Cats Recap

Jamie

A cat is abandoned in London and learns about a group of cats called the Jellicle cats. Periodically they have a talent show to determine who goes to heaven to be reborn and that is tonight, but the evil McCavity wants to hijack the show. Can the rightful cat be chosen before it’s too late? Find out in… Cats… it’s about cats. Let’s go!

How?! Victoria is not a Jellicle cat. She’s just a cat dropped into a Jellicle world of London. All the cats dance and sing about how they are Jellicle cats and Victoria is like “damn, that’s cool. I wish I were Jellicle,” but she isn’t. The cats let her know that tonight is a very special night because Old Deuteronomy is in town and ready to judge a cat talent show and send one cat to heaven to be reborn into the life they’ve always dreamed of. There is this one cat that is kinda fat and makes mice and cockroaches sing. Then there is like a more R&B cat who’s breaking all the rules. Then there is another fat cat that loves to eat… that’s kind of his thang. Then there is a mysterious cat called Macavity who is the bad guy who is trying to hijack the competition by kidnapping the competition to make sure he wins (oh no!). Victoria briefly gets entangled with some cat burglar cats, but Mr. Mistoffelees comes in and saves the day, phew. Victoria also takes pity on a rejected cat, Grizabella, who used to pal around with Macavity and so all the Jellicle cats hate her, but Victoria is like “her story is sad, yet beautiful… like life and/or dance.” When the competition starts, an old cat named Gus sings a song (but come on, he ain’t winning). Then Taylor Swift cat sings a song and everyone is mesmerized, allowing for Macavity to swoop in and demand to win. When denied by Old Deuteronomy he kidnaps her and forces her to walk the plank into the Thames. Everyone is like “but wait, Mr. Mistoffelees is a magical cat… get her back.” And he sings a song and is real sad cause he think it didn’t work, but guess what? It did. In the end, Victoria convinces Grizabella to sing and it’s beautiful and she wins and flies up in a hot air balloon and everyone’s heads explode in confusion and glee for the wonderful cats and the newly minted Jellicle cat, Victoria. THE END. Big Question: What is this about? Oh wait… it’s about cats. Also, how does this exist?

Why?! Motivation, shmotivation. Let’s just appreciate that this exists and is in our lives. Sure they all want to win the competition because they want to have all their dreams come true by being born into the life they were destined for, but also, like, it’s about cats and they did it all for us the viewer.

Who?! Secret Twins Alert! We actually had been eyeing this film as a twin film for a potential twin cycle and so it’s still important to point out that Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer are twin cat burglars. There is also a brief appearance of cats called Plato and Socrates that are probably twins… or at least they are played by Les Twins who are twins in real life (duh). Oh and Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson and Jason Derulo and a million ballerinas are in the film too.

What?! Back in 2000, once the musical had completed its legendary run on Broadway, it auctioned off all of the set pieces for the benefit of charity. Which is kinda cool. Even cooler would have been getting my paws on some of those Cats wigs. They would immediately become part of my new bowling team, The Jellicle Cats and we’d be pretty feisty. I doubt the film will have a similarly celebrated prop auction so I’m just biding my time to get my hands on… I guess the motion capture leotards? Damn you, technology.

Where?! Obviously set in London as evidence from the scenery, accents, and most notably the Thames. They even go out of their way to make a Thames pronunciation joke for us Yankees. How fun. Pretty important, but not that important. B.

When?! From the set pieces you assume that this is set in the past but it’s never made exactly clear. They don’t seem particularly interested in establishing anything other than what a Jellicle cat is and all the interesting Jellicle cats… and you’re probably like “Jamie, what is a Jellicle cat?” and I’ll tell you… it’s a Jellicle cat. Cat! It’s about cats! F.

Cats is a wild ride of both the best and worst CGI you’ve ever seen. Seriously, one second you are amazed at the visual splendor and then next terrified by the horrible cat monsters. It’s also a very expensive film made for the twelve biggest Cats fans in the world (and no one else). Theater geeks are going to be thrilled by it. The rest of humanity will just be confused. For me it was so weird and great and confusing and I was watching ballet and tapdance and shit for two hours and I couldn’t understand how it all came to exist or if it was good or bad or if it didn’t matter. It’s as if Rocky Horror started out as a $200 million Christmas release and the creators were like “wait… why didn’t people see our great movie?” What I’m saying is that they made a major motion picture cult film. It will lose them a lot of money, but there is a chance people are sitting in theaters throwing tuna fish at the screen in ten years. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I’m pretty stunned people find Cats to have an odd story. Like … Beautiful Cat meets the Jellicle Cats who sing and dance about themselves, and then Old Cat picks Downtrodden Cat to be the Special Cat. The End. Seems really straightforward. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I was actually really amazed by the cast for the film. Given all of the previews focused on the big names (Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, and Jennifer Hudson in particular) I had kind of assumed the cast was top to bottom big names. But the main three cats are ballerinas or no name actors, and even a lot of the other cats are directly from the stage production from what I can tell. It feels like a good decision on their part, but then again, we’re watching it for BMT so maybe not. What were my expectations? A wild visual ride. A mind-meltingly weird film. And some terrible CGI. That seems to be it, just a weird weird film with bad CGI mostly.

The Good – When you watch this film you are watching film history. It is such a bizarre choice to release a wildly expensive adaptation of Cats. The songs are obviously very good, and a lot of moments make you think “wow, this is beautiful”. The side cats are quite good, like Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer in particular worked well despite coming directly from theater (I think). As a matter of fact the acting is all rather good. Even the bits that might not have worked (Rebel Wilson, James Cordon, and Taylor Swift) all mostly work in my opinion.

The Bad – But holy shit, at times the CGI is just some of the worst stuff you’ll ever see. The entire Gumbie Cat song with Rebel Wilson is extremely bad. I thought it was bad with the creepy children mice, but then the line dancing cockroaches … it sounds like I’m joking, but I’m not. If the background was kept as CGI and everyone was in costumes it might have worked, but the CGI ends up being so distracting at times that you can’t help but think “yeah, they should have waited a bit to release this”. It got around 20% on Rotten Tomatoes, and that sounds right, but the base story is like a 60-70% film, it really just is impossible not to downgrade the film for the technical issues it presented. I also guessed the original song based solely on the Les Miz Criteria: The worst song in a film adapting a famous musical is the original one. Victoria’s Song, nailed it. Finally, I don’t know if it is the same as in the original production, but the first rendition of Memories is so low-key as to be boring. I was honestly stunned that that was it when it ended. That feels bad.

The BMT – I think in 15 years when they release this as an “update” instead of a “remake” we’ll know we’ve made film history. Hear me out: the expensive bit of paying all of the actors and the giant production is done. The CGI is obviously expensive, but you could “remake” the film by just updating the CGI in 15 years using the base footage. I honestly think it is possible that is the future. Instead of re-releasing Disney animated classics as live action, we’ll start seeing things like Toy Story “updated” to use modern CGI techniques and released as “new” movies to a new generation. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, although I expected it to be worse. I guess I shouldn’t have really, it is a famous musical production for a reason, the songs are just going to be bangers no matter what. The CGI is mind meltingly bad, but book it: it’ll be updated in the future and people will say “you know what? Cats ain’t so bad”.

Roast-radamus – Definitely gets a Setting as a Character (Where?) for London which is very much a huge part of all of the sets. And Best MacGuffin (Why?) as well think for the general purpose of the entire film being to rise to the Heaviside Layer. As Jamie points out there is a Best Twin Film (Who?) possibility here with both Les Twins and the characters of Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer being twins. That’s a twin heavy film for sure.

StreetCreditReport.com – Obviously a huge amount of street cred. First, the trailer broke the internet (as the kids say) producing what scientists claim is the creepiest of all possible valleys. Second, it is a colossal financial failure (especially if the rumored budget of like $300 million is correct, but … it couldn’t possibly be, right?). And finally, the critics are loving to hate it, unloading all of their best cat puns on unsuspecting readers. It didn’t make the AV Club list, possibly because the list was released prior to Cats and never updated. But Variety specifically updated their list to include it, and the Hollywood Reporter also has it. It is a true triple threat.

BMT Live Theater Report – A secret BMT Live indeed. It isn’t official, but obviously I had to go out and see the film in theaters. And boy oh boy it was a wild ride. Again, I was in a small theater at Vue in Westfield, so it was nearly sold out when I arrived (!). It was 6pm on a Monday, so obviously the theater was filled with children. And there was a boy there who was not having a good time. First, his brother ate all the popcorn like 10 minutes before the movie started, so he was running in and out of the theater up through 15 minutes of the movie trying to find his mother/nanny to complain about it. Then he was literally walking around at parts because he was bored. And then, after getting upset again about something his brother did, he started intentionally making a ruckus until his mother/nanny pulled him out of the theater … but then he came back in alone! To be fair, it didn’t really affect my viewing experience, Cats is wall to wall music with not much storyline, so it was more like a little side show I got to enjoy. But by far the most disruptive theater experience I’ve ever been in, D.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Cats Quiz

Oh boy, it happened again, I got a concussion and forgot all about this movie I watched … what’s that? I didn’t have a concussion, I just watched the incredibly bizarre film Cats? … Well, do you remember what “happened” in Cats?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Before our hero Victoria can be delighted by the song about Jellicle Cats she needs to arrive into the world of the Jellicle Cats. How does she get there?

2) Name as many of the cats as possible. Spelling doesn’t matter. As a matter of fact names don’t matter, just like … describe as many as you can.

3) What are all of the cats competing for?

4) What is the eeeeeevil Macavity’s plan for winning the competition?

5) Who actually wins and why?

Answers

Cats Preview

“You can’t fire me, it’s my money,” Banks says calmly, weathering Jamie’s wrath. “Beside we have just two weeks before our Christmas release date and as far as I can tell you have 25 minutes shot.” Jamie and Patrick squint at Banks and ask if it can be pushed back, but Banks shakes his head. Whatever they have will be going out, so they better get their lazy asses into gear and find 2 hours of footage from somewhere, with or without the crew they just fired. Using dream sequences and flashbacks cut from previous entries in the series they get up to about an hour, but they begin to panic. “What about public domain footage?” Patrick asks, but even having Rich and Poe sing Happy Birthday to each other while watching an entire episode of The Three Stooges only gets them so far. Suddenly, while lazing away their remaining days on their helicopter cruise ships, Jamie has a brilliant idea to get the last 45 minutes of film. “Patrick! You have a beautiful mind, right?” Patrick shrugs, duh. “Well why don’t you put that beautiful noggin to work and craft some sweet AI computer magic to bring our vision to life!” Patrick agrees and gets down to coding. Mere hours before the premier they get their finished film in the can and ready for the show. Jamie and Patrick are beaming. Despite the many roadblocks they persevered and their vision is complete. The theater hushes and the lights dim and a gasp arises from the audience as the terrible, freakish computer generated figures of Rich and Poe dance eerily across the screen. Jamie looks at Patrick for an answer but Patrick can only shake his head and mutter, “I guess the AI decided to make us monster cats.” That’s right! For the final entry in the 2019 entry we decided to catch one final bonus BMT Live, given the Christmas release of one of the worst reviewed films of the year. Indeed we decided to watch Cats, the much reviled adaptation of the long-running hit musical. This also gives a little hint to the first cycle of next year. Let’s go! 

Cats (2019) – BMeTric: 79.1; Notability: 34 

CatsIMDb_BMeT

CatsIMDb_RV

(Incredibly BMeTric, which I guess makes sense given how much the internet hates his film. The notability is quite low, maybe because much of the cast is made up of dancers? Notability is somewhat depressed in the year of release because there are people who aren’t yet famous but will be in the future. I’ll have to run a study on it, but perhaps it is cut in half? It is hard to tell without looking at the data.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.5 stars – In 1939, T.S. Eliot published a book called Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, filled with poems he had written about cats to amuse his godchildren. A far cry from The Waste Land, almost 20 years before, Eliot’s poems are sweet and sneakily profound, detailing different kinds of cats, their behaviors, personalities, and mysterious self-involvement. … There’s not nearly enough of that in “Cats,” but I enjoyed the film for what it is. It’s “London’s Got Talent” for the feline set.

(That is a really really positive review. I mean, relatively at least. I’ve heard inklings of “if you ignore the CGI the film is kind of good” coming from some places, it is just hard to tell how much of it is critics being contrarian after the fact.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtSd844cI7U/

(This is the cleaned up trailer I think. There is another one which is truly mind-boggling. Like, Idris Elba’s face is kind of floating in the general vicinity of his creepy cat body it looks like. This looks mostly fine. It takes a lot of dancing cats and stuff for your brain to start rejecting it, although that is always a bad sign given that you have to watch 2 hours of dancing cats and stuff.)

Directors – Tom Hooper – (Known For: Les Misérables; The Danish Girl; The King’s Speech; The Damned United; BMT: Cats; Notes: Met the British director and producer Matthew Robinson through his father who was somehow involved with ITV in England. Via that connection he got work in television, and made the transition to major motion pictures from there.)

Writers – T.S. Eliot (poetry collection “Old Possum’s Books of Practical Cats”) – (BMT: Cats; Notes: Was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1948 and is considered one of the greatest poets of modern times.)

Lee Hall (screenplay) – (Known For: Rocketman; Billy Elliot; War Horse; Victoria & Abdul; BMT: Cats; Notes: Also wrote the book for the musical adaptation of Billy Elliot.)

Tom Hooper (screenplay) – (BMT: Cats; Notes: The first writing credit he’s received since the short film he produced while in school.)

Andrew Lloyd Webber (musical) – (BMT: Cats; Notes: A titan of musical composition having developed Jesus Christ: Superstar, Phantom of the Opera, Evita, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.)

Actors – Francesca Hayward – (BMT: Cats; Notes: Principal ballerina at the Royal Ballet in London. Took a sabbatical to make this film.)

Taylor Swift – (Future BMT: The Giver; BMT: Cats; Valentine’s Day; Notes: Y’all know Taylor. Reported to be worth over $300 million including nearly $100 million in real estate assets.)

Laurie Davidson – (Known For: The Good Liar; BMT: Cats; Vampire Academy; Notes: Got his start as William Shakespeare in the television show Will.)

Budget/Gross – $95,000,000 / Domestic: $22,950,935 (Worldwide: $43,450,935)

(So … first, the run isn’t over, there is, in theory, plenty of time to make some sweet cash. But, second, the rumor is the budget is in fact much higher than that given the issues with CGI and reshoots. Over twice as much even, which would be disastrous. We legitimately might have just witnessed Tom Hooper’s directing career end.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (56/272): Despite its fur-midable cast, this Cats adaptation is a clawful mistake that will leave most viewers begging to be put out of their mew-sery.

(An absolute abomination of a critical consensus. For shame Rotten Tomatoes, for shame. Reviewer Highlight: Cats is terrible, but it’s also kind of great. – Stephanie Zacharek, TIME Magazine)

Poster – Sklogs (B+)

cats

(I actually kind of like this. Very nice symmetry and color. Although makes the cats seem human size which, let me tell you, is not the case. Obviously also has that classic Cats font we all know and love.)

Tagline(s) – You will believe (C-)

(Nah. Way too generic. Seems more appropriate even for a sci fi picture which this… is, I guess. Not even sure what I’m supposed to be believing… that they actually made a major motion picture about Cats. At least it’s short.)

Keyword – based on stage musical

Cats_based on stage musical

Top 10: Cats (2019), Les Misérables (2012), Annie (1982), The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Mamma Mia! (2008), Dreamgirls (2006), Into the Woods (2014), Chicago (2002), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Little Shop of Horrors (1986); 

Future BMT: 51.9 Fame (2009), 42.3 The King and I (1999), 37.6 Nine (2009), 20.9 Chorus Line (1985), 5.4 The Phantom of the Opera (2004); 

BMT: Cats (2019)

(Pretty amazing that we’ve only seen one of these in the end. At the very least Fame should have been on our radar, with Nine being a close second. The 90s really were as bereft of musicals as it would seem. Newsies was supposed to be the big comeback for the West Side Story type major musical production, but instead it flopped. I would imagine the genre will eventually be relegated to streaming, headlined by musicians hoping to break into acting instead of the more rare triple threats like Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman. Which might honestly be the prudent financial path in the end … musicals are really really hit-or-miss.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Idris Elba is No. 5 billed in Cats and No. 7 billed in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 5 + 7 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 20. If we were to watch The Dark Tower, and Two for the Money we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – On December 21st 2019, a mere 2 days after its release, Universal Pictures announced they would be releasing a new version with updated CGI at an undisclosed time. (This was known prior to that, but it is still apparently unprecedented. It marks a major moment in both film and BMT history)

One week after its release, it was revealed by The Daily Mail that director Tom Hooper edited and re-cut the film after it was panned by many critics.

Dame Judi Dench was cast in the original 1981 London stage production in the dual roles of Jennyanydots and Grizabella. However, shortly before the opening of the original production, she suffered an injury that forced her to withdraw from the show, to be replaced at the last minute by Elaine Paige.

Was originally intended to be a traditionally animated movie before Tom Hooper came on board to direct. (Animated? Would make much more sense for actors in costume shrunk down if anything)

Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote new songs exclusively for the film. (Like Les Miz the new songs are probably terrible)

Universal Pictures originally planned to release Wicked (2021) on this release date. (Oh yeah, I heard this as well)

The cast attended “cat school” for preparation, according to Taylor Swift.

This is the first movie adaptation of “Cats” since the 1998 made-for-television BBC movie. (Which appears to just be a recording of the musical itself)

Andrew Lloyd Weber has had to fight off charges that he plagiarized “Memory”, which is said to be influenced by Ravel’s Bolero.

Tom Hooper’s second musical movie after Les Misérables (2012).

The Intruder Recap

Jamie

After scoring the big deal at work, Scott and Annie go looking to buy a house in Napa. They meet Charlie, who is looking to unload his million dollar family home and it seems like a match made in heaven. But soon it becomes clear that it’s a match made in hell because Charlie is a total nutso psycho. Can they stop Charlie before it’s too late? Find out in… The Intruder.

How?! Scott and Annie are the perfect couple. They are smart, beautiful and super rich and so we all identify with them and love them. They are looking to make their perfect lives complete by buying a multimillion dollar mansion in Napa and lo and behold Charlie is selling his dream house at this very moment. They pull the trigger and soon they are making that mansion their home. One problem though, Charlie is totally nuts and super weird and shows up at the house all the time being nuts and weird. Soon he’s doing all this creepy stuff around the house and Scott starts to suspect that Charlie may not be all that he seems. This paranoia puts stress on their marriage and soon it becomes clear that Charlie is seeing a little opening to get his house back and it involves wooing Annie and giving Scott the boot. Fed up, Scott confronts Charlie and then almost immediately gets run off the road while jogging (hmmm, wonder who did that?). Now totally freaked Scott insists that his friend go and make sure that Charlie isn’t wooing his wife while he’s laid up in the hospital. Wrong move, bro! Cause he gets an axe in the chest courtesy of Charlie. At this point, Annie is even a little creeped by Mr. Murder over there and it all culminates with her realizing that (spoiler alert!) he actually never left the house at all! He was living in some tunnels under the property like some Rambo. What a twist! In a final confrontation, Scott and Annie do battle with Charlie Rambo and totally blow him away in a ripoff of Sleeping with the Enemy (topical). THE END. Big Question: Was Charlie like… eating their food? I just really want to know more about how exactly he was living under their house for months… like… did he have a working toilet? Wouldn’t they have heard it? Lots of questions.

Why?! Well, Scott and Annie just want to live and have a happy marriage. Charlie… now that guy has a plan. What we learn is that he had a failing business built on lies that put him millions of dollars into debt. In order to pay off his debts he had to sell his house. But he’s not leaving (oh no) instead he’s gonna hang around long enough to woo Annie despite giving off sexy grandpa vibes (at best) and then marry her (?) and get his house back (???). It’s all very vague because he’s nuts.

Who?! While I was obviously tempted to use Dennis Quaid here as an actor-turned-musician, I restrained myself and will instead highlight Alvina August, a minor side actress in the film, who is also an aspiring singer… … never forget, though.

What?! One of the side characters sure does love his Audi, but really the star of this film is Recover 180°. Scott works on advertising for the drink several times in the film. They even show a full commercial for it. It’s actually a clever idea. Make your main character an advertising executive and then you can literally show entire commercials without anyone batting an eye. 

Where?! Superb San Fran/Napa setting. I think they could have gotten away with a New York City/NYC suburb dynamic. But that might be it. If they really wanted that A they would have probably had to have the house be a vineyard or something. Or have Scott be a tech entrepreneur rather than in advertising… you know, still giving it an A.

When?! Secret Holiday Film… kinda. This is like a roadtrip through time because after Scott and Annie buy the house we get a clear Thanksgiving scene and then some preparations for Christmas. If I had to choose I would say that Thanksgiving is the dominant as we get a rare thanksgiving dinner scene. Not a huge number of those in BMT films. A-.

This movie is mostly a pile of cliches built around rich people with rich people problems… alright, well maybe having Dennis Quaid living in some tunnels under your house isn’t exactly a rich person problem, but still. Really the only thing that this had going for it was that Dennis Quaid is off the hook and is snacking on scenery left and right. I’d also argue that the twist is fun, but also pretty standard, being in the same vein as “the call is coming from inside the house.” Except in this case it’s “the Quaid is coming from inside the house.” I personally felt like the film is more watchable than really thrilling or scary… but that still means it’s watchable. As for P.U.N.K.S., standard kids film made only mildly interesting by continual product placement, Randy Quaid putting on a full “nerd” character, and some wild character work by a couple of the kid actors… like one of the kids was super into health food… I have no idea why or what the joke actually was. It was pretty bizarre. As if Sly Stallone wrote the film or something, amiright? Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I do remember when I rented my new apartment and discovered the landlord living under the house in a weirdo crawl space … I mean, it’s fine I still lived there, have you seen the rental market recently?! It’s as insane as my weirdo landlord! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I legit barely remembered this film existed when we chose it for the 2019 cycle. But Dennis Quaid as a psycho? I’m in. The cast did make me wonder if I was the target audience for the film … so did all the reviews which suggested it was made for people who wanted to shout at the characters in theaters. But I’m game, I’m always game to try new things. What are my expectations? I expect to see Dennis Quaid as a psycho. The more of a psycho he can be the better. I’ll probably be pretty unsatisfied if people aren’t like “Why is this pyscho around all the time?” though, I don’t know if I could bear it.

The Good – I liked Dennis Quaid. No offense to the other actors in this film, but Quaid seemed like the only genuine “film” actor in the film … we’ll get to that in the Bad section, sorry. I liked the creepy hole Dennis Quaid apparently lived in, that was a fun reveal. I kind of wish that reveal plus battling Quaid in this house he knows inside and out was more like 50% of the film, but the end is pretty fun for as short as it lasts.

The Bad – First, the film isn’t very thrilling, just kind of eerie. Second, the actors aren’t really that good, like they are all television actors, which is fine … for a thriller that is fine I think. Third, the actual last second ending in which the main character killed Dennis Quaid in cold blood after totally unarming him is a bit unsavory. It isn’t like The Call level offensive, but it is a bit bothersome. But hey, it was pretty much the only thing the film had going for it. It is quite literally going to be the only thing I’ll remember from this film in two weeks … well, that and Dennis Quaid screaming “NO!” which will haunt my dreams forever.

The BMT – Hmmmm, no. I think I like the idea of the film more than the film itself. I like this as the future mold for streaming titles. You make like … 100 of these films and a bunch of them are going to be good. Keep them a-comin’ is what I think. I’ll watch all the bad ones too. Did it meet my expectations? Sadly, much like all of the bad reviews for this film, I have to agree with the critics: the female lead in the film, Meagan Good, is just waaaaaaay too calm with Charlie wandering around and pretending he has anything to do with this house anymore. Every moment he shows up everything he says and does screams “I am a lunatic who is trying to steal your life/house/family” and yet she keeps on being like “He’s harmless”. If not for that I would say yes because I like Dennis Quaid’s psycho, people just needed to not pretend he wasn’t the biggest creeper in the world.

Roast-radamus – He isn’t a Planchet, but Scott’s friend Mike is something else … he’s the guy who’s such a doofus that you just don’t care when Dennis Quaid kills him, and he’s kind of great at it. I’ll give a shoutout for some great Product Placement (What?) with the main character driving his sweet Audi around all of the time. Very minor, but very a propos Setting as a Character (Where?) with the start-up scene in San Francisco and the solitude of Napa playing a huge part in the film. Obviously this ends up up for a Live Smaddies Baddies, but I doubt it’ll actually get any of the big awards in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – This film came out long enough ago that it is on a few worst of lists already. Looper agrees with the critics in saying Quaid is good but the film is bad. Something called iDaily has it at 9 … and possibly is just aggregating Rotten Tomatoes data? I think this will go down as one of the worst … creepy homeowner selling his house, but still living in it and being creepy films ever made. For real, it’ll be number one.

Bring a Friend Analysis – Phew, the final friend of the year. The Intruder stars Dennis Quaid. And everyone knows his much more famous older brother Randy. I’m only kind of joking, that was probably at one point true. Randy Quaid started to slip a bit into obscurity after Independence Day in 1996. By 1999 he was staring opposite Henry Winkler in the genuine straight-to-video children’s film called P.U.N.K.S. In this film the son of Randy Quaid is worried about his genius father (Randy acting like a nerd-alert) having a heart attack while testing his super-strength machine for the eeeevil Edward Crow (Winkler). So he assembles his friends (the P.U.N.K.S.) to steal the invention and take Crow down. It has a decent anti-bullying message, but is cheesy with some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen. A young Jessica Alba was fun to see as Samantha, as was Patrick Renna whom some would know as Ham in The Sandlot. C+, I found it a pleasant enough watch, but ultimately kids’ films are just a bit too weird to stomach routinely.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Intruder Quiz

Oh man, so last night I discovered that my landlord was living under my apartment like a weirdo. But then … the last thing I remember was him attacking me and then nothing. Huh. Do you remember what happened in The Intruder?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Scott and Annie are living the high life in the start-up scene of San Francisco. Killing it, natch. What does Scott do for a living?

2) But Annie wants to start a family (natch) and she’s got her eye on moving out of the big city to the quiet life of Napa Valley. That’s where they meet Charlie and his beautiful home. What is the name of Charlie’s estate?

3) One of the many things that Scott does that annoys Charlie is that he won’t abide by guns, whereas Charlie loves to hunt. Why doesn’t Scott like guns?

4) During the course of the film Charlie claims he is or will be living in two different places. Name them, and also where has Charlie actually been living this entire time?

5) While investigating the age old question “what’s the deal with Charlie, the weirdo who used to own my house?” Scott discovers that Charlie had gotten into two major bits of legal trouble culminating in him having to sell the house to Scott. What did Charlie do? What’s the deal with Charlie?!

Answers

The Intruder Preview

“Let’s blow this joint,” Patrick says, approaching Jamie’s glass prison, but he’s greeted with a shush. The Baldwins are acting out their favorite roles for him and they just got to his favorite part of Bio-Dome. But the moment is ruined and the Baldwin’s ask who the dope with the Rambos is. “Fine,” Jamie says peeved, “we can go.” The Baldwin’s laugh. “No one leaves here, bro,” they say, pointing to the lock on the door, “It’s the latest BMTNSA encryption tech.” It’s Jamie and Patrick’s time to laugh. With that they look at the lock and their faces go slack. The Baldwin’s and the Rambos look on in wonder as symbols flash across their glassy dolls eyes as their twin brains crush the encryption software. They punch in a series of numbers and the lock falls to pieces on the floor. Jamie steps out of prison and they predator high five. “With our twin powers combined,” Jamie says. Patrick nods and in that moment they realize that only together can they solve the Rich and Poe problem. “You… you forgot your cable-knit sweater,” Patrick says. Jamie responds by pulling the sweater over his head as the prison erupts in cheers. But just as they start to head out an alarm goes off. “Oh no! I forgot about my magnetic prison boots!” Jamie says pointing to his incredibly heavy boots. “They must be rigged to a separate alarm,” Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert! It wails. That’s right! We’re watching the last of the Bring a Friend cycle, which also means we are transitioning to the final cycle of the year *gasp*. This is of course the current year cycle and so we chose the Dennis Quaid thriller The Intruder that looks just dumb enough in its thrills for our liking.

Meanwhile, Sticks and Stone look at the security feed with Vampiro. “What are we going to do?” Vampiro whines but Sticks and Stones slam their fists down on the table to silence him. “You know exactly what we’re going to do. We’re gonna stop those punks.” That’s right! We’re also watching the Randy Quaid kids film P.U.N.K.S. where he plays a major nerdy whose kid steals from top secret advanced weaponry. I always like to know what kind of stupid backronym they used to make the title P.U.N.K.S. but alas. It’s just a collection of all the characters’ last names. Booooo. 

The Intruder (2019) – BMeTric: 33.4 

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(Actually pretty impressive that it opened sub-6.0. Possibly there is a bit of something going on there, because usually rating open high because hardcore fans see it in theaters and review it well. But I choose not to read too much into it. A 30 BMeTric sounds about right.)

RogerEbert.com – 1 stars –  Like director Deon Taylor’s abysmal last film, “Traffik,” it takes forever to get to what would be considered “the good parts” in a better movie. It is also completely devoid of suspense despite numerous jump scares. Worst of all, its heroine not only does mind-numbingly stupid things, this film is so retro that it requires that she get rescued by her husband.

(Yeah sounds about right. Looking through the reviews it seems like it was designed as a “participation” film (plausibly a first of its kind? It is unclear whether a director has ever designed a film with that specifically in mind))

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKXvex7b1Ew/

(Meh. Looks kind of boring and predictable to be honest. And also, like the review, that all of the thrills are just from jump scares which are boring. Plus when the jump scares from from a lurking Dennis Quaid I’m not sure I find them thriller per se, but rather they seem more silly.)

Directors – Deon Taylor – (Known For: Black and Blue; Future BMT: Meet the Blacks; Chain Letter; Traffik; Supremacy; BMT: The Intruder; Notes: Black and Blue almost got bad reviews as well and was also considered predictable and boring. Notable for his Nitetale Series.)

Writers – David Loughery (written by) – (Known For: Nurse 3-D; Dreamscape; Lakeview Terrace; Future BMT: Obsessed; Money Train; Tom and Huck; Passenger 57; The Three Musketeers; Flashback; BMT: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; The Intruder; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in 1990; Notes: Went to Iowa State and grew up in Chicago.)

Actors – Michael Ealy – (Known For: Think Like a Man; Last Vegas; About Last Night; Margaret; Barbershop; Kissing Jessica Stein; Barbershop 2: Back in Business; Unconditional; Future BMT: Bad Company; Think Like a Man Too; The Perfect Guy; Takers; Miracle at St. Anna; Jacob’s Ladder; November; Underworld Awakening; For Colored Girls; BMT: 2 Fast 2 Furious; The Intruder; Never Die Alone; Notes: Does a lot of television work including the new show Stumptown with Cobie Smulders.)

Meagan Good – (Known For: Shazam!; Don Jon; Friday; Brick; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; Think Like a Man; Eve’s Bayou; Jumping the Broom; A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.; Roll Bounce; Deliver Us from Eva; Future BMT: You Got Served; The Unborn; Biker Boyz; Venom; D.E.B.S.; Stomp the Yard; Saw V; The Cookout; 3 Strikes; Think Like a Man Too; Waist Deep; LUV; BMT: The Love Guru; One Missed Call; The Intruder; Notes: Has been acting professionally since she was four starting in commercials. Her sister is La’Myia Good who is in the hip hop group Bad Gyrl.)

Dennis Quaid – (Known For: A Dog’s Journey; The Day After Tomorrow; The Parent Trap; Traffic; Stripes; Footloose; Soul Surfer; Any Given Sunday; The Right Stuff; I Can Only Imagine; Frequency; Innerspace; Wyatt Earp; DragonHeart; Breaking Away; Far from Heaven; Enemy Mine; The Rookie; In Good Company; Dreamscape; Future BMT: Legion; Cold Creek Manor; Beneath the Darkness; American Dreamz; Yours, Mine & Ours; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Horsemen; Something to Talk About; Kin; Flight of the Phoenix; The Alamo; Caveman; Undercover Blues; Vantage Point; Switchback; Wilder Napalm; Pandorum; All Night Long; BMT: Jaws 3-D; Movie 43; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Playing for Keeps; The Intruder; A Dog’s Purpose; Notes: Y’all know Dennis Quaid. Or at least, you know his band The Sharks. I always forget he is actually the younger brother to the initially much more successful Randy Quaid.)

Budget/Gross – $5–8 million / Domestic: $35,419,122 (Worldwide: $36,599,361)

(Huuuuuuge success. Now you won’t see a sequel, but you might see another faux-remake of a 90s/00s thriller with a non-white cast and an older actor like Quaid.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (30/94): The Intruder might appeal to fans of shout-at-the-screen cinema, but this thriller’s ludicrous plot robs it of suspense — and undermines Dennis Quaid’s suitably over-the-top performance.

(Ohhhhh yeah. When this film came out all of the reviews all said it was basically created to be yelled at in theaters. I forgot about that. That actually kind of makes me love it more. That it is so specifically that. Reviewer Highlight: Nearly every scene is practically an invitation for the audience to talk back to the screen and ask these people if they’ve lost their minds. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Get Paid, Get Quaid, Gatorade (A)

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(Yes, yes, yes. Artistic, font has straight up people in it, and bold red in my face. Oh, and lest you think this doesn’t tell you a little about the plot of the film: check out those creepy Quaid eyes watching those people. I love it.)

Tagline(s) – Your House. His Home. (A)

(I also like this. It’s not impossible for a terrible film to have a good poster and a good tagline, but a pretty rare treat for us. Short, sweet, clever wordcraftsmanship, and tells me what’s up. It’s good.)

Keyword(s) – couple; Top Ten by BMeTric: 80.2 A Wrinkle in Time (2018); 79.4 Feardotcom (2002); 69.1 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 65.7 Chernobyl Diaries (2012); 60.9 Legion (2010); 59.7 Truth or Dare (I) (2018); 50.6 Couples Retreat (2009); 47.4 By the Sea (2015); 40.2 I Give It a Year (2013); 39.5 Life After Beth (2014);

(The twilight saga … when the hell are we going to do that now?! That is going to be brutal, those films suck. Not that they are particularly bad (the acting at least is fine), it is just a lot and shiny … nothings. They are all shiny nothings.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Meagan Good is No. 2 billed in The Intruder and No. 5 billed in The Love Guru, which also stars Jessica Alba (No. 2 billed) who is in Mechanic: Resurrection (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 5 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch Legion we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – In this movie Dennis Quaid plays the psycho terrorizing the couple who bought his old house. In Cold Creek Manor (2003), Quaid plays the husband of the couple who bought Stephen Dorff’s old house and are then terrorized by Dorff. (… this genuinely seems like a remake of that film. Too bad I can’t watch this one as a bonus at this point.)

Michael Ealy and Meagan Good also starred together in the Think Like A Man series.

This isn’t the first time Dennis Quaid played a Napa Valley resident. He previously played Nick Parker in The Parent Trap (1998), a Napa Valley resident who owned his own vineyard.

When Charlie is carrying Annie upstairs he says, “We’ve had this date from the beginning.” This is what Stanley Says to Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) just before he rapes her. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?)

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