Cool World Recap

Jamie

Writer Jack Deebs is released from prison only to find himself sucked into the world of the comic books he wrote while behind bars. There he is seduced by Holli Would, a sultry cartoon who wants to become human and enter the real world. Can Cool World detective Frank Harris stop her before it’s too late? Find out in… Cool World.

What?! Frank Harris is back from WWII and almost immediately accidentally kills his mom in a motorcycle accident. Nice going, IDIOT. Just as we think we are going into a drama involving Frank dealing with his grief and guilt, a hole randomly opens in space and time and transports him to Cool World thanks to a “doodle” doctor and his invention, the Spike of Power. We jump to present day where Jack Deebs, the incarcerated comic book writer who based his comic book’s world off of Cool World, is about to be released. We see him get pulled into Cool World where he sees Holli Would, a sultry femme fatale who wants to totes bone him (a “noid”) in order to gain power to enter the real world herself. Jack comes and goes from Cool World a couple more times where he learns from Frank that there are rulez that prohibit noids from boning doodles and that he better watch out for Holli… which he promptly ignores and the two have crazy noid-doodle sex. This turns Holli into a real woman and her and Jack flee Cool World for Vegas, baby! Holli immediately spurns Jack to try to find the Spike of Power in order to break down the barrier between Cool World and the real world and gain ultimate power. She kills Frank, gets the Spike, and breaks the barrier only to have a doodle-fied Jack take the Spike and reverse it all. Frank is then reborn in Cool World as a doodle and is super psyched because now he can fuck cartoons to his heart’s content. THE END.

Why?! The motivations that matter the most are that of Holli. She wants power and more than just what a cartoon life gives her. She has heard stories of a doodle who used the Spike of Power to enter the real world and wants to get there in order to get what she thinks she deserves: everything. Having sex with a noid is her way of doing this and she’s been bringing human men into Cool World to try to accomplish that. Jack’s just one of those dopes who thinks he’s created Cool World. When he finds that it’s actually a real place he ignores advice at every turn and just can’t resist having sex with Holli… which is pretty weird.

What?! Can’t recall any significant product placement. There is the mysterious object called the Spike of Power that was used to bridge the gap between Cool World and the real world. Holli Would seems to assume this object will also help her stay in noid form at the end of the film because… well, because it’s a MacGuffin I guess and you don’t really have to explain why it would have the power to do that.

Who?! Frank Sinatra Jr. makes a cameo appearance in a nightclub in Vegas. He was the son of a famous singer, a famous singer in his own right, and a famous victim of kidnapping. His daddio had to fork over a whole bunch of money to get him back. Cool stuff.

Where?! Vegas, baby! Seems like Cool World is somehow inexorably linked to Vegas as both Frank and Jack come from there. Perhaps it’s some meditation on Vegas as a cartoon world created by those who dreamt it up? Could have been an A- maybe if that was the case, but hard to know for sure. B+.

When?! We are given an intertitle setting us in 1992 for the main thrust of the film. While not exact it is still an intertitle so that pushes it to a B-.

What a strange, terrible film. I can understand the ambition and artistry here. The creator of this was obviously very much an artist in animation. The way that the doodles manically interact with each other and ghostly, half-drawn faces float around the world seems to indicate that he thought long and hard about what a world of cartoons would be and took it to the logical dark and twisted conclusion. But narratively this is a mess and just not worth watching. He even dropped the ball when it came to having real people interact with the cartoon and it looks like garbage. So I can’t even say that you could watch it for only the visual pleasure. Just an odd, weird thing that exists that maybe you can find aspects to appreciate (maybe?). Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Not-very-cool world is more like it, amirite? What if you could animate things and had a ton of cocaine? Let’s find out!

The Good – Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is a charming wonderful film, and this makes you appreciate the patience and skill it took the animators, director, and Bob Hoskins to make that film work. And then some jabronis made this … go figure.

P’s View on the Preview – The only thing this film had going for it was that it seemed like it could try and be a more mature (even r-rated) version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Once you read the preview though you realize the insane producer and Kim Basinger basically hijacked that vision, kicked the shit out of the director, and tried to force what was a fine (if misguided) idea into a PG box. To see them fail miserably and produce a steaming pile of shit was the only thing of interest here.

The Bad – This is a steaming pile of shit. The movie is scattershot and off from the get go. None of the acting or writing is good. The set design and direction is just … it takes the idea from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and basically did it on the cheap with cheap looking hand painted cutouts. Cool World isn’t fleshed out and instead comes across as merely a riff on the hard boiled detective cliche more than anything else. It is a marvel, but an unpleasant one, and one that never begs for a rewatch or showing anyone. It exists only to be put on worst of lists and to be compared to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Just terrible.

Get Yo Rant On – Cool World. Can anyone tell me what happens in Cool World? Who anyone is, what the rules are, the geography, the culture. They intentionally divide the Noids (humans) from the Doodles (cartoons), which basically hamstrings the entire thing as well, because the Doodle culture is not an amalgamation of human cultures of any kind, there is no riff on the oddity whereby age and mortality contrast with the humans that inhabit the same world. What was even the idea?! What did this movie have going for it that they would even consider making it?! Out of all of the films I wish I could read up on the background for this is either the most or least interesting one. Either there is a crazy story of how this was made … or the answer is simply “cocaine, hubris, and a dash of genuine insane people with power”.

Welcome to Earf – I admit, I had to look up Kimmy B’s filmography to remind myself. Kim Basinger is in both Cool World and Grudge Match with Sylvester Stallone, who was in Zookeeper with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

The BMT – This will live on a bit because of the obvious correlation to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. I would never ever recommend this to anyone to watch ever though. It is boring and unpleasant. So there isn’t much there. To put in on a BMeTric like scale I would give it a 35, just a shade below where you’d want to be before recommending it to someone I feel like.

StreetCreditReport.com – The movie is so lame people write entire articles about it these days. To say the least it has some serious cred and had been on our radar for years (and is on the Calendar, which holds it own sort of cache). I found it difficult to find actual lists from the time, but retrospectives seem to be a bit more kind to it at this point. Whatever, this movie is hot garbage.

And that’s it. I wish I had watched Who Framed Roger Rabbit? for this recap, but I didn’t. But that’s just because that movie is awesome. This movie is just trash, so let’s forget about it.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

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Cool World Preview

After seeing Rich get accused of vigilante murder (again), Poe quickly pulls out a small evidence notebook to reveal that he is also a vigilante cop (what a twist!). Secretly we know this is all a frame job and they just need to stick together so they can take down their ultimate foe. They go on trial and are thrown in the slammer (again). Luckily, being Rich and Poe, they escape like the badasses they are, punching people in the throats and faces along the way. They track their arch nemesis back to a secret iron smelting plant/cocaine factory/headquarters and find that it is none other than Helmut Gruber! He’s alive! Gruber leads them on a chase through a house of mirrors. There appears to be twenty Grubers… who do they shoot? Wrong question, who don’t they shoot? They blow him to pieces with their dual miniguns and with dead doll eyes set the factory ablaze, evidence and all. They high five a whole bunch and are reinstated to the force no questions asked. THE END … [fade from imagination script world] … We nervously sit across of a high powered studio executive, the script to Rich & Poe in his hands. We’ve been waiting for hours while he’s read it in a single sitting. “Jamie and Patrick. This script is a true masterpiece. I love it more than my children. Just one thing.” We hold our breath. “I think we need to change this ending… what if, and hear me out… what if we have Rich and Poe fuck a cartoon” That’s right! We’re watching Cool World. It’s the classic tale of boy meets cartoon girl, boy has sex with a cartoon. Straight from the deranged mind of Frank Mancuso Jr., the producer of I Know Who Killed Me, this is like Who Framed Roger Rabbit except super weird and a guy has sex with a cartoon. This also officially transitions to the Calendar cycle of the year where we try to knock a few more dates off that challenge. Let’s go!

Cool World (1992) – BMeTric: 61.4

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(Makes sense it would slowly increase. It sounds like something that animation fans would kind of grow to respect over time despite its problems at the time of release. Even pulling punches on hard-R and ending up at PG-13 can be forgiven given when it was released.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Pointless live-action / animation feature from Bakashi, who’s covered this ground before, much more successfully. Ex-con comic-book artist Byrne discovers his cartoon creations are real, and live in a parallel universe called Cool World. After sexy “doodle” Holli (Basinger) has sex with Byrne, she becomes human and escapes to the real world, with detective Pitt in tow. Too serious to be fun, too goofy to take seriously; lead characters unlikable and unappealing. Looks like a Roger Corman version of Roger Rabbit.

(Such a long review. Too serious to be fun and too goofy to be serious sounds exactly like I expected. Sounds ludicrous.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kJAVgY8DMk

(Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a trailer that seemingly walks through the entire plot of a film so precisely… and boy does it seem really weird and yet super boring.)

Directors – Ralph Bakshi – (Known For: The Lord of the Rings; Fritz the Cat; Wizards; American Pop; Heavy Traffic; BMT: Cool World; Notes: Considered one of the greatest animators of all time.)

Writers – Michael Grais and Mark Victor (written by) – (Known For: Poltergeist; Future BMT: Poltergeist; Poltergeist II: The Other Side; Marked for Death; BMT: Cool World; Notes: Grais co-wrote Poltergeist with Steven Spielberg which basically influenced the rest of these two guys’ careers. Surprisingly little about them online though.)

Actors – Gabriel Byrne – (Known For: Hereditary; The Usual Suspects; Excalibur; Little Women; Enemy of the State; Miller’s Crossing; Assault on Precinct 13; Dead Man; Mad to Be Normal; The 33; Point of No Return; Vanity Fair; Louder Than Bombs; Spider; Gothic; Carrie Pilby; A Dangerous Woman; Shade; P.S.; No Pay, Nudity; Future BMT: Vampire Academy; End of Days; The Bridge of San Luis Rey; The Keep; Stigmata; Hello Again; The End of Violence; All Things to All Men; The Man in the Iron Mask; Quest for Camelot; Trial by Jury; Siesta; BMT: Cool World; Ghost Ship; Trigger Happy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2000 for End of Days, and Stigmata; Notes: Irish. Is notable for only starting acting when he was 29, far later than most actors.)

Kim Basinger – (Known For: The Nice Guys; L.A. Confidential; Batman; 8 Mile; Nine 1/2 Weeks; Wayne’s World 2; Never Say Never Again; The Natural; The Door in the Floor; Cellular; Final Analysis; People I Know; Nadine; Fool for Love; Future BMT: The Informers; Prêt-à-Porter; My Stepmother Is an Alien; While She Was Out; The Getaway; The Real McCoy; Blind Date; The Sentinel; The Man Who Loved Women; Even Money; Third Person; I Am Here; The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud; The Burning Plain; BMT: Fifty Shades Darker; Cool World; Bless the Child; No Mercy; I Dreamed of Africa; The Marrying Man; Grudge Match; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Supporting Actress for Fifty Shades Darker in 2018; and Nominee for Worst Actress in 1987 for Nine 1/2 Weeks; in 1992 for The Marrying Man; in 1993 for Cool World, and Final Analysis; in 1995 for The Getaway; and in 2001 for Bless the Child, and I Dreamed of Africa; Notes: Kimmy B! I missed her in Fifty Shades Freed. Her daughter Ireland is a model now.)

Brad Pitt – (Known For: Deadpool 2; Ocean’s Eleven; Inglourious Basterds; Fight Club; Se7en; Ocean’s Thirteen; Ocean’s Twelve; Troy; Fury; 12 Years a Slave; The Big Short; Snatch; World War Z; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Twelve Monkeys; Megamind; True Romance; Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Allied; Future BMT: The Counsellor; Full Frontal; By the Sea; Cutting Class; The Devil’s Own; The Favour; Johnny Suede; BMT: Cool World; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Notes: Basically just in the new recently for his high profile divorce proceedings involving Angelina Jolie, they have five children together which … complicates things.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $14,110,589

(Complete bomb, but honestly that is expected. It is a Roger Rabbit knockoff and a terrible one at that.)

#222 for the Animation genre

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(Shockingly only the fourth animated film we’ve seen (The Emoji Movie, Escape From Planet Earth, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, Doogal). I believe the big jumps are introductions of new technology (CG in the mid-90s), and the various phases of those technologies. Recently, I think the jump is the complete takeover of cheap animation by CG leaving basically no traditionally animated features being released.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 4% (2/46): Cool World throws a small handful of visual sparks, but they aren’t enough to distract from the screenplay’s thin characters and scattered plot.

(I did not realize how low this rating was. That is pretty stunning. Review Highlight: A realm with precious little humor and zero pathos, to be admired only for its considerable technical achievements. – Brian Lowry, Variety … at least it is a technical achievement.)

Poster – Sklog World (C)

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(Brad Pitt looks so out of place on this poster… which is probably foreshadowing to how the effect will work in the actual film. Doesn’t even have good framing with the toons even. OK coloring and some kooky toon font rescues it a bit.)

Tagline(s) – Holli would if she could …and she will (C-)

(A little play on the character’s name and her ambitions to seduce a human… which we wouldn’t know because it’s not based on some known property. So it kinda just ends up being a meaningless play on words.)

Keyword(s) – profanity; Top Ten by BMeTric: 85.8 Troll 2 (1990); 71.5 The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) (2015); 68.1 Vice (2015); 65.8 Problem Child 2 (1991); 64.4 Stealth (2005); 63.7 Body of Evidence (1993); 63.1 Ben & Arthur (2002); 61.9 Blair Witch (2016); 61.4 Cool World (1992); 61.1 Transformers: The Last Knight (2017);

(Problem Child 2? It is rated PG-13 and basically made for like … 13-year-olds. Why would it get a profanity keyword. You’d think you’d save that for like … specifically profane movies.)

Movie Stub – Cool World – Rated GA-Class – GA is very high by the way, likely because of the pretty big sections on the production, release, and reception. Reception is actually often noted as a blind spot for film wikipedia pages. I’m not sure what they tend to look for, I guess a few choice soundbites from bit critics, but almost all C/B-class pages mention that the reception section is lacking. To me this is a perfect wiki page for the film, and I would hope that all BMT films could aspire to the svelte plot summary and expansive notes.

Notes – Ralph Bakshi was almost fired and sued by Frank Mancuso Jr. for punching him in the nose after he told him this film was being changed.

Ralph Bakshi wanted Brad Pitt to play Jack Deebs. Brad said he wanted the same, but Paramount Pictures disagreed.

As a publicity stunt, Paramount Pictures placed a huge cut-out of Holli Would on the D of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. Although they did not have to pay any fees, the studio still had to make a donation of $27,000 to the sign’s maintenance fund, another $27,000 to the Rebuild L.A. fund (this was just after the L.A. riots), and the cost of two park rangers to guard the sign 24 hours a day. However, the publicity stunt angered local residents who picketed and demanded that the cut-out be taken down. (ha, fun fact)

Since the characters were simply created from scratch, the directors thought this to be appropriate to parody both popular Disney and Warner Bros. cartoon characters. A few examples would be the medium used for the rabbits, the old bald man and their own version of Geppetto and Pinnochio in a larger character’s stomach, or Daffy Duck’s face seen in a building on the movie.

In Ralph Bakshi’s original script, Holli Would was named Debbie Dallas, after the porn film Debbie Does Dallas (1978). (Kind of gross)

The movie was originally sold as a “hard-R” animated/live action horror film. The original concept art that Ralph Bakshi used to pitch the film was significantly more disturbing than what ultimately ended up onscreen, and had character designs stylistically similar to those found in Frank Miller’s “Sin City”. Once Kim Basinger became attached, she and the studio became ambivalent about the kind of reaction the movie would generate, resulting in the studio deciding to “soften” the picture to a PG-rated dark comedy (though the ratings board ultimately gave this a PG-13). (Ambivalent seems like the wrong work, to change things so dramatically one would have to be concerned about the negative buzz the picture could generate).

In the press release for the film, the studio tried to sell the movie both as a down-and-dirty Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and as a technical achievement in creating a multiplane effect using live-action and animation. The claims were somewhat foolhardy as Roger’s adult situations better served its plot and Roger had scores of technical breakthroughs in its attempt to seamlessly combine live-action and animation. (Alright, calm down IMDb trivia writer. I agree, but no need to throw Roger Rabbit’s “scores” of technical breakthroughs in their faces)

Ralph Bakshi originally wanted Drew Barrymore to play the sultry Holli Would. (Oooof, that would have been weird … did they decide that was a bad idea before or after they realized she was 17 at the time? …)

The character of Nails the Spider is borrowed from Bakshi’s own Christmas in Tattertown character Sidney the Spider. Charlie Adler provides the voices for both characters.

As of 2017, this is Ralph Bakshi’s last film, though he does intend to return to filmmaking soon, after being annoyed by every major animated film being made with computer animation. (He’s going to be annoyed for a long time sadly)

Despite the film’s less than stellar performance, its soundtrack gained critical acclaim and popularity which consists of electronic dance and rock songs by David Bowie, Moby, Neil Tennant and Mark Isham, the film’s composer.

The song, “Disappointed” by Electronic, appeared on the film’s soundtrack before this appeared on any of the band’s own albums. In 2006, this was finally released on the band’s compilation album, “Get the Message – The Best of Electronic”. (WHAT that is crazy)

During a meeting mid-production, Kim Basinger told Ralph Bakshi and Frank Mancuso Jr. that this would be wonderful if she could show this movie to sick children in hospitals. Bakshi replied “Kim, I think that’s wonderful, but you’ve got the wrong guy to do that with. Why didn’t you tell me that on the way in? How are you telling me that halfway through the picture?” Mancuso reportedly agreed with Basinger that this was a good idea. (This I assume was the incident that Bakshi punched Mancuso in the nose over. I love that this is the producer of I Know Who Killed Me as well.)

Awards

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Kim Basinger, 1993)

Behind Enemy Lines Recap

Jamie

A disillusioned navy pilot crashes behind enemy lines in Bosnia and has to survive long enough to report the atrocities he has evidence of. Can he evade capture and rediscover his love for the good ol’ U-S-of-A before it’s too late? Find out in… Behind Enemy Lines.

What?! Lt. Chris Burnett is fed up. He’s fed up with just sitting around while peace is negotiated in the Bosnian War, he’s fed up with his asshole boss Admiral Reigart, and he’s goddamn fed up with flying pointless reconnaissance missions on Christmas Day! That’s why he’s put in his resignation letter and, phew, just a couple more days and he won’t have to deal with it anymore. What could go wrong? Well shortly thereafter his plane goes off course (not his fault), inadvertently takes some pictures of some war crimes (oops), gets blown out of the sky (boy howdy, talk about a rough day), and his co-pilot is killed by Serbian soldiers (that got dark). Now he’s stuck behind enemy lines and America, handcuffed by bullshit peace or whatever, can’t go in and roast some dudes in lethal combat in order to save him (woooooooo, war!). What follows is a long footrace across the mountains of Bosnia with Serbians in hot pursuit. He has some zany adventures falling into mass graves, getting shot at by a sniper, and eventually joining up with some Coca-Cola toting, hip hop spouting Bosnian insurgents who help him to his destination. Finally, just when Burnett retrieves some valuable evidence of war crimes, he is rescued personally by Reigart who is all like “Bet you love America now. How about we just forget about all that resignation shit.” And they laugh and laugh and laugh (mostly so they don’t cry over all the human beings that have killed in the process of the film). THE END.   

Why?! To live. In some ways it’s the motivation underlying every movie we watch (that’s deep, Jamie). Thank you. But seriously, Burnett kinda sucks but has to put all that whiny bullshit aside in order to survive and deliver justice for the war crimes he witnessed. The Serbians want to cover up all those war crimes, which is why they desperately want to snuff out Burnett. It’s a real cat and mouse game here.

What?! This has one of the greatest and most unexpected gratuitous product placements in BMT history. We get Owen Wilson, dehydrated and exhausted, picked up by a truck filled with Bosnian fighters. He begs for some water, but they don’t have any. All they have is some delicious Coca-Cola. He takes a sip and smiles, “it’s good,” he says. Oh, it’s good all right.

Who?! We get a “special thanks” credit for Phil Strub. Who’s that? Why he’s the entertainment liaison for the Department of Defense and by all accounts controls Hollywood’s access to anything military. The article suggests that this dude actually has some influence on the portrayal of the military in film to the point of requesting and getting script changes. Sounds like an amazing job, when do I start?

Where?! Just misses the coveted A+. If only it were called Behind Bosnian Lines. While a terrible title, they would have had the satisfaction of getting the top grade on our website, which is read by tens of people (probably… I don’t know. Might be single digits). A.

When?! Secret Holiday Film Alert! Tis the season to be jolly, because we got Xmas in May up in here. Just when Burnett is heading off for his mission he is lamenting the fact that they are the only crew flying on Christmas Day. The mission is an act of revenge to punish his bad ‘tude. I’m gonna go ahead and give it an A. Not in the title, but vital to the plot in an unexpected way.

We’ve been watching a number of 30-40% RT films lately and I have appreciated seeing what makes them different from the <30% dregs that we are usually watching. The direction, editing, music, and general pro-war stance should have pulled this film lower… and yet it didn’t. Why? I think it was because it was eminently watchable. It was like a Michael Bay film except not 5 hours long and I genuinely enjoyed myself. Maybe that’s what buoyed it up to the the higher edge of BMT. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What happens when you decide to construct a film entirely out of military stock footage, slow motion shots of Owen Wilson running, and explosions? Let’s go!

The Good – This movie is not that bad, which I guess shouldn’t be that surprising since the Rotten Tomatoes score isn’t that bad. It flies along at a decent pace, Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman are serviceable to solid throughout, and the story is at least pretty interesting (if ludicrous). It is a bad military film, but it is a fine action film, which is a compliment … I think.  

P’s View on the Preview – All of my bad movie hopes and bad movie dreams were tied up in the direction of this film. Everything I read basically suggested two reasons for the bad reviews. The first was just the jingoistic nature of the whole affair, which is often unpalatable to critics. The second though was the frenetic direction which often seemed to go from quick cut incomprehensibility to just multiple versions of Owen Wilson running in slow motion. So mainly I hoped that the direction was so bonkers that it pulled this film from a boring not-great war film to something special.

The Bad – And it kind of did, the direction and soundtrack very obviously sunk the film. Reflecting on the more recent 30-40% Rotten Tomatoes the films tend to be much more tolerable that the truly dire films below 30%. Monte Carlo is a decent example, it is of a cloying teen romantic comedy, but that is kind of the only thing that makes it bad. Here the direction is quite distracting and the soundtrack is just insane. As I said this makes for a shitty military movie, but a tolerable action movie. It does one or two things right, one or two things wrong, let’s call it a draw.

Get Yo Rant On – Was there a point in time when having the bad guys in film be the international peacekeepers was in fashion? The feckless international commander (who they only heavily implied had some shadowy agreement to hide genocide) was from France, and could not have been more in the way. I cannot help but think it has at least something to do with the tacit agreement the film crew and the military struck to get those sweet aircraft carrier shots. Blatant jingoism is as American as, well … military movies I suppose. Little did the director know that Michael Bay had already perfected the art of bending over backwards for sweet military shots with his smash critical hit Pearl Harbor the same year. Rant over.

The BMT – Unfortunately no. But it was interesting to see what is considered to be a late-90s / early 00s bad war film. War films, if they aren’t Sci-Fi (*cough* Battleship *cough*) seem to rarely be very very bad. So it fills a niche there for sure.

Welcome to Earf – Easy one this week. Behind Enemy Lines stars Owen Wilson who was in I Spy with Eddie Murphy who was in Norbit with Terry Crews who was in Blended with Adam Sandler who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf! There probably is an alternative non-I-Spy path to take, but I couldn’t find it organically.

StreetCreditReport.com – Nope. None. It wasn’t even close to making lists for 2001, but also I couldn’t find a single example in specifically lists concerning war films. Turns out the hatred for The Patriot, Pearl Harbor, and Revolution (you remember Revolution … starring Al Pacino … yeah me neither) is strooooong. Such is life, sometimes you just have to check those boxes.

No homework again, but soon, I can feel it. Soon I’ll be reading some terrible book for BMT.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Behind Enemy Lines Preview

While under the control of the reverse Amnimals machine we are reduced to our basest instincts. Watching grown men panic about being gay is suddenly hilarious and it seems we may be doomed for all eternity to watch Meet the Spartans on an infinite loop. Noooooooo! Hungry from laughing so much, we order in what we crave: delicious $5 footlongs from Subway. The patented Subway flavor crystals hit our lizard brains and the Amnimals machine is destroyed. Hooray! We are back to our super twin ways! We slam a couple Bud Lights and chase down the Obsidian Dongle with our Budweiser super speed. With the Dongle in hand we take the quickest way out of there: our personal fighter jet. Hope everything works out and this is a totally incident free flight back to the US. Hmmm, should be alright to take this flight out of Greece straight through Bosnian airspace. What could go wrong? That’s right! We’re going Behind Enemy Lines for the final stop on the backpacking tour. This takes place in Bosnia & Herzegovina and will serve as a transition to the next cycle called Mind of a Madman, where we try to watch films produced by the same people as the films we’ve inducted in the BMT HoF. Behind Enemy Lines was produced by John Davis, the same person who made Norbit (believe it or not). I’m excited. Let’s go!

Behind Enemy Lines (2001) – BMeTric: 21.4

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(A rating of 6.4 is actually quite good. It seems like it wants to end up on the other side of 6.5 even. The BMeTric successfully identifies this as borderline BMT, which matched with the Rotten Tomatoes score. A BMeTric of 20 is I think something like a 35 quartile, definitively below the median value.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  A cocky naval airman is shot down behind enemy lines in Bosnia and his commanding officer is unable to rescue him because of political constraints. Action yarn delivers a lot of excitement, but a hyperactive camera may produce motion sickness in some viewers. The corny finale seems to have come from a lesser-grade Hollywood movie of decades past. Followed by a direct-to-video sequel and a direct-to-DVD sequel.

(If you look at John Moore’s note below I already am rather excited about that quick edit style that is being promised. At the time it might have actually been ahead of its time considering Jason Bourne wouldn’t come out until the next year.)

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

(This soundtrack is going to be off the chains, and the camera work does indeed seem bonkers judging from the trailer. I love Gene Hackman though. Straight up.)

Directors – John Moore – (Future BMT: The Omen; I.T.; Flight of the Phoenix; BMT: A Good Day to Die Hard; Max Payne; Behind Enemy Lines; Notes: Wow all of his films are below 40%. Irish, he is known for a quite edit style, which I’ll like to see showcased in this film.)

Writers – Jim Thomas and John Thomas (story) (as James Thomas) – (Known For: Predators; Predator; Executive Decision; Future BMT: Wild Wild West; Mission to Mars; Predator 2; BMT: AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem; AVP: Alien vs. Predator; Behind Enemy Lines; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Wild Wild West in 2000; Notes: Brothers, that also wrote on the short lived television series Hard Time on Planet Earth which seems like an amazing one-and-done series. Critics “detested” it according to wikipedia.)

David Veloz (screenplay) – (Known For: Natural Born Killers; Permanent Midnight; BMT: Behind Enemy Lines; Notes: Weirdly appeared in the news recently when he was quoted as saying Oliver Stone was “sexist and cruel” and Stone himself made news by defending Harvey Weinstein.)

Zak Penn (screenplay) – (Known For: Ready Player One; Avengers Assemble; The Incredible Hulk; X-Men: The Last Stand; X-Men 2; P.C.U.; The Grand; Incident at Loch Ness; Future BMT: Inspector Gadget; Suspect Zero; Last Action Hero; BMT: Elektra; Behind Enemy Lines; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Last Action Hero in 1994; Notes: Apparently wrote a first draft of Antz. Apparently in Europe P.C.U. is called Politically Correct Party Animals. That film is based on Penn’s experiences with the Eclectic Society of Wesleyan University.)

Actors – Gene Hackman – (Known For: Superman; The Royal Tenenbaums; Young Frankenstein; Unforgiven; Superman II; The Replacements; Bonnie and Clyde; Mississippi Burning; Crimson Tide; The Birdcage; Enemy of the State; The Firm; The French Connection; No Way Out; The Conversation; Antz; A Bridge Too Far; Wyatt Earp; Runaway Jury; The Quick and the Dead; Future BMT: Loose Cannons; Two of a Kind; All Night Long; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; Welcome to Mooseport; The Chamber; Behind Enemy Lines; Notes: Considering he retired after Mooseport, we really could finish off his filmography really easily. Loose Cannons looks awful.)

Owen Wilson – (Known For: Wonder; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Cars 3; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Inherent Vice; Cars; Wedding Crashers; The Royal Tenenbaums; Meet the Parents; Midnight in Paris; Zoolander; The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou; The Darjeeling Limited; Night at the Museum; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; Night at the Museum 2; No Escape; Bottle Rocket; Marley & Me; She’s Funny That Way; Future BMT: Anaconda; Breakfast of Champions; How Do You Know; Little Fockers; You, Me and Dupree; Are You Here; Drillbit Taylor; Masterminds; Hall Pass; Father Figures; Free Birds; Cars 2; Meet the Fockers; The Internship; Armageddon; BMT: Zoolander 2; The Haunting; Marmaduke; I Spy; Around the World in 80 Days; Behind Enemy Lines; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Zoolander 2 in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple in 2003 for I Spy; Notes: There was a point in time in which Owen Wilson was doing kind of half-funny action-y films. Like Anaconda, The Haunting, and this. This can out right after Shanghai Noon though, so I wonder if it was just a holdover as Wilson was trying to find his niche.)

Gabriel Macht – (Known For: Love & Other Drugs; The Good Shepherd; The Recruit; The Object of My Affection; A Love Song for Bobby Long; Grand Theft Parsons; A Bag of Hammers; The Adventures of Sebastian Cole; Future BMT: The Spirit; Whiteout; Bad Company; Simply Irresistible; Middle Men; BMT: Because I Said So; American Outlaws; Behind Enemy Lines; Notes: Star of Suits and son of Stephen Macht who was a 70s / 80s character actor, especially for bit parts on television shows.)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / Domestic: $58,856,790 (Worldwide: $91,753,202)

(Decent return. You’d think they were looking to get closer to $100 million domestic for an action feature at the time. Came out right after 9/11 though (November 2001), so I wonder if that dampened its return a bit.)

#15 for the Pilot / Aircraft genre

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(You might be tempted to try and match these to wars, but in reality it looks like it is just a wave pattern. The production of “airplane” movies just happened all at once every five years or so. Possibly it matches better with technology involving aviation filmmaking equipment? Left Behind and Stealth are the other BMT examples, and this made the most of any we’ve seen. The number one film, Pearl Harbor, does qualify though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 37% (48/130): The plot for Behind Enemy Lines is more jingoistic than credible, and the overload of flashy visual tricks makes the action sequences resemble a video game.

(Pretty close to 40%, but I am excited to see (1) slo-mo running, (2) the apparently ridiculous soundtrack, (3) jingoistic nonsense. Sounds like a nice Saturday afternoon honestly. Reviewer Highlight – A piece of junk. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper; I just love how terse it is, right to the point.)

Poster – Behind Enemy Sklogs (A+)

behind_enemy_lines

(That. Is. The. Best. I actually have goosebumps. I don’t even care that it has shit font. That’s an A+. Wooooooooooo! America!)

Tagline(s) – In War There Are Some Lines You Should Never Cross. (C-)

(Interestingly I don’t think “enemy lines” count as lines that should never be cross… maybe just not accidentally and without a plan/backup. This tagline is a sham! Also this is too long.)

Keyword(s) – navy; Top Ten by BMeTric: 68.3 Gulliver’s Travels (2010); 64.4 Stealth (2005); 42.6 Reptilicus (1961); 41.5 DeepStar Six (1989); 41.1 Battleship (2012); 40.9 Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (2014); 40.9 Tiptoes (2003); 40.1 Navy Seals (1990); 35.9 G.I. Jane (1997); 32.1 Airport ’77 (1977);

(What a strange group of films. I am quite excited for DeepStar Six though. Should be a very interesting, especially since it is a submarine film (shout out to Jamie’s podcast Submersion, which is all about submarine films).)

Notes – In the football scene, the filmmakers actually tried to have the catapult shuttle kick the football off. Unfortunately, the shuttle completely obliterated the ball, forcing a Navy Master Chief to just chuck the ball in the air for the desired shot. (hahahaha)

The film is based loosely on the experiences of USAF Capt. Scott O’Grady, who was shot down near the town of Mrkonjic Grad in northern Bosnia in June 1995 and was stranded in Serb-held territory for six days before being rescued by US Marines. O’Grady brought a lawsuit against 20th Century-Fox for damages to his character. He claims he didn’t curse as much and never disobeyed orders. (lol, they settled)

Director John Moore was nearly killed in the scene where the tank busts through the wall. He was pulled away by a stuntman just in time.

This is the first movie to feature the US Navy’s new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. (this is the kind of shit I come for right here)

Owen Wilson jokes that most of this movie was creating “a bunch of ways to make running dramatic.” (Almost definitely)

In the initial flyby scene of the aircraft carrier the deck crew can be seen standing in a long line across the deck. This is part of the beginning of flight operations as they search for any objects lying around on the flight deck (e.g. screws, bolts, trash, etc.) that could be sucked in the aircraft’s intake during takeoff.

The production made all of the snow out of paper. At the time of filming, it was the first winter in 104 years that it hadn’t snowed in Slovakia.

The whole town of Hac is a set, built for the movie

Coca-Cola did not pay for its product placement in the movie. (Good to know before I make fun of it in a week)

The US Navy ship used is the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), which has been used in several other films. (yiiiiiissssssss)

None of the actors playing Serbians were actually Serbian; the producers said that they hired Croats as interns and instructors to teach the actors the Serbian language, because they couldn’t find any Serbs willing to work on the film due to perceived anti-Serb sentiment shown in the film. (Huh that is pretty interesting)

The SAM missile system shown in the film is the 9K35 Strela-10 firing the 9M37M missile. It uses an electro-optical guidance, laser proximity fusing and triple channel guidance system. However, its range is only 5 km and it can only intercept up to 3,500 metres (10,600 feet).

According to the beginning of the movie, the “Cincinnati Accords” ended the war in Bosnia. This treaty is loosely based on the real-life Dayton Agreement that ended the war in late 1995. Ironically, the “Cincinnati Accords” required NATO forces to withdraw from Bosnia, while the real-life Dayton Agreement allowed a large NATO force to be sent to Bosnia to help ensure the peace deal. (Wait … they made up a treaty?)

Some of the flashback footage that’s used is from the Bosnian War movie Savior (1998). (Nice, I love some stock footage facts)

One scene had to be changed because the Department of Defense objected to a two-star general like Reigart leaking information to the press. (I love that the studio gave in too, this kind of stuff seems to happen a lot)

The heat images of soldiers are actually one guy walking around holding a broomstick.

Gene Hackman came up with the idea for Reigart to smoke so he would have a weakness. (hmmmm I like that)

Most of the helicopters in the movie are from the Slovak Air Force, but the rescue choppers are American-made.

The producers had complete cooperation from the US Department of Defense. For one scene, they even turned around the aircraft carrier so the crew could get the right shot. (Explains the above note, unless you are tricky you need cooperation to get that shot)

The jet scraps are actually two old Soviet MiG 21s that the production bought for $5,000.

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

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

TheSnowman_BMeT

TheSnowman_RV

(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

thesnowman_serialkillerthriller

(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-)

snowman_ver3

(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