Dungeons & Dragons Preview

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. But first it has to defeat Stone Cold in a head to head battle for the final spot! The Boz versus Jeremy Irons, the battle you’ve all been waiting for. Enjoy!

Dungeons & Dragons (2000) – BMeTric: 85.0; Notability: 27 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 0.4%; Notability: top 62.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 4.0% Higher BMeT: Battlefield Earth; Higher Notability: Gone in Sixty Seconds, Little Nicky, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Coyote Ugly, Mission to Mars, Ready to Rumble, Lost Souls, 102 Dalmatians, Rules of Engagement, Bless the Child, Proof of Life, Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Reindeer Games, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Scream 3, Supernova, Hollow Man, Isn’t She Great, Dude, Where’s My Car?, Final Destination, and 42 more; Lower RT: The in Crowd, Battlefield Earth, Bless the Child, Down to You, Lost Souls, Turn It Up, Urban Legends: Final Cut, The Skulls; Notes: Hooooooooooooo doggy, that is some impressive stuff. I’m actually most surprised by the notability bit. You’d think a CGI-heavy high fantasy story would necessarily have a large number of notable people in it, but apparently that is not the case. Being mentioned in the same breath as Battlefield Earth is always a good thing.

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – “Dungeons & Dragons” looks like they threw away the game and photographed the box it came in. It’s an amusing movie to look at, in its own odd way, but close your eyes and the dialogue sounds like an overwrought junior high school play. The movie tells the story of a power struggle in the mythical kingdom of Izmer, where a populist empress wants power for the common man but an elitist member of the ruling caste plans a coup. High marks for anyone who can explain the role that dragons play in the Izmerian ecology.

(Boom. Roasted. I think it is probably impossible for someone to seriously watch this film and go “meh good enough”. You either have to ironically enjoy it, or not enjoy it. There is no other possibility.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efSq9FF1r2Q/

(The first 20 seconds of this trailer is just nonsense. And the blue lipstick on the bad guy!! I love this film. It is just so funny. Jeremy Irons is just screaming in the middle, the protagonist drops to his knees and screams “Nooooooooooooooo!”)

Directors – Courtney Solomon – (BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Getaway; An American Haunting; Notes: Son of Fran Solomon, a maybe big producer from the 80s. It might explain how he bought the rights to D&D when he was 19, had a production company in his early 20s, and ended up directing the D&D movie when he was 29.)

Writers – Topper Lilien (written by) – (Known For: Low Down; Where the Money Is; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: He was oddly in Coneheads in a bit part. If I were to guess he is a lifelong screenwriter who was asked to do substantial rewrites or an initial treatment by the studio they were working for.)

Carroll Cartwright (written by) – (Known For: What Maisie Knew; Where the Money Is; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: Possibly was a writing partner with Lilien around 2000 as they both wrote Where the Money Is as well. Odd that neither have very many credits and very little information on IMDb.)

E. Gary Gygax (game) (uncredited) – (BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: D&D started as an extension of table top war simulators which have existed since the 1800s (used by European militaries primarily in order to practice tactics). It was one of the first, and amazingly is still likely the most popular game of its kind. And the popularity is only growing with the D&D play podcasts that now exist (like The Adventure Zone).)

Actors – Justin Whalin – (Known For: The Dead Pool; Serial Mom; Future BMT: Child’s Play 3; Super Capers: The Origins of Ed and the Missing Bullion; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: Won a Daytime Emmy for a children’s special in 1994. Is a certified scuba diver and seemed to have retired from acting in 2009.)

Jeremy Irons – (Known For: Red Sparrow; The Lion King; Lolita; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; High-Rise; Margin Call; Stealing Beauty; Inland Empire; The Mission; Beautiful Creatures; Their Finest; Dead Ringers; Damage; The Man Who Knew Infinity; Race; Casanova; Appaloosa; Reversal of Fortune; The Merchant of Venice; The French Lieutenant’s Woman; Future BMT: The Pink Panther 2; The Time Machine; Justice League; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; The Man in the Iron Mask; La corrispondenza; Better Start Running; The House of the Spirits; An Actor Prepares; The Words; Kingdom of Heaven; Love, Weddings & Other Disasters; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Eragon; Assassin’s Creed; Notes: Won the lead actor Oscar in 1991 for Reversal of Fortune. His voice might be what he’s most famous for as he played Scar in The Lion King.)

Zoe McLellan – (Known For: Mr. Holland’s Opus; Imaginary Crimes; Future BMT: Inventing the Abbotts; One Fall; BMT: Dungeons & Dragons; Notes: Starred in NCIS: New Orleans in their early seasons, 20 episodes of Designated Survivor, and a very good two-part episode of Star Trek: Voyager back in the day.)

Budget/Gross – $45,000,000 / Domestic: $15,391,970 (Worldwide: $33,978,694)

(Yeah, that isn’t what you want. This budget makes a bit more sense, given some of the big name actors and the money they must have spent on CGI (in 2000 no less). They were obviously hoping for that big fantasy money.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (9/92): Critics say this movie has a cheap look and is badly directed. Despite the presence of talented actors, the performances are really bad, and additionally, some people are offended at Marlon Wayans’ character, calling it a racist throwback to black stereotypes.

(Ooooof, officially below 10%. I’m surprised it isn’t more like 4%, but it seems that there was more appreciation for the spectacle than I expected. Reviewer Highlight: The average episode of Xena or Hercules offers a more compelling and imaginative photoplay. – Scott Foundas, Variety)

Poster – Faces & Sepia Tones

(As busy as this might seem I think that is standard for high fantasy and sci-fi (think of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars as examples). The only real complaint is the color scheme is just really boring. I would imagine the idea is that in the eventual series, I would guess they would color each a distinct tone, they just never go to do it. B. Love the font.)

Tagline(s) – This is no game. (B+)

(There isn’t anything else to be done. This had to be the tagline. It is short and sweet, goes to the roots, lays out the stakes. Deduction only because of how inevitable it feels.)

Keyword – dragon

Top 10: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), The New Mutants (2020), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Dolittle (2020), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Inside Out (2015), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Future BMT: 61.9 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), 54.0 Balls of Fury (2007), 53.9 The New Mutants (2020), 53.2 The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990), 50.6 Your Highness (2011), 47.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie (2004), 40.1 The King and I (1999), 33.3 Just Visiting (2001), 27.4 47 Ronin (2013), 26.9 Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016);

BMT: Dolittle (2020), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), The Last Airbender (2010), Jupiter Ascending (2015), Hellboy (2019), Sucker Punch (2011), Gods of Egypt (2016), Eragon (2006), Dragonball Evolution (2009), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), The Golden Child (1986), Seventh Son (2014), Dungeons & Dragons (2000), Dragon Wars (2007)

(Really ahead of its time on “hey we can actually make dragons with CGI now kind of” films. And oh boy am I excited to watch the entire Mummy series eventually.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 21) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jeremy Irons is No. 2 billed in Dungeons & Dragons and No. 3 billed in Assassin’s Creed, which also stars Brendan Gleeson (No. 4 billed) who is in Turbulence (No. 3 billed), which also stars Ray Liotta (No. 1 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 3 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 3 + 4 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 1 = 21. If we were to watch Passenger 57, Murder at 1600, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – When asked why he did this film, Jeremy Irons replied, “Are you kidding? I’d just bought a castle, I had to pay for it somehow!” (I love it when actors go and get their money, it is great)

Director Courtney Solomon’s first film. He acquired the exclusive rights from TSR (Tactical Studies Rules) in 1990, when he was 19. It took 10 years to raise the funds to make the film. (Jeez, is he involved in the new one then? Yup, he’s a producer on the D&D television show that is coming up.)

Courtney Solomon only intended to produce the film originally. However, TSR head Lorraine Williams vetoed every one of his choices (one of which was Francis Ford Coppola) and forced Solomon to direct the film since he held the rights.

The bones visible in Profion’s lair are real. These scenes were filmed in Sedlec Ossuary, a small chapel in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic. It is decorated with the bones of people who were buried in the surrounding cemetery, but had to be moved to make room for the chapel and for new burials.

Richard O’Brien parodies his own role from The Crystal Maze (1990) (TV Series). (I might have to check this out)

The film is not based on the classic 1980s cartoon of the same name, but it is based on the same source material. (Obviously, but the cartoon is actually pretty fun)

Based on the 1974 tabletop RPG game by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc.

Congo Recap

Jamie

Dr. Karen Ross has one aim: get some sweet blue diamonds and save her ex-fiance from the Congo. Dr. Peter Eliot has one aim: get his beloved talking gorilla Amy back to the Congo. These aims run headlong into each other just as a volcano is erupting… in adventure. Can they get in and out of the Congo before it’s too late? Find out in… Congo.

How?! Just when TravisCom gets in contact with their employees deep in the jungles of the Congo (and in possession of extremely valuable and powerful blue diamonds) they are horrified to find that they have been killed by some mysterious gorilla-like beasts. Dr. Karen Ross agrees to go in so that she can find out whether the leader of the group (and her ex-fiance) are still alive. Meanwhile, Dr. Peter Eliot has secured funding from a sketchy dude with a deep, fake-sounding accent to bring his special gorilla Amy back to the Congo. Amy can talk with the help of a sign language machine, but has suffered severe nightmares that Peter thinks is connected to the place she was born. When the sketchy funding falls through, Karen makes up the difference and joins the group, using it as a front to get into the war torn country before the borders close. Using all her connections they are able to bribe their way onto a plane and barely escape the army by parachuting over the border. As they trek across the Congo they encounter all kinds of adventures like with leeches and hippos and many more animal friends. On the way they also encounter a member of the previous TraviCom group who dies instantaneously of fright upon seeing Amy (bum bum bum). When they finally arrive they realize that Amy has led them to the lost city of Zinj, the legendary location of King Solomon’s Mines. Almost immediately though they are attacked by horrifying and aggressive grey gorillas and learn that they are descendents of the trained animal guards of the mine which eventually overthrew their trainers and destroyed the city. As their group is slowly picked off one by one and the volcano near the city becomes more active, it becomes a matter of simply surviving as the gorillas attack their camp. Before they can leave, though, they end up trapped deep in the mines with the gorillas and volcano looming. Enter: laser beams. Using the blue diamonds Karen is able to power a laser and blast those gray gorillas no prob. They manage to barely escape with the lava hot on their heels (I swear this is real). Realizing her employer only cared about money, Karen destroys his satellite with the laser beam and they all hop in a hot air balloon to escape, while waving goodbye to Amy who has joined her gorilla brethren… like for real. THE END. This might be my favorite recap of all time.

Why?! I guess I already told you in the recap. Peter wants to return Amy to the Congo, while Karen wants to see if her ex-fiance is still alive and, secondarily, complete the job of getting the special blue diamonds. Tim Curry also has the added motivation of discovering the Lost City of Zinj, but really he’s just a kooky guy who’s destined to have his face ripped off by a crazed gary gorilla. So who cares.

Who?! Delroy Lindo has a substantial speaking role and goes uncredited. Not sure why (although his accent is crazy so that might give a hint). The more interesting thing is that as I mentioned Crichton sold the rights to the film before writing it and eventually delivered a crazy techno-ape-thriller. By the time they actually got the production figured out he was distanced from the project and didn’t even get a screenplay credit on the film. Just a “based on” credit. 

What?! Solid MacGuffin here in the blue diamonds which hold such amazing powers that if TraviCom can get their hands on even a few it will produce a money-making laser that will save the company. That’s all well and good but when one of Amy’s paintings is on sale online you start to get your hopes up that her nintendo power glove might be out there too *stares wistfully into the distance* alas, no such luck.

Where?! A+ setting alert! Congo all up in there. Can’t imagine this is ever dethroned for the Congo mapl.de.map. That is until Patrick and I make Congo 2: Double Trouble where it turns out that after the volcano erupted there were only two gray gorillas left alive… twins. The evil gorilla is set on revenge and sets off to California to hunt down Peter, while the good twin gorilla attempts to stop him. Eventually they find common ground through their discovery of McDonald’s and the twin gorillas reconcile with Peter and get power gloves of their own… although the movie I just described isn’t really set in Congo… primarily set in a California McDonald’s. Wouldn’t even win the McDonald’s entry for mapl.de.map as Mac and Me has a stranglehold on that spot.

When?! It’s a beautiful thing when a film delivers an easy and precise way to track the time when it’s set. Periodically the explorers check in with TraviCom and the video feed has a handy dandy date right in the corner. So we know that the entire film takes place from October 16-22, 1994. Should have really hammered it home by having the characters jam out to I’ll Make Love to You by Boyz II Men… although probably needed to cut that scene to avoid an NC-17 rating.

Congo is really saved by an absolutely crazy ending where gorillas are mowed down by laser beams while another one speaks using a computer nintendo glove and a volcano erupts around them. Leading up to that point, though, it’s a much more standard adventure tale that is only betrayed a little by some fake looking gorillas and Tim Curry putting on a deep, deep accent. But if you can take out a forty minute chunk of a film and say “check this shit out,” then you’re in a pretty good spot when it comes to BMT. It just makes it a little harder to recommend the film to people. I actually read the book a little while back (when we previously thought we were going to watch it for BMT) and it’s a pretty close adaptation. What it lacks, and why I enjoyed the book quite a bit, was the Crichton-esque mix of deep science/technology and narrative. The book was super long though and by the end I was pretty sure it was unadaptable. Not only would you lose that unique narrative structure, but all you would be left with was all kinds of monster ape and diamonds and volcanoes and stuff. Easier to write than to put to screen with a straight face. What’s interesting is that he sold the film rights before writing the book… so he basically sold a studio a film and then wrote a nutso, unadaptable book for them to adapt. No wonder it took like 15 years for them to make it. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Laser beams and talking apes is all I really needed to hear before watching Congo. Let’s go!

P’s View of the Preview – I’ve seen this film before and it is great. There’s a talking gorilla, there is a laser gun, and … wait yeah, not only is that all I remember, that is also all I care about, and that is also all you need to know. This is a film where a gorilla named Amy talks and they cut gorillas apart with a laser gun at the end. Boom. What were my expectations? Seriously? I just told you: talking gorillas and laser beams. Let’s gooooooooooooo!

The Good – Hmmmmm, I’m trying to think through this without falling into the trap of thinking something that is ironically good is actually good, you know? The film is a fun adventure film, and as far as a poor man’s Jurassic Park it does an interesting job at being just that. I loved Laura Linney and Ernie Hudson in their roles, as very specific Crichton archetypes (the suave adventurer and the corporate scientist / CIA agent). And the ultimate payoff in the Lost City of Zinj was just enough to satisfy (although they really closed the book on the franchise huh? No Lost World: Congo 2 was going to happen after the conclusion I would think). Best Bit: Laura Linney and Ernie Hudson.

The Bad – I could have done without the main character (who, no offense to him, came across as Steve Guttenberg but not as good). I understand he was a necessary bit of getting Amy the gorilla into the situation, but you definitely needed a better actor in the role to pull it off. The effects were incredibly subpar. The final scenes are so laughably bad it somehow makes the film better, but, again, that is ironically and shouldn’t be confused with the film actually being good. I love seeing people blast some evil white gorillas apart with a laser beam, but that doesn’t mean it is a good movie. I’ll also just through out that the entire bit about getting into the Democratic Republic of Congo is extremely troublesome if you know anything about the political issues colonization caused that country, all the way down to the poorly names “Hotel Leopold” they have to bribe their way out of. Fatal Flaw: Laughable effects.

The BMT – This is an incredibly hilarious film. It’ll be slow going for a bit, but then the laser beams and evil gorillas will pop up and all of your concern about the film will just melt away. It is one of those films where you’ll be like “you should watch this, it is hilarious” to someone, and they’ll sit down and for the first hour be like “what was this guy going on about again?” And then the laser beams and gorillas will show up and it’ll all make more sense. BMT Hall of Fame level hilariousness? Maybe, maybe no, we’ll see five years from now, but it certainly earns its BMeTric in my opinion. Did it meet my expectations? Given that I had seen the film before how could it not? And in reality, yes, there were indeed gorillas and laser beams, so … there it is.

Roast-radamus – I’m going to give a shout out to our Pseudo-Planchet (Who?) played by Grant Heslov who just really really really wishes he wasn’t in The Democratic Republic of Congo throughout the film. Hugely great A+ Setting as a Character (Where?) for The Democratic Republic of Congo, and a pretty rare Africa setting in general. A legendary (literally) MacGuffin (Why?) concerning the Lost City of Zinj filled with eeeeeevil guardian gorillas. I think this is a great BMT film in the end.

StreetCreditReport.com – The cred for Congo was off the hook. With an 50+ BeMetric and 80+ Notability it is one of the largest releases of 1995. Top 3% in BMeTric and Notability among the top 250 of that year, the only film with a higher BMeTric and Notability is Batman Forever. That’s the level of cred we are looking at here. Two things stand out in the connection on IMDb. First is the Sega Saturn game Congo the Movie: The Lost City of Zinj. I should have really watched a playthrough of that for the You Got Schooled section, but such is life. The other is that in the 2018 episode of the show A.P. Bio the kids have a Congo themed school dance complete with Amy the talking gorilla. Now that is cred, still getting dem sweet refs 23 years later!

You Just Got Schooled – Instead of watching a playthrough of a bad Doom clone, I instead went for another bad gorilla bash in Rampage. I had resisted Rampage mostly because I watched Skyscraper on a plane and it was awful, and if that was the expectations of a Dwayne Johnson film then hard pass. Having watched it though, Rampage isn’t necessarily awful. It has a lot of heart and The Rock, as usual, has an incredible amount of charisma which saves the film. The action is mostly Transformers level and your brain shuts off eventually. I suppose the only daring thing about it is that they really don’t mince words: like hundreds of people die during the film. That’s an interesting strategy, especially when one of the heroes (George the giant ape) is one of the animals doing all that killing. Regardless, much better than Skyscraper, and what more could I really ask for? C. Still not a good video game film, sorry.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Congo Quiz

Oh man, so as usual I was on my way to The Democratic Republic of Congo to return my ape friend to the wild, when out popped with white gorilla and bopped me on the head! Now I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Congo?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) What is the company looking for in Congo? Why is the primatologist going? And why is Tim Curry going?

2) When they arrive in Central Africa they are initially detained outside of The Democratic Republic of Congo. Why?

3) Once in the Democratic Republic of Congo why must they hurry to the laser pack signal?

4) During the trek the group meets a tribe. Who are they and what do they want?

5) In the end they do find what they are looking for, but there is something spooky guarding it. What? Also what does the ubiquitous eye symbol mean?

Answers

Congo Preview

Poe describes the beautiful road trip that he and Mr. Big would take, bonding over their shared interests of Tetherball and early 20th century Bildungsroman literature. Starting in Sacramento, California (for obvious reasons) they would proceed north through Idaho and continue straight on to Saskatoon. “Would we be able to stop at the Western Development Museum?” Mr. Big asks dreamily. Poe nods, “Darn tootin’. Wouldn’t be a trip to Saskatoon without it and we might even splurge for one of those old timey photos where we dress up in old western clothes.” Mr. Big frowns. He knows that Poe is really just saying these things because he wants to get the Book of Secrets… but he can’t help but tell him meekly to continue describing the road trip. “You’d think we’d be heading straight to Winnipeg at this point… but you’d be wrong. Cause we’re continuing east,” Poe explains. “No,” whispers Mr. Big, “you don’t mean…” but Poe nods, “The ‘Ware.” Mr. Big looks at him startled, “You’d take me to… Delaware?” And Poe shrugs his shoulders, “it seems only appropriate after you were so kind to let me into The Skulls.” With tears in his eyes Mr. Big walks over to Nic Cage’s Journal (all rights reserved). He picks it up, kisses it and brings it over to Poe. “I thought this,” he says waving to the large ornate chamber, “was The Skulls,” his voice cracking with emotion, “but today you proved that The Skulls… was inside you the whole time.” Just as he is about to hand the book over they are surrounded by people in gray ninja gear and lasers. “Give us the book,” one of them says. Poe, realizing what is happening, begins to speak up but it’s too late… the laser beams start a-flyin’. That’s right! If I mention laser beams there is only one film I’m thinking about. “Entrapment?” you ask… OK, two films. The other is Congo. The major film release where a lady mows down grey gorillas with a laser. Celebrate for us on this very momentus 25th anniversary of the release of Laser Gorillas aka Congo. Let’s go!   

Congo (1995) – BMeTric: 54.3; Notability: 81 

(It has a really low IMDb rating. It used to have a BMeTric of like 65 too! And a notability of 81? My god, when was the last time we had a film with that high of a Notability? I just checked and we haven’t done an 80+ since 2019 (where we actually did quite a few of them). I am very much looking forward to just how big of a disappointment this must have been.)

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – “Congo” is a splendid example of a genre no longer much in fashion, the jungle adventure story. Perhaps aware that its material was already dated when Stewart Granger made “King Solomon’s Mines” in 1950, the filmmakers have cheerfully turned it into an action comedy, and the actors have gone a step further, treating it like one of those movies like “Beat the Devil” that is a put-on of itself. The result is not a movie that is very good, exactly, but it’s entertaining and funny. False sophisticates will scorn it. Real sophisticates will relish it.

(Shots fired at the end. This feels like right around when Ebert started to consider things “good for what they are” and became a bit less pretentious (to use a loaded term) about things. This is pretty soon after Arachnophobia which is, by all accounts, a genuine horror comedy, so I could definitely see Marshall going back to the tongue-in-cheek creature feature well.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icu59hembVk/

(The thing I remember from the trailer was the guy stumbling down the stairs. It made me think it was a horror film. It isn’t a horror film and you barely see the gorillas in the end. Good trailer though regardless, even shows off the laser weapon.)

Directors – Frank Marshall – (Known For: Alive; Eight Below; Arachnophobia; BMT: Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Congo in 1996; Notes: Married to Kathlene Kennedy he has an interesting career having worked as a producer for LucasArts before leaving to form his own production company (with his wife) and begin directing.)

Writers – Michael Crichton (novel) – (Known For: Jurassic Park; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; Jurassic World; Twister; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Jurassic Park III; Westworld; Disclosure; Runaway; The First Great Train Robbery; The Andromeda Strain; Coma; The Terminal Man; Future BMT: Sphere; Rising Sun; Looker; BMT: Congo; Timeline; The 13th Warrior; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Twister in 1997; Notes: Almost 6’9’’, and married 5 times. He famously submitted an essay written by George Orwell in graduate school where he studied English which got a B-, and he quit soon after. He also trained to be a doctor and quit right after qualifying.)

John Patrick Shanley (screenplay) – (Known For: Moonstruck; Doubt; Alive; Joe Versus the Volcano; The Thief and the Cobbler; Five Corners; Future BMT: The January Man; We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story; BMT: Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Congo in 1996; Notes: Won an Oscar for Moonstruck and a Tony for Doubt. He also was nominated for an Emmy for Live From Baghdad. No apparently Grammy aspirations so his EGOT hopes are probably non-existent.)

Actors – Laura Linney – (Known For: Love Actually; The Truman Show; Nocturnal Animals; Primal Fear; Mystic River; Arthur Christmas; Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; Falling; Searching for Bobby Fischer; The Exorcism of Emily Rose; The Squid and the Whale; Dave; Absolute Power; Genius; The Mothman Prophecies; Kinsey; The Roads Not Taken; Mr. Holmes; Breach; You Can Count on Me; Future BMT: The Other Man; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows; Hyde Park on Hudson; The Nanny Diaries; The Fifth Estate; Man of the Year; Sympathy for Delicious; The Hottest State; The City of Your Final Destination; Maze; Lush; The Life of David Gale; BMT: Congo; Notes: Nominated three times for an Oscar (You Can Count on Me, Kinsey, and The Savages). Also the star of The Big C which she won an Emmy for.)

Tim Curry – (Known For: The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Clue; The Hunt for Red October; Annie; Charlie’s Angels; Times Square; FernGully: The Last Rainforest; Kinsey; The Cat Returns; Muppet Treasure Island; The Rugrats Movie; Rugrats in Paris; The Wild Thornberrys Movie; The Shout; Future BMT: Scary Movie 2; McHale’s Navy; Fly Me to the Moon; Valiant; Rugrats Go Wild; Christmas in Wonderland; The Shadow; The Pebble and the Penguin; Loaded Weapon 1; Ritual; Burke and Hare; The Secret of Moonacre; The Three Musketeers; Legend; Oscar; Bailey’s Billion$; Home Alone 2: Lost in New York; Passed Away; BMT: Garfield 2; Congo; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Congo in 1996; Notes: Was nominated for three Tony awards and an Emmy in his career. Had a stroke a few years ago and is now confined to a wheelchair, but he has started doing voiceover work again which is something he had become very famous for in his career.)

Dylan Walsh – (Known For: We Were Soldiers; Nobody’s Fool; Secretariat; Loverboy; Blood Work; Edmond; Betsy’s Wedding; Future BMT: The Stepfather; Authors Anonymous; Where the Heart Is; BMT: Congo; The Lake House; Notes: Ended up as a big name television actor starring in Nip/Tuck and Unforgettable and now does short stints on things like Blue Bloods and Law & Order.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $81,022,101 (Worldwide: $152,022,101)

(That’s actually a decent amount of money, although they were obviously looking for that Jurassic Park money. So in that sense maybe less of a bomb and more of a disappointment as expected.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 22% (11/51): Mired in campy visual effects and charmless characters, Congo is a suspenseless adventure that betrays little curiosity about the scientific concepts it purports to care about.

(I’m not sure what scientific concepts they are referring to here. Is it the giant diamonds from King Solomon’s Mind which illogically are the only things that can produce a laser weapon? Or perhaps the killer ape guardsmen? Or the sign language gorilla robot arm? Reviewer Highlight: The entire tone of the book has been transformed from tension to tongue-in-cheek with dismal results. – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times)

Poster – Goril-lazer Beamz

(The poster already tells you the film’s gonna be nuts. It’s just a giant fake gorilla face with a bunch of computer code on it and the dutchest of all dutch angle titles. I’m not sure what I would even think if I saw this in a movie theater. It’s bold, that’s for sure. But probably not in a good way. C)

Tagline(s) – Where you are the endangered species (B+)

(But this is solid. Congo… where you are the endangered species. Yeah that’s kinda nice. Flipping things around on you with the image of the gorilla. Telling you that you’re in for an adventure of derring-do. I dig it.)

Keyword – gorilla

Top 10: Red Sparrow (2018), Dolittle (2020), Green Book (2018), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017), 2012 (2009), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), Sing (2016), Zookeeper (2011), King Kong (2005), Trading Places (1983)

Future BMT: 72.1 The Last Exorcism Part II (2013), 54.8 Evan Almighty (2007), 48.9 The Omen (2006), 40.4 Hollow Man (2000), 34.1 The Tourist (2010), 28.8 Buddy (1997), 28.4 Baby’s Day Out (1994), 27.5 The Legend of Tarzan (2016), 27.1 The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981), 21.9 Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995);

BMT: Dolittle (2020), 2012 (2009), Zookeeper (2011), Congo (1995), Old Dogs (2009), King Kong Lives (1986)

(There weren’t very good keywords this time for some reason. I have seen most of these, which maybe Ace Ventura 2 being the one I’m most excited for. The plot doesn’t tell me much except maybe that in the 2000s with CGI technology it became a lot easier to put gorillas in films.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 23) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Ernie Hudson is No. 3 billed in Congo and No. 6 billed in Miss Congeniality 2 Armed and Fabulous, which also stars Sandra Bullock (No. 1 billed) who is in Demolition Man (No. 3 billed), which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 6 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 23. If we were to watch The Nanny Diaries, and The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – Ernie Hudson stated that playing the character “Captain Munroe Kelly” is his personal favorite from his career. (He does seem to have a great time with it)

Executive producer and director Frank Marshall originally intended to use the computer work pioneered on Jurassic Park (1993) for the gorillas, but opted for models, as the computers weren’t capable of reproducing hair. (Yeah, it was a bit too early for that)

The “diamonds” used for the scenes during the climax of the movie were actually Herkimer Diamonds borrowed from the Herkimer Diamond Mines of Middleville, New York. They are doubly-terminated (two-ended) quartz crystals that are found in only two places in the world. They were the only gems that would look enough like diamonds and be that large. As a kind of tribute, Tim Curry’s character’s first name is “Herkermer” (his character does not appear in the Michael Crichton novel upon which the movie was based). (Wait … he isn’t in the book?! What a crazy character to add)

The part of the 727 pilot was played by musician and pop icon Jimmy Buffett. (huh)

Executive producer Frank Yablans had been involved in this project since its inception. Michael Crichton had pitched his idea for a modern-day King Solomon’s Mines to him, before he had even written the novel. Yablans liked the idea so much that, without Crichton’s authorization, he sold the movie rights to Twentieth Century Fox in 1979, a year before the book was published. The technology to create the apes was not available at the time, however, and the project never materialized. During the production of Jurassic Park (1993), Crichton was impressed with the dinosaurs that Stan Winston’s studio had created. Producer Kathleen Kennedy (who produced both movies) suggested using Winston again for the apes, and suggested the project itself to her husband, executive producer and director Frank Marshall, and Crichton agreed. This resulted in Yablans, Marshall, and Kennedy collaborating on this movie.

Although the movie mentions King Solomon’s Mines, it bears several key points in common with “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar”, the book and movies based on it.

There are rumors of a deleted scene where one of the gorillas, in a pivotal scene in the movie, wields a laser gun. Nobody is sure if these rumored scenes exist, but YouTube channel Funhaus has started an investigation after discussing it on their movie podcast. (This feels like a dumb Mandela Effect thing. People who say this 25 years ago probably has smushed Amy fending off the evil gorillas using her sign language translator, with Laura Linney shooting lasers at them right after)

Composer Jerry Goldsmith was originally brought on-board when this movie was being conceived in the 1980s. When it went into production again in the 1990s, James Newton Howard was hired to write the score. Howard composed the tribal chant used in this movie, but had to back out of the project. Goldsmith was then brought back on-board.

In addition to Amy, Stan Winston Studio created twelve genetically mutated gray gorillas for Congo, eight of which were built as fully articulated hero heads and suits. To initiate the design of the twelve grays, Chris Swift rendered a series of drawings. Stan Winston then gave key artists at the studio the opportunity to design and sculpt one unique character each. Because the grays were a fictional, mutant breed of gorillas, the sculptors enjoyed a lot of creative freedom in devising their designs. 

Rather than re-create the features of a mountain gorilla, the studio had instructions to design Amy so that she would more closely resemble the ‘cuter’ lowland gorilla.

Stan Winston’s crew lifecast the main Amy performer, Lorene Noh, at the studio, then sculpted Amy over her lifecast. From that sculpture, the crew created a ‘hero’ Amy head that was covered in silicone skin and hand-tied hair. It was one of the first times the studio would use these new silicone formulas, rather than foam latex, for a character.

Fred Thompson turned down a key role. (Ha, definitely the eeeeevil corporate telecom CEO)

Problems with the grays in the design stage only intensified when the characters started shooting. The mine in which the Grays’ scenes were set was essentially a large, empty cavern of red rock. There was no foliage of any kind, and without it, director of photography Allen Daviau was unable to justify the kind of dappled lighting that would have gone a long way in making the grays look more authentic. “In any kind of creature work,” Stan Winston commented, “so much of its success depends on the lighting and setting those characters are in. I wasn’t at all happy with the Grays’ environment. That big red cave didn’t allow for interesting or dramatic lighting at all.”

One of the most critical elements for bringing Congo’s gorillas to life was the performances of the actors and actresses inside the suits. Under the direction of veteran gorilla performer Peter Elliott, it took approximately six months of intensive rehearsal for Lorene Noh and Misty Rosas to become Amy, and for the gray gorilla actors to become mutant primates.

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Kathleen Kennedy, Sam Mercer, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Tim Curry, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Frank Marshall, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (John Patrick Shanley, 1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (1996)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Jerry Goldsmith, Lebo M., 1996)

Double Impact Preview

Jill McBrawn taps nervously at the table looking at Rich. He begins to try to explain but she interrupts, “it’s about the Dongle, right?” she stammers, “It’s all he was talking about all this last month. It’s like he’s been infected and the only cure is to his hand on that damn Dongle… I’m sorry” She takes a sip of water and looks away. Rich isn’t sure how far to press. He places a hand on her arm. She flinches and apologizes, “it’s just you shouldn’t be here. It’s all he talked about. ‘My father is the key,’ he would say. ‘He has the Dongle and I’ll get it from him.’” Her eyes are asking him whether it’s true, whether it’s possible, but Rich shakes his head in disbelief. As he does, his chest begins to glow, responding to the words being spoken. Just as has happened during the four trials of the gamemasters. The light gets brighter and so does Jill’s eyes. “You must give it to me, before he gets back!” she yells desperately, “you don’t understand how strong he is. The hatred, the power, he likes it. But I know him. I can keep it from him.” She puts out her hand and as she does Rich tentatively reaches towards his chest and pulls out the shard of the Dongle. Suddenly Jill jumps for it and grabs it and begins to cackle with glee and the world around them crumbles revealing the ceremonial chamber in which the Nic Cages have been toying with Rich’s mind. All an elaborate game in order to have him hand over the shard of his own volition. “You fool,” Travolta Nic Cage says, “with the Dongle and our power combined the world is doomed. Double impact, babbbby.” That’s right! We’re watching Double Impact starring JCVD for the Bring a Friend section. This is the earlier of the two JCVD twin films, so fortunately we haven’t yet exhausted our stock. Let’s go!

The dragons are quite smitten with their buddy cop beaus and have decided to keep them around Hell for eternity when suddenly Poe forgets momentarily to undo his ponytail while also wearing the glasses. “Wait… where’s Rich?” one of the dragons screeches in horror and both began to wail in heartbroken agony. I guess this is the end for Poe… except suddenly his twin protectors step. The twins are just as smitten with their new twin beaus and scoff at Poe and his equally substantial and well-oiled muscles. Stepping past them to the volcano’s edge, Poe hopes this is what he needs to do. He jumps, “I’m coommming Riiiiich.” That’s right! Since this is the Bring a Friend cycle we thought we better do something good for the Bring a Friend entry. So we took the Breen plunge and jumped full tilt into the latest Neil Breen joint called Twisted Pair. Breen plays a set of twins with special powers and that’s all you really need to know. It’s Neil Breen. If you don’t know him then look him up, he’s garnered some real bad movie cache in the last decade.. Let’s go!

Double Impact (1991) – BMeTric: 43.8; Notability: 33 

(I’m really surprised by how low the rating is for this film on IMDb. This seems like exactly the type of film which would have an ironic inflation of its score over the past ten years. But it seems to be following a normal trajectory, and is still below 6.0.)

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Inspired by the example of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is now the No. 1 movie star in the world, the entire martial arts genre is going upmarket as fast as it can. The established names in the field, including Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Jeff Speakman, are appearing in slicker productions with better scripts and sexier locations, and there are times, watching these ambitious films, when I feel a twinge of nostalgia for the bargain-basement Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee pictures, which had fewer pretensions and projected a crazed intensity. … Because the martial arts genre has had so much success recently, its stars are condemned to play only leading men. Van Damme and Seagal are always at the center of their plots. That will hurt their careers in the long run, since martial arts movies are limited by their formulas, and the heroes are supplied with almost ritualistic plot patterns. Since Seagal seems to have more talent than any of his movies has been able to use, and Van Damme also has possibilities, it’s too bad the marketplace won’t let them play supporting roles in more ambitious movies. They would make splendid villains. And we wouldn’t believe it if they couldn’t hit anything.

(This is an extremely prescient review. He basically predicts the trajectory of JCVD and Seagal’s careers to a tee and diagnoses it (correctly) as their inability to break from the mold to become supporting actors or villains in film. To hear Speakman’s name being uttered in the same breath as Seagal and Van Damme is something else entirely. It actually makes little sense, but was probably Ebert just grasping at the other martial artist who made a film in 1991, because Speakman’s one and only wide release film was The Perfect Weapon in 1991 so it really is bizarre to pick him out as a guy who wouldn’t last in film … he wasn’t even a thing in 1991 and never became a thing afterwards. Wild.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rftm3yRSD_0/

(Wow the hard guitar riffing soundtrack. Double the “Van Damage”? This is somehow everything I want, and the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It is a little odd because it feels a lot like Knock Off which would come out seven years later. Like they had a bunch of leftover Hong Kong footage lying around and decided to make that one on a lark.)

Directors – Sheldon Lettich – (Future BMT: The Order; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Only the Strong; BMT: Double Impact; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Rambo III in 1989; Notes: Directed a bunch of straight to video films starring Dolph Lendgren, but mostly Van Damme. Is slated to direct a few films in the upcoming year.)

Writers – Sheldon Lettich (screen story & screenplay) – (Known For: Bloodsport; Future BMT: Legionnaire; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Russkies; Max; Only the Strong; BMT: Double Impact; Rambo III; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Rambo III in 1989; Notes: Was in the Marines for four years including fighting in Vietnam. Originally a photographer prior to writing scripts.)

Jean-Claude Van Damme (screen story & screenplay) – (Known For: Kickboxer: Retaliation; Future BMT: Kickboxer: Vengeance; The Order; Kickboxer 2: The Road Back; Legionnaire; The Quest; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Kickboxer; BMT: Double Impact; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: Van Damme was the closest martial artists to get to that Sly Stallone stature, so he wrote a bunch of films in the 90s. He also directed, and used to edit a bunch of films really early in his career to punch up the action scenes. Impressive run.)

Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes (screen story) – (Known For: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Anna and the King; Back to the Beach; BMT: Double Impact; Notes: )

Actors – Jean-Claude Van Damme – (Known For: Bloodsport; Kung Fu Panda 3; The Expendables 2; Hard Target; Kung Fu Panda 2; Timecop; Sudden Death; Kickboxer: Retaliation; Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning; Lukas; JCVD; Enemies Closer; Future BMT: Street Fighter; Derailed; Welcome to the Jungle; Kickboxer: Vengeance; The Order; Legionnaire; Maximum Risk; Inferno; Replicant; The Quest; Black Water; Missing in Action; Pound of Flesh; Nowhere to Run; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Breakin’; Last Action Hero; Kickboxer; BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Double Team; Cyborg; Knock Off; Double Impact; Universal Soldier; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Double Team in 1998; and Nominee for Worst New Star for Bloodsport in 1989; Notes: We have a ton of JCVD films to do. Out of all of the martial arts stars from the 90s I think he ended up coming out looking okay. At least he isn’t a weirdo like Seagal or have tax problems. Just seems like he does a ton of straight-to-video garbage.)

Geoffrey Lewis – (Known For: The Devil’s Rejects; Maverick; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; Heaven’s Gate; High Plains Drifter; Night of the Comet; Thunderbolt and Lightfoot; The Way of the Gun; Point of No Return; 10 to Midnight; My Name Is Nobody; The Man Without a Face; Tom Horn; The Wind and the Lion; Down in the Valley; Dillinger; Bronco Billy; The Great Waldo Pepper; Wicked Little Things; Macon County Line; Future BMT: Blueberry; Pink Cadillac; The New Guy; Moving McAllister; Fletch Lives; Any Which Way You Can; Every Which Way but Loose; Lucky Lady; Only the Strong; Lust in the Dust; BMT: The Lawnmower Man; Double Impact; Tango & Cash; Notes: Received a Golden Globe nomination for a supporting role in the television series Flo (which I had never heard of). He has 10 children, at least 6 of which are in the industry including Juliette Lewis)

Alonna Shaw – (Known For: King of New York; BMT: Double Impact; Notes: Was a model prior to becoming an actress. Appears to have been retired for a while. She does not have a wikipedia which is insane … she starred in a major motion picture in 1991!!)

Budget/Gross – $15 million / Domestic: $30,102,717 (Worldwide: $30,102,717)

(Actually halfway decent. I’m not surprised it didn’t get a sequel though. I imagine it is a pain in the ass to do the whole double thing with the split screen. This is the type of film where you do it to get some media play, and then you never ever do it again.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 35% (7/20)

(Surprisingly good reviews, mostly saying that the action scenes are excellent and the film brisk. I think the good reviews tend to be more recent, whereas Ebert’s probably captured the spirit of the time a bit better: I wish it didn’t seem so pretentious and was more like older martial arts films. Reviewer Highlight: The notion of casting pretty-boy kickboxer Jean-Claude Van Damme — the Rob Lowe of the steroid set — in a double role sounded like fun. In fact, it doesn’t come to much. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – Identichop

(I’ve always called it a Twin Chop, but Identichop seems appropriate for the poster. This looks like garbage which is appropriate for the film. I actually am not sure what would have happened if I saw this poster hanging in a movie theater… fainted probably. It’s mediocre/not good in almost every way. C-)

Tagline(s) – Feel The Impact (A+ but ironically)

Twin brothers torn apart by violence. On a mission of revenge. One packs a punch. One packs a piece. Together they deliver… (A+ but not ironically)

(The second one is now the tagline for BadMovieTwins.com. Can we be sued? I don’t care. Together me and Patrick deliver the goods so it’s simply truth in advertising. I don’t love “One packs a piece” let’s work on that. Ok. “One packs a punch. One packs a lunch.” nailed it. First try. In this scenario, of course, one of us is a skinny cop and the other a jolly fat cop.)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), House of Wax (2005), Meet the Robinsons (2007), Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), The Great Outdoors (1988)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 57.9 House of Wax (2005), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 36.2 A Cinderella Story (2004), 31.0 It Takes Two (1995), 13.4 Little Women (2018);

BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), Jack and Jill (2011), Double Impact (1991), Father Figures (2017), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), Pluto Nash (2002), Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), The Identical (2014)

(There it is, ten films with the keyword “twins”. And we have another on the docket next week, so we’ll get to 11. And I’m sure if I continued to add the keyword where appropriate it will turn out we have done like … 20 of these. I should probably put together a definitive list at some point. Maybe include twin reviews on the website or something.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 19) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Jean-Claude Van Damme is No. 1 billed in Double Impact and No. 1 billed in Double Team, which also stars Mickey Rourke (No. 3 billed) who is in Get Carter (2000) (No. 4 billed), which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 19. If we were to watch Maximum Risk we can get the HoE Number down to 14.

Notes – Van Damme wanted to play twins to help change his image. “One of them is violent and the other is not, so the audience can see the contrast in my work,” he said. “This picture has comedy, romance, a love story. So it is not all action and fighting. When I fight on screen, I blend dancing and fighting. Grace plus power is very nice.” (Actually kind of true. The Bad Damme, Alex, hits a woman in the film and everything. It is pretty nuts)

Van Damme said his real life personality was closer to Chad than Alex. “In real life I am not this cold, quiet guy who goes around kicking butt.”

Due to a strong friendship formed between the two actors on the set of Bloodsport (1988), Jean-Claude Van Damme wanted no one but Bolo Yeung to play the lead villain in this movie. (Yeah, he’s great. A martial artist body builder? I guess there are a ton of people kind of like that these days, but he just has a very interesting body shape for the time)

In 2010, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bolo Yeung were giving a martial art demonstration and Van Damme said hopefully one day he and Yeung will put a project together “Double Impact 2” and maybe Yeung will play a friend and not any enemy. In a 2012 interview promoting The Expendables 2 (2012), Van Damme mentioned that he would like to make another Double Impact movie with a more serious tone. During the interview, he also gave a rough idea of the plot: “Two twins one is coming back from Asia to Los Angeles to help his brother who is a con-artist and pretending to be a big Hollywood producer and he’s in trouble with the mob”. A Double Impact 2 script has been written by Van Damme and Sheldon Lettich (who co-wrote Bloodsport and Double Impact). Van Damme said “Hopefully, somebody smart enough, like an agent or a producer, can put that back together…I’m excited about it, you know?” (Hoooooooly shiiiiiiiiit. I’m down)

Director Albert Pyun was briefly approached when the project was then called ‘The Corsican Brothers’ in the late 1980s. He said on his Facebook page in 2012: “The last time I’ve spoken with JCVD was on the roof of a building across the street from Cannon on Wilshire. JCVD wanted to talk in private and he told me the story he wanted to do for his next film called “Corsican Brother” which became Double Impact I believe. JCVD asked if I would want to direct it for him. The whole idea of TWO JCVDs seemed a bit far fetched and I did not commit either way but told him I had reservations about how the twins idea would work. I told him I thought he should keep moving in the direction of a pure action star and leave the gimmick movies behind. Haven’t seen or talked to him since directly.” (Jesus Christ, why would you call it that? Were there bits about the twins being able to “feel” each other in the original script? Also Pyun was wrong. The biggest issue for JCVD was always going to be his accent. Unlike Schwarzenegger he never had the acting chops or charm to overcome it. So what is the point in not doing gimmick films?)

Freely based on Alexandre Dumas’s novel “The Corsican Brothers”, as the original working title was. It was even set to take place in France and Corsica. (What the hell are they even talking about!?)

The Astronaut’s Wife Recap

Jamie

Jillian and Spencer have it all. He’s a handsome astronaut, she’s a beautiful astronaut’s wife. That is until a space accident leaves Spencer a little… off. Throwing away his dreams of flying he joins the corporate world in NYC and things go downhill fast. Can Jillian stop the crazy alien version of her husband before it’s too late? Find out in… The Astronaut’s Wife.

How?! Spencer is a handsome astronaut with a beautiful life and beautiful wife (an astronaut’s wife, if you will). But on his latest mission there is an explosion and he and his fellow astronaut barely make it back to Earth alive. Everything seems OK but things still feel a bit off, especially when Spencer decides to quit being an astronaut. Jillian is concerned (he would never quit his job!) and particularly peeved that he has decided to move them to NYC for a big shot job. But when Spencer’s friend dies and the friend’s wife commits suicide they head to the city for a fresh start. But boy howdy, this start is anything but fresh (or even slightly dope) because Spencer has really changed and is starting to scare Jillian, who is already having a tough time adjusting to the highfalutin NYC lifestyle that she hates. When a former colleague of Spencer’s shows up in NYC spouting off what sounds like crazy theories about her husband she is scared, but also intrigued. He more or less is like “he’s a scary ass alien and totally impregnated you with scary twin alien babies,” and she gasps but also believes him. It then becomes a bit of a cat and mouse game between Spencer and Jillian as they both kinda pretend things are OK but also he’s an alien. Finally, after realizing that the ultimate plan is to train their twin alien babies to take over the world with alien technology (this is real) she makes one last effort to kill him and succeeds! Except that the spooky alien inside him jumps from Spencer to Jillian. Oh no! So now she’s a creepy alien with creepy alien twin babies and the world is doomed. THE END.

Why?! World domination, duh. I mean, that’s just what aliens do and Spencer is no doubt an alien. As for Jillian, it’s hard to understand her motivation at times because she also doesn’t entirely know what’s going on. First she thinks about getting rid of the babies and thus foiling Spencer’s plan, but she has trouble doing it. Ultimately it’s a matter not only of survival, but survival for the human race and so she decides to kill him… and fails.

Who?! Gary Grubbs, from the final season of The OC fame, shows up as the director of NASA… which is interesting because that is a position appointed by the President, so we’ll have to keep this is mind when we are building the BMT Cabinet. Otherwise, probably the most notable was the Spouse twins making a very brief appearance as the creepy alien twins ready to destroy the world.

What?! It’s not for sale, but there is a screenworn NASA outfit for Johnny Depp listed on the YourProps site. Probably a museum piece… just not sure what museum. The only only kinda interesting object in the film is the repeated use of a radio both as a weapon and as a means of alien communication. I honestly don’t know whether it is meant to symbolize something or not. Just interesting that old timey radios are seemingly everywhere in the world.

Where?! We start in Florida and pretty quickly head to NYC. Charlize’s character haaates NYC and no wonder since the NYC they present is full of snobs who snidely look down on the idea of being a teacher as something not only beneath them but so utterly disgusting that they have to pretend to see someone they know just to get out of the conversation before they puke. I’m not sure whether to give it a B+ because it’s a pretty solid setting or an F because the setting is more of a caricature than an actual setting. Fine, B+.

When?! It takes place over an entire year basically. The accident occurs and then they move to NYC, she get a new job, gets pregnant and then is maybe like 4 months pregnant or something when the climax of the film occurs. So modestly it’s maybe a full year. I would guess it starts in the spring of one year and then ends in the late winter of the next year. Hard to say though. D as you get some sense of seasons.

I found almost everything in this movie to be exceedingly unpleasant. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very well made film. Surprisingly so, given that the director has not made another film after this writer-director debut. But it actually feels like this was a movie made by an alien (is it possible that that’s the point?) where every scene and interaction is devoid of recognizable human behavior. The scenes in NYC feel like you’re watching like Eyes Wide Shut weirdness as everyone talks and reacts like no one does in real life. Even Jillian and Spencer’s interactions feel really stilted and like they just met, let alone are married to each other. Add in some scenes of sexual and domestic abuse and I was already pretty tired of it all by the time Jillian became an alien herself. Probably for the better. Whatever world they were living in probably deserved to be destroyed by aliens. Couldn’t get much worse. As for Firestorm, it’s a fun super low budget action film that delivers on some pretty spectacular jazz trumpet scenes. Add in some cyborgs (or half-cyborgs, which is a phrase they actually use in the film) denoted by little bits of metallic paint on their faces and I had a reasonably good time watching this. At least a better time than watching The Astronaut’s Wife. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Twins that are destined to doom the human race? What is this, our life story? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I only vaguely knew what this film was about prior to watching it. It is mostly a little weird because it has a pre-Pirates-and-makeup-obsessed Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron the same year as The Cider House Rules in one of those sci-fi films that doesn’t actually seem like sci-fi. It feels more like a drama while being fairly hard science fiction in the end. What were my expectations? As usual with films I’m not super familiar with I was expecting to be bored. Because usually when people don’t bother to watch and review films years later it is because they are boring I think.

The Good – The storyline is a lot better than you might initially think, although there is a reason for that (see the Bad section for a bit more on that). I also thought Theron was quite good. The New York City set pieces work well, although, again, I think there is a reason for that which is a bit unfortunate. You know what? There isn’t much else to say on the good side without getting into the glaring issue with this film, so let’s move on to that. Best Bit: Charlize Theron.

The Bad – This is a total and complete rip-off of Rosemary’s Baby. So much so that I started trying to look up and see whether this was intended as a direct adaptation. It somehow isn’t. Theron even looks kind of similar to Mia Farrow in the role with the same short pixie cut. In both cases you have gaslighting and eerie tracking of the pregnant Farrow/Theron, and in both cases it feels notable that the setting of New York City with its often gothic architectural features take center stage. There is even a suggestion of potential drugging at the moment in which the devil/alien children are conceived. I won’t spoil the endings, but there are similarities there as well. I don’t quite understand what to think about this. Everything good about this film can be pretty directly traced to inspiration from the far superior Rosemary’s Baby so … does that make this film terrible? When nothing it has done is good on its own? Or is it fine, because how could a remake of Rosemary’s Baby really be that bad? I say terrible. Fatal Flaw: Shameless rip-off.

The BMT – I think as far as shameless rip-offs are concerned this might be a crowning jewel. It is incredibly hard to even think about this film on its own without being colored by what you think about Rosemary’s Baby. That’s really really odd. Otherwise it is pretty forgettable, even as a twin film. The twins play a big role, but you don’t see them until the end of the film. Did it meet my expectations? It was not boring. I actually kind of enjoyed this film. It was even a little strange trying to reconcile the two competing thoughts on the film. On the one hand I enjoyed it. On the other, I enjoyed the original, Rosemary’s Baby, more. It is almost ruined purely because the remake is completely unacknowledged.

Roast-radamus – A halfway decent Product Placement (What?) for ice cold Budweiser which I think you see in multiple scenes in the film. Very solid Setting as a Character (Where?) for New York City complete with Gothic themes. I think it has a strong argument for MacGuffin (Why?) for the alien twins who will pilot the experimental EMP deploying spacecraft obviously intended to be used to destroy humanity from within. I’ll skip the twist because I think it was actually pretty good. I think it is closest to Good than anything else.

StreetCreditReport.com – I can’t find a single mention of this on any lists. I can’t even find a single mention of this on worst astronaut / space film lists. This might actually be one of the most pure: “All of the cred comes from the fact that the plotline is about twins” that we’ve done for the cycle. I doubt we ever do The Astronaut’s Wife if there weren’t twins in the film. Or at least … maybe not for decades. Will BMT last for decades more? Am I joking?

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we brought along Firestorm as a friend. No, not the other Firestorm we already watched for BMT. This is a rather obscure 1997 sci-fi film about twins raging against a corrupt corporation trying to manipulate and kill cyborgs. One is a rogue agent of the corporation, the other, well … he plays smooth jazz. In the end they have to aid a revolution and take down the man. YEAH! In reality the film is one of those rather dull straight-to-video films probably most notable for having Robert Carradine in the role as the head of the cyborg army. Oh, and obviously the smooth smooth jazz. But naw, in the end it is probably like a C+. It should be more amusing than it is because of the jazz, but that sustains the story for like 15 minutes before you remember you are just rewatching Cyborg 3: The Recycler.

Twin Analysis – We are creeping ever closer to the end of the twin cycle. This week we had The Astronaut’s Wife which is a difficult one to assess. On the one hand you have a very twin-centric storyline. On the other, the twins don’t actually appear until late into the film. A perfect example of a B twin film. Give it an A for storyline dependence, but a C for actual twinness. As for Firestorm, this is a Bad Company scenario through and through. You see the twins together once in the beginning of the film basically, but soon one of them is killed off for production cost reasons … er, I mean for really important plot reasons. The idea of twins is important to the overall story. Without the protagonists being twins, then there is no infiltration of the bad guy’s company and the plot (for what that’s worth) totally falls apart. But they also get away with, overall, very little twinness in the film itself. I’m going to give it the same grade as Bad Company in the end, an A-. While you did get some split screen action in Firestorm, you had less of a good/bad twin dynamic at play, so it comes out as a wash I think.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Astronaut’s Wife Quiz

Oh boy. The last thing I remember I was spacewalking with my astronaut friend when a spooky alium popped out and bopped us both on the head. I don’t remember a thing (although I have the urge to design the ultimate space weapon … that’s strange). Do you remember what happened in The Astronaut’s Wife?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Johnny Depp is a super sweet spacewalking astronaut with a super sweet wife. But uh oh! Something up in space has gone wrong! What were Johnny Depp and his astronaut friend up to when things went awry?

2) But phew, Depp is back on Earth and feeling fine. But his friend isn’t looking so hot. As a matter of fact, his friend soon dies during Depp’s farewell party! What did he die of (allegedly)?

3) Now in New York, Depp and Theron are living life and super wealthy. Where does Depp work and what is he making?

4) Meanwhile, now pregnant with twins, Theron starts to get veeeeeeery suspicious that Depp might just be an alium. At the same time a former NASA employee contacts her with evidence about just that. What does her suspicions and the employee’s evidence have to do with?

5) Finally, what happens to Theron at the end of the film that is sure to doom humanity to some future alium invasion?

Answers

The Astronaut’s Wife Preview

“Alright, kid” Rich says, tipping his hat and taking a long drag from his cigarette, “what’s a nice dame like you doing in a dangerous place like this? Why don’t you let me handle the Dongle?” Dr. Summersly smirks and replies huskily, “and what? Let you have all the fun? If anyone’s going to handle the Dongle it’s going to be me.” Gruber watches this display in disgust. It’s all a little… overt for his tastes. Rich winks at Dr. Summersly and gets back to brass tacks. He’s got to get his hands on that Dongle and fast! Dr. Summersly is counting on him and perhaps with its vast power he’ll be able to bring back Poe and then he can sort out this damned case of mistaken identity. He and the good doctor are meant to be! Poe just has to realize that! Putting their heads together they try to think of who could be the secret buyer of the Dongle. “El Flamenco?” Summersly suggests, but Rich is pretty sure he’s safely behind bars. “What about Spider Gruber?” Gruber interjects, shuddering at the thought of the Spider version of himself, but he’s a big ol’ gross spider person and could hardly skulk around unnoticed. Suddenly Rich has an idea. “Get in the car,” he says putting on his fedora. As they drive, Rich recounts the devious plan to ransom the moon of 2 Rich 2 Poe: Reclamation fame. Summersly suddenly gasps, “Jim? It can’t be.” That’s right, Jim McBrawn, renowned astronaut and sex symbol, who was never the same after the plan left his reputation in tatters and estranged from his father… Poe. They pull up to a suburban house. “This is the place?” Summersly says, confused. But Rich shakes his head. “Not Jim… his wife.” That’s right! We’re watching The Astronaut’s Wife as the SciFi entry in the cycle. Johnny Depp plays an astronaut who comes back from space changed and immediately impregnates his wife with twins… very specifically twins. Can’t wait to figure out what creepy reason they came up with that necessitates alium twin babies. Let’s go!

Three’s a crowd, but four’s a party. But where is Poe gonna find a fourth for this Dragon Party (patent pending). Suddenly he has an idea and whips out a pair of total nerd glasses he keeps handy for his incognito undercover cases. “Why hello,” he says and then puts on the glasses, “and also hello, we are Rich and Poe. Two people for two beautiful ladies.” The Dragons are confused, but intrigued. Perhaps they’ll entertain this odd couple, RIch and Poe, before blasting them away in a total… That’s right! We’re watching Firestorm as the SciFi Friend. It takes place in the far future where two twins have to something something something. Twins, future, Firestorm. That’s all you need to know. Let’s go!

The Astronaut’s Wife (1999) – BMeTric: 52.1; Notability: 35 

(The BMeTric is shockingly high. The sheer number of votes is also weirdly high to me. This film is perplexing, I do not remember this coming out at all, and yet it seems to be a fairly large release, considered fairly bad, and has been seen a decent amount. Weird.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Happily married astronaut has a strange experience during a space mission. Has he changed somehow, or is it his young wife’s imagination? Rosemary’s Baby-style thriller is just a big tease; sluggish and unsatisfying, with an especially stupid finale.

(Yes! I’m here for an incredibly stupid ending … unless the real tease is this review. Now we’re cooking with fire, this seems like maybe it is a genuinely terrible low key sci-fi film. Do you know what else is a tease? Leonard with semicolons. Absolutely love it.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pu_TmXgGEG8/

(Alien Twins. Bad Twins. There are so many good titles for this film which is so so incredibly about twins in the weirdest way possible. Looks boring otherwise, but the Maltin review gives me hope.)

Directors – Rand Ravich – (BMT: The Astronaut’s Wife; Notes: Now produces and writes for television, Life being one of the bigger examples.)

Writers – Rand Ravich (written by) – (Future BMT: Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh; BMT: The Astronaut’s Wife; Notes: Started writing straight-video / cable films including Inside Out IV, a send of soft core films made by Playboy … which is crazy.)

Actors – Charlize Theron – (Known For: The Old Guard; Bombshell; Mad Max: Fury Road; Prometheus; The Devil’s Advocate; Fast & Furious 8; Monster; The Italian Job; Long Shot; Snow White and the Huntsman; The Addams Family; Atomic Blonde; The Cider House Rules; The Road; That Thing You Do!; North Country; Hancock; Tully; The Legend of Bagger Vance; Young Adult; Future BMT: The Last Face; Reindeer Games; A Million Ways to Die in the West; Waking Up in Reno; The Huntsman: Winter’s War; 15 Minutes; Gringo; Dark Places; Trapped; Sleepwalking; Sweet November; Head in the Clouds; The Burning Plain; BMT: The Astronaut’s Wife; Æon Flux; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Combo for A Million Ways to Die in the West in 2015; and Nominee for Worst Actress for Sweet November in 2002; Notes: Still absolutely one of the biggest actresses around, and branching into production. She was the executive producer on the very excellent show Mindhunters which sadly has been cancelled and won’t get a third season. But the first two seasons are excellent.)

Johnny Depp – (Known For: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Waiting for the Barbarians; Murder on the Orient Express; Platoon; Sleepy Hollow; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Alice in Wonderland; Edward Scissorhands; Tusk; A Nightmare on Elm Street; 21 Jump Street; Blow; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; Donnie Brasco; Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End; What’s Eating Gilbert Grape; Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street; Public Enemies; Future BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Yoga Hosers; London Fields; Sherlock Gnomes; Private Resort; The Tourist; Dark Shadows; Alice Through the Looking Glass; Nick of Time; The Libertine; The Man Who Cried; The Brave; Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald; The Professor; BMT: Jack and Jill; The Astronaut’s Wife; Mortdecai; Transcendence; The Lone Ranger; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor in 2014 for The Lone Ranger; in 2016 for Mortdecai; in 2018 for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; and in 2019 for Sherlock Gnomes; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Combo for Alice Through the Looking Glass in 2017; and Nominee for Worst Screen Combo in 2016 for Mortdecai; in 2018 for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales; and in 2019 for Sherlock Gnomes; Notes: Has become somewhat of a joke in the past 15 years or so. Mostly this is just because of his apparent insistence on wild makeup and acting choices (e.g. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Is currently going through a high profile divorce and libel trial involving his ex-wife Amber Heard.)

Joe Morton – (Known For: Justice League; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; Speed; Godzilla: King of the Monsters; American Gangster; What Lies Beneath; Ali; Of Mice and Men; Blues Brothers 2000; Crossroads; Forever Young; Apt Pupil; …and justice for all.; Executive Decision; Lone Star; Bounce; The Brother from Another Planet; Tap; The Good Mother; Between the Lines; Future BMT: Curse of the Pink Panther; The Pest; The Night Listener; Dragonfly; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; The Walking Dead; The Inkwell; BMT: Speed 2: Cruise Control; Stealth; The Astronaut’s Wife; Paycheck; Notes: An amazingly prolific television actor starring in Eureka, Scandal, and God Friended Me. Was nominated for an Emmy for his work in Scandal.)

Budget/Gross – $75,000,000 / Domestic: $10,672,566 (Worldwide: $19,598,588)

(Holy crap, that is a colossal failure. An incredible failure. Why would a weirdo Sci-Fi / Thriller get a $75 million budget? Maybe … I bet this was supposed to be a space thing. I bet they spent a ton of money on space hoping to get people in looking for big CGI. It is the only thing that makes sense.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (9/59): Despite the best efforts of its talented leads, The Astronaut’s Wife moves at a snail’s pace and fails to generate enough intrigue to keep viewers engaged.

(I actually have to do two Reviewer Highlights here for the terrible overplayed cliches. Reviewer Highlight: Houston, we have a problem. It’s called The Astronaut’s Wife. – Andy Seller, USA Today. Reviewer Highlight: In space, no one can hear you snore. – Peter Howell, Toronto Star)

Poster – More like Astro-NOT

(I think… I think I really like this. I was gonna criticize the darkness of it and the font. But I think there is something artistic in the framing that is pretty nice… the font could still be better. A-.)

Tagline(s) – Imagine the face of terror is the one you love. (A-)

(This is pretty good. I’m a little surprised it hasn’t been used before. Because it’s almost everything I’m looking for. It tells me what’s up, it twists things around in a clever way, and isn’t egregiously long. Could be a little cleverer and shorter, but pretty good.)

Keyword – twins

Top 10: Doctor Sleep (2019), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Meet the Robinsons (2007), The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), House of Wax (2005), Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Future BMT: 92.7 Date Movie (2006), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 57.9 House of Wax (2005), 54.9 The Back-up Plan (2010), 51.2 Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000), 43.7 Double Impact (1991), 36.2 A Cinderella Story (2004), 31.0 It Takes Two (1995), 13.4 Little Women (2018);

BMT: Cheaper by the Dozen (2003), Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005), Jack and Jill (2011), Father Figures (2017), Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), Pluto Nash (2002), The Astronaut’s Wife (1999), Mrs. Winterbourne (1996), The Identical (2014)

(I forgot I added twins to Cheaper by the Dozen and its sequel. So we are at nine films. Which means once we watch Double Impact we will have watched ten films with the twins keyword. A truly landmark achievement for the Bad Movie Twins.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Johnny Depp is No. 1 billed in The Astronaut’s Wife and No. 1 billed in Transcensdence, which also stars Paul Bettany (No. 2 billed) who is in Firewall (No. 2 billed), which also stars Harrison Ford (No. 1 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 1 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 13. If we were to watch Reindeer Games, and Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – The movie that Jillian and Spencer watch together is Penny Serenade (1941).

Clea Duvall (Nan) can be seen wearing blue contacts during several scenes in the movie. In some scenes, she sports her natural brown eyes.

When Mr. Reese tracks Jillian to the toy store, he opens his briefcase to show her documents. The lock code was set to ‘666’.

According to the script and novelization, Spencer has formed a telepathic link with the twins his wife is carrying. The fetal twins emitted supersonic pulses which tuned with their father’s senses. This explains why the alien always managed to track down Jillian wherever she went.

Supernova Recap

Jamie

Nick Vanzant is a recovering addict with a new job as the co-captain of a hospital ship. When a distress signal comes from deep space they make the jump but disaster strikes. It goes from bad to worse when the man they have come to rescue, Karl, turns out to be a psycho. Can they stop Karl and avert universal destruction before it’s too late? Find out in… Supernova.

How?! Nick is a former military pilot with a dark past. Recovering from addiction, he’s taken a post as co-captain of a hospital ship used for deep space rescue headed by Dr. Kaela Evers. A distress signal comes in, but some on board recognize the name and are worried. They make the dimension jump anyway, but the captain’s safety equipment malfunctions during the trip and he is killed. Now in charge, Nick determines that they have just enough time to gather fuel and jump back to safety before crashing into a nearby blue giant star. This would all make for a very boring movie, but luckily for the viewer, and unlucky for them, the man who sent the distress signal crashes on board the ship to spice things up. That’s because he turns out to be a creepy young man, Karl, who snuck aboard a container filled with multi-dimensional matter. One of the crew comes in contact with it and all of a sudden is made younger, faster, and stronger. Nick is concerned and upon further analysis they find that the artifact is a universal bomb meant to destroy civilizations with the gall to open it. Nick goes down to the nearby mining planet to try to find fuel, but is stranded there by Karl, who proceeds to kill everyone with his big multi-dimensional muscles and try to woo Kaele, his former lover from before he got all young and hot again using the alien machine. Can’t stop Nick, though, as he comes back and is able to subdue and trick Karl just long enough to eject him and the artifact into the blue giant. He and Kaela jump back to Earth just in time and learn two things. One, she’s pregnant (from them boning? Maybe. From them dimension-jumping together? Also maybe). Two, the artifact exploded and it’s just a matter of time before it reaches Earth. Am I smelling a sequel? (Hint: I’m not). THE END.

Why?! For most of the film they are just doing their job. They are a hospital ship, they get a distress signal, and regardless of their hesitancy due to the source of the signal they come to the rescue. Once disaster strikes it’s just a matter of survival. Karl’s motivation also seems rather simple. He’s a psycho, he’s always been a psycho, and now he’s under the control of an alien artifact that makes it so his psychotic tendencies could lead to the destruction of the universe. Very cool, Karl.

Who?! As mentioned, this is one of the very very few BMT qualifying films where the director (here Walter Hill) decided to go under a pseudonym. Not Alan Smithee, that was already played out, but Thomas Lee. While Patrick already notes that this will complete the pseudonymous directors for BMT proper, I will note that we will certainly get another as a Bring a Friend with Birds II: Land’s End. 

What?! The alien artifact here is almost certainly a MacGuffin. Even more so that in the other Hellraiser in Space, Event Horizon. This is legit a little glowy pod that everyone is like “woah, this is super powerful and everyone will want it and it can do crazy damage and also make people younger and also contains ninth-dimensional matter.” And then everyone fights over it for an hour. Classic MacGuffin.

Where?! I do believe this is set entirely in deep space. At no point are we really ever sure of where they are except perhaps at the end when I think they jump close to Earth. This is through and through a space movie and nothing else. But that still means something as that setting is super necessary to the plot. A.

When?! Everywhere you look talks about how this was set in the early years of the 22nd century. I don’t necessarily recall how that is know besides maybe context clues (or maybe the presumption that it occurs about 100 years after present day), but I just gotta trust it. I’ll give it a B.

This was a hard film for me to assess. On first blush, I was surprised to see that this film was entirely disowned by the director(s). It had a dark, interesting style with some special effects that were impressive. The plot of coherent, with only a few parts where you could see the heavy post-production work show through (most notably a random sex scene between Nick and Kaela, which really confuses the pregnancy aspect of the end of the film). The last part of the film is not good and starts to veer into Lost in Space territory, with a final battle that just looks silly. But would I have guessed that the movie was considered a well-known disaster? Not really. The second half is straight-up bad and the whole thing is a little too self-serious to have fun with, but otherwise there were things I liked. Would I recommend it? Deary me, no. But it was more of a standard bad movie than I expected, given the reputation. Could it be one of those Ishtar type cases where the drama of the production ended up coloring the reviews at the time? Don’t know, but that’s my impression. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We’re going back to outer space and dabbling in Black Holes with Supernova. More like Superdupernova, amirite? Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – This film and Event Horizon were always confused in my mind. I could never really remember which was the horror film I found spooky scary, so I avoided both in the end. This isn’t a horror film though, it is a thriller that ended up being a mess and the director disowned it. A few fun facts in the preview though, like how the reshoots were performed by Francis Ford Coppola. That’s fun. What were my expectations? For this film to be cut to shit. Well and truly just butchered in the editing room. It was abandoned by its director and reshot twice … surely the film cannot be remotely coherent.

The Good – For the first half of the film the style, and in particular the sets, are extremely interesting. Like, I was intrigued by the storyline, and the deep space travel, etc. I was also surprised by Spader. I mostly know Spader by his later work, in particular his short stint on The Office, and his speaking style and mannerisms come across as really weird out of context. Seeing that same speaking style coming out of a very young and svelte Spader was jarring, but I couldn’t help but wonder how he didn’t become a major leading man in the early 00s instead of dropping into television. He was quite good. Best Bit: Spader.

The Bad – The film does completely fall apart in the second half. By the end of the film the ship ends up looking like Jason X due to the sheer silliness of what is happening within it … Somehow I liked the ship’s design in the first half, and then ended up feeling lost within a silly set in the second half. It was a weird feeling. The rest of the cast (in particular Peter Facinelli) were quite poor. And while the idea of the film is fine, the ultimate wishy-washy “welp … maybe Earth is going to be destroyed in 250 years … see you later!” ending didn’t help with the feeling that you were seeing only part of a film. Finally, for a thriller it was distinctly non-thrilling. It would have been better served just leaning heavily into horror. Fatal Flaw: Over-edited Nightmare.

The BMT – I think we’ve now completed a pretty solid stable of bad outer space films, and while this is mostly upper mid-table in badness, it still is an interesting note. Probably most notable as a Smithee film. This is, in fact, only the second BMT film where the director used a pseudonym … that sounds crazy, but I think it is because not very many wide release films get disowned in the end. Are there even any others available … let me do the analysis … Yeah, we have now completed all of the disowned BMT films available! Just Visiting and Stealing Home have people with pseudonyms, but I think that was for other reasons, and An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn wasn’t actually released widely. Kind of incredible. That genuinely means Hellraiser: Bloodline was the only (bad) Alan Smithee film ever released widely to theaters. That is insane! Did it meet my expectations? I think so, just for that early 00s shiny spaceship look and Spader being Spader I think it ended up being a pretty funny film to watch.

Roast-radamus – Unfortunately the setting and time period is a bit too vague to actually get any awards I think. Definitely love the MacGuffin (Why?) though for the alien nuclear bomb, and Worst Twist (How?) for the magic alien technology being said bomb designed to kill off other intelligent life in the universe. I think this is easily closest to BMT for the superlatives.

StreetCreditReport.com – The issue with finding lists for films from the 2000s is that you end up finding “worst films of the 00s in total” lists. I couldn’t find it on any of those. I do think this would give “worst black hole / supernova films” lists a run for their money. And I think it could even get to worst space films as well. But it definitely ends up on a short list of non-Smithee disowned films. Walter Hill hates this film. Now that’s some cred!

You Just Got Schooled – The wikipedia article for Supernova noted similarities with this film and the TV movie Alien Cargo! Obviously, I had to complete the trilogy (alongside Event Horizon). Debuting on January 28th, 1999 on UPN’s Movie of the Week (!) the film is actually kind of okay? Cheap looking, but the storyline of a space cargo ship drifting away from the solar system after parts of the crew kill each other in inexplicable anger is actually pretty neat (and indeed, quite similar to Supernova). In the end it turns out the Alien Cargo is a trap likely deployed by a sinister alien race who were attempting to use it to infect and destroy humanity. The most interesting bit is the methods by which Jason London (star of last week’s schooling film The Man in the Moon) helps save the sleeping crew of his cargo ship. C. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are ready to watch an old UPN movie of the week. But also you can almost definitely do worse.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Supernova Quiz

Man, the last thing I remember we brought the random dude on our spaceship and he had this gnarly looking crystal. I was ready to dump it, but before I knew what was happening the guy became a super sexy monster man and bopped me on the head, and now I don’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Supernova?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We only see the actual captain of the Nightingale 229 briefly at the beginning where we see him preparing to get his PhD. What is the subject of his PhD?

2) Spader is revealed to be really over-qualified to be involved with a deep space rescue ship. Why did he choose to join the crew on their current mission?

3) Who else is on the crew and what are their positions?

4) Explain in your own words what the alien artifact actually is and what the supposed intention of it was.

5) In the end the bomb is ejected. What is the consequence of this action as explained in voice over?

Answers