kicked off the football team (NOT RESOLVED, what the fuck?). Misfit kid is sad (resolved with swelling music and Patrick tears at the end). Covert Affairs breaks up with Ashton Kutcher twice! (NOT RESOLVED, and he’s back in the sequel? EDITORS NOTE: He is not). Even the parents stories are half-baked.
  • And the entire tone is just off. In the original the family operates like a machine. The father is an industrial engineer specializing in efficiency and runs his family accordingly. Most of the humor (and drama) come from how people react to this unconventional family. Here: chaos. Chaos everywhere. Literally the worst parents. Literally begging the question: Why do you have 12 kids?! You cannot manage them! I know you have to go a little slapstick, but it ends up as a slap in the face (heyoooo) of the original.
  • I’ll leave it there. The music was obnoxious. Which means watch out Jamie: you might be getting this soundtrack as a gift.
  • Let’s Airbud this! Cheaper by the Tolstoy. Tolstoy has a litter of puppies, a dozen of them, and oh my are they a handful. With severe separation anxiety and leash aggression abound what will Patrick do with them?! Work through it of course, with love and laughter (and a little underbite). Cheaper by the Tolstoy … hot diggity dog! (That’s the terrible tagline). Also, perhaps, called Beethoven’s … Twelfth I guess? Although he only had 9 complete symphonies …

I think it is time for a Remake! Here’s the thing. Part of the charm of the original movie is just how capable the parents are. They joke around, and things go awry, but they rarely descend into chaos. The newer movie was chaos wall to wall. So here’s the change: The father is a coach, and runs his family like a football team. When he blows his whistle everyone falls in line. The drama of the story is more about people not believing in him because twelve kids just seems like too many today. They pull through because they are a team. Like in the first movie a lot of drama can also come from the kids getting bullied because of the oddity of their family. NETFLIX!!!! This is a live one, we need to hit this while the iron is hot. Also, all of the Netflix executives who read this week to week, hear me out. Bedknobs and Broomsticks Netflix original series. Just a thought.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Queen of the Damned Recap

NOTE: This Recap was published on August 11, 2018. The content was as it appeared in the original email from May 2014, although it was edited and reformatted where necessary.

Jamie

Another late one. I’ll try to make this an aberration and not the norm… next week. For now this is late. Deal with it. Last week was Queen of the Damned and wasn’t it a damn good BMT film… you see what I did there? Cause the movie has Damned in the title. Overall though, the film was ridiculous in all the right ways. I’m honestly not sure the film could possibly have been made and released under any other circumstance other than to rescue an expiring property license. A vampire rock and roll star does battle at a giant goth concert against Aaliyah who sets the record for least time on screen for a titular character. Um… really? This is happening? It seems the studio guy in charge of it must have had to say, “You know what? Fuck it, yeah, I’m in on this craziness. Why not? It’s the 90’s.” Cause it was a very 90’s film. Either that or they had to say, “You know what? I do not care what this looks like. We need this train rolling, so let’s get this movie out the door.” Anyway, I’ve talked too much talk, so let me walk the walk by giving you my three favorite things about the film:  

1) The voice-overs! Was the entire film voice-overs? No, not 100%. More like 110%. It was a wonderful example of excessive voice-over in BMT. May as well have been a book-on-tape.

2) Aaliyah! I have a feeling she would have been a favorite of ours with more breadth to her filmography. Just too good. And did I mention that she’s the titular character and doesn’t show up until 45 minutes into the movie and has only 10 lines or so? Just another case where the trailer and poster totally lied to the audience about what the movie would really be about.

3) The set pieces! They were the settiest sets we have set our eyes on in some time. It’s like I was watching a play at some points. I could imagine a stagehand movie the rooms around on wheels.

Phew, well there we go. That’s my three. Let’s see what Patrick thought:

Patrick

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that we made a horrible mistake with this Chain Reaction idea … strike that, we made a horrible mistake with picking Sabotage during week 8 last round. Not only a garbage movie, but its garbage-ness is reverberating throughout BMT for 2 months making it more and more difficult to effectively choose BMT-quality films. I barely know what movie we are doing anymore, and we certainly aren’t linking up with Furry Vengeance next week. With all that being said, we’ve watched a bunch of movies I’ve wanted to watch for BMT and some I never expected to watch (and enjoyed immensely). So weirdly enough things are working out.

Last week was Queen of the Damned. And it was bananas. I haven’t seen Interview with a Vampire, but this was the sequel (well … two sequels mashed into one) and it was crazy. We got rock and roll vampires. Vampire effects. The Blurry super-fast movements and horrid horrid flying effects, very reminiscent of both Twilight and True Blood, I almost want to say this was kind of the origin of it … although I doubt many people watched Queen of the Damned in film school. The costumes were bad, it wasn’t a horror film, and the Queen of the Damned was a cartoon character who was barely in this unfortunately long movie.

I’m making it sound terrible, but it was a delight. I loved this movie from a bad movie perspective. It is like they were checking tropes off. In particular, a dual-voiceover that lasts the entire movie (no joke, I think 50% of this movie had someone talking over it), throw in crazy CGI, terrible dialogue, and an extreme acting tour-de-force by Aaliyah and you have a winner in my book. They got insane set pieces and an audio flashback to boot. I really rather enjoyed it. Big Momma’s House, Romeo Must Die (despite being ridiculously boring) and Queen of the Damned have been a damn fine start to the chain reaction. Let’s see if we can keep it going … although I have no idea how we’re going to solve the Furry Vengeance problem. But I’m going to continue to put that off for a few more weeks. Let’s go.

Conclusion

Lots of valid points. As Patrick pointed out, it’s been a while since we had a film that really hit almost all of the BMT tropes that we love to pick on. This did its job right. Unfortunately the one thing it didn’t have was a MonoSklog. So we can’t really do that one this week.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs