The Odd Couple II Recap

Jamie

Felix and Oscar are back, Jack! And boy are they an odd couple. Thirty years after becoming antagonistic roommates (and yet still friends, aww) they are reunited when their children announce their engagement. Traveling together to the wedding they just can’t seem to keep out of trouble. Will they make the wedding before it’s too late? Find out in The Odd Couple II.

How?! Oscar Madison is living it up in Florida, still a slob and still killing it with the ladies. When his son announces that he’s getting married in just a week, Oscar is shocked to find out that the lucky lady is his friend Felix Unger’s daughter. They meet up in California after thirty long years and start their roadtrip off on all the wrong feet. First Oscar loses Felix’s luggage, then Oscar loses the directions to the wedding, and finally they accidentally destroy their rental car. They get picked up by a truck driving to the nearest town, but in a kooky happenstance get arrested when it’s found that the truck is being used for smuggling. Released by the police, they first live it up with a couple of party girls before catching a ride in an excruciatingly slow car driven by an extremely old man. The old man dies, of course, and Felix and Oscar find themselves arrested again (getting the gist of the gag here?). Released again they catch a bus, but get stopped when the husbands of the party girls take them off the bus by gunpoint. This of course ends with them getting arrested again (of course). Fed up, the police personally drive them to the airport where they catch a plane to the wedding and meet up with Oscar’s ex-sister-in-law, Felice, who Felix takes a liking to. Finally at the wedding they help douse some last minute drama and happily watch their children get married. They say goodbye at the airport, with Oscar going back to Florida and Felix going to stay with Felice. But in a shocking twist we find that this all doesn’t work out and Felix shows up in Florida asking to stay with Oscar. At first he’s like “no” but eventually is like “yes.” Thus setting us up for the sequel (or not). THE END.

Why?! Unlike the original there is a clear mission here: they need to get to the wedding. End of story. In the original we have a sitcom setup, but really the motivation for both Oscar and Felix is to come to terms with their divorces and move on with their lives in a healthy way (which they do through the power of friendship, aww). But here they aren’t really coming to terms with anything… other than getting to that goddamn wedding.

Who?! This is actually a tough category as it’s a bit of a two man show. The only kinda interesting thing is that both Felix and Oscar’s wives have remarried between the first and second film. Felix’s wife’s new name is Povitch… which I can’t really see a connection to. Oscar’s wife’s new name is Melnick, which does seem to connect to Daniel Melnick, a producer who produced one of Neil Simon’s films and also apparently played poker with him.

What?! There are a number of product placements in the film. Probably my favorite was Budget, because they not only very prominently displayed the logo, but then Oscar proceeded to keep on talking about how Budget would probably send Felix his luggage in the new age of technology… in my head he screams about Budget like a thousand times, but probably he only said it once or twice.

Where?! It’s a California sandwich with Florida as the bread. It’s a very good California film because they keep on harping on how all the towns sound the same and how they need to learn a new language if they lived there and stuff. This is obviously offensive, but also interesting because Oscar lives in a retirement community in Florida. So really it just indicates how infrequently he must leave that community in order to be shocked by the prominence of Spanish in California. B+

When?! Gotta give this an F or an incomplete because I do not recall there being a clear indication for when this took place. Seems like summer given the weather and the fact that Matthau is writing about minor league baseball in Florida, but I didn’t catch any other clear indication of the date. Not like we see a wedding invitation. His own son only tells him about the wedding a week in advance.

Meh, I mean… I guess it is what it is. It’s kind of a shame that this was the sequel they went with. I almost would have preferred they scrapped all the wedding shit and just did another Odd Couple. Felix shows up in Florida after his fourth divorce. Oscar is coming to terms with being old. And through the power of friendship they are able to settle into their new lives. Somehow the film convinced me that I would have rather they harped MORE on them being old. Like… them being old is actually not really that big a part of the film. Which is really weird because they are quite old. Also if I hadn’t watched the original film in preparation (shocker: it’s good) then I would have said that Walter Matthau was just starting to babble a bit because most of his jokes seem improvised and don’t make any sense… but he’s kinda like that in the original too. Just seems like maybe it was part of his cranky, everyman charm. Spouting zingers, even if the zingers don’t always make sense. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If I made this movie I would call it The Old Couple. Heyyyyyyooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I had actually never seen the original The Odd Couple, but you can obviously know it by reputation. I managed to grow up during the peak old-people-as-protagonist era of Hollywood comedies, so I became quite familiar with Matthau and Lemmon’s later work. I like them both a lot, so I expected to like the original at the very least. What were my expectations? I expected to find the film very old school, not funny, and odd. It is abundantly obviously the film is a classic roadtrip comedy … but like why is The Odd Couple a roadtrip comedy now? Bizarre choice.

The Good – Matthau and Lemmon are indeed very very charming. You can tell that both of them are really on their last legs as far as acting is concerned, but they still seem to have it and their chemistry is undeniable. There are a few amusing parts here and there, especially if you ignore that it is, you know … a sequel to The Odd Couple for no discernible reason.

The Bad – Uh, why is this a roadtrip comedy? It is just such a glaringly bizarre choice! The original film might as well have been a single set play. And now you take these characters out into the wider world? And not only that, but the world is somehow a very cartoony version of California. A version of California where not only are our heroes utterly lost in its wide openness, but then can’t help but stumble right back into the same town over and over again? Just set the film in an old folks home! Just set the film in Florida. Really, just do anything but this. It also has to be, bar none, the shortest third act in history. Once they get to the wedding it is about 10 minutes of nonsense and then the movie ends.

The BMT – Pop it in there with some of the bad sequels we watched. I also hope it’ll get us to run through the old-people-as-protagonists genre really quickly. There are only a dozen or so examples, with only a few qualifying, so it should be easy enough. Cocoon: The Return here we come! Did it meet my expectations? Unfortunately yes. The only real thing that sinks the film is the choice to make it a roadtrip comedy. I bet it gets a kind of middling “not very funny, but charming nonetheless” review if it was just The Odd Couple in a nursing home.

Roast-radamus – I do need to give a shout out for What an Odd Couple! (Who?) as this is obviously the oddest of all odd couples. A nice minor Product Placement (What?) for Budget rent-a-car which is basically a character in the beginning of the film. Definitely a nice Setting as a Character (Where?) for California. It is so crazy it just throws our heroes for a loop over and over again. I’m not going for any of the others as they are too much of a stretch. I also doubt it’ll get any of the superlatives either.

StreetCreditReport.com – It was nominated for two Stinkers that year (worst sequel, and worst comedy), but won neither. It was also picked by Siskel and Ebert for their worst of list of 1998. There aren’t many other lists, but it could just be the worst sequel to a movie based on a play that itself was not based on a play. Think about that for about ten seconds.

You Just Got Schooled – Naturally when watching the sequel one must watch the original The Odd Couple from 1968. The film is completely driven by Matthau and Lemmon obviously, and their chemistry is, like with the sequel, incredible. The script is razor sharp and surprisingly heartfelt throughout. The major complaint is that the arguments are a little too real, to the point that it makes me a bit uncomfortable at times. Also, it is a bit shocking to realize that this film came out a year after The Graduate. The type of direction is just so starkly different. This is the more old school stage play style of filmmaking, which is interesting to watch on the verge of the 70s style that was about to come into style. The film is a classic. A.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Odd Couple II Quiz

So I was supposed to meet up with my old frenemy Felix (we’re such an odd couple!), but when we saw each other he tripped over a bag and smashed into me. Now I can’t remember a thing! Do you remember what happened in The Odd Couple II?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) What were the three things Felix lost in his suitcase?

2) What happens to the map at the beginning of the ill-fated road trip?

3) Our heroes are arrested three times during the course of the film. Why?

4) When Felix and Oscar finally arrive at the wedding the groom is missing! Where did he end up, and why did he run away?

5) What does Felix give his son as a wedding gift? Bonus points if you can get the specifics of the gifts. 

Answers

The Odd Couple II Preview

As Rich and Poe do their final backflip over a trap door deep with the goblin tomb they espy their final prize: the gleaming blade of Hammerthorn’s Sword. When Rich grabs ahold his eyes shine with greed. “Let’s take it back. This must be worth a fortune,” he whispers urgently to Poe, “Forget the world. Forget everything. Think of the money.” Poe is aghast and attempts to subdue Rich. There is a tussle and suddenly we hear a gun go off. Who has been shot? We don’t know! That is until Rich drops to the ground… dead. Poe falls to his knees and screams to the heavens as rain mingles with his tears, “Nooooooooooooooo!”… Suddenly Rich awakens. They had fallen blissfully asleep just before grabbing the sword. Rich and Poe look at each other and whisper solemnly, “Never.” Just then there is a shudder and a beam of light illuminates the cavern. From a gleaming portal an elevator arrives and Sorsaron and Brawln emerge. “Perfection,” Brawln exclaims. “Pure magic,” agrees Sorsaron. At that they quickly take the sword and snap it in half. “A mere geegaw,” Brawln exclaims and takes out an ancient scroll. When Brawln reads from the scroll their mouths run dry. “From ancient warriors they are born. Through time and space they have been torn. Save their worlds and close the way. The gamemaster destined to slay. Mismatched now in all known ways. Besides their gleaming abs for days.” Sorsaron weeps silently as Brawln speaks softly, “You see? You passed all the tests. You are the Mismatched Warriors born again. But now we must hurry to the school, before the gamemaster realizes what you have discovered.” And with that Brawl unfurls a couple of dope wingsuits. “Rad.” That’s right! We are watching the sequel that everyone was hoping and waiting for. We all demanded it and we got it: The Odd Couple II. The 90’s were a wild time. The money was flowing and a couple of septuagenarians routinely opened major Hollywood motion pictures. This also acts as the transition to the next cycle, but that can wait until next week.

The Odd Couple II (1998) – BMeTric: 13.2; Notability: 45 

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(I’m genuinely surprised it has risen in rating so much … Who is watching The Odd Couple II? People who were watching the old show? People around when Lemmon, Matthau, and Simon died? Who?)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – Watching Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon make the talk show circuit, trading one-liners and barbs like a vaudeville team, I imagined a documentary simply showing them promoting this film. They’re funny, familiar, edgy and smart. “The Odd Couple II” is none of those things, and a much longer list could be made of other things it is not.

(Oooooof. Basically, this film is pointless and I hate it. The two leads are still great, just not in this movie, so just watch those other movies they are great in … I am suddenly not really looking forward to this.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSsjfuxlTu0/

(Huh … I’m getting whiffs of My Fellow Americans from this. Remember that film? Lemmon really had a streak going of starring in comedies … it was wild stuff.)

Directors – Howard Deutch – (Known For: Pretty in Pink; The Replacements; Some Kind of Wonderful; The Great Outdoors; Article 99; Future BMT: Getting Even with Dad; My Best Friend’s Girl; Grumpier Old Men; BMT: The Whole Ten Yards; The Odd Couple II; Notes: Married to Lea Thompson. His daughter is Zoey Deutch who we have seen in the BMT classic Dirty Grandpa.)

Writers – Neil Simon (written by) – (Known For: Murder by Death; Barefoot in the Park; The Odd Couple; Biloxi Blues; The Goodbye Girl; Sweet Charity; Seems Like Old Times; The Heartbreak Kid; Plaza Suite; California Suite; Brighton Beach Memoirs; The Cheap Detective; After the Fox; The Out of Towners; The Sunshine Boys; The Lonely Guy; Max Dugan Returns; The Prisoner of Second Avenue; Lost in Yonkers; Only When I Laugh; Future BMT: The Heartbreak Kid; The Out-of-Towners; The Slugger’s Wife; BMT: The Marrying Man; The Odd Couple II; Notes: Biloxi Blues is the middle story in a trilogy, all of which started on Broadway and eventually were adapted for the screen (although the third one was a television movie). This is actually the rare film of his that didn’t start out as a play.)

Actors – Jack Lemmon – (Known For: Some Like It Hot; The Apartment; The China Syndrome; The Great Race; JFK; Grumpy Old Men; Glengarry Glen Ross; Avanti!; The Player; Hamlet; Short Cuts; The Legend of Bagger Vance; Missing; The Odd Couple; Irma la Douce; The Front Page; Mister Roberts; Bell Book and Candle; Dad; Days of Wine and Roses; Future BMT: Airport ’77; Out to Sea; Getting Away with Murder; Grumpier Old Men; BMT: The Odd Couple II; Notes: He taught himself piano (and played it professionally in a beer hall at one point in his life). He wrote the theme for the movie Tribute.)

Walter Matthau – (Known For: Lonely Are the Brave; JFK; Grumpy Old Men; Charade; Strangers When We Meet; The Bad News Bears; Earthquake; Hello, Dolly!; The Taking of Pelham One Two Three; Fail-Safe; The Odd Couple; Cactus Flower; Candy; The Front Page; A Face in the Crowd; Charley Varrick; The Fortune Cookie; King Creole; I.Q.; Plaza Suite; Future BMT: Hanging Up; Dennis the Menace; The Survivors; The Couch Trip; Out to Sea; Pirates; Grumpier Old Men; BMT: The Odd Couple II; Notes: Apparently he was a prolific gambler. He once estimated his lifetime losses at $5 million. Even prior to becoming an accomplished actor he apparently lost $100K on spring training baseball while shooting a television series in Florida.)

Richard Riehle – (Known For: Bridesmaids; 3 from Hell; Casino; Wedding Crashers; The Fugitive; Office Space; Free Willy; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Lethal Weapon 4; Glory; Of Mice and Men; Ken Park; Black Rain; Iron Will; Hatchet; Executive Decision; Mighty Joe Young; Pee-wee’s Big Holiday; Mysterious Skin; Future BMT: Texas Chainsaw 3D; Halloween II; Jury Duty; Bad Ass; Unconscious; Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer; The Fan; Contracted: Phase II; Joe Dirt; Lightning Jack; Lovesick; Big Stan; Desperate Measures; Time Changer; Spinning Into Butter; One Eight Seven; There’s Always Woodstock; BMT: Body of Evidence; Say It Isn’t So; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo; Mercury Rising; Stuart Saves His Family; The Odd Couple II; Notes: Was considered for the role of Cliff in Cheers (I can see it). You would recognize him as the Jump to Conclusions guy from Office Space.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $18,912,328 (Worldwide: $18,912,328)

(That seems … probably bad. Let me just check Grumpier Old Men. Yeah, so that made over $70 million on a $25 million budget. My guess is this was a huge financial flop.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 27% (8/30)

(I’ll just life Ebert’s tag entirely for the consensus: The movie has no purpose for being. Reviewer Highlight: Now that they’re literally grumpy old men, you just want them to shut up. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Sklog Couple II: Old Sklogs (B-)

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(I wonder if you look back on things whether you would point to Cocoon as the start of the “old people headlining films” trend that continues to today with Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton and the like churning out hits. Or maybe funny old people has always been a genre. I don’t know but it seems insane. Font is OK, as is the framing. But could have better color scheme and otherwise really leaning heavily on that natural old person appeal.)

Tagline(s) – Some arguments stand the test of time (A-)

(I like the cleverness and probably just avoids being too long. All around it’s pretty good as it tells me a little of the story in a small, clever package.)

Keyword – old friend

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Top 10: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), Road House (1989), Ocean’s Eight (2018), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Predator (1987), The Equalizer 2 (2018), Tully (2018), If Beale Street Could Talk (2018), The Judge (2014)

Future BMT: 50.0 The Sin Eater (2003), 38.2 You Again (2010), 21.8 Empire (2002), 18.1 Stand Up Guys (2012);

BMT: Road House (1989), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), Crossroads (2002), Bratz (2007), The Odd Couple II (1998), Mr. Woodcock (2007)

(This is kind of a weird one. In reality this is, again, a film without good keywords. I wish I could have combined them in some capacity. I’ll have to get on that. ((old man) || (old friend)) && (roommate) would be amusing I think, it just feels like you could get some interesting logic going.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 21) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Richard Riehle is No. 3 billed in The Odd Couple II and No. 7 billed in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, which also stars William Forsythe (No. 2 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 5 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 7 + 2 + 5 + 3 + 1 = 21. If we were to watch The Survivors, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – This sequel to The Odd Couple (1968) was made and released about thirty years after the original. This is possibly the longest gap between the release of the original film and a sequel where all the main lead actors reprise their roles.

After ten films teamed together, this film was the final feature film collaboration of actors Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.

This Neil Simon movie was written directly for the screen and was not based on a Neil Simon play as many of his other films had been, such as the original The Odd Couple (1968).

The penultimate theatrical feature film for both Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. Matthau’s last was Hanging Up (2000) whilst Lemmon’s last was The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000).

The movie was one of a handful of films made during the 1990s which re-teamed the comedy duo of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon who had not worked together onscreen since 1981’s Buddy Buddy (1981). The pictures included Grumpy Old Men (1993), Out to Sea (1997), Grumpier Old Men (1995) and The Odd Couple II (1998).

The only ever “pure” motion-picture industry sequel to a Neil Simon written feature film i.e. it didn’t pre-exist in another form. Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues (1988) and Broadway Bound (1992) were both sequels to Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986) but the trilogy pre-existed as theatrical plays first.

Oscar mentions betting on a horse race at one point. This is likely a reference to the television version of ‘The Odd Couple’ in which Oscar (like the actor who played him, Jack Klugman) was a horse player.

ten films teamed together, this film was the final feature film collaboration of actors Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.

This Neil Simon movie was written directly for the screen and was not based on a Neil Simon play as many of his other films had been, such as the original The Odd Couple (1968).

The penultimate theatrical feature film for both Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. Matthau’s last was Hanging Up (2000) whilst Lemmon’s last was The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000).

The movie was one of a handful of films made during the 1990s which re-teamed the comedy duo of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon who had not worked together onscreen since 1981’s Buddy Buddy (1981). The pictures included Grumpy Old Men (1993), Out to Sea (1997), Grumpier Old Men (1995) and The Odd Couple II (1998).

The only ever “pure” motion-picture industry sequel to a Neil Simon written feature film i.e. it didn’t pre-exist in another form. Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues (1988) and Broadway Bound (1992) were both sequels to Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986) but the trilogy pre-existed as theatrical plays first.

Oscar mentions betting on a horse race at one point. This is likely a reference to the television version of ‘The Odd Couple’ in which Oscar (like the actor who played him, Jack Klugman) was a horse player.

Cats Recap

Jamie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Cats Quiz

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

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

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

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

3) What are all of the cats competing for?

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

5) Who actually wins and why?

Answers

Cats Preview

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

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

CatsIMDb_BMeT

CatsIMDb_RV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poster – Sklogs (B+)

cats

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

Tagline(s) – You will believe (C-)

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

Keyword – based on stage musical

Cats_based on stage musical

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

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

BMT: Cats (2019)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Intruder Recap

Jamie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheerios,

The Sklogs