Vampire Academy Recap

Jamie

Rose is the protector of Lissa, a vampire at Vampire Academy. When eerie and troublesome things start occurring on campus they have to figure out who’s behind it. Can they stop this mysterious danger (and maybe get the guy) before it’s too late? Find out in… Vampire Academy.

How?! Rose is a Dhampir, a vampire/human hybrid sworn to protect Moroi, or full vampires. She is attached to her best friend, Lissa, a potential future ruler of the Moroi. There is a whole bunch of fantasy bullshit associated with this garbage but I’m not going to talk about it because it’s lame. They are returned to Vampire Academy after running away to find that everything has changed. Lissa has been ostracized and is relentlessly bullied by the new cool kids in school. Part of this is a series of mysterious threats in the form of dead animals and messages written in blood. In the process of trying to figure out who sent these messages Lissa and Rose discover that Lissa is a rare and powerful vampire able to practice Spirit Magic (cool beans). This allows her to heal animals and people, but leaves her very weak afterwards. In a shocking and wholly unpredictable twist, it turns out that this power is coveted by a powerful friend of Lissa’s family, Victor Dashkov, who is ill and needs Lissa’s healing ability. He kidnaps her, but Rose and a bunch of other vampire fighters go out and totes defeat him cause he’s old and lame. In another shocking twist one of Rose and Lissa’s friends turns evil and attempts to free Victor, but is killed by Rose in a rad final battle. In the end Rose totally makes out with her 40-year-old fighting teacher and we are treated to a sneak peak of a sequel that never happened. THE END.

Why?! Well I think this is all an extended allegory for not having sex before marriage (like many of these types of books are in the end). So I guess the reason anything is happening is because Rose and Lissa made out with people and should feel bad about that (or something). Being serious, the whole story centers around Lissa’s healing ability. She’s more or less a chosen one destined to defeat the bad vampires in the name of the Moroi. Unfortunately some Moroi hope to exploit her talents and risk everything. All conflict is between those two groups.

What?! There actually is very little product placement in the film since the latest technologies are forbidden in Vampire Academy and they drink blood, not delicious Coca-Cola. We do get a little taste of what they were missing out on as the main character laments the loss of her iPhone 5 upon their return to the academy. Pffff, that’s so 2012 and hate.

Who?! Are some of these actors also teen musicians. Statistically speaking, probably. There is also a special thanks given to the husband of one of the producers which seems a bit strange to me. It’s a bit of a mystery as to what he even does on set considering his IMDb page is dominated by credits as “staff”… like he was “staff” on 122 episodes of ER. What does that mean?

Where?! My god! This film is very specifically set in Hamilton, MT. Which is simply amazing. We even see a “Welcome to Montana” sign in the beginning. I’m really, really tempted to give this an A+ for just how weird and specific this is, but it wouldn’t be right. This is obviously a B+ as it plays no role in the film other than being visually noted on screen.

When?! I can’t remember if they ever spell out explicitly when this is set. My presumption was that they ran away in the Fall and then were brought back in the Spring because they are in Montana and it seems someone tolerable weather-wise. That would put the climax, set during the school’s Equinox Dance, on March 20th for the Vernal Equinox. But that is all guess work. D+.

Vampire Academy is laughably bad. You can see that Zoey Deutch has quite a bit of talent as the beautiful and yet snarky girl, so that’s enjoyable. But beyond that it’s a contrived film filled with bad actors. I don’t say this lightly considering what I do for fun but… this was a giant waste of time. As for it’s “friend” Teen Witch, not since The Room have we watched a film that lived up to its hype to a greater degree than Teen Witch. It is crazy and hilarious, both as an anthropologic wonder of 80’s styling and as a timeless pseudo-musical. Gather the whole family around that television set, pop in that worn Teen Witch tape, and you’ll be set for the night of your life. Put that on the poster, babbbyyyyyy. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I do believe congratulations are in order, I just graduated from Vampire Academy! I’m off to the Vampire Institute of Technology to study the art of vampire dance. It is my passion, what can I say? Let’s get into it! (It being the movie, not my seductive vampiric dances).

The Good – I very much liked Zoey Deutch. She reminds me of Linda Cardellini from Freaks and Geeks. This is also an incredibly faithful adaptation of the book. For those who care about such things it is one of the better adaptations I’ve ever seen in that regard.

Homework Sklog-signment – I’ve replaced the P’s View on the Preview section because reading the book was my preview really. To get this out of the way: literally one of the worst books I’ve ever read just from a writing perspective. Poorly written. Unlike Fifty Shades of Grey (which I read a single page of and then thought “I’m better than this” and stopped) this was blessedly short and lightweight, so I did ultimately get through it. But it isn’t so out of bounds to call this, like Fifty Shades, Twilight fanfiction. It really really isn’t much better than that. The description I kept going back to was: This is like what a 30-year-old thinks a 13-year-old thinks a 17-year-old sounds like … and it wasn’t too far off, the book was written by a 31-year-old who used to teach eighth grade in Seattle. A adaptation, D- book.

The Bad – Uh … this movie makes no sense. There was basically two options considering how much lore is crammed into book one of the series. Either you create a prequel film which covers Rose and Vasilisa’s accident and allows the Moroi and Strigoi lore to be established and the interpersonal relationships of the Academy to develop so that the eventual book one makes sense. Or you make this a crap CW show and give yourself 10 episodes to really explain it all in a reasonable amount of time (and then flow into a movie series maybe). Besides that: the acting is dire and the main relationship appears to be between a 17-year-old girl and a 30-year-old man which really couldn’t be creepier. It is profoundly disturbing.

Get Yo Rant On – Alright, I’ve touched on the 30-year-old man getting into a relationship with a 17-year-old girl. First, sure he’s probably supposed to be 24 in some capacity, but he was actually 29 and honestly looked older to me. Zoey Deutch was actually 20, but her character is explicitly in high school. HIGH SCHOOL. This creepy dude is creeping around like a creepster, and it is totally unnecessary! Dimitri doesn’t even need to be in the movie! He’s just there to teach her stuff and create a love interest. Split him into two characters, one in high school (the love interest) and another teacher character (a wise old man who dies in the end). Oh, but Dimitri’s age and the forbidden love is the point you say. Yeah … that’s my point, it is creepy and doesn’t need to be there. Jeez, with this and Underclassman it feels like I’m taking crazy pills. Was 2014 really that long ago? End rant.

The BMT – This movie flows through me like a wave, cleanses me, leaving nothing of the dirtiness of BMT behind. And in that capacity it will have no impact on BMT. On the other hand it is genuinely one of the bigger recent box office bombs and if I were to compile a list of the top ten weirdest BMT love stories this might just be the creepiest. So it has an outside shot at impacting BMT in the end.

Welcome to Earf – Boom. Zoey Deutch was in this and Dirty Grandpa with Robert De Niro who was in Righteous Kill with Al Pacino who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth! Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – This actually weirdly went under the radar a bit. It gets an Honorable Mention on IndieWire, but nothing else. It is pretty nice to see it get an entire Gizmodo story though. This person is very clearly a huge fan of the books, and not a huge fan of the film. I disagree on a bunch of it, but you can at least see where some cred might come from: fans of YA novels.

Bring a Friend – A little bonus section for the (non-BMT) bonus film Teen Witch! And I have to say: a thoroughly entertaining film. Understandable it is considered a cult favorite among bad movie aficionados. I think my primary complaint here would be it severely loses steam in the back half. The best part of this film is, by far, the first 30 minutes. You can ogle those sweet 80s threads, listen to some jamming 80s beats, and, before they attempt to foist real feelings onto you, appreciate the very weird character choices in the film: the gluttonous brother, the white Beastie Boys knockoff rappers, the devilishly awful History teacher, the very strange witch character, it’s got them all! The “Top That” rap which the movie is famous for also does not disappoint, although you might as well just turn the movie off right after it because it never does … top that! Ayyyyyyyooooooo. As far a friend-movies are concerned though: A I would definitely watch it again, it is basically all we hope for in a friend movie, but I need to leave some room for something like The Room to come along and melt our minds so thoroughly that they end up writing books about it.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Vampire Academy Preview

Cradling the child in his arms, Jamie brings her out of the cave and into his life. Having spent most of her childhood in the care of a giant robotic spider she has a lot to learn, but you know what? So do they. It’s a classic Old Dogs situation up in here as Jamie and crazy Uncle Patrick teach her how to swim and bike and laugh all the while getting into zany situations. They eventually put their party animal ways behind them and take accounting jobs at their father’s firm. It may not be the most glamorous job, but it’s a stable living and the benefits are good. As they wave goodbye to her on her first day of school, a single tear falls from their eyes. The Ivory Socket and Obsidian Dongle begin to glow a deep amber, “The final MacGuffin… it was within us the whole time. It was… love.” Knowing that it’s finally time, they place the pieces together. In a flash of light the universe is torn apart…

Blinking his eyes, Jamie awakens to find the little old librarian staring down into his face. “Hee hee hee, we did it. It is destroyed and the Socket is mine. No longer will the power of the Dongle stand in my way.” It was a set up from the jump! Jamie wails in anguish and begins to cough up blood due to his many mortal wounds. “No,” the librarian screeches, “you must live and help me use the Socket. I must have your twin powers.” He can feel her dragging him through the darkness until they come upon a large house in the woods. A man opens the door. “Another one, Lucretia? If I must.” He smiles, revealing large fangs. That’s right! We’re watching Vampire Academy!

Blinking his eyes, Patrick awakens unharmed on what is clearly a terribly built house set on a soundstage, a teenager in a shoddy witch costume sits across from him in the sparsely dressed living room. “I’ll get you my pretty,” she plagiarizes shoddily, “but not before I show you my dance grooves!” As she bips and bops around Patrick becomes confused. The display was terrible, what was the point? “Top this, top that, top that, top that, top that …” the witch’s song reverberates inside his skull. Where is he? What is happening? Top what? … Top “that” of course. Slowly and impassionately the witch is joined by other similarly dressed characters, and Patrick’s mind begins to slip away. Patrick wonders how he could have thought the dance was bad, it was wondrous. It was … everything. A slow small smile forms on the witch’s face. “Top that,” she whispers … That’s right! We’re also watching Teen Witch!

That’s right! We’re transitioning to our next cycle of the year where we are bringing along some z-movie friends to pair with our normal BMT selections. So we got a little teen angst mixed with the supernatural for the much anticipated cult classic Teen Witch and the much less anticipated box office flop Vampire Academy. This will be mirrored by Patrick being sent to the z-universe through the power of the Dongle and, ooooooh boy, we’re pretty excited about it. Let’s go!

Vampire Academy (2014) – BMeTric: 48.3

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(Kind of amazing that it took three months for it to drop … actually now that I say that it is perfectly reasonable that it took three months. Prior to the three month mark most voters would have been the kind of people who watched Vampire Academy in theaters. After three months you start getting people who watched it on DVD or VOD who are far less likely to be kind to the film.)

Leonard Maltin – 3 stars –  Vampire princess and her best friend / protector return to their prep school in the Rockies. Soon, it’s clear that someone or a group is trying to kill them – but who? And why? Unexpectedly witty, entertaining comedy-drama is well acted and explains its complicated mythology clearly, more or less. Main problem for the viewer is sorting out the hunky boyfriends. Deutch is particularly good as the wisecracking, spunky heroine. Screenplay by Daniel Waters of Heathers fame, brother of the director; based on the YA novel by Richelle Mead.

(More or less … MORE OR LESS. Shocking review from Leonard here. Having read the novel … there is a zero percent chance they explain the mythology properly. It is completely incomprehensible, even when gathered slowly across 300 pages.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1ERrnYunBg

(Oooof. That looks like quippy garbage … but I could maybe see why the target audience could like it I guess. It gives that classic movie perception of high school … but with vampires … hooray?)

Directors – Mark Waters – (Known For: Mean Girls; Freaky Friday; The Spiderwick Chronicles; Just Like Heaven; Mr. Popper’s Penguins; The House of Yes; Future BMT: Head Over Heels; Bad Santa 2; BMT: Vampire Academy; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Notes: Daniel Waters’ (the screenwriter of this film) brother. He is also married to Dina Spybey-Waters who is a very accomplished actress in her own right.)

Writers – Richelle Mead (novel) – (BMT: Vampire Academy; Notes: Ridiculously prolific writer having written around 30 novels in the last ten years. Was an 8th grade teacher when she sold her first book, then retired to write full time.)

Daniel Waters (screenplay) – (Known For: Heathers; Batman Returns; Happy Campers; Future BMT: Sex and Death 101; The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; BMT: Vampire Academy; Hudson Hawk; Demolition Man; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay in 1991 for The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; and in 1992 for Hudson Hawk; Notes: He wrote the screenplay for Heathers while working in a video store.)

Actors – Zoey Deutch – (Known For: Set It Up; The Disaster Artist; The Amazing Spider-Man; Before I Fall; Everybody Wants Some!!; Flower; Beautiful Creatures; The Year of Spectacular Men; Roxxy; Future BMT: Why Him?; Good Kids; BMT: Vampire Academy; Dirty Grandpa; Notes: Lea Thompson’s daughter, she is involved in a number of activist causes, including Planned Parenthood.)

Lucy Fry – (Future BMT: The Darkness; Bright; The Preppie Connection; Now Add Honey; BMT: Vampire Academy; Notes: Australian. Apparently earned a purple-belt in karate this year.)

Danila Kozlovsky – (Known For: Hardcore Henry; Dovlatov; BMT: Vampire Academy; Notes: Born in Russia he entered and graduated from their Sea Corps in 2002. He then won the Belyy Slon (White Elephant / Best Actor) from The Russian Guild of Film Critics in 2005, and the Zolotoy Orel (Golden Eagle / Best Actor) from The National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Russia in 2013.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $7,791,979 (Worldwide: $15,391,979)

(An unmitigated disaster. Looking at the genres as well this is universally just one of the worst box office performances in quite a while. I gigantic bomb no matter how you cut it.)

#44 for the Vampire genre

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(Not that much more than Transylvania 6-5000 which is … not great. We’ve only seen one other vampire films (Queen of the Damned) which is crazy. Came right at the end of the Twilight vampire boom.)

#60 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

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(Aaaaaaand comes right at the beginning of when they oversaturated the YA adaptation genre. Eragon is the best and … this is the lowest we’ve seen! The lowest that qualifies is the absurdly named Blood and Chocolate … what the fuck is that?)

#12 Worst Openings – Saturated Adjusted

(Wow. It is still number 16 based on actuals which is incredible. Along with the claimed budget I imagine that stopped any discussion of a franchise right quick.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (8/52): Though it may appeal to its built-in fanbase, Vampire Academy’s Twilight-meets-Mean Girls conceit borrows lazily from its predecessors and offers few laughs or thrills to complement its overstuffed backstory.

(Oooof. Does make sense though, they really do have to do a bit of world building to somehow establish why/how a vampire academy exists (as opposed to something like Divergent, where the backstory is mostly kept a mystery). Reviewer Highlight – This is a garbage heap of weak quips – J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader)

Poster – The Rich Person School for Attractive Vampires (C+)

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(Wait, for real? This is like an ad you’d see for like Vitamin Water or something… this isn’t an ad for Vitamin Water is it? IS IT??? Bold colors and artsy but bad font and boring. Overall middle of the road with a bump for being a little different.)

Tagline(s) – They Suck at School (C-)

(At the time this ironic embrace of what would be considered a cheesy pun would have been perceived as cool and “hip” (as the kids say). We are likely at the point where we’ve graduated from this to something else, but I’m not rad enough to know what that something is. Sincerity?… Is sincerely writing terrible puns now funny? I don’t know. Anyway, I don’t see irony when reading these things. I just see a not very good pun used moderately well as a tagline.)

Keyword(s) – vampire; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.9 Vampires Suck (2010); 87.5 BloodRayne (2005); 81.7 Ultraviolet (2006); 78.0 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 72.1 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011); 69.1 Stan Helsing (2009); 69.0 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 68.1 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 63.7 Dracula 2001 (2000); 63.6 Dudley Do-Right (1999);

(Hmmmmmm, I’ve seen all of the Twilight films (huge oversight in retrospect, although I guess I wouldn’t mind watching them again). All of these are premo though, kind of amazing they’ve managed to make so many hugely terrible vampire films recently.)

Notes – Sarah Hyland auditioned over Skype.

Although the movie did not perform very well at the worldwide box office ($15,391,979 against a $30 million budget) director Mark Waters was eager to give the franchise a second chance in the form of a sequel (Vampire Academy: Frostbite). Studio Preger Entertainment agreed to fund the film on the condition that Mark Waters could get fans to raise the necessary $1.5 million on their own in proof of their support of the film. An indiegogo campaign was started and ran from August 2014 to September 2014. Fans were only able to raise $254,500 by the end of the month, thus leading to Preger Entertainment canceling plans for a sequel. (My god. This is both hilarious and tragic).

Lucy Fry did not receive a callback for the first casting. When the producers started accepting self-tapes she submitted one that landed her a studio callback.

The psi-hounds were originally filmed using trained dogs, but director Mark Waters was not happy with the way they looked. They were replaced with CGI dogs, modeled off a drawing author Richelle Mead made for Waters. (I bet they don’t look hilariously terrible at all)

To prepare for their roles as Dhampir novices and guardians, Zoey Deutch, Cameron Monaghan, and Danila Kozlovsky underwent rigorous training sessions and workouts. (Watch out, we got regular Tom Cruises over here … Awww, I feel bad about that joke, you guys did work hard I bet)

Dimitri is a big fan of westerns, hence his trademark duster coat. He can be seen reading western novels and several posters are visible in his room. (That’s embarrassing)

Richelle Mead: The author can be seen walking past the doors just after Mr. Meissner’s class. (Fun fact)

After Rose Hathaway sedates Headmistress Kirova, before saving Lissa Dragomir, Kirova says, “I could have been a model. A man in Milan gave me his card when I was 16.” Kirova was played by Olga Kurylenko who was a model and began her career in Paris at age 16. (Whaaaaaaaaa?)

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

 

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

coolworld_animation

(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)

cool_world_ver2

(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

BehindEnemyLines_BMeT

BehindEnemyLines_RV

(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

behindenemylines_pilot

(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