Oh man, so get this. I was pretending to be a supermodel (natch, I’m hot AF), but I tripped on my super high heels and fell … head over heels, and bopped my head on the catwalk. Now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in Head Over Heels?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) In the beginning our hero Amanda is looking for a place to live. Why?
2) Our hero also works at The Met restoring art. And her boss has a huuuuuge job for her. What does he want her to do?
3) We’re getting a meet cute up in here. How do Jim and Amanda meet? What does Jim do?
4) Amanda thinks she sees her new almost-boyfriend, Jim, kill a woman. What was he actually doing?
5) What plot does Jim and Amanda discover the bad guys were up to in the end?
Bonus Question: So, what happens to all of the supermodels after Jim and Amanda go off to live their wonderful lives together?
Jamie and Patrick quake in fear as they prepare to face the devil himself on the other side of the door to their apartment. They should have anticipated this problem. With the power that the Dongle possesses, no wonder even the devil wants to get his claws on it. Jamie swings the door wide and Patrick leaps forth with a silver cross in one hand and spraying holy water with the other. Hardscrabble reporter Lindsey Appleton sputters, drenched in holy water. “What the hell, guys? My pants suit is ruined. And here I was bringing you a six pack of delicious Coca-Cola to jazz up another night of protecting the Dongle!” Kyle quickly enters with an apology and shakes his head sadly as he escorts Lindsey and the delicious Coca-Cola to the other room. Jamie is aghast. “Delicious Coca-Cola, Patrick? Soft pretzels? Kyle is having the time of his life at our expense because you simply can’t accept that the Dongle is safe even for a moment.” Patrick stares at the cityscape spread out in front of him. Perhaps they were right. Perhaps he just needed to relax about the whole Dongle business and get back to living his life. “I’m sorry, Jamie. We may not have delicious Coca-Cola or soft pretzels at our fingertips, but we always have this,” and with that he holds up their well worn Here on Earth DVD. Jamie smiles and breaks out the popping corn. But before those kernels can get a-poppin’, Kyle reappears. Blushing, he asks them to apologize to Lindsey and invite her back. “It’s just that… tonight was gonna be a big night for me and Rachel. I’m talking L-O-V-E and I need some advice.” Jamie and Patrick nod and sit him down in front of HoE just in time. That’s right! It’s not HoE (unfortunately) but it’s a Freddie Prinze Jr. joint, so nothing to sniff at. It’s the 20 year anniversary of the release of Head Over Heels… you know, the one where Freddie Prinze Jr. smirks and is a really good guy even though he looks like he should be a really terrible guy? Yeah, that one. Let’s go!
Head Over Heels (2001) – BMeTric: 40.1; Notability: 38
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 14.8%; Notability: top 19.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 5.0%; Higher BMeT: Glitter, Jason X, Freddy Got Fingered, Driven, The Animal, Ghosts of Mars, Black Knight, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, Soul Survivors, Valentine, Monkeybone, Corky Romano, Scary Movie 2, The Musketeer, The Wedding Planner, Bones, Say It Isn’t So, The Order, Summer Catch, The Wash, and 17 more; Higher Notability: Pearl Harbor, Monkeybone, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Hannibal, Impostor, Ghosts of Mars, Not Another Teen Movie, Bubble Boy, Swordfish, 15 Minutes, Town & Country, The One, Scary Movie 2, The Affair of the Necklace, I Am Sam, America’s Sweethearts, Along Came a Spider, Perfume, Joe Dirt, The Animal, and 29 more; Lower RT: The Order, Texas Rangers, Soul Survivors, Glitter, All the Queen’s Men, Corky Romano, The Forsaken, Summer Catch, The Wash, Out Cold, Say It Isn’t So, Megiddo: The Omega Code 2; Notes: Man, we have a ton of really bad 2001 films left don’t we. Mid-5.0 on IMDb is pretty high, much higher than I would have expected for this.
RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – “Head Over Heels” opens with 15 funny minutes and then goes dead in the water. It’s like they sent home the first team of screenwriters and brought in Beavis and Butt-Head. The movie starts out with sharp wit and edgy zingers, switches them off and turns to bathroom humor. And not funny bathroom humor, but painfully phony gas-passing noises, followed by a plumbing emergency that buries three supermodels in a putrid delivery from where the sun don’t shine. It’s as if the production was a fight to the death between bright people with a sense of humor, and cretins who think the audience is as stupid as they are. …It isn’t funny when innocent bystanders are humiliated. It’s funny when they humiliate themselves. For example, “Head Over Heels” would be funny if it were about the people making this movie.
(Huh, that is a lot different than I expected. A solid first 15 minutes? Bathroom humor? None of the trailer really suggests this at all. Very interesting.)
(Wow, a very brief Olyphant cameo. The story seems insane. So I assume the story is one of two things. First, he’s a secret agent or cop or something and that is why he is “murdering” people. Second, it is a mafia story basically, and he’s trying to extract himself from that world and having difficulties. I’m on tenterhooks as to which it is.)
Directors – Mark Waters – ( Known For: Mean Girls; He’s All That; The Spiderwick Chronicles; Freaky Friday; Just Like Heaven; Mr. Popper’s Penguins; Magic Camp; The House of Yes; Future BMT: Bad Santa 2; BMT: Vampire Academy; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Head Over Heels; Notes: Married to actress Dina Spybey-Waters and the brother of writer Daniel Waters. I’ll say it again: give these three a chance to write/direct/star in a film. I want to see it!)
Writers – John J. Strauss – ( Known For: The Santa Clause 2; There’s Something About Mary; The Lizzie McGuire Movie; Future BMT: The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause; Free Birds; The Wild; Rebound; BMT: Head Over Heels; Notes: Produced a lot of television these days, including Mozart in the Jungle. Writing a Chinese film called Noodles at the moment.)
Ed Decter – ( Known For: The Santa Clause 2; There’s Something About Mary; The Lizzie McGuire Movie; Future BMT: The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause; The Wild; Rebound; BMT: Head Over Heels; Notes: Most recently created the show Shadowhunters. Also was the director for The New Guy.)
David Kidd and Ron Burch – ( Known For: Ferdinand; Future BMT: Yours, Mine & Ours; BMT: Head Over Heels; Notes: Nominated for an Emmy for Best Original Song for The Closer starring Tom Selleck. The song was called You Don’t Know Jack. They also wrote the Dinotrux television show.)
Actors – Monica Potter – ( Known For: Con Air; Saw; The Last House on the Left; Without Limits; I’m with Lucy; Lower Learning; A Cool, Dry Place; The Very Thought of You; Heaven or Vegas; Future BMT: Patch Adams; Bulletproof; BMT: Along Came a Spider; Head Over Heels; Notes: It is claimed that her father invented the first flame-resistant car wax. She’s from Cleveland, and now mostly does television like Wisdom of the Crowd.)
Freddie Prinze Jr. – ( Known For: Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker; She’s All That; The House of Yes; Brooklyn Rules; Jack and Jill vs. the World; The Reef; New York City Serenade; Future BMT: Scooby-Doo; Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed; Boys and Girls; Happily N’Ever After; Delgo; To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday; BMT: I Know What You Did Last Summer; I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Summer Catch; Down to You; Head Over Heels; Wing Commander; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Scooby-Doo in 2003; Notes: Does a ton of voice work these days (including as Kanan Jarrus in Star Wars which is why he’s credited in the ninth film). You of course know him as the best friend of Matthew Lillard.)
Shalom Harlow – ( Known For: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days; Kate & Leopold; In & Out; The Salton Sea; Game 6; Melinda and Melinda; I Love Your Work; Happy Here and Now; BMT: Vanilla Sky; Head Over Heels; Notes: Apparently a huge model, she was worth about $10 million in 1998.)
(Woof. And not just because they give Freddie’s doggie a outsized place on the poster. This is ahead of its time in that it mimics what would become the classic Diane Keaton style of poster. The poster separated into strips of space, no consistent color scheme, and bad font. The Full Keaton. D)
Tagline(s) – Four supermodel roommates. One regular girl. The guy next door doesn’t stand a chance. (D)
Unleash your inner model. (C)
(That second one is really digging deep for a movie that theoretically no one would have seen when they first read the tagline. It’s wordplay on the relatively minor detail about Freddie Prinze Jr. having a large dog that he can’t control. I kinda love it for how nonsensical it is. The first one is somehow worse just for length and the fact that it is not clever in the least.)
Top 10: After (2019), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), Anna (2019), Pitch Perfect (2012), La La Land (2016), School of Rock (2003), I, Tonya (2017), Pretty Woman (1990), The Terminator (1984)
Future BMT: 71.2 Supergirl (1984), 54.3 The Green Inferno (2013), 51.9 Loser (2000), 50.7 Abandon (2002), 47.8 The Wash (2001), 46.4 On the Line (2001), 45.7 Monster-in-Law (2005), 44.4 Boys and Girls (2000), 43.6 Life of the Party (2018), 37.4 If Lucy Fell (1996)
BMT: After (2019), Police Academy (1984), Burlesque (2010), Vampire Academy (2014), The Sweetest Thing (2002), Urban Legend (1998), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), Failure to Launch (2006), Little Nicky (2000), Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), Made of Honor (2008), Fifty Shades of Black (2016), The Prince and Me (2004), Table 19 (2017), Chairman of the Board (1997), Head Over Heels (2001)
Matches: La La Land (2016), Rent (2005), Shaun of the Dead (2004), Girl, Interrupted (1999), Spenser Confidential (2020), Big Daddy (1999), Three Men and a Baby (1987), Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008), Tootsie (1982), Grandma’s Boy (2006), Single White Female (1992), The Sweetest Thing (2002), Class (1983), Everybody Wants Some!! (2016), Failure to Launch (2006), Reign Over Me (2007), Life of the Party (2018), Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006), Fifty Shades of Black (2016), Starry Eyes (2014), A Million Little Pieces (2018), Prozac Nation (2001), Loser (2000), Going the Distance (2010), Loverboy (1989), Poison Ivy II (1996), Someone Like You (2001), The Wash (2001), Annapolis (2006), Premium Rush (2012), Dead Man on Campus (1998), Jenny’s Wedding (2015), Smiley Face (2007), Chairman of the Board (1997), The Guilty (2000), Kaboom (2010), Head Over Heels (2001), For a Good Time, Call… (2012), … and more
(There weren’t any good keywords from the plot it seemed. I went with this. I’m excited for Monster-in-Law mostly I think. The exact match with Rent is fun.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Freddie Prinze Jr. is No. 2 billed in Head Over Heels and No. 1 billed in Wing Commander, which also stars Matthew Lillard (No. 3 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 6 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (2 + 1) + (3 + 6) + (3 + 1) = 16. If we were to watch Patch Adams, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.
Notes – Amanda’s character has symptoms of Stendhal Syndrome, a condition where seeing a beautiful piece of art or something particularly pleasing to the eye can cause symptoms including dizziness and fainting.
Shalom Harlow has said that she used to live in an environment much like the one Jade, Roxanna, Candi, Holly, and Amanda live in.
Claire Danes was originally set to play the lead role of Amanda Pierce, but dropped out at the last moment. Monica Potter, who’d already been signed on for a smaller role, was moved into Amanda’s part as a result.
Freddie Prinze Jr. was the 1st choice for the role of Jim Winston, with it written for him.
Shalom Harlow, Sarah O’Hare and Tomiko Fraser were real-life models, before getting cast in this film.
Mark Waters used classic films such as “The Philadelphia Story” and “His Girl Friday” as templates for the story.
The film was shot in Vancouver and New York, with the former serving as the substitute for famous New York landmarks such as Stanley Park for Central Park, and their aquarium which had rare Beluga whales.
Dr. Sarah Taylor is a psychologist extraordinaire. When a new mystery man comes into her life at the same time that she becomes the victim of a mystery tormentor’s psychotic games, she starts to suspect they may be one and the same. Can she stop her tormentor (or does she even want to?) before it’s too late? Find out in… Never Talk to Strangers.
How?! Dr. Sarah Taylor specializes in Multiple Personality Disorder (but I’m sure that’ll have no bearing on the plot). She explains how it’s characterized by bouts of amnesia and I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that she also seems to be forgetting a lot… … … Anyway, she’s still reeling from a broken engagement which leaves no room for a relationship with her friendly neighbor or even getting back in touch with her estranged father (hmmmm, isn’t childhood trauma also a sign of MPD? I’m sure that’s not relevant). One day she meets a mysterious sexy guy, Tony, at the grocery store who is mysteriously sexy. They begin a steamy relationship, but something seems off. Not only is he a little volatile, but shortly after starting the relationship terrible things begin to happen to Sarah. First she is sent a bunch of rotting trash as a gift (ok fine) and then her cat is killed and sent to her in a box (well that escalated). At that point she decides to hire a private detective to figure out what his deal is (besides being totally steamy and hot). The detective follows Tony around New York where he reports that it appears that he has another family. Deciding to confront him she gets into his apartment when he’s away and discovers that he has a dossier on her (what a creep!). When she heads back to her apartment she ends up nearly getting killed when a rickety heater falls into the tub she was in. At that point when Tony shows up at her apartment she fears for her life, but he tells her that it’s all twisted. He was hired to investigate her in the disappearance of her former fiance. That in fact it was her all along (WHAT A TWIST!). She has MPD (who could have seen that coming?) due to her childhood trauma inflicted by her pedophile father. Just then her father shows up and Sarah goes into her MPD mode and totally kills both Tony and her father. She then gets away with it because she has MPD and does even remember. THE END.
Why?! Huh, I guess I didn’t think of this at the time. Why… why… WHY??? I mean Tony has a purpose. He was hired by Sarah’s former fiance’s family in order to determine whether she was responsible for his disappearance. Sarah… she just forgets stuff. So I guess she mostly want to live a normal life. Her alter ego is filled with murderous rage. Simple as that.
Who?! It’s hard to say that Dennis Miller is anything but an actor. Claiming he’s like a comic-turned-actor would cover a very large portion of comic actors. BUT… there was this moment in the mid-2000s where Dennis Miller wasn’t just trying to make comedies, he was showing up in numerous thrillers between 1994-1997. Look at this lineup: Disclosure, The Net, Never Talk to Strangers, and Murder at 1600. Wild.
What?! The only thing that really stands out to me is how prominently Dennis Miller displays the bottle of Stoli that represent clue #2 of a million that De Mornay has Multiple Personality Disorder and is in fact the killer. Besides that there is a startling number of autographed photos for sale from this film that no one remembers… some costing over $100!
Where?! In my secret lair where I have all my BMT research there would be a large map hanging with little pins in it for all places that are confirmed settings in BMT films. There would be one little lonesome pin sticking out of Syracuse, NY. That’s Never Talk to Strangers. We see the location listed on Dr. Taylor’s business card. Why Syracuse, NY? No idea. B+.
When?! Secret Holiday Film Alert. From the jump we get Xmas light galore and De Mornay hesitant to invite her abusive father to Christmas dinner (no matter how much of a sad sack he’s become). Interestingly, even by the end of the film it still hasn’t actually reached Christmas Day. So she apparently met, dated, slept with, hired a private detective to follow, and killed Banderas all between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Busy lady. A.
I LOVED THIS MOVIE (in a very BMT way). It kinda has everything we’re looking for. It’s a “very serious” movie made by “very serious” people about “very serious” things, but clearly the studio didn’t like where things were heading with it and turned what was likely a three hour erotic melodrama into an 86 minute fiasco. I harp on the length only because you start the movie and within 10 minutes not only does De Mornay explain what Multiple Personality Disorder is and its association with bouts of amnesia, but then we are treated to her very noticeably forgetting things about her own life… almost as if she herself has amnesia, bum bum bum. It’s impossible for someone to watch this movie and not immediately conclude that De Mornay is the murderer herself. That is unless maybe they were distracted by the warp speed editing that chops everything to pieces. It’s just the best. Add in some truly… uh… interesting sex scenes with Banderas and it really is an unexpected treat. This is basically what I want out of my erotic thrillers. Some erotic thrills (of course) combined with the inevitable need for a twist resulting in some real dumb stuff to laugh at. As for Cover Me, I was surprised to find a competently made thriller within this Skinemax schlock. Color me schlocked (thank you). If you took out the excessive number of sex scenes (leave the library sex scene in, please… what can I say, I’m a fan of libraries) you’d almost think it was a normal film with subpar actors. Oh, I guess minus the sexist undertones inherent to the genre, of course. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We got murderers! We got Multiple Personality Disorders! We got the beautiful skyline of Toront… er, (checks notes) Syracuse, NY?! Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – It is a rare thing that I roll up to a film basically knowing nothing about it. I was even skeptical that it was a true erotic thriller … because surely I would have known about it in that case, surely it must be just a regular old Ashley-Judd-esque thriller. But nope, it is, indeed, a true erotic thriller. We might now actually be done with them as far as theatrical releases. What were my expectations? To be bored. Why else would this film be so thoroughly panned and so thoroughly forgotten?
The Good – The movie looks great, but feels like a low-key ABC detective/psychologist procedural at times (if you cut out the nudity). I don’t know what it is, but everything feels so extremely bizarre that it could only have existed on television at 10PM on Fridays on ABC. Honestly, that’s a good thing. I like those types of shows, and it ended up being a nice relaxing watch (between sex scenes). Banderas and De Mornay both were great as well I thought. The film had a lot going for it under the hood. Best Bit: De Mornay in the end.
The Bad – The film is chopped to pieces and they telegraph the twist ending so early that the entire film deflates in front of you. All of the good work Banderas puts in to seems like a sleazy creep is all for nought because one could not possibly think he’s the murderer … because De Morney is obviously the murderer. The whole thing runs off kilter because the twist is so obvious. Watch the trailer … they are obviously setting it up for Banderas being the prime suspect. Look at the poster! But then watch the movie and realize that for not one single moment do you think he’s the murderer … because De Mornay is. They’ve already told you this. Baffling. But entertainingly so. It is like watching a Hannibal Lecter film where he’s the main character, but he’s like “My god, who could be eating all of these people?! Maybe this creep over here.” And then at the end they just go “It was Lecter all along!” and you, dumbstruck, stare at the screen thinking “wait … was I not supposed to think that the entire time?” Fatal flaw: I mean … the non-twist. I can’t stop thinking about it!
The BMT – This might be the best worst twist in film history? There are crazy bad twists (like in The Call) that ruin films because, for whatever reason, something producers feel the need for some big “thing” to happen at the end of the film. But this is definitely intended as a twist, but is such a not-twist that it makes you wonder if you are the stupid one for watching the movie with the obvious twist in mind. For real … did I watch the movie wrong? Did it meet my expectations? Usually BMT films merely do meet my expectations. This so far exceeded them that it is blowing my mind. I don’t get it. I still don’t get it. I will never get it. Be right back, I need to watch Never Talk to Strangers again.
Roast-radamus – Maybe the best Product Placement (What?) since (checks notes) Certs in Terminal Velocity, with the main character nervously applying Chapstick throughout the film. Also a truly incredible Setting as a Character (Where?) for Syracuse, NY for whatever reason (although it is clearly filmed in Toronto). And simultaneously the best and Worst Twist (How?) for the “reveal” that Sarah was the baddie all along (wait … were we supposed to not know that from the jump?). And incredibly BMT in the end, against all odds.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – The most interesting idea is probably a television Remake. Much like Hannibal you frame it as Sarah is a criminal psychologist who specializes in Multiple Personality Disorder. But what she doesn’t realize is that she herself has MPD, and that there are three different Sarahs. There is the diligent psychologist trying to deduce the trauma and diagnose the disorders for the criminally insane. There is a protector, who herself applies pressure to get information (and is Sarah’s unknown source of investigative information) and protects Sarah from those who mean her harm. And there is a third which is a homemaker with a family, oblivious to the other two. The reveal of the third personality occurs at the end of the first season. At the end of the second season the protector fakes the third personality’s death to get her husband off of their trail. And in the series finale, it all comes crashing down as the husband (trying to determine who murdered his wife) finds out it was his wife all along! Same ending to the sequel in the quiz, slow zoom out from the asylum where Sarah is getting treatment after her diagnosis is revealed. Never Talk to Strangers would still be the name, although it makes less sense given the description. A little bit of a stretch, but you’d have to say that the “strangers” are the other personalities hidden within or something.
Bring a Friend Analysis – Oh boy. As a friend this time we brought along a genuine Playboy feature film! Cover Me seems to be the first in a series of films made by Playboy in the mid-90s. We chose it mostly because there is, somehow, an FMV adventure game called Blue Heat which was produced concurrently to the film itself (which is insane). But I’ll talk about the game in a second (oh yeah, we played it). The movie is … almost competent? It is pretty wild. If I were to describe the quality it would be straight-to-syndication pilot episode which was ultimately passed on (e.g. K-9000). If not for the need to stop every ten or so minutes for a softcore sex scene the film itself would be okay, although it is certainly offensive from a cross-dressing / transgender perspective 25 years later. Maybe the most bizarre choice is to have the main character (who you mostly see nude for photo shoots and undercover in a strip club) in a monogamous relationship with another detective … it certainly seemed to tie their hands a bit as they danced around the fact that we saw four sex scenes between those two characters. Also crazy that it stars Paul Sorvino, Cerbin Bernsen, and Elliot Gould. The 90s were certainly a wild time, it must have cost a mint for the cast alone (relatively speaking). B+. I like the concept of the film more than actually watching it. It is saved by the (also amazingly competent) video game tie-in, otherwise there is little reason to watch it. Watching it back-to-back with playing the game though is a trip and tells you everything you need to know about the 90s.
You Just Got Schooled – Oh yeah, you didn’t think I was going to not review the game itself, Blue Heat: The Case of the Cover Girl Murders. Firstly, finding and running this game is hilarious. It is only kind of available as an iso rip from the original (4!) CDs, and then it only runs on Windows 3 or (early versions of) 95. I got a Windows 95 emulation up and running. A few tips, make sure you go with an early version of the Pentium (I used Pentium 75), I tried it with a later MMX version and it seemed to cause the videos to stutter. Also you need a graphics card that supports 256 colors, otherwise it will just throw an error during install (I went with Trident TGUI9440). Overall surprisingly painless if you follow this 1997 tutorial for PCem, although you do have to somewhat trust a few downloads (I don’t think I have a weird computer virus …). The actual game? Shockingly long and shockingly competent. It is Full Motion Video and I think made with HyperCard (which is what Myst was made in), and is a very weird game, and not just because of the nudity. It is a long investigation which is totally different from the movie, with very little in the way of knowing what is going on and why. The dialogue system can cut you off if you do something wrong, and they overwhelm the player with a huge number of “pieces of evidence”. The game is both an incredible example of how to make an open-ended criminal investigation adventure game and an unmitigated disaster … wait, that’s kind of like Police Quest! What a revelation. A+ tie-in, but as a game it is more like a straight C, surprisingly good, but still not good.
Oh man, so there I was losing time, finding people killed, the usual. But then I thought “huh … do I have multiple personality disorder?” … Naw. But I do indeed not remember anything. Do you remember what happened in Never Talk to Strangers?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) Sarah Taylor is a psychologist studying criminal Max to determine if he is fit for trial. What is Max accused of, and what is her initial diagnosis?
2) Later on she meets Tony Ramerez. Where does she meet him, where does he claim he comes from, and why does he claim he’s talking to her?
3) Her family seems to be a bit of a mess as well. Her father Henry shows up, but is unwelcome. What does he do for a living? And her mother was killed when she was a child, how does she say?
4) Throughout the film Sarah receives several disturbing gifts and notes. Name them. And who are they from?
5) From there we start to see flashbacks to an event in her past. What event?
Bonus Question: Ultimately how does the murderous Sarah get caught?
As Clutch Guthrie shoots through the exhaust pipe and into Fort Knox he can’t help but think that this is pretty rad, even for him. The pipe soon turns into a luge and he is slipping and sliding his way to a gold medal when he tumbles out and into a room full of gold. But, wait… he’s not alone. In the middle of the vault is a small man dressed in a robe. “What thuuuuu…” he says and the man turns around, startled by his presence. But it isn’t a man at all. It’s a smoking hot woman! “Hey lady, I don’t know what you are thinking, but I need this gold to free the Vice President of the United States. First in line for succession. Ever heard of him?” Clutch says, grabbing for a bar of gold. “Well not all that glitters is gold and not all that’s gold is yours, bub,” she says, “And besides, I need it for something far more important: to save the whole goddamn world.” Clutch squints and asks her to explain. A mastermind who goes by the moniker Wishmaster has created a doomsday device. It’s powered by gold and he’s coming this way to get all the fuel he needs to (bum bum bum) melt the polar ice caps. “So you see, back off, bub.” Clutch shakes his head at the tall tale, “ I knew I should have listened to my mama and never talked to strangers.” But just at that moment The Wishmaster busts into the room, alarms blaring.
Patrick looks up again at that piece of shit hack Manfred Long. At this point he had entered a full blown quickening due to the power of the Dongle he possesses. Yet the page in front of him remains blank. That’s right! We are going deep in on the 90’s genre de jour erotic thriller and watching Never Talk to Strangers, the Banderas-De Mornay joint that everyone totally remembers for sure. Let’s go!
Jamie suddenly turns to Kyle. “I have an idea. Manfred is using the Dongle as a Wishmaster… and I think we might be able to piggyback on the power and make it our wishmaster, too. I just need one thing,” Kyle nods for him to continue, “Cover me.” That’s right! We are definitely doing a Playboy feature film (the inaugural one, in fact), but only because it had a video game adaptation and that’s fun… for no other reason. Let’s go!
Never Talk to Strangers (1995) – BMeTric: 39.0; Notability: 20
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 10.4%; Notability: top 26.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 11.5%; Higher BMeT: Showgirls, Vampire in Brooklyn, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Fair Game, Congo, Jury Duty, Batman Forever, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Theodore Rex, Tank Girl, The Babysitter, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Judge Dredd, Nine Months, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, The Scarlet Letter, Operation Dumbo Drop, Jade, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Man of the House, and 6 more; Higher Notability: Batman Forever, Congo, Judge Dredd, Cutthroat Island, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Virtuosity, Showgirls, Four Rooms, Stuart Saves His Family, Tank Girl, Panther, Jade, Money Train, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, Assassins, Jefferson in Paris, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Hackers, Canadian Bacon, Just Cause, and 46 more; Lower RT: The Big Green, Senior Trip, Delta of Venus, Jury Duty, Theodore Rex, Top Dog, The Walking Dead, Born to Be Wild, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, The Hunted, It Takes Two, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, The Pebble and the Penguin, Bushwhacked, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Vampire in Brooklyn, Fair Game, Canadian Bacon, The Scarlet Letter, Jade, and 6 more; Notes: Low 5.0s on IMDb is really rather low, especially for a film I’ve basically never heard of. Everything else about the credit checks out, mostly middling, although a surprisingly low Rotten Tomatoes score.
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Criminal psychologist falls for a charming, mysterious stranger, while at the same time unexplained, terrifying incidents begin occurring. Standard-issue thriller would be more at home on television. De Mornay also coexecutive-produced.
(Interesting call on the television note. I’ve felt that way about a few films recently. That they feel more like a television movie from the late-90s or a failed pilot than a theatrical release. Very interesting.)
(I’ll say this: I’ve watched this film already. Now, watch that trailer and realize that for the most part I never once in a million years thought Tony was the “bad guy” in the film. Not once. The trailer plays it up like “ooooooo, what a mystery, this mysterious guy!” … Yeah, it isn’t really. The film is really rather straightforward. That trailer makes it look a lot more complex than it actually is.)
Directors – Peter Hall – (Known For: A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Three Into Two Won’t Go; Perfect Friday; The Homecoming; Work Is a 4-Letter Word; Akenfield; BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: A big play director (and that’s why he was an odd choice for this film) in England. Got a special Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1999 for his general contribution to theater. Is the father of Rebecca Hall.)
Writers – Lewis A. Green – (BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: I am fascinated by screenwriting in general. To put this in perspective: He’s written 24 films, sold over a dozen, but only has four writing credits in general. I assume that is not abnormal, one of six screenplays actually getting through production to a credit on IMDb.)
Jordan Rush – (Known For: Club Fed; BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: Wrote an episode of Coach, and otherwise was a founder of TuneIn Entertainment Inc.)
Actors – Rebecca De Mornay – (Known For: Wedding Crashers; Flipped; Risky Business; Identity; American Reunion; Backdraft; The Hand That Rocks the Cradle; Lords of Dogtown; Runaway Train; I Am Wrath; Mother’s Day; One from the Heart; And God Created Woman; Testament; Thick as Thieves; The Trip to Bountiful; Apartment 1303 3D; Dealers; Music Within; Beauty and the Beast; Future BMT: The Three Musketeers; Raise Your Voice; Guilty as Sin; The Slugger’s Wife; Feds; BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for And God Created Woman in 1989; Notes: Been in a few television shows more recently like John from Cincinnati and Jessica Jones. Her father was a talk show host.)
Antonio Banderas – (Known For: Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Frida; Desperado; Shrek 2; The Mask of Zorro; Ruby Sparks; The Skin I Live In; Philadelphia; Spy Kids; Once Upon a Time in Mexico; Official Competition; Shrek the Third; Pain and Glory; Four Rooms; Knight of Cups; The Laundromat; Shrek Forever After; Puss in Boots; Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!; Security; Future BMT: Original Sin; Life Itself; The Legend of Zorro; Machete Kills; Assassins; Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World; Play It to the Bone; BMT: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Dolittle; The Expendables 3; The 13th Warrior; Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever; Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar for Dolor y gloria. Born and raised in Spain, he worked there in the 80s, and then made the jump to Hollywood nearly 30 years ago in 1992.)
Dennis Miller – (Known For: The Net; Disclosure; The Campaign; Thank You for Smoking; Future BMT: Joe Dirt; What Happens in Vegas; Murder at 1600; Bordello of Blood; Madhouse; BMT: Never Talk to Strangers; Notes: Won a bunch of Emmys for his 90s talk show Dennis Miller Live. Was the Weekend Update anchor on SNL as well in the late-80s to around ‘91. Notably conservative.)
Budget/Gross – $6.4 million / Domestic: $6,858,261 (Worldwide: $6,858,261)
(Ah too bad. The stories around the film are interesting, with De Mornay loving the script and really trying hard to get it made the right way. It is rather too bad it couldn’t have been more successful in the end.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (3/20): Never Talk to Strangers — and never make the mistake of believing this silly stalker mystery is the best available viewing option.
(Zing. The quip in the Rotten Tomatoes consensus is rarer than you would think. You would think they would 100% be jokes all the time, but they usually play them straight I feel like.)
Reviewer Highlight: An adequate psychological thriller on a topical theme — Repressed Memory Syndrome — but with little special quality, few frills or thrills, and a relaxed, almost languid exposition. – Wally Hammond, Time Out
(This feels ahead of its time in a bad way. Reminds me of the posters for a bunch of 2000’s thrillers. Font is bad, framing is meh, but I guess it gets the picture across: come see these two beautiful people make out and also maybe deliver some thrills and chills. C-)
Tagline(s) – In A World Where Love Isn’t Always Safe, Trust Can Be Deadly. (F)
(These are definitely words… and a lot of them at that. Love isn’t always safe… love isn’t always safe? I don’t understand this at all. Usually at least a tagline doesn’t confuse you. This actually makes it harder to understand what the film is about. Terrible.)
Top 10: Spider-Man (2002), Joker (2019), Deadpool (2016), Scream (1996), Death Proof (2007), The Green Mile (1999), Split (2016), Predator (1987), The Lovely Bones (2009), Halloween (2018)
Future BMT: 83.5 Prom Night (2008), 74.2 Black Christmas (2019), 71.1 Supergirl (1984), 70.3 Halloween II (2009), 68.3 Captivity (2007), 62.9 Valentine (2001), 61.4 Obsessed (2009), 60.9 When a Stranger Calls (2006), 57.8 The Return (2006), 56.7 They (2002)
BMT: The Bodyguard (1992), Vanilla Sky (2001), The Boy Next Door (2015), Halloween II (1981), This Means War (2012), Countdown (2019), Queen of the Damned (2002), The Snowman (2017), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), The Roommate (2011), Cobra (1986), Jason X (2001), Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), Fifty Shades of Black (2016), Perfect Stranger (2007), Swimfan (2002), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), Chernobyl Diaries (2012), Justice (2011), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Turbulence (1997), Never Talk to Strangers (1995)
Matches: Death Proof (2007), The Bodyguard (1992), Body Double (1984), Ingrid Goes West (2017), Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994), Blades of Glory (2007), Valentine (2001), Black Christmas (2019), Death Screams (1982), Go with Me (2015), Swimfan (2002), He Knows You’re Alone (1980), The Seduction (1982), Amusement (2008), Slumber Party Massacre III (1990), Deadly Switch (2019), Fear City (1984), The Stalker (2020), Lady Beware (1987), Blood Harvest (1987), Never Talk to Strangers (1995), After Midnight (1989), Ratter (2015), Cam2Cam (2014), The Cry of the Owl (2009), Kiss Daddy Goodnight (1987), Cherish (2002), Toughguy (1995), The Killing Floor (2007), Babysitter Massacre (2013), Vicious (2016), Striking Poses (1999), From the Shadows (2009), House Swap (2010), Let’s Not Meet in the Woods (2020), Quiet Kill (2004), Shiner (2004), Stalked (2015), Natural Prey (2013)
(Lots of bad one in the 00s as usual. We’ve seen a lot of these, and they mostly seem genuine. These do, in fact, have stalkers for the most part.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Antonio Banderas is No. 2 billed in Never Talk to Strangers and No. 4 billed in The Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (2 + 4) + (2 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 13. If we were to watch Assassins, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.
Notes – Raoul Ruiz was originally slated to direct this film.
We open in Heaven… seriously… where God is like “Earth is dunzo” but some angels convince him to give it another chance if a miracle happens. So God is like, “Fine, I’ll spare it if total trash human, Zack, becomes a not trash person.” The angels are sad, cause Zack is trash. Can Zack be redeemed (and perhaps even get the girl?) before it’s too late? Find out in… Two of a Kind.
How?! God is ready to dump Earth. Just trash it, cause it’s garbage. But the angels beg him to give Earth one more try. So he’s like, “Fine, if that guy over there miraculously turns out to be a good person then I won’t trash Earth.” When we look down, that person is John Travolta and we are like “shit.” That’s cause he’s Zack and he’s an inventor in debt with the mob. In order to get the money he owes he decides to rob a bank, but the teller, Debbie, has different ideas. Seeing a juicy opportunity she gives him a bag of trash and takes the money herself. Distressed and still on the run, Zack tracks down Debbie and despite being a total creeper is able to woo her and start a romantic relationship. Meanwhile, The Devil has joined the game and begins to try to mess with Zack’s journey to salvation. Things come to a head when, after a nice time out on the town together, The Devil has led the mobsters to Debbie’s apartment. Even after they escape, he has also led the police there with a tip about the bank robbery. Using the temptations of El Diablo, the police are able to get Zack to turn on Debbie. She refuses to turn on Zack and with the help of the angels is able to beat the rap. Realizing that Debbie never betrayed him, Zack has a change of heart and chases after Debbie. At the same time The Devil realizes that if Zack actually does lose and God destroys the Earth then he’s out of a job, so he orchestrates taking Debbie hostage. Realizing he’s in love Zack jumps in front of a bullet for Debbie, but miraculously survives. Thus we fulfill the requirements of the bet and Earth is saved. Hooray. THE END.
Why?! I have two readings of this film. One is that Travolta is simply a survivor. Always running and scrambling to live (and invent) another day. That’s his motivation and the distillation of his character, so when he reverses course and takes a bullet for ONJ it’s truly a miracle. That’s the way I like to read it. I do wonder, though, whether the extensive God/Devil/Heaven/Angels storyline is pointing more towards a strained Adam and Eve metaphor. That Travolta and ONJ are simply human, no better or worse, who are able to be tempted by the Devil into their bad deeds.
Who?! Once again ONJ is pretty charming and puts out some bangers for an otherwise very strange movie. Like check out Twist of Fate. Daaaaaang. I just added that to my running playlist. Otherwise, it’s notable that Gene Hackman voices God and goes uncredited. Sometimes you can get a sense of why someone goes uncredited. In contemporaneous reviews everyone appears to assume it’s because he knew the film wasn’t good and decided not to take the credit.
What?! This has one of the craziest product placements (or probably not even product placements) I can remember. When Zack and Debbie have their grand date on the town, we see them on a ferry eating a box of Chicken Delight… a major chicken franchise in the US until 1971, when a legal victory for franchisees resulted in the owner pulling out of the US, leaving the franchisees to fend for themselves. By 1983 (and onto today) there would have just been the independent franchises left. So can’t really be a product placement. Maybe the director liked Chicken Delight, or maybe they felt it gave the film an NYC feel. Fun one though.
Where?! Given my reading of the film in the Why section I think there might be a chance this is more of an NYC specific film that one might first imagine. Could it have been set in LA? Sure, but given the time period I do wonder whether the miracle-of-miracles had some more special meaning coming in the form of an NYC dweller. A man living day to day, always scrambling, surviving like a cockroach. So I’m tempted to give it an A-.
When?! Not really many clues here other than a general sense that it’s summer in the cit-ay. In particular ONJ’s roommates are a couple of jokesters dead set on getting out to Fire Island to “catch some serious rays.” They are actually pretty mean about it too, huffing and puffing about missing their train out there after having to help Debbie following the bank robbery. C-
I think somewhere deep in this film there is something that might be worthwhile. There are moments between Olivia Newton-John and Travolta where you can see a little spark and you wonder why on earth they decided to a) muddle everything up with unnecessary and boring God vs. The Devil shenanigans and b) make Travolta a trash caricature of a person. Just slim this whole thing down: Travolta is a down-on-his-luck inventor who has fallen deep into the underbelly of NYC after crossing the wrong people. In a moment of desperation he robs a bank, but is duped by an equally desperate teller. After finding each other they go on the run and rediscover their own humanity. I mean, that’s the crux of the film, and yet this very serious concept is buried under a mound of silly fluff. You don’t even get to understand Travolta’s character because it’s mostly played for a laugh. Just play into the innate charm of ONJ and Travolta and let the steamy action carry you. They did the opposite and I guess it’s kind of fun in a stupefying way. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We’ve got Travolta! We’ve got ONJ! What more could you need or want?! Well … a script would be nice, but them’s the breaks. Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – If I got one chance to look at the post of this film and guess the plot I would have never guessed “two pieces of garbage fall in love while God tries and decide whether humanity is worth saving” … huh? We couldn’t just get a meetcute between Travolta and Olivia Newton-John and call it a day? What were my expectations? I don’t know. The film looks like it is barely a movie. Or maybe more accurately it looks like a television movie masquerading as an actual film. That usually means boring, but sometimes things like Can’t Stop the Music just end up being so silly and bizarre they are kind of okay. So who knows. I wish it was a musical though.
The Good – Bit here and there involving Travola and Newton-John falling in love are pretty okay. It all comes across as a television movie, but that isn’t actually that bad, it just means it looks cheap and is a bit trite. Travolta can play a surprisingly good heel at this point in his career. He is a believable grifter piece of garbage. Actually, Newton-John does too, although her character is far far more redeemable than Travoltas. Best Bit: The romance probably, they do pair up well.
The Bad – The whole thing with God and the Devil fighting over these two people concerning the fate of the world is amateur hour. It feels like the movie does need a hook, but this ain’t it brother, even if the angels and devil are fun in their own bizarre way. Travolta is a genuine piece of trash in the film. Every time you think he’s going to turn a corner and be a little good, he ends up revealing even further depths of his garbage heart. It actually ends up sinking the film. The whole thing would be trite nonsense if he was a normal human being. But he is instead a garbage man and it becomes incredibly hard to root for his redemption. Fatal Flaw: Travolta’s character is a big ol’ pile of trash.
The BMT – This film goes into a group of bad movies which are basically television movies that were released to theaters. Maybe you can track these back to holdovers from the pre-blockbuster era or something. And Travolta obviously rockets to the top of the BMT Villains list with his character of Zack … am I joking, or am I deathly serious? Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, it is a television movie which is pretty fun. It feels like an 80s episode of Touched by an Angel or something, like a soft pilot, but somehow released to theaters. That’s fun.
Roast-radamus – A very surprising Product Placement (What?) for Chicken Delight, and I’ll let Jamie get into that a bit more. A very solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for NYC which you see in multiple montages, and Newton-John is trying to break out on Broadway. And an entry for Worst Twist (How?) for the obvious life sacrifice by Travolta at the end to save the world. Closest to Bad I think, but I could be convinced of its BMT-ness as well.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I might have to add BMT Crossover Episode as an official category as I’m finding those delightful recently. This time, guess who we are adding to the cast? That is right, 90’s era Steven Seagal! He’s back as Sasha Petrosevitch, and he’s been called upon by God to do deep cover in Hell to try and figure out what that rascal Beasly is up to. Naturally, Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are along for the ride as they are good friends with all of the angels and Beasly and stuff. Sasha finds out that Beasly has been trying to find out the location of a stash of combination television/VCR players that was hidden before a real bad dude died and went to hell, but the bad guy (played by Brian Cranston, remember this is the 90s) isn’t giving up the secret. Can Sasha pry the secrets to the stash (and the afterlife) before Beasly gets the loot and destroys the world economy with cheap combination television/VCR players? Find out in Three of a Kind: Full Past Dead.
Oh man, so here’s the thing. I’m a huge piece of shit grifter/inventor who is really driving his life into the ground, and I got chased by a bunch of gangsters and then fell off of a bridge (long story). One thing led to another, and now I have a massive concussion and don’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Two of a Kind?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) God’s back jack! And he ain’t happy with his angels, who’ve let the world go to shit. What’s God’s big plan for the world and what deal do the angels strike to save humanity?
2) Let’s get a little back story. Zach (Travolta) is a giant piece of trash who is being chased by gangsters. Why?
3) Debbie (Olivia Newton-John) is a bank teller and aspiring actress. Why does Zach suspect Debbie of screwing him over in his heist-turned-farce?
4) Well naturally, this odd couple falls in love (awwwwwwwww) but it all comes to a head when Zach flips on Debbie concerning the failed heist. Why does he flip on her?
5) In the end Zach totally redeems himself during an encounter with a robber who has taken Debbie hostage on the roof of a restaurant. How?
Bonus Question: How long do Debbie and Zach stay together?
While Jamie sobs and goes over all the events that led to the deaths of his friends, he is comforted by Wally, a kangaroo wearing a tophat, and Phillip Von Snout, a tiny elephant. “I just don’t understand,” Jamie says through sniffles, “I feel torn to pieces and yet it’s like the crash happened only moments ago, you know?” The top hat wearing animals nod in understanding but suddenly disappear as Jamie wakes up to find that it was all a dream! Phew! Except, wait, his friends are still dead. And he’s now in the middle of a psychology midterm! And he’s got only ten minutes left! And he’s naked and all his teeth have fallen out! He looks through bleary eyes at the test and just barely makes out the first question: “What’s in the bag?” He looks up to see a bag dripping blood. When he looks back at the paper an answer is scrawled in blood: “A SHARK OR SOMETHING.” Jamie wakes with a start. Another dream. Phew. Except, wait, his friends are still dead. And he’s making out with a sexy lady! Cool! But wait, he also lost a bet regarding hacking the planet and is wearing a leather dress of some sort! “Wait,” he says to the sexy lady, “weren’t we heading to hack the planet when I crashed the car?” She seems confused, but Jamie now understands. It’s all a dream and they still have to hack the planet. He’s gotta WAKE UP!
Jamie’s heart starts beating and he blinks his eyes open. He smiles at Kyle, Baby Niles, and Patrick and mumbles that none of them were there in his dream and it was super lame. They all laugh and Patrick predator high fives Jamie. The dynamic duo back together. Just… that’s right! Two of a Kind… is the movie we’re watching. You know, the laugh-a-minute Travolta-Newton-John joint that everyone remembers. No, you remember. It’s the one where Angels are hoping bank robbers Travolta and Newton-John redeem themselves and fall in love? No? Well it’s a movie. Let’s go!
Two of a Kind (1983) – BMeTric: 39.4; Notability: 38
StreetCreditReport.com –BMeTric: top 8.5%; Notability: top 19.7%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 8.0% Higher BMeT: Jaws 3-D, Superman III, Smokey and the Bandit Part 3, Amityville 3-D, Curse of the Pink Panther, Porky’s II: The Next Day, Hercules; Higher Notability: Superman III, Curse of the Pink Panther, Deal of the Century, Flashdance, Doctor Detroit, The Lords of Discipline, The Osterman Weekend, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, The Black Stallion Returns; Lower RT: The Survivors, Amityville 3-D, Deal of the Century, Porky’s II: The Next Day, Still Smokin, Jaws 3-D, Smokey and the Bandit Part 3; Notes: That is a much higher BMeTric than I would have expected I think. We have a lot to go for 1983 it looks like, we’ve only seen those top two, Jaws 3-D and Superman III. Also higher Notability than I might have expected for a comedy in 1983 as well. Interesting.
Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Puerile fantasy-romance with a script that must have been scrawled on a gum wrapper. A quartet of angels try to persuade God to give the human race another chance – using two pretty unappealing subjects (an inventor-turned-bank robber and a not-so-innocent bank teller) as guinea pigs. Just awful.
(Ha. You could just cut out the front bit and have it just say “Just awful” and it would be the same review.)
(Man … the smash cut from Travolta and Olivia Newton-John clearly having sex and him assuring her that he doesn’t intend to sexually assault her to “rated PG” is pretty amusing. In their defense the PG-13 rating would be introduced less than 8 months after this film was released.)
Directors – John Herzfeld – (Known For: Escape Plan 3; 2 Days in the Valley; Bobby Z; Collection; Future BMT: 15 Minutes; BMT: Two of a Kind; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Two of a Kind in 1984; Notes: Was a bit actor before becoming a director, even having a named part in Cobra (as Cho), probably because apparently he was the roommate of Sylvester Stallone at the University of Miami.)
Writers – John Herzfeld (written by) – (Known For: Escape Plan 3; 2 Days in the Valley; Collection; Voices; The Last Winter; Hard Feelings; Future BMT: 15 Minutes; BMT: Two of a Kind; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay for Two of a Kind in 1984; Notes: Nominated for an Emmy for directing Don King: Only in America. Went from directing ABC Afterschool Specials all the way to Escape Plan 3 most recently.)
Actors – John Travolta – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Grease; Saturday Night Fever; Carrie; Face/Off; Austin Powers in Goldmember; Blow Out; The Thin Red Line; Hairspray; Savages; Urban Cowboy; Eye for an Eye; Get Shorty; The Taking of Pelham 123; Bolt; Broken Arrow; Look Who’s Talking; Gotti; Life on the Line; The Fanatic; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Now; Look Who’s Talking Too; Staying Alive; Lucky Numbers; Domestic Disturbance; Michael; White Man’s Burden; The Punisher; From Paris with Love; The General’s Daughter; Mad City; Basic; BMT: Battlefield Earth; Old Dogs; Be Cool; Perfect; Wild Hogs; Two of a Kind; Swordfish; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor in 2001 for Battlefield Earth, and Lucky Numbers; and in 2020 for The Fanatic, and Trading Paint; Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Battlefield Earth in 2001; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1984 for Staying Alive, and Two of a Kind; in 1986 for Perfect; in 2002 for Domestic Disturbance, and Swordfish; in 2010 for Old Dogs; and in 2019 for Gotti; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Shout in 1992; Nominee for Worst Screen Combo for Gotti in 2019; and Nominee for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Perfect, Staying Alive, The Experts, and Two of a Kind; and in 2010 for Battlefield Earth, Domestic Disturbance, Lucky Numbers, Old Dogs, and Swordfish; Notes: His daughter Ella is set to make her lead acting debut with Get Lost, a modern adaptation of Alice in Wonderland set in Budapest. We’ve seen her before, she was one of the kids in Old Dogs.)
Olivia Newton-John – (Known For: Grease; The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee; She’s Having a Baby; A Few Best Men; Sordid Lives; It’s My Party; Toomorrow; Score: A Hockey Musical; Funny Things Happen Down Under; BMT: Xanadu; Two of a Kind; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 1981 for Xanadu; and in 1984 for Two of a Kind; Notes: Y’all know ONJ, right? English (but notably Australian) pop singer from the 70s and 80s who headlined multiple John Travolta films. Was weirdly just in Sharknado 5, which is just a weird choice.)
Charles Durning – (Known For: Scarface; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; Sisters; Dog Day Afternoon; The Sting; Dick Tracy; Tootsie; The Final Countdown; The Muppet Movie; When a Stranger Calls; The Hudsucker Proxy; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; The Fury; One Fine Day; True Confessions; Sharky’s Machine; Cat Chaser; The Man with One Red Shoe; Breakheart Pass; I.Q.; Future BMT: Spy Hard; V.I. Warshawski; Stick; BMT: Two of a Kind; Solarbabies; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars (To Be or Not to Be, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas). Apparently was a Dance instructor and studied judo for a time.)
Budget/Gross – $14 million / Domestic: $23,646,952 (Worldwide: $23,646,952)
(That is maybe okay. It isn’t great, it is definitely a poor showing given the budget, but I would have thought that it would have made far less than $25 million in 1983, so that seems pretty all right for a weird borderline TV movie.)
(My consensus: Mediocre Travolta and not at all what you expect from what should have been an interesting Travolta / Newton-John reunion after Grease. Reviewer Highlight: This movie should have been struck by a lightning bolt. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
(This poster is absurd. Like I understand the concept of a poster just being a star’s face and begging audiences to pay money to see that face act, but this isn’t even staged in an interesting (or sane?) way. It looks like they are posing for headshots. Like the font though. C-)
Tagline(s) – It took a twist of fate to make them two of a kind. (B-)
(Why do I kinda like this? Why does “twist of fate” paired with “two of a kind” sound so good to my ears. Is it just the repeat ‘of’? Is it the hard ‘t’ sound of took, twist and two? I think maybe it’s because the pacing is so nice… you can almost hear a spokesperson saying the line. This is a great example of nonsense tagline writing actually. You can replace every word with “dah” and it still sounds good. Otherwise a little long, kinda nonsense, and not very clever. But the heart wants what the heart wants. )
Top 10: Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Constantine (2005), Natural Born Killers (1994), Click (2006), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), What Dreams May Come (1998), Old School (2003), Coraline (2009), Legion (2010), Dogma (1999)
Future BMT: 64.9 The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2014), 61.0 Legion (2010), 53.3 Over Her Dead Body (2008), 43.4 Down to Earth (2001), 40.8 Michael (1996), 39.0 The Final Conflict (1981), 37.0 The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013), 35.8 Hideaway (1995), 35.7 The Perfect Holiday (2007), 34.1 The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009);
BMT: Little Nicky (2000), Ghost Rider (2007), Bless the Child (2000), Two of a Kind (1983)
(I still can’t quite believe we haven’t watched Legion, that has been on my radar for literally years. Michael is another Travolta and really weird if I recall correctly. Anyways, do you think the plot jumps up at 1990 for a reason? Like, is that just because that is when keywords start showing up in the data, or is there some sort of evangelical story here? I honestly don’t know, the IMDb keyword data is fun to peruse, but hard to take seriously most of the time.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: John Travolta is No. 1 billed in Two of a Kind and No. 2 billed in Wild Hogs, which also stars Tim Allen (No. 1 billed) who is in Jungle 2 Jungle (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 6 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 6 + 1 = 12. If we were to watch Shout we can get the HoE Number down to 10.
Notes – Although she’d starred in three theatrical movies and had made countless TV appearances in the 15 year prior to this movie, Olivia Newton-John was insecure about her acting abilities and decided to enroll in acting training in preparation for the film.
The movie’s soundtrack was so successful that it went platinum.
After striking box office gold in Grease (1978), the 20th Century Fox studio re-teamed John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John for the second and final time in this film.
Bill Conti was the original composer for this film, but he left the project as his original score was rejected by writer/director John Herzfeld. He was then subsequently replaced by composer Patrick Williams. Williams had been asked by Herzfeld and producers Joe Wizan and Roger M. Rothstein to create a melody based off Olivia Newton-John’s hit single “Twist of Fate” which was released just before the film. However this was done so late that 20th Century Fox was unable offer to preview screenings to the news media, and final prints were unavailable until a few days prior to the December 16, 1983 release. Meanwhile, Conti was allegedly unaware that he had been replaced. Lionel Newman, the senior vice president of music for 20th Century Fox said that Conti’s dismissal was “amicable”. Conti’s credit is retained on the back cover of the film’s soundtrack album as well as a 1995 VHS Reissue and on the back cover of the film’s DVD release.
The movie was part of a 1980s cycle of Hollywood angelic comedies which had started with Heaven Can Wait (1978). The films included that movie and Two of a Kind (1983), The Devil and Max Devlin (1981), Defending Your Life (1991), Oh Heavenly Dog (1980), Kiss Me Goodbye (1982), The Heavenly Kid (1985), Made in Heaven (1987), Almost an Angel (1990) and Oh, God! (1977) and its two sequels. The phrase “Heaven Can Wait” forms part of the lyrics in Two of a Kind (1983)’s theme song “Twist of Fate” sung by Olivia Newton-John.
Travolta played an angel himself later on in Michael (1996).
Debut theatrical feature film as a director for John Herzfeld.
The picture was nominated for Worst Picture at the Hastings Bad Cinema Society’s 6th Stinkers Bad Movie Awards in 1983.
The same year this movie came out, Charles Durning also appeared in the Mel Brooks remake of To Be or Not to Be (1983). That film was also released by 20th Century Fox on the same day as this film, December 16, 1983. (He was nominated for an Oscar for that one)
“Twist of Fate” and “Take a Chance”, both song titles from the soundtrack, were considered as possible film titles.
Robert Stigwood was originally involved with this project as a producer because of his then-ongoing picture deal with John Travolta . But he subsequently left the project because of creative differences between him, co-producer Joe Wizan and writer/director John Herzfeld. Stigwood wanted to have more of a say in casting as well as the film’s soundtrack as he also wanted to have The Bee Gees write and record some songs for the film in addition to the songs Olivia Newton-John had written. After Stigwood left the project, he then brought on his friend Roger M. Rothstein to take over his duties as the two had worked together on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978).
Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Roger M. Rothstein, Joe Wizan, 1984)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (John Travolta, 1984)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Olivia Newton-John, 1984)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (John Herzfeld, 1984)
Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (John Herzfeld, 1984)
Twilight is back, Jack! And you best believe Edward and Bella are getting married and having some vampire sex. But uh oh! They didn’t know that she could get pregnant! Gulp. Now they have to figure out how to save her life. Can they stop the little vampire baby and/or the local hunky werewolves before it’s too late? Find out in… The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1.
How?! I mean, that short synopsis really sums it up pretty well. That’s cause we open with an extended sequence of Bella and Edward’s very fancy backyard wedding. Then we transition to an even more extended sequence of Bella and Edward’s very fancy honeymoon on a secluded island in Brazil. There Bella is pretty much ready to get it on. Unfortunately their night of monstrous love making leaves the room in shambles, Bella bruised for her efforts, and the viewer decidedly uncomfortable at what they have just witnessed. The rest of the trip they apparently just play chess against each other while Bella is none too thrilled with her sexually repressed vampire husband. Things go from bad to worse when Bella discovers that she’s pregnant and things are progressing at a far faster clip than anyone could expect. She returns to Forks where Edward and his family mull over what to do while she steadily wastes away as her unborn child literally sucks the life out of her. Jacob swings by and is pretty distraught at what has occurred because part of the werewolf code (that we all know and love) says that now his tribe has to kill everyone now. So he breaks off from the pack and sets up shop protecting Bella. They are able to keep Bella alive by feeding her blood (you know… cause the baby’s a vampire), but when Bella gives birth things don’t go well. To save her life Edwards injects his venom into her in order to (finally) make her a vampire. In order to save the baby from his fellow werewolves, Jacob imprints on the child named Renesmee. This ends the feud and we conclude with Bella opening her eyes for the first time as a vampire. THE END.
Why?! Why, indeed. I mean.. I guess to progress the story somewhat and make a boatload of money. As for the characters, love mostly. Although, while I laughed while reading the first book about how Edward is a monster for wanting to “bite” Bella and ultimately can’t “bite” Bella until they are married (wink, wink), this film gets a bit confusing. Even after they are married Edward seems the be pretty adamant that postmarital sex is also monstrous and off the table… so I kind of lost the thread on what the author was ultimately trying to say about love and sex.
Who?! Interesting fact that this is the only Twilight sequel where the author of the series Stephanie Meyer chose to make an appearance. She was one of the attendees of Bella and Edward’s wedding. Oh and I’d also like to note that Taylor Lautner, Kellen Lutz, and Maggie Grace all make appearances. Just a few of our faves.
What?! You know things are real when entire articles are written about the extravagant lengths companies went to to be featured as part of Bella and Edward’s wedding/honeymoon. Gotta get a piece of that sweet, sweet monstrous postmarital lovemaking that Edward immediately regrets and makes Bella feel bad about. Anywho, here’s the article.
Where?! We get a nice split here between Forks, Washington per usual and not-so-steamy Brazil. It’s interesting that no one in the film acknowledges the kinda weird fact that Bella and Edward honeymoon in the same place he hid away in the second film… and you know… decided to kill himself when he mistakenly thought Bella had died. Uh… romantic. A-. Washington has always played a role in the film’s concept.
When?! Bella graduated in the previous entry and without school you do get a bit unmoored from the timeline. The wedding, honeymoon, and pregnancy? Seems like it all occurs in the insular world of the Cullens without much temporal reference. So I can’t really remember if this is all during the summer and then into the following autumn, but that would be my guess without going back and watching the film again. D.
I’m of two minds about the Twilight series. The first and the third ones are silly but ultimately not really as bad as they are sometimes made out to be. Particularly the first one. The second is not good, but at least it’s kinda weird. So really the series is probably closer to After than Fifty Shades of Grey (a point of reference we all understand), while also admittedly not being my cup of tea. However, this pretty clearly crosses the line to actually bad. It just churns through a wedding, a honeymoon, and Bella’s pregnancy without much else happening. By splitting to book into two films they have a lot more time to meditate on postmarital sex, the idea of turning someone into a vampire, and several conversations of how and if to save Bella’s life when it becomes clear that she has a very real chance at dying in childbirth. These are not the questions I’d like to be pondering when watching my sexy vampire/werewolf love triangle soap operas and make it a tough watch. My final conclusion is this: how is it possible we still haven’t gotten to the sexy part?… what’s that? Even the last book isn’t sexy?! What are we even doing here? Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We are finishing off The Twilight Saga. If you are Team Jacob, I swear to god … I’m genuinely curious how that could be. He’s the worst! Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – Well, the preview is a bit moot since I watched the entire series before. I think it was because Doug Benson was doing it for his podcast or something? I mainly remember this one being mind-numbingly boring. Nothing happens. So that’s something to look forward to. What were my expectations? To be bored, BUT I also knew I would end up watching the third and fifth ones and those are alright, so it wasn’t all bad.
The Good – The even numbered entries in the series seem like they want to explore the lore of the series (and, ahem, the more overt religious themes which I’ll ignore), and it is actually halfway decent. Bella becomes pregnant and then it begs the question as to why human-vampire hybrids don’t exist if they are, indeed, possible. Beyond just that vampires tend to kill humans they have sex with, it would appear that a big issue with it is that no one really seemed to realize that the human mother would need to drink blood to bring the pregnancy to term. Seems obvious, but it at least provides an okay explanation as to why a hybrid hasn’t been seen for perhaps hundreds of years. Best bit: Okay lore building.
The Bad – We could, of course talk about Jacob, a fully grown adult, “imprinting” on a literal baby … it is supposed to be a godfather relationship, but still ultra creepy. We could talk about the shades of spousal abuse (and battered woman syndrome) that pervades the honeymoon. Or maybe the overt religious themes surrounding the pregnancy. But I choose to merely point out that nothing super interesting happens in the film and it ends with maybe the worst fight scene in the entire series involving a dozen wolves fighting a dozen vampires in the front yard of the Cullens and it looks like garbage. Fatal flaw: Boring and terrible looking.
The BMT – When I watched this series through the first time I was convinced this was the worst of the bunch. Nothing happens. Watching it again, I think at the very least having Edward around (unlike the second) and thus having one of the two best actors involved in the series around is a saving grace. And while I think it is kind of weird, the overt religious themes of this one at least gives the audience something to mull over while watching CGI wolves fight CGI vampires at the end. Ultimately this is probably second worst. It is a bad movie, but not as bad as I remembered it somehow. Did it meet my expectations? I think with some distance from the series I’ve come to appreciate that while bizarre, the religious themes of the series are at least not-boring. And so I wasn’t nearly as bored as I thought I would be while watching the film … but it is still mostly boring because there is only one terrible looking fight scene. Everyone knows you need at least one big blowout fight with decapitations for a Twilight film to be good.
Roast-radamus – I can only really give it a Setting as a Character (Where?) for Forks, Washington. As usual, the dreary raininess of the pacific northwest is center stage of a Twilight film, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. In the end the film is I think closest to BMT, which is a surprise since it is boring, but I think the series as a whole is an interesting watch from a teen romance / bad movie perspective and that makes it worth it.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Please no … I guess the best option is prequel though? Because then you could pick up a story involving the Cullens from prior to the series. Well, what is super in right now? That’s right, 80s nostalgia (is that still in? I might be a few years behind here, but whatever). Set it in the 80s with a comical 80s ecological villain who wants to just chop down all those trees and destroy the Cullen’s hunting ground. Oh no! Working with a gang of eco-protesters, the Cullens need to stop the logging company, while keeping their vampire secret under wraps. The Twilight Legacy: Montgomery Gadzooks and the Lumbering Lumberjacks. Oh, did I mention my 80s villain is called Montgomery Gadzooks? Also this is actually just a kids’ cartoon starring the Cullens. Not the worst idea I’ve ever had.
You Just Got Schooled – You can’t watch the 4th film without the 3rd and 5th can you? First up, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. A pretty solid entry to the series. It brings all the characters back to Forks (the fatal flaw of the second film), gives a ton of vampire fighting and decapitations, and accelerates directly into the final film(s). Obviously Jacob is a brooding weirdo and the worst, but on a positive note he also gets continually dunked on by Edward throughout the film, so that’s nice. B-. I would actually happily watch several of these films again (and I have). It is the opposite of Star Trek, every odd one is good. Remembering The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 the only thing that came to mind really was the big battle. There is a lot more to it, although it mainly is a who’s who of random cameos (Rami Malek and Lee Pace being the most notable I think). There is also a quite effective twist at the end and out of all of the films it was the most entertaining (maybe because like 70 people get their heads broken off?) and I think balances the lore building with the action very well. A solid B+ I think. Very funny that arguably the best and worst films in the franchise were the two part finale.
Oh man, so here I was watching this 5 film tween vampire franchise when all of a sudden my brain broke and I just couldn’t remember anything, not even my name. Do you remember what happened in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1?
Pop Quiz Hot Shot!
1) What is the big dark secret that Edward has to tell Bella secret the night before the wedding?
2) Where do Bella and Jacob go for their honeymoon?
3) What do they tell Bella’s father happened to her?
4) What does Edward ask Jacob to do?
5) What super secret trick does Jacob think of that helps save Bella’s life and bring the first human-vampire hybrid (of the modern era) to term?
Bonus Question: How long does Bella and Edwards marriage last?