Batman & Robin Recap


Batman is back, Jack! The new baddies in town are Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Bane. Can Batman and Robin work together (perhaps with a little help from Batgirl) to take them down before it’s too late? Find out in… Batman & Robin.

How?! While Batman and Robin struggle to learn to work as a team a new bad guy has risen and is stealing all the diamonds in sight. His name is Mr. Freeze and he requires his body to be kept at a super low temperature at all times due to a lab accident. The diamonds he steals both power a cryogenic suit he wears and fund his continued research into curing his wife of MacGregor’s Syndrome. In a wild coincidence Alfred has just come down with MacGregor’s Syndrome and is steadily dying (if only someone was doing some research into curing that!). His niece Barbara comes to visit and basically disappears for most of the movie. At the same time a researcher in a Wayne Enterprise funded botany lab is accidentally turned into a powerful plant-human hybrid called Poison Ivy who vows revenge on Bruce Wayne. These two baddies converge on a trap laid by Batman at a fundraiser featuring the showing of a large diamond. While Mr. Freeze attempts to steal the diamond, leading to his capture, Poison Ivy demonstrates her ability to pit Batman and Robin against each other through the use of pheromones. After Poison Ivy breaks Mr. Freeze out of Arkham, Batman and Robin learn to trust each other again and go after her. Remember Barbara? She’s back and is now Batgirl for some reason. Great. They all converge on Poison Ivy’s hideout and take her out like it ain’t no thang. They then go after Mr. Freeze and totes crush him too and save Gotham from getting frozen. Having captured Mr. Freeze they then remember that he can cure Alfred and they’re like, “What up, give us the cure,” and Mr. Freeze is all like “OK.” They then cure Alfred and everyone laughs and they ask Barbara to stay because she is a vital and interesting character for the series. THE END.

Why?! Batman and Robin are same old, same old. As for Batgirl, she dropped out of school and is trying to earn money to free Alfred from his servitude before he dies. Only after he accidentally reveals Batman’s secrets to her does she understand the importance of his work and decide to take part (not really for justice or anything). Poison Ivy wants to kill everyone basically because she wants Mother Earth to fight back against the human race that is killing it. Finally, Mr. Freeze is the weirdest character we have in the series because he’s not really insane. He steals the diamonds because he needs them for his suit and research. It’s actually pretty confusing. Just help the dude. He’s sick and just wants to do valuable research. He doesn’t even want to kill Batman until Poison Ivy tricks him into thinking Batman killed his wife.

What?! Another Batman film, another case of an almost product placement. When Poison Ivy seduces Batman and Robin at the charity auction they get in a bidding war ending with Batman pulling out the official Batman credit card. It should have of course been a Visa or MasterCard or something. But no. It just says Batman on it… wonder what the bank makes of the fact that Bruce Wayne keeps paying Batman’s credit card bills.

Who?! Coolio appears in this film in a comically minor role. It may be my favorite example of a musician-turned-actor in the history of film. Also notable is Vivica A. Fox playing the hot love interest (?) of Mr. Freeze for exactly 12 seconds before unceremoniously being ejected from the film. It’s actually unclear why she is even in the film at all.

Where?! Gotham, duh. But in seriousness Gotham doesn’t have a location in this iteration of the Batman adaptations. This is pretty clear from the license plates that simply read “Gotham” at the top. In the comics there have been a number of hints dropped that it’s in New Jersey, which is apparently made explicit in Suicide Squad. Exciting. F.

When?! While Batman Forever was an amazing settings film, this film did turn out to purposefully obscure when this took place as well. To the point where an invitation to an event is clearly shown with no indication of where or when the event takes place… terrible planning. F.

This movie is terrible, but not nearly terrible as everyone seems to make it out to be. It is pretty obviously rushed and put together in a slapdash kind of way. This is best demonstrated by Batgirl who is forgotten for long stretches of the film in what was apparently unhappiness by the studio at her having gained some weight and them forcing Schumacher to cut her scenes… which is really just sad. This and the excessive use of quips and puns by Mr. Freeze is what seems to have set it apart in people’s minds when thinking about bad films. But I was somewhat shocked at how coherent it was given all that. Yes it strayed pretty far into the goofy side of Batman, but not really much further than Batman Forever already had. I truly blame the quips… and maybe that time that all the bad guys played hockey and then Batman and Robin did too and then the NHL had to fold (I think). Patrick?


‘Ello everyone! What do you get when you cross a deluded director trying to make a live action cartoon, and the Dark Knight himself? The highest BMeTric of all time, that’s what. Let’s go!

The Good (Pop Quiz Hot Shot!) – The film is shockingly coherent given its reputation. It is also ludicrously fun, way beyond it has any right to be. I think the bright spot across the entire Burton-Schumacher series is that the performances are usually great, and Uma, Clooney, and Arnold all do rather well (despite the puns). And without further ado: Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

  1. When Poison Ivy and Bane interrupt the charity bachelorette auction they are dressed as what animal?
  2. When Robin is frozen at the end of the opening heist how long does Mr. Freeze claim Batman has to thaw him to prevent his death?
  3. Barbara Wilson (Batgirl) comes to Gotham after dropping out of what fictional school in England?
  4. When Alfred contracts MacGregor’s Syndrome he composes a cd detailing Bruce Wayne and his secret identity to be delivered to his brother in India. What is Alfred’s brother’s name?
  5. Both Robin and Barbara Wilson enter a underground motorcycle street race. Robin, naturally, has a Robin painted on his helmet, what is painted on Barbara’s helmet?

A tougher one this week which I think is indicative of a film with a rather simple plot line. Just trivia, but I hope someone who had recently finished the film could get two or three, the last two are tough for sure.

The Bad (Homework Sklog-signment) – The writing is, as usual, sloppy. The movie is too cheesy for its own good. The sick Alfred storyline is just not a great one, worst personal issue Bruce Wayne goes through in a series which is kind of excellent at exactly that. But … it is hard to judge, but it is easier to explain with a Homework Sklog-signment. I watched all four Burton-Schumacher films and I have to say: the Burton ones are kind of messy, dark, and not very fun. They are good, especially the second, but not head and shoulders above the others like I expected. Forever is actually fine if you can get past Lee and Carrey acting like idiots. And this one, while terribly cheesy, is actually a lot more fun than I remembered … but it is hard to tell how much watching this film multiple times when I was ten has warped my mind. It is a danger of re-watching films for BMT. If I saw this movie clean I probably would have been rolling on the floor laughing, but I knew every beat before it happened, so nothing surprised. Nothing was shocking. I think it is a problem.

The BMT (Legacy / – This could, eventually, mark a turning point for BMT, possibly for the better. I think there is a clear issue with watching a movie we’ve seen before. It distracts from the analysis. Perhaps we need to consider recruiting others into the fold for a guest review? We’ll have to have a think on whether this is a problem or not. I’ll just leave this here if you ever thought to doubt the cred on this one.

I’ll forgo the detail in the adaptation grade to lighten things up, but I think it is a C+, too silly given how Batman evolved in the 80s basically. Worse than Forever, but, given how Batman is just straight murdering people in the first two, not bad relatively to the Burton films. The answers to this week’s quiz are: (1) Gorillas, very impressive costumes actually; (2) 11 minutes, which was later referred to in the climax of the film as the time it would take for everyone in Gotham to die as well; (3) Oxbridge, an intentional mix of Oxford and Cambridge; (4) Wilfred Pennyworth; (5) A very creepy looking angel.


The Sklogs


Batman Forever Recap


While Batman struggles to guide a young orphan, Dick Grayson, whose parents deaths he feels responsible for, Two-Face terrorizes Gotham and a new nemesis, The Riddler, rises. Can he stop the baddies before it’s too late? Find out in… Batman Forever.

How?! Let me set the scene: Batman is still the coolest cat in Gotham. He’s slaying it with a smoking hot Dr. Chase Meridian (both as Bruce Wayne and as Batman) and torching Two-Face daily. Unfortunately even the worst bad guys get lucky and Two-Face is able to kill Dick Grayson’s family in a botched bombing attempt. So while Bruce Wayne takes in and struggles to connect with the loner orphan who reminds him so much of himself, he allows for a much more competent bad guy, The Riddler, to rise. Using Two-Face’s criminal enterprise (he’s otherwise useless), The Riddler is able to take over Gotham through the sale of a 3D TV type technology which is wildly popular (in what is the least realistic aspect of the film). This technology not only turns the denizens of Gotham into mindless consumer zombies (not sure I’m picking up on this metaphor, wish it was a little heavier) but supplements the smarts of The Riddler, making him the smartest man in the world. After deducing that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same The Riddler kidnaps Chase and baits Batman (and his new sidekick Robin) into a final showdown… which Batman immediately wins. Oh and Two-Face dies in an embarrassing way because his character is an embarrassment. The End.

Why?! Batman exists because of his parents’ deaths. Same with Robin. Plain and simple. They are out for justice. Two-Face wants to kill Batman because he didn’t prevent acid from being thrown into his face… which seems a little vain. I understand that it’s not fair that Batman didn’t save you but you gotta deal with it man. The Riddler wants to kill Bruce Wayne because he dismissed him as a crazed lunatic when he worked at Wayne Enterprises… granted Wayne was correct about that, but still.

What?! The original Batman franchise is notable for stepping as close to product placement without actually getting all the way there. Case in point, in the beginning of Batman Forever Batman tells a concerned Alfred that he’ll “get drive thru” for dinner. I waited with bated breath to see the Batmobile zoom through a McDonalds drive thru and snag a greasy bag of snacks. Instead… nothing happened. I could have sworn that I remembered Batman zooming through a drive thru. Turns out that was tied into an actual commercial that aired on television and not in the film itself. Didn’t want to soil the Batman brand I guess.

Where?! Gotham, duh. See: recap of Batman & Robin. It’ll tell you all you need to know. F.

When?! You would think this would be an F, since almost everything is obscured in this series, but it’s actually a Secret Holiday Film Alert! That’s right! This film takes place on and around Halloween as evidenced by The Riddler and Two-Face ambushing Alfred wearing Halloween costumes and pretending to be trick-or-treaters.

This entire series is much worse than I remembered it being. Two-Face is pretty easily the worst character in the entire series and it really dives deep into the camp with The Riddler given that the rest of the film is played straight. But while the highs didn’t seem as high as maybe I used to think as a kid, the lows also didn’t seem as low. The entire Burton directed/produced series took Batman to an extreme that I don’t think aged particularly well, but also can be appreciated for the ambition and vision that it had. Just doesn’t work anymore.


‘Ello everyone! This year we have decided to hit up some of the old faves from our youth to really give them the proper BMT treatment. Batman Forever has it all, Jim Carrey with ridiculous orange hair, Jim Carrey in a sparkly green jumpsuit, Jim Carrey in a sparkly silver jumpsuit … honestly, Jim Carrey off-the-wall performance was really the only thing I remembered about this film. Let’s get into it!

The Good (Pop Quiz Hot Shot!) – I liked Kilmer in this, it was kind of shocking trying to evaluate all of the Batmans across the series. They were all actually kind of good in their own way and for what they were asked to do. At least Carrey’s performance is insane, otherwise Tommy Lee Jones’ horrible Two-Face would have dragged to movie completely down. There is a lot to like in this movie, I think it is actually not that much worse than Burton’s two films despite what critics say. Mainly it is just that the Burton-Schumacher Batmans as a whole are quite a bit worse than I remembered them being. Trying out a new segment called Pop Quiz Hot Shot! which will posit a few questions, try and play along at home!

  1. Nicole Kidman’s Dr. Chase Meridian (great name) gives Bruce Wayne a dream doll that is meant to protect his dreams. From which country did this doll come from?
  2. Throughout the movie Bruce Wayne is haunted by the memory of his parents’ wake in which he sees a leather bound book sitting atop a table in Wayne Manor. What book is this and/or what writings did it contain?
  3. Throughout the film you see Two-Face toss his famous coin into the air. What is displayed on both sides of this coin?
  4. Prior to becoming Robin, Dick Greyson discovers the batcave is hidden behind a locked door near the main staircase in Wayne Manor. What did Alfred claim was behind this door earlier in the film?
  5. While trying to decide on his super-villain persona Edward Nigma rejects four possibilities before settling on The Riddler. Name any of these four options.

If you watched the film recently I think the first four questions are possible. The fifth is tough and is the only one I probably wouldn’t have gotten myself. Check below to see how you did!

The Bad (Too Sklog; Didn’t Watch) – The movie is just kind of written sloppily, the plan by The Riddler and Two-Face is probably the best scheme in any of the four Burton-Schumacher Batman films, but it manages to basically make no sense because of how it is presented. Two-Face is a horribly designed villain played lazily by Jones. In trying to brighten up the dingy Gotham in the Burton films Schumacher loses some of the charm of the series (even though I do think he made the series more fun in the process). Somehow the worst final fight of a series which had exactly zero satisfying villain fight scenes. Another new segment! In Too Sklog; Didn’t Watch I’ll try and highlight a single portion of the film that really embodies what makes this a great bad movie. For Batman Forever it is definitely the scene where Two-Face meets The Riddler:

Watch these five minutes of film … it tells you everything about what makes this film both ludicrously entertaining, and just complete garbage at the same time.

The BMT (Legacy / – I don’t think this has legacy beyond maybe being a great example of the fleeting nature of BMT. This film wasn’t BMT qualified a month ago, and now it is, this is legit the first time I’ve seen that happen for sure for a film that wasn’t just released. Batman Forever somehow escaped street cred, although that is likely because, as this list points out, it is so disposable people barely remember it. Jones makes a list for worst performances by good actors though. And let’s just say, some people didn’t give Forever as much slack as I did in this rewatch.

I’ll leave a small Adaptations Grade here: oddly, among all of the Burton-Schumacher Batman films this is probably the best adaptation. First, unlike the Burton films Batman isn’t running around violating his one rule and killing people. Second, it gets that dingy gothic look while also being garish and colorized when it needs to for the villains. For this one I think I would give it a B. I’ll leave the homework assignment for the Batman & Robin recap.

The answers to this week’s quiz are: (1) Malaysia; (2) His father’s journal, Bruce Wayne was upset knowing his father would never write in it again; (3) The statue of liberty’s head, scratched out on one side; (4) The silverware closet; (5) The Puzzler, The Gamester, Captain Kill, and Question Mark Man.


The Sklogs

Batman & Robin Preview

Big week highlighting one of the few changes the BMT Board of Directors (BMTBD) proposed for the year. That was to try to bring in some of the many major bad movies that we had watched prior to BMT and as a result never gave the full BMT treatment. Originally such films were totally excluded from consideration. No more! So for the SciFi/Fantasy/Other category of the adaptation cycle we went straight for the crown jewel. That’s right! We’re bringing the single highest scoring BMeTric film of all time, the critically reviled superhero film Batman & Robin. We obviously watched this as kids and probably didn’t even think it was all that bad (we were like 11, so I’m not sure I had ever watched a film and thought it was bad). Let’s see if it holds up (holds down?) on a rewatch. Also have to note that Batman Forever qualifies (RT 39%) so it will be included as a bonus. Let’s go!

Batman & Robin (1997) – BMeTric: 94.5



(That, boys and girls, is the highest BMeTric in existence. Nearly 200K IMDb votes and a sub-4 rating, it is incredibly, almost impossibly, poorly rated. Let it sink in.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Batman #4 spotlights two colorful villains, Schwarzenegger’s lusty Mr. Freeze and Thurman’s deliciously nasty Poison Ivy, who (for different reasons) want to destroy Gotham City, but even their antics can’t sustain an overlong, episodic film in which the “story” often makes no sense. Clooney is OK but unremarkable as Bruce Wayne/Batman, ditto for Silverstone as the new Batgirl. The action and effects are loud, gargantuan, and ultimately numbing.

(He gave a better review to this one compared to Batman Returns! Incredible. Maltin doesn’t like “dark” things, at least that is what he complains about with the early Burton films. Hell, he gave The Dark Knight two stars! He thought Batman & Robin was better than The Dark Knight. Because of “colorful” villains basically.)

Trailer –

(How did Uma Thurman end up doing this and The Avengers? The trailer is actually pretty cool. It looks like a cartoon, sure, but there isn’t really a good reason that that is a bad thing. Gotham looks cool. Arnold seems like he could work as an intimidating villain. I don’t know. I kind of expected the trailer to be garbage, but it isn’t really garbage, it is surprisingly compelling I think.)

Directors – Joel Schumacher – (Known For: Flatliners; The Lost Boys; A Time to Kill; St. Elmo’s Fire; Falling Down; Phone Booth; The Client; Flawless; Tigerland; Town Creek; Veronica Guerin; Cousins; Future BMT: Bad Company; Dying Young; The Incredible Shrinking Woman; 8MM; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Trespass; The Number 23; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director for Batman & Robin in 1998; Notes: In a recent Vice article, Schumacher said “Look, I apologize,” Schumacher told me in a phone interview last week. “I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that.” Good times.)

Writers – Bob Kane (Batman characters) – (Known For: Justice League; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Batman Begins; The LEGO Batman Movie; Batman; Batman Returns; The LEGO Movie; Batman: The Killing Joke; Batman: The Movie; Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders; Future BMT: Suicide Squad; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; BMT: Catwoman; Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Notes: The creator the Batman Character. There are a ton of articles about Bob Kane and his relationship with Bill Finger, the co-creator of Batman. Let’s just say it isn’t a super happy tale, although Finger is getting more credit now than he did in his time.)

Akiva Goldsman (written by) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; I Am Legend; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; Cinderella Man; The Client; Future BMT: Lost in Space; The Dark Tower; Practical Magic; Insurgent; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Batman & Robin; Rings; Transformers: The Last Knight; The 5th Wave; Batman Forever; 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: There is only so much to say right? He is currently overseeing the Ology book series adaptation with other heavy hitters like Michael Chabon on his staff.)

Actors – Arnold Schwarzenegger – (Known For: True Lies; Kindergarten Cop; Total Recall; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; Killing Gunther; Predator; The Terminator; Escape Plan; The Expendables; Aftermath; Conan the Barbarian; The Expendables 2; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; The Running Man; Commando; Welcome to the Jungle; The Last Stand; Maggie; The 6th Day; Red Heat; Future BMT: Hercules in New York; Junior; Red Sonja; Jingle All the Way; Collateral Damage; End of Days; Twins; Cactus Jack; Eraser; Last Action Hero; Terminator Genisys; The Kid & I; BMT: Batman & Robin; Raw Deal; Sabotage; Around the World in 80 Days; Conan the Destroyer; The Expendables 3; Notes: Former governor of California his marriage to Maria Shriver famously fell apart when it was reported he had fathered a child with their former housekeeper. I didn’t realize it, but the child is 20-years-old and goes to Pepperdine.)

George Clooney – (Known For: Tomorrowland: A World Beyond; Ocean’s Eleven; From Dusk Till Dawn; Gravity; Hail, Caesar!; The Men Who Stare at Goats; The Thin Red Line; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; Burn After Reading; Ocean’s Thirteen; Up in the Air; Ocean’s Twelve; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Spy Kids; The Descendants; Money Monster; The American; Michael Clayton; Out of Sight; The Perfect Storm; Future BMT: Return of the Killer Tomatoes!; The Monuments Men; The Good German; BMT: Batman & Robin; Notes: Once the world’s most eligible bachelor, he’s found love with his wife Amal. And guess what? They had twins! A son and a daughter, so fraternal, but still, that’s pretty good.)

Chris O’Donnell – (Known For: Scent of a Woman; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Kinsey; Vertical Limit; School Ties; Blue Sky; Circle of Friends; Kit Kittredge: An American Girl; A Little Help; Cookie’s Fortune; Men Don’t Leave; Future BMT: Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore; The Bachelor; Mad Love; 29 Palms; In Love and War; The Three Musketeers; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Max Payne; The Chamber; Notes: He’s one of the guys whose career was potentially derailed by this disaster. But he seems like he’s doing okay having starred in all 168 episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles. I saw the pilot and him and LL Cool J tear it up, so there we go.)

Budget/Gross – $125 million / Domestic: $107,325,195 (Worldwide: $238,207,122)

(An absolute disaster at the time. Movies like this are more common these days, but at the time the budget was mind-blowing, so not making it back at the domestic box-office was crazy. I’m sure they made a mint on toy sales though.)

#64 for the Comic Book Adaptation genre


(The same as above. The largest two we’ve seen for BMT are Fantastic Four and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies … did we watch those for BMT? I think we saw the first one for BMT, but not the second. Which is weird, because I’ve definitely actually seen the second. I must have watched it on a plane.)

#61 for the Superhero genre


(There really isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said about the genre in the Batman Forever preview. Let’s just say that we’ve had a few gems in our time watching the dregs of Superhero films. You remember Elektra? You remember that piece of garbage? We need to watch a few of these too, like Blankman. Blankman is crazy.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 10% (9/86): Joel Schumacher’s tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that’s too jokey to care much for.

(Hmmm, kind of surprising it isn’t below 10%. I do like the consensus though, I think it very much rings true with what can go wrong with the jokey superhero paradigm. It works fine for Marvel, but this is the logical conclusion of the style and it can get ugly.)

Poster – Sklogman and Sklogin’ (D-)


(This is horrific. This is where you can take the Batman Forever poster (good) and make what seems to be mild changes and dive straight into F territory. Too many colors and too much going on. That being said still has the font… so maybe just narrowly missing that The Avengers F level… barely.)

Tagline(s) – Strength. Courage. Honor. And loyalty. On June 20, it ALL comes together… (D)

(It’s like a child wrote this. I really don’t like it… the more I look at it the more I hate it and I better just grade it before I give it an F.)

Keyword(s) – bat; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.5 Batman & Robin (1997); 72.5 Are We Done Yet? (2007); 67.8 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 65.9 Bodyguard (2011); 64.5 Bats (1999); 63.6 Dracula 2000 (2000); 57.3 Little Nicky (2000); 55.4 Batman Forever (1995); 49.5 The Order (2003); 41.3 City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold (1994);

(I modified this one a bit, but I do like the ultimate list … I wonder is any of these guys are concerning like a baseball bat? Not an animal bat. City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold is the greatest title for a film of all time as well.)

Notes – Most of the scenes with Batgirl, played by actress Alicia Silverstone, were cut out because Silverstone had gained a few pounds during production and the wardrobe team had to refit her costume. When the press discovered the news, they slammed Silverstone’s weight gain and mocked the actress for being “too fat” to fit into her costume. As a result, director Joel Schumacher publicly defended Silverstone during interviews and press meetings, joking “What is this girl’s big sin – that she ate some pizza?” When the press continued to taunt Silverstone’s weight gain, mostly from female journalists, Schumacher again intervened and lashed out at the reporters that taunted her. Schumacher went on record about the weight gain to one magazine by saying: “”It was horrible. I thought it was very cruel. She was a teenager who gained a few pounds – like all of us do at certain times. I would confront female journalists and I’d say, ‘With so many young people suffering from anorexia and bulimia, why are you crucifying this girl?'” Alicia Silverstone Batgirl in this movie is the only time Batgirl was ever shown on screen for a live action Batman movie. (Huh. Makes Schumacher sound like a decent dude. That story kind of sucks)

Due to the difficulty and large amount of time it took to remove the Batman suit, George Clooney reportedly urinated in his suit on at least one occasion. (Jesus Christ these notes)

George Clooney has been known to refund people who saw this film. (I would rather watch the film with him in his house. That would be an experience. I don’t need money back)

In later interviews, director Joel Schumacher would blame studio pressure to make the film more “toyetic” (i.e., a showcase for marketable toys and games), and in a “making-of” documentary on the DVD, apologized to disappointed fans.

Final film of wrestler Jeep Swenson (Bane), who died two months after the film’s release. (Oh no, that is awful. Died of heart failure at 40.).

Joel Schumacher had several meetings with Warner Bros. to get them to reconsider letting him do another Batman movie. Schumacher wanted to take the film back to its darker roots and make a “Batman: Year One” movie. Schumacher wanted to cast Kurt Russell as a young Commissioner Gordon and would have had Selina Kyle as a young, beautiful African-American woman living in the ghetto. However, Warner Bros. decided not to rehire Schumacher and the Batman film franchise remained in development limbo for years until Batman Begins (2005). (Probably a fine decision all things considered. Schumacher would have been poison regardless)

Last Batman film viewed by Batman creator Bob Kane. He would die one year after the release of this film. This is also the last film which Kane worked as project consultant.

Mr. Freeze says 27 “ice puns” throughout the movie. (This is why we watch bad movies)

Voted as the #1 in Empire magazine’s “50 Worst Movies Ever” (February 2010). (Streeeeeeeeet credit report dot coooooooom)

In the evidence room at the prison where Freeze is held and before Bane breaks in, both the Riddler’s and Two-Face’s outfits can be seen. (Noice)

In an interview the cast members were asked what item from filming they would like to take home with them. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he would be taking Mr. Freeze’s armor home, Uma Thurman said that she wanted Ivy’s floral throne, and Elle Macpherson said that she just wanted a cap or something with the “Batman & Robin” logo before anyone else. When asked, George Clooney said he wanted Elle Macpherson. (ha … kind of creepy though)

After filming was completed, Arnold Schwarzenegger went in for heart surgery. Because studios were anxious about insuring Schwarzenegger in one of their action movies, he couldn’t get work again until End of Days (1999). (Huh, didn’t know that. Interesting story.)

The only film in the original series in which Tim Burton had no involvement during the development stages (he directed Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), and worked as producer in Batman Returns and Batman Forever (1995)).

After the poor reception of Batman & Robin, several Batman projects were considered to substitute for the next Batman movie. One was a direct sequel, Batman Unchained written by Mark Protosevich. The second was an adaptation of the graphic novel, Batman: Year One. The last was a live-action adaptation of Batman of the Future (1999). None of those projects came to fruition, instead the franchise was rebooted with Batman Begins (2005). (These notes are really good)

Arnold Schwarzenegger is reputed to have earned $25 million for playing Mr. Freeze.

Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to reprise the role of Conan for “Conan the Conqueror”, which was rewritten as Kull the Conqueror (1997), to star as Mr. Freeze in the film. (Too bad. That film would have probably been terrible)

The Oxbridge Academy, Barbara’s fictional university in England, is really a combination of the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. Oxbridge is used jokingly in American pop culture to refer to any British college graduate. (British people to refer to the two colleges as such. It is often a boon to hire an “Oxbridge” graduate)

Uma Thurman and Elle MacPherson both went on to have children by Arpad Busson who refused to marry either of them. (Wow, I’ll leave that as the last note. Keep it classy IMDb note makers)


Won the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Alicia Silverstone)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Peter Macgregor-Scott)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Chris O’Donnell)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Uma Thurman)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Joel Schumacher)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Akiva Goldsman)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Billy Corgan)

Batman Forever Preview

Big week highlighting one of the few changes the BMT Board of Directors (BMTBD) proposed for the year. That was to try to bring in some of the many major bad movies that we had watched prior to BMT and as a result never gave the full BMT treatment. Originally such films were totally excluded from consideration. No more! So for the SciFi/Fantasy/Other category of the adaptation cycle we went straight for the crown jewel. That’s right! We’re bringing the single highest scoring BMeTric film of all time, the critically reviled superhero film Batman & Robin. We obviously watched this as kids and probably didn’t even think it was all that bad (we were like 11, so I’m not sure I had ever watched a film and thought it was bad). Let’s see if it holds up (holds down?) on a rewatch. But first we have some homework to do! That’s right, Batman Forever qualifies (RT 39%) so it will be included as a bonus here. Let’s go!

Batman Forever (1995) – BMeTric: 55.4



(Sacre Bleu! That … it is so beautiful. It is the most steady unwavering below average IMDb ratings I’ve ever seen. It is pristine. Shhhhh, don’t scare it away, just appreciate that you get to appreciate it.)

Leonard Maltin – 3 stars –  Kilmer makes the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne his own in this well-written sequel in which the Caped Crusader battles Two-Face (Jones) and The Riddler (Carrey) while attempting – at least for a while – to resist the advances of a sexy psychologist (Kidman). He also acquires a partner in O’Donnell (as Robin), and it’s this aspect of the film – the character relationships – that give it solidity. The loud, razzle-dazzle special effects are overkill. Ed Begley, Jr., appears unbilled.

(Wow, that is a pretty solid review. Better than most that’s for sure. I’m not sure “well-written” is how I would describe the film from what I recall, but this does get me a bit more excited about the whole affair.)

Trailer –

(Besides how over-the-top both of the villains looks that trailer is actually quite good. It even makes the whole Robin introduction make a bit more sense: Batman is fighting two villains and thus needs a partner … makes sense to me.)

Directors – Joel Schumacher – (Known For: Flatliners; The Lost Boys; A Time to Kill; St. Elmo’s Fire; Falling Down; Phone Booth; The Client; Flawless; Tigerland; Town Creek; Veronica Guerin; Cousins; Future BMT: Bad Company; Dying Young; The Incredible Shrinking Woman; 8MM; BMT: Batman & Robin; Batman Forever; Trespass; The Number 23; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Director for Batman & Robin in 1998; Notes: Started his career with the Brat Pack and then adapting Grisham novels. Has been openly gay throughout his career.)

Writers – Bob Kane (characters) – (Known For: Justice League; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Batman Begins; The LEGO Batman Movie; Batman; Batman Returns; The LEGO Movie; Batman: The Killing Joke; Batman: The Movie; Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders; Future BMT: Suicide Squad; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; BMT: Batman & Robin; Catwoman; Batman Forever; Notes: Original creator of Batman. Died in 1998 having acted as a consultant on all of the Burton/Schumacher Batman films.)

Lee Batchler and Janet Scott Batchler (story & screenplay) – (BMT: Batman Forever; Pompeii; Notes: Married screenwriting team. They wrote the first pass with Robin Williams in mind which was subsequently re-written by Goldsman.)

Akiva Goldsman (screenplay) – (Known For: A Beautiful Mind; I Am Legend; I, Robot; A Time to Kill; Cinderella Man; The Client; Future BMT: Lost in Space; The Dark Tower; Practical Magic; Insurgent; Silent Fall; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: Batman & Robin; Rings; Transformers: The Last Knight; The 5th Wave; Batman Forever; 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: Incredible career which we touched on in several previews already. Is an executive producer on the upcoming Dark Tower television series … good luck.)

Actors – Val Kilmer – (Known For: Heat; Top Gun; True Romance; Song to Song; Tombstone; Willow; Kiss Kiss Bang Bang; Deja Vu; The Prince of Egypt; The Doors; Top Secret!; Real Genius; Palo Alto; Felon; Kill the Irishman; MacGruber; Bad Lieutenant; The Missing; The Ghost and the Darkness; Pollock; Future BMT: The Island of Dr. Moreau; The Snowman; Twixt; Alexander; The Traveler; Red Planet; Planes; 5 Days of War; Hard Ca$h; Delgo; The Real McCoy; At First Sight; Masked and Anonymous; The Saint; Mindhunters; Wonderland; 10th & Wolf; Stateside; Summer Love; BMT: The Love Guru; Batman Forever; Notes: His health reports are quite strange. It seems like he had throat cancer which is why he didn’t do any films for two years. He was back this year with The Snowman … but tabloids are still pushing stories about his cancer spreading to his brain and being terminal? Just super weird stuff. He at one point denied having cancer and then said “I’ve had a healing of cancer” … what?)

Tommy Lee Jones – (Known For: No Country for Old Men; Captain America: The First Avenger; Lincoln; Jason Bourne; Men in Black; The Fugitive; Natural Born Killers; Men in Black 3; JFK; Space Cowboys; Small Soldiers; The Homesman; Love Story; Under Siege; In the Valley of Elah; The Client; The Company Men; Blue Sky; The Missing; Volcano; Future BMT: Man of the House; Wings of the Apache; The Hunted; Men in Black II; Black Moon Rising; The Family; Blown Away; Criminal; Double Jeopardy; Rules of Engagement; U.S. Marshals; Just Getting Started; Emperor; BMT: Batman Forever; Mechanic: Resurrection; Notes: Famously the college roommate of Al Gore. Also played Offensive Guard on the undefeated Harvard football team that played in the famous 29-29 game.)

Jim Carrey – (Known For: The Truman Show; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; The Bad Batch; Dumb and Dumber; Ace Ventura: Pet Detective; A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Mask; Bruce Almighty; Man on the Moon; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; Liar Liar; Yes Man; Me, Myself & Irene; Earth Girls Are Easy; Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; The Cable Guy; I Love You Phillip Morris; A Christmas Carol; Peggy Sue Got Married; Horton Hears a Who!; Future BMT: Dumb and Dumber To; Pink Cadillac; Once Bitten; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone; Fun with Dick and Jane; Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls; Kick-Ass 2; BMT: Batman Forever; The Number 23; Notes: One of the many breakout stars of the television show In Living Color and went on to be one of the most famous comedic actors in the world. Despite winning two Golden Globes he has never even been nominated for an Oscar. Also noted crazy person.)

Budget/Gross – $100 million / Domestic: $184,031,112 (Worldwide: $336,529,144)

(Basically nothing by today’s standards. Kind of amazing, but the first Burton one was the highest grossing of the three. Forever actually did better than Returns.)

#39 for the Comic Book Adaptation genre


(Basically Superman and Batman kicked off a chain of comic book films that peaked in 1995 and then collapsed. Spiderman rejuvenated the genre which is now averaging 64 thousand theaters a year … considering you kind of max out at 4K theaters, or roughly 16 comic book movies in a calendar year at one point. Steel and Barb Wire are kind of the lowest of the lows for the genre)

#38 for the Superhero genre


(Same as above although it is kind of interesting to see that we are at a peak for superhero films, but not for comic book movies. Makes sense, the set of comic book movies almost entirely contains the set of superhero films.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (24/61): Loud, excessively busy, and often boring, Batman Forever nonetheless has the charisma of Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones to offer mild relief.

(This actually went from 40% flat to just a shade below this year! Rotten Tomatoes scores change unfortunately. The extra review was a short review from CNN in 1995, it just hadn’t been recovered yet. We had to jump at the chance to do the film though, one more good review and it won’t qualify.)

Poster – Sklogman Forever (B)


(I wish they had done more to tone down the colors brought in by the different characters so that there was a little consistency, but otherwise this is a well laid out poster that gives us everything we need to see without going overboard. Font is even given a unique spin. I like it.)

Tagline(s) – Courage now, truth always…. (B-)

(Apparently this is from the trailer and ended with “Batman Forever.” Which may or may not be obvious. It’s a good cadence and sounds like a tagline, but dips a little into the generic zone. Also I like my taglines on the poser. Just a preference.)

Keyword(s) – partner; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.5 Batman & Robin (1997); 68.0 Double Team (1997); 67.8 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 61.4 Exposed (III) (2016); 58.2 Alex Cross (2012); 55.4 Batman Forever (1995); 54.6 Jungle 2 Jungle (1997); 51.1 The Mummy (2017); 51.0 Twisted (I) (2004); 50.9 Scream 3 (2000);

(Interesting. We need to watch Vampire in Brooklyn for sure, tick off another Murphy film. This is somewhat of an enigmatic one though, basically all cop / batman films … so what does partner in Jungle 2 Jungle mean?)

Notes – According to Jim Carrey, he did not get along with Tommy Lee Jones, who told him that he hated him and his films. (Sounds about right)

Jim Carrey’s original idea – to shave a question mark into his scalp – had to be scratched as he was due in court to finalize his divorce. (Jeez, that is a dark reason)

While Tim Burton was still slated to direct the film, Micky Dolenz was considered to play The Riddler. After Burton dropped out, Robin Williams was offered the role by Warner Brothers, but refused due to being bitter about being used as “bait” to lure Jack Nicholson to commit to play the Joker in Batman (1989).

Michelle Pfeiffer was considered to reprise her role as Catwoman.

In the first Batman (1989), District Attorney Harvey Dent was played by Billy Dee Williams. Williams accepted the role with the knowledge and expectation that Dent would eventually become Two-Face. He reportedly had a clause put into his contract, reserving the role for him in any sequels, which Warner Bros. had to buy out, so they could cast Tommy Lee Jones. Williams would eventually voice the character in The Lego Batman Movie (2017). (Huh, I guess I understand wanting a bigger name in there, but that would have been pretty fun maybe)

Dick Grayson suggests “Nightwing” for a hero name. This was the name used by the adult Dick Grayson in the comic books.

Before deciding not to don the cape and cowl for a third time, Michael Keaton met with Joel Schumacher and declined to join the project after deciding that he did not like the direction in which Schumacher was looking to take the franchise. In the brief time that Tim Burton was still considering doing a third Batman film, Riddler was the only villain that he planned on using. The idea of using Two-Face did not come up until Schumacher joined the project.

While learning to twirl a cane, Jim Carrey reportedly broke around a dozen prop canes and some of his trailer furniture.

The Batmobile was usually driven by stunt drivers, but Chris O’Donnell insisted on driving it himself in the joyride scene. He crashed it into a curb, and dented a fender. (nice)

Val Kilmer and Joel Schumacher clashed during filming. Schumacher described Kilmer as “childish and impossible”. According to Schumacher, Kilmer refused to talk to him for two weeks.

Val Kilmer and Jim Carrey became good friends during filming. They bonded over the deaths of their fathers.

Tommy Lee Jones was Joel Schumacher’s first choice for the role of Two-Face after working with him in The Client (1994). Jones accepted the role because his son Austin, eleven at the time, said Two-Face was his favorite character.

Joel Schumacher’s decision to put nipples and enlarged codpieces on the Bat-costumes, as well as an earring on Robin caused controversy – it even bothered Batman creator Bob Kane. Schumacher said he wanted the costumes to have an anatomic look, while the earring was supposed to make Robin more hip. He also claimed that the basis for the Batman and Robin suits came from statues of the gods of ancient Greece. (Joel Schumacher everyone!)

Robin’s costume is not the classic costume of the comics that Dick Grayson wore, but it is based on the costume worn by the third Robin, Tim Drake. This costume was introduced in 1990, and it is rumored that Tim Burton had a hand in designing it.

So heavy was his Batsuit, that Val Kilmer lost five pounds filming the opening fight scene alone. (NOPE, that fact is fake. FAKE)

Will Shortz, “puzzlemaster” on National Public Radio and editor of the New York Times crossword puzzle, created the Riddler’s riddles. (Wow)

Tim Burton said “I always hated those titles like Batman Forever. That sounds like a tattoo that somebody would get when they’re on drugs or something. Or something some kid would write in the yearbook to somebody else. I have high problems with some of those titles.” It is rumored that Burton was considering the title Batman Continues while he was still slated to direct.

For the scene where Chase Meridian is visited by Batman on her balcony at night, Nicole Kidman was not wearing any clothing underneath the white silk sheet, with which she was covering herself. (But why?)

William Baldwin was reported to be considered for the role of Batman. Other names considered for the part before Val Kilmer was cast included Daniel Day-Lewis, Kurt Russell, Alec Baldwin, Ethan Hawke, Ralph Fiennes, Tom Hanks, and Johnny Depp. (TOM HANKS)

Olympic gymnast Mitch Gaylord was a stunt double for Chris O’Donnell. (That is BMT legend Mitch Gaylord to you)

Joel Schumacher said in an interview about Val Kilmer “Val did me two great favors when I wanted him to be Batman, he said yes. Then he created a situation which allowed me not to have him play Batman again, they were both happy, happy instances for which I will always be grateful”. (Cooooooold bloooooooded)

Unlike the two Tim Burton Batman films, this is not scored by Danny Elfman. Also, unlike those two, this film features original songs performed by multiple artists. The trailers for this film and Batman & Robin (1997) feature Elfman’s score from Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), however. (Oh I didn’t know that)

The handgun Two-Face uses throughout the movie is a chrome plated Benelli mp95e. (gun facts, a staple of any good IMDb trivia section)

Awards – Nominated for the Oscar for Best Cinematography (Stephen Goldblatt)

Nominated for the Oscar for Best Sound (Donald O. Mitchell, Frank A. Montaño, Michael Herbick, Petur Hliddal)

Nominated for the Oscar for Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing (John Leveque, Bruce Stambler)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Bono)

Transformers: The Last Knight Recap


Cade Yeager is back, Jack! A final showdown is afoot between Earth and the Transformers planet Cybertron. An ancient staff is the key to either Earth’s destruction or salvation. Can Cade obtain this staff and stop Earth’s demise before it’s too late? Find out in… Transformers: The Last Knight.

How?! I fear that I may have waited too long to write this up and now won’t be able to make heads or tails of the terribly convoluted plot that is the hallmark of all Transformers films. Here it goes: five years after the last movie Transformers are hunted by the US government. Despite this many more arrive from space each day. Why? Turns out that their home planet Cybertron is all kinds of fucked up. The creators that dwell there are angry so they brainwash Optimus and send him in search of a magic MacGuffin… er… staff that will bring life back to their planet. Meanwhile on Earth, Cade Yeager is a Transformer sympathizer hiding out as a fugitive. He finds a powerful talisman in the ruins of Chicago which results in both the US government and Megatron trying to track him down. Cade manages to escape with the help of a British robot who knows that he’s part of a larger prophecy for the final showdown with Cybertron. They team up with a British historian who tracks the magic MacGuffin staff to a submarine, which turns out to be a Transformer, that takes them to an ancient underwater spaceship (you following this? No? Good). Inside they find the staff, but it’s stolen by Optimus, who is temporarily a bad guy. Optimus then has the staff stolen by Megatron and turns back into a good guy (this is real). All our friends and foes head to Stonehenge where Cybertron is using the staff to suck the core out of the Earth. Cade and the historian head up to Cybertron and a bunch of shit happens. People are screaming “Physics!” and “Science!” at the screen and then Cybertron is stopped by our friends. In the end Optimus says that humans and Transformers have to learn to work together… they obviously will not because he says this at the end of every film and no one listens. THE END.

Why?! Did you just read that? It’s impossibly stupid. If you insist on diving into the motivations of Cade it’s mostly about protecting his daughter. He knows that the Transformers are good and the only thing that can save the Earth. If he doesn’t help them the US government will destroy them and doom the Earth. As for the adversaries, they are led by Quintessa, a robot god creator. She is angry at the destruction of her planet Cybertron and plans to use the power within Earth (actually a giant Transformer called Unicron) to rebuild. Gonna sap on that sweet, sweet molten core a la Independence Day 2.

What?! May as well make the MacGuffin Alert a permanent fixture in the Transformers franchise. This is particularly true in The Last Knight which revolves around the recovery of the powerful staff. Hits every possible box of a stereotypical MacGuffin. As for product placement, they really toned it down in this entry. We get a nice shot of Cade drinking a refreshing Bud Light, but that’s about it.

Who?! Jerrod Carmichael is the designated Planchet of this film. He fills the role of comic relief, but is also made fun of constantly and turns out to be more helpful than anyone gives him credit for. Textbook. Also want to point out an uncredited role for Freya, that dog that Michael Bay adopted. Nice touch.

Where?! You can always count on a Transformers film giving you some sweet locations provided by intertitles. In this case I would say the primary setting is England, with a secondary in South Dakota (!). There are also some scenes set in the deserts of Namibia which would be fantastic for a World Overall this is an A-, given the importance of Stonehenge to the climactic battle.

When?! We get a brief glimpse of a universal time clock at CalTech in the beginning of the film that places the start on the 309th day of the year: November 5th. This doesn’t jive super well with everyone prancing about in t-shirts in South Dakota, Chicago, and England, but the UTC clock don’t lie. We can presume this takes place in present day I guess… but that’s pretty hard when every film says it’s been five years since the events of the last film. Would seem like we would have gotten to at least 2022 by this point. But who knows. B.

This movie is truly terrible. I hope they make a sixth one. Patrick?


‘Ello everyone! You’re Michael Bay, and you promised the world you wouldn’t direct another Transformers film. But promises are meant to be broken, right? I mean … that’s the saying, right? Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel / Prequel / Remake) – This movie is a wasteland. The only good thing is that I’ve now learned there is a Submarine Museum in London. Which, yes, I will be going to at some point in the near future. Thanks Transformers 5! Let’s do a Remake. As a matter of fact, let’s do a remake of the entire “second trilogy” of the Transformers franchise. I think an interesting idea would have been to jump forward in time to after a catastrophic war between the Autobots and Decepticons has devastated humanity (something they explored in this movie to an extent). Introduce the new character (the person Wahlberg was kind of meant to be) as a genius human inventor who could be the edge in the battle between the two sides. Combining the heart and ingenuity of Cade Yeager with the driven leadership of Optimus Prime, can the Autobots turn the tide of war and bring peace to Earth? Come see in … The Transformers Warzone Trilogy.

The Bad (Sklognalysis) – This movie straight up makes no sense. Like, the storyline is so muddled that at times you have to just throw your hands up in the air and be like “whatever, I guess show me some explosions?” They also have way too many characters who are just really bad comic relief. From the kids in the beginning (who are promptly forgotten about) to the grating Cogman (voiced by Jim Carter), none of it works. I’m also glad they are shedding Cade in future installments. The idea of him being an “inventor” doesn’t really work in the context of the film they are trying to make. And don’t get me started with the whole Deus Ex John Turturro they tried to throw into the mix as he used his single day of shooting to lob exposition at the protagonists from Cuba. Uuuuuugh. For the Sklognalysis I feel like I want to just mull on Michael Bay a bit here. Bay must have some motivation for what he does. I recall watching documentaries about The Island and the original Transformers and his claim to fame at the time was attaching cameras to very nice (and fast) cars and shooting crashes and explosions and chases in intense adrenaline-fueled intimacy. He still does this … but why does it feel like that it all he cares about? He’s an odd duck when you think of his pet project Pain and Gain from a few years ago. This is the first time I looked at Transformers and thought “this franchise is irredeemable, they have to start completely over”. It makes me sad, but it also makes sense that they should just part ways and never look back.

The BMT (Legacy / – I think Transformers as a series will ultimately hold a strong position as one of the worst franchises we’ve watched. The films are so incoherent. Maybe something like Resident Evil could take the crown, but for some reason I think Transformers, having an original film I actually liked, has an interesting transformation (ha!) across BMT. For we finally have a fully mature set of lists to consider. I am genuinely shocked to see the A.V. Club lacking delicious Transformer bashing in their list. Luckily Rolling Stone had it as their number one. I would actually say, without seeing Emoji Movie yet, that Fifty Shades Darker and Transformers: The Last Knight are shockingly close together as far as what I think are the worst films of the year. Usually we hate some random film a little more (like Mechanic: Resurrection), but this year the big boys really came to play.

We had the possibility to look at bringing number 2 and 3 into the fold this time around … but they felt like a different series. I didn’t even bother to re-watch the fourth one either. So no homework.


The Sklogs

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



(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.) – 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 –

(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


(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


(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


(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


(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+)


(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)

Clan of the Cave Bear Recap


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?  


‘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 / – 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.


The Sklogs