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

Supernova Preview

We flash back to the year 2000….

Rich and Poe were just a couple of rad dudez. They got their bubblegum a-poppin’, their cargo shorts a-baggin’, and their frosted tips a-glistenin’. Despite the heat of the bayou they are rocking their dopest threads: matching denim jackets. The world is their oyster and they are on a mission with their two best friends, Ernie and Jellyroll. A mission for love. That’s right, the big L-O-V-E. That’s because the megahit sensation B*Witched is coming through Rabideaux and they just gotta score some tix. “Man, think about it, four of them, four of us. It’s destiny!” Young Rich exclaims excitedly. Jellyroll laughs nervously while eating a candy bar and Ernie trips on a root, nearly breaking his glasses. Young Poe rolls his eyes, but he’s also excited. B*Witched is in town and love is in the air. “Rich?” he asks, “how do you think I’ll know when I’m in love?” Young Rich puts his arm around his buddy and lays it out there. “First you’ll feel like a spooky ghost has possessed you,” he says. Ernie and Jellyroll gape in disbelief. “Then you’ll sweat all over like you just scored a winning touchdown,” Young Poe nods in understanding. “Finally,” Young Rich pronounces, “you’ll woo her with your most bodacious dance move. If she doesn’t like it, then you’ll know she’s not the one.” At that Jellyroll proceeds to pull up his shirt and do his patented Jellyroll Bellyroll and they laugh and laugh. 

Poe closes his diary ready to bust a move. Unfortunately, while he was reading the puzzle box went from a portal to a full blown supernova. And Rich and his robot loves are nowhere to be seen! That can’t be a good sign. That’s right! We’re watching Supernova starring James Spader. It’s basically Hellraiser in space… wait, didn’t we just watch this? No? But I could’ve sworn… Let’s go!

Supernova (2000) – BMeTric: 58.0; Notability: 51 

(Impressively low rating there, you might think this is the kind of film which would get a cult following, but clearly the film is bad enough that that isn’t happening. Also this is, I think, the first 50+ notability film in a long while. Turns out that is rare. I should do a full analysis again for all qualifying films … actually, you know what I’m going to go do that right now … alright, 25% of BMT films are above 50 notability and around 21% of all qualified films fit the bill. So you’d kind of expect that at least a fifth of 2020 films would have 50+. This is the sixth of the year which is just about right (17%, so a little below expectations), although I was also right, this is the first 50+ film since April so it has been over three months straight of smaller films. Well, that was fun, good talk.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Alan Smithee gets competition that neither he nor the industry needs; [Thomas] Lee is a pseudonym for director Walter Hill, who took his name off this costly but listlessly derivative space adventure. Story deals with a hospital ship rescuing a battered freighter that has sent out a distress call in “black hole” territory. Spader and Phillips are so pumped up that you wonder where they’re getting the celestial weightroom time.

(Huh, this is in actuality one of only like five or six major films to use a non-Smithee pseudonym in the brief moment around 2000 where people decided that the Smithee pseudonym had been played out. Weird that the sole complaint here is that it is derivative.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUdy0Cu3f_o/

(Holy shit the music … is this real life? This is apparently the “infamous” trailer in which the film is cut to suggest it is a comedy. It is not. It is a thriller mostly. It is actually not funny at all.)

Directors – Walter Hill – (Known For: The Warriors; 48 Hrs.; Streets of Fire; Bullet to the Head; Red Heat; Southern Comfort; Crossroads; Geronimo: An American Legend; Undisputed; The Driver; The Long Riders; The Streetfighter; Extreme Prejudice; Johnny Handsome; Trespass; Future BMT: Tomboy; Last Man Standing; Brewster’s Millions; BMT: Supernova; Another 48 Hrs.; Wild Bill; Razzie Notes: ; Notes: Went by Thomas Lee, which is a rare non-Smithee pseudonym by a director who disowned their films. Originally attached to Geoffrey Wright, then reshot by Jack Sholder, and re-edited by Francis Ford Coppola, apparently little of Hill’s work actually appears in the theatrical cut.)

Writers – William Malone (story) – (BMT: Universal Soldier: The Return; Supernova; Notes: Mostly a television director, he directed House on Haunted Hill in 1999. Originally pitched in 1990 as Dead Space, that timeline makes a bit more sense as a Hellraiser in Space concept.)

Daniel Chuba (story) – (Known For: Big Fish & Begonia; BMT: Supernova; Notes:  Founded Hammerhead Productions in 1992 which has worked on visual effects for over 100 films. Studied painting at the University of Michigan.)

David C. Wilson (screenplay) (as David Campbell Wilson) – (Known For: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; The Perfect Weapon; BMT: Supernova; Notes: The Perfect Weapon is a fun one, a starring vehicle for the little-known martial artist Jeff Speakman. Was also directed by one of the directors of Kickboxer. Just wild stuff.)

Actors – James Spader – (Known For: Avengers: Age of Ultron; Pretty in Pink; Stargate; Secretary; Lincoln; Crash; 2 Days in the Valley; Wall Street; Wolf; Sex, Lies, and Videotape; The Homesman; Less Than Zero; White Palace; Shorts; Baby Boom; Dream Lover; Bad Influence; Bob Roberts; Jack’s Back; The Rachel Papers; Future BMT: The Watcher; Mannequin; Keys to Tulsa; Tuff Turf; BMT: Supernova; Endless Love; Notes: He was a genuine movie star in the 90s although he is now more known for his many starring television roles (Boston Legal and The Blacklist most notably). He’s won three Emmys for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series.)

Peter Facinelli – (Known For: Twilight; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; Can’t Hardly Wait; The Scorpion King; Riding in Cars with Boys; Hitman Redemption; Walter; The Big Kahuna; Dancer, Texas Pop. 81; Future BMT: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1; Gallows Hill; Running with the Devil; Freezer; Finding Amanda; The Wilde Wedding; Foxfire; Loosies; Telling You; BMT: The Twilight Saga: New Moon; Supernova; Countdown; Notes: Seems to do mostly guest spots on television shows and supporting roles on non-theatrical releases these days. Was the asshole boyfriend in Can’t Hardly Wait. Was married to Jennie Garth aka Kelly from 90210.)

Robin Tunney – (Known For: Horse Girl; The Craft; Hollywoodland; Vertical Limit; Monster Party; The Secret Lives of Dentists; Niagara, Niagara; Future BMT: Looking Glass; End of Days; Encino Man; The In-Laws; The Zodiac; Paparazzi; August; The Darwin Awards; Empire Records; The Burning Plain; My All-American; BMT: Supernova; Notes: Probably most well known now for her starring role in The Mentalist. She was also in the first (and only good) season of Prison Break.)

Budget/Gross – $90,000,000 / Domestic: $14,230,455 (Worldwide: $14,828,081)

(Holy shit that is catastrophic. I can’t remember the last time I saw a return that negative … I would usually make a joke about Supernova 2: Origins or something, but that genuinely makes me sad.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (6/61): This is an insult to the Sci-fi genre with no excitement and bad FX.

(Yep, basically everyone is quite perplexed by how dull the film is, and how it manages to say a whole lot of nothing for the entirety of the runtime. Reviewer Highlight: Appears headed for a deep-space rendezvous with audience indifference. – Godfrey Cheshire, Variety)

Poster – Super Duper Nova

(Egad, that’s like… well, like I made it. It’s terrible. I like the blue and I like that they went kooky with the font (almost too kooky, I thought for a second they had misspelled January, but the font was just confusing me). But there is A LOT going on here and most of it is not good. Feels like a poster for a film that they gave up on. C)

Tagline(s) – All hell is about to break loose (D)

(I feel like I do have to start being harsher for taglines like this. Sure it’s short and tells me about the film… but also, it’s generic and shows a real lack of creativity. There was no value added.)

Keyword – outer space

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Interstellar (2014), Ad Astra (2019), Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019), Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Spaceballs (1987), SpaceCamp (1986), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Future BMT: 68.7 Supergirl (1984), 66.8 Thunderbirds (2004), 63.9 Underdog (2007), 59.6 Virus (1999), 59.2 Space Chimps (2008), 58.7 Apollo 18 (2011), 58.2 Deck the Halls (2006), 56.9 Suburban Commando (1991), 55.0 Coneheads (1993), 53.6 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995);

BMT: Battlefield Earth (2000), X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019), Event Horizon (1997), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Armageddon (1998), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), The Predator (2018), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Masters of the Universe (1987), Jupiter Ascending (2015), Geostorm (2017), Gods of Egypt (2016), Howard: A New Breed of Hero (1986), Battleship (2012), Doom (2005), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), After Earth (2013), The Space Between Us (2017), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), Lost in Space (1998), Jason X (2001), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), Mac and Me (1988), Soldier (1998), Ghosts of Mars (2001), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Species II (1998), Supernova (2000), Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996), Pluto Nash (2002), Critters 2 (1988), Wing Commander (1999)

(I think somewhere around Empire Strikes Back people started realizing they couldn’t halfass space films anymore, and then somewhere around 1996 people thought “hey … can we do these things on the cheap with CGI now?”. Otherwise the graphic seems to state the obvious: people like space films. I can’t wait to watch Virus, it has been on the BMT shortlist for ages.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robert Forster is No. 3 billed in Supernova and No. 8 billed in Firewall, 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) => 3 + 8 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 18. If we were to watch The Black Dahlia we can get the HoE Number down to 15.

Notes – Walter Hill said in interview some years after the movie was released that his version was much darker, had a very different setup and that the ending was much different from the final cut. He also expressed strong dislike for the way studio ruined the movie but he said that James Spader did a great job with his role.

Four different endings were filmed.

This was the first post-Alan Smithee film. For many years, a director who for whatever reason wished not to be credited for a movie and disassociate themselves from it, would have their name replaced with the fake name “Alan Smithee”. After the film An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997), the name was too well known, and so the Director’s Guild of America decided to replace the name “Alan Smithee” with the name “Thomas Lee”. (They would eventually return to Smithee, probably because they realized people would figure out it was a pseudonym regardless due to the trades)

According to Walter Hill, problems began when he did a rewrite of the script, not knowing that the president of United Artists (Lindsay Doran) was very attached to the script. He also said that the budget of the film was cut halfway through production.

Tommy Malone originally pitched the film in 1990. He envisioned it as a modestly budgeted film which would cost around $5-6 million and be like “Dead Calm (1989) in space”. (Wait a tick … on Wikipedia it says he pitched it as Dead Calm in space! Now that makes a whole lot more sense, because that is what is mentioned on TV Tropes when I tried to figure out a horror corollary! I was supremely confused by the Hellraiser bit while watching the film).

Many promotional stills show lots of deleted scenes which were not included in deleted scenes section on the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the movie. These include; * Kaela and Danika dressing up the Flyboy robot. * Nick investigating the Titan mining colony and more areas of it. * Nick finding more cocooned dead bodies of miners and examining them. * Karl’s original monster-like look.

The original script was about a space expedition that discovers artefacts from an alien civilisation and brings them back to Earth; one of the artefacts unleashes an evil force. Tommy Malone and producer Ash R. Shah asked H.R. Giger to produce some conceptual sketches to help promote the script. (Now that sounds like Hellraiser in space. I wonder if they changed it up a bit once Giger produced the drawings.)

The infamous theatrical trailer, featuring songs “Fly” by Sugar Ray and “Momma Told Me Not To Come” by Three Dog Night, shows many alternate takes of some scenes, extended versions of some others, parts of few deleted scenes including the one where Nick finds real Troy on the Titan moon turned into fetus and Troy begging Nick to help him, and couple shots of original ending where Karl is killed by dimensional jump. (It is insane!)

The film takes place in 2101.

Due to the troubled production, James Spader disowned the film and expressed his regret in participating, citing this film as the one in his career that people should avoid.

Walter Hill, having grown frustrated with the studio interference, walked out of the film production midway and refused to be involved with the reshoots. Francis Ford Coppola stepped in to direct some reshoots before he also walked out, and Jack Sholder came aboard to finish directing the reshoots and oversee the final edit. The latter two remained uncredited as directors, with Hill receiving sole director’s credit under the pseudonym “Thomas Lee.”

Originally, main villain Karl transformed into a demon-like monster during the final part of the movie. Although much time and effort was spent on special make up effects for these scenes, MGM decided that they didn’t like that because they “couldn’t see the actor”, so all the creature footage was cut and re-shot with Karl being only partially transformed in the final cut.

Dialogue by ship’s computer Sweetie in theatrical ending where it tells Nick and Kaela that Supernova will either destroy Earth or make it and humankind better and that Kaela is pregnant was added later in post production during one of the re-editings of the movie, most probably during the one supervised by Francis Ford Coppola. Original dialogue only said that Supernova will destroy Earth in 257 years and that it’s unstoppable. (That is a wild ending)

The Darkest Hour (2011) Recap

Jamie

Sean and Ben are aspiring tech bros traveling to Moscow to sell their new social media app. Unfortunately while getting their tech stolen there is also an alien invasion and they must fight for their lives (along with a few other lucky survivors). Can they learn how to beat the seemingly invincible aliens (and maybe find love) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Darkest Hour.

How?! Sean and Ben are totes ready to expand their big new social media travel app (that hopefully will also help them snag some chicks… tight) to Russia. Despite having a fully functional app with actual users, they still manage to get their app entirely stolen by the Russian company somehow. Despondent they head to a rad Moscow bar where they meet up with some hot chicks, Natalie and Anne, using their (or not, I guess) app. Drinking their worries away, they have a great time until some glowy orange things start to descend from the sky. Everyone is like, ‘cooool’, that is until the glowy things start disintegrating people. Hiding for several days, they manage to evade the initial onslaught along with the Swedish dude who stole their app (what a coincidence!). Creeping around Moscow they come to realize that the aliens are totally invisible (except that they make electrical equipment go wild when their energy field touches them) and can’t see through glass. This knowledge allows them to make it to the American embassy where they realize that there has been a global invasion and a submarine rescue is planned for survivors. At that point they start getting picked off one-by-one as they meet up with a crazy inventor survivor, who has a theory on how to kill the aliums, and start to make their way to the submarine. They get rescued by a survivalist militia who agree to help them. On the way Ben is killed and Natalie is separated from the group. Sean begs for help to save her and with the help of the submariners are able to figure out how to start killing the aliens. In a climactic battle they are able to take out a number of the baddies and save Natalie. The survivalists vow to use the knowledge in the new war against the aliens and Sean and Natalie head off into the sunset on their submarine dream machine. THE END.

Why?! Survival, duh. Per usual, the motivation of the good guys is so pure that it’s almost boring. More interesting is the motivation for why the aliens have invaded Earth. In this case it’s the well-worn idea that the aliens need Earth for its sweet sweet natural resources and humans are just an extraneous nuisance that must be exterminated. Not so fast, Aliums! You underestimate the human race.

Who?! As the beginning of Crimson Tide tells us, one of the most powerful men in the world is a submarine captain. It certainly seems like this film had one such powerful man, however it’s a little hard to tell from the credits who that is. I think perhaps the character was given the name Anton Batkin? Really need to make this more clear… I mean… he’s a pretty powerful man.

What?! Add this to the list of Faraday cage related films we’ve watched (looking at you, Transcendence). On top of that there was also a whole article about how 2011 was the year of the tourism product placement where it seemed like every film released was set in a new and interesting location. But really the real winner of this film was the oft forgotten Hollywood Badass Bar. We don’t get to talk about it much but these bars are far too bright, far too quiet, and super “cool” in a “girls dancing in a cage” kind of way. And this one had a really nice example.

Where?! Russia for days. It’s funny to see that article about tourism product placement because most of what I learned about Russia from this film is that people steal your sweet IP, you mostly just meet other Americans, and aliums fall from the sky. Not the most ringing of endorsements in my opinion. A.

When?! I have no idea. I wonder if there is more indication of when this took place than I think, just because I really wasn’t paying attention. Def not Xmas, no matter what the tagline led us to believe, though. They would have been freezing if that were the case. So tagline, you lied. F… for now.

It’s hard to really like a film whose main character seems like a terrible person and never really acknowledges that fact… he just kinda wins and gets the girl and that’s fine because obviously it’s better that he beats the aliums. But it also seems like a little carry over from a time when tech bros were all the rage and, well, that hasn’t aged well as of late. Add on top that the CGI only held up as long as the aliens were virtually invisible (not a great sign) and we were looking at what felt like a prequel… or sequel… or concurrent-quel to Skyline that was similarly interesting to watch in a trainwreck kind of way. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When some baaaaaaaad ‘tricity comes down from the clouds in Moscow, whatchu gonna do? Run to that submarine, you know it! Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – For real we’ve almost done this film like ten times in BMT history. It was one of the worst reviewed films of 2011, the year we started BMT, but prior to when we like … spent money on watching recent films or even really organized things in a coherent fashion. And it almost got bumped again. But finally, we’re going to watch this film about … aliens I think. They’re bad electricity or something. At the time I remember being rather confused about it. What were my expectations? I was hoping for a crap Independence Day knock off and not much more. Set Independence Day in Russia and that’s what I hoped this film was.

The Good – Parts of this film play like a video game. They get a microwave gun, and can freeze the enemies with it. They can then use water to chain the freeze mechanism across multiple aliens, etc. It is precisely the kind of thing you’d see in a video game … makes you wonder why they didn’t just do that? Have they? They could actually try and do the opposite. Make the good video game after the terrible movie adaptation. That would be a new one. Other than that the setting is pretty fun all things considered. And there is a submarine which is always very very fun. Cool gadgets and a submarine? That’s a bit more than I expected from the film. Best Bit – The alien design.

The Bad – Absolutely terrible CGI. Despite a cool and innovative alien design, it suffers from some of the worst CGI you’ll see in a BMT film and that is saying something. Emile Hirsch has a redemption arc in the film that is fully undeserved. It is made abundantly clear that he’s flakey and kind of a dick. Instead of holding a mirror up to him to show his previous attitude as dangerous, it instead decides to double down by revealing that he’s actually a genius and just the right kind of street smart to get their group through the mess they are in … wha? If you can ignore how cheap the film looks, then that is really what sinks it, especially once they kill off multiple much better characters. Fatal Flaw – Deplorable main character.

The BMT – We had to eventually do this film. It came out at a perfect time for BMT, less than a year after we started, we had matured our formula a bit … and yet we just didn’t do it. Well we finally have. And it’ll stand in a pantheon for some of the worst alien invasion films we’ve seen (and we’ve seen a few), and some of the worst CGI we’ve seen as well. Plus I don’t think it’ll get supplanted as a worst Russia-set film anytime soon. That’s some sweet BMTness right there. Did it meet my expectations? It kind of did. I was surprised that the alien design didn’t suck more, but it more than made up for it by spending maybe $10 dollars on CGI to bring that vision to life. So yeah, really just dumb enough for me to find enjoyable.

Roast-radamus – Definitely some solid Product Placement (What?) with McDonald’s getting featured multiple times while panning over a devastated Moscow. Obviously a good Setting as a Character (Where?) for Russia in general, and Moscow specifically. There are multiple references to “Welcome to Russia” and the Russian attitude. I think there is an okay argument for the single-minded pursuit of getting to the submarine as a kind of MacGuffin (Why?) in the context of the film.

StreetCreditReport.com – This one isn’t really mentioned anywhere. Probably because it was kind of buried in early early 2012. Once you get into that January releases you won’t make the lists which will be compiled in mid-December. Besides that I’m a bit shocked no one seemed to put it on a list of worst alien invasion films. It certainly feels like one of the worst alien invasion films ever made.

You Just Got Schooled – I was quite pleased with myself here in that I was racking my brain trying to think of an equivalent “good” version of this film. I finally settled on The War of the Worlds from 1953, and it turned out to basically be a perfect analogue. Weird aliens descend suddenly on Earth, humanity is overrun in the face of what appears to be impenetrable alien defenses, humanity solves the issue … fine in this case, spoiler, it turns out the aliens can’t live on Earth due to not having immunity to any of our diseases (apropos indeed!). If you like the pacing of 50s films this is one of the better ones I’ve seen. The entire thing operates as a thought experiment on how scientists and the military might respond to an attack from an unknown and formidable opponent. A-, would highly recommend especially if you’ve seen the Spielberg version, but again, it has 50s pacing and effects.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

The Darkest Hour (2011) Quiz

Oh boy, last thing I remember is glowing things falling from the sky, and then I got bopped on the head and woke up a week later in a desolate city. Do you remember what happened in The Darkest Hour?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open on our heroes, Sean and Ben, heading off to Russia to close a big deal for their startup. But what does their startup do?

2) After that deal … doesn’t happen, the boys hit the town and meet up with Natalie and Anne. How do they know / have heard of these two women before?

3) After the aliens attack the, now fivesome, hide in a storage room in the bar. After that they make a plan to escape to where?

4) In the shopping center they figure out a way to detect the aliens, a way to hide form the aliens, and later on with the help of Sergei, how to kill the aliens. How?

5) In the end, the reason the aliens have come to Earth is alluded to. Why?

Answers

The Darkest Hour (2011) Preview

As Rich and Poe karate chop the necks of the old buffoons ogling Rio, the creepy old men try to explain all the terrible rich people problems that have driven them to this point. “My wife is cheating with my best friend!” one screams. The other nods his head, “that’s right, and I’m disillusioned with my materialistic life and that drove me to find thrills sleeping with his wife!” Oh boy. Rich and Poe roll their eyes at the tired excuses. Time to take them to the Twin Chip Zone. But just as they are about to finish the job, Rio steps in. Hugging them both she explains how she no longer needs their protection. That she is a strong woman who can defend herself against these weak willed old men going through whatever midlife crisis has brought them to this beautiful (and certainly not creepy) blue lagoon. “Don’t let them change the beauty of this place with violence. We can keep it natural. Beautiful. Love.” Bessy, Rich, and Poe wipe tears from their eyes and let the old men run off into the jungle. They roast s’mores and enjoy some refreshing Coca-Cola on the beach as the sun is setting. “It’s beautiful,” sighs Rio, “I’ll miss it when I’m off becoming a detective.” Bessy snorts happily, but Rich cocks his head quizzically. “It’s so… uh… green?” he says as a chill runs down his spine. Indeed the sky is streaked in green and while those creepy old men were ultimately harmless it seems that the civil war has arrived after all. The sky becomes smokey and what appears to be monsters begin to descend from the sky. Everything is plunged into darkness. The hour of battle has arrived. That’s right! We’re finally, finally, finally watching The Darkest Hour. There are a number of films from 2011-2012 that were coming out around the inception of BMT where we’d see the trailer on TV and be like “word, that would be fun for BMT” and then we just never watched the movie. And it would come up all the time over the years… and we’d still not watch the movie. And now we’re here and we’re watching The Darkest Hour. Which is weird because probably no one remembers what The Darkest Hour even is. Rest assured, it’s very much set in Moscow. Let’s go!

The Darkest Hour (2011) – BMeTric: 68.2; Notability: 26 

(Oh … this is going to be garbage. It hits 4.9 like a heat-seeking missile. I’m actually a bit surprised, because after Emile Hirsch torpedoed his own career I would have imagined people might go online to pile on his real stinkers.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  In Moscow, a group of young Americans is among the few survivors of an attack by invisible aliens. They have to make their way across the deserted city in hopes of meeting other survivors. Well-made by standard alien-invasion stuff (thank you, H. G. Wells), distinguished primarily by the Moscow locations.

(I’m glad I nailed this actually. I wanted to make sure I watched a good “learning” film and was working through in my mind which alien invasion films make the most sense. I settled on an older adaptation of War of the Worlds because it fit the bill of alien invasion across the globe in insurmountable odds against humanity. Leonard’s little “thank you H.G. Wells” is certainly an allusion to how much of a rip off this film is of that book.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgXzLMQuQ6Y/

(Oooof. It just looks bad. There is no way around it, the CGI and effects just look terrible.)

Directors – Chris Gorak – (Known For: Right at Your Door; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Production designer on the smash Stephen Baldwin classic Sub Down. Was the art director for Minority Report and studied architecture before getting into film.)

Writers – Jon Spaihts (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Doctor Strange; Prometheus; Future BMT: Passengers; BMT: The Darkest Hour; The Mummy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for The Mummy in 2018; Notes: One of the writers of the upcoming Dune film. Passengers was an unproduced script he wrote that made the 2007 blacklist.)

Leslie Bohem (story) – (Known For: Twenty Bucks; Future BMT: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child; Tracers; Nowhere to Run; Dante’s Peak; House III: The Horror Show; The Alamo; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Daylight; Notes: Won an Emmy for the 2002 miniseries Taken. Played bass in the 80s band Gleaming Spires. You’d recognize their song Are You Ready for the Sex Girls.)

M.T. Ahern (story) – (BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: I believe this is Megan Ahern who is the daughter of Emmylou Harris. I have a theory that Ahern came up with the story, Bohem helped her out with it knowing her via some musical connection, and then Spaihts was brought on to finish the shooting script.)

Actors – Emile Hirsch – (Known For: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood; Into the Wild; Lone Survivor; Freaks; The Girl Next Door; The Autopsy of Jane Doe; Savages; Alpha Dog; Killer Joe; Lords of Dogtown; Speed Racer; Milk; Never Grow Old; An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn; Taking Woodstock; Prince Avalanche; The Emperor’s Club; 10,000 Saints; The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys; Roxxy; Future BMT: All Nighter; The Outsider; The Air I Breathe; Imaginary Heroes; Venuto al mondo; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Amazingly consistent career … well, right up until he was convicted of a pretty grotesque assault of a movie producer in 2015. He’s been blacklisted from what I know, although his recent appearance in Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood probably will help him get back on his feet in the coming years.)

Olivia Thirlby – (Known For: No Strings Attached; Juno; Dredd; United 93; Above the Shadows; The Stanford Prison Experiment; The Senator; 5 to 7; Margaret; The Wackness; Solitary Man; Nobody Walks; Snow Angels; Being Flynn; Uncertainty; Between Us; Breaking Upwards; Love Comes Lately; Future BMT: New York, I Love You; Damascus Cover; Just Before I Go; Arlen Faber; Welcome to Happiness; BMT: The Darkest Hour; What Goes Up; The Wedding Ringer; Notes: Married a sound designer she met on the set of Dredd. This was one of her first starring roles.)

Max Minghella – (Known For: The Social Network; Horns; Agora; Into the Forest; The Ides of March; Syriana; 10 Years; About Alex; Brief Interviews with Hideous Men; Bee Season; Future BMT: The Internship; How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; Art School Confidential; The 9th Life of Louis Drax; BMT: The Darkest Hour; Notes: Son of Anthony Minghella, who won an Oscar for directing The English Patient. Directed the film Teen Spirit starring Elle Fanning which got a limited 4 theater release.)

Budget/Gross – $30,000,000 / Domestic: $21,443,494 (Worldwide: $64,626,786)

(That’s not super great, partially because that $30 million figure was probably quite above the initial budget considering they decided to film in 3D and there were a lot of issues in Russia during production.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 12% (7/59): Devoid of believable characters or convincing visual effects, this may be The Darkest Hour for the careers of all involved.

(Rough, the film is compared unfavorably towards the Transformers sequels. Makes sense though, lots of grinding machine noises without many ideas. Reviewer Highlight: Not since Mark Wahlberg trembled in fear beside a menacing houseplant in The Happening has a film tried to provoke terror with such an unlikely object of menace. – Nathan Rabin, AV Club)

Poster – Bad ‘Tricity

(It’s posters like this that had me going “WTF, mate?” back in 2011 and assuming that we would have watched it for BMT ages ago. Giving me flashbacks to The Avengers. I guess I like the orange color scheme and the russification of the font. C-)

Tagline(s) – Survive The Holidays (C)

The Invasion Begins Christmas Day (D)

(They really went all in on the Christmas release date, didn’t they? I don’t love taglines like these primarily because they are using something wholly separate from the film in order to try to be clever with the tagline. These would be OK for a Christmas film, but I don’t think this is even a secret holiday film… so what’s the point? First is better than the second and would actually be good if it pertained to the film at hand.)

Keyword – end of the world

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Justice League (2017), Interstellar (2014), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Zombieland: Double Tap (2019), Suicide Squad (2016), Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), Man of Steel (2013)

Future BMT: 65.6 Pulse (2006), 61.0 Legion (2010), 57.5 Little Nicky (2000), 56.1 Spawn (1997), 54.8 Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), 50.1 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016), 48.4 Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), 47.5 The Dark Tower (2017), 44.3 The Reaping (2007), 40.2 End of Days (1999);

BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Geostorm (2017), Fantastic Four (2015), Hellboy (2019), 2012 (2009), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), The 5th Wave (2016), Gods of Egypt (2016), Pixels (2015), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), The Darkest Hour (2011), Left Behind (2014), Maximum Overdrive (1986), Skyline (2010), R.I.P.D. (2013), Bless the Child (2000)

(Absolutely amazing dip right when this movie is made. I have a feeling I know what it is: the financial crisis. The reasons could be twofold. Mainly I just think disaster films are ultra-expensive so they put all of them on the back burner. But also psychologically I imagine people struggling to find work have no interest in watching films where the world falls apart, so that could be part of it as well. I’m excited for Legion, that looks like a giant pile of shit.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 23) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Olivia Thirlby is No. 3 billed in The Darkest Hour and No. 3 billed in What Goes Up, which also stars Steve Coogan (No. 1 billed) who is in Around the World in 80 Days (No. 2 billed), which also stars Jackie Chan (No. 1 billed) who is in The Medallion (No. 1 billed), which also stars John Rhys-Davies (No. 5 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 2 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 3 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 4 + 1 = 23. If we were to watch Suicide Squad, Nights in Rodanthe, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 20.

Notes – Shot in 3D as opposed to post-conversion. (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa)

Production was suspended for a planned two weeks due to the extraordinary air pollution caused by heavy smoke from the wild fires surrounding Moscow in August 2010. It eventually resumed three weeks later. Even with this precaution, smoke still made it into a lot of shots and had to be digitally removed in post production.

The involvement of Timur Bekmambetov as producer afforded the production the opportunity of using Russia as a backdrop instead of the usual USA locations. Bekmambetov owns a film production company in Moscow called Bazelevs where most of the movie was made.

Not screened in advance for North American critics.

The crew was made up of about 30% American and 70% Russian.

The boat the refugees use to try to reach the submarine is named “Orca” (spelled “orka” in Cyrillic).