Daylight Recap

Jamie

Kit Latura is a disgraced badass ready to make everyone regret doubting him. When the Holland Tunnel collapses it’s up to him to save the remaining survivors. He totes goes in there and leads them like the leader that he is. Can he save them all (and perhaps get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… Daylight.

How?! Act I: Our main players all converge on the Holland Tunnel, where a truck filled with toxic waste (obviously) explodes when a car filled with highly flammable jewel thieves crashes into it. In an absolutely wild coincidence the former head of the EMS, Kit Latura, is driving a cab just outside the tunnel. He volunteers to head in on a rescue mission to save them all with his big muscles. Meanwhile we are introduced to the only survivors in the tunnel… which are honestly mostly criminals and cheats. Act II: Sly enters the tunnel ready to rock-and-roll. Unfortunately he enters through the ventilation system that is only a one-way entrance. Realizing that he needs to strengthen their position he decides to collapse part of the tunnel with explosives. Who does he ask for help? The pretty playwright, Maddy, of course. The biggest question here is whether Maddy is actually his love interest. She is a beautiful thirty-something, he looks like he’s been carved from an old tree. I was getting some serious father-daughter vibes, but not sure that’s what they were going for. Anyway, he blows the tunnel, but soon realizes that their position is even more vulnerable when water starts to flood and they hear the rescue workers trying to break into the tunnel (which would kill them). Attempting to find a way out, Kit leads the group to long unused areas of the tunnel (with only minimal fatalities). Finding a way out he forces the group to go to safety, while him and Maddy are stranded in the tunnel. Act III: We end with Kit and Maddy deciding that they have to try everything to survive. They decide to use the remaining explosives to blow out the tunnel and have the pressure hopefully push them to the surface of the river. This, of course, works because it’s a movie. Kit and Maddy still don’t kiss because everyone probably realized it would be weird. THE END. 

Why?! Weirdly, atonement. The backstory for Kit is that he’s been disgraced and forced to become a taxi driver because he got rescue workers killed while trying to save people. You get the sense that by voluntarily going back in he is trying to save those lives to make up for his perceived failure. Perhaps he even would have sacrificed himself for this atonement if Maddy hadn’t been there to force him to take one last drastic action. As for the main antagonist, The Tunnel, well it just wants to be a tunnel. Usually that’s not too much to ask.

Who?! For the first time ever I think I’m going to call a Nepotism Alert! Sage Stallone, Sly’s son, actually has a fairly prominent role as Vincent, one of the juvenile delinquents. Much like Kevin Costner’s daughter in The Postman I actually think he was pretty good though. I really think if I didn’t know he was Sly’s son then I would have just been like “he’s actually an OK actor.”

What?! I feel like I’ve mentioned this before, but there is a very special product placement associated with this film. It’s Sly Stallone’s Panerai watch that he wears and subsequently became associated with a number of action stars. They are big and bulky and designed for use in submarines, but Sly Stallone took one look at it in Italy and, “immediately knew it had star power.” That’s real. That’s a quote. He thought the watch was good character development and insisted his character wear one. I mean… that’s just good writing.

Where?! Very very very good NYC film. The Holland Tunnel itself is more or less a role in the film. We even get some history lessons about the construction of the tunnel and very intricate geography of exactly how it’s laid out. A all the way.

When?! I went back through it and confirmed that indeed they don’t make specific mention of when this takes place. We see some spotty snow on the ground and one character is seen contemplating whether to buy a Super Bowl ad for his company, so it’s clearly winter before the big game. I also think post-Christmas because otherwise we’d probably have a character be like “this is the worst Christmas ever,” or something. So January? D+ I think… I have to look back on my grading rubric.

This film really harkened back to an older time in action films. It felt very Towering Inferno or Poseidon Adventure. There isn’t some major terrorist plot or millions of dollars at stake. Just a few survivors of a major disaster hoping to get saved by the ultimate badass with a heart of gold. Despite being a major film it felt very small, and that was both good and bad. It was good in that the plot didn’t seem contrived and there wasn’t some silly MacGuffin to laugh at, but also bad because at times it almost seemed meandering. The survivor’s plight in the tunnel seemed so hopeless that they were just screaming “we’re going to die! What are we going to do?!” and Sly would kinda just shrug and wait it out. It’s almost like they were writing the film as they were making it… and Sly seriously didn’t know what they were going to do. Other than obviously he shouldn’t panic because he forced a rewrite where his character would survive. Overall it’s an entertaining film, but just fine otherwise. As for Roller Blade Seven, I was surprised by the coherency. It wasn’t as totally off-the-rails as I expected given the IMDb score. It did feel like there was a vision there… at least from a filmmaking perspective and not necessarily from a storytelling perspective. Like there were some Crank-type roller blade handheld camera stuff going on and the random cuts and repeats of scenes that people make fun of did seem purposeful. Like I think he was trying to say something about time and memory as part of the Zen Filmmaking idea that he espouses. So, dare I say it, I think Roller Blade Seven is maybe underrated? Is that right? That can’t be right… Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I swear to God I’ve seen this movie before … or at least I’ve seen the ending of this film a few dozen times on TNT. Either way, let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Last year, after finding Skyscraper absolutely insufferable, I watched Towering Inferno a few days afterwards. Disaster films from various decades are interesting, and the 90s was mostly aliens, and comets, and real large scale stuff. This was pleasantly small scale. So I was excited to see just how it compared to the various other disaster films I’ve seen in my life. What was I expecting? I was expecting a terrible acting performance from Stallone, melodrama, and for this ragtag team of misfits to go out there and beat the Holland Tunnels, yeah! The sports analogy works.

The Good – This is bar none one of the best plane movies I’ve ever watched, breezes by with no gore or nudity to embarrass you in front of nosey neighbors. Ideal. The set is incredibly impressive, and the tension is ratcheted up to 11 because they actually give a decently plausible series of minor disasters for Stallone to individually tackle to save everyone. The film was decently paced because of this. This is a very old school film, with the various characters all getting their little introduction, and you learn about them, and care for them, and in the end you’re like: “You did good kid” and you wink at Stallone, who gives you a thumbs up and everything and it is awesome, you know?

The Bad – The acting was quite bad top to bottom. This is one year prior to Stallone earning a bit of redemption for Cop Land, and you kind of see the humble, sheepish, reluctant hero in the making here as well. Almost like he was insisting that the brash 80s action hero brand was ovah baby and had already started to twist it back around … I think it is merely embarrassing here as it is clear Stallone is the only competent person in the movie and his fake humility probably got a bunch of people killed. Anyways, the storyline of the tunnel and the gigantic coincidences that put Stallone in the position to be this reluctant hero are a bit too much such that it sinks the first act. The second act is weighed down by the realization that most of the people in the tunnel are garbage people and you kind of don’t care if they live or die. And the third act is an implausible ‘splosion … when you put it that way this film really doesn’t have much going for it. Whatever it is entertaining as hell I think.

The BMT – For the set piece alone I would give it to it. As I said, I’ve watched a bunch of disaster films in my life and this lies closer to the Poseidon Adventure area. The reluctant hero saves a small group of people, some of whom die one by one (mostly the nice ones), etc. They naturally pulled the punch and had Stallone live. This is in stark contrast to the real old school flicks like Towering Inferno or Avalanche which both reveled in showing you the various ways all of the good and bad people could die (god is dead, amirite?). And also contrasts with Skyscraper is on the other end with The Rock deploying death to only those he deems the baddies with tactical efficiency leaving every good person alive and well. This is a nice (and kind of rare I think) 90s disaster film that operates on the small scale. Plus Stallone, so like … yeah, its BMT. Did it meet my expectations? Only partially. As I said the film was entertaining as hell so that makes it tough to really crap on. But also they kill off too many of the good guys on Team Stallone for my liking. The score was like what? Team Stallone 9, Holland Tunnels 4 or something? It was a lot closer than you like to see I think.

Roast-radamus – I wish there was something for the Matthew Lillard Most Sidekick-est Character award or something for Amy Brenneman, but alas. I do like the very specific Holland Tunnel as a Setting as a Character (Where?). Other than that … there isn’t much of a twist unless you could the deus ex blow-out-ea to save Stallone and Brenneman. So that really is it. I don’t think it gets a Good, Bad, or BMT nod.

StreetCreditReport.com – Amazingly it juuuuust narrowly gets onto this disaster film list by Newsweek tied for 49th out of 50. It gets a pretty decent 23rd best Stallone film list from Men’s Health. Otherwise it could get what? Worst film set in a tunnel I think for sure. I could definitely be on a list of worst 90s disaster films, although I think it might get beaten out by a few of the crazier late 90s ones (Godzilla comes to mind), and also some real crap ones (Firestorm comes to mind). Even Volcano … whatever, it would get top ten for sure.

Bring a Friend Analysis – As the first installment of the Sibling Rivalry Bring a Friend we chose Roller Blade Seven. I’m not actually sure what put this film on my radar besides that fact that it stars both Frank Stallone and Joe Estevez and thus seemed to have super sibling powers of some kind. Written and directed by Donald G. Jackson and co-written with Scott Shaw (who both also starred in the film), it comes across as part micro-budget 80s sci-fi dystopian crazy film, and part art film. Using a style he dubs zen filmmaking (see above), Jackson creates a dream-like atmosphere by replaying some clips over and over, especially during fight scenes. Starring C/Z-list actors, plus a few famous cult film stars, it comes across a lot like what I imagine Manos Hands of Fate wanted to be. While Manos was made on a bet, the intention was to partially buck the Hollywood system and show that a man with a plan and a camera could make a movie. Unlike Manos Jackson actually succeeded in breaking into Hollywood and cultivates a following with his most successful venture Hell Comes to Frogtown. It is hard to even describe what I think of this film. I think it is terribly made, terribly acted, nonsensical, and aggravating. But at the same time I find something very alluring about zen filmmaking. Something about this film makes me think I’ll watch more Donald G. Jackson in my life, and something about the film tells me that is necessary to really understand the weirdness that was 80s/90s off-Hollywood productions. As a friend I give it an A for being thought provoking. But I have to say, I’m glad we didn’t watch Rollergator this week, as that would have been too much Donald G. Jackson too quickly.

You Just Got Schooled – Without a logical choice for learning in Daylight, I decided to watch this documentary about The Roller Blade Seven (and its sequel). You can get the gist of this bizarre documentary and Zen Filmmaking as a whole in the first five minutes, it is pretty much explained in the opening crawl and the whole thing is boring and awful. Some other interesting bits: The film was entirely filmed at Golden Hour, which means it took a lot longer to finish that I would have thought at first glance. The roller cam is pretty funny and works well for the film as a whole. In a different universe these guys are genuinely funny guys making an interesting art film, but with the early-90s Hollywood quality it is just … a bit sad? The dog collar, the outfits they are wearing, the fake reporters, the chosen location. The experience of watching this “film” is very much like the tuxedo scene in Step Brothers: “Oh I get it, it’s ironic, that’s funny, that’s cool, I’m into it, let’s do this … [watches the filmmaking documentary] Oh … nope, now this all seems pretty fucked up to be honest.” … I think it now gets a B as a friend.

Phew, what a combo! Already loving this cycle. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Daylight Preview

Jacked in and jacked up, Rich and Poe zoom about cyberspace looking for the FangTime2000 virus. Soon a group of lawnmower men come into view and Rich and Poe use their cyberlasers to take them out, with a little kungfu to boot. As they get the final lawnmower man into a devastating headlock Gruber zooms into view, “Rich and Poe, my my, aren’t we the clever ones. Figure out my plan and stop the lawnmower men, all without getting killed… until now.” He’s got a gun! Could this be the end, could Gruber actually win? “Gruber, there’s always one thing you underestimate about us,” Rich says as Gruber sneers at him. Poe nods back at Rich, “the power of friendship.” Gruber laughs at the absurdity of friendship in the face of his gun. But suddenly a beam of light bursts from his chest. As his body is sucked of life it’s revealed that Brock, Bryce, and Blaze have unleashed the virus on him. They all come together for a big bro-hug and freeze frame on their smiling faces. THE END.

Jamie finishes the script with tears in his eyes. It’s his magnum opus… a true piece of shit. Patrick enters the room, “well, I have to hand it to you. That script is real bad. And I asked the studio whether they would agree to our terms and they said yes. There is no way that this film is anything but a disaster.” Jamie is surprised, “They agreed to our terms?… all of them?” and Patrick nods. The film will be released at midnight, January 1st playing as a required 6-hour double feature with the Sly Stallone classic Daylight. “Huh,” says Jamie. He’s starting to get a bad feeling about this. That’s right! We’re transitioning to the next cycle in the year which is the hotly anticipated Bring A Friend cycle. This year we’ve decided to highlight some of the major stars in Hollywood and their… less successful siblings. So starting it off with Sly Stallone in Daylight (also featuring Renoly Santiago aka Phreak from Hackers) paired with The Roller Blade Seven starring his brother Frank. This friend is actually a film I’ve been aware of since my grad school days, but only now pulled the trigger on getting it. Hope it lives up to the hype. Let’s go!

Daylight (1996) – BMeTric: 35.7 

DaylightIMDb_BMeT

DaylightIMDb_RV

(Rather interesting how much is has regressed over the years. Seemed to stick to a low 5’s value for a few years there, and now it is almost 6.0. If it ever hits that it’ll look like a genuine good movie! That’s be weird.)

Leonard Maltin – 3 stars –  Good old-fashioned disaster movie, built on a formulaic foundation. Stallone is a disgraced Emergency Medical Services worker who springs into action when a huge explosion cripples a tunnel under N.Y.C.’s Hudson River, with a handful of survivors inside. Great stunts and special effects. That’s Sly’s son Sage as a cocky young scam artist being taken to prison.

(Wow. That is a decent review. It kind of makes me interested in watching this film again. Weirdly Jamie claims he’s never seen this, but I swear I’ve seen this film multiple times. So it’ll be interesting to see if he suddenly remembers bits and pieces of this film during the rewatch.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRWIfCpxNK4/

(Oh boy the deep voiced “there was a time” guy. That set looks bomb by the way. The movie looks dumb as shit. But that set? It looks bomb.)

Directors – Rob Cohen – (Known For: DragonHeart; xXx; The Hurricane Heist; Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story; Future BMT: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor; The Skulls; BMT: The Boy Next Door; Stealth; Alex Cross; Daylight; The Fast and the Furious; Notes: Has directed over 150 commercial spots in his career. He graduated from Harvard University.)

Writers – Leslie Bohem (written by) – (Known For: Twenty Bucks; Future BMT: The Darkest Hour; A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child; Nowhere to Run; Tracers; Dante’s Peak; House III: The Horror Show; The Alamo; BMT: Daylight; Notes: Played bass for the 80’s bands Gleaming Spires and the Sparks.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Creed II; Rocky; Creed; First Blood; Rocky Balboa; The Expendables; Escape Plan; Rocky III; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Rocky II; The Expendables 2; Cliffhanger; Bullet to the Head; Antz; Cop Land; Nighthawks; Death Race 2000; Escape to Victory; Future BMT: Escape Plan II; Staying Alive; Rocky V; D-Tox; Escape Plan 3; The Specialist; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Avenging Angelo; Rambo III; Backtrace; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Oscar; Rocky IV; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Driven; Zookeeper; Get Carter; Rhinestone; Judge Dredd; Cobra; Over the Top; Daylight; The Expendables 3; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Demolition Man; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actor for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Winner for Worst Actor in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1989 for Rambo III; and in 1993 for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Spy Kids 3: Game Over in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990 for Cobra, Cobra, Lock Up, Lock Up, Over the Top, Over the Top, Rambo III, Rambo III, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rhinestone, Rocky IV, and Tango & Cash; Nominee for Worst Director for The Expendables in 2011; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1986 for Rocky IV; in 1987 for Cobra; in 1989 for Rambo III; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1994 for Cliffhanger; and in 2002 for Driven; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1987 for Cobra; in 1988 for Over the Top; in 1990 for Lock Up, and Tango & Cash; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for The Specialist; in 1996 for Assassins, and Judge Dredd; in 1997 for Daylight; in 2001 for Get Carter; and in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999; Notes: His daughter Sistine Rose Stallone just acted in her first feature film! 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. I was kind of hoping it would end up at BMT, but it ended up being too goo.)

Amy Brenneman – (Known For: Heat; Casper; Fear; A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Jane Austen Book Club; City of Angels; Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her; Words and Pictures; The Face of Love; Mother and Child; Nine Lives; Your Friends & Neighbors; Off the Map; Future BMT: The Suburbans; Downloading Nancy; BMT: 88 Minutes; Daylight; Bye Bye Love; Notes: Most famous for starring in the television show Judging Amy. She also played a character named Amy in an episode of Murder She Wrote.)

Viggo Mortensen – (Known For: Green Book; The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; Captain Fantastic; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; The Road; Witness; Carlito’s Way; Eastern Promises; A History of Violence; A Perfect Murder; Crimson Tide; G.I. Jane; A Dangerous Method; On the Road; The Prophecy; The Two Faces of January; Appaloosa; The Portrait of a Lady; Hidalgo; Future BMT: Psycho; Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; Boiling Point; 28 Days; Fresh Horses; The Passion of Darkly Noon; The Young Americans; Good; Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory; Todos tenemos un plan; BMT: Daylight; Notes: Nominated for three Oscars for Eastern Promises, Captain Fantastic, and Green Book.)

Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $33,023,469 (Worldwide: $159,212,469)

(A pretty big underperformance. You can psych yourself into the worldwide gross, but that domestic take is pitiful.)

#29 for the Disaster genre

daylight_disaster

(Our eleventh disaster film right around Geostorm. Came out during the big disaster film peak. We were in a new peak for a bit up through 2016, but I think we’ve kind of coming out of it (as long as you don’t count creature features like Godzilla or some superhero films))

Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (10/40): The opening’s got a great fiery explosion and Stallone puts in another earnest, sympathetic performance, but all else in Daylight feels designed to annoy the audience into submission.

(Some of these reviews are killer. Just dunking on Stallone left and right. Reviewer Highlight: “Daylight” is the cinematic equivalent of a golden oldies station, where you never encounter anything you haven’t grown to love over the years. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – SklogLight (B)

daylight

(I find the title and poster of this film confusing. Clearly people are trapped in an underwater tunnel… so like… what’s the daylight that we’re seeing? Particularly given the implication of the tagline. Anyway, font is boring but the coloring is fun. And nice spacing and artistic quality.)

Tagline(s) – Hold your breath (C)

(This is pretty boring and still somewhat confusing. Are they holding their breath because the tunnel is sealed and they’re running out of oxygen? Wouldn’t that take a while? The tunnel is gigantic. Or are they swimming because the tunnel is filling up with water? Then where is the daylight? I’m still not sure what this film is about.)

Keyword(s) – underwater scene; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.1 The Last Airbender (2010); 89.0 House of the Dead (2003); 88.8 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997); 87.8 BloodRayne (2005); 85.9 Piranha 3DD (2012); 78.9 Jason X (2001); 78.0 Shark Night 3D (2011); 75.4 Elektra (2005); 73.0 Anaconda (1997); 72.2 A Sound of Thunder (2005);

(Noice. Just have to get on our trashy horror films / bad creature features and we’ll be done. A fantastic list though and I do believe all of these films have an underwater scene.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Amy Brenneman is No. 2 billed in Daylight and No. 4 billed in 88 Minutes, which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 4 + 3 + 1 = 10. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.

Notes – One reason Sylvester Stallone agreed to act in this movie was to help him overcome his fear of confined spaces. He’d agreed to appear in Cliffhanger (1993) to help him overcome his fear of heights. (As good a reason as any I suppose)

Sylvester Stallone was paid 17.5 million dollars to appear in this film.

Sylvester Stallone said this would be his last action film because he was getting too old for the genre. (That didn’t work out)

Rob Cohen originally wanted Nicolas Cage to play Kit Latura. Universal execs felt he was more of a “character actor”, and Sylvester Stallone was more commercially viable. (FALSE)

Sylvester Stallone’s son, Sage Stallone, plays Vincent.

The tunnel sequences were filmed in Rome’s Cinecitta Studios, on a set a third of a mile long. Cinecitta was chosen as the main studio set because of its enormous floodable sound stages. (Cool)

Whilst shooting in Rome, Sylvester Stallone insisted on staying at the luxurious Excelsior Hotel which charged 3,600 dollars a night. The Rome shoot lasted 3 months. (Lol well you do you Sly)

Before he was cast in Daylight, Sylvester Stallone was involved in another two movie projects. One was an action disaster thriller titled “No Safe Haven”, and he was going to play disgraced ex marine who visits his mother on Martha’s Vineyard at the same time when president and his family are there on vacation. But then the militia-like cult shows up and the members of it take over entire island, but president manages to escape and he and marine then join up to fight against cult members and save his family, and entire film would take place during large hurricane. Despite Universal studio spending $300,000 on buying the script after six hours long bidding war with other studios for it, “No Safe Haven” was cancelled very early in pre-production.The second project Stallone was involved in was another action thriller titled “High Roller”. Written by screenwriter J.F. Lawton, who wrote Steven Seagal’s action hit Under Siege (1992), High Roller was described as “Die Hard in a casino”, and it was about ex-hitman who has to fight against mobsters and his former boss inside huge Las Vegas casino which they took over and kidnapped the owner, and not only that he has to save the owner but he and some down on his luck gambler who got involved into entire thing by accident also must protect casino owner’s daughter from mobsters.The script for the film was sold for $1 million against $2.5 million in mid 1995 to Savoy Pictures studio who were in financial problems, which is why they disagreed with Stallone’s $20 million contract to star in the film, so he went on to make Daylight while they cancelled High Roller which, following the bankruptcy of their studio, was never again attempted to be made into a film, even though various studios tried to buy the rights for it in 1996 after Savoy Pictures went bankrupt. (MV Alert! I’m leaving it all in, it is just too interesting)

All the vehicles were shipped to Italy for filming in Rome. An on-set advisor was on hand to authenticate everything, including the paperwork on some of the office desks. (Fun facts)

Max Allan Collins wrote a novelization of the film. (I know what I’m getting Jamie for Christmas this year)

Both Daylight and Dante’s Peak were written by Leslie Bohem. In both movies, the audience is lead to believe the dog has died after it disappears, but in both films the dog reappears later and ultimately survives. (Good, I hate it when dogs die)

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing (Richard L. Anderson, David A. Whittaker, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1997)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Bruce Roberts, 1997)

Medicine Man Recap

Jamie

Dr. Rae Crane is tasked by her company to find Dr. Robert Campbell, who has holed up deep in the rainforest. When she arrives, he claims to have found a cure for cancer so she decides to give him a chance… but they may not have that long with a new road being built nearby. Can they find the cure (and perhaps love) before it’s too late? Find out in… Medicine Man.

How?! Dr. Crane is looking for Dr. Campbell at the behest of a pharmaceutical company. He has requested a new assistant and gas chromatograph deep in the Amazonian rain forest. When she shows up he’s all like “you aren’t qualified,” but that’s sexist and Dr. Crane ain’t having any of it. She shows her stuff and duly impressed Dr. Campbell shows her what he has: a cure for motherf’n cancer made from a rainforest flower, babbbby. So we all kinda forgive him for being a total asshole. Unfortunately he hasn’t been able to replicate his initial findings, called compound 37. In their quest to find the secret they learn to live and love again… but also that a logging road is getting dangerously close to the village and they don’t have much time. To add to the pressure, a child in the village gets cancer and needs the last sample in order to survive. Not willing to give it up Dr. Crane convinces Dr. Campbell to seek out the old Medicine Man. That Medicine Man totally gives them the secret, but they are a couple of dopes but don’t get the hint and use the sample on the child anyway. Just when everything seems lost they discover the secret: it wasn’t the flower at all but the bugs that lived in them (what a twist!). But then everything is still lost because a bunch of bulldozers come into town and start a fire and burn down everything. Noooooo! Not willing to give up Dr. Crane and Dr. Campbell go with the tribe in search of the flower and leave their lives behind. THE END.

Why?! Uh, to cure cancer, duh. Nice MacGuffin alert for Compound 37 here, but there is also the underlying theme of protecting the indiginous populations of the rainforest. Not only from the people building the road, but also from disease if too many people move into the area. That’s why, in the end, Dr. Campbell decides to be so secretive about the cure for cancer. Even though the company would give him everything he wants (and probably pay the logging company to stall the road building in the area) if they knew about it, he already knows from experience that it would be even more devastating to the tribe if he allowed that to happen. He had that happen before and the guilt he felt for bringing disease to the tribe destroyed his life and marriage. So basically he’s not an asshole at all, just a lovely curmudgeon looking out for the well-being of all. Hooray.

Who?! Very small cast and unfortunately Sean Connery doesn’t have to call up the Prez to get the road through Brazil delayed. Just him and Bracco chumming it up. The only truly interesting thing is that concurrent to its release it seemed like it was pretty well known that Tony and Academy Award winning playwright Tom Stoppard did uncredited rewrites on the script (which he did fairly frequently apparently). This normally makes its way into IMDb at some point, but not in this case. But by all accounts it’s true. 

What?! All of these latter categories are going to be so boring because the film is set in the middle of nowhere and is so tiny. Like obviously they aren’t snapping into some Slim Jims in the middle of a jungle. But for the low low price of $450 you can get the bird mask that Sean Connery is wearing when we are introduced to his character. Complete with a certificate of authenticity. Wonder why Planet Hollywood is willing to part with such a gem.

Where?! It actually isn’t explicitly stated that this film is set in Brazil, I don’t think. But it’s pretty obvious for a number of reasons. I’m sure based on some of the towns mentioned by Connery that it’s for sure (and obviously the location is somewhat necessary to the plot), so I’ll still give this a C.

When?! I actually think this might be the first film where I could honestly say that there might be absolutely no indication of when it takes place in the entire film… literally no chance of figuring it out. I just can’t even imagine why they would have needed to let you know what the date was… it’s in the jungle. Don’t even have newspapers. Time is totally irrelevant. I guess maybe if I got one of their prop lab notebooks. F.

I can totally understand why this film was made and why Sean Connery and Lorrainne Bracco made it. It’s a classic character study and actor-driven film in the same vein as The African Queen. Exotic location, main love interest (?) who is kind of a dick, and a strong woman protagonist who is a little bit out of her element (a fish out of water, you might say. I just coined that). So I can see why people wanted to make this film and really sink their teeth into a role like this. However… there are some flaws (gasp). FIrst of all, both of their characters are kind of caricatures. She’s a loud and brash New Yorker that is more stereotypical than necessary (given that she’s a very well qualified scientist) and he’s pretty much a bore. Second, and probably the most BMT thing about the film, the twist regarding the bugs being the actual cure is so airmailed and obvious that it borders on ridiculous. Other than those two things, though, I found the film to be pleasant enough to watch… the location in itself was interesting enough for me to be engaged throughout. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Let’s hop into a time machine to when people fundamentally didn’t understand cancer and thought we’d find just like … some random chemical that cures what is effectively like a hundred different diseases. Like that makes sense. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I was very surprised to see this was a McTiernan film. Die Hard, Predator, The Hunt for Red October, he’s smashed out some classics in his time. As a matter of fact there are only three films he directed that I haven’t seen. The most interesting is Nomads which appears to be a horror film that was not released widely, only 500 or so theaters in total. But we are on track to finish his filmography, and this is just a step along the way. Quite a different project to his three famous films though, and not surprising that apparently audiences were annoyed that it wasn’t an action or thriller, but instead a romantic drama.

The Good – I think the first half of the film is very interesting. It is a pretty rare genre, the medical genre. Lorenzo’s Oil comes to mind. Concussion. I Already Work Around the Clock: The Movie (I think it was released as Extraordinary Measures in the States). If you can excuse the overacting from Bracco a bit, I actually think it is quite good. Inverts the White Savior trope as well. Instead of Connery ultimately saving the tribe, he is hoping the tribe can help him save humanity. I like the medical stuff even if it was all a bit nonsense.

The Bad – They completely telegraph the ending of the film, to the point that you wonder if these literal genius-level scientists are in fact dumb people. They aren’t, but the twist is. Also, I could be wrong, but I think the kid who got cancer near the end was eating ants earlier in the film, which, if I know my fake-Medicine-Man-biology means he should have been immune to cancer. Whatever. Bracco’s character is written to be incredibly brash, and I don’t think it works the way it was intended, instead it just results in Bracco yelling a lot for mostly no good reason. A more clever twist and I think this film would have been fine though.

The BMT – I think this is a very specific genre, and could maybe be mentioned alongside Extraordinary Measures eventually as far as bad medical dramas. At the same time I don’t think I would really recommend the film as a bad movie in any capacity, which is usually how I judge these things. I can’t even think of a scene I would show anyone.

Roast-radamus – This is certainly a Setting as a Character (Where?) for Brazil and the Amazon rainforest in general. And arguably a great MacGuffin (Why?), with the cure for cancer (all cancer!) being the Maltese Falcon that the protagonists are going for. And definitely a Worst Twist (How?) for the ultimate conclusion of ants being the cure for cancer … a full half hour after they give you a close up shot of ants crawling all over the magical cancer curing plant. Pretty good line up there, but nothing for good, bad, or BMT I think.

StreetCreditReport.com – Not surprisingly the only cred here is, again, from Siskel and Ebert’s worst of list for 1992. There is this bizarre list from IndieWire which puts it at the 52nd best movie of the 90s … that’s a stretch. I’m actually not sure if Reverse Shot is supposed to be a joke of some kind? Johnny Mnemonic at number 4 feels a tad bit high. I also found it on a list of Left-Wing films for its environmental message. Doesn’t seem to be on any worst or best of environmental lists either.

You Just Got Schooled – There isn’t really a good movie to do alongside this one, so let’s highlight a little fun fact. On the Medicine Man wiki page the first citation is an LA Times article concerning someone suing the production for stealing their film idea. The person suing was, in fact, Wilburn H. Ferguson, a 1930s Amazonian explorer and doctor who came back from the Amazon claiming to have found a cure for cancer (called the Jivaro Head Shrinking Compound, and indeed the Jivaro tribe is one of the few well known head shrinking tribes in the world). Ferguson alleged that he sat down with executives in 1988 and described his story Tsanza, which is the native term for head shrinking, but they passed and independently produced Medicine Man. Not surprisingly, there is no evidence that the concoction that Ferguson sold in the 50s treated cancer. Interestingly the wiki page seems to suggest the film is instead based on the exploits of Richard Evans Schultes, who is considered the father of ethnobotany.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Medicine Man Quiz

Uh oh. In addition to forgetting the cure for cancer, I also drank too much native Amazonian alcohol during the celebration last night. Can you help me remember what happened in Medicine Man?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) When Bracco finds Connery in the rainforest he’s celebrating with his Amazonian friends. He’s decided to get shit faced and dress up as an animal. What animal?

2) The problem is that Connery has forgotten the cure for cancer! Whoops! He keeps making the solution, but none of them have the mystical peak 37 which is, of course, everything. What is the serum made from? In the end what was the actual source of peak 37?

3) Connery is naturally a tragic hero. What is he beating himself up over, so badly that even his wife is like “for reals, get over it”?

4) In addition to the frustrations that forgetting the cure for cancer poses (again, whoops), there is also an increasingly pressing issue facing Connery and the tribe. What is it?

5) In the movie two people in the tribe get cancer, despite the fact that Connery specifically sought out the tribe because they had an unusually low cancer rate. Why did these two people get cancer then?

Answers

Medicine Man Preview

“My son?” Poe gasps as he gazes upon Jim McBrawn. Now that he’s looking closer he can see his own features reflected back at him and the features of… “my God, Teri,” he whispers. He looks up at Rich who nods. With that Poe and Jim McBrawn embrace, “I’ve missed so much,” Poe says with tears in his eyes. “There’s… there’s still time,” Jim McBrawn says, eyes glistening as he pulls out a baseball mitt. We see them play some catch. We see Poe teach Jim how to ride a bike. We see them team up to karate chop Dark Gruber into submission. With his dying breath he gasps, “you… you defeated me. I never thought you would discover my only weakness… the power of love.” No time to gloat, though, Rich needs their help. They hop onto the computer system and dual hack their way into the shuttle’s mainframe. “Rich, the shuttle is compromised. You’ll never make it back… unless.” They hack some more and discover that the shuttle has an onboard helicopter-submarine. “Rich,” Poe says, “you think you can drive this thing?” With that Rich smiles, “I can drive anything.” With that he begins an uncontrolled descent to Earth. Only through fancy maneuvers and Tokyo drifts is he able to aim the helicopter-submarine for the New Orleans aquarium. Putting on the reverse thrusters just at the right moment he is able to crash dive his way into the penguin tank and comes out unscathed. Worldwide heroes, Rich and Poe stand contemplatively, looking into the distance. “I think I kinda like this,” Poe says, “I might just unretire… partner?” But Rich shakes his head and looks back at Jade. “Nah, I think it’s time for a change myself. Jade and I are getting married… but I’ll give you a ring if I ever need any help… partner.” And with that they clasp their hands. THE END

Jamie and Patrick look at each other. The script is horrible. But a part of them is still worried. “We need something to make sure people hate this… you thinking what I’m thinking?” And Jamie nods, “let’s destroy some rain forest.” That’s right! We’re transitioning from Siskel and Ebert’s worst of the year into a cycle centered around Hackers. The cycle will feature actors from the film Hackers and starts with Medicine Man which features Lorraine Bracco. It was also one of Ebert’s worst of 1992. Let’s go!

Medicine Man (1992) – BMeTric: 28.3 

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(Standard regression to the mean thee. And I think that is likely just because the film is mostly forgotten? Who in the world besides absolute lunatics is like “man, I want to see Medicine Man starring Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco, I haven’t seen that in years!”?)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Connery plays a research scientist, sequestered in the Brazilian rain forest, who’s found the cure for cancer – but can’t duplicate it. Bracco is his brainy superior from the U.S. who’s come to check up on him. Connery carried this movie singlehandedly, and as usual he’s commanding to watch, but the film is weak, and Bracco’s abrasive performance (and poorly written character) practically sinks it.

(There are a lot of weird choices here. Not conjoining “rain forest”, and not splitting singlehandedly in some way in particular just seems odd. Connery carried this review, the odd spelling / grammar choices almost sink it (heyoooooooooo, love you Leonard).)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQs9NrHc7qo/

(Ooooo looks exciting. I’m not joking. I’m actually pretty excited to watch this weird film.)

Directors – John McTiernan – (Known For: Die Hard; Predator; The Hunt for Red October; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; The Thomas Crown Affair; Future BMT: Nomads; Last Action Hero; Basic; BMT: Rollerball; Medicine Man; The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Last Action Hero in 1994; Notes: We’ve been kind of all up in John McTiernan recently with Jamie doing a submarine podcast (Submersion) and specifically The Hunt for Red October, and watching the Predator remake last year. And why not: notable for going to prison for a year for illegal wiretapping.)

Writers – Tom Schulman (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Dead Poets Society; Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; What About Bob?; Future BMT: Holy Man; 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag; Second Sight; BMT: Welcome to Mooseport; Medicine Man; Notes: Won an Oscar for Dead Poets Society, it was his former teacher, Sam Pickering, that was the inspiration for Robin William’s character.)

Sally Robinson (screenplay) – (Known For: A Far Off Place; BMT: Medicine Man; Notes: Mostly known for television work. Appears to have retired to some degree in 2014.)

Actors – Sean Connery – (Known For: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; The Longest Day; Highlander; The Rock; The Hunt for Red October; The Untouchables; A Bridge Too Far; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Goldfinger; Thunderball; The Name of the Rose; Dr. No; Murder on the Orient Express; Never Say Never Again; Diamonds Are Forever; From Russia with Love; You Only Live Twice; DragonHeart; Time Bandits; Zardoz; Future BMT: Meteor; The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Family Business; Rising Sun; A Good Man in Africa; Entrapment; Just Cause; The Man with the Deadly Lens; Sir Billi; BMT: The Avengers; Highlander II: The Quickening; Medicine Man; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Avengers in 1999; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Entrapment in 2000; Notes: Y’all know Sean Connery. Former Mr. Universe turned actor, he is nearly 90 years old.)

Lorraine Bracco – (Known For: Goodfellas; The Basketball Diaries; Sea of Love; Riding in Cars with Boys; Someone to Watch Over Me; The Dream Team; The Pick-up Artist; Being Human; Sing; Death of a Dynasty; Future BMT: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues; Switch; Hackers; Traces of Red; BMT: Medicine Man; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress in 1993 for Medicine Man, and Traces of Red; Notes: Was married to Edward James Olmos for years. She moved to France to become a model at 20, and was once asked to pose nude for Salvador Dali (she refused).)

José Wilker – (Known For: O Homem do Ano; BMT: Medicine Man; Notes: An extremely accomplished Brazilian actor who is often cast in Soap Operas and brought in to comment on film festivals in his home country. I like when they snap up actors like this for American films when opportunity arises.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $45,500,797

(Not nearly as bad as you would think … like how did Medicine Man manage to make $45 million again? That makes no sense to me.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (4/21)

(Noice, let’s make one: Great vistas, fine Connery, awful Bracco. A weak rip off of Indiana Jones. Reviewer Highlight: If this had been some dumb adventure movie, it would probably have been terrific. Alas, it is a “relationship” movie, told along lines of timeworn weariness, and since that is not bad enough, it also throws in several Serious Issues for the characters to discuss. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Romancing the Sklog (C-)

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(Oh boy. I mean, that actually makes me sad. I can’t even imagine who this is meant to entice. Nice font though… unique font goes a long way for me.)

Tagline(s) – He turned his back on civilization. Only to discover he had the power to save it. (C-)

(Too long but has a small amount of cleverness mixed with plot. But are we sure this is the plot of the film? Isn’t more that he turned his back on civilization because he has the power to save it? The curse of having already watched the film.)

Keyword(s) – deforestation; Top Ten by BMeTric: 72.3 The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000); 52.9 The Green Inferno (2013); 37.5 Fire on the Amazon (1993); 37.1 Forest Warrior (1996); 34.4 The Hallow (2015); 32.9 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016); 32.8 The Green Berets (1968); 28.3 Medicine Man (1992); 23.8 Rio 2 (2014); 21.3 The Lorax (2012);

(Amazing this film is on this list. And amazing we haven’t seen any of the other films! Although I’m seen TMNT 2. Fire on the Amazon looks ridiculous … doesn’t qualify.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sean Connery is No. 1 billed in Medicine Man and No. 2 billed in Highlander 2: The Quickening, which also stars Virginia Madsen (No. 3 billed) who is in Firewall (No. 3 billed), which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 2 + 3 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 16. If we were to watch Rising Sun, Murder at 1600, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 11.

Notes – Sir Sean Connery’s hairstyle in this movie was based upon Composer Jerry Goldsmith’s well-known ponytail. Meeting him at a cocktail party, Connery started the conversation by saying, “I want your hair.” Goldsmith replied, “You can’t have it, it’s mine.” Connery, and even the producers, felt Goldsmith’s “pulled back ponytail” fit the character of Robert Campbell very well. (Noice)

Lorraine Bracco turned down the role of Catwoman/Selina Kyle in Batman Returns (1992) to do this movie. (Well … good, Michelle Pfeiffer is the greatest character ever put to screen in a Batman film. Fact.)

Sir Sean Connery’s salary for this movie was ten million dollars.

While promoting the movie on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), Sir Sean Connery stated that he would start each day playing a round of golf. He carried his own club and played at such a pace that the younger cast and crew members playing with him could not keep up. (His own “club” … I hope that isn’t a mistake and Sean Connery literally plays golf using a single club. Probably what? A five iron?)

This script became the subject of a heated bidding war when it was simply titled “The Stand”.

Tom Schulman was paid three million dollars for his script.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Lorraine Bracco, 1993)

Vampire in Brooklyn Recap

Jamie

Maximillian is the last vampire in the world and he’s in search of a mate. Turns out Detective Rita Veder is the gal for him and half-vampire to boot. Can her and her partner stop Max from seducing her to the dark side before it’s too late? Find out in… Vampire in Brooklyn.

How?! Maximillian is a vampire in the Caribbean. Looking for his half-vampire bride, he travels to Brooklyn, killing a boat-full of people along the way. These deaths are investigated by Det. Rita Veder who, unbeknownst to her, is a half-vampire (what a coincidence!). Realizing she is his one true love, Max set out to woo her with his dancing skillz. Unfortunately Rita’s partner, aptly named Justice, is in love with her too and cock-blocks Max at every turn. Frustrated and angry Max starts to pull out all the tricks. In a really dark psychological turn, he employs manipulative tricks to try to isolate Rita to the point where she would want to give up everything and go with him (to the world of the undead, but he doesn’t tell her that). He seduces and kills her roommate and convinces Rita that her partner actually had sex with her. He transforms into a preacher and convinces her that her faith wants her to be evil. He transforms into a stereotype of an Italian gangster to further convince her that Justice is bad. Finally, he pretends to save her from a runaway cab and at her lowest convinces her to go to dinner with him. This dinner ends up being the first step to Rita becoming a vampire as she dances the night away. The next night Justice is shocked to find Rita all over him… but, like, in a vampire way, and he finds out that he’s got one last chance to save her. He’s got to stop her from feeding. Confronting Rita and Max, Justice is subdued, but at the last moment Rita retains her humanity and kills Max with a magic dagger (oh I forgot, there’s a magic dagger). With that Justice and Rita kiss (and presumably make some ¼ vampire babies), while Max’s ghoul, Julius, turns into a vampire for a sequel. THE END.

Why?! For love, baby. Or at least for trying to bring vampires back from the brink of extinction. Max is actually the last vampire in the world and needs to find his bride in order to help make more vampires. Apparently this will allow him to speed up the process… or perhaps they actually will just have a whole bunch of vampire babies. Hard to tell because at the end we see Max’s ghoul become a vampire without Max having to procreate in any way. As for Rita and Justice it’s both for love, but also to bring closure for Rita. She has always thought her mom was insane and feared that she would go insane too, but is probably relieved to find that it’s just because her mom boned a vampire and she’s half-vampire. Phew.

Who?! Obviously this stars major singing superstar Eddie Murphy. Seriously though I would hear an argument that Julius was actually a Planchet, although I don’t think he’s really competent enough. There has to be an element of unjust hate to a Planchet. There is an odd cameo in the film as Ray Combs, host of Family Feud, actually filmed a short spoof of the show specifically for this film.

What?! I do love looking for props. If this were 2013 I could be sporting a sweet black and red vampire coat worn in the film. Damn. I’d look real rad in that. Also, like Julius above, I think there is an argument that the magic dagger could mean something for BMT, but just not prominent enough to be notable.

Where?! It’s been a second since our last A+ Setting Alert! This obviously starts and end entirely in Brooklyn and it is a very large and essential part of the plot. I give it a bing thumbs up. A+.

When?! I searched twice through the film trying to find this, but alas could not. I’m not going to say it’s impossible since portions of the film take place in a police station (and there are always calendars floating around those sets), but it would be very hard and probably would take a while for me to figure out. F.

Meh, I mean the film is not very good. It’s much more a horror film than any other genre and Murphy seems to be unwilling to be even remotely funny in his role as Max. Likely purposefully so as this was also reportedly the case for Beverly Hills Cop III. Sounds like he was just trying to get out of his studio deal at that point. Only when he transforms into the preacher or Italian gangster does he let loose and both of those characters are offensive and have hands down the worst makeup jobs I’ve ever seen. It’s actually crazy just how bad the makeup is in this film. You know how bad it is? It’s so bad that I’m talking about the makeup. Anyway, I had high hopes for this film, but it’s hard to get excited when Murphy is so flat. The only good thing I can think about it is the kinda crazy psychological tools used by Max in the film… which was actually real creepy the more you think about it. The true horror was within humanity the whole time! *gasp* Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Watching Eddie Murphy films is just part of the life of any bad movie aficionado. You tick them off like a list of chores. Time for the Dracula one … let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – By far the most fascinating thing going into the watch was the directing / acting combination. The notes provide a contradictory story of Wes Craven either being annoyed with Murphy for making it too comedic, or being the one that insisted that it not be so serious. So dissecting which seemed to be right was going to be priority number one. This is also is another Murphy film where he plays multiple characters, so the makeup was also of great interest. I always go to bat for the make up in Norbit which is incredible.

The Good – I think there is a solid story deep within this film. The story of a desperate vampire facing mortality for the first time in hundreds of years, and the danger that poses to not only civilians, but also “creatures” like a half-vampire who wouldn’t really know who she was unless this situation arose. Julius and Silas showed what the silliest version of the film could be, and honestly the biggest crime is that they didn’t choose a side. The silly Julius / Silas version wasn’t that bad if it was actually funny.

The Bad – The movie is kind of a blah nothing film. Very very straightforward, nothing really complicated, and shockingly nothing to add to the vampire films that came before it. It either should have been funnier or scarier, but much like most genre mash-em-ups it manages to merely be poor examples of both genres. Murphy really doesn’t do much, but I think that is intentional, I think he was intending on playing a serious role and only punched things up after Craven asked him to be more “vulnerable”. For whatever reason he seemed to take that to mean “add jokes” when in reality I think Craven had an idea of playing it as a different type of vampire. A vampire facing death and acting recklessly. Craven was right, but I don’t think Murphy’s acting was poor per se. Oh … the makeup is atrocious, I’m not sure how that happened when they would end up making Nutty Professor the next year. Jesus, how could I forget Guido! Just another in a long line of genuinely racist caricatures played by Eddie Murphy. Fantastic. Now that you string them all together you can see why this is considered a terrible film …

The BMT – It has to be a BMT film because it is a poorly received film starring Eddie Murphy. But I don’t think I would ever recommend it or watch it again. At least not without a reason (like … if I’m watching a vampire movie marathon pairing this with Blacula could be a fun then-and-now version of what was originally a blaxploitation idea: Black Dracula). But no, beyond checking off another box in Murphy’s filmography it won’t last in my mind.

Roast-radamus – Obviously we got an A+ Setting (Where?) with Brooklyn right in the title and very much acting as a character. Surprisingly Julius is a decent Planchet (Who?) as Max rips on him throughout the film. I think that is it though. No real twist, and I doubt it’ll get either Good, Bad, or BMT in the final awards either. Pretty weak.

StreetCreditReport.com – I’m not surprised it didn’t get any play for 1995 itself, but it does get the second worst vampire film according to Screencrush. I think that is a bit high (it didn’t even make the other worst-of list for vampire lists I found). You can read around how people consider this a cult classic now for all of the obvious reasons: Murphy’s acting, Craven’s directing, and the on-screen chemistry of the leads.

Good Movie Twins – New game for when I feel up for an extra movie … which won’t be often. As an extra vampire film I settled on From Dusk Till Dawn as that was a similar mash up, a kind of crime thriller thing with the vampire horror exploitation thing. And honestly … the first half is way better than the second. It is a far better crime thriller than exploitation horror. The vampire design was garbage, and it didn’t really have anything interesting to say from a vampire perspective. Having just read ‘salem’s Lot, it is pretty sad that a 40 year old book brings more interesting ideas to vampire lore than basically any movie I’ve seen concerning them. I mostly agree with the New York Times, the effort was mostly sophomoric and leaned too heavily into the exploitation part of things. I’ll be watching more vampire films I think, we have Dracula 2000 (and 3000) coming up, what better time to do Bram Stoker’s Dracula?

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Vampire in Brooklyn Preview

Jamie stares, mouth agape, as Santa recounts his gritty origin story. Long ago the Coca-Cola Corporation devised an advertising scheme around a jolly man in a red suit. Unbeknownst to them this was the final stage of a dark prophecy that brought him forth from Hell into this world. However, a family of elves took pity on the vile creature and decided to use him for good instead of evil. While Santa has struggled with why he was preserved and let loose on the other monsters of the realm, using his well-oiled muscles to rip them to shreds, he has come to terms with his terrible power… with that Santa takes a long satisfying sip of a Coca-Cola and looks at Jamie, who is weeping uncontrollably. Suddenly Patrick has an idea, “wait, Santa. Did you say that the Coca-Cola Corporation created you in this world using an advertising scheme in our world?” Santa nods, “and it was a truly terrible advertising scheme at that. Craven capitalist cynicism,” he says with a look of disgust on his face. Disgust that can only be washed away by the refreshing taste of a delicious Coke. Patrick shakes Jamie out of his stupor, “Don’t you see? It was within us the whole time.” Jamie nods, “You mean love?” Patrick shakes his head, “no, not love. Something even better. Bad movies. Rich and Poe aren’t here yet because our first film was a wild critical success.” Jamie’s eyes alight, “My god, a sequel… but how do we get back home so we can write it?” Patrick ponders for a second and remembers the great power he tapped into in order to save Santa. He reaches for it again, but this time the query fails. “You try,” he tells Jamie, but within him there is no light… he can only see the one in Patrick. He reaches for that and *pop* they are back in their apartment. They stare in wonder and clap hands in a manly bro hand hug. Time to get to work. They don their cable-knit sweaters, hop in their Volvo and head to Brooklyn. That’s right! We’re transitioning from the Worst Films Ever Rejects into a cycle consisting of films that Siskel and Ebert put on one of their end of year worst films lists. These leads us right to another Eddie Murphy special with Vampire in Brooklyn, his attempt to cash in on that sweet vampire money. This is also the second film where Murphy played multiple roles. In this case Maximilian, Preacher Pauly, and Guido… well that already sounds offensive. Let’s go!

Vampire in Brooklyn (1995) – BMeTric: 68.5

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(Very consistent across the years, and impressively low. Heartening. While I knew of this film obviously, it is nice to see it have a bit of cred among the people.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Sleek Caribbean vampire Murphy, to perpetuate his race, needs to persuade Brooklyn cop Bassett that she’s his soul mate. Oddball film has Murphy cracking jokes, but he’s thoroughly evil; on the other hand, it’s not scary enough to work as a horror film … and it’s overlong, to boot.

(Ah classic. This is my problem with almost all multi-genre films. It seems like it isn’t a good comedy, or a good horror film. I find that a lot of these types of films are graded on a curve as a good-for-what-it-is in that much smaller (and worse) sub-genre. There are exceptions though, like Shaun of the Dead.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qzFuLGeVGI/

(Yeah doesn’t seem very funny. Just a bunch of corny vampire jokes. And Maltin seems to be correct, it seems kind of too true to vampire lore to be anything but a horror film in spirit.)

Directors – Wes Craven – (Known For: Scream; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Scream 4; Scream 2; Red Eye; The Last House on the Left; The Hills Have Eyes; The People Under the Stairs; Swamp Thing; Paris, je t’aime; New Nightmare; The Serpent and the Rainbow; Music of the Heart; Future BMT: My Soul to Take; Cursed; The Hills Have Eyes Part II; Scream 3; Shocker; Deadly Blessing; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Deadly Friend; Notes: An original of the slasher genre, and is credited with bringing it back with the self-referential Scream series. Died in 2015.)

Writers – Eddie Murphy (story) – (Known For: Coming to America; Beverly Hills Cop II; Boomerang; BMT: Norbit; Vampire in Brooklyn; Another 48 Hrs.; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights in 1990; Winner for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit in 2008; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Nominee for Worst Director for Harlem Nights in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Norbit in 2008; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; in 2009 for Meet Dave; in 2010 for Imagine That; and in 2013 for A Thousand Words; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; and in 2009 for Meet Dave; Notes: Y’all know Eddie Murphy. It actually does seem like Coming 2 America is happening. So maybe Beverly Hills Cop 4 will as well.)

Vernon Lynch (story) – (BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Notes: Half-brother of Eddie Murphy. This was a truly a family affair.)

Charlie Murphy (story) (as Charles Murphy & screenplay) (as Charles Murphy) – (BMT: Norbit; Vampire in Brooklyn; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Norbit in 2008; Notes: We did it. Interestingly it feels like whenever Murphy is looking to be on the ropes he dusts off a script he and his brother wrote. This was the end of a long fall which ended with a tack to family friendly films with the Nutty Professor. Norbit kind of marks the end of Murphy’s second leading man career.)

Michael Lucker (screenplay) – (Known For: Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron; Home on the Range; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Notes: Wrote a bunch of those direct-to-video sequels to Disney films back in the days. Seems to produce now.)

Chris Parker (screenplay) (as Christopher Parker) – (Known For: Heaven Is for Real; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Battle of the Year; Notes: Appears to maybe be doing uncredited writing for animated films. There is little about him online.)

Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Mulan; Trading Places; Shrek; Coming to America; Beverly Hills Cop; Shrek 2; Doctor Dolittle; Shrek the Third; Shrek Forever After; Beverly Hills Cop II; The Nutty Professor; Life; Dreamgirls; Boomerang; 48 Hrs.; Tower Heist; Bowfinger; Dr. Dolittle 2; Imagine That; Future BMT: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; The Distinguished Gentleman; BMT: Norbit; The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Vampire in Brooklyn; I Spy; Beverly Hills Cop III; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child; A Thousand Words; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights in 1990; Winner for Worst Actor, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Supporting Actress for Norbit in 2008; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 2010 for I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; Nominee for Worst Director for Harlem Nights in 1990; Nominee for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Screen Couple for Norbit in 2008; Nominee for Worst Actor in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; in 2009 for Meet Dave; in 2010 for Imagine That; and in 2013 for A Thousand Words; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy, Showtime, and The Adventures of Pluto Nash; and in 2009 for Meet Dave; Notes: Apparently Pete Davidson bought a vintage magazine featuring Eddie Murphy for $45 the other day … fun.)

Angela Bassett – (Known For: Bumblebee; Black Panther; Mission: Impossible – Fallout; Contact; Kindergarten Cop; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Meet the Robinsons; Olympus Has Fallen; Boyz n the Hood; Malcolm X; Strange Days; What’s Love Got to Do with It; The Score; Notorious; White Bird in a Blizzard; Chi-Raq; Waiting to Exhale; Akeelah and the Bee; F/X; How Stella Got Her Groove Back; Future BMT: Supernova; Meet the Browns; Green Lantern; Survivor; Masked and Anonymous; Innocent Blood; Gospel Hill; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; London Has Fallen; This Means War; Notes: She’s done some voice work for Bojack Horseman. Nominated for Best Actress for What’s Love Got to Do with It.)

Allen Payne – (Known For: The Perfect Storm; New Jack City; Jason’s Lyric; CB4; A Price Above Rubies; 30 Years to Life; Future BMT: Crossover; Cookie; The Walking Dead; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Notes: Vegan. One of the star of House of Payne, appearing in 170 episodes.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $19,751,736

(That seems really low. I imagine Eddie Murphy was getting paid multiple millions of dollars to appear in it, so almost definitely a bomb.)

#30 for the Horror Comedy genre

vampireinbrooklyn_horrorcomedy

(This is what I mean, I don’t really get why they are trying to make horror-comedies happen. Blank-comedy as a genre is a cool idea. When done right it is brilliant as it is able to skewer the non-comedy genre like nothing else can (see Cabin in the Woods, Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz). But they are obviously really hard to make. Making a horror film is hard. Making a comedy is really hard. Doing both at the same time is double hard. I literally think Cabin in the Woods is the last good one from that Box Office Mojo list.)

#35 for the Vampire genre

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(We might as well ignore that graph, the giant bump is just Twilight and the copycats there. Interesting nonetheless.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (3/29): Neither scary nor very funny, this misguided effort never lives up to its premise.

(Yeah, see. The double genre ploy almost never works … except for Marvel films which manage to be not very funny comedies and just ok action films, but people kind of accept those as “good” action-comedies.)

Poster – I’m a Vampire This Time (B+)

vampire_in_brooklyn

(I think my favorite genre of film poster is the “I’m a giant star poster.” Best recent example was The Mummy, which made it seem like Tom Cruise was the titular mummy. Here we get more a story with the moon and the cityscape, but let’s not get it twisted. It’s the Eddie Murphy show and I’m excited.)

Tagline(s) – A comic tale of horror and seduction. (D)

(A lot of genres being thrown around. So it’s a comedy-horror-romance? Cool cool cool. In fact we don’t learn much about the film other than three very broad genres. Also as bland as you can make it.)

Keyword(s) – vampire; Top Ten by BMeTric: 89.1 Vampires Suck (2010); 87.7 BloodRayne (2005); 81.8 Ultraviolet (2006); 78.0 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 72.1 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011); 69.8 Stan Helsing (2009); 69.1 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 68.5 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 64.1 Dudley Do-Right (1999); 63.9 Dracula 2000 (2000);

(Wowza. We need to up our vampire game … although to be fair I’ve seen all of the Twilight films in my free time (my life!) so it really is just a matter of doing a re-watch.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Eddie Murphy is No. 1 billed in Vampire in Brooklyn and No. 1 billed in Harlem Nights, which also stars Richard Pryor (No. 2 billed) who is in Superman III (No. 2 billed), which also stars Annette O’Toole (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 7 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 5 + 7 = 18. If we were to watch The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Sonja Davis, Angela Bassett’s stunt double, died in an accident on the set. (Oh no, I forgot about this. Very sad).

On The Directors (1997), Wes Craven suggested that Eddie Murphy ignored his requests to play the character vulnerable, and felt compelled to showcase his comedic talents. (Wait a second! Later on in an interview Charlie Murphy claimed Wes Craven wanted it to be a comedy!)

Final film of Ray Combs. He died soon after.

In a November 2011 interview with “Rolling Stone”, Eddie Murphy stated that he made this movie for one reason: Paramount agreed to release The Nutty Professor (1996)’s rights in exchange for finishing his deal with the studio. Murphy also said that the wig his character wore was so awful it immediately made people despise the film. (Huh, interesting. So Murphy had the idea to basically reinvent his career prior to making the film. And then probably used his script to finish things off, see the next note).

Eddie Murphy wouldn’t write another story until Norbit (2007), twelve years later. Interestingly, his co-writer of both movies was his brother Charlie Murphy. (Yeah, again, I think they write scripts and then just leave them aside until the point where they are desperate to get something going. Murphy had had a few bad misses leading up to this).

According to Charlie Murphy, the movie was meant to be a straight horror movie with no laughs but Wes Craven brought a different focus to the film. (This contradicts the above note. I’m not sure which one I believe. This might seem unlikely, but Craven would use humor in Scream to satirize the slasher genre in Scream only a few years later)

This is Angela Bassett’s second vampire movie. She previously starred in Innocent Blood (1992). Bassett would also play a vampire many years later in season 5 of American Horror Story (2011). (That is actually kind of a fun fact)

First horror-comedy for Eddie Murphy. He would star in The Haunted Mansion (2003) eight years later. (Ooooooof, neither of those were particularly good).

“Veder” loosely translates to “Vater”, which means “Father”, in German, foreshadowing Ritas father was a vampire. (Darth Vader)