The Snowman Recap

You think you know everything there is about Harry Hole … wait, that name can’t be right? He’s called Harry Hole? Whatever, take the quiz!

Jamie

Harry Hole is a gritty Oslo detective struggling with alcoholism. When a string of murders start, he and his partner suspect it’s the work of a savage serial killer. Can they catch the monster before it’s too late? Find out in… The Snowman.

How?! Oh man, Harry Hole is such a mess. Waking up drunk, not going to work, and dealing with a break-up with his ex-girlfriend (as he struggles to continue to be in her son’s life). But he’s obviously the best goddamned police detective Oslo has, so back off! Anyway, he just needs a juicy new case to keep his head straight. Turns out this case is the work of a serial killer that his new partner is already familiar with. While Harry seems to find links between the women murdered and their personal life involving adultery and children out of wedlock, his partner becomes convinced that it’s the work of a prominent businessman in town. As they investigate each murder the killer seems to toy with Harry, sending him notes, setting him up to meet victims before they are murdered, and framing a suspect as The Snowman. This culminates in the murder of his partner by The Snowman as she attempts to further investigate the businessman. When Harry finally gets too close to the murderer it is revealed that he is his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. He has kidnapped her and her son and taken them to his childhood home. In a final confrontation The Snowman is killed by falling through the ice on a frozen river. Harry wins again just like he always does and always will in the many sequels this wildly successful film will have… jk. This was terribly boring and unsuccessful. THE END.

Why?! Due to the nature of this film this is actually difficult to answer. Harry Hole is solving the crime because he is a detective. Duh. Boring. But the killer seems to be killing women because they have affairs… or is it that they are having children out of wedlock… or is it that they are having children who never know their fathers… or is it that they are having abortions? It’s all a little murky because the killer’s MO seems to change depending on his mood. Oh yeah and he also kills random people to try to cover his tracks… whatever. It all stems from his childhood in which he was the product of a violent affair that resulted in the suicide of his mother.

What?! No major product placement or plot devices so I’ll use this space to talk about the adaptation from the book, which I read years ago. I commend them on the changes they made to fit the story to a cinematic release. It’s pretty common now to take a story with a built in fan base and adapt it straight. They certainly didn’t do that here. At the same time almost all the changes made were for the worse or at least more confusing… that’s all I got.

Who?! There is a very special thanks to Truls Kontny, head of the Film Commission Norway, for obvious reasons. I’d rather reiterate the weirdness of Val Kilmer in this film. It’s understandable but still shocking that not more was made of his involvement in the film. He obviously has been significantly impacted physically from his illness and it was at times hard to watch him struggle through his scenes. Hate to say they should have recast his part but… yes, they probably should have.

Where?! Norway, duh, they gave a special thanks to Truls Kontny after all. If they had kept the book’s ending of Harry hanging off the iconic ski jump that overlooks Oslo then this would get an A… as it is it is just heavily set in Oslo but able to be set elsewhere. Like, if this film was made 20 years ago it would have been set in Alaska and starred Sly Stallone who wouldn’t have been an alcoholic but rather addicted to health and fitness. B+.

When?! Harry buys concert tickets as a birthday present for Friday, November 21st. We see him go to the concert so all the events of the film occur on or around that day. Weird thing is that you have to jump to 2020 or go back to 2014/2008/etc. to get a November 21st on a Friday. I guess I would think maybe this took place in 2008 or before since the book was set in 2004 and written in 2007… or they didn’t really care much. B+.

The murkiness of the motivations is part of the mess that is this film. Not only does it sometimes seem like parts of the film are missing, but it also seems to mix and match it with portions of the book. This messes with the internal logic of the film because while we see some motivation of the killer derived from childhood trauma (slightly different than in the book), the rest of the murders aren’t changed significantly enough to match the new motivation. Problematic. It’s actually startling that this film was released in this state. Should have thought about reshoots maybe. It did no one any favors and seems to have harmed the reputation of a young director in the process. And I didn’t even mention Val Kilmer. Egad. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When I am shaken awake by a terrible dream, sweating in the cold moonlight, staring out into the clear London night, I tremble, my mind running a thousand miles per hour over the anxieties to come upon morning. My heartbeat slowing, I whisper to myself “At least I’m not the person who had to edit The Snowman” and fall soundlessly asleep. Let’s get into it.

The Good (Sklognalysis) – I like Fassbender and many of the side actors in the film. The vistas are beautiful, what more could you ask for? Well … we’ll get to that. But if this movie was a screensaver it would be just magnifique. Unfortunately it’s actual intention is to entertain, sooooo … A tiny Sklognalysis to end it. The rumors surrounding this movie are basically that the production started before the director even got on board, they couldn’t afford to film in Norway as long as necessary, and thus only about 85% of the script was actually filmed. This is what I would call an uneditable film. The material wasn’t there to fashion a story out of the pieces, it is an editor’s nightmare. Given the condition of Val Kilmer (his voice still recovering from throat cancer and thus totally dubbed) it is pretty obvious they were not allowed to reshoot … it is just bonkers. Just, absolutely incredible stuff. Once the Bad Movie Twins Media Empire is launched we’ll get to the bottom of these mysteries.

The Bad (Sklogcabulary Quiz) – Val Kilmer is completely dubbed in this film and barely appears in it. I needed to come up with a catchy description of what this kind of represented and settled on:

Star Poser (n.) – An actor hired to bring star power to a film who instead, ironically, ends up being the weakest part.

Val Kilmer, in this film, is a Star Poser. It is no slight to Val Kilmer, but someone had to tell him he just couldn’t do it. His voice is shot and the voiceover is just … you couldn’t find a voice actor who could kind of sound like him? It is just weird. I’ve covered it several times, but the film is just put together very very poorly. They must have just had nothing to work with because the result is kind of indescribably bad.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The legacy I think is that this is kind of a rare example of a film I watched juuust after the Razzie awards were given where I thought “huh, kind of surprising this didn’t get a nod”. Most of the time we hit the big targets, so it is pretty surprising we hit something just a little too late to put it in our current year worst at the Smaddies Baddies. And street cred? Woof. Fourth worst at both AV Club and Variety. What more could we ask for really?

I did not read the book this was based on, but I can say with assurance this was very very Norway. Continue to check out the evolving Map Streets Map Alright! as we add more European countries Sklog-packing across Europe.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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The Snowman Preview

Big week for us at BMTHQ as we transition from the adaptation cycle into the second cycle of the year which introduces a new game to BMT. That game is an extension to the wildly popular Mapl.de.map and is basically the International Mapl.de.map. It gets the Backstreet Boys inspired nickname of the Mapstreet’s Map, Alright! This whole venture will start with a focus on Europe with the Sklogs’ backpacking adventure. So we’ll attempt to hit nine films with different European settings and require that each must either be the first film we’ve watched from a particular country OR it must have a higher BMeTric score than whatever currently holds the spot on the map. Obviously the transition must be an adaptation of a book that also takes place in such a European country. And you know what that means. That’s right! We’re watching last year’s The Snowman. Based on the Jo Nesbø novel about an Oslo police officer, Harry Hole, they decided to keep the original setting (all the better for us) of Norway. It’s the first film we’ve watched for BMT that is set in Norway, so easy entry on the map, and I’ve already read the book. So basically NBD from the start. Let’s go!

The Snowman (2017) – BMeTric: 58.2

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(This is basically by definition people voting on IMDb before they saw the film. This ain’t people going to film festivals and being like “hmmm, indeed, what a coherent and affecting crime thriller, I was thoroughly enthralled throughout. Sure to be a box office sensation”. Because 8.0 is hilarious. Who are these … what? Fassbender-heads? What world are we living in where people / robots do this kind of shit?)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  In the year 2075, if man is still alive, if woman can survive, and they start writing histories of 21st century cinema, “The Snowman” will make a very excellent case study. Perhaps by that time sufficient evidence will have been gathered to explain just why a movie assembled by a group of mostly first-rate talents wound up such a soggy, slushy mess.

(Oh snap. I held off from the rest of the review because as much as they tried to avoid it the review started to get mighty close to some spoilers. And honestly, with a soggy slushy mess such as this what things to you have to look forward to beyond the obvious misdirection the filmmakers will inevitably throw at you?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF2Ksrxu_QY

(Hmmm, actually pretty intense. Considering the film is supposed to be rather boring I can’t help but think this is a ruse to get me to watch the film … worked. I even was rather intrigued when the trailer debuted and shocked by just how back the reviews were.)

Directors – Tomas Alfredson – (Known For: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; Let the Right One In; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Brother of Daniel Alfredson who directed two of the The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo films. From Sweden.)

Writers – Peter Straughan (screenplay by) – (Known For: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; The Men Who Stare at Goats; Frank; The Debt; Mrs. Ratcliffe’s Revolution; Sixty Six; Future BMT: Our Brand Is Crisis; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Possibly involved as a frequent collaborator with Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). He was nominated for an Oscar along with his lote wife Bridget O’Connor for that film.)

Hossein Amini (screenplay by) – (Known For: Drive; Snow White and the Huntsman; Our Kind of Traitor; The Two Faces of January; Killshot; The Four Feathers; The Wings of the Dove; Jude; Future BMT: 47 Ronin; Shanghai; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Iranian-British, born to an Iranian diplomat he attended boarding school in Britain and eventually went to Oxford University.)

Søren Sveistrup (screenplay by) – (BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Was the head writer on the original Dutch television show The Killing.)

Jo Nesbø (based on the novel by) – (Known For: Hodejegerne; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: He’s written a number of novels (mainly involving the detective Harry Hole), but also wrote a television series, Occupied. It involves Russia occupying Norway because Norway, citing the environment, tries to stop all oil extraction in the North Sea.)

Actors – Michael Fassbender – (Known For: Inglourious Basterds; Alien: Covenant; X-Men: Apocalypse; 12 Years a Slave; Prometheus; X: First Class; 300; X-Men: Days of Future Past; The Light Between Oceans; Shame; Song to Song; Steve Jobs; Macbeth; Jane Eyre; Eden Lake; A Dangerous Method; Frank; Centurion; Hunger; Haywire; Future BMT: The Counsellor; Assassin’s Creed; BMT: Jonah Hex; The Snowman; Notes: German-Irish he resides in London. He now has a production company called Peanut Productions.)

Rebecca Ferguson – (Known For: The Greatest Showman; The Girl on the Train; Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation; Life; Hercules; Florence Foster Jenkins; Future BMT: Despite the Falling Snow; BMT: The Snowman; Notes: Swedish-British, she speaks both languages. She came into the business through modelling.)

Charlotte Gainsbourg – (Known For: Nymphomaniac: Vol. I; Antichrist; 21 Grams; I’m Not There.; I Think We’re Alone Now; Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer; The Science of Sleep; Jane Eyre; Les fantômes d’Ismaël; The Cement Garden; Samba; 3 coeurs; The Tree; Ils se marièrent et eurent beaucoup d’enfants; La petite voleuse; Incompresa; Nuovomondo; Prête-moi ta main; Ma femme est une actrice; Kung-fu master!; Future BMT: Every Thing Will Be Fine; Confession of a Child of the Century; BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence; The Snowman; Notes: Her father is Serge Gainsbourg, a kind of jack-of-all-trades in the music and art business, notable for producing popular music in a multitude of genres. Her start in the business was somewhat controversial, appearing in a movie where she plays a young girl molested by her father … her actual father directed and starred in this film as the father. So … yup.)

Budget/Gross – $35 million / Domestic: $6,700,035 (Worldwide: $43,084,060)

(I would call that a complete disaster. We certainly won’t see another Harry Hole film for a bit. A bit like Cross, which has kind of killed prospects for more Alex Cross adaptations, although I hope that isn’t the case. Despite being … problematic (Alex Cross is written by a very white person, and the protagonist is very much attempting to represent a certain set of black virtues, I’ll leave it at that), I do think a reboot of Alex Cross could touch on some very interesting subjects in the current cultural climate.)

#43 for the Thriller – Serial Killer genre

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(Huh, the genre is all but dead. I actually think this is a two-fold problem. First, with true crime podcasts booming and things like Mindhunters (and Dexter and Hannibal before it) on television the market for serial killers is saturated. Second, will the history of serial killers in film, books, and across all media, there is very little of interest to show in a single 2 hour film. So the thriller has looked elsewhere for their thrills. And honestly … given the reviews it does look like maybe a little 6 episode BBC series would have at least made Harry Hole’s debut a but more coherent.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (12/162): A mystery that feels as mashed together and perishable as its title, The Snowman squanders its bestselling source material as well as a top-notch ensemble cast.

(That isn’t very illumination. So like … boring? Maybe a Review Highlight will help: “The Snowman” is ugly and nasty, but that’s not the worst of it. The worst is that it’s boring and makes no sense. – Mick LaSalle, The San Francisco Chronicle … nope, it sounds like it is mostly boring.)

Poster – The Sklogman (B-)

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(They really missed on this one. Good font and spacing. It’s just… too much white. If you insist on having a white poster you better be more artistic and can’t spoil it like they did here.)

Tagline(s) – Soon the first snow will fall, and the hunt for a killer begins. (D)

(What year is this tagline from? Jesus. Can you make it any longer? I fell asleep halfway through reading it. Not clever, too long, and too explicit with the plot.)

Keyword(s) – snowman; Top Ten by BMeTric: 58.4 The Snowman (2017); 52.9 Christmas with the Kranks (2004); 51.7 Jack Frost (1998); 51.6 Dorm Daze (2003); 49.3 Snow Day (2000); 43.5 Fred Claus (2007); 35.3 Christmas with the Coopers (2015); 32.9 Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011); 31.6 Sint (2010); 29.1 Every Thing Will Be Fine (2015);

(Wow, we really don’t like Christmas movie huh? In reality the issue is that for the past three years we’ve done the year recap cycle to try and get as many of the established worst-of of the year off the docket. And it kind of spoils any possibility of doing a Christmas film … we end up having to do it offseason which is a little weird/)

Notes – Martin Scorsese was originally attached to direct this movie. He remained on board as executive producer.

The film is NOT a remake of The Snowman (1982). It’s based on the 2007 novel Snømannen (The Snowman), the seventh book in Norwegian crime-writer Jo Nesbø’s Harry Hole series. (hahahahaha. Obviously)

Michael Fassbender started shooting this movie only two days after wrapping on Assassin’s Creed (2016).

Tomas Alfredson has said that production was too rushed. He came on board late, and reckons that up to 15% of the screenplay was never filmed. Location filming in Norway was shortened so production could move to London, which compromised the story. (Ah yeah, that sounds like a disaster)

Part of the film was shot at The Schrøder Restaurant in Oslo, where Harry Hole is regular guest in Jo Nesbø’s books. Also, according to the book, Harry’s home is at Sofies gate 5, a few minutes walk from Schrøder. (S-s-s-s-s-s-s-ettings)

The Snowman (2017) and Downsizing (2017) were the first two international features shot in Norway to receive funding from the new state incentive program to attract foreign film and TV productions. Togther, the two films spent $24 million in Norway during their Norwegian location shoots. [2016] (And bother were a box office disaster I think)

Jo Nesbø has a cameo in the movie.

All of Val Kilmer’s lines are dubbed throughout the film. According to a Reddit AMA in May 2017, Kilmer disclosed that he had “a healing of cancer,” and his tongue “was still swollen although healing all the time.” (Yeah … )

Although mostly shot in Norway, great care was taken to remove any Norwegian language from the movie. No Norwegian is spoken and anything normally written in Norwegian is changed. This includes newspaper headlines and destinations on public transportation. Norwegian police cars normally have “politi” written on them (meaning “police”) but this was simply removed. (That is very strange as well. I guess, what? They wanted to be able to do reshoots in London or something?)

In the source novel, the police discuss several Swedish serial killers, including Thomas Quick (a.k.a. Sture Bergwall). However, Quick/Bergwall was eventually acquitted of the alleged murders. Brother Sten-Owe Bergwall and lawyer Pelle Svensson wrote books criticizing the Swedish authorities’ handling of the cases.

Apparently, Michael Fassbender bought drinks for the whole crew after a long day of shooting. The next day, rigging electrician Karl Andre Bru walked up to Fassbender and said jokingly, “Thanks for the hangover, man!” Rumor has it Fassbender cracked up and was unable to keep a straight face for the rest of the day. (NOPE! There is no way Fassbender heard that cheesy joke and was like “holy shit, that’s the funniest shit. It is so funny it is ruining my day, that’s how funny it is.” It is just impossible)

The ringtone of Rakel’s phone is cover of Edvard Grieg’s piece “In the Hall of the Mountain King”.

Leading up to the release of the movie, Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang released a series of mock articles in collaboration with Universal, intended to show how the newspaper would normally cover a case like the one depicted in the movie. They included articles about the murder weapon, Harry Hole himself, and grisly details of the antagonist’s murder spree.

The snowmen in the film are made by Norwegian kids in a small town, in collaboration with DesignIce from Trøgstad.

This is the second collaboration between Tomas Alfredson, David Dencik, and Toby Jones. The first was Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). That film had Michael Fassbender as part of the original cast, in the role of Ricki Tarr, but he had to turn it down because of another project.

The film received a “D” CinemaScore. (Which is terrible, but not surprising considering the reviews. A thriller getting such bad reviews is pretty abnormal, mainly because I think you just release straight to VOD normally. I wonder if they had some deal with Norway which required the release)

Rebecca Ferguson shot this film before the press junket for Despite the Falling Snow (2016). In one interview, she talked about just shooting the other film while growing out her bangs (fringe) from this film.

The song “Popcorn” by the group Hot Buttered is playing every time the killer is at another murder scene. Either before a murder or during the setup. (So many music notes)

(Considering the terrible reviews it is somewhat odd that not only was this film not nominated for a Razzie, it wasn’t even pre-nominated if I recall. I would think at least the director would have had a shot.)

The Country Bears Recap

 

If you think you are the world’s number one Country Bears groupie, then you need to get on this quiz. Jamie, naturally got 100% so … good luck.

Jamie

Beary feels like he just doesn’t belong and so runs away to find his place in the world with the help of his heroes The Country Bears. Will he be able to get the band back together, save Country Bear Hall, and discover the meaning of life before it’s too late? Find out in… The Country Bears.

How?! Beary Barrington seems just a little different. That’s because he’s a bear and his family are humans. Thinking that he might fit in better elsewhere he runs away to get advice from those he identified most with: The Country Bears. They are of course a band of animatro… I mean, totally real bears who used to be one of the biggest bands in the world. After mauling several civilians to death (one can only presume), Beary arrives at Country Bear Hall to find that it is about to be demolished by the evil Reed Thimple. Oh no! Beary suggests that the band get back together and tots put on a huge concert to earn the necessary funds to save the hall. A series of misadventures and oddly placed dance and music numbers ensue, culminating in the band reuniting, but getting in a big fight and deciding not to play the concert. A distraught Beary realizes that the being a family doesn’t mean you have to look alike, but that it’s the love that’s inside that counts. Awwwww. Rushing back home he is greeted not only by his loving family but also The Country Bears who have been inspired by his courage to play the big concert after all. Double awwww. Just at that moment though the country bear bus (and several members of the band) are kidnapped by Reed Thimple. This lasts approximately five seconds before Beary and his family bust them out, rush over to Country Bear Hall, and put on the big (clearly overpriced) concert to earn the $20000 they needed. THE END.

Why?! Like many kids’ films this is primarily about feeling different but realizing that that’s OK. Beary wants to feel like he belongs somewhere, most importantly with his family. Only once he gets a taste of human flesh (probably) and sees that even a band (which seems so tight knit) might have their problems does he realize that fitting in is more about love than looks. Everyone else just wants to get paid and laid. They are a world famous band after all. The Country Bears hooking up with groupies is probably on the extended DVD.

What?! Is this a product placement for itself? Like was this not supposed to get people all jazzed about the Country Bear Jamboree and want to see them up close and personal? If this was a major blockbuster a la Pirate of the Caribbean would we have Country Bear World instead of Harry Potter World? Also funny reading up on the attraction and realizing there are literally like a thousand bears in the show. We really only got the… bear minimum (AY-OH).

Who?! Big Al is like a Planchet, but awesome and everyone loves him. He talks real slow, loves his grass, and puts one over on those that mean to do harm to The Country Bears. Love you, Big Al. More importantly there are like a trillion musician cameos in this film. The most prominent of those are Jennifer Paige and Krystal, who both get solo songs to sing (and were apparently never heard from again). Elton John, Willie Nelson, Don Henley, etc. etc. etc. all appear as themselves in a Making the Music type documentary shown at the beginning and end of the film.

Where?! Tennessee, baby! It’s pretty obviously TN, but I had trouble proving it for most of the movie. Luckily there was a close-up of a license plate and some police officer uniforms that confirmed it. C+.

When?! My best guess here is September 2001. This is based on a table calendar on a desk in an office store (so not an exact science). For obvious reasons I would expect that the events of the film took place in the beginning of the month… unless 9/11 didn’t happen in the human-bear world that the film took place in… which is real weird to think about. C+.

I was actually a little surprised how much I didn’t mind this film while at the same time realizing that it is bonkers insane. The entire film takes place in a world where humans and talking bears coexist and everyone just understands and accepts this. Bears are just sprinkled here and there throughout the world. If this weren’t a kids’ film I would say there might have been some allegory to race in America, but no… right?… wait… right? Once you get past that it’s pretty much a harmless kids’ film with some pretty elaborate song and dance numbers performed by C-list musicians. Real weird but not totally bad. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Sometimes, when you feel like you just don’t belong, there is only one thing to do … watch a kids movie about how to feel like you belong. Spoiler alert: it turns out you belonged the whole time! Thanks, Country Bears! Let’s go!

The Good (Sklognalysis) – The movie is extremely linear, which makes it pleasant enough at times. Basically Beary Barrington doesn’t feel like he belongs with his human family, so he goes to live with his heros the Country Bears, who he helps to save Country Bear Hall … the end. Literally that is the entire movie. And if you were to make this movie, maybe you could make it better, but at least they can say you couldn’t streamline it any more than they did. They got some decently solid comedic actors to be in this. I wanted to pop a little Sklognalysis here mainly because we here at BMTHQ started to turn around a bit on watching kids’ movies for BMT. This is mainly because of the B-story in these movies, like the hostile corporate takeover in Nine Lives, which are endlessly fascinating, why would a kid want to watch that? Well, here you see a kids film without a B-story at all. It is so linear that they couldn’t even really squeeze in a short section where Mr. Barrington is whistleblowing on his logging company or whatever. Is this good? I think so, it kind of reminds me of Air Bud, where even the B-story (Air Bud’s original owner comes and tries to get Buddy back) is really a part of the A-story, and makes for a more pleasant and clear watching experience. But it certainly makes the movie less fun as well. So kind of a mixed bag. We’ll keep you up to date on our evolving kids’ movie thoughts.

The Bad (Sklog-quel) – The musical acts are not the worst musical acts I’ve seen in a movie. … Er, well … beside one:

My god, is it weird that I’m only mainly concerned about where the guitar player came from? The animatronics are disquietingly creepy (as one reviewer put it). Walken as the bad guy is just weird, and leads to some poor directorial decision making (like the triple take smashing of a model Country Bear Hall:

which is just weird). Diedrich Bader pulls double duty, but his live action performance in particular is very not good. For the Sklog-quel I think I want a remake. Basically, the suggestion that the bears kind of inexplicably just live in the real world (and people seem to think they are indistinguishable from humans?) is very problematic for me. Let’s see a movie where the bears kind of live in the woods in a secret community. Make Tobolowsky the manager in a logging company and Walken his eeeeevil boss who wants nothing more than to destroy the Country Bears home. The concert is more of a coming out party, to make the world aware of the Bears, and the main character is merely Tobolowsky’s (human) son who discovers and decides to help them save their home. I’m just imagining the Ewok Village of a set they would have built for this and am enamored with the idea. Would it suddenly make the movie much better? Maybe, maybe not. But for me it extracts one of the more perplexing choices they decide to make, which is having the Country Bears just kind of … around.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The legacy I think is all part of BMT coming home to one of its original genres, the kids’ movie. If kids’ movies continue to grow in popularity with the Bad Movie Twins, then so shall the legacy of trailblazers like The Country Bears. The StreetCreditReport.com is also pretty solid. Mentioned in at least a few worst of lists in a year marked by some truly dire options like Ballistic Ecks vs Sever. It is mostly dismissed as a kids movie, but still finds some play here and there.

Now how is it as an adaptation … actually quite good. All things considered what do you do with The Country Bears? You make a big animatronic romp. And given that requirement they dish in spades, I mean … there are a ton of animatronics. I think I give it a B+. If it was actually a good movie you’d be seeing Pirates level of adaptation grades there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Emoji Movie Recap

Patrick

There is a world within your phone where emoji’s live and work. Each emoji has a job to do and must never deviate. No so for Gene, a ‘meh’ who feels all kinds of complex things. When Gene ruins an important text for his user he runs away trying to find a way to fix his defect. Can he fix the trouble he’s caused before it’s too late? Find out in… The Emoji Movie.

How!? Remember all those other animated films about secret communities of things that us humans think are inanimate objects. Toy Story? Lego Movie? Inside Out? Yup, this is exactly the same except the corporate sellout version of it. Gene is a ‘meh’ emoji. He really wants to start work making emoji magic in Textopolis, but on his very first day he ends up ruining a very important text for his owner Alex! Oh no! He is sentenced to die because he’s defective (naturally) so he runs away with the help of the thumbs up emoji in search of Jailbreak, who knows how to hack the cloud and fix Gene’s defect. Fearing the consequences of his defect the denizens of Textopolis send killer bots in pursuit. At the same time Alex decides he’s going to get his phone wiped and rebooted in order to fix the problem. After finding Jailbreak, Gene and his gang of misfits run through Just Dance, Candy Crush, Instagram, and Spotify in search of the Dropbox app (it actually hurts me to write that sentence) while overcoming some difficulties or whatever. When they get there Gene and Jailbreak decide that they like him just the way he is, but just then Gene is captured by the killer bots. Thumbs up and Jailbreak hop on a Twitter bird (ugh) and race to save him. At the very last moment before the phone is erased Gene uses his special ability to mimic complex feelings to send a unique emoji to Alex’s crush. Thrilled that his phone might lead to him getting paid and laid, Alex stops the phone wipe and Gene becomes a hero. THE END.

Why?! Why did we watch this garbage? Because we had to. Why does anything else happen in the movie? Mostly because Gene feels like an outsider. Everyone in Textopolis is content doing their job and only their job, while Gene likes to smile or cry or laugh and all that jazz. Think the exact same motivations as Lego Movie… and the same characters really. In fact it’s pretty much just the Lego Movie remix… if it was remixed with dog poo.

What?! Not since our last Adam Sandler film did we get so much product placement in a film. And at least in the Sandler film it’s him sitting around a Hooters wearing a Dick’s Sporting Goods shirt and you can laugh at the absurdity. Here it just felt sad. Popping into Instagram and Spotify for a little adventure without the shame to call it InstaPost or MusicSpot to keep it imaginary garbage. When they entered Dropbox as if it was literally fucking heaven I think this officially took the cake for the worst product placement in the history of BMT.

Who?! We had a couple cameos here with singer Christina Aguilera making an appearance along with celebrity chef Rachael Ray. There is also a special thanks credit to Constance Buccafurri. She seems to be an artist but also runs a big data film analytics company… so I wonder if she got her thanks for work in that arena. She has a pretty crazy list of blockbusters on which she got a special thanks credit so I would be interested to know what exactly she does for all of them.

Where?! Textopolis, duh. 95% of the film takes place in a phone, so that’s pretty much the best we can do. Makes me wonder how many fictional settings we’ve encountered in BMT. Ehb in In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Alagaesia in Eragon, Izmir in Dungeons & Dragons, etc. It’s in good company. Good company of getting an Incomplete. “Keep your head out of the clouds and in the real world,” writes Mr. Sklog.

When?! Textopolis obviously has no sense of time. They gotta be popping night and day, 24/7/365. So… F, I guess. You’re in my world now, Emoji Movie. My world is one of pain and ultimate grade deflation. Enjoy your F.

This movie sucks and kinda made me sad watching it. It starts out as a ripoff of Lego Movie and then proceeds into a series of commercials for apps. At least with the Lego Movie you had the idea that Legos help children be creative. This basically had the message that emoji are not good and in fact have to be different in order to better convey the emotions of the user. Only when Gene can do things that no emoji can actually do does Alex successfully talk to the girl he likes… maybe don’t use emojis then dope. In terms of where this places in the world of adaptations (a true BMT favorite), The Emoji Movie is kind of alone in the wilderness here. In fact if we started to see more of these we might have to shut down Hollywood. Imagine if we looked to 2018 and saw The Great SpaceX Adventure or Lyft Life on the schedule… would almost be as terrifying as seeing Fifty Shades Freer. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! It is super tempting to fill this space with a bunch of emojis or whatever, but my emoji game is not great. Not rusty, because that would suggest it was good at some point. My emoji game has always been weak … Anyways, let’s get into it!

The Good (Sklognalogy) – Honestly, the only really good thing I can say about it is that it is mostly an innocuous kids’ movie. It sends a decent message (be yourself!), it gives a decent message to the girls (you can do computer things!), and it looks … fine. The Sklognalogy? I’m sending out a flier: The Wizard of Oz. That’s right. The basic storylines are the same. The protagonist needs something that can only be obtained from a powerful entity, so he/she sets out on the road collecting a rag-tag team of misfits. Travelling through a series of magical places, combating the minions of an evil witch, the team comes together, learns lessons, and realizes what they needed was actually inside them the whole time. Ah, perfection … except for the part where this is a derivative piece of garbage.

The Bad (Sklog-cabulary Quiz) – Too long, unfunny, boring, ugly, you name it it has it. It sets a record for product placements which made me feel a bit ill while watching it … corporate propaganda amirite? The movie is very lazy. I am kind of convinced it is a new paradigm for cheap animated films. Basically the idea is: here are three characters. They will travel from A to B. But to get from A to B they have to go through little areas. These areas are totally independent of one another. The key? Parallelization:

Parallel Plotting (n.) – A plot which can be filmed / produced a piece at a time by many different teams, and then combined together again at the end to get the correct result.

This seems trivial maybe, but while most (all?) movies achieve this to a degree, a film like The Emoji Movie takes it to the next level. They could give a single idea to a animation team: The three protagonists are in Candy Crush. The three protagonists are in Just Dance. Etc. And after each you return to the same place you were before (the wallpaper) with no obvious side effects (they don’t even discuss where they were before!). No wonder it set records for speed in its production.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I don’t think it has the legacy. It isn’t a shoddily made animated film, not like FoodFight! or Doogal. It is more like … a condemnation of culture in general. But that ain’t our business now is it? I have watched over 400 terrible movies in 7 years, so, that tells you everything you need to know about how I lead my life. Street cred up the wazoo though. It will get countless Razzie nominations this year (it is known). It is number 3 on the AV Club worst of list. It is number 2 on the Variety worst of list. And it is number 10 on the Rolling Stone list. I imagine it will easily get Worst Picture.

Given we are in the adaptations cycle I might as well make a brief note about whether this was a good / bad adaptation. This was a bad one. I think. The only analogue is You’ve Got Mail, but in that case it painted AOL (and the attached messenger / email features) in a charming, even romantic, light. It brought two people together. Emojis … I get them, but I still don’t really get them you know? I don’t think the movie gives a good case for emojis in general is what I’m saying … doesn’t help that the movie is garbage. D+ adaptation.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Emoji Movie Preview

Gotta end 2017 with a bang and there isn’t any BMT film bigger than the one tapped for the transition to 2018’s first cycle. It came into the year as one of the most anticipated BMT releases (along with Geostorm and Fifty Shades) and only escaped the BMT Live! treatment because we had already watched Fifty Shades and The Mummy by the time it came out. Better late than never. That’s right! We’re finally watching The Emoji Movie. This movie looked like absolute trash from the get go and now we get to see if it lived up to the hype as one of the few sub-10% films of the year (standing at 9% RT). As for the transition, we are starting 2018 off with a cycle of adaptations. Like a lot of cycles we are going to try to do nine different adaptations so not just books, but TV shows, comic books, theme park rides, etc. That’s where The Emoji Movie fits in. It is one of the few cases where technology in general has been adapted into film (the only one that came to mind for us was You’ve Got Mail… great example). What a start! Let’s go!

The Emoji Movie (2017) – BMeTric: 86.9

TheEmojiMovie_BMeT

TheEmojiMovie_RV

(Steadily rising, but it won’t get much higher that the mid-3’s I don’t think. People obviously pile on at first, but even early reviewers were giving it reviews in the 2-3 range, so it’ll settle at a more reasonable 3-4 over time I would think.)

RogerEbert.com – 0.5 stars The failure of imagination in “The Emoji Movie” is not limited to its depiction of the app world. This is a film that has literally nothing to offer viewers—there are no moments of humor, excitement or insight regarding a culture that considers emojis to be the pinnacle of contemporary communication. The actors go through their lines with such a lack of enthusiasm that they make Krusty the Klown seem focused and committed by comparison.

(If you read the rest of this preview you’ll learn this is one of the fastest produced computer animated films ever made. So it isn’t that surprising that the voice work is sub-par. The rest of the review doesn’t give much else besides suggesting it is just cynically made, and that he like other obviously superior animated films more.)

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

(Yeah … so, that trailer is not great. It doesn’t really present any major plot and really is just a mishmash of a bunch of different apps I guess. It manages to just look really really dumb. But I am not 10 years old so what do I know?)

Directors – Tony Leondis – (Future BMT: Igor; BMT: The Emoji Movie; Notes: Been involved with another animated film B.O.O. about ghost secret agents. Lots of actors attached but seems like Igor and The Emoji Movie might have put it on permanent hold.)

Writers – Tony Leondis (screenplay by & story by) – (Future BMT: Igor; BMT: The Emoji Movie; Notes: Cut his teeth as a story artist. Most notably on The Prince of Egypt.)

Eric Siegel (screenplay by & story by) – (BMT: The Emoji Movie; Notes: Husband of longtime CSI: NY actress Anna Belknap.)

Mike White (screenplay by) – (Known For: School of Rock; Brad’s Status; Nacho Libre; Beatriz at Dinner; The Good Girl; Year of the Dog; Chuck & Buck; Future BMT: Dead Man on Campus; BMT: The Emoji Movie; Notes: Probably best known for School of Rock, IMDb also says he wrote nine episodes of Dawson’s Creek. Coolio.)

John Hoffman (additional screenplay material) – (Known For: Good Boy!; Future BMT: Igor; BMT: The Emoji Movie; Notes: Must have known Tony Leondis from Igor. He’s also one of the executive producers of Grace and Frankie.)

Actors – T.J. Miller – (Known For: Office Christmas Party; Deadpool; Big Hero 6; She’s Out of My League; How to Train Your Dragon; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Rock of Ages; Cloverfield; Goon: Last of the Enforcers; Get Him to the Greek; Seeking a Friend for the End of the World; Extract; Our Idiot Brother; Future BMT: Gulliver’s Travels; The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard; Search Party; BMT: The Emoji Movie; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Notes: There is a fair chance he is a terrible person as he has been accused of doing terrible things.)

James Corden – (Known For: Trolls; Into the Woods; Begin Again; The Lady in the Van; Starter for 10; The History Boys; One Chance; All or Nothing; Pierrepoint; Telstar: The Joe Meek Story; Heartlands; Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?; Future BMT: Gulliver’s Travels; Norm of the North; Lesbian Vampire Killers; Konferenz der Tiere; Planet 51; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; Kill Your Friends; BMT: The Emoji Movie; The Three Musketeers; Notes: Our very own Planchet. Obviously now a major talk show host.)

Anna Faris – (Known For: Brokeback Mountain; Just Friends; Lost in Translation; The Dictator; Scary Movie; The House Bunny; 22 Jump Street; Keanu; Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs; Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2; I Give It a Year; Observe and Report; My Super Ex-Girlfriend; May; Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel; Smiley Face; Future BMT: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel; Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked; Scary Movie 4; Scary Movie 2; Scary Movie 3; The Hot Chick; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; Mama’s Boy; What’s Your Number?; Take Me Home Tonight; Waiting…; BMT: The Emoji Movie; Movie 43; Notes: Been in the news since she and Chris Pratt broke up in what was probably 2017’s biggest celeb split.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $86,089,513 (Worldwide: $216,970,871)

(That is a lot of money. I hope they don’t make a sequel though. Not because people shouldn’t go get their money. I just don’t want to watch another Emoji Movie.)

#105 for the Animation genre

theemojimovie_animation

(Animation has apparently held steady over the years as far as gross is concerned. The big jumps are likely technologically related. Late-90s was the advent of computer animated films. Mid 2000s is when that process became cheaper than traditional animation. And the big jump around now is likely concerning the ability for a single studio to produce a full-length feature in roughly the same amount of time as live-action production (something like that, i.e. the ability for a film like this to be made and profitable).)

#86 for the Animation – Computer genre

theemojimovie_computeranimation

(Tells the same story as above, basically confirming the mid-2000s jump was computer animation supplanting traditional animation. It makes sense with the above as well actually. The mid-2010s probably marks when animation because easy and cheap enough to produce television shows and made “kids films” almost entirely computer animated.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 9% (10/108): 🚫

(Sub-10% means we kind of have to do the film at some point. It is kind of the crown jewel of any BMT year. The consensus here though is an embarrassment and Rotten Tomatoes should be embarrassed. It is an emoji if you can’t tell … I thought my email generator program was broken at first.)

Poster – The Sklogmoji Movie (D)

emoji_movie_ver12

(Not into it. This is essentially a slightly better version of the Father Figures poster. Slightly better because… well how couldn’t it be better than that disaster? But only marginally. That font is embarrassing. I’m embarrassed for you, poster.)

Tagline(s) – An adventure beyond words (A+)

(Oh shit… that’s actually pretty clever. Oh man. I’m starting to really like it. I better grade this before I give it an A+ because I take pride in how tough my grading is. Too late. That’s an A+ if I’ve ever seen one. Short, sweet, and clever. Gives a hint at the plot and works as an effective advertisement for emojis to boot. Daaannnnggggggg.)

Keyword(s) – food; Top Ten by BMeTric: 86.9 The Emoji Movie (2017); 85.8 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 85.4 Troll 2 (1990); 84.1 Home Alone 3 (1997); 75.7 In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011); 71.7 The Flintstones (1994); 64.8 10,000 BC (2008); 64.0 Leprechaun (1993); 63.1 North (1994); 61.2 Foodfight! (2012);

(Ah yes. In the Name of the King a Dungeon Siege Tale and … food. Two peas in a pod. Amazingly there appears to be no … food in Batman & Robin. A strange mix of films here which nearly pushes an actual food movie (Foodfight!) off of the list. Foodfight will be done as part of a Worst Movie Ever series I assume, it is apparently quite the experience.)

Notes – John Douglass, owner of the “jacksfilms” YouTube account, was invited to the world premiere of this movie by Sony because he praised it sarcastically since its announcement. (So getting early fake good reviews is actually a thing huh?)

Sony promoted the latter release of the trailer by hosting a press conference in Cannes, the day before the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, which featured T.J. Miller parasailing in. Variety called the event “slightly awkward” and The Hollywood Reporter described it as “promotional ridiculousness.” (That doesn’t sound fun or funny, good job Emoji Film PR team)

According to T.J. Miller, this is the fastest produced animated film in history. (I’m loving this fact for some reason)

Tony Leondis, the director of the movie, does not take emoji’s seriously. He sees them as “the toys of the 21st century” and said he needed to rush the movie because “who even knows if people are going to like emoji’s in [six years]”.

The film was shown alongside Puppy, a short film based on the Hotel Transylvania films.

The original title was Emoji Movie: Express Yourself. (Would have joined The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle on the list of 2017 films that inexplicably used a random song title as the subtitle to a film. Not loving that trend)

In the Latin American Spanish version, the name of Jailbreak was changed with the name of “Lady Hacker”.

A week before the film was released, Sony tweeted a controversial promotional picture parodying the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale (2017). It was immediately met with criticism for being tasteless, considering the content and themes of the Hulu series. Following the backlash, the tweet was deleted. (Haaaaaaa)

The official artwork of the main trio bears a strong resemblance to the final poster for Free Birds (2013). (So artwork in posters follows a kind of wave-like pattern. Father Figures, which just came out, has a very similar poster to Emoji Movie among a few others actually. I do not like the seven-faced-shoved-together look though)

The opera music being played when the trash is being emptied translates to “If Sarastro does not through you feel the pain of death” (weird)

NOTE: Most of the other notes are just saying how many animated film each of the ten or so main cast members were in prior to the Emoji Movie. I’m genuinely shocked at how few notes there are, I would think a ton of gross set stories would have come out once everyone realized this was going to be critically panned.

The Bye Bye Man Recap

Jamie

Don’t say it. Don’t think it. Don’t say it. Don’t think it. He’s the Bye Bye Man and he’s out to get some Wisconsin college students. Once they learn his name he has the ability to manipulate them into committing terrible deeds. Can they say bye bye to the Bye Bye Man before it’s too late? Find out in… The Bye Bye Man.

How?! Ethan, his girlfriend Sasha, and his best bud forever John take the plunge and rent an off-campus house to live it up like real adults. When his brother comes to visit, Ethan’s niece discovers some odd coins near an old end table. When he goes to put the coins back in the drawer, Ethan discovers some creepy writing repeating the phrase, “Don’t think it. Don’t say it,” and the name The Bye Bye Man etched into the wood. “Who’s that?” he wonders. “He must be super rad with such a rad name that is in no way ridiculous or silly sounding.” During a seance set up to ease Sasha’s mind about the super creepy house they moved into, Ethan is spooked into invoking the name of the Bye Bye Man. Almost immediately everyone who heard it starts to have crazy things happen to them. Ethan keeps imagining a man in a dark cloak, Sasha gets a mysterious sickness, and John keeps hallucinating death and pestilence of those around him. Delving into the mystery Ethan discovers a local journalist who wrote a story with the Bye Bye Man’s name in it. The story was never published, but it turns out that just days after writing it the journalist went crazy and killed a bunch of his neighbors and himself. Realizing that they are being haunted by the Bye Bye Man, Ethan races to save his roommates. Knowing that there is only two things that can kill the Bye Bye Man: 1) killing everyone you know or 2) not fearing him, Ethan opts for the second choice (obvs). But when he gets back to his house to inform his roommates of the Bye Bye Man’s weakness, Ethan is tricked by the Bye Bye Man into killing Sasha. Seeing no end to the horror he burns down the house and kills himself before he can tell anyone else. Unfortunately in a huge unforeseeable twist, John survives the fire just long enough to tell a police officer the Bye Bye Man’s name. Uh oh! Do I smell a franchise?!

Why?! Our main victims are simply living and loving. They want to get out of the dorms and live it up in a house like adults. They can and will have it all. We get a little taste of some motivation for Elliot in the oft-mentioned death of his parents as a kid. It’s why he’s best friends with John, it’s why his brother is worried about him, and seems to be part of the grow-up-fast mentality that gets him into trouble. He pushes himself forward so that he can have the family that he lost at such a young age (and which he misses even more now that his big brother has a family of his own) and playing house with Sasha in a creepy mansion haunted by the Bye Bye Man is part of that. As for the titular Bye Bye Man, he just wants to spread like a virus infecting all that hear his name because he’s an evil demon whose only aim is chaos. His plan is particularly shitty though because he drives all who hear his name insane which leads to them killing themselves and everyone else who heard the name. So much for spreading the virus. You would think the Bye Bye Man would start out like a salesman. “Forgive my weird pale skin, lack of tongue and eyes, and weird demon dog but the deals I can provide you will drive you craaaaazzzzy. That’s Bye Bye Man. Spread the word and say my name.” Soon people would find themselves driving all over the country selling Bye Bye Man door-to-door only to discover that it was all a ruse and they’ve doomed the world to chaos and destruction! That would be a better plan. Fortunately for humanity the Bye Bye Man is a big ol’ dumb dumb who thinks only in the short term. His fatal flaw really.

What?! Good place to note just how many accessories The Bye Bye Man already has in only the first installment of the series (there will be five more, right? I hope). He has gold coins that jingle and jangle when he’s near, he’s got a spooky cloak that he wears, he has a creepy demon dog that he keeps close by, and he has a train that he rides (in your dreams! Oooooo, spooky). Super rare to get to this height in the accessory game and extra rare to get a vehicle. Worst part? The train is never explained nor really comes into play in any significant way at all. If you’re gonna give him a train the least you can do is let him use it.

Who?! Writer and Survivor celeb Jonathan Penner shows up in the film as Mr. Daizy, the landlord of the house who helpfully reminds our young tenets that they signed a lease, Bye Bye Man infestation or not. Also would like to point out that we had a particularly bad American accent by Cressida Bonas. She’s young and has time to work it out but for all those that say how unfair it is that British actors can seemingly play American with ease I would use this as a counterpoint.

Where?! We get an intertitle in the beginning informing us that the intro to the film takes place in Madison, Wisconsin. This setting continues for the whole film evidenced by a plethora of Wisconsin license plates. B-

When?! Like the Wisconsin setting we are treated to an intertitle placing the flashback scenes on October 20, 1969. Finding the date for the main thrust of the film is a little tougher. We can presume that it’s winter due to all the ice we see, but it’s not until later when we catch a glimpse of a sticky note in a gardening shop detailing a recent order for nightshade placed on “12/15” that we get that sweet, sweet exact date. Gonna give that a C+.

It’s been awhile since Patrick and I have had as much fun with a film as this one. It’s a silly film, with a silly name, and an even sillier monster. It is inherently hilarious and I cannot wait for The Bye Bye Man 2. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I can see the producers meeting now. Mr. Penner, love the Bye Bye Man. Super atmospheric, super spooky. Helps that horror films just print money, amirite? I just have a few notes. So this Bye Bye Man, he’s like an albino with a cloak right? But, like, what if he also had a dog? Amps up that spook-factor and the kiddies love it, amirite? And how about people hear train noises when he’s around, and like find gold coins and stuff. Think on it, think on it, but I’m just saying … it would be a shame if something were to happen to your movie if you didn’t at least consider my notes … amirite, Mr. Penner? Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – The film had a decent bit of atmospheric haunted-house spookiness to it early on. That is it. That needs a Remake there is just so much that could be done. First, strip down The Bye Bye Man! It is so obvious he has too much going on. I think you go train and that’s it. Even his look is off. He should be a raggedy man. Like a serial killing hobo riding from town to town. A ghostly figure which infects a person, makes them go crazy, and makes them kill for him like he used to back in the day. No need for the haunted house. Strip out the weird jealousy love triangle B-story. A guy is living with his two roommates. One day he finds an old coin along some train tracks and he begins to go mad. Ultimately, The Bye Bye Man comes to life and kills his roommates and as a final act makes the protagonist kill himself which is ultimately passed off as a mass murder. Easy peasy! Close with another person across the country finding an identical coin along some train tracks. Bam! This movie botches literally everything about what is kind of an interesting urban legend. It is nuts.

The Bad (Crimes Against BMT-anity) – Let’s see. The acting is terrible. The Bye Bye Man looks hilarious (I hate horror films and I can’t stop making jokes about The Bye Bye Man. Like he looks goofy as fuck. You look goofy Bye Bye Man! Yo goofy). The scares are non-existent. And what’s the one weird trick all Bye Bye Mans hate? If you just don’t fear him he can’t hurt you. Who’da thunk it? What a waste. And yet … this week’s Crime Against BMT-anity is that I just could not get over the spooky (not really) haunted house these guys live in. First, when was this movie supposed to take place? They just started to rent a house in Wisconsin, the keys are frozen to the ground when they get there, and they are wandering around in like light jackets? What kind of janky trimester system are they running over at Buchanan-Williams University that they are moving house in like November? Already call bullshit on that. Second, that house would be a nightmare to heat. It is huge. And it has these little tiny radiators. You better be snagging some plastic wrap at Menards Elliot. You better be saving big money. Because you are going to need to double wrap those definitely-not-double-paned windows in this ancient house. Ugh, I’m cold just thinking about it. The most horrifying thing about this movie is their monthly heating bill.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – Um, this is one of the most hilarious films I’ve ever seen for BMT. The movie is actually rather dull, but you cannot help but make fun of it after seeing it. I think this has a bright Smaddies Baddies future ahead of it. Man, bad horror films can be so fun. This is like The Fog level silliness. As for the StreetCreditReport.com, there won’t be many official lists until the year it nearly up, but I did find at least one list which places the Bye Bye Man in the top 20 worst of the year so far. I think it might be ultimately forgotten though, it came out quite a long time ago and wasn’t really a big film. We’ll see.

And we’ll wrap with a short Bring and Friend analysis. This week we watched the legendary Manos: The Hands of Fate, which was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (considered possibly the best episode they’ve ever done) as a kind of pre-1980 what does the pre-Blockbuster era have to offer us. This is a good example of a Z-film from the 50s/60s. It actually does remind me of Plan 9 From Outer Space. But would I want to watch more of them? Not really. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians would be another I would consider doing eventually, but they need to be special, on the IMDb Bottom 100 or something. Verdict: Good for special occasions and not much else.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Manos: The Hands of Fate Recap

Jamie

Michael and Margaret are on vacation but become lost in the desert. As night descends they stumble on a ranch where they take shelter only to find strange things afoot. Can they escape the clutches of the evil master, Manos, before it’s too late? Find out in… Manos: Hands of Fate.

How?! Michael, his wife Margaret, their daughter, and their dog are on their way to a ranch for vacation. After taking a wrong turn in the desert they stumble upon a ranch maintained by a satyr (who looks more like a normal person with giant legs than a mythical being) named Torgo. Asking if they can stay the night Torgo warns them that his master, Manos, won’t be happy but Michael insists that they stay there until they can find the ranch in the morning. Almost immediately creepy (but mostly suuuuuppper boring) things start to happen. When Torgo takes a liking to Margaret he goes to his hibernating master and tells him that he has enough wives and this one is his. He incapacitates Michael and imprisons Margaret only to have Manos awaken and plan all of their deaths. After a brief argument on what to do with Margaret and the child they agree that Torgo and Michael must die. Torgo is sacrificed, but when they go to collect Michael and his family they find that they have run into the desert. After a brief escape Michael and Margaret agree that the desert spells certain death and they return to the ranch to ultimately be taken prisoner by Manos for all of eternity. The End.

Why?! Our “heroes” just want a place to stay for the night and directions to the ranch. After Manos reveals himself they only want escape. As for Manos he just wants more wives and people to sacrifice. In fact we get very little insight into what, who, and why he is (but why would we… it was made by a delusional person who didn’t know how to write or make a movie). The only other character is Torgo and he’s just a sad satyr with giant legs that hops about hoping to find a wife. Sad.

What?! Not really sure what to highlight here, so I’m just not going to. This film was basically amateur hour made up of 95% awkward pauses. It’s a film that deserved to disappear forever, but instead lives on in infamy. There is no what in the entire thing. Only a distinct lack of what.

Who?! Michael is played by writer/director Harold P. Warren. He was in the amateur theater scene of El Paso and bet a local screenwriter that he could make a horror film on a low budget… I guess he lost that bet.

Where?! The location is not given specifically, but obviously filmed in El Paso and the location certainly had the feel of the Texas desert. But that won’t cut it for BMT! D.

When?! A film of this level transcends time and space. It is unknowable in so many ways, so to expect any insight into the exact date is far far far too much to expect. F.

So that’s about it. Manos pretty much was as expected. It may be one of the most boring experiences of my life. Almost the entire thing is just people staring at each other not saying a word. In the end I’m not surprised that MST3K made this film famous. Not only can they so effectively use all the dead space in the film, but they can play on how much the film messes with your head. Throughout the film you wonder what the point of the entire thing is and it drives. You. Crazy. By itself though? Just mind melting. Do not recommend and this is part of the reason we generally avoid films like this for the main entries of BMT. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What do you get when you cross an amateur filmmaker / full-time weirdo with a bet he refuses to lose? A boring piece of garbage. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I mean, it is obviously nothing, the film doesn’t make sense or anything. The only really good thing you get out of it is the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode which is often listed as one of the (if not the) best episode of the original run. During that episode the evil scientists end up apologizing for subjecting Joel and the robots (who are often weeping about how boring the movie it) to Manos: The Hands of Fate. It is honestly the only way to make it bearable since they interject during extended sequences of silence. If we were to go Sequel I think I would rather they just do another Mystery Science Theater 3000. Literally, just make the new crew do the same episode in a weird seance-like ritual to resurrection the MST3K of the past. I think it could be fun just because the movie has now been dissected so much since MST3K injected it into the collective consciousness 30 years ago.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – Everything obviously. The acting is ridiculous. The entire thing doesn’t make sense. The lighting is awful. The story is garbage. The acting is ridiculous. The idea is creepy. The story is trash, … wait where was I? Oh yeah, Manos: The Hands of Fate is awful. Don’t watch it (although maybe just watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version and call it a day). The Sklognalogy is strangely obvious: Plan 9 From Outer Space. The same kind of surreal nonsensicalness. The director who is delusional and is making schlock almost as a compulsion. The stilted crazy acting. Weird choices, etc. etc. etc. If Warren, the director / writer / star, had any clout he might have been able to continue making films like a crazy person. Luckily he didn’t have an clout outside of the insurance industry.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – The legacy will be merely that we watched a movie we kind of had to watch at some point for BMT. The film, like Plan 9, is mostly boring and actually no fun to watch beyond marveling that such a thing could be created. The street cred though is up the wazoo. There aren’t many reviews online, so perhaps I’m over-blowing it, but this film is, I think, considered among the top 5 worst films ever made. The Room and Plan 9 From Outer Space are for sure there. Then there would be some debate about more modern films like Mac and Me, Ballistic Ecks vs. Sever, etc. But I think it would be hard to box it out of top 5. But that isn’t a good thing necessarily. Bad movies are bad. We want fun bad movies. This is not a fun bad movie. It is a bad movie. Remember that.

I’ll leave the discussion about pre-1980s bad movies for The Bye Bye Man recap, and just end there.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs