Lock Up Recap

Jamie

Finally a movie that has a real anecdote to go with the watching of the film. So I taught at the prison that Lock Up was filmed at! It’s the East Jersey State Prison, formerly known as Rahway, and known in the film as Gateway. There were a lot of shots of the outside of the prison, which is instantly recognizable, and a single shot of the entrance that I used to go into the prison through. Surprisingly there were only two scenes set in the central hub of the prison, which is a big open space under the dome that contains a circular cage area that I had to wait in while they tried to get me up to the library/classroom area. It’s kinda cool looking (albeit depressing, as everything in a prison is), so I expected it to be featured more. That was it though! Only a couple other brief moments where I recognized anything. Such is life. The craziest thing was that there was a scene in the film with an electric chair and I was like, “OMG! Was there an electric chair in that prison?!?!” But I don’t think so… or at least certainly not when I taught there. There are some claims that there was an electric chair in the dome of the prison at one time, but I think that’s a myth. I believe the only electric chair in NJ was in Trenton. That would have given me the creeps if there had been one in Rahway. Anyway, that’s enough prison talk.

Well I would have really loved for this to be part of the Stallone Food Trilogy, but he doesn’t talk about food nearly enough. Instead I’ll just do my own BMT-solution. I feel like too many times in the past year we were presented with a very interesting adaptation and Patrick and I cited “time” and “work” as valid excuses for not reading the source material. No more! I resolve to read the source material for any and all films that we watch this year. I feel like this will give us a more well rounded idea of just what kind of travesties we are witnessing. Imagine if I hadn’t read Endless Love before watching Endless Love (and Endless Love)?! Impossible! Unacceptable! This is my BMT-solution. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it… Juwanna Mann’s not based on a book, right? Patrick?


Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Lock Up?! More like Shlock Up! Amirite?! Except … wait for it … I kind of dug this movie. Let’s get into it:

  • It had the cheesy weird Sly moment (like him pretending he can play football, presumably to legitimatize hiring a former NFL player to truck people in the prison), but he was okay. He had a little of the incomprehensible Sly talk going, but it was okay.
  • The movie is interesting in two ways. First, they hide his (obviously) noble reason for going to jail for almost the entire film. There is a history to the film with naturally revealing exposition slowly developing his background. Digging it.
  • Second, it is a little grindhouse-y. Like Cobra. There is the ultra-violence, prison-exploitation kind of thing going. Explains the weird Maltin review to an extent.
  • And a lot of the performances and writing are solid. The only tough spot is the bonkers insanity of Sutherland. Oh … and the ending makes no sense. Like Sly is in prison forever. So yeah, that’s an issue.

I’ll leave it there. Because we need a little Prequel to this. Lock Up: Origins. Fortuitously Kiefer Sutherland is 31 years younger than his father. It has been 26 years since Lock Up was released, and the prequel would take place five years prior to that movie …. 31 years ago in 1984! The time is now! Do it! Netflix! Lock Up: Origins! The only question is who plays Stallone? Looking at pictures I think Channing Tatum would weirdly work. But since this is going to be a BMT Production on the cheap let’s get Kellan Lutz on the horn. Boom. Done.

Also, I feel like my negativity is bringing BMT down. This is supposed to be fun guys! Watching movies is fun, right? (right?…). So, introducing my 2016 BMT-solution (oooo, I’m digging that terrible name). My BMT-solution is that I’m going to be less negative in my reviews. Get back to the fun. Try and not brutalize movies like Ridiculous 6 anymore (hey, Ridiculous 6, you got me and my bros to sit down and watch a movie together, that’s something). I’ll see how long that lasts.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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Lock Up Preview

To celebrate the inception of the new calendar we will be ending the year with a Stallone Day! So, Happy Stallone Day! There won’t be a Stallone day for several years so relish it. As usual we would like for the film to not only star Sylvester Stallone, but to also lead nicely into the first cycle of the 2016 calendar. We have discussed and debated it and decided that the first cycle will be called Aaaiiiirrrrbbbbbaaallllll! and will be movies that feature (or hopefully star) former or active professional athletes. Without further ado, the first Stallone Day in history will be the 1989 classic Lock Up which features Sly Stallone as Frank Leone and Frank McRae in the role of Eclipse. McRae appeared in 6 games for the Chicago Bears in 1967. Let’s go!

Lock Up (1989) – BMeTric: 15.4

LockUp_BMeT.png

(Not bad for a 1989 film. Still not super high. I believe this has a bit of cult popularity associated with it playing on cable through the 1990’s. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the score was slightly deflated. Patrick’s Note: It most certainly is. The rating in 2004 was 5.4, it is now 6.3 on IMDB. It has clearly dropped significantly recently.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – With six months to go on his sentence, convict Stallone gets abducted from his country-club cell and transported to a hellhole run by old Hun-like adversary Sutherland. Missing are Linda Blair, John Vernon, a lesbian guard, and 15 gratuitous showers; you do get a body-shop montage backed by Ides of March’s ”Vehicle.” Bottom of the world, ma.

(Hun-like? What a weird thing to say. Guess Leonard really wanted to figure out the most tasteful way of saying that Sutherland is like a Nazi in the film. Then the whole review goes off the rails. I had to look up what the second sentence means. I guess he’s making a reference to the exploitation film Chained Heat. Finally, I have no idea why he makes a White Heat reference at the end. Maybe the end of the film is similar to the end of that film? Bar none the weirdest Maltin review I’ve ever read.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mRBoP0HBaE

(Uh… yes please. That looks amazing. It’s like a full movie of just the prison escape scenes from Tango & Cash.)

Director(s) – John Flynn – (Known For: Rolling Thunder; Best Seller; BMT: Lock Up; Out for Justice; Brainscan; Notes: Died in 2007, and was in the Coast Guard. Studied journalism at UCLA under the tutelage of Alex Haley, the author of Roots.)

Writer(s) – Richard Smith (written by) – (BMT: Lock Up; Notes: Recently passed away. He apparently did some work on a couple of the James Bond films and wrote a novel published in 2010)

Henry Rosenbaum (written by) – (Known For: ; BMT: Lock Up; The Dunwich Horror; Hanky Panky; Notes: Nothing of interest about him. Weird.)

Jeb Stuart (written by) – (Known For: Die Hard; The Fugitive; Next of Kin; Vital Signs; Blood Done Sign My Name; Hart’s War; BMT: Another 48 Hrs.; Lock Up; Just Cause; Fire Down Below; Leviathan; Switchback; Notes: Wrote an early draft of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: Rocky; The Expendables; The Expendables 2; Escape Plan; First Blood; Rocky Balboa; Rocky II; Rocky IV; Antz; Demolition Man; Rocky III; Cliffhanger; Cop Land; Bullet to the Head; Nighthawks; Creed; Death Race 2000; Spy Kids 3-D – Game Over; Shade; Victory; F.I.S.T. BMT: The Expendables 3; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Judge Dredd; Rocky V; Tango & Cash; Assassins; Daylight; The Specialist; Cobra; Grudge Match; Over the Top; Driven; Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Lock Up; Get Carter; Oscar; Rhinestone; Zookeeper; Rambo; D-Tox. Notes: Won for Worst Actor, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992); Rambo III (1988); Cobra (1986); Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Rocky IV (1985); Rhinestone (1984). Nominated for Worst Actor, Bullet to the Head (2012), Escape Plan (2013), Grudge Match (2013); Get Carter (2000); Daylight(1996); Assassins (1995), Judge Dredd (1995); The Specialist (1994); Get Carter (2000); Oscar (1991); Rocky V (1990); Lock Up (1989), Tango & Cash (1989); Over the Top (1987); Cobra (1986). Won for Worst Supporting Actor, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003). Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, Driven (2001); An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997). Won for Worst Actor of the Century. Won for Worst Actor of the Decade (1980’s). Geez Louise. And that’s just for acting.)

Budget/Gross: $24 million / $22,099,847

(A definitive bomb for Stallone. This was smack in the middle of a disastrous run of films for him so he might have just started to wear out his welcome. After First Blood in 1982 he followed with Staying Alive, Rhinestone, Rambo II, Rocky IV, Cobra, Over the Top, Rambo III, Lock Up, Tango & Cash, Rocky V, Oscar, and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Oof.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 16% (2/12), No consensus yet.

(Never trust the RT on a movie this old (like Weekend at Bernie’s is a downright mediocre film according to RT). It’s nice that it’s low, but the Razzie recognition, Leonard Maltin review, and BMeTric are more important in this case.)

Poster – Black and White

LockUpPoster.jpg

(Looks pretty cheap but I guess the artistic take is nice. I’ve seen this same poster with red coloring on the letters and/or sky, which I like a bit more. But this seems official.)

Tagline(s) – How much can a man take…before he gives back? (D+)

How many times can a man be pushed to the wall…before he goes over it? (C-)

Stallone…behind bars? Not for long. (Hah)

He is only six months away from freedom. But a warden obsessed with revenge wants to take his future away. (D)

(I usually just grade the tagline that is found on the poster (which I consider official), but there isn’t one on the main poster and these are too good not to grade. They are all either too long or bonkers insane. The first and second use super weird phrasing to make their point. The third is hilarious… I can hear Stallone saying those words. The fourth is classic 70’s/80’s tagline.)

Notes – The cast includes real inmates of Rahway State Prison which is also known as East Jersey State Prison as it is located in Rahway, New Jersey, USA. A number of the prisoners appear as extras and background artists in the movie. (This is the prison I taught at in New Jersey. It’s got a very distinctive look. I wonder if I’ll recognize some of the places they show.)

The movie was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards at the 10th annual ceremony including Worst Picture, Worst Actor – Sylvester Stallone and Worst Supporting Actor – Donald Sutherland, but the film failed to take home a Razzie in any category.

First starring role of actor Tom Sizemore.

Actor Frank McRae, who participates in the football game sequence, had actually played gridiron as an NFL (National Football League) defensive tackle during the 1967 season playing six games for the Chicago Bears. (There it is).

Danny Trejo: As a gang member of Chink’s gang. (Keep a lookout)

Cheaper by the Dozen Recap

Jamie

BMT is truly a wonder. Just when you think it can’t get any better (seriously, how could it get better? It’s basically perfect), we go ahead and implement a BMT Book Club cycle to get us all jazzed up. It has been a joy to read these books and watch these films. In some cases it’s unnecessary (Fifty Shades of Grey is basically a straight-up adaptation, so you don’t really have to read the book), but in cases like Cheaper by the Dozen it takes what would have been a mediocre/forgettable BMT film and transmorphs it into a BMT extravaganza of insights.

And seriously, the adaptation of this truly wonderful book was a T-R-A-V-E-S-T-Y. There is no acceptable explanation for why this film turned out this way. They shit on the source material. Ripped all the interesting stuff out of a really interesting book and replaced it with cliches and garbage. It should really have been like what Patrick will explain: dad runs family like his occupation (football coach is actually a really good choice). Don’t make him a bumbling fool and make the family fall apart. Who wants to watch that? Wouldn’t you rather have the family use their unique skills to overcome the problems that face them (perhaps with a bunch of hilarious montages where their use their football knowledge to approach aspects of their lives?). Come on! So dumb. And to think! Without the book we would have had no idea that this was a pile of shit compared to what it was a remake of. Really makes me not want to watch the second one (which is supposed to be considerably worse). And with that I don’t really have much more to say about Cheaper by the Dozen.

I’ll let Patrick explain more though.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Cheaper by the Dozen? More like just Cheaper than the Original. This entire round of adaptations has been super interesting, but this one might be the most interesting. The Cheaper by the Dozen book (non-fiction, written in 1949 about events occurring around 1929) is probably the best of the source materials we’ve encountered thus far. The original movie is a super faithful adaptation (all the way down to the depressing end). The actual real life story is crazy cool (the mother was the first practicing female industrial engineer with a PhD, was inducted into the national academy of science, and is considered a pioneer of ergonomics). So … why? Why did they adapt it this way?

  • A few things it has going for it: Steve Martin is great. Bonnie Hunt is great. Most of the kids are fine. Even the older kids (limited in screen time) are fine. So what’s the problem?
  • While I was impressed with the movie’s ability to make the kids individuals and somewhat memorable (two twin boys are youngest, then another young boy, misfit kid, two fraternal twin girls, sporty girl, skateboard kid, chunky kid, Hillary Duff, Superman, Covert Affairs …. that’s in ascending order by age, or close to it), none of them have any kind of interesting story. Hillary Duff is upset about wearing hand me downs (resolved in the first half hour). Superman is kicked off the football team (NOT RESOLVED, what the fuck?). Misfit kid is sad (resolved with swelling music and Patrick tears at the end). Covert Affairs breaks up with Ashton Kutcher twice! (NOT RESOLVED, and he’s back in the sequel? EDITORS NOTE: He is not). Even the parents stories are half-baked.
  • And the entire tone is just off. In the original the family operates like a machine. The father is an industrial engineer specializing in efficiency and runs his family accordingly. Most of the humor (and drama) come from how people react to this unconventional family. Here: chaos. Chaos everywhere. Literally the worst parents. Literally begging the question: Why do you have 12 kids?! You cannot manage them! I know you have to go a little slapstick, but it ends up as a slap in the face (heyoooo) of the original.
  • I’ll leave it there. The music was obnoxious. Which means watch out Jamie: you might be getting this soundtrack as a gift.
  • Let’s Airbud this! Cheaper by the Tolstoy. Tolstoy has a litter of puppies, a dozen of them, and oh my are they a handful. With severe separation anxiety and leash aggression abound what will Patrick do with them?! Work through it of course, with love and laughter (and a little underbite). Cheaper by the Tolstoy … hot diggity dog! (That’s the terrible tagline). Also, perhaps, called Beethoven’s … Twelfth I guess? Although he only had 9 complete symphonies …

I think it is time for a Remake! Here’s the thing. Part of the charm of the original movie is just how capable the parents are. They joke around, and things go awry, but they rarely descend into chaos. The newer movie was chaos wall to wall. So here’s the change: The father is a coach, and runs his family like a football team. When he blows his whistle everyone falls in line. The drama of the story is more about people not believing in him because twelve kids just seems like too many today. They pull through because they are a team. Like in the first movie a lot of drama can also come from the kids getting bullied because of the oddity of their family. NETFLIX!!!! This is a live one, we need to hit this while the iron is hot. Also, all of the Netflix executives who read this week to week, hear me out. Bedknobs and Broomsticks Netflix original series. Just a thought.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs