Alex & Emma Recap

Jamie

When Alex gets in deep with the mob over gambling debt he hires a stenographer, Emma, to help him write his next novel in 30 days. After a tough start, Alex finds inspiration (and maybe more?) in Emma. Can he finish the book (and get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in Alex & Emma.

How?! There isn’t much more to the plot than what I just laid out. Alex is in debt and needs to write a book. Emma is a freelance stenographer he hires. While he dictates to her we get a story within a story about an Alex-type-character who finds love with an Emma-type-character, but there is another women in the middle of it all. In the end they finish the book, but the real life other woman shows and everything is thrown into flux… for like five seconds and then Alex sets up a grand gesture to get her back and “fix” the end of his book… by which I mean he rewrote it so it was cliched garbage. Wow, that’s the shortest plot recap I’ve ever written… probably because the story within the story is largely useless and represents what would almost certainly be a terrible book. THE END.

Why?! Alex needs that green to get the mob off his back. Apparently he got a big advance on his next book but when his lady love left him he gambled it all away (and more) in a fit of depression and heartbreak. Nothing like the threat of death to snap him out of it and get him moving on the book. Emma is just a lonely freelance stenographer. That’s pretty much the long and the short of it.

What?! You would think a film about writing a novel wouldn’t give much product placement to speak of. You would be wrong. Alex macks on Captain Crunch constantly and when his mouth gets shredded by those patented razor sharp edges, he grabs a dasani and slams it down. Gotta keep hydrated when you’re spinning hilarious gold.

Who?! While this was an Alan Griesman production for the purposes of this cycle I did want to highlight that Elie Samaha was also a producer on this film… and Battlefield Earth… and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever… and Texas Rangers. He was also the one convicted of defrauding investors regarding Battlefield Earth. Wonder if he’s turned his life around… nope.

Where?! The real life half of the film pretty obviously takes place in Boston, while the fake part of the film takes place on a fictional French-speaking island off the coast of Maine called St. Charles. That’s a double whammy of specificity. B+.

When?! I mostly don’t care, but we do know that the story within a story takes place in the summer of 1924. Since the entire story mirrors Alex’s life, we can presume that our current story takes place in the Fall (after the summer in which he falls in love and then loses everything). But that’s pretty vague. Maybe a C- just for the specific year in the past, but more likely a D+.

I found this entire film embarrassing for everyone involved. It is straight up terrible. I’m actually surprised it ever got an 11% on RT. I don’t really blame Luke Wilson (he was meh) and Kate Hudson (just being her charming self) because it is one of the worst scripts we’ve gotten to watch in quite a while. So they had very little to work with. It’s just a terrible movie about a terrible book being written. And not in a good way. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Recently I’ve been dictating my first novel to Caryn (she doesn’t love the arrangement) and I have to say … it sounds like complete garbage. According to Alex & Emma though that means it will ultimately be excellent, no problem. See you guys on the New York Times bestsellers list! It is called Dodger: A Garbage Pail Kids Prequel, and I think it might be the next great American novel. Let’s get into Alex & Emma!

The Good – I think Kate Hudson is hilarious and adorable. Fool’s Gold, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, etc. They all kind of work for romantic comedies for me because of her. The novel within a movie concept is intriguing enough with the changing characters that you can understand the misguided attempt at this film as well.

P’s View on the Preview – This movie has an absurdly low Rotten Tomatoes score, nearly in the single digits. So, doing a bit of analysis, the percentage of “wide release” romantic comedies (for the sake of simplicity I just defined this as the top 300 films on this chart) that qualify for BMT is an astounding 44% (this is indeed much higher than average, the percentage of films with Rotten Tomatoes scores below 40% in general is about 25% in my experience). The percentage which have a Rotten Tomatoes score at or below Alex and Emma is around 10%. So this a 90th percentile Romantic Comedy as far as bad reviews go. That’s impressive for a genre which such bad movie cred as Romantic Comedies. BTW, there are 29 Romantic Comedies with worse Rotten Tomatoes scores of which 12 have more than 100 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. We’ve seen eight of those for BMT, the other four being: Serving Sara, The Perfect Man, My Life in Ruins, and The Wedding Date.

The Bad – Sorry Luke Wilson, I’m putting you on blast. He’s just not good in this film. He’s not smarmy enough to fit the role they wanted him for (a gambling addict whose life is in danger because of a series of poor decisions), and the chemistry with Hudson isn’t really there, you don’t buy he’s actually in love with her. The entire thing is just kind of … not interesting in the least. I’ll have to save the main criticism for the rant though.

Get Yo Rant On – The book he is narrating is just awful. Just terrible. It sounds like a mess. He’s changing things in the middle. It is cliche. It sounds boring. And as the entire conceit of the film that is extremely problematic. The film is an embarrassment in that regard. Of all the films that needs a great script to be anything but awful, this might just be it. You have the main character narrating a book that is written in the vein of American classics, but it sounds like garbage. You have Rob Reiner sitting there at the end with a straight face saying “this is incredible” and as a viewer who just heard him write the entire thing you can’t help but think “you’re wrong, you have awful taste, this must be some sick condemnation of American literature.” Rant over.

Welcome to Earf – I forgot to do these recently, but this is, luckily, an easy one. Luke Wilson was in Around the World In Eighty Days with his brother Owen Wilson (they played the Wright brothers), who was in I, Spy with Eddie Murphy, who was in Norbit with Terry Crews, who was in Blended with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf.

The BMT – Nope, this is a completely pointless movie that I will forget in a day. Just throw this in the pile will less entertaining rom coms I guess. Like … a shade below the interest Made of Honor generated (at least there the second half had the destination wedding / weird competition for the bride combo to sustain my interest).

StreetCreditReport.com – As far as street cred goes it does make a few lists. This blog here for example. It doesn’t get much recognition elsewhere, no Razzie Award nomination (although it did get nominated for a late Stinkers Award for whatever that is worth i.e. nothing).

No homework as has been usual recently.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Alex & Emma Preview

Nothing like New Orleans in the Spring for a relaxing gh-gh-gh-ghost hunting trip with our newly discovered father, mega-star Scott Bakula. He takes us to the spooky abandoned gold mine where he knows the ghosts reside, but we immediately notice something odd about the walls. We touch them lightly with our fingertips… the walls are wet. Uh oh! Are they wet with the blood of the victims of the spooky ghosts?! We look a little closer… no, it’s just paint. Odd. We push on the wall and the entire cave is revealed to be a set built by mega-star Scott Bakula. “But why Dad? Why deceive us again in this cheap looking garbage ruse?” We bellow, with tears streaming down our faces. “Why? For the sweet cash monies of tax breaks. I needed you for the production of this German financed garbage film and now it’s all ruined. I’m not even your father. Bwahahahaha,” he laughs maniacally. The man is clearly deranged. Suddenly a demon monster arises from the broken set and tears Bakula apart. Woah! What a twist! While we are shocked and traumatized by the experience of seeing our fake dad (and favorite TV police detective) torn limb from limb, we also get an idea. Can’t we just write a garbage German film and make boatloads of cash off those sweet tax breaks? It’s the perfect plan to get the Obsidian Dongle back! But we only have thirty days! While I send Patrick off for a load of delicious Mountain Dew to get our creative juices flowing and fuel our X-treme writing skillz, I call up the local papers and put out a want ad for a stenographer. Hope she’s an old bag because we have no time for romance. That’s right! We’re watching that film that everyone knows Alex & Emma. Produced by Alan Greisman, the producer of Texas Rangers, this Rob Reiner film is the Girls Night Out entry in the cycle and by all accounts a total snoozefest. Hooray. Can’t wait to snooze my way through it. Let’s go!

Alex & Emma (2003) – BMeTric: 36.1

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(Below average. Trending up with the number of votes as one would expect. I am quite surprised to see how low the rating is and thus how high the BMeTric is. This seemed like the type of film where it would only be watched by huge Rob Reiner-heads and get like a 6.3 on IMDb just as a routine. Perhaps there is something here …)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Anemic romantic comedy about a novelist who has 30 days to complete a manuscript and his budding relationship with the stenographer he hires to help him do the job. She also turns up, in various guises, as we see his fantasy vision of the story — set in the 1920s — unfold. The two leads are OK, but the big laughs never come. Inspired, believe it or not, by real-life experiences of Feodor Dostoyevsky while he was writing the Gambler.

(Uuuuuuugh this film sounds so boring. Like straight up … fantasy versions with Kate Hudson and just … I’m not looking forward to this boring ass film. Are we sure we aren’t supposed to be watching Kate & Leopold?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_TMQgEtG-E

(Aha I remember the “are you out of your mind” from the beginning from back in the day. Let’s see. Bumping 00s soundtrack misplaced in what is effectively half of a period piece. Some charismatic leads who perhaps lack a bit of chemistry. And what’s that, do I spy with my little eye a Dasani water bottle in Kate Hudson’s hand? Hopefully this saves us from a bit of the boredom.)

Directors – Rob Reiner – (Known For: The Princess Bride; Stand by Me; A Few Good Men; Misery; Flipped; When Harry Met Sally…; The Bucket List; This Is Spinal Tap; The American President; LBJ; The Sure Thing; Ghosts from the Past; Future BMT: The Story of Us; And So It Goes; Being Charlie; BMT: North; Rumor Has It…; Alex & Emma; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for North in 1995; Notes: Y’all know Rob Reiner. But did you know that Tom Cruise once ordered a pig delivered to him at the Carlyle? Fun facts.)

Writers – Jeremy Leven (written by) – (Known For: The Notebook; Real Steel; The Legend of Bagger Vance; My Sister’s Keeper; Don Juan DeMarco; Crazy as Hell; Future BMT: Creator; BMT: Alex & Emma; Notes: A long and winding entertainment career including creating The Proposition, a satirical play that ran for 10 years in Cambridge, MA and off-Broadway.)

Actors – Luke Wilson – (Known For: Measure of a Man; 3:10 to Yuma; Legally Blonde; Idiocracy; Scream 2; Brad’s Status; The Royal Tenenbaums; Charlie’s Angels; Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy; Old School; Rushmore; Concussion; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Death at a Funeral; Bottle Rocket; Blades of Glory; The Family Stone; Rock Dog; My Super Ex-Girlfriend; The Skeleton Twins; Future BMT: Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde; Soul Survivors; Blonde Ambition; Home Fries; Meeting Evil; Hoot; Playing It Cool; The Third Wheel; Masked and Anonymous; Bongwater; Dog Park; Blue Streak; Outlaws and Angels; Best Men; Middle Men; Henry Poole Is Here; BMT: The Ridiculous 6; Around the World in 80 Days; Alex & Emma; Notes: Y’all know Luke Wilson. But did you know he was involved in a car accident with the golfer Bill Haas las February? Not as fun facts, a man died in that accident.)

Kate Hudson – (Known For: Almost Famous; Deepwater Horizon; Marshall; How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days; Kung Fu Panda 3; Wish I Was Here; The Killer Inside Me; The Reluctant Fundamentalist; The Four Feathers; Dr. T & the Women; About Adam; Future BMT: Le divorce; You, Me and Dupree; Good People; Nine; Rock the Kasbah; My Best Friend’s Girl; Raising Helen; 200 Cigarettes; Gossip; A Little Bit of Heaven; The Skeleton Key; BMT: Bride Wars; Fool’s Gold; Mother’s Day; Alex & Emma; Something Borrowed; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 2009 for Fool’s Gold, and My Best Friend’s Girl; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Mother’s Day in 2017; Notes: Daughter of Goldie Hawn and currently expecting her third child with her boyfriend Danny Fujikawa.)

David Paymer – (Known For: Ocean’s Thirteen; Bad Teacher; Drag Me to Hell; Payback; Amistad; Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit; The Five-Year Engagement; The American President; No Way Out; Airplane II: The Sequel; City Slickers; Get Shorty; Mighty Joe; The Hurricane; Night of the Creeps; Nixon; Quiz Show; Heart and Souls; In Good Company; Lemon; Future BMT: Twixt; Perfect; City Slickers: The Legend of Curly’s Gold; Carpool; Bait; The Sixth Man; Crazy People; Unforgettable; BMT: Howard: A New Breed of Hero; No Holds Barred; Chill Factor; Alex & Emma; Notes: He was in the pilot for St. Elsewhere as Dr. Wayne Fiscus, but was replaced by Howie Mandel when the series was picked up.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $14,218,698 (Worldwide: $15,368,897)

(Holy shit that is a disaster. It made $1 million outside of the US. Gigantic bomb. It isn’t like rom coms tend to make a ton, but egad!)

#229 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(In the heydey of the romcom boom, so I guess the box office return is even worse than I thought. We just watched the number one romcom BMT film by box office, Bringing Down the House. I think I’ll have to build my tool to pick out BMT films from these lists, I really want to know what the lowest is now!)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (15/138): A dull and unfunny comedy where the leads fail to generate any sparks.

(Oh … oh no. Dull and unfunny. Reviewer Highlight: The perfect date movie for pseudo-literary half-wits. – Bruce Newman, San Jose Mercury News. … Oh no.)

Poster – Sklogin’ it Up, Writing Style USA (C-)

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(If you can’t tell I was having some trouble coming up with an adequate play on the title featuring “Sklog.” So instead I went for the obvious alternative. Not enough good stuff and way too much of everything else. No offensive, but not good either.)

Tagline(s) – Is it love… or are they just imagining things? (B)

(This will likely be my reaction to the film. Ay-o. Spoiler alert, I’ll be imagining things. I kinda like this as a whole. Clever play on the premise. Although it is a tad long and doesn’t have any flow. Still better than average.)

Keyword(s) – writer; Top Ten by BMeTric: 81.7 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 55.8 Eegah (1962); 55.5 The Stepford Wives (2004); 53.7 The Ring 2 (2005); 53.7 Full Frontal (2002); 52.4 Twixt (2011); 51.7 I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016); 51.7 Le divorce (2003); 51.6 Breakfast of Champions (1999); 51.0 Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999);

(Le divorce was one of the movies I considered for the mapstreet’s map alright! cycle from last month. Kind of surprising how few of these we’ve seen given the high BMeTrics. Eegah stars the giant guy from Happy Gilmore.)

Notes – The plot is loosely based on the life of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, author of “Crime and Punishment”. He had promised to complete a new novel by a certain date, but one month before the deadline he hadn’t written anything. After a recommendation, he hired a stenographer named Anna, who helped him complete “The Gambler” in 26 days. The plot of “The Gambler”, which is based off of one of the author’s own experiences, is about a tutor named Alexei who falls in love with Polina, who toys with him. Dostoyevsky and Anna fell in love during the writing process. They later married and had 4 children. (WHAAAAAAAAAAAT)

The German version of the film replaces the Germans-such-as-Adolf Hitler gag with Russians-such-as-Joseph Stalin.

After Alex and Emma ride on a boat, they go out for a walk. A flash is visible as they walk. It was a paparazzo taking a picture. (oh gross)

The bio on the back of Alex’s first book reads, “Alex Sheldon has worked for many years in the Boston area. He is currently not married and lives very much alone.” (HA, Boston though, nice hint)

Despite what Emma believes, Ylva actually is a Swedish name. It means ‘female wolf’.

This movie became well know among fans of comedian Artie Lange after his interview on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast. Lange was describing taking heroin for the very first time in a hotel room. Lange said “when people ask me why is heroin addictive, this is my answer: the movie on the TV was Alex & Emma with Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson, and I never turned it off.” (oh that’s depressing. That isn’t fun. Heroin is ruining his life still! He plays a major part in the Crashing on HBO and is still relapsing and getting arrested!)

Monte Carlo Recap

Jamie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Monte Carlo Preview

After escaping the mutants of the Greater Chernobyl area (and allowing for the necessary time to mourn the loss of the seven other random European X-treme tourists) Patrick and I decide that we gotta get this backpacking trip back on track. Time to finally get some rest and relaxation in Monaco that we so sorely need. Emphasis on the sore considering the intense pain, chills and open wounds I’ve been experiencing since I was bitten by that mutant (shh, don’t tell Patrick I don’t want him to worry). That’s right! We’re watching the Selena Gomez classic Monte Carlo! While this may not be the worst reviewed film of all time it was certainly hated by those that vote on imdb (read: young white men), so the BMeTric score is inordinately high. Don’t matter much to us since it qualifies and a Selena Gomez film is always welcome into BMT. Let’s go!

Monte Carlo (2011) – BMeTric: 37.2

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(Well known plot I’m going to call … the Built-in Fanbase Plot. Don’t worry, I’ll promptly forget it in a week and coin a new term. Basically big Selena Gomez fans (I assume) would rate this a 6.5. People who love (to rate) movies (on the internet like weirdos) though would give it closer to a 5.1. And then once general audiences get a hold of it it is generally moving up to between the two, 5.8. It should roughly stick there, this plot screams “average movie” and 6.0 would be where I would expect such a thing.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Three girls from a small town in Texas spend their savings on a dream trip to Paris. Once there, the girls discover that one of them (Gomez) looks just like a British socialite and use her mistaken identity to their advantage. Cast is attractive and likeable but the story is predictable … and dull. Although its target audience may not notice the poor editing and plot development, this still should have been a better movie. Loosely based on the novel Headhunters by Jules Bass.

(Actually rather harsh of Leonard, I would have thought he would go easy on a movie like this since he is definitely not the target audience as he points out. Dull is a bad word here. Kids’ movies are usually dull which is why we banished them from BMT back in the day (we realized our mistake more recently though). Hopefully as huge Selena Gomez fans we’ll be able to see past the poor editing though.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rxm_bVVhbr8

(“Cordelia gets to play hooky for a few days” … if this line is accurate and they actually agree to swap placed with the British Selena Gomez then this is just Prince and the Pauper, so why make it a Headhunters adaptation? If not then what are they talking about? I’m more confused coming out of the trailer than going in.)

Directors – Thomas Bezucha – (Known For: The Family Stone; Big Eden; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: His last name is pronounced “bazooka”. He used to be a fashion design with Ralph Lauren.)

Writers – Thomas Bezucha (screenplay) – (Known For: The Family Stone; Big Eden; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Has a special thanks on The Way Way Back, probably because he did some initial legwork in getting the script ready to be shot. This article explains it a bit if you search his name.)

April Blair (screenplay) – (BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Mainly a television writer and producer now, including having a writing credit on Sklog favorite Heart of Dixie!)

Maria Maggenti (screenplay) – (Known For: Before I Fall; The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love; Puccini for Beginners; Future BMT: The Love Letter; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: He is attached to an announced Dirty Dancing remake. Guess where it takes place … obviously Peru! Wait what?! And yeah, it is really a remake of the classic Swayze film that takes place in Peru, barf.)

Kelly Bowe (screen story) – (BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: She also wrote Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous starring Jessica Simpson … she has a thing about singers turns actors it would seem.)

Jules Bass (novel) – (BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Go back and watch the trailer … if this is Prince and The Pauper then this credit is nuts. This Jules Bass novel is not Prince and The Pauper. I am officially intrigued by this “adaptation”.)

Actors – Selena Gomez – (Known For: The Big Short; Spring Breakers; Bad Neighbours 2; Hotel Transylvania; Hotel Transylvania 2; The Fundamentals of Caring; Horton Hears a Who!; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; The Muppets; Ramona and Beezus; Rudderless; Future BMT: Behaving Badly; Aftershock; Arthur and the Great Adventure; Arthur 3: la guerre des deux mondes; In Dubious Battle; BMT: Getaway; Monte Carlo; Notes: Just rewatched Getaway, where she is amazing (obvs). She apparently holds 10 Guiness Book of World Records.)

Leighton Meester – (Known For: The Judge; Date Night; Going the Distance; Life Partners; Like Sunday, Like Rain; Future BMT: Hangman’s Curse; The Oranges; Country Strong; The Beautiful Ordinary; BMT: The Roommate; That’s My Boy; Monte Carlo; Notes: From Gossip Girl (so obviously amazing). Like Selena Gomez she has extended beyond acting with a few different singles in the early 2010s.)

Katie Cassidy – (Known For: Taken; The Scribbler; The Lost; Live!; Future BMT: Black Christmas; A Nightmare on Elm Street; When a Stranger Calls; Click; BMT: Monte Carlo; Notes: Plays Laurel on the show Arrow. I know this because … well people seem to have an unreasonable amount of hatred for her. I say unreasonable because any non-zero amount of hatred for a character in a CW superhero show is unreasonable.)

Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $23,186,769 (Worldwide: $39,667,665)

(Not too shabby. Won’t be knocking down doors trying to get Monte Carlo 2 made, but with DVD / cable tie-ins I would imagine they made off fine with the film.)

#34 for the Comedy – High School genre

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(I remember this genre growing up because around 1998 there was a question about where all of the coming of age films went. Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off … the 80s were jam packed with the Hughes films. Can’t Hardly Wait was a breath of fresh air in 1998, and then there was another heyday. So either this current dip is all part of the genre recharging … or more likely they are going straight to VOD at this point.)

#170 for the Romantic Comedy genre

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(Perhaps The Big Sick will reignite the genre, but more likely, again, this is a small indie genre or a VOD type deal at this point. Which will make things a bit harder for our Girls Night Out category. But then again … that category is a bit sexist anyways. Our most recently made entry is Blended … man we don’t really watch recent Romantic Comedies.)

#18 for the Summer Girl Power genre

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(These are rare, and … of a type. Material Girls and Bratz are the two films we’ve seen in the genre. The list kind of claims that they just went extinct almost two years ago though. Couldn’t really say why though … but most likely summer tentpoles chased them to earlier in the year.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (36/92): Although it has its charming moments, Monte Carlo is mostly silly, predictable stuff that never pushes beyond the boundaries of formula.

(Juuuuuuuuuuuuust squeaking in there. Which is probably a good sign. Means it is at the very least tolerable as a film. Maybe won’t scratch that Bad Movie Twins Itch, but also won’t put me to sleep hopefully.)

Poster – Monte Car-Sklog (C-)

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(Oooff that’s a rough Sklog incorporation into the title. I like the balance of the poster, but everything else is tough. No clear color, basic font, and too much going on. I feel like I might be going easy on it, but it’s not offensive either.)

Tagline(s) – She’s having the time of someone else’s life. (B)

(Certainly tells us what’s up and is a clever-ish play on a common phrase. A little long for my tastes but does the job.)

Keyword(s) – tied feet; Top Ten by BMeTric: 79.1 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 63.7 The Phantom (1996); 60.8 Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009); 58.7 The Snowman (2017); 57.3 Witless Protection (2008); 56.7 Glen or Glenda (1953); 56.4 Knock Off (1998); 53.4 Sinister 2 (2015); 51.5 Charlie’s Angels (2000); 51.3 Bride of Chucky (1998);

(… What? I need more Billy Zane in my life, but sadly The Phantom doesn’t qualify. The number of very hated films which were kind of reasonably well liked by critics is pretty stunning. Like Popeye. It has a 59% on RT and a 5.2 (which is terrible) on IMDb. I watched some clips of Popeye just to remind myself … woof, it is pretty rough to be honest.)

Notes – Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts were originally the stars of the film, but the producers decided to shoot the film with a younger cast. Kidman also remained on board as a producer. (And then she played Grace Kelly in the also BMT qualifying Grace of Monaco).

Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy, two of the film’s stars, previously worked together on The CW drama, Gossip Girl (2007) (2007).

The production spent four days filming in Paris and two weeks filming in Monaco. The rest of the filming took place in Hungary, with Budapest doubling for Paris and Monte Carlo. Raleigh Studios Budapest was used to substitute for Monte Carlo’s Hotel de Paris for the filming. (Good for Budapest?)

Meg’s first and middle names are the names of two princesses from the English house of Tudor.

It seems unusual, but “Meg” seems to be a nickname derived from the middle name of the character. Her full name, seen in the passport on her arrival in France, is Mary Margaret Kelly. (Huh, that is some great close watching by this IMDb user. This is Bad Movie Twins stuff).

As seen on their passports, the full names of girls are Grace Ann Bennett, Emma Danielle Perkins and Mary Margaret Kelly. (Yiiiiiiissssss, these are the notes I come for)

The first name of Selena Gomez’s character is “Grace” and the last name of Leighton Meester’s character is “Kelly”. Academy-Award winning American actress, Grace Kelly, became Princess consort of Monaco in 1955 when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. In addition to this, Monte Carlo is located in Monaco, and in Gossip Girl (2007), which starred Leighton Meester, her character married the Prince of Monaco. (WHAT? Spoiler for Gossip Girl, but … Blair Waldorf marries the Prince of Monaco in Gossip Girl? That’s cray cray).

The Women (2008) Recap

Jamie

When her perfect world seems to crumble all at once with the loss of her job, husband, and best friend, Mary Haines has to figure out what it means to be her (what it means to be a woman?) to help put back the pieces. Can she do it before it’s too late? Find out in… The Women.

How?! Mary Haines has the seemingly perfect life. A good job working in fashion for her father, a super successful husband, a wonderful daughter, and a group of supportive best friends. But when this all goes down the tubes with the discovery of her husband’s infidelity with a curvaceous aspiring actress and the loss of her job, she finds herself lost in the woods. Wallowing in self-pity and undecided on how to proceed in her once happy marriage, she eventually discovers that maybe she needs to figure out what she wants out of life before any of these things can be fixed. She starts a new company, rediscovers the meaning of being a mother and best friend, and finds happiness. Only then can she attempt to fix what had fallen apart with her husband. This very simple and straightforward story is of course told over two hours, which seems impossible. Oh and not a single male actor is seen or heard from in the entirety of the film… which is bonkers and actually pretty deftly done.   

Why?! Interesting question. Mary’s motivation throughout the film is her struggle to decide what to do about her husband’s infidelity. She starts out trying to ignore it (the advice given to her by several older women in the film), then she kinda gives up on everything, and finally on the advice of a (randomly and conveniently placed) successful independent women she starts her own company and sets out on her own. In this she realizes that the underlying reason for her husband’s infidelity may not totally be his fault. By not really knowing who she was herself, and thus not being able to give all of herself over to her husband, how could they have built a truly successful marriage? And so she is able to make a decision in the end: give it a shot with him and if he can love her true self then perhaps they can find true happiness in a second chance.

What?! We are on a role in terms of major product placements. This film is a walking advertisement for Saks Fifth Avenue. Almost the entire first half of the film takes place in the store. This all hits a crescendo when a character leans and very seriously tells a child that “no one hates Saks.” Gotta say, that line itself got me mighty close to hating Saks. The film is also heavily sponsored by Dove. We get some noticeably placed hand creams throughout along with a postcredits advertisement for a short film “The Women Behind The Women” which was part of Dove’s Real Beauty campaign.

Who?! While we’ve been on a role in terms of major product placements, I can’t even remember the last Planchet we’ve had. Doesn’t change here. Do want to point out that Mick Jagger apparently was a producer on this film, which seems weird. It’s only made weirder that IMDb also claims he’s a producer on a 2004 short film titled The Women… alright Mick. We get it.

Where?! This is basically as close to being an A+ film without having the title be The New York City Women or like, I don’t know, Sex and the City or something. It’s all about Saks Fifth Avenue and as such is all about living it up in the cit-ay. A.

When?! All times forever really. The story jump from summer to fall to Halloween (which plays an unexpectedly large role in the plot) and finished on Xmas. I hesitate to say that it’s a Secret Holiday Film Alert because this film kinda flows through time as if time is not a concept that it understands, but it’s still pretty solid. B.

Will I do it? Can I say it?… This film is just not that bad (It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad!). I think it suffered through some rough directing by a novice filmmaker that they unfortunately tried to patch over with some weird choices in post, but this film had something to say and had interesting people saying it. It occasionally got lost in some extracurricular screwball elements (looking at you random birth scene at the end), but I did not mind this film and I thought it did a nice job telling a story of the complications of love and marriage in the age of successful women. Here’s hoping our next film is similarly good. Let’s see, that would be… Marmaduke… … … alright. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Bust out that gallon jug of white wine, time for Patrick and Jamie to have a girls night in. With nary a man to be seen, we’re dishing on life, love, work, and play. Ain’t nothing going to stop us from travelling with Meg Ryan and the gang as they teach us what it really means to be …  The Women! Let’s go!

The Good (Sklognalogy) – The first hour or so of this film, I thought, was quite good. I liked all of the characters, I liked the story they were going after: when infidelity strikes a perfect (upper-class …) life, what is the expectations of a modern woman? The film gets lost in the middle, but the conceit of not once showing a male (non-newborn-baby) character works super well in the context of this film. I’m pretty shocked with how this film was treated by the critics, and I can now totally understand Ebert’s review where he gave it three stars. This is a 2.5 / 4 film, just not that bad (it’s not that bad! Except for the whole part in the middle where it was). A natural Sklognalogy is the other ensemble piece that came out that year: Sex and the City. One could forget that the original actually got okay reviews and the show that preceded it was at the time cutting edge. This is more familiar and comfortable than that, but I think both illustrate where we were at with movies directed towards women at this point in time.

The Bad (Sklog-cabulary Quiz) The film has a sequence that appears to take place over the span of several months where Meg Ryan is going to like a canoeing retreat, and her daughter is dressing up … all of that doesn’t work. The film gets seriously lost in the woods after they blow up the question of how the modern family woman is expected to act in the face of infidelity, an interesting question in the context of a film being a remake of a film/play from the early 20th century. There is also something fascinating about romantic comedies where they almost need to function in a world where monetary problems don’t exist. All of the characters in this film are fabulously wealthy. Thus all of the problems focus solely on their relationships. I’m going to try my best to fashion Sklog-cabulary Quiz about this:

Ab Initio Genre (n.) – A genre reduced to first principles, stripping out all characteristics that distract you from the purpose or function the genre serves

I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a real thing, but it is like how you can have a comedy where the focus is really only on the jokes (not even concerned with making sense), or an action film where the action itself is the focus, no romantic lead, no comedy. Hard Sci-Fi csan fall into the category as well. The Ab Initio Romance film takes every other problem out of the film: no money problems, no personal crises, all relationship, all the time. And for romance the ab initio approach seems quite popular … we’ve seen like three “upper-class Manhattanites falling in love” romance films in the last year. It is pretty amusing. They might as well be called Rich People Problems.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I don’t think this film is much of anything as far as bad movies go (perhaps something with the large female cast? The issue is it really isn’t that bad!). It could make an appearance in the beginning of 2019 if I remember that I actually liked the film for the Smaddies Baddies film that wasn’t that bad award. Considering how strong of a bad movie year 2008 it isn’t a terrible surprise there isn’t much as far as StreetCreditReport.com, although it did get a small mention in this Vulture poll. The first Sex and the City film came out the same year as The Women which is pretty bizarre.

I ain’t reading a play, and I’ve been too busy to watch the original The Women from the 30s (the films from that era are always like two and a half hours long). I know I’m failing you guys in the adaptations cycle. I promise to be better as the year goes on. I promise. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Women (2008) Preview

Usually I start off the preview for a film by talking about how excited I am to watch it. Not this time! For the Girls Night Out section we jumped to an adaptation of a play. While we had a number of terrible musicals to choose from we at the BMT Media Empire HQ are always looking to buck trends. That’s right! We’re watching The Women… you know, that dramedy you definitely know came out starring Meg Ryan and an ensemble of women living it up in the Greater New York City Area. It’s based on the 1936 play by Clare Booth Luce, which ran on Broadway for a number of years and has been revived and adapted for the screen many times over. This is the latest such adaptation and the critics were less than thrilled. I’m less than thrilled to watch it. Thank god it’s only… 2 hours long! Gah! Let’s go!

The Women (2008) – BMeTric: 58.9

TheWomen_BMeT

TheWomen_RV

(This movie actually has a bit more votes than I would expect, and the number seems to just keep on growing. That initial rise is somewhat interesting, why would the early viewers hate on this movie so? Especially when the thousands of viewers that voted subsequently seem to agree with is about a ~5/10 film. I’m going to go ahead a assume it is a case of Early Viewers Are Fans syndrome, and that they tend towards hating what fails to meet expectations. But … who would have expectations about The Women? God … I hope this isn’t a The Internet Hates Things Aimed At Women thing. I really do.)

Roger Ebert – 3 stars –  “The Women” isn’t a great movie, but how could it be? Too many characters and too much melodrama for that, and the comedy has to be somewhat muted to make the characters semi-believable. But as a well-crafted, well-written and well-acted entertainment, it drew me in and got its job done.

(Wowza, is that two in a row? Very interesting take ultimately. I think he admired the actresses so much (as almost pitch perfect for the movie they were creating) he got a little blinded that the movie was in fact (as he even admits) just not good. We’ll see though. Maybe we’ve discovered a hidden gem.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlxwcwESDkQ

(I have to say… that didn’t look like the most boring thing in the world for one reason: literally everyone in the trailer is a woman. Even the extras and shit. It’s actually amazing and might make the film at least visually interesting to look at.)

Directors – Diane English – (BMT: The Women; Notes: Effectively her one-and-done directorial project. There is another movie called Timbuktu but it seems like it was never released.)

Writers – Diane English (screenplay) – (BMT: The Women; Notes: Well known as a writer for Murphy Brown. The Women was her only writing gig after that series went off the air. But guess what? There is going to be a new season of Murphy Brown (with Candice Bergen) this year, 20 years after its last season!)

Clare Boothe Luce (play) – (Known For: The Women; BMT: The Women; Notes: Was the U.S. Ambassador to Italy under Dwight D. Eisenhower.)

Anita Loos (1939 screenplay) – (Known For: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; The Women; San Francisco; Babes in Arms; Strange Cargo; BMT: The Women; Notes: An early screenwriter in Hollywood (her first screenplay was for a Griffith film in 1912). Her brother created the Blue Cross health insurance company.)

Jane Murfin (1939 screenplay) – (Known For: Pride and Prejudice; The Women; Come and Get It; BMT: The Women; Notes: She brought Strongheart the dog, Hollywood’s first canine film star, to the U.S. in the 20s.)

Actors – Meg Ryan – (Known For: Top Gun; You’ve Got Mail; Anastasia; When Harry Met Sally…; Sleepless in Seattle; Innerspace; The Doors; In the Land of Women; Kate & Leopold; Addicted to Love; City of Angels; Proof of Life; Courage Under Fire; French Kiss; When a Man Loves a Woman; Restoration; Joe Versus the Volcano; The Presidio; I.Q.; Flesh and Bone; Future BMT: Hanging Up; Amityville 3-D; In the Cut; Against the Ropes; Serious Moonlight; Armed and Dangerous; Ithaca; BMT: The Women; Notes: Mostly known for co-starring with Tom Hanks as love interests in three separate movies: Sleepless in Seattle, Joe Versus the Volcano, and You’ve Got Mail. She was married to Dennis Quaid for about 10 years.)

Eva Mendes – (Known For: Training Day; The Place Beyond the Pines; Fast & Furious 5; The Other Guys; Hitch; Once Upon a Time in Mexico; Stuck on You; Last Night; Out of Time; We Own the Night; Holy Motors; Bad Lieutenant; The Wendell Baker Story; Live!; Future BMT: The Spirit; Urban Legends: Final Cut; Exit Wounds; Lost River; Trust the Man; All About the Benjamins; Girl in Progress; Cleaner; A Night at the Roxbury; BMT: Ghost Rider; The Women; 2 Fast 2 Furious; Notes: Cuban-American, she’s the only one in her family to have been born in the U.S., her three siblings were born in Cuba.)

Annette Bening – (Known For: American Beauty; 20th Century Women; Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool; Mars Attacks!; Open Range; Rules Don’t Apply; The American President; The Great Outdoors; Ruby Sparks; The Kids Are All Right; Danny Collins; The Grifters; Bugsy; The Siege; Valmont; Regarding Henry; Postcards from the Edge; Ginger & Rosa; Richard III; What Planet Are You From?; Future BMT: In Dreams; Girl Most Likely; Running with Scissors; Love Affair; BMT: The Women; Notes: She was the original choice for Catwoman in Batman Returns, but had to drop out when she became pregnant. She’s been married to Warren Beatty for nearly 30 years.)

Budget/Gross – $16 million / $26,902,075 ($50,007,546 Worldwide)

(Eh, below what it probably expected. For a film like this you’d kind of want to double those numbers I would think. Not a bomb, but not really raking in much cash … unless The Women talk over their problems with a refreshing ice-cold Bud Light at one point that is.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 13% (19/146): The Women is a toothless remake of the 1939 classic, lacking the charm, wit and compelling protagonists of the original.

(Again, thank you RT. I guess this consensus is old enough to actually be useful. This is a brutal score for a film like this. I can only assume it is disastrously boring, which doesn’t bode well for me staying awake watching it on a plane. Reviewer Highlight: One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.” – Richard Schickel, Time Magazine)

Poster – The Sklogettes (F)

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(Nooooooooooooooooo. Why does this keep happening. Look at all the people! Look at the basic white color of it. Dear god, look at the spacing. Even the font is shit.)

Tagline(s) – It’s all about… (F)

(Lol. Wot? I mean I get it… it’s all about The Women but still… lol. Wot?)

Keyword(s) – divorce; Top Ten by BMeTric: 81.9 Kazaam (1996); 78.8 Striptease (1996); 77.7 Bratz (2007); 64.2 Dr. T & the Women (2000); 63.1 North (1994); 63.1 Beethoven’s 2nd (1993); 63.1 Ben & Arthur (2002); 62.1 Sliver (1993); 58.9 Mr. Woodcock (2007); 58.9 The Women (I) (2008);

(Oh shit, Kazaam. I’ve seen this movie (well, the first half of it …) so many times. Dr. T weirdly doesn’t qualify for BMT actually, so looks like we’ll never complete this list. My favorite movie with divorce? Why not Mrs. Doubtfire, great stuff.)

Notes – Tanya the manicurist (Debi Mazar) talks about meeting Madonna. Mazar and Madonna are long-time friends; Mazar appeared in four Madonna music videos: “True Blue” and “Papa Don’t Preach” (1986), “Deeper and Deeper” (1992) and “Music” (2000).

Like the 1939 version, the film has an all-female cast. (noice)

While the project was being put together in Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan were set to star. The production stalled because Roberts and Ryan ended up wanting the same role.

The painting in the restaurant scene features Courtney Love and Anna Nicole Smith.

In The Women (1939) the only scene in color was the fashion show sequence. In this version the fashion show begins with all-black and white clothes, and the scene before it takes place in a black-and-white room.

In the late 1970’s a remake of the 1939 classic was proposed to star Jane Fonda, Barbra Streisand, and Faye Dunaway, but it was not made. (That sounds like this could have been fun)

Blythe Danner, Marisa Tomei, Queen Latifah, Whitney Houston, Ashley Judd and Sandra Bullock were all in the running for various parts in the film.

For scenes planned on being shot in the Boston Public Library, it was suggested that all the portraits and busts of men to be replaced with those of women. However, the scene was never shot. (Excuuuuuuse me? You talking ‘bout the Boston Public Library? Why would you not shoot that?)

There is an abundance of the use of the color green, from the color of the sets, props, costumes, in almost every scene throughout the movie. In the final fashion show, except for the models, almost every guest is wearing green.

Candice Bergen previously played Meg Ryan’s mother in Rich and Famous (1981).

Edie’s (Debra Messing) daughters are called January, April, May and June. The last three are the names of Daisy Duck’s nieces (counterparts to Donald Duck’s nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie).

Before development was put on hold in 2006, Annette Bening and Uma Thurman were rumored to have been considered for the roles of Mary Haines and Crystal Allen respectively. Also Lisa Kudrow and Anne Hathaway were in talks for the roles of Mirian Aarons and Peggy Day, but the roles were cut out of the final script.

According to Diane English, the project was in development, from the first draft to the final green light, for fifteen years. (Jesus. No wonder it ended up being a mess)

The original Broadway production opened on 7 September 1937 and had 666 performances at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York. (666? How does that happen I wonder. I would think with how superstitious theater operators are that they would have avoided it)

“The Women’s” screenwriter Anita Loos who wrote this film’s original 1939 screenplay, started her writing career in 1912 with her first full film screenplay The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912) starring Lillian Gish for the American Mutoscope & Biograph Co. which is still in existence today. After writing many scripts for Biograph, Loos went on to write such other films such as Saratoga (1937), Another Thin Man (1939), San Francisco (1936), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945), and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953).

Except for the newly-born baby boy in the final scene, there are no male characters in the entire film, not even the extras in wide shots. (That is actually quite cool)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Meg Ryan)

The Space Between Us Recap

Jamie

Gardner is a teenager born on Mars and unable to go to Earth for fear his body can’t handle it. When he connects with a girl on Earth, Tulsa, and finds information about his father he insists it’s time to return “home.” Can he fall in love and find his dad before it’s (literally) too late? Find out in… The Space Between Us.

What?! We open on the first mission to populate Mars funded by billionaire Nathaniel Shepard. On the way it’s revealed that the mission leader is pregnant. Fearing PR backlash NASA keeps the pregnancy confidential. Shortly after arrival she gives birth to a healthy child, Gardner, but dies in childbirth. Due to the differences in gravity they fear bringing the child home will kill him so Gardner is left to grow up on Mars. Flash forward 16 years and he is living a happy but isolated life with a robot friend and everything. He’s a total nerd alert, but spends his time chatting it up with an equally isolated girl in Colorado named Tulsa. He really wants to go to Earth to find his father (but we also know he wouldn’t mind finding this girl, wooing her, and getting it in). Finally NASA relents and after a rigorous physical preparation he is flown back to Earth. Hooray. When he arrives it looks like he’ll be sent right back for health reasons so he escapes to meet up with Tulsa. She is totally freaked out by this weirdo saying he’s from Mars (so much for getting it in), but helps him escape when NASA comes a-knocking. Thus begins their road trip together. They track Gardner’s father from New Mexico to Arizona to California. On the way, Tulsa and Gardner fall in love and he actually does get it in. Wow. Took you like five hours on Earth to lose your virginity. He then starts to show symptoms of an enlarged heart. When he finally finds the man he thinks is his dad he is told he was wrong the whole time. The man is actually his uncle. Sad but in love he walks into the ocean to die only to be rescued by Nathaniel Shepard, who turns out to be his real dad (duh, it was pretty obvious). They are able to save his life and get him back to Mars where we see him enjoying time with his dad. We are also treated to a scene of Tulsa preparing for her own trip to Mars. Awwwwwwww. THE END.

Why?! While Gardner is literally from Mars his motivations are primarily typical teen angst. He wants to see Earth, he wants to know what it is to be human, he wants to live, he wants to love, he wants to find belonging, and most importantly he wants to know who he is. And knowing who he is involves knowing who his father is. Thus the road trip from Mars to Florida to Colorado to California and back to Mars. As for Tulsa, while she is born on Earth she also mostly wants to know that she has belonging. She’s shuttled from foster home to foster home and feels like an alien in her own world. Trust me it’s all very deep in a highly predictable and saccharine way.

What?! I was really hoping that Tulsa would introduce Gardner to the beauty of Coca-Cola or something at one point, but alas. Gardner’s journey is mostly product placement free. Same can’t be said for Nathaniel Shepard and the sleek technology he surrounds himself with. He shuttles around in his self-driving Volvo as if it’s the ultimate replacement for his shattered dreams of space travel. Shove it, astronauts! You haven’t experienced adventure till you’ve driven the new Volvo (he says as he cries himself to sleep… don’t worry, the car drives itself. He can weep as hard as he wants without putting himself or others in danger).

Who?! As with many robot friends in cinematic history, Gardner’s robot, Centaur, is basically a Planchet. Gardner is always like “You aren’t even real, stupid robot.” and dismantles him for his own schemes. But the robot still had only unconditional love for him and it’s sad really. Even sadder is when he’s abandoned part way through the movie and never mentioned again. Bring that robot to Earth! Let him in on your kooky adventures. Anyway, I only did a Planchet this week because I didn’t want to mention that Logan Paul, a Youtube star, makes a truly terrible cameo halfway through the film. Fuck. That.

Where?! Road Trip Alert! I would put the primary settings as Mars and Colorado (I love it!), but with some stops in Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. It’s an A because of how important Mars is to the plot. You could even argue it’s an A+ with the mention of “Space” in the title. But let’s appreciate it for what it is, not for what it isn’t.

When?! Future Setting Alert! From Gardner’s mother’s grave we know she died on January 25, 2018. The film takes place 16 years later so in 2034. That’s enough for me when it comes to the date of a future film. I’ll give it a C. Funny enough this was a major sticking point for reviewers. The fact that nothing really got updated from the phones to the cars to the slang used by Tulsa. Showed a single robot, a single self-driving car, and some plexiglass computers and that’s apparently all they budgeted for.

When I started watching the film I thought it was going to be terrible. It was slow and extremely predictable. Interestingly once they went a more cliched route for the latter half of the film it actually picked up pace and was pretty enjoyable. Like two films smooshed together. A somewhat boring space adventure at the front, and a typical teen romance road trip on the back half. It all added up to mostly harmless fluff. Interesting that it got hated on so much. Is it so bad that every once in awhile they make a sugar sweet film for the whole family? It’s not like it’s inherently bad just for that reason. That being said I wish it wasn’t laughably predictable. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Space is so in right now, and you want a little piece of the action. You got this weird script about some Moon boy or whatever so … hey, intern, give this a once over and set it on Mars like that Damon one. We’ll rake in that dough, I’ll grab a few drinks with some stars, no problem … Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sklog-nalogy) – The movie actually isn’t all bad. It wasn’t quite It’s-Not-That-Bad level, but it is a lot closer than you would think. The first hour is a little slow but interesting, and the second half picks up even if it is half of a YA road trip film. There are certainly things I disliked, but for a young adult romance that is over two hours long it could have been a lot lot worse. Which is why I’m porting over Sklog-nalogy from the Bad section for the week. In this case the BMT film this reminds me of is possibly the least likeable film we’ve ever done: Waiting for Forever. In both cases you have a weirdo “martian” guy stalking a girl he’s fallen in love with through misadventures. In this case the “martian” is actually a Martian and is innocuous, funny, kind, a hopeless romantic, and genuinely makes a bit of sense. In Waiting for Forever he is a creepy stalker who the lead actress should have been concerned was going to kill her. The movies have a weird core that is similar, but take drastically different turns. This film is an okay example of the genre, although it has its faults. Waiting for Forever shows exactly how such a storyline can go wrong by basically glorifying stalkers as “romantics”. That I think is probably why I liked this film reasonably well in the end, at least it kept it innocent in that regard.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – The film basically turns into a Young Adult road trip movie where they barely mention Mars which isn’t so great. The twist with Gary Oldman is incredibly obvious. The film is, indeed, so sugary sweet that I can understand why it got a ton of bad reviews (although 16% is much much lower than I would have expected). The last bit I’ll run through for a Crime Against BMT-anity. The faux-future stuff is off the chain. Basically everyone uses these weird plexiglass computers, but then everyone has phones that look like a current Samsung. Gary Oldman is in a self-driving car, but yet Tulsa’ Dad drunkenly flies a beat up crop duster, they drive around in a beat up pick up, and at one point Gardner gets a ride in a (driver-ful) crappy Greyhound bus. The mixed messages are crazy! It is basically an exercise in how little one can do while still getting away with setting a film nearly 20 years in the future. Most can be forgiven, it isn’t like cars look alien compared to 2000, but the phones were a very strange oversight considering they updated the computers fairly well.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I don’t think there is legacy here. It might have at some point, if we decide it is the best bad movie we’ve watched this year. But for some reason I highly doubt that. It has been listed in a few places for worst of already. Looper, and The Playlist specifically. Ultimately I think it’ll fall away without much notice, but we’ll have to wait and see.

This does seem like one of those films that is based on a book … but it wasn’t. So no homework to report on here. I’ll just leave it there then.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs