Transformers: The Last Knight Preview

There were a number of high profile candidates for BMT Live! this year, but as with any crowded BMT field we couldn’t get to all of them. One obvious candidate that missed out on that prime spot was the 5th in a major SciFi blockbuster series. That’s right! We’re finally watching Transformers: The Last Knight! The second in the Cade Yeager (actual name from the film) set of Transformers films. This one didn’t garner any better reviews than most of the entries in the series. Not surprising since they seem to unapologetically produce big screen gobbledegook in the hopes that everyone is so confused that they shrug their shoulders and say “Good for what is it.” But as Mother Teresa once said, “you can’t polish a turd,” so let’s just see how shiny they made this thing. Let’s go!

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) – BMeTric: 60.5

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(While the vote count is a classic (I do love it when you have enough data points to see the almost perfect asymptotic approach that occurs with a limit, i.e. theatrical release) the rating is somewhat abnormal. Usually a low rating will rise as more people see a film. Here it has fallen slightly. Maybe because in VOD more people who aren’t big fans will see it? I would expect it to rise a bit over the next few years though. It is just the nature of the game.)

RogerEbert.com – 1 star –  Here’s where the chorus of Critic-Proof Franchises kicks in. Michael Bay made this for fans of the franchise and not the notoriously-hard-on-it critics. Diehards will ignore that I liked the first film and parts of the third and fourth films (the second is still a cinematic abomination). I get it. We love to forgive the failures of franchises we adore. Even critics do that. But even fans of this series have to take a hard look at the outright, shocking laziness of this movie—one that does the bare minimum to get butts in seats.

(Yup. I’ve been convinced that the Transformers producers have been bringing Bay back to try and get one thing: movie critics to just say “it’s good for what it is!” and then waltz to the bank for that cool billion dollar payday. Fast and the Furious does it, why can’t this? Mainly it is because the charisma of Vin Diesel and The Rock keep that franchise from seeming lazy. I do think Bay is gone from the series now and I don’t think they’ll ever reach that F&F place. Too bad for them.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgnO5fO46pE

(That song is a big old pile of shit. The movie seems entertaining if you kind of pretend this is the first or second in the series. The issue is they keep on revising when and how the transformers got here. First they followed the Allspark to Earth. Oh wait no there was The Fallen way long ago. Oh wait, they were at the moon landing. Oh wait, they were around with the dinosaurs. Oh wait, they’ve been in literally every war in human history. To hard to keep straight at this point. Should have jumped forward to after the war has torn Earth apart in the third movie and ignored the mythology crap at that point.)

Directors – Michael Bay – (Known For: 13 Hours; Transformers; The Rock; Bad Boys; Pain & Gain; Future BMT: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Pearl Harbor; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Armageddon; Bad Boys II; The Island; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Director in 2010 for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; and in 2015 for Transformers: Age of Extinction; and Nominated for Worst Director in 1999 for Armageddon; in 2002 for Pearl Harbor; and in 2012 for Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Notes: Director Hall of Famer I would guess. I’ve seen nearly all of his movies, but we have to BMTize them at some point. Bad Boys II is actually an interesting one, because people online love it for some reason. It is, in fact, a giant load of shit.)

Writers – Art Marcum  and Matt Holloway (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Iron Man; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Punisher: War Zone; Notes: Already tabbed to write the next two (ugh) Transformers films. Wrote a script for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot which was never used.)

Ken Nolan (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: Only the Brave; Black Hawk Down; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Notes: Bother of actor Matt Nolan who has kind of bumped around doing small film parts and minor television roles, although in big projects like 24. He is one of those guys who has been in Hollywood as a full time scriptwriter for over 20 years with only a few movies produced. His first spec, In Contempt, for example, was sold for over a million dollars, but never produced. He has multiple major unproduced scripts floating about Hollywood at this point.)

Akiva Goldsman (story by) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; Batman Forever; I Am Legend; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; Cinderella Man; The Client; Future BMT: Batman & Robin; Lost in Space; The Dark Tower; Practical Magic; Insurgent; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Rings; Transformers: The Last Knight; The 5th Wave; A New York Winter’s Tale; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Screenplay for Batman & Robin in 1998; and Nominated for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for A Time to Kill in 1997; Notes: We mentioned him in the Rings preview obviously. He is a gigantic screenwriter, although now a producer as well. He’s executive producing the new Star Trek series for example.)

Actors – Mark Wahlberg – (Known For: The Departed; Boogie Nights; Planet of the Apes; Lone Survivor; Deepwater Horizon; Shooter; Patriots Day; Ted 2; 2 Guns; The Other Guys; Ted; Four Brothers; The Italian Job; Rock Star; Pain & Gain; Invincible; The Fighter; Date Night; The Perfect Storm; The Basketball Diaries; Future BMT: Max Payne; The Truth About Charlie; Daddy’s Home; Mojave; Broken City; Fear; Renaissance Man; Daddy’s Home 2; Entourage; The Lovely Bones; BMT: The Happening; Transformers: The Last Knight; Transformers: Age of Extinction; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor in 2009 for Max Payne, and The Happening; Notes: Basically a Hall of Famer solely from The Happening where his performance is off the chain. We have a million to go with him … brother of Donnie Wahlberg and co-owner of the Wahlberger franchise.)

Anthony Hopkins – (Known For: Thor: Ragnarok; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Thor; Thor: The Dark World; The Silence of the Lambs; Dracula; Noah; Legends of the Fall; Meet Joe Black; Fracture; Howards End; Red Dragon; The Elephant Man; Beowulf; Chaplin; Mission: Impossible II; The Mask of Zorro; RED 2; The Lion in Winter; A Bridge Too Far; Future BMT: Alexander; Freejack; Bad Company; Misconduct; The Wolfman; Slipstream; The Rite; Desperate Hours; Collide; Kidnapping Freddy Heineken; All the King’s Men; 360; Solace; Instinct; Surviving Picasso; Hannibal; The Innocent; The Trial; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; A Change of Seasons; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor for A Change of Seasons in 1981; Notes: Obviously a giant star as well. Notably won the Oscar for Best Actor in Silence of the Lambs, a movie he appeared in for approximately 15 minutes total.)

Josh Duhamel – (Known For: Transformers; You’re Not You; Ramona and Beezus; Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!; Wrecked; Future BMT: Paradise Lost; The Romantics; Misconduct; Fire with Fire; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; CHIPS; The Institute; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Life as We Know It; Don Peyote; Lost in the Sun; This Is Your Death; Strings; BMT: Movie 43; Transformers: The Last Knight; When in Rome; New Year’s Eve; Safe Haven; Notes: I’m a big Duhamel-head after Safe Haven. Interesting like. Born in North Dakota he was a construction worker at 26 and ended up kind of falling into modelling. Ultimately that lead to acting when he was specifically asked to audition for The Picture of Dorian Grey.)

Budget/Gross – $217–260 million / Domestic: $130,168,683 (Worldwide: $605,425,157)

(Reasonably. It isn’t blowing people away anymore though. They kind of want / expect / need this to be a billion dollar franchise. But a few hundred million is also nothing to sneeze at all said and done. I assume they will complete the second trilogy. We’ll see what happens then.)

#28 for the CGI Star genre

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(You might wonder what happened in 2010 to make this so highly profitable. It was Avatar. This movie is actually quite low, around the Ang Lee Hulk film as far as domestic gross. Saved by Chine it would seem. There were also 6 films with a CGI star this year! That’s ridiculous.)

#12 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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(Three this year and this guy comes in just after I, Robot which is pretty bad. The plot is pretty uninteresting though. Films about robots have been popular from around 2005 it would seem … basically when the original Transformers came out.)

#16 for the Sci-Fi – Alien Invasion genre

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(Peaked around 2012 when The Avengers came out. This is below Chicken Little! The more I read the more I realize that domestically this was an incredible bomb! Anyways, the genre is kind of waning a bit, at least the per theater take is.)

#12 for the TV Cartoon (Live Action) genre

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(Transformers has kind of fueled the genre a bit, but Alvin and the Chipmunks is also obviously pretty dominant as well. Right behind The Flintstones … my God.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (31/202): Cacophonous, thinly plotted, and boasting state-of-the-art special effects, The Last Knight is pretty much what you’d expect from the fifth installment of the Transformers franchise.

(Cacophonous. Cacophonous … I’m liking the sound of that in a way. Very nice. I want to see some transforming and a plot that make literally no sense. Let’s do it.)

Poster – Sklogformers: The Last Sklog (D+)

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(This poster tells me a story. That story is “your brain will explode as you try to discern what is happening on screen just like your brain is exploding trying to understand what is going on with this mess of a poster.” Why is everything in the world on this poster? At least it has some font action.)

Tagline(s) – For one world to live, the other must die. (A-)

(Nice cadance and use of live-die. Short and sweet and a little hint at the plot. Overall this is pretty good. A fun pun would have gone a long way to hitting that A+.)

Keyword(s) – based on toy; Top Ten by BMeTric: 77.7 Bratz (2007); 75.6 Ouija (II) (2014); 62.1 Max Steel (2016); 60.8 The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987); 60.5 Transformers: The Last Knight (2017); 53.4 Jem and the Holograms (2015); 44.8 Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014); 40.9 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009); 40.8 G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013); 34.4 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009);

(Ooooooh yeah. We almost watched Max Steel. We were really close. Ouija is almost obviously the creme de la creme for these guys. Just ridiculous that was made. Even more ridiculous that its sequel ended up being good!)

Notes – With a budget of $217 million dollars, the most expensive Transformers at the time of release. (Until the next one)

The scenes of Sir Edmund Burton visiting 10 Downing Street were filmed at the actual office of the British Prime Minister in October 2016. (This is what happens when you’re Michael Fucking Bay)

Mark Wahlberg announced this will be his last Transformers movie as Cade Yeager. He had signed a contract for three films, with the knowledge that he could be relieved earlier. (But… but… but… I was promised a second trilogy)

Director Michael Bay is a noted dog lover, and he cast Freya, a British dog with epilepsy that many homes had rejected, in the film. (I wanted to say this was an obvious PR plot but apparently it is not. Actual true story. Wow)

Writer Matt Holloway is a fan of the drama Downton Abbey (2010), and jokingly said that Jim Carter (who plays the butler Mr. Carson in the show) should voice Cogman. He was shocked when Michael Bay got Carter signed on as Cogman. (Again, this is just Bay seeing how far he can push his Bay-ness)

Michael Bay said that this will be the last Transformers film he will direct, for the moment. He is open to doing more films in the future, if he gets a good story. (A good story never stopped him before. Ay oh)

After the release of Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), a writers’ room was setup to plan the franchise’s future beyond the main film series. Two of the ideas pitched involved the Arthurian myth and World War II respectively. Michael Bay liked them so much that he decided to incorporate them into the script for this film. (I want an entire television series just about this writer’s room. I’ll call it Michael Bay’s Writers Room)

Shia LaBeouf and Nicola Peltz appeared in this film, although it was only their portraits. (Count it! Shia LaBeouf is in this movie)

While shooting in England, Mark Wahlberg spent time at St. Aidan’s Church incognito, and made donations. No one knew anything until afterwards. Reverend Father Des McGiven said, “It’s great that we had him in for the service, and we appreciate his generosity towards our church.” (I’m not sure how to respond to this obviously pandering imdb trivia note… good for Mark Wahlberg I guess)

This film features the myth of King Arthur. Michael Bay was previously going to direct King Arthur (2004), and had worked on that film for five years, before leaving it, due to budget issues. (Michael Bay gets the budget that he wants. No questions asked).

Michael Bay originally wanted to pass on directing this film, but was persuaded to do one more by Peter Cullen. (So you’re telling me the voice actor who voices Optimus Prime for like 2 days in a sound studio convinced Bay to return… that is just clearly bullshit).

Part of the film was shot at Stonehenge. Michael Bay requested to shoot an explosion on the location, but was denied, so he had a set of Stonehenge constructed to shoot the explosion. (Wait, Michael Bay was denied something?! That… that doesn’t make sense. Michael Bay gets what Michael Bay wants and if he wants to blow up Stonehenge then you let him do it)

Peter Cullen, Reno Wilson, and Mark Ryan are the only actors to appear in all five live-action Transformers films, with Cullen as Optimus Prime, Wilson playing Frenzy, Mudflap, Brains, Mohawk, and Sqweeks, and Mark Ryan voicing Bumblebee, Jetfire, a military drone operator, Lockdown, and Bulldog. (This is actually a really good factoid. An impossible trivia question).

The filmmakers admitted that there were production difficulties in this film, which resulted in a lot of material planned and filmed, but which never made it to the film. (Give me those cut scenes and bloopies. I needs them)

Hot Rod’s French accent was Michael Bay’s idea, as he thought it would give Hot Rod a unique character. (Well I hope he’s as racist as the Mexican robots he had in previous installments.)

Ken Nolan wrote the role of Sir Edmund specifically for Sir Anthony Hopkins. (Facts like this are said too often to actually be true. Later we’re going to hear about all the actors that were up for the part of Ken Nolan)

Though this film was successful, grossing over $600 million worldwide, this is the lowest grossing film of the Transformers franchise. (They must have been so disappointed that they immediately greenlighted Transformers 6 for a 2019 release.)

This is the third Transformers film to be outgrossed by a computer animated threequel. This film was outgrossed by Despicable Me 3 (2017). The first was Transformers, (2007) which was outgrossed by Shrek the Third (2007), and the second was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), which was outgrossed by Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009). But while Transformers was $89.7 million behind Shrek the Third and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was $50.4 million behind Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, this film is over $420 million behind Despicable Me 3. (This is a really weird and interesting factoid)

This is the second Transformers installment for Stanley Tucci, who played Merlin. Previously he played Joshua Joyce in Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014). (Wait… what?!)

The Autobot Topspin from Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) appears in this film, but with a head akin to Leadfoot’s, and a new name, “Volleybot”. (Wait… WHAT?!)

The original cut of the movie supposedly was much longer and roughly a whole hour’s worth of footage was cut for theatrical release. (Yeesssssss, release the Director’s Cut, Bay… do it)

Despite his seeming death during Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), the police car Decepticon Barricade returns, and has apparently survived up to the events of this movie, with a completely new design, including a new vehicle mode. (Ha! I think Bay and the writers eventually realized that no one cares)

The film contains tributes to Transformers Prime (2010): Earth is revealed to be the planet-eating Transformer Unicron.Optimus briefly loses his identity. An ancient breed of Transformer, who can transform into a dragon appears (Predacons, Knights).The final battle is set in the sky, with the Decepticons trying to engage a machine that will destroy the Earth, and the Autobots fighting to stop them. (Wait… is this the actual plot of the film?! WTF!)

The Transformers’ creator is Quintessa is based on the Quintessons from Transformers (1984), but incorporates elements of Solus Prime, a female Transformer god from Transformers Prime (2010). (I like lore like this. It’s part of the issues I have with the series. They really screw with any coherent mythos associated with the series… which is kind of the entire attraction of a franchise)

In the movie, it is mentioned that Fidel Castro allows Transformers to live in peace in Cuba. Since then, Castro died on November 25, 2016, it implies that the movie was filmed before his passing, in the way that there wasn’t time to change his mention. (Ha! You done dated yo film Bay.)

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) is the first film in the live-action series to feature Bumblebees true voice. (For some reason I already knew this)

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Clan of the Cave Bear Recap

Jamie

After an earthquake kills her mother a Cro-Magnon child, Ayla, is rescued by a clan of Neanderthals. While most accept her into the clan, she is tormented by the future leader, Broud, and struggles to abide by the strict customs of the clan so alien to her own. Can she overcome the evolutionary gap before it’s too late? Find out in… The Clan of the Cave Bear.

How?! We open on Ayla’s mother getting sucked into the earth due to an earthquake. Left to fend for herself she wanders about, eventually getting attacked by a lion and surviving only long enough to be found by a Neanderthal clan looking for a new cave. The leader of the clan wants to abandon the child, but eventually relents when Ayla leads them to a perfect new cave. She seems destined to be one of their own. Over the years Ayla is slowly accepted into the clan, except by the jealous future leader Broud who resents the freedom that Ayla seems to have. While she bucks the strict cultural dogma of the clan by secretly learning to use a sling, Broud takes pleasure in beating her and forcing himself upon her, eventually leading to her pregnancy. Soon thereafter she is caught using the sling when she saves a young boy from a wolf attack. Exiled for a month in the harsh winter there seems to be little chance of her survival, but through her adaptation skills and ingenuity she gives birth and survives the winter alone (seems unlikely, but whatever). After her return, her place in the clan only grows, much to the chagrin of Broud. In the end Broud is officially named leader of the tribe whereby Ayla is exiled and forced to forge her own way in the world. This injustice causes an irreparable rift in the clan meant to show how unwillingness to adapt is the eventual downfall of the Neanderthals. Science! I know that synopsis sounds uneventful, but I assure you it’s even less eventful than I described. The End.

Why?! Motivations in the film are few and far between. As in the book, the film spends most of its time speculating on the lives of Neanderthals. The day to day struggles of Ayla are rooted in her having a different sense of self and concept of gender roles due to differences in the brain of Neanderthals compared to Cro-Magnon humans. This is of course based on science… JK LOLZ. It’s not. The Neanderthals can see into the past and the future and shit with their crazy Neanderthal brains and are basically magic. If there is any motivation at all it’s for the clan to survive and Ayla to fit in. The clan cannot adapt to her feminist ways and her exile presages the decline of the Neanderthals as a dominant species on Earth. Boom roasted, Neanderthals. You might be magic, but Ayla can do math. You donzo.

What?! There is nothing more I would have loved than to see product placement in this film. Would have made up for a somewhat bizarre but mostly boring BMT film. But alas, no quick draughts of Coca-Cola before the big musk ox hunt and I’m unfamiliar with the brands of cocaine from the 80’s.

Who?! We get a true celebrity appearance in this film. During a large clan gathering there is a bear fight. The bear is played by none other than Bart the Bear, one of the most famous animal actors ever. We’ve seen him before in On Deadly Ground and we’ll see him again in Meet the Deedles. The funniest rumor is that he got enough votes to be nominated for an Oscar for the 1988 film The Bear, but rules precluded animals from receiving nominations, so it couldn’t go forward. I guess the Oscars figured out what the officials in Air Bud couldn’t.

Where?! The book is pretty clear exactly where this all takes place (Ukraine), but the film obviously doesn’t have a good way of talking about the setting. Doesn’t even really try. But ignorance is no excuse for the law. Jamie’s law of settings is ironclad. F.

When?! Likely takes place in the Late Pleistocene period when the Neanderthals were heading towards extinction. Impossible to get any more accurate than that. D-.

I could not resist the allure of reading the smash hit novel that this film was based on, even if it was a 500 page feminist novel from the 80’s. In the end it was a pretty slow go. I liked the characters and it was certainly interesting to read the speculation on the life and biology of Neanderthals (although a lot of the magic memory stuff she did was more than laughable). At the same time I don’t think the message and construction of the book aged very well. It’s primarily an allegory pertaining to the second-wave feminism of the 60’s and 70’s, which makes the life and culture of the Neanderthals oddly modern feeling and yet the message dated. This actually penetrated the film as well where a major complaint by reviewers was how modern everything seemed. Overall it was a pretty straight adaptation with some events merged together and small changes near the end… but largely faithful probably to its detriment. Patrick?  

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Have you ever had a dream where things are happening around you but it is all kind of fuzzy and unfocused and when you wake up you can’t remember it? When you are awake and that happens to you it’s called a Clan of the Cave Bear. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Prequel, Sequel, Remake) – You can appreciate why the book exists and what the author was trying to do. She had researched the time period and decided to make a fictionalized version of this world she knew so well. The movie basically has some decent sets and settings. Other than that though … let’s remake it! So, the one good thing really was the setting. So we get back to Vancouver, start shooting those vistas! No sign language, as a matter of fact I want this to be action packed! Hunting, the empowerment of young women, a strong independent lead living in Clan of the Cave Bear. I’m going to go ahead and cut out the multiple rape scenes as well, and let’s go ahead and give the main villain his comeuppance and the lead a happy ending, and … What’s that? Yes, I said multiple rape scenes, it is … not fantastic. You know what? This is irredeemable, I don’t even want to watch my own remake!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – First, this movie is stone cold boring. It is effectively an art piece showing in painful detail the machinations of caveman sign language. Second, there are, as I said, multiple uncomfortable rape scenes and in general the struggle of the lead is neither particularly fulfilling nor ultimately redemptive. They stayed a bit too close to home in creating a villain and then never bothering to punish him, and creating a hero and never bothering to save her. Dare I say the film comes across as somewhat nihilistic even. It takes place before any familiar religion so … alright, this is getting a bit heavy, but let’s say by the end I just kind of felt horrible for early human beings more than anything else. Finally, and maybe it is a matter of a brutal filming schedule or demanding make-up process, but some of the actors look a little zonked out. I don’t want to speculate about drugs or anything else, but I literally laughed out loud a few times as the actors looked around with unfocused deadpan looks on their faces. It was weird. I’m going to go with an old favorite of BMT for the Sklognalogy with God and Generals. This 4+ hour epic is basically just an exercise in filming accurate portrayals of Civil War troop maneuvers. And it is as exciting as it sounds. The one thing I thought it lacked was detailed sign language though.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – Legacy will be the same as Gods and Generals in which I might remember it for being so boring. Unlike Gods and Generals though it didn’t have a comically long running time going for it, so it is more likely just remembered as a more-bad-than-BMT film of this year. I’m kind of stunned, but the film has almost no cred. No Razzies (an Oscar nod even) and nowhere really mentioned it as a particularly bad film. It just kind of got forgotten. Hey, look at that … we all agree.

You can read the review of Air Bud: Golden Receiver separately, but does it change our minds about Kids’ films? Actually … the more I reflect on it the more it kind of does. I liked watching Air Bud 2. I thought it was fascinating from two levels. First, the B story is kind of an interesting part of the kids’ film genre, and exploring that more could be very fun. Second, something like a nearly-direct-to-DVD sequel has its own kind of charm. Little Giants, The Big Green, The Mighty Ducks, all had that kind of charm. Perhaps sports movies are the key? Regardless it is definitely something to consider, especially in the new year when we are considering a modification to the cycle. Stay tuned.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Air Bud: Golden Receiver Recap

Jamie

Everything is going smoothly for Josh and his basketball playing dog Buddy until a new man shows up in his Mom’s life. Turning to football to get out of the house he finds that Buddy is just as good at catching a pass as scoring some hoops. Can they team up to win the big game and become emotionally open to his Mom’s new beau? Find out in… Air Bud: Golden Receiver.

How?! When we last saw Josh in Air Bud he was just coming to terms with his father’s tragic death through the magic of his basketball playing dog. Now we jump forward and Josh’s mom is looking for that companionship that has been missing for the last several years. One day while out rollerblading she meets cute the new veterinarian in town and boy howdy do the sparks fly. Josh is pretty confused about all this and turns to football to take his mind off things and get him out of the house when the vet comes over (of course this backfires and only brings them closer. Gah!). Happily taking up the role of backup QB, Josh is thrust into action following a shoulder injury to the starter. Oh no! But they suck! He’ll look like such a loser! But wait! Buddy runs onto the field and helps Josh score a touchdown. Suddenly Buddy is the new star player of the team and no one seems to have an issue with this (even when a dog is chasing kids down to force fumbles… which seems problematic). On the day of the big championship game Buddy is kidnapped by a couple of Russian circus owners (in a completely forgettable subplot), leaving the team to fend for themselves. After going down big, they’re saved when the vet rescues Buddy and brings him to the game. On the final play Josh finds the Air Bud within himself and tosses a Hail Mary to an actual human player for the big win! That’s not the only win of the day either because the vet wins in Josh’s heart and the family lives happily ever after. The End.

Why?! I got to say, you can make fun of this film all you want (and there’s a lot to make fun of… a dog plays on a football team after all), but the motivations in this film are actually touching and done with a nuance that you see surprisingly rarely in kids films. Josh’s entire motivation for playing football is to get out of the house when his Mom’s new boyfriend comes over. He wrestles with the emotions that comes with watching her date again and wondering whether liking this new man in his life is a betrayal to his dead father. Buddy once again helps him find love in the sport and grow to realize that not all change is bad and that just because you love football doesn’t mean you love basketball any less (get it?)… it’s nice.

What?! I barely mentioned the subplot of the film which is a pair of Russian circus owners going around the country stealing talented animals. It is a film ruiner and something that should have just been cut in favor of literally anything else. Why do I mention this terrible storyline in the What?! Section? Because one of the owners gets his kicks by watching the 1976 film Gus about a field goal kicking mule who can kick 100 yard field goals. I ran the numbers and indeed that would make them almost undefeatable. A team averages 12 possessions a game. If they could score three points on each they would average at least 36 points a game! They better add a “No Mules” rule… but leave the question of dogs playing open.

Who?! By the second film the original Buddy has passed away, so his part was portrayed by four different dogs: Chance, Zak, Chase, and Rush (sounds like fraternity buddies at Delta Omega Gamma, boom). Surprisingly none of them reprised their role in the subsequent films.

Where?! Like its predecessor this film is set in beautiful Fernfield, Washington. Of course they bely the Vancouver filming location by the ridiculously Canadian way that everyone says “sorry.” B.

When?! We open on the first day of school and end at the football championship. So we can safely say this runs from September to November… however, no exact date was observed so have to keep this a D+.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! A sad boy sits at home, his mother on a date, his world reeling. The babysitter asks “Do you want to watch a movie?” Fine. What’s this? A sequel to Air Bud? He likes dogs, he liked that movie. Whatever. But the movie speaks to him! He understands! Just because his mother might go on dates or even get married doesn’t mean she doesn’t love him! And he doesn’t need to forget his father! Air Bud 2 you did it!! One problem: he doesn’t like Air Bud anymore because this movie was trash. It’s a wash! Let’s get into it.

The Good (Sequel / Prequel / Remake) – As I hinted at in the intro the film, much like its predecessor, has its heart in the right place. The B-story works. Which, for a kids film is rare. Examples of real B-stories from children’s films: In Old Dogs Robin Williams and John Travolta are trying to sign Japanese baseball players to a sports marketing contract; In Nine Lives Kevin Spacey’s protege is trying to push him out and force a hostile takeover of his company … in what universe are kids interested in such things? Here, the B-story is that a kid’s mother is starting to date again a few years after the sudden tragic death of his father, and the conflicted feelings of what this means in the young boy’s life. That is a real B-story which probably actually did help some poor kid get through a tough time. The guy who plays the coach also is a very well-written character with a great message to give to the kids. I can appreciate those parts outside of the quality of the surrounding film. I want a sequel though. In this long-awaited sequel we find Air Bud finding success in the most unexpected of all places: high finance! When Air Bud shows an uncanny ability to pick stocks, Josh, now a small fry at the biggest investment bank on Wall Street, quickly finds himself climbing the corporate ladder. Trying to keep his secret weapon under wraps he ultimately uncovers a terrible conspiracy: his boss is selling highly leveraged real estate options to the state teacher union pension fund in an immoral get-rich-quick scheme! Uh-oh! Can Josh expose his boss (and get the girl) before it is too late?! He better, because if he doesn’t Air Bud might just do it for him! Air Bud: Board of Direct-Furs!

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – The Boris and Natasha-esque bad guys are by far the worst part of this film. They probably would have been cut if not for the fact that the film would then be a svelte, far more entertaining 60 minutes long. The first half of this film has basically no football playing dog which is a tragedy. But its biggest crime is the football itself. A few things: (1) The images of a dog chasing down children in a fun middle school football game is terrifying. Immediately parents would be like “nope, this is actually too far. It was funny for a second, but dogs actually can’t play middle school football”. (2) A kid destroys Air Bud in the championship game and injures him! Insane, but well within the rules set out in the Air Bud universe. (3) The first touchdown by Air Bud should have resulted in a  too many men on the field penalty since he comes off of the sideline to catch the ball. Completely takes you out of the movie. What? Did they line up with ten men to start? Get out of here! I didn’t even get to the announcers, and the bumbling Abbott and Costello-esque fat-and-skinny refs which appear solely for the Championship game. I’m going to go future on the Sklognalogy because I think the closest film I can think of is Little Giants, a staple of childhood viewing for us, but not yet a BMT film. Ludicrous, actually the same B-story (her father dating, and a bonus am-I-not-feminine-enough? tom-boy story … huh, kid’s films are kind of all the same), and the rags-to-riches tale of a down-and-out sports team winning the championship against all odds.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – This could have a solid legacy if it revived our trust in bad kids films. And even then it is probably the most entertainingly bad kids film I’ve seen in quite a while. So it has that going for it. No street cred, but that isn’t a surprise. I was somewhat stunned to see Leonard Maltin even have a review for the film. And people like Ebert tend to pick on the “big boys” of the year like Armageddon. Both films this week with no cred, for shame.

I’ll leave the bring a friend analysis for the Clan of the Cave Bear recap. And, no, I did not feel the need to rewatch Air Bud, which I have seen. So no homework to report. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Clan of the Cave Bear Preview

There are a number of Bring a Friend films that we really went out of our way to accommodate. This week is one of those. When it came to the category of Kids films we really wanted to watch something that was a major release, but we would never ever ever ever watch. Not something like Son of Mask, Marmaduke, or the recently watched Baby Geniuses films, where they transcend the “Never Watch Kids Films” BMT rule, but rather a run-of-the-will children’s film that happened to be terrible. So you know what that means. That’s right! We’re watching Clan of the Cave BeAir Bud: Golden Receiver! There is literally a 0% chance that we would have ever watch Air Bud 2. Wouldn’t have happened without Bring a Friend. The same could almost be said about the BMT film that brought it along. Clan of the Cave Bear is a 1986 adaptation of a 1980 historical fiction book set in the Paleolithic era. I has come up before for BMT, but more seriously as an entry for a book-to-film cycle, since the book was a worldwide success and spawned five sequels. I’ve always been curious to read it and now’s my chance. The film ended up being a gigantic box office flop, so hopefully it can live down to that hype. Let’s go!

The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) – BMeTric: 34.1

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(Those are some wild swings in rating for a movie this old. And both films this week have an astonishingly low number of votes. But a 5 IMDb rating is solidly low, so I am expecting a lot.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  World’s first feminist caveman movie, minus the anthropological detail of Jean Auel’s popular book. Hannah is perfectly cast as outsider who joins band of nomadic Neanderthals, but the story (such as it is) is alternatively boring and unintentionally funny. Subtitles translate cave people’s primitive tongue. Screenplay by John Sayles.

(Unintentionally funny good. Boring bad. But I have a feeling this is going to be mostly boring.)

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

(IT’S A BOOK! REMEMBER THAT BOOK? That is basically what this trailer says. No, I don’t remember it, and this movie looks boring and weird … a combination that weirdly is getting me a bit excited to be honest.)

Directors – Michael Chapman – (Known For: All the Right Moves; BMT: The Clan of the Cave Bear; Notes: A well known cinematographer, for which he was nominated for two Oscars, for The Fugitive and Raging Bull.)

Writers – Jean M. Auel (novel) – (BMT: The Clan of the Cave Bear; Notes: A children’s book novelist who at one point worked as a circuit board designer for Tektronix, a company that has been making things like oscilloscopes since the 1940s! They tried to make a TV series out of Clan of the Cave Bear recently, but it never got off the ground)

John Sayles (screenplay) – (Known For: The Spiderwick Chronicles; The Howling; Battle Beyond the Stars; Piranha; Lone Star; Alligator; Eight Men Out; Matewan; The Secret of Roan Inish; The Brother from Another Planet; Sunshine State; The Challenge; Go for Sisters; Piranha; Passion Fish; Baby It’s You; Honeydripper; Limbo; Amigo; Return of the Secaucus Seven; BMT: The Clan of the Cave Bear; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars for Lone Star and Passion Fish. His filmography speaks for itself. He was a factory worker who submitted short stories to magazines on the side which were eventually turned into a novel, Pride of the Bimbos. He got a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and used that to transition to a well respected screenwriter. An amazing story.)

Actors – Daryl Hannah – (Known For: Blade Runner; Kill Bill: Vol. 1; Kill Bill: Vol. 2; Splash; Wall Street; Steel Magnolias; Grumpy Old Men; I Am Michael; Roxanne; The Fury; Crimes and Misdemeanours; The Pope of Greenwich Village; The Gingerbread Man; The Big Empty; Legal Eagles; At Play in the Fields of the Lord; Northfork; Casa de los babys; Silver City; Wildflowers; Future BMT: My Favorite Martian; Memoirs of an Invisible Man; Two Much; High Spirits; Keeping Up with the Steins; The Little Rascals; The Final Terror; Summer Lovers; The Hot Flashes; Dancing at the Blue Iguana; Crazy People; The Real Blonde; The Tie That Binds; Grumpier Old Men; Vice; BMT: The Clan of the Cave Bear; Razzie Notes: Won for Worst Supporting Actress for Wall Street in 1988; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actress in 1989 for High Spirits; and in 1997 for Two Much; Notes: An ardent environmentalist, she has been very politically active in the last ten years. She was also at one point in a relationship with John F. Kennedy Jr.)

Pamela Reed – (Known For: Kindergarten Cop; The Right Stuff; Bean; Proof of Life; The Long Riders; Outside In; Eyewitness; Cadillac Man; Bob Roberts; Melvin and Howard; Why Do Fools Fall in Love; Future BMT: Junior; Young Doctors in Love; The Best of Times; BMT: The Clan of the Cave Bear; Notes: She played Leslie Knope’s mother on Parks and Recreation. She has done a lot of television work recently, on Jericho, United States of Tara, and NCIS: Los Angeles, among others.)

James Remar – (Known For: Django Unchained; X: First Class; The Girl Next Door; Ratatouille; The Warriors; RED; What Lies Beneath; Pineapple Express; Horns; February; 48 Hrs.; Cruising; The Phantom; The Cotton Club; Drugstore Cowboy; Miracle on 34th Street; The Long Riders; White Fang; The Dream Team; Future BMT: Mortal Kombat: Annihilation; Psycho; The Unborn; The Quest; USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage; Blade: Trinity; Duplex; Fatal Instinct; Persecuted; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Rent-a-Cop; Renaissance Man; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; BMT: Wild Bill; Judge Dredd; 2 Fast 2 Furious; The Clan of the Cave Bear; Notes: He can still be seen in Aliens as he was originally cast as Hicks, but had to drop out after they had filmed a scene that was too expensive to reshoot. Attended Newton North High School in Massachusetts (what what).)

Budget/Gross – $15 million / Domestic: $1,953,732

(Oh God no, that is awful. I feel like 1986 was just a terrible year for films as a few studios were struggling to make money and throwing anything and everything at the wall hoping it would stick. This might not be much different. Although at least one of the production companies survived this disaster.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (1/10): No consensus yet.

(I’ll make one: Boooooooooring, and worse than the book …. So read the book. Ebert’s original review from the time has a few nice zingers. My favorite being: “If modern men came from beginnings like this, why did they even bother to develop civilization, since they already possessed its most wretched excesses?”)

Poster – The Clan of the Sklog Bear (A-)

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(Artistic poster with some unique font. Like the stark red on white. It’s solid. Funny thing is that this is also the cover of the DVD and I was told that it looked like a horror film… which I guess is kind of true. Could be an image of a monster.)

Tagline(s) – At The Dawn Of Mankind, A Woman Led The Way. (A)

(This is an all around solid tagline. Clever juxtaposition of Mankind and Woman (and the implications of that), hints at the plot, and just short enough. Near perfect.)

Keyword(s) – neanderthal; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.6 The Flintstones (1994); 34.1 The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986); 24.0 Eliminators (1986); 21.2 Dieu est grand, je suis toute petite (2001); 16.6 Terror! Il castello delle donne maledette (1974); 16.4 Iceman (1984); 13.9 Dinosaurus! (1960); 12.2 Ironmaster (1983); 10.6 Monster on the Campus (1958); 5.8 Ao: The Last Hunter (2010);

(Ridiculous list. Only the top two are real. Like … Encino Man doesn’t count? Because that def has a higher BMeTric. I’m getting more and more concerned with the quality of these keywords as time goes on.)

Notes – Based on the first novel in the bookseries Earth’s Children by author Jean M. Auel.

A planned back-to-back sequel never made it into production.

Awards – Nominated for the Oscar for Best Makeup (Michael Westmore, Michèle Burke)

Jason X Recap

Jamie

Jason’s back, Jack! It’s the year 2455 and Jason has been cryogenically frozen for centuries. Awakened from his slumber by some unwitting researchers from Earth II, will they be able to stop his murderous rampage before it’s too late? Find out in… Jason X.

How?! We open on Jason being held in the Crystal Lake Research Facility circa 2010. After numerous attempts to kill him with little success the scientists decide to cryogenically freeze him. Competing scientists attempt to prevent this so they can study his incredible power, but in the process set him loose. In a last ditch effort to incapacitate him, the good scientist tricks Jason into the freezing chamber, only to inadvertently freeze herself as well. Centuries later researchers from Earth II discover the scientist and Jason and bring them aboard their ship in hopes of reanimating them. When the scientist wakes up she is shocked to hear that they have brought Jason aboard but at this point he has already woken up and started his rampage (obviously). First the marines are sent to take care of him. Dead. Then the scientists try to dock with their main space station and escape, but Jason kills the pilot. Then they attempt to take an escape pod, but Jason scares a jumpy student to the point where she destroys the pod in terror. A literal robot assassin comes along, thinks she’s defeated Jason, but inadvertently creates an even more powerful super, future version of Jason (that actually happened). They are able to blow up the area of the shuttle that Jason’s on but he survives the vacuum of space and climbs back into the ship. Finally, after distracting him with a hologram simulation of Crystal Lake they are able to board a rescue ship, blow up the rest of the original ship, and Jason lands like a meteorite in a lake on Earth II. The End (or is it?… it is). This is pretty much the logical conclusion to the Jason invincible zombie storyline that they built the series on. He cannot die. Survives everything including the scourge of space. And if it sounded cool or interesting I assure you it’s not. It’s lame as shit.

Why?! Back to good old Jason Voorhees, killing machine. No thoughts or motivations except to destroy. Interestingly, like in The New Blood, there is a teacher character who has monetary motivation at stake. He wants to sell Jason to be studied for his regenerative abilities. This, of course, goes horribly awry. The rest of the characters want to get laid and survive.

What?! Obviously there aren’t a whole lot of products to be hocked in the year 2455, but there are seemingly innumerous terrible one-liners to be thrown away. One of these clunkers included a quick mention of the Microsoft Conflict, a particularly brutal civil war. I guess it’s funny because Microsoft is mentioned?

Who?! Interesting cameo by film director David Cronenberg who plays a creepy scientist intent on discovering the source of Jason’s super powers. Too bad he didn’t pop in his VHS copy of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Would have pretty quickly figured out it’s all due to a worm like creature contained in his body.

Where?! Boom. Gotta love the space setting. It really screams SciFi for this film that straddles both the SciFi and Horror genres. Important to the plot and as exact as we’re gonna get. A

When?! Takes place in the far future… future… future. It’s explicitly stated for expository purposes that Jason was frozen in 2010 and reanimated in 2455. It’s likely the farthest in the future we’ve traveled for BMT (although hard to say since we haven’t been noting settings for all that long). Not exact, but important to the plot. B

This film is rough stuff. Looks like shit, has a terrible script, and plays like a SyFy original. Shocking that it actually ended up in the Friday series and wasn’t abandoned. But I guess that’s the sweet allure of the intellectual property they were hoping to retain. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Jason X? More like Jason X: Leprechaun in Space! Combine a beloved horror franchise with expiring rights and ten years worth of lack of interest and what do you get? Almost no oversight apparently. This movie can be summed up in a single sentence: “fuck it, let’s just send him to space or some shit”. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – I think the one thing you can point to an potentially good is the fact that the film is hyper-self-aware. Jason is transporting around, everything looks super cheesy, and he basically smells premarital sex and drug use (quite literally, and one point being irresistibly lured by the actions as if by magic). If you find any rankings that place this installment anywhere but last or second-to-last it will be because of its tongue-in-cheek nature. Let’s go Sequel though! We left Jason in a new lake on Earth II 500 years in the future. I think you see him resurrected there, and, huge twist, he’s sent back in time to the middle ages! Finding himself caught up in a war between two ancient houses Jason emerges a hero leading a ragtag group of misfits in a battle for their (and his!) future! Jason X-2: King Jason and the Knights of Crystal Lake.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – Everything. This movie is terrible. Terrible acting, terrible sets, terrible ideas, terrible dialogue, terribles kills, terrible effects, terrible ending. This movie is an abomination and doesn’t belong in any horror franchise. The turn to self-awareness and going all in as a parody doesn’t work because Jason is a real beloved character, one that cannot be so flippantly denigrated. If they wanted to make this movie (and they didn’t) I would have gone with a mock-Jason original film. But then again, that isn’t how you retain rights or make money. The analogy is, and this is going to come out of nowhere, but that garbage Wheel of Time television pilot from a few years back! A pure distilled last gasp effort for Red Eagle Entertainment to retain the rights to the Wheel of Time television show. Fuck you Red Eagle! (Good news, looks like Sony has the rights now)

The BMT (Legacy) – This film’s legacy is simple: it brings to an end the full 2017 watch of the original Friday the 13th franchise for BMT. “But what about Freddy v Jason!” you scream. Most places don’t count it as a pure Friday the 13th which is understandable. These last two taught me a lot about how slasher films lost their way in the 90s and, in many ways, the filmmakers who grew up with the franchises in the 80s managed to learn the wrong lessons when fashioning films in the 2000s. And I don’t know if we’ll ever see a true slasher franchise after Scream bit the dust a few years ago as well. Sigh.

And in a special installment of StreetCreditReport.com my definitive rankings of the ten Friday the 13th films!

  1. Friday the 13th – A lot more fun that you’d think and only hamstrung by attempting to preserve the twist of who the killer is. Solid slasher.
  2. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter – The most iconic good guy in Tommy Jarvis, good kills, best story with Jason
  3. Friday the 13th: Jason Lives – Brings back Tommy, and feels less cheap than most. Supernatural elements are introduced, but the best post-Final-Chapter.
  4. Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood – Most formidable opponent for Jason, and contains the only scary bits of any post-Final-Chapter installment as well.
  5. Friday the 13th: Part 2 – Cheap, with poor character design for early Jason, but still fun kills with decent tension.
  6. Friday the 13th: Part III – The first I would call genuinely bad, only saved to a degree by being the most tongue-in-cheek of the early films.
  7. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan – Terrible film, but kind of fun idea that put Jason on a boat with nowhere to run.
  8. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning – Horrible slap in the face which tries to continue the franchise without Jason as the slasher. Not a good idea.
  9. Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday – Slap in the face which again replaces Jason for the most part. New Line’s attempt to ruin a franchise succeeds.
  10. Jason X – Not a real movie.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday Recap

Jason Goes to Hell Recap

Jason’s back, Jack! When the FBI explodes our masked killer, they think he’s finally dead. They are wrong. Uh oh! His spirit possesses a new body and returns to Crystal Lake to be reborn. Can they stop him before it’s too late? Find out in… Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.

How?! We open on an intricate fake-out. The viewer is led to believe that we are watching Jason, fresh off getting dissolved in the acid sewers of Manhattan, stalking a nubile teen at Crystal Lake. Psych! It’s an FBI sting and they straight up explode our favorite serial killer. However, once they bring the pieces back to a top secret FBI research facility an unlucky coroner is hypnotized into consuming Jason’s heart and becomes Jason! Bum bum bum! With this new body in tow Jason heads back to Crystal Lake in order to be reborn. In the meantime we jump straight into some family drama at Crystal Lake as Diana is attempting to reconcile her daughter Jessica with her baby daddy Steve. Just as Jessica returns to town to officially break it off with Steve (and reveal to him that he is a father), Jason returns and starts to wreak havoc, killing people and switching bodies at will. Turns out that Jason’s evil is rooted in a creature that lives within him and that, when killed, he must regenerate using the body of a Voorhees (what?). He can temporarily take over a body, but must switch bodies periodically to avoid decay (oh… ok). Also Jason can only ever be killed by a Voorhees. Unluckily and luckily Jessica is Jason’s niece (wait… since when?) so she is both Jason’s target and worst enemy. They of course learn all this from an eccentric bounty hunter who provides Jessica with a magical dagger to kill Jason with (for real?!). In the end Jason corners Jessica and Steve in the Voorhees old house where he is able to regenerate using Diana’s corpse. In a final epic battle Jessica stabs Jason with the magical dagger and sends him to hell where it’s hinted he finally meets Freddy Kreuger his… uh… arch enemy… I guess. New Line really did a number on this series.

Why?! By creating a totally insane explanation for Jason’s supernatural abilities they also provide a totally new motivation for him. Yes, he’s still a crazed murderer, but now he’s murdering in order to possess a new body so that he can survive to find a Voorhees to be reborn with. It’s quite the pivot. Everyone else is mostly just looking to survive. Very few do.

What?! No notable product placements in the film, but there are a couple easter eggs connecting this film to other horror films (other than being a rip off of The Hidden). The Necronomicon from The Evil Dead films is seen in the Voorhees house and the Kandarian Dagger from the same films plays a major role in killing Jason. Also there is a crate in the Voorhees’ basement that says “Arctic Expedition Julia Carpenter Horlicks University,” which is from the film Creepshow. They seemed to just reuse props for no discernable reason.

Who?! Nice little “scenes deleted” credit here to Survivor superstar Jonathan Penner. He was meant to play Vicki’s boyfriend David who gets killed by Jason (in possession of Josh) by getting his face smashed into a sink. Penner is also known to us as the writer of future BMT film The Bye Bye Man. He’s a big part of my life.

Where?! No matter your feeling on the merits of this film I think we can all agree that they totally fucked up the setting. It is just a fact that Crystal Lake and the Friday the 13th series are set in New Jersey. Well established FACT (shown on a sign in Part I). So when I see Connecticut license plates everywhere and signs for Westport, CT (where the director was born) I just find it disrespectful to the franchise. Is nothing sacred?! Why you gotta mess with what I love just to give a meaningless shout out to your hometown? C.

When?! It’s also well established fact that the temporal setting of this films is a disaster area and it’s better if we pay no mind to it. Given small indications of where this fits in relative to other films in the franchise it’s agreed that it’s probably set in the early 2000’s. But it’s all bullshit anyway. F.

This truly is a perverse corruption of the franchise perpetrated by New Line in their very first attempt at an entry. While I can’t blame a Friday fan or horror fan from enjoying what is probably the goriest and most nudity filled entry in the series, it basically throws everything that came before it in the trash. Not even for something good. They replace it with a bunch of reheated horror tropes and cliches. But I’m not the only opinion. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday? Well, New Line can go to hell! Boom, getting heated in here. So you are the new owner of a long running, eight entry, horror franchise looking to put a bit of pep in the old boy’s step, what do you do? Right, create a movie almost entirely bereft of the franchise’s beloved antagonist, over-explain his monstrous origins, and flip a huge bird to the fanbase … wait, no, that can’t be right. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel, Prequel, Remake) – This movie in another world would be a niche cult classic among horror fans. Coming out of nowhere in 1993, the supernatural story with decent (at times) practical effects could have really gained a following (despite being a knockoff of The Hidden). But … that isn’t how it worked. Until now! Give me a Remake! Same story, except cut the bookends of Jason wandering around. As a matter of fact, add a horror element of the body-snatched murderers multiplying (so a zombie army is eventually developed) as well. It has a kind of alien-chest-burster meets zombie film, with the ultimate pay off being that they aren’t aliens at all, but rather demons summoned by a cult (or whatever). Bonus, it also served as a remake of The Hidden! Two-for-one! Two-for-one! I would call it Hell on Earth.

The Bad (Sklognalogy) – Woof. This is a slap in the face to Friday the 13th fans. This represents the second entry where Jason himself is almost entirely missing from the film (number 5, A New Beginning, is the other). It doesn’t feel at all like a Friday the 13th film, and it over-explains and ruins several aspects of the franchise. It is now explicitly set in Connecticut (what?), they somehow retcon a sister for Jason to want to kill (what is this Halloween?), and they introduce a much more explicit supernatural bent to the entire thing. If this wasn’t a Friday the 13th film I wouldn’t mind it. But it is and I hate hate hate this movie. And I can no longer avoid it: the Sklognalogy is Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (the sixth installment). I have seen this film, although we are likely to revisit at some point in the future to give it the proper BMT treatment. And basically it is the same: they ruin the franchise by making explicit a no-fun “solution” to why Michael Myers is the way he is. Don’t do this. It is unnecessary and cheesy.

The BMT (Legacy / StreetCreditReport.com) – I think this will have strong legs for BMT. Friday the 13th is the first mini-challenge we’ve done, and I kind of knew the day would come where it well and truly crossed the rubicon from low-budget fun slasher to garbage. This is the one. I hate this film. I will never not hate this film. It could forever represent 90s horror catastrophes for me. I do want to note this guy, because the second entry there might as well be word-for-word my opinion on the movie. But for the most part Jason Goes to Hell is widely considered the worst or one of the worst of the franchise. It doesn’t get much play in a jam packed 1993, but its cred is from sinking a franchise. Thanks New Line!

I’ll leave the full blown Friday the 13th rankings for Jason X.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Jason X Preview

It’s back, Jack! Right on cue we are continuing our Mini-Challenge journey through the world of Friday the 13th. It’s been an interesting time and I’ll miss the series once it’s gone, particularly since I went from actively disliking the series to fascination with the series and finally anticipation for each successive watch. There may be none more anticipated than the SciFi entry of the Calendar cycle. That’s right! We’re (finally) watching Jason X. Because everyone knows that it’s a super good idea to take a struggling franchise to outer space (see: Leprechaun 4: In Space). Works like a charm. Of course this also means we’ll be doing the 9th in the series, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday as a BMT bonus in preparation for the film. Hooray! I really do love watching these totally unscary horror films. Let’s go!

Jason X (2001) – BMeTric: 77.9

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(INCREDIBLE! It has gone down as more people watch it! This can only mean one thing: this film is going to be great. I can feel it. A Very Popular Bad Film through and through.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  In this, the tenth Friday the 13th installment (and first since 1993’s Jason goes to Hell: The Final Friday), cryogenically frozen Jason (Hodder) and a sexy scientist (Doig) are thawed while on board a spacecraft in the year 2455. You can guess what happens next. For dedicated slasher fans only. David Cronenberg appears briefly as Dr. Wimmer. Not to be confused with Malcolm X.

(Not to be confused with Malcolm X? I get you Leonard. This is such a nicely rote review. He definitely either didn’t write this or basically barely watched this film. Leonard gave so many of these films BOMB designations it is kind of weird that the 8th, 9th, and 10th didn’t manage even one. Seems he’s a softy for the more ridiculous horror films maybe.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Sv8eWDEFsM

(I remember the Let the Bodies Hit the Rope soundtrack from when I was younger. This trailer looks atrocious on several different levels: the humor, the acting, the special effects, and Jason’s design. I can’t believe Kane Hodder came back for this garbage to be honest, after 9 years I would have read the script and just said “good luck”. I have a feeling this is going to be the first Friday the 13th that doesn’t even feel like a Friday the 13th as well.)

Directors – James Isaac – (Future BMT: Skinwalkers; House III: The Horror Show; BMT: Jason X; Notes: Was involved with creature effects for both Gremlins and Enemy Mine. Every so often he would give directing a try it would seem. Also involved with special effects on Virtuosity, which I’m only noting because I interviewed for a job with this guy who now works as an MD-PhD at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.)

Writers – Victor Miller (characters) – (Known For: Friday the 13th; Freddy vs. Jason; Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI; Future BMT: Friday the 13th; BMT: Jason X; Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan; Friday the 13th: A New Beginning; Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Friday the 13th Part III; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Friday the 13th Part 2; Notes: I feel like he hasn’t shown up in the credits for a few of these, so weird he would all of a sudden get credit again. He wrote the original movie. The end.)

Todd Farmer (written by) – (Known For: My Bloody Valentine; Future BMT: The Messengers; BMT: Drive Angry; Jason X; Notes: The guy has a crazy life. He dropped out of college and because an independent AmWay distributor, and then moved to LA and started working for Sean S. Cunningham (the other original writer of Friday the 13th). That is how he got this gig and probably his other writing gigs, he was working under Cunningham on different projects he was involved in.)

Actors – Kane Hodder – (Known For: Monster; Daredevil; The Devil’s Rejects; Frozen; Hatchet; Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon; Alligator; Lone Wolf McQuade; Hatchet III; Prison; Digging Up the Marrow; The Rapture; California Split; Future BMT: Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday; Room 6; House II: The Second Story; Hatchet II; Muck; Wishmaster; Father Hood; Best of the Best II; Out for Justice; BMT: Jason X; Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan; Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Grind; Notes: There is nothing else to say about this guy! He is Jason, and I doubt anyone has a chance of beating him or Englund for dominating a slasher killer like they did.)

Lexa Doig – (BMT: Jason X; Notes: She had the title role in the show Andromeda, and has been in many other television series. The cast for this movie is pretty funny, no wonder Hodder got first billing.)

Jeff Geddis – (Known For: Crime Spree; BMT: Jason X; Notes: Canadian, and a voice actor almost exclusively.)

Budget/Gross – $11 million / Domestic: $13,121,555 (Worldwide: $16,951,798)

(Complete disaster. It is a wonder that they didn’t scrap Freddy v Jason after this. Although maybe they thought that would have more pull. And smartly, it did actually. The franchise went from this pitiful return to over $80 million in Freddy v. Jason only a few years later.)

#64 for the Horror – Slasher genre

jasonx_slasher

(Around Halloween 5. I mentioned in the other preview that this genre is effectively dead (the last major release was January 2013 according to Box Office Mojo) in theaters. Kind of understandable, the return since 2005 was the same as during the lull in the early 90s.)

#39 for the Sci-Fi Horror genre

jasonx_scifihorror

(Near Ghosts of Mars. With Alien Covenant and the final Resident Evil film this genre has had a bit of a resurgence in recent years, and has been going strong since 2000 regardless. It has been flopping a bit recently though, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the release numbers wane a bit as well though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (20/104): Jason goes to the future, but the story is still stuck in the past.

(Nope, terrible Rotten Tomatoes. A few franchises did this (inexplicably send their slashers to the future in space, most notably Leprechaun in Space), but it can’t go well. It also crosses the rubicon from horror to at least close to horror-comedy. Not super great.)

Poster – Jason Sklog (B-)

jason_x_ver2

(We jump from an early 90’s bonkers poster for Jason Goes to Hell straight to an even crazier early 2000’s bonkers poster for this one. Better font, worse coloring, but I like the artistry.)

Tagline(s) – Evil Gets An Upgrade (B-)

(I’m good with this. Short, sweet, little hint on the futuristic aspect of the plot, but perhaps not quite clever enough. Could be better, but could be a whole lot worse.)

Keyword(s) – scientist; Top Ten by BMeTric: 93.5 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 90.0 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.4 House of the Dead (2003); 88.4 Street Fighter (1994); 85.7 The Avengers (1998); 85.6 Fantastic Four (2015); 84.1 Piranha 3DD (2012); 82.4 Baby Geniuses (1999); 82.1 Inspector Gadget (1999); 82.0 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991);

(Incredible list. This is a marathon I would actually hold, although I would be a bit more discerning. Here … The Avengers would make the cut for sure. Highlander II I think. But a marathon without Bats? Travesty. So there would be some work to do.)

Notes – The first film in the Friday the 13th series to rely on digital effects for death and gore shots. (Interesting. Sad but interesting)

Jason Voorhees’ eyes never blink when they are shown. (Cool idea actually)

During a Q&A;, screenwriter Todd Farmer joked that there were probably about 20,000 people aboard the Solaris space station when Grendel inadvertently crashed into and destroyed it. (Acknowledgment of flippantly killing people, I can respect that.)

Screenwriter Todd Farmer based much of the film on Alien (1979), even naming one of the characters (whom he also played) Dallas, after Tom Skerritt’s character in the Ridley Scott film. (Yeah I feel like you can tell from the trailer)

The name of the primary ship in the film is the “Grendel” which is the name of a monster in the Old English poem “Beowulf”. Grendel was a direct descendant of Cain from the Book of Genesis, a monster described as half-troll, half-ogre. Like Jason, Grendel rose from a lake in search of victims and seemingly could not be killed. Also, in their fight, Beowulf rips Grendel’s arm off, and in the movie, when Kay-Em shoots up Jason, the first thing he loses is his arm. (I … kind of love the comparison)

Because Jim Isaac wanted the acting in his film to “blow every other Friday movie out of the water.” The associate producer videotaped the rehearsals on a camcorder for Isaac, who would view them afterward to get ideas from seeing his characters in action. The problem was with all the script re-writes a lot of the time Isaac didn’t even know if what the actors were rehearsing was still going to be in the movie (most of it wasn’t). (That’s kind of sad all things considered. Kind of sweet how much he cared though, sucks it didn’t work out).

One of the things which won over everyone to the concept of Jason in space was the idea of the kids seemingly killing the hockey mask monster halfway through only for him to be recreated into something even scarier via futuristic technology. The mechanism of this change ended up being nanotechnology, an idea screenwriter Todd Farmer lifted from Virtuosity. However, the actual concept of an UberJason predates Jason X. (Gross and I hate it)

(at around 15 mins) The space debris floating in space has “Cunningham Realty” written on the side. This is a reference to the name of producer Noel Cunningham, the son of executive producer and maker of the original Friday the 13th (1980), Sean S. Cunningham.

During Jason X’s development process, director Jim Isaac, producer Noel Cunningham (Sean’s son), and screenwriter Todd Farmer kicked around any scenario they could think of it, typically “Jason in [insert blank] (the hood, snow, underwater, the arctic, in L.A. fighting gangs, on safari).” They even considered something involving the NASCAR circuit. Farmer suggested “in space” because he knew Freddy Vs. Jason was on the way, and it’d be best if Jason X was set after the events of that epic battle. So, they needed to jump into the future, and going into space certainly did that. They were a little scared of doing a horror sequel in space [see: Hellraiser, Leprechaun, and Critters.], but they thought it could be fun to do a mash-up of Ridley Scott’s Alien and James Cameron’s Aliens with not one but two strong Ripley-type females on a ship of bad-ass space marines hunted by Jason instead of xenomorphs. (When your idea can be boiled down to: it would be best if we could flash forward a bit because a movie that was planned in 1987 and never made it totes going to come out soon … let’s put it in space I guess. That is not great).

Jason murders 28 people, more than any of the other Friday the 13th movies. (Jesus Christ, that is a ton)

In 2010, Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters actually tested out Jason X’s liquid nitrogen head smash kill. It turns out it doesn’t quite pass the smell test. (I think I saw that one. Yeah, doesn’t really work in my mind, wouldn’t freeze all of the way through).