Be Cool Recap

Jamie

Be Cool. Ugh. Patrick is having me do the full recap for this one because he’s putting all of the information on the BMeTric that he’s been developing together [which is now on the website!]. What a film to leave me with though. I surprisingly despised this film. It is terrible. I cannot believe that it garnered a 30% on RT. Were those reviewers crazy? Did they watch this travesty of a film that tarnished everything the Get Shorty built? I really need to read the book now just to know whether Leonard (Elmore that is… Maltin wishes) screwed up in conceiving the plot for a sequel seemingly made as a result of Get Shorty’s success, or whether the acting, adaption, and production choices combined into a super storm of shit. I sure hope it’s the latter, cause that would be a shame for Elmore Leonard. I fully expected this film to just be a ‘meh’ film that I would forget about until three years from now I wonder ‘wait, did we watch Be Cool for BMT? I think we did but can remember nothing of the plot.’ Not the case. I hated this film.

Onto my three points:

  1. John Travolta! You know what happens when you try to make a sequel to a John Travolta film 10 years after the original? You go from having John “Too Cool for School” Travolta in your film to have John “Scary Mask Face” Travolta who seems just super thrilled with how great things are going in the music biz. You almost expect his scary stretched out face to start exclaiming, ‘Oh boy, this sure is fun. Neato,’ as he smiles uncontrollably at the camera. It would be interesting to look at the films in between Get Shorty and Be Cool to try to pinpoint exactly where John Travolta “lost it”. Can Patrick and I quantify it? As scientists we may be the only ones capable of unlocking the mystery. My guess? A little film called Battlefield Earth. I think it broke something in his brain… and face.
  2. The cameos! So many cameos to go along with ridiculously long music video sequences for Aerosmith and The Black Eyed Peas. I recently watched the Entourage movie (yes, of my own volition. Don’t you judge me) and found the movie pretty shitty, but the cameos at least a bit fun. This was the opposite. The cameos made everything worse. Seemed like they were more interested in filling the movie with meaningless fluff, than actually filming anything relevant. Oh and Andre 3000, who had an actual role in the film, wasn’t much better than the cameos. Pretty rough stuff all around for musicians on the big screen.
  3. The Rock! Finally something good to say. Almost all of the comedic roles in the film were pretty bad. Cedric the Entertainer was just OK, Vince Vaughn was awful, awful, awful. The Rock, though, was the only part of the film that I kinda liked. He had a fun role as a gay bodyguard of sorts and you can really tell that he’s going to be a star. The only critique I have is more in the writing of the role. His homosexuality seems to just be used as a one note joke throughout the film. He is simply gay and everyone laughs at the idea that The Rock is gay… but there isn’t any substance to it. Just felt a bit dated even for 2005. In fact the entire film just felt dated and weird and awful and I hated everyone in the film.

That’s kind of the entire take away from the film. Everything is dated. nothing feels like it was made in 2005. What once felt real and interesting in Get Shorty now feels super lame. Chili Palmer (Travolta’s character) is no doubt about it super lame in this film. God, he’s the lamest. Thank God I’m done with this. Great end to the map. A film I really didn’t care for, apl.de.ap singing a little tune on the big screen, and a beautiful finished map. Love it.

Well, I really, really, really wanted to get a MonoSklog from this film, but Netflix failed me and couldn’t get me the disc in time (whaaaaa? Let the people in charge know. Not good for their brand when they let down a media juggernaut like BMT). Lucky for us the MonoSklogs I wanted are available on Youtube. The first one is an absolute gem by The Rock. I call it Mi MonoSklogio:

Hilarious, albeit a bit shorter than we usually go for. The second one is the “infamous” MonoSklog by Cedric the Entertainer. I call it Mi Cultura:

This is explicitly mentioned as not being in the book and written for the film. Egad! Both are pretty ridiculously bad. Which makes them good… for their badness.

Cheers,

The Sklogs

Be Cool Preview

Alright! Here it is! Moving on to this week’s film we are finally at the finish line! You all doubted we could do it, but here we are. Us shrouded in glory and you all eating crow. That’s right, we are finally to the coveted final state of apl.de.ap. To recap, we have seen all the Black Eyed Peas in BMT films. Will.i.am was in X-men Origins: Wolverine, Fergie was in Poseidon, and Taboo was in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-li. While apl.de.ap has never appeared in a film as a character, he has appeared with the Black Eyed Peas in several film. Lucky for us they appeared in the BMT sequel to Get Shorty called Be Cool. So here’s the map. Look at it… I said look at it! It’s fucking gorgeous and it’s all ours. Phew. Well there we go. After years of searching and watching terrible movies it is done (literally years. We started the map on January 31, 2013… so almost three years ago). Now time to start up the world map. Which film would represent the US? Here on Earth probs. Here on Earth represents everything that is BMT. Let’s go!

Be Cool (2005) – BMTMetric: 40.6 (at the time ), 37.8 (April 18, 2016)

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(Pretty good score. Surprisingly so. This basically means that the movie is predicted to be a better BMT film than 40.6% of other films that scored 40% or lower on RT (our original, arbitrary BMT metric). So kind of middle of the pack. Patrick has already explained what it is before… I think. But he might do it again in a future email [or on the website!]. It’s a really good metric actually. Uses imdb data in a clever way to reflect our feelings on good and bad films for BMT watching.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars – In this sequel to Elmore Leonard’s GET SHORTY, Chili Palmer (Travolta) moves into the music business and chooses a promising young singer (Milian) as his protegee, despite the fact that she’s already under contract to ruthless Keitel and his loose-cannon lieutenant Vaughn. Amiable, good-looking film retains Leonard’s story smarts but blunts the impact by allowing its comedic costars (Vaughn, Cedric) to riff to their heart’s content. The Rock is especially funny as a bodyguard/Hollywood wannabe. James Woods appears unbilled; other music stars make cameo appearances.

(Second movie in a row that has commented on how the film is “handsome-looking” or “good-looking”. One would hope given it’s a visual medium. Glad we get a little Vaughn riffing. It’s become quite the BMT standard.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xl94t438Jjo

(Oh wow. I don’t like that at all. That feels very dated to me. In particular the Vince Vaughn character. Didn’t realize that Andre 3000 is a legit cast member in the film either. Love me movies with singers as actors (obviously))

Director(s) – F. Gary Gray – (Known For: The Italian Job; The Negotiator; Friday; Straight Outta Compton; Set It Off. BMT: Law Abiding Citizen; Be Cool; A Man Apart. Notes: Bet he gets an Oscar nom for Straight Outta Compton. Like his slate of movies. A Man Apart will be a fun future BMT. Started out as a major music video director. There was a time when that’s where many prominent filmmakers were being found… Interesting to think about.)

Writer(s) – Peter Steinfeld (screenplay) – (BMT: 21; Analyze That; Be Cool; Drowning Mona; Notes: From his imdb trivia page: “Abandoned a promising Mixed Martial Arts career to become a writer at the insistence of novelist Cormac McCarthy”, “Goes by the nickname ‘Gator’, which he earned in Hawaii”, “Has won two regional pie baking competitions and place top three in an astonishing 17 others.” Just so many follow up questions and thoughts.)

Actors – John Travolta – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Face/Off; Grease; Bolt; Hairspray; Broken Arrow; The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3; Phenomenon (Dir); Get Shorty; Look Who’s Talking; Saturday Night Fever; Carrie; Blow Out; Ladder 49; Primary Colors; A Civil Action. BMT: Swordfish; From Paris with Love; Battlefield Earth; The Punisher; Be Cool; Wild Hogs; Basic; The General’s Daughter; Look Who’s Talking Too; Michael; Old Dogs; Look Who’s Talking Now; Domestic Disturbance; Killing Season; Staying Alive. Notes: Nominated for two Best Actor Oscars for Pulp Fiction and Saturday Night Fever. BMT Legend. Nominated for Worst Actor of the Decade both 1980s and 2000s. Won Worst Actor for Battlefield Earth/Lucky Numbers (2000). Nominated for Worst Actor, Old Dogs (2009), Domestic Disturbance/Swordfish (2001), Perfect (1985), Staying Alive/Two of a Kind (1983). Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, Shout (1991).)

Also stars Uma Thurman and Vince Vaughn.

Budget/Gross: $53 million / $56,046,979 ($95,226,116 Worldwide)

(Wow. That’s way more than I thought it would have cost and made. It’s the 14th highest grossing film set in Hollywood about the world of filmmaking. The worst wide-release film in that category? Our old friend Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 29% (50/169), Critics Consensus: Be Cool is tepid, square, and lukewarm; as a parody of the music business, it has two left feet.

(Oh, wow RT. For a website that loves its puns when it comes to crafting a consensus this one is pretty weak. You use “two left feet” as a jab about a film about the music business? It’s not the dancing business guys. Also, this movie is perfectly low enough for BMT. For some reason I thought we were reaching for this final state with a 35% film or something. I’m warming to this one.)

Poster – Human Colored (C-)

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(While I feel like I should like this (like them all sitting on a big gold record is kinda cool right?) I really do not. I don’t like when there are huge blocks of color that split the poster. Should be well integrated and a single color should be dominant. And you know how I feel about “human colors” on posters and with all of them sitting in the middle of the poster being all human colored and and wearing all different clothing it just jumbles everything. Boo.)

Tagline(s) – Everyone is looking for the next big hit (A)

(When I first read this I didn’t think it was very good. Just seemed like a phrase about the music business was being used lazily. But now that I get it (the use of the word hit meant to evoke not just the music business, but also Travolta’s criminal background) I really, really love it. Gives great insight into the plot of the film, by using a common phrase in a new way, and in a tight package. Perfection.)

Notes – In the beginning of the film, Chili mentions how a film needs to only use the “F” word more than once in order to get an R rating. He then uses the “F” word – the only use of it in the film – and thus, it gets a PG-13 rating. (That’s fun)

James Woods was originally cast as Nick Carr but had to drop out due to emergency surgery for an aneurysm. He was given the smaller role of Tommy Athens instead.

The film deviates considerably from the source material. (Awww man, now I feel bad that neither of us read the book in advance. Damn.)

This was Robert Pastorelli’s last film. He died from an accidental drug overdose during production. (sad)

Joe Pesci was part of the cast before filming began. But, for reasons unknown, he left the project shortly before production started.

Jennifer Connelly, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts and Halle Berry were considered for the role of Edie Athens.

The infamous monologue that Sin LaSalle delivered was neither in the novel nor in the early drafts of the script. The idea was put on by director F. Gary Gray who wanted Sin to be likable, but serious at the same time as well. (oh shit! Why infamous?)

Barry Sonnenfeld originally intended to return as director to this follow-up to his Get Shorty (1995) but production delays and scheduling issues precluded that.

Eric Balfour’s role as Derek was cut from the movie, although at least some of his scenes appears among the deleted scenes on the DVD. (Oh, man. I love Skyline’s Eric Balfour… I need that DVD).

Brett Ratner was originally set to direct the project, but pulled out.

Wild Bill Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Wild Bill?! More like Mild Bill! Hey look at this a relatively short recap. New Years come early for all y’alls (you like my southern accent?):

  • Do I regret doing Wild Bill for BMT? Relevant question. The answer is no, but only because:
  • The direction is straight up insane. Dutch angles (might as well be called Wild Dutch Angles! Buuuuurn), black and white flashbacks (might as well be called Wild Black and White Flashbacks! Slammed!!!!) and overexposure galore (might as well be called Wild Overexposure Galore! Roasted!). Out of everything this is what really struck me about the film.
  • During my conversation with Jamie a couple things came up. First: just how bad Ellen Barkin and David Arquette were. This related to a conversation about Scarlet Letter and how reviews for that film, oddly, appeared to excuse Demi Moore’s acting (which was atrocious) as a simple miscasting. In this movie a similar thing happened: Arquette is ignored while Christina Applegate (who was actually okay) was eviscerated. Kind of a weird “state of the industry” thing going on. Looking back now Demi Moore’s career was never really the same after Scarlet Letter. Arquette ended up okay, he was young, but this movie strongly suggests his future would have been better served in smaller character actor roles. And Applegate is now a strong supporting or leading female comic actor. Go figure.
  • The writing and acting overall are okay. There is interesting things here and there. But nothing that warrants the 90 minutes you’ll spend watching this film. So whatever.
  • I think I’m going to steal this one from Jamie as a game: Secret Prequel/Sequel. Hear me out. Wild Bill is the prequel to … R.I.P.D. Jeff Bridges plays a not-so-reputable wild west lawman with a strange obsession with his hat. Add a short prequel explaining why Bridges goes by a different name and we’re good to go.

Alrighty. Prequel/Sequel/Remake. Well, I wouldn’t remake it, no point. I do think a prequel could work though. The legends of the west are interesting. Do a little Unreliable Narrator action with people telling stories about Bill overlaid with the much more reasonable, dirty and mundane “true” story as Bill remembers it acted out. Could work. Who knows? I don’t. I know sometimes my intelligent discourse on the industry can be deceiving, but I do not in fact work in a high-level position in any production house (yet …).

Jamie

Last week we captured South Dakota with Wild Bill. We worried quite a bit whether this would truly qualify as a BMT film, but I think we rest assured after viewing. Not the best, but certainly not the worst. Middle of the pack. Kind of the down side of a strict BMT criterion. I’m sure there are a number of hilarious BMT films between 40-50% on RT, but we can’t risk the false positives we would have to wade through to find them unless we must.

Since I was able to read both sources materials for the film (Deadwood by Pete Dexter and Fathers and Sons by Thomas Babe) before watching, I’ll mostly discuss the adaptation. Really only one line and two short scenes are taken from Deadwood. It’s otherwise almost entirely based on the play Fathers and Sons. Actually startling that they gave Dexter a writing credit. It is also amazing that Walter Hill wanted to adapt Fathers and Sons to the big screen. It’s a minor 70’s play that was written with little historical accuracy in mind. In fact it was written as an allegory for the Kent State and Jackson State shootings that occurred in the early 70’s, concerning generation-on-generation violence. So Babe didn’t blink an eye when claiming that Wild Bill’s murderer Jack McCall was his son and homosexual. The change to McCall’s character serves only to deepen the allegory he had in mind, and yet many of these types of changes show up in the film. Reviews for the film derided it for playing more into legend than fact and I would say that that’s not even true. It played into a fictionalization of Wild Bill’s death (its source material) instead of fact… it didn’t even worry about legend. There is no legend of McCall being his son, and it certainly wasn’t true. It’s super weird that it sticks so closely to the play and even weirder on some of the changes Walter Hill decided to make. Which leads me to my biggest problem with the film: the mere presence of John Hurt as some bullshit fake British character, Charlie Prince, they used as a replacement of a real, historical character named Charlie Utter who was a major character in the play. Why? There is no acceptable explanation for this. The only plausible one is that they wanted John Hurt in the film, but he refused to do an American accent… which is bullshit. Tell him to go jump in a lake (if we lived in the 1950’s) and get someone willing. You even had Bruce Dern in a minor role in the film. Promote him to Charlie Utter and give Hurt the heave ho.

Also I’m glad Patrick mentioned the Applegate thing. Reviewers were aghast at her “miscasting” (but… but…. but… she’s on Married with Children! Scandalous! Harumph!). I thought she was fine and people were being particularly mean about it. So she’s more attractive than you would want your precious Wild West prostitutes? Boo hoo. Barkin is more attractive than I like my Calamity Jane. So there. Now for my game. Since the film was based primarily on a play I was certain that the film would have a perfect little MonoSklog for us. It didn’t disappoint as it delivered a wonderful Diane Lane monologue during one of the crazy flashback, black-and-white, dutch angle, nightmarescapes that Patrick mentioned. I call it Mi Vida [Editor’s Note: Apologies, as usual to avoid any legal issues with hosting video clips from movies we have to remove the monologue itself. Have fun renting and watching the clip yourself though. And by fun I mean not-fun]. Beautiful. BTW, that’s the actual quality of the film in those scenes. Purposefully grainy. This helps you get an idea of what Patrick was talking about in his recap.

Phew, with that I’m done. I love Walter Hill, but the film wasn’t for me. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Wild Bill Preview

So this week (last week?) we are ending our beloved Now a Major Motion Picture cycle. Alas, it was probably our favorite cycle we’ve ever done, so we are still working out how to keep it around in some form. In the meantime, though, we are transitioning to the last ever mapl.de.map cycle! OMG, OMG! It’s true, we only have 8 states left and we are cycling down. With 9 spots in the cycle available we get to fill up the map and replace a state we didn’t like with an extra special movie (oh, you’ll see). We are starting the cycle off as always with the Scattegories category which requires a a film that covers both the based-on-a-book and map cycles. It is a film set in the very, very difficult to obtain South Dakota. I would say that this turned out to be the most difficult state we had to fill, except that it was really only hard to fill because we had already watched the only other film that qualified for the honor. I’m of course talking about Son-in-law starring Pauly Shore. With that off the table, there was only one choice left and it kept me and Patrick awake at nights thinking on whether we truly had to use such a borderline case for the map. In the end, we had no other choice. So for South Dakota we have Wild Bill starring Jeff Bridges. It’s based on Deadwood by Peter Dexter along with a play called Fathers and Sons by Thomas Babe. Here’s the map with our new addition. Let’s go!

Wild Bill (1995) – BMeTric: 16.7 (November 20, 2016)

wildbill_bmet

wildbill_rv

(Sigh. So yeah, when we watched this film it was borderline qualifying. If I recall correctly it was literally 40% on rotten tomatoes with a question as to whether a few of the reviews were repeated and/or legit. Well now it is definitely non-qualifying. But there wasn’t anything to be done at the time, it was the only film for South Dakota (still is as far as I can tell … Mercury Rising qualifies, but only the opening is in South Dakota). With a steadily increasing IMDb score that can either be regression to the mean or the fact that the film is legitimately considered somewhat of a cult classic. I’ll repeat: sigh.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Odd revisionist take on Wild Bill Hickok, told in episodic form that creates creates distance from – rather than understanding of – the legendary hellraiser of the Old West. The title of the film should really be THE ASSASSINATION OF WILD BILL, because that’s what it’s all about. There are those opium dreams to break the monotony… Barkin is fun as Calamity Jane, but other characters are superficially drawn at best.

(Leonard should read up on the films. Obviously this was revisionist, it was based on a revisionist play and revisionist novel. Also, super surprising that Leonard is recommending alternate titles for films. I thought me and Patrick were the only ones into that.)

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

(Ever since we had this movie on the horizon I’ve marveled at the trailer. It’s crazy. The black-and-white hallucinogenic dream sequence-type scenes in particular give me hope that this film we turn out to a be a legit BMT film. Also, David Arquette always helps.)

Director(s) – Walter Hill – (Known For: The Warriors; Red Heat; Bullet to the Head; Undisputed; Streets of Fire; Southern Comfort; Crossroads; The Driver; Trespass; The Long Riders; Johnny Handsome; Geronimo – An American Legend; Wild Bill; Extreme Prejudice; Hard Times; 48 Hrs. BMT: Last Man Standing; Another 48 Hrs.; Brewster’s Millions; Supernova; Notes: Nominated for Worst Picture, Blue City (1986) which he produced. Interesting future BMT film.)

Writer(s) – Walter Hill (screenplay) – (Known For: The Warriors; Red Heat; Undisputed; The Getaway; Streets of Fire; Southern Comfort; The Driver; Wild Bill; Hard Times; Alien 3; 48 Hrs.); BMT: Last Man Standing; Another 48 Hrs.; Blue City. Notes: Originally meant to direct Alien, which he wrote the story for.)

Also credits Peter Dexter and Thomas Babe who wrote the novel and play that the screenplay was based on.

Actors – Jeff Bridges – (Known For: The Big Lebowski; Iron Man; True Grit; TRON; K-PAX; Arlington Road; Crazy Heart; The Men Who Stare at Goats; Starman; The Fisher King; Seabiscuit; Surf’s Up; King Kong; The Vanishing; White Squall; The Fabulous Baker Boys; Fearless; The Last Picture Show; The Door in the Floor; Tucker: The Man and His Dream; Against All Odds; Thunderbolt and Lightfoot; The Contender; Cutter’s Way; Heaven’s Gate; Tron Legacy. BMT: The Giver; R.I.P.D. (BMT); Seventh Son; Wild Bill; Blown Away; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; Stick It; Tideland; The Open Road. Notes: And that’s just a portion of his filmography. Nominated for 6 Oscars, winning for Crazy Horse. Son of famous actor Lloyd Bridges.)

Also stars Ellen Barkin and John Hurt.

Budget/Gross: $30 million / $2,193,982

(Ridiculously gigantic bomb. Probably the strongest reason why this film should be considered BMT worthy. It currently has the 95th worst opening for a wide release (600+ theaters) coming in right behind the classic Mom and Dad Save the World.)

#54 for the Western genre

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(Ooof, right around Heaven’s Gate which has been heralded as somewhat career ending for those involved. The reported budgets aren’t much different even, although Wild Bill came out 10 years later. Cool graph though. People lament the collapse of the genre, and this movie came literally at the end of its gloriously profitable run in the 90’s. Interestingly enough as far as screens are concerned westerns surpassed than peak about 5 years ago. The profitability is probably not there though. Would depend on the budgets I guess. I would guess that in the future VOD releases will include some indie westerns though, they tend to get a solid cult following rather quickly (see Bone Tomahawk).)

Rotten Tomatoes: 40% (9/22)

(And this is the biggest reason why it shouldn’t have been a BMT film. We really tossed and turned over this one. We usually use a pretty strict 40% or lower cutoff for RT scores, and usually when we’ve ventured over that (or couldn’t use the RT score cause the movie is too old) it’s because the film is notably reviled and gained a cult following which boosted the score. Upon investigation, though, this seemed to pretty well earn that 40%. Basically, it was considered not great but not horrible. One thing I will say in defense of this selection is that there were actually 8 uncounted reviews on RT. I found that 2 were good and 6 were bad in my own assessment. This would have put the score at 37% for a respectable 30 RT reviews. It counts!)

Poster – Wild Sklog (A)

wild_bill

(Love the poster. Aesthetically pleasing to look at and nice color scheme. Only weird thing they do is put a tagline at the top and then another one right below the title. Confusing. Makes it look like the movie is actually called Wild Bill: Take a Walk on the Wild Side. Which would be the worst title in cinematic history.)

Tagline(s) – A legend never dies. (D+)

Take a walk on the wild side. (C+)

(The first is hurting my brain. Why is this the tagline to your film about a legend dying? Not clever either. Despite sounding and looking like a tagline it is a terrible tagline. The second one is actually a little better, which is shocking cause I hated it when I first read it. At least it’s a bit clever in playing on a common phrase.)

Keyword(s) – opium; Top Ten by BMeTric: 49.7 Tell Your Children (1936); 48.3 The Man with the Iron Fists (2012); 42.7 Shanghai Surprise (1986); 32.9 Emmanuelle (1974); 31.8 Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985); 31.2 People I Know (2002); 26.7 Above the Law (1988); 25.7 Te wu mi cheng (2001); 23.3 Love (II) (2015); 22.6 Shanghai Knights (2003);

(Wow, what the hell is Tell Your Children? Oh, haha, Reefer Madness, got it, funny. The rest of this list is bonkers. Crazy Seagal films, and like Emmanuelle. Just insane. Would truly be a ridiculous list to “complete”. Doable, only 11 films have a BMeTric over 20.)

Notes – More than 30 years earlier, the part of Wild Bill Hickok was played by Jeff Bridges’ father, Lloyd Bridges, in a 1964 episode of the television series “The Great Adventure” (1963). (great trivia)

Keith Carradine, who played Buffalo Bill Cody in Wild Bill, took the part of Wild Bill Hickock on HBO’s TV series Deadwood (2004), the first episode of which Walter Hill also directed. (Another great piece of trivia!)