In Love and War Recap

Jamie

Young Ernest Hemingway is injured while serving in the Red Cross during World War I. He ends up falling in love with the nurse caring for him, but their love seems destined to fail. Will he single handedly win WWI (no) and get the girl? Find out in In Love and War.

How?! Young Ernest Hemingway suuuuckks. He’s a young, whiny asshole who also rescues someone in Italy and gets shot in the leg in the process. While generally whining about everything, his nurse Agnes is a hero and saves his leg from amputation. He returns the favor by following her around, pestering her, claiming that she must love him, and touching her clothes and shit even though she tells him to stop. Eventually they go out on a date and he acts like a complete idiot and she more or less is like “maybe I’ll actually think about marrying this wildly successful Italian doctor that is super into me instead of you.” He gets all mopey and she ends up leaving to help closer to the front line. When he hears he’ll be shipping home Ernest goes to the line to see her one last time and despite being a complete buffoon they dance and have sex (not necessarily in that order). They totally promise that they will love each other forever, but there’s still that sexy italian doctor coming around whispering sweet nothings in her ear. Agnes breaks it off with Ernest, but while considering the doctor’s proposal has a change of heart and returns to the States. She makes one final attempt at reconciling with Ernest, but he’s too proud and is like “no, I don’t even like you. Whatever. I’m not crying. YOU’RE CRYING!” and she leaves. Ah, a love story for the ages. The End.

Why?! Well obviously love. Duh. In reality this is a story of two young people who are in pursuit of something that they can’t quite put their finger on. Perhaps it’s adventure, or maybe trying to find a direction in life other than what seems destined (marriage, becoming a doctor, or whatever), but regardless they collide at the worst possible moment for making their love work. He is immature, but sure of their love, and she is mature enough to be cynical about what their love could mean. In the end it explodes and messes them both up. Anyway, I think I wrote more seriously than this film is worth but Ernest Hemingway does seem fascinating despite being a whiny asshole.

What?! It was a strange twist when they revealed that Hemingway had to find an ancient magical relic called the Horn of Venice in order to gain the love of Agnes. JK, lolz. Not much in this one for MacGuffins, Plot Devices, or Product Placements. Really the closest we have is a multitude of endings whereby Hemingway and Agnes keep seeing each other in Italy and America. In reality she broke it off with him and they never saw him ever again. So that’s kind of like a plot device… if deviating from reality is a plot device.

Who?! Dedicated to Henry S. Villard who wrote the book and is portrayed by BMT fave Mackenzie Astin. Why is he a fave? Because he portrayed the main character Dodger in Garbage Pail Kids. We were so inspired that Patrick wrote a whole gritty reboot for the GPKU entitled Dodger that was… disturbing. It’s also fun because Villard in the film is kind of like a Planchet. He’s mostly dismissed and made fun of by Hemingway despite apparently being his good friend.

Where?! Venice, baby! Or at least thereabouts for almost the entire film. We get some really nice shots of the city and it plays a major role in the true(ish) love story of Agnes so indispensable. I gotta give it a solid A-.

When?! WWI, baby! Interestingly there is a pretty incredible dearth of WWI films in modern day. Totally overshadowed by WWII, which gets one or two every year. I guess it’s something like Slender Man vs. Friday the 13th. One has a bad guy you can’t get enough of and they keep pumping them out. The other is just a vague notion that is hard to convey concretely without getting bogged down narratively. Sorry WWI, you the Slender Man of wars. A.

This movie is fine. Makes me want to read some Hemingway and marvel at the fact that this film came out in the mid-90’s pretty much right when these types of films stopped being made. At this point it plays like a TV Movie for the BBC and I let it wash over me as such. The only major critique was that it ended at least five separate times… could have done with the first couple and that’s about it. As for Liz & Dick, I find it amazing that it was written about so extensively online as if it was the worst thing that has ever happened. First of all, ever watch the SyFy network? Second of all, the outcry at Lindsay Lohan’s performance seems totally unwarranted. Sure, I would guess that a film critic might be knowledgeable enough about film history to know that her vaguely transatlantic accent doesn’t actually match Elizabeth Taylor’s accent at all but guess who doesn’t know that? Me. She wasn’t even the worst actor in the movie and she showed off a little by squeezing out some tears here and there. It was fine. We’re fine. BMT’s fine. I SAID IT’S FINE! Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! World War I was a war of attrition with countries attempting to wait out supply lines and ammunition in fortified trenches for years on end. In Love and War attempts to do the same, waiting out my patience for what feels like years on end. Let’s get into it!

The Good – The vistas as usual. The story itself is somewhat interesting. It is almost one of those stories that seems so crazy that it couldn’t be true. A rare World War I film, and even rarer given it covers an aspect of that war that itself it basically never covered, the Italian front against Austria. O’Donnell would be good as a kind-of stunt cast given he embodies youthful naivety perfectly, although it becomes problematic I think in the grand scheme of things. Did I mention the vistas?

P’s View on the Preview – The thing that most critics seemed to cite is the incredibly, almost impossibly, bad chemistry between the leads. What I became somewhat interested in was Richard Attenborough, who beat out Spielberg for Best Director with Gandhi in 1982, acted in Spielberg’s Jurassic Park in 1993, and then directed this film two years prior to Spielberg creating one of the best war films ever in Saving Private Ryan. This is probably considered his worst directorial effort of his career which is notable.

The Bad – A bore. Not only because the war scenes don’t look particularly good or interesting, but because the story itself just kind of meanders around and then ends at least three times before finally closing out. Sandra Bullock is a particular weak spot playing opposite of an appropriately youthful and naive O’Donnell, although neither seem to be very good actors in the end. A waste of what is ultimately a pretty fascinating story.

You Just Got Schooled – To put it mildly there isn’t much to learn about this film without actually reading the book it is based on (whoops, sorry not sorry). Instead I think I’ll look at a little World War I analysis. Using the IMDb keyword there are eight films which qualify for BMT. Of those, only two are actually set on the battlefields of World War I, this and Flyboys starring James Franco. The Ottoman Lieutenant (starring Josh Hartnett) could also qualify, although it was only released to 200 theaters. Of those three In Love and War is actually the highest qualifying World War I film! Box Office Mojo agrees with this analysis, Flyboys and In Love and War are the only bad major releases based in World War I. As a matter of fact, the only other major releases since 1980 in the Box Office Mojo genre are Wonder Woman and War Horse. Which is astonishing. I think this will change soon. Wonder Woman has reignited interest in the genre, as will the upcoming Peter Jackson documentary.

The BMT – I doubt I will even remember this film by the time next week rolls around. It’ll maybe crop up if we ever watch another World War I film though. That is something I suppose. But no, it is very much not BMT material in the end.

Welcome to Earf – Alright, so Chris O’Donnell was in this and Batman & Robin as the titular Robin, which also starred Arnold Schwarzenegger who was in Expendables 3 with Sylvester Stallone, who was in Zookeeper with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was also in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – None. I even tried to look up the worst World War I films, and the one that was put above In Love and War is this guy, which is so small it has less than one thousand votes on IMDb and doesn’t even seem that bad. Given its Rotten Tomatoes rating and the fact that Leonard Maltin gave it a BOMB, it is impressive how under the radar the film is.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we watched the Lifetime Original film Liz and Dick. Staring Lindsay Lohan and … some guy, and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, the film was … a Lifetime Original. As a matter of fact, it seems like it was better than I would have expected from such a film. Lohan is okay, and it is a bit surprising she doesn’t get any work acting anymore, she’s fine for roles like this honestly (which probably means she’s still a pain to deal with). The story is interesting, although the film itself felt like it was four hours long, which is a major downside. I’m going to give this a D+ as a friend. It needs to be done because of Lohan, but it is so unrepresentative of what I want in a Lifetime Original (drama up the wazoo), that I have to punish it severely. It is kind of just a special case which after you watch it you’ll think “yup … that was Lindsay Lohan in a Lifetime Original film … cool.” Not worth it.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

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In Love and War Preview

As Jamie contemplates what to do about The Predator, the creature suddenly looks up and engages its invisibility shield. Damn it, it must has smelled this decaying shark corpse Jamie has been carrying around. Looking around, Jamie spies a skateboard and a backwards baseball cap that must have belonged to a previous victim of the whale and is soon jetting around doing all kinds of ollies and kickflips or whatever. Unfortunately, as is often the case, Jamie is a little too focused on hot dogging and being rad and takes a tumble while attempting a fakie bigspin heelflip. The Predator approaches with laser aimed to kill and Jamie expresses sadness that he was never able to avenge Patrick by killing the Little Old Librarian that brought him to this point. Suddenly The Predator cocks his head in confusion. It speaks some alien language that is translated by the robotics on its wrist. “Did you say Little Old Librarian?” Jamie nods his head yes and the Predator raises his fist in triumph. “The greatest of all prey. Finally I… no, we… shall defeat it,” putting out his hand to pull Jamie to his feet. He blasts a hole in the side of the whale and heaving the decaying corpse of Frang to his should he looks directly into the camera and dramatically says, “Let’s blow this joint. We got a war to fight… bro.” Jamie suddenly has a tingling sensation in his belly and there’s only one thing that could mean: a bromance is a-brewin’. That’s right! This week we are watching In Love and War, that film that everyone remembers and loves starring Chris O’Donnell and Sandra Bullock. It’s based on the true love story of Ernest Hemingway that was the inspiration for a couple of his books. Sounds thrilling. Let’s go!

Hey dummies, expecting a story about Patrick fighting some weird bug or something? Naw, he’s unconscious for this bit. But don’t worry, we are also watching Liz and Dick this week. The Lifetime Original film starring Lindsay Lohan was supposed to be a way for her to slowly reenter the world of acting. Instead everyone just made fun of it and then forgot about it completely. Let’s go!

In Love and War (1996) – BMeTric: 22.3

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(This is something I noticed in previous posts but … Something happened in 2014 with IMDb. I should investigate it honestly. But on exactly January 1, 2014, ratings in general jumped significantly upwards. This is no different. As a matter of fact the rating of the film doesn’t really rise besides that giant 0.3 rating jump on New Years’ Day, 2014. Very much worthy of an investigation I think.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Lumbering catastrophe chronicles Ernest Hemingway’s WWI love affair with Red Cross nurse Agnes von Kurowsky, eight years his senior and the inspiration for the character Catherine Barkley in A Farewell to Arms. Miscast O’Donnell might actually be more credible playing Ernest Borgnine, and the leads have no chemistry. The film leans on what used to be called “scenic values” like a bookie who’s been stiffed.

(“scenic values” …. So, vistas? I think he’s talking about vistas here which is a huge plus for me obviously. Two things. First, the turn of phrase at the end is just bonkers, pump the breaks on that guy Leonard, the bookie ref makes no sense. Second, the casual dropping of Ernest Borgnine, as if I’m supposed to know what that is is ridiculous … I think it is supposed to be a ridiculous suggestion, but it is so far beyond me I just don’t know anymore. This review is astonishing.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVEUGM3Scck

(This is a very old school trailer. If I were to field a guess as to why this film was rejected by critics: It was considered very old fashioned having been directed by a 70-year-old Richard Attenborough, and stars two actors who, I think, are only “good” in very specifically designed roles in Sandra Bullock and Chris O’Donnell. Syrupy sweet nonsense.)

Directors – Richard Attenborough – (Known For: Gandhi; A Bridge Too Far; Chaplin; Cry Freedom; Magic; Shadowlands; Oh! What a Lovely War; Young Winston; Future BMT: Chorus Line; Grey Owl; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Most famous as John Hammond in Jurassic Park I think at this point, although he won the Best Director Oscar for Gandhi, beating out none other than Steven Spielberg for E.T.)

Writers – Henry S. Villard (book) – (BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Became a good friend to Hemingway in Italy during the time the book took place. Joined the US Foreign Service helping to plan the invasion of North Africa in the Second World War, and was the liason to the Free French Forces for the US. Held a multitude of different ambassadorships over the years and lived to the age of 95.)

James Nagel (book) – (BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Co-author to the original book, although I couldn’t find much more about him. Mainlys seems to have produced collections of short stories.)

Allan Scott (screen story & screenplay) – (Known For: The Witches; Don’t Look Now; D.A.R.Y.L.; The Preacher’s Wife; Castaway; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Took over the chairmanship and chief executive position of Macallan-Glenlivet in the late 70s and ran the company until 1996 at which point its market cap had increased 200 fold during his tenure.)

Dimitri Villard (screen story) – (Future BMT: Once Bitten; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Given he founded Jet Set Records, apparently one of the more successful rhythm & blues labels of the era, and established one of the earliest pay television channels in California, he seems to have made movies once becoming rather wealthy. Mostly worked in the 80s, with this film being one of the rare exceptions.)

Clancy Sigal (screenplay) – (Known For: Frida; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Was blacklisted in the 1950s and ended up moving to the UK to work there for decades.)

Anna Hamilton Phelan (screenplay) – (Known For: Girl, Interrupted; Mask; Gorillas in the Mist; Future BMT: Amelia; BMT: In Love and War; Notes: Wrote Mask while at Emerson. Ultimately moved to New York City to try acting while continuing to write screenplays, Mask was her only credited acting film role.)

Actors – Sandra Bullock – (Known For: Ocean’s Eight; Gravity; The Proposal; Crash; A Time to Kill; Two Weeks Notice; Speed; Minions; The Heat; The Prince of Egypt; Miss Congeniality; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; While You Were Sleeping; Forces of Nature; The Vanishing; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood; The Thing Called Love; Infamous; Wrestling Ernest Hemingway; Future BMT: Premonition; Love Potion No. 9; The Net; Stolen Hearts; Hope Floats; 28 Days; Murder by Numbers; Gun Shy; Practical Magic; Our Brand Is Crisis; Loverboy; BMT:Speed 2: Cruise Control; All About Steve; Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous; In Love and War; Demolition Man; The Lake House; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress, Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for All About Steve in 2010; Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Speed 2: Cruise Control in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Demolition Man in 1994; Notes: Just sold her LA home for around $3 million. Won the Best Actress award in 2010 for The Blind Side.)

Chris O’Donnell – (Known For: Scent of a Woman; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; School Ties; Vertical Limit; Kinsey; Blue Sky; Circle of Friends; A Little Help; Kit Kittredge: An American Girl; Cookie’s Fortune; Men Don’t Leave; Future BMT: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore; The Bachelor; Mad Love; 29 Palms; The Three Musketeers; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Max Payne; The Chamber; In Love and War; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Three Musketeers in 1994; Notes: Somehow has probably become most famous as a television star having been in over 200 episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles.)

Mackenzie Astin – (Known For: Wyatt Earp; The Last Days of Disco; Iron Will; Moments of Clarity; Dream for an Insomniac; Future BMT: How to Deal; The Evening Star; The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human; BMT: The Garbage Pail Kids Movie; In Love and War; Notes: Younger brother to Sean Astin of Rudy and Lord of the Rings fame.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $14,481,231 (Worldwide: $25,372,294)

(I think any way you cut this this wasn’t a huge film. Especially given the note reporting Bullock’s salary as $11 million. That alone suggests this was a pretty big bomb.)

#88 for the Romantic Drama genre

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(This might as well be called Fifty Shades Genre. I have no idea why it died in the early 2000s, but the genre is back and kicking ass again. Midnight Sun is an intriguing one from this year as well.)

#5 for the War – World War I genre

(These films kind of inexplicable come in waves. This is the first bad World War I film we’ve watched. And in general, especially with Wonder Woman just having come out, World War I is having a moment.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (3/27): No consensus yet.

(I’ll make a consensus: At its best with stunning still shots and musical score, but lacking in excitement and acting. Somewhat expected from a lightweight romantic drama unfortunately. Reviewer Highlight: Boring and artificial – Jon Niccum, Lawrence Journal-World)

Poster – In Love and Sklog (C-)

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(Surprising that such a poster would make it to the final copy. Just a screenshot from the film with some lame font text over it. Whatever. Not offensive really, but far from good.)

Tagline(s) – In war they found each other…In each other they found love… (B)

(A little long but I’m picking up what they’re putting down. I’m just a little worried that I think this is original because I haven’t seen taglines exactly like it before… when in reality there are a bunch of taglines out there just like it. If there are I can’t find them.)

Keyword(s) – driver; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.0 The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005); 63.4 Cosmopolis (2012); 56.3 The Transporter Refueled (2015); 50.8 Precious Cargo (2016); 45.8 Johnny Mnemonic (1995); 45.1 Darkness (2002); 41.7 Kaal (2005); 39.6 Would You Rather (2012); 38.4 Overdrive (2017); 36.2 Cannonball Fever (1989);

(Driver? Well I’m excited to eventually watch Cannonball Fever, that should be a complete shitshow of a film with some of my favorite comedic actors of the time at least.)

Notes – This movie’s closing epilogue states: “Agnes von Kurowsky’s long and distinguished career with the American Red Cross continued until the end of World War II. She remained unmarried until she was 36 and lived to be 92. Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1954. One of his great novels, A FAREWELL TO ARMS, was inspired by his experiences in Italy during World War One. He married four times and took his own life in 1961.” (Good to have it written out I guess…)

Several scenes were filmed in or near the Italian village Vittorio Veneto, including the battle scenes. Many of the extras playing the soldiers in the movie were airmen from nearby Aviano Air Base that volunteered to star in the movie.

Sandra Bullock researched her role of Agnes Von Kurowsky by reading her dairies that she kept during the war and reading the love letters between her and Ernest Hemingway.

Agnes Von Kurowsky was the inspiration for the character Catherine Barkley in a Farwell To Arms. (Makes sense)

In real life Agnes Von Kurowsky and Ernst Hemingway never saw each other again after the war. (Fun fact?)

Sandra Bullock was paid $11 million for her role in the film. (That seems … why does that seem unlikely? I guess they wanted the sweet Speed bump)

This film’s opening prologue states: “This film is based on a true story . . . NORTHERN ITALY 1918. Here, during the final year of World War One, Italy was defending itself alone against a massive Austrian invasion. America was one of Italy’s allies but the US Army was already fully committed in France. So President Wilson sent in teams of Red Cross doctors and nurses to boost Italian morale and help care for the wounded. Young men across America responded to the President’s call for further volunteers to drive red Cross ambulances and work in the front line canteens.”

The film takes place from July 1918 to June 1919.

Henry Villard’s own son was the driving force behind getting the film made.

Crossroads Recap

Jamie

It’s Britney, bitch. A bunch of estranged BFFs embark on a cross-country road trip when they each find that they are unsatisfied with their life in a different way. Can they see all of their dreams regarding their mother/fiance/singing career go up in smoke and still find that friendship is forever (and maybe also get the guy)? Find out in… Crossroads.

How?! Britney Spears is a high school senior that has drifted away from her childhood friends. When she and those friends realize how far they have strayed from their childhood dreams they set out on a road trip in hopes of finding what each covet. Girl genius Britney Spears wants to meet her mom before heading to college, stuck-up Kit wants to see her fiance at UCLA, and pregnant Mimi wants to see the world and try her hand at getting a record deal before having her baby. As they journey across the country they find that they’ve been missing their friendship the whole time (aww). They also find that Britney Spears got some serious pipes and stage presence when she wins them a boatload of cash in a big New Orleans karaoke competition. When Britney Spears finally gets to her mom’s house she learns that her mom doesn’t want to see her and considers her a mistake. Finding solace in the company of her friends they continue on to LA where Kit figures out that her fiance is actually the father of Mimi’s child from when he raped her (woah!). Mimi then runs away only to fall down the stairs resulting in a miscarriage (holy shit! I thought this was a lighthearted tale of friendship and discovery!). Despite all this they decide they have to give that singing competition one shot and of course Britney Spears blows away the competition and wins the hearts and minds of America. THE END.

Why?! At the beginning for the film Britney Spears, Kit, and Mimi all find themselves at a spot in their lives where they need something. While Mimi obviously feels like she needs to see the world before having a baby, Britney Spears and Kit just feel like something is missing even when from the outside it would seem that their lives are great. The roadtrip is meant to work out those feeling… which is actually quite successful seeing as Kit was engaged a rapist before the roadtrip and is not engaged a rapist after the roadtrip. Mission accomplished.

What?! In some ways this whole movie is an advertisement for delicious Pepsi products which clearly give Britney her song powers. There is also the mysterious “blue beer bottle” that is the crux of the dramatic conclusion to the film, but it’s obviously fictional. It would have been great if it was a real beer where they were like, “so what’s our spot in the film going to be?” “Oh, uh… the rapist enjoys drinking your beer and the fact that he’s drinking it is how he is ultimately discovered and leads to the miscarriage of a baby.” “… we’re not paying for that.”

Who?! Not sure this had anyone of significance… other than the biggest superstar of our generation, duh. It’s Britney, bitch! Classic musician-turned-actress. She’s joined by her younger sister Jamie Lynn Spears who portrays a younger version of Britney. Throw in the band Bowling for Soup that makes a cameo playing at the postgraduation party and we got a veritable murderer’s row of musical talent sprinkled into this masterpiece.

Where?! Road Trip alert! This could almost be its own little challenge as we map out BMT road trip movies by the locations that they explicitly hit. This was pretty clear as they start in Georgia, head into Alabama, skip MS because fuck ‘em, spend a long time in New Orleans where they become karaoke superstars (welcome to the club), head into Texas, stop in Arizona, before finishing in sunny Los Angeles. I give it a B+ as it’s as good as you can get without putting down stakes in a single location.

When?! Finally an exact date. We get a brief glimpse of the flier for the singing competition Britney and her friends participate in. While I was not enjoying Crossroads in 4K UltraHD (I wish), I still am pretty sure it said that the competition was taking place on June 16th, which makes sense with the film opening on their high school graduation.

This movie is like a rollercoaster ride (if rollercoasters mostly headed downwards). When it started I was like “Yo, Britney Spears can act, bro… She’s Britney, bitch.” She has a scene at the beginning of the film where she is supposed to be upset because she’s had her whole life pass her by in pursuit of a dream she realizes she never wanted in the first place. That’s pretty emotionally complex. It’s not like “Imagine your dog died” crying. This is like “you’re crying but you’re also confused and you don’t want to upset your dad.” And, spoiler alert, she pulled it off! Add on top of that a scene with Justin Long that is the only funny part in the entire film and I was thinking I might actually somehow be digging Crossroads starring Britney, bitch. Then it started a slow and steady descent downwards until it hit an ending that is so ludicrous and bad that I remembered that Crossroads was a really bad movie. Also Britney Spears can’t sing, which is a tough look. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Not a sklooooooooooog, not yet an … older skloooooooooog. Britney’s back jack, with a whole gang of ladies ready to sing and dance and travel across the country. What could go wrong? Let’s get into it!

The Good – Actually a pretty good road trip film. Got friends learning to love again, and you visit like … four goddamn states. Britney and Zoe Saldana are decent actors. They don’t pull any punches with the drama concerning the mother’s storyline. All in all, kind of surprising. Not a good film, but it has a lot more good elements than you would expect.

P’s View on the Preview – The most interesting thing in this preview was, oddly, that all of a sudden the bottom IMDb list looks … normal. So, here it is two years ago. The bottom film on that page has a rating of 2.8, which is … quite low. Here it is now. What the F-ing F?!?! NOTE! Nothing on that page has changed, not even the purported threshold of 1500 votes. That bottom title is even lower and has over 1500 votes. Suspicious, but also I think ultimately a good thing. For the record it changed at some point between July 8th and July 14th according to the Internet Archive, so good on me to noticing it I suppose. I do not think the method to the madness will be able to be discerned unfortunately.

The Bad – Most of the acting is terrible. The singing is universally terrible. The film feels … exploitative (see my rant). It possibly has the worst twist in cinematic history. Seriously, I don’t even want to say what it is … except Jamie already did, but Kit’s fiance raped her friend and they solve the mystery based on the beer he is drinking?! Get the F outta here! The most ridiculous thing is that it is pretty clear Anson Mount is supposed to be in his 20s and macking on just-18 Britney Spears … its gross. Give me Monte Carlo any day … even though I kind of love this film.

Get Yo Rant On – The film opens with Britney Spears (a 20 year old Britney Spears) dancing in her underwear. We soon see her, again, in her underwear with Justin Long. Later she does a sexy dance karaoke scene to get money. It feel exploitative. It feels like people trying to capitalize on Britney Spears in a kind of gross way. I don’t really need to say more, it isn’t really my place to be outraged by this, but it still felt gross in a way only having watched this when I was like … 17 and then again at 30 managed to do. I didn’t like it. End rant.

The BMT – Unlike a few of the previous films (Anaconda in particular) I think having watched this before helped immensely on the rewatch. I would gladly watch this film with other people to make fun of the terrible twist and terrible singing. And I think it can stand proudly with the disturbing number of films we’ve seen starring pop icons.

Welcome to Earf – Let’s see. Dan Aykroyd is in Crossroads and Nothing But Trouble with Demi Moore who is in Striptease with Burt Reynolds who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – Mentioned in passing in this Rolling Stones article. A lot of small blogs mention it with the same tired joke (“Not a singer, not yet an actress” is the gist of it). It has the cred, I know it because of the IMDb bottom 100, it just barely seems to predate popular bad movie lists coming out online.

No homework (unless you count the number of times I saw this film as a child), so I’ll just leave it there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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

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

alexandemma_romanticcomedy

(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).