Jurassic World: Dominion Recap

Jamie

Bah dah dah duh duh. Bah dah dah duh duh. Like peering over the ridge at a live brachiosaurus, Patrick and I take off our sunglasses and stumble out of our BMTmobile. Welcome to Jurassic World: Dominion: The Post. When this was released to theaters I had very little interest in seeing it. Apart from what seemed like a cool feathered dino in a cold weather situation, there wasn’t much else in the trailer that grabbed my attention (and I never saw Fallen Kingdom anyway). So it was very fitting that Dominion would qualify for BMT and thus force our hands. But don’t worry, you better believe I got over the disappointment fast. Because it’s me, Franchise Guy! The guy who wants another Tom Cruise Mummy movie. You’ve been franchised!

To recap, Jurassic World is back, Jack. Remember all the stuff that happened in the first two Jurassic World films? No? Don’t worry, just know that now dinos are everywhere and also you can’t hunt them for some reason and they are being sent to live in Italy under the thumb of a big tech weirdo for science. If that’s not enough, there is a big time illegal dino trade going on and the big tech weirdo is also designing giant bugs to boost sales on… anti-giant bug crops I guess. Anyway, Claire is back and now she is an ecoterrorist shacking up with Owen raising their clone daughter. Everything has to be hush hush so you know that that clone is immediately getting kidnapped along with Blue’s raptor baby. Don’t worry, Blue, Owen promises to get that baby back. Off they jet to Malta where the two kids are picked up by the tech weirdo’s guys. Owen and Claire are a second late, but just in time to kick some smuggler’s asses, get some indoraptors set on them, and jump a jet to the tech weirdo’s compound/company. As Owen and Claire arrive, the company sets flying dinos on them and Claire uses the only parachute to get out. Owen and their new pilot buddy crash land and try to track her. Both are almost eaten by some real cool new dinos that I’m sure kids went crazy for. Meanwhile the tech weirdo is like ‘use this kid to solve our problems,’ and BD Wong basically mumbles under his breath that they are the problem. Spoiler Alert. While all this is going on Laura Dern and Sam Neill are invited out to the company by Jeff Goldblum (the cast is back, Jack). It becomes pretty clear, pretty fast that Goldblum brought them there to reveal the treachery going on. They do just that, grab the girl and skedaddle. Eventually they stumble onto Owen and Claire and everyone hugs. As the company bursts into flames (and our tech weirdo is eaten by dinos) our heroes make their grand escape. But, uh oh! There’s a big dinosaur ready to eat them. How will they survive this?! You know how: Sexy Rexy saves the day again. They all escape and the world builds a dino-human utopia. THE END.

This was a slippery one… and by that I mean that the plot just slipped right off my brain. This movie is megadumb. I wish I had an appropriate comparison to convey just how big and dumb it is. What’s big… something huge… ah, well I’m sure it will come to me. Anyway, it being a giant dumbo of a movie isn’t really its primary crime. In fact, it might be its greatest attribute. At least it was trying something pretty wild. Even if they still ended up with the T-Rex saving the day. They just can’t quit Sexy Rexy. No, the greatest crime is that it looks like shit. In a year where we saw Avatar 2 and you swam with literal aliens and were like “beautiful alien planet let me talk to whales with you,” you also have this film. The raptors look terrible… like it’s a TV show or something. I personally think it’s the worst of the bunch.

Hot Take Clam Bake! This is easy. Let the dinos die. In Fallen Kingdom they start to rend their clothes in despair at the thought of a volcano destroying all the dinosaurs on the island. You should be so lucky. Give that volcano a medal. No wonder the US Senate decided to vote against saving the dinosaurs (real scene in the film) and yet our meddling “heroes” have to swoop in and help the bad guys bring the dinos to the mainland. And if that isn’t enough they get another minidisaster that’s all set to destroy the dinos again… and they save them AGAIN! Are you guys insane? They need to lock you up. For the love of God just let them be extinct in peace. This isn’t a hot take even. This is an ice cold take. We can’t have a society where pterodactyls are swooping around and terrorizing humanity. Somehow the US Senate figured this out and you guys didn’t. Let the volcano do its job. Temperature: Sweet Bell Pepper.

Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Jurassic Park: Dominion? More like Jurassic Fart: Lame-inion, amirite? I mean, I suppose there must have been at least some Jurassic farts in that Jurassic park / world, right? So yeah, I was right. Let’s go!

  • I had never seen any of the Jurassic World films.
  • Now I have seen all of them. My life is spiritually worse off because of this. What is the opposite of a religious experience?
  • But really let’s get some quick cut reviews of the first two films to start off.
  • The first film is kind of good, although much like Star Wars I think there is an argument that “Jurassic Park but like … updated” is a pretty safe bet. Lots of dinosaurs though. Some good CGI. A pretty weak love story, especially the bits where people are like “your boyfriend is cool” to Howard and she gets all moon eyed. Could have done without that aspect to her character if I’m being honest. Oh Chris Pratt is also not very good at acting, very one note, basically the same character as Starlord.
  • The second film is significantly worse. Now there is a very obvious villain character, an odd jaunt to the dino island which feels far too short, and then the surely-far-too-large-mansion that can house like what? A third of Jurassic World. I ain’t buying it. Also the dinosaurs are officially smarter than us. I was waiting for Chris Pratt to be like “shoot, it taught itself quantum mechanics and built an atomic bomb, run!” Needless to say I was unimpressed, although the CGI? Still felt top notch.
  • This guy? Woof. First, the CGI is awful. What the hell? The velociraptors in particular look like trash. They run like the raptor from Beast Wars. Any scene with a raptor looks like garbage. And then the entire trip out to not-Tim-Cook’s definitely-not-secretly-evil company whose business plan is obviously making more dinosaurs (genetic power as Ian Malcolm would say) appears to be an excuse to allow the OG Jurassic Park crew to film the movie from the comfort of a sound stage. Definitely the worst of the new trilogy, although I would argue that the second is pretty close once you think about it.
  • Anyways, seeing the OG crew was nice.
  • I also do think Howard’s arc across the three films from operator of Jurassic World, to outspoken dinosaur conservationist, to legit eco-terrorist was cool.
  • Chris Pratt’s evolution from Chris Pratt to Chris Pratt to Chris Pratt was less impressive.
  • It does make you wonder what the future holds for Jurassic Park / World. The trilogy is finished. But it would seem like they would still want to do something with it. A television series maybe? A smaller scale affair? Nothing? Hard to tell.
  • Let’s go with a Setting as a Character (Where?) for the unlikely shoutout to the Italian Dolomites as the home of all of the dinosaurs from Jurassic World. You know what? That’s it. I don’t think it really deserves anything else. Closest to BMT I think, it is undeniably entertaining and an interesting look into the world of Big BMT which we tend to shy away from.

Read about my idea for the spinoff film Jurassic World: Half Past Dinosaur in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Advertisement

Jurassic World: Dominion Quiz

Oh man, so there I was, hanging with my best friend Blue. She’s a dinosaur. NBD. But then all of a sudden her kid is stolen and she goes bananas on me. Well, now I’m all dinosaured up, and I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Jurassic World: Dominion?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard just neeeeed to get to the Dolomites to see some dinosaurs. But why do they need to go there?

2) Out of literal sheer coincidence, so does the OG Jurassic Park crew. Why do they have to get there?

3) But first Pratt and Howard have to go to Africa. Why?

4) How do both of the groups actually infiltrate the Dolomite Compound?

5) And finally what is the final result, who basically saves the day?

Bonus Question: The crew has saved the world (hooray), but that’s just the beginning. Who arrives as a bearer of bad news?

Answers

Jurassic World: Dominion Preview

Jamie and Patrick walk along the Canals of Amsterdam. They admire all the sites, including a few they recognize from Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo. It’s a magical time. “This is a magical time,” Says Producer Frank Brow. It would seem he has decided to play their triplet in hopes that they agree to join America is Very Good as permanent hosts. “And that’s darn tootin’. You can use that on the show,” he adds. The Brow-isms were coming fast and furious in what appeared to be his primary strategy for wooing them into the gig. “Yo, Brow, my man, we’ve always heard that Amsterdam is a place of forbidden wonder (if you know what I mean). Is that true?” Jamie asks, waggling his eyebrows. Mr. Brow gulps, and Patrick can see Brow’s brow getting moist with nervous sweat. He gulps and, with dollar signs dancing in his eyes, summons his courage. “Of course, come with me,” he wheezes. A moment later they stand in front of a red light district storefront. “Mr. Brow, well I never,” Patrick exclaims, “I’m a happily married man.” Mr. Brow apologizes, his face turning crimson. He beckons them again to follow. A moment later they stand in front of a coffee shop. “Mr. Brow, well I never,” Jamie exclaims, “Everyone knows we D.A.R.E. to not do drugs.” Mr. Brow apologizes profusely and admits that when Jamie parathentically said “if you know what I mean,” it turned out that he didn’t. Just as he’s about to explain, Jamie’s eyes light up and he points at something over Mr. Brow’s shoulder. “That’s what I mean,” he says with great excitement. Brow spins around to see a giant amusement park called “Dino Globe” with the tagline “Amsterdam: the only place where dinosaurs are legal.” That’s right! We are finishing the Jurassic World trilogy with the only entry that qualified for BMT, this year’s Jurassic World: Dominion. Spoiler alert! I heard that the T-Rex might fight another dinosaur and maybe even inadvertently save the day. They just can’t quite Sexy Rexy. Let’s go!

Jurassic World: Dominion (2022) – BMeTric: 44.3; Notability: 71

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 6.8%; Notability: top 0.4%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 10.5%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Bubble, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Firestarter, Moonfall, Morbius, Blacklight, Pinocchio, Me Time, Spiderhead, Deep Water, The Invitation, After Ever Happy, Jurassic World: Dominion, Senior Year, Blackout, The 355; Higher Notability: Black Adam; Lower RT: After Ever Happy, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Me Time, Poker Face, Blacklight, Firestarter, White Elephant, Prey for the Devil, Morbius, The Last Manhunt, Blackout, The Bubble, The Man from Toronto, Senior Year, On the Line, The 355, The Invitation, Pinocchio, Memory; Notes: That notability will only go up. I assume this is ultimately going to be a 100+ Notability film all said and done, just will take a few years.

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – Worst of all, the series again fails to properly explore its most tantalizing question: how would our world change if dinosaurs were added to it? The opening section packs any halfway intriguing or funny thing that “Dominion” might have to say about this topic into a TV news montage—showing, for instance, a little girl being chased on a beach by baby dinos (an homage to “The Lost World”), a couple releasing doves at their wedding only to have one of them get snatched out of the air by a pterodactyl, and pteranodons nesting in the World Trade Center (possibly a reference to Larry Cohen’s “Q: The Winged Serpent,” in which an ancient Aztec god nests in the Chrysler Building). Ninety minutes of footage like this, minus any characters or plot at all, probably would’ve resulted in an artistically better use of a couple hundred million dollars than “Jurassic World: Dominion,” which will doubtless be a smash on the order of all the other entries in the franchise, even though it doesn’t do much more than the bare minimum you’d expect for one of these films, and not all that well.

(Actually higher praise than I would have imagined. The movie looks like garbage, no joke.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtQycgMD4HQ/

(I watched this trailer live as well. It is more obvious that the raptors actually look like garbage while watching the film. The scene with the raptors in the city is embarrassing.)

DirectorsColin Trevorrow – ( Known For: Jurassic World; Safety Not Guaranteed; Future BMT: The Book of Henry; BMT: Jurassic World: Dominion; Notes: His career is kind of balancing on a knife’s edge. He was supposed to do Star Wars 9, but then The Book of Henry was so catastrophic he got it taken away. The write up for his version sounded awful anyways. And now this. He’ll either retreat to a small Indie hit like Safety Not Guaranteed, or tee up another big film and his career will live and die by that.)

WritersEmily Carmichael – ( Known For: Pacific Rim: Uprising; BMT: Jurassic World: Dominion; Notes: Ooooof, not an impressive set of films. She has otherwise exclusively written and directed shorts.)

Colin Trevorrow – ( Known For: Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker; Jurassic World; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; BMT: Jurassic World: Dominion; Notes: Yeah he got a credit on Star Wars 9, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t really use any of this script. Oddly didn’t really start writing stuff until he was directing huge features.)

Derek Connolly – ( Known For: Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker; Jurassic World; Kong: Skull Island; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; Pokémon Detective Pikachu; Safety Not Guaranteed; Future BMT: Monster Trucks; BMT: Jurassic World: Dominion; Notes: Just a story credit, but he’s done an eclectic set of films since writing Safety Not Guaranteed which Trevorrow directed.)

Michael Crichton – ( Known For: Jurassic Park; Jurassic World; Twister; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; The Great Train Robbery; The Lost World: Jurassic Park; Jurassic Park III; Disclosure; Westworld; Runaway; The Andromeda Strain; Coma; The Terminal Man; Looker; The Carey Treatment; Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues; Extreme Close-Up; Future BMT: Sphere; BMT: Jurassic World: Dominion; The 13th Warrior; Timeline; Congo; Rising Sun; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Twister in 1997; Notes: He wrote the original Jurassic Park book. Fun fact: he wrote Lost World after they had already decided to make the movie. There was never supposed to be a second Jurassic Park book at all.)

ActorsChris Pratt – ( Known For: Thor: Love and Thunder; Avengers: Endgame; Guardians of the Galaxy; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; Avengers: Infinity War; Her; The Magnificent Seven; Zero Dark Thirty; Jurassic World; Moneyball; The Tomorrow War; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; Wanted; Jennifer’s Body; The Lego Movie; The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part; Onward; The Kid; 10 Years; The Five-Year Engagement; Future BMT: Passengers; What’s Your Number?; Take Me Home Tonight; Delivery Man; Jem and the Holograms; BMT: Jurassic World: Dominion; Movie 43; Bride Wars; Notes: He’s kind of in everything now. He is very good in Parks and Recreation which is where most people probably saw him first.)

Bryce Dallas Howard – ( Known For: How the Grinch Stole Christmas; A Beautiful Mind; Jurassic World; Spider-Man 3; The Help; The Village; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; Rocketman; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse; 50/50; Pete’s Dragon; Gold; A Dog’s Way Home; Hereafter; Manderlay; Good Dick; Book of Love; As You Like It; The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond; Future BMT: Terminator Salvation; BMT: Jurassic World: Dominion; Lady in the Water; Notes: Ron Howard’s daughter. She has notably directed a few of the recent Star Wars television show episodes.)

Laura Dern – ( Known For: Little Women; Jurassic Park; Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi; The Son; Blue Velvet; Downsizing; Marriage Story; The Master; The Fault in Our Stars; Wild at Heart; The Founder; Mask; Jurassic Park III; Cold Pursuit; Inland Empire; Wild; October Sky; Fat Man and Little Boy; A Perfect World; Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; Future BMT: Little Fockers; I Am Sam; When the Game Stands Tall; BMT: Jurassic World: Dominion; Notes: She’s done a bunch of television in the recent years, including, oddly, an uncredited stint on White Lotus. She’s been in just three of the Jurassic Park movies, the first third and sixth.)

Budget/Gross – $165–185 million / Domestic: $376,009,080 (Worldwide: $1,001,136,080)

(A billion dollars. People just like dinosaurs yo.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 29% (114/393): Jurassic World Dominion might be a bit of an improvement over its immediate predecessors in some respects, but this franchise has lumbered a long way down from its classic start.

(It is not an improvement on its predecessors. It is, frankly, the worst of the six movies so far and in my opinion it is by quite a distance. Yes, even the third one.)

Reviewer Highlight: This is not a story that begged to be told or a saga that demanded a finale. It’s another dispiriting example of how Hollywood never leaves money on the table. It’s just a shame that so much talent is wasted in the process – Leonard Maltin, leonardmaltin.com

Poster – Jurassic Sklog: Extinction

(D as in Dumb.)

Tagline(s) – The epic conclusion of the Jurassic era. (F)

(F as in For Sure Dumb.)

Keyword(s) – year 2022

Top 10: The Batman (2022), The Kashmir Files (2022), Top Gun: Maverick (2022), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), Bullet Train (2022), Uncharted (2022), The Adam Project (2022), The Northman (2022)

Future BMT: 65.8 Jeepers Creepers: Reborn (2022), 64.8 Halloween Ends (2022), 63.9 Firestarter (2022), 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 50.5 Umma (2022), 45.9 The 355 (2022), 38.5 Memory (2022), 19.2 Black Adam (2022)

BMT: Moonfall (2022), Morbius (2022), Blacklight (2022), The Invitation (2022), After Ever Happy (2022), Jurassic World: Dominion (2022), Prey for the Devil (2022), The King’s Daughter (2022), Amsterdam (2022), Don’t Worry Darling (2022), Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

(Wait, what is the sub cycle? Oh right, films set in the future. … … Yeah, I mean, prove it didn’t? I kid in a way, but as the biggest baddest sci-fi film of the year it did seem like fair game for Achievement Unlocked, no films definitively set in the future qualified in 2022.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 17) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Bryce Dallas Howard is No. 2 billed in Jurassic World: Dominion and No. 2 billed in Lady in the Water, which also stars Paul Giamatti (No. 1 billed) who is in Paycheck (No. 4 billed) which also stars Ben Affleck (No. 1 billed) who is in Pearl Harbor (No. 1 billed) which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => (2 + 2) + (1 + 4) + (1 + 1) + (3 + 3) = 17. If we were to watch Bicentennial Man, Jack, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – Laura Dern strongly expressed her desire to return to the series in March 2017; adding that: “If you guys make a last one, you gotta let Ellie Sattler come back. She’s always the one who’s saving the day, man!”

Jeff Goldblum is the same age in this film that Richard Attenborough was in Jurassic Park (1993).

When Jeff Goldblum found out he was appearing with his two co-stars from the the original film, he wrote on Instagram about Colin Trevorrow a line he said in the original, “You did it, you crazy son of a bitch, you did it.” He also added, “happy as a clamasaurus to be reunited with my brilliant costars from the original Jurassic Park Laura Dern and Sam Neill for the next installment of Jurassic World… Coming soon!!”

Sam Neil has often said he thought Dr. Grant would have long since retired by now, but maybe the threat of dinosaurs back on American soil would force him to reconsider that option.

Colin Trevorrow has revealed that this film is actually going to have more animatronics than its predecessors. As he put it: “We’ve actually gone more practical with every Jurassic movie we’ve made since the first one, and we’ve made more animatronics in this one than we have in the previous two.”

Trevorrow stated that the film would be set around the world, and said that the idea of Henry Wu being the only person who knows how to create a dinosaur was far-fetched “after 30 years of this technology existing” within the films’ universe. Additionally, the film would focus on the dinosaurs that were freed at the end of Fallen Kingdom, but it would not depict dinosaurs terrorizing cities, an idea that Trevorrow considered unrealistic. Instead, Trevorrow was interested in a world where “a dinosaur might run out in front of your car on a foggy backroad, or invade your campground looking for food. A world where dinosaur interaction is unlikely but possible–the same way we watch out for bears or sharks. We hunt animals, we traffic them, we herd them, we breed them, we invade their territory and pay the price, but we don’t go to war with them.” Trevorrow said that the film would also be about Owen and Claire’s redemption, and their responsibility to take care of Maisie, a cloned girl from the previous film. Trevorrow said about the film and its predecessors, “I have a dinosaur movie that I’ve always wanted to see, and it took two movies to earn it.”

Laura Dern told TIME that reuniting with the adorable animatronic nausutoceratops “was equally as jaw dropping, but nothing will be like that first moment I walked through a field on Kauai [in Hawaii] with Sam Neill and I looked ahead and I saw a triceratops. That was my first dinosaur and I will love that dinosaur the most forever.”

Speaking with CinemaBlend, Bryce Dallas Howard expressed hopes of going all out for the then-untitled Jurassic World 3 and bringing in more characters from the original Jurassic Park (1993) to finish out the trilogy. Howard also revealed that this is currently one of the many goals of Jurassic World 3, saying: “In terms of the third movie, the goal overall is to bring the entire saga together. It’ll be the sixth film at the end of the day. For me, what I’m most wanting, other than an undercut, is for there to be more characters from the earlier films.”

Colin Trevorrow said that the film would be a “science thriller,” describing it as being the Jurassic World film that would most closely match the tone of Steven Spielberg’s original Jurassic Park (1993).

One Jurassic World character returning that director Colin Trevorrow is especially proud of: Dr. Henry Wu. That’s according to the actor who plays him, BD Wong, who said: “Colin’s very proud of where he’s taken this particular character. He kind of rescued this character from obscurity from the original Jurassic Park movie….Then years later Colin came back and said ‘Well who’s not dead?’ and went through the roster of characters. There was only one person they could really, not even resurrect him, they just pulled him back from obscurity because he had not been attended to properly as far as I’m concerned. And he has now taken a turn into a whole other world in the franchise and become a more complex and more interesting individual. So where he goes in the third movie, cannot be said by me right now, but Colin’s very proud of it and rightly so.”

Amsterdam Recap

Jamie

One big perk of the past year is that Patrick and I have been able to go to the movies together a number of times (usually to partake in some artistic achievement like Tár or Prey for the Devil) and each trailer that plays gets a silent look between us. Usually these looks are balanced, like yin and yang. Equal and opposite looks. Like Banshees of Inisherin and Plane. It’s like “Boy, I can’t wait for that one,” but for opposite reasons. Then there is the look like “That seems like a bit much.” Like seeing the trailer for M3GAN and it’s kind of a good thing. Like wow… that seems like a lot… and it could be fun. The equal and opposite is a film like Amsterdam where we tiredly look over at each other and it’s just like… “that just feels like… a lot.” Amsterdam just felt like a lot. It’s just a lot.

To recap, there’s just a lot. Like… it’s a lot. Bale is a wounded veteran doctor in NYC who is called on by his black lawyer veteran friend, Harold, to help determine whether Taylor Swift’s father (a celebrated general) has been murdered. [Big breath.] He determines that he probably was, but when they go to tell TSwift she is unceremoniously shoved in the street and killed. The murderer tries to pin the murder on them and so they go on the run. In order to inform the rest of the film we are treated to a lengthy flashback where we meet Margot Robbie, a free-spirited artist/spy who helped treat them during the war. They become BFF’s Forever and live a great life in Amsterdam until Bale is like “I gotta go back to NYC to see my wife.” There he gets into hot water as he tries to help veterans with their pain and so Harold joins him to help, thus officially breaking up the trio. [Even bigger breath.] Back in the present Bale uses his connections amongst the veterans to stall the police and heads to Tom Voze’s house, a notable citizen of NYC, to try to get him to vouch for their character and they are surprised to find that Robbie is there. Turns out she’s a Voze. [Medium breath.] Tom Voze suggests they go talk to General Dillenbeck and try to get him on their side. In the meantime all kinds of shady stuff is happening with a group called the Committee of the Five and so they stop off to see Robbie’s spy friends. They say, indeed, the Committee of the Five are trying to establish a fascist state in America using Dillenbeck, so they should try to stop them. Dillenbeck agrees and sets up the climax of the film where he will lure the Committee to a veteran’s gala where they will reveal them to the authorities. [Final breath.] All of this occurs, but wait! Tim Voze is part of the Committee (what a twist!) and they use their power and influence to avoid jail. As a result Robbie and Harold have to go on the run, but it’s OK because they have love. Bale stays and I guess is fine. I don’t know. THE END.

There is too much going on to grasp what the purpose of all this was. There were aspects of the film I liked. For example, I thought the fact that Bale’s character was physically debilitated by his war injuries was an interesting idea to explore alongside Harold (struggling with the racism of the era) and Margot Robbie’s character (who’s art makes her family think she’s mentally ill). For a moment I thought the idea was that the broken and beaten down of the world were who really prevented the fall… but it’s just one of a million ideas that are ultimately explored in the film. So I can’t tell if that was even there. Maybe the idea is that Robert De Niro is what prevents the fall… could that be it? Anyway, the film looked good and the acting was generally pretty good I thought, but there’s nothing there to grab onto and by the end I wasn’t sure it amounted to much. It’s funny because I would say if you wanted something like this then you should just watch Don’t Look Up, which is just as big and (I thought) much more successful… but a lot of people also thought that was bad… so it kinda tells you everything you need to know about where this one ends up.

Hot Take Clam Bake! Maybe Robert De Niro should have just become the dictator of America… might have saved us from eventually starting BMT and now watching Amsterdam. Or maybe it’s the opposite, maybe under the fascist state art would have shrivel to a hard tiny prune and we’d be forced to eat our Amsterdam prunes every day extolling our dear leader, Robert De Niro. So now I’m not sure. Maybe Robert De Niro shouldn’t have become dictator of America. We’ll (probably) never know. Hot Take Temperature: Started as Carolina Reaper but shriveled to a Banana Pepper by the end.

Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Amsterdam? More like Amster-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang, amirite? Thank you David O. Russell, the only way we were getting the chain reaction to work this year was with a crazy huge ensemble disaster. Let’s go!

  • It must be the fact that we avoid giant ensemble cast films like this for BMT because I can’t really remember the last one we watched. Maybe they just tend not to be that bad? Maybe I’m misremembering. Funny enough the one we chained from was Pearl Harbor, which is also a giant ensemble cast disaster. This feels different because it is a straight drama (with comedic elements).
  • Christian Bale is good.
  • The rest … I would entertain arguments that anyone in this film is good. They are all acting very weird. They are all being acted off the screen by Christian Bale who is amazing as usual. It is a cyclone of quirks that kind of never works.
  • Well, except Robert De Niro who acts like De Niro. It is weird he is supposed to be a real person (kind of) but in the end he’s just De Niro.
  • Russell films are weird. He likes to take a real life event, then he fills it chockablock with weirdos with quirks, and in the end the not-very-interesting real life event is overwhelmed by the quirky acting. But most of the time it works to varying degrees. This time?
  • Yeah, it is just really dull. Every time Christian Bale is on screen the film comes alive. His character is so real and quirky and fun and funny and works really well. But then every time anyone else is on screen the film falls apart. I wonder how hard Russell pushed to get Jennifer Lawrence in the Margo Robbie role. Probably so hard.
  • The real life event is the Business Plot by the way, and don’t bother reading about it, it seems like a genuinely uninteresting non-conspiracy of questionable authenticity. It is very weird that a movie has been made about it. The Bonus Army would have been a more interesting setting.
  • Gosh how do I even keep on talking about this film. It feels like it was barely written, the acting is mostly average at best, and it is beautiful and a cool period piece. I guess that is what it has going for it, it is a fun period piece at best.
  • I guess I’ll call it an A+ Setting (Where?) for Amsterdam, you can’t deny it does take place in Amsterdam to some degree. The film is closest to Bad because there just is nothing to it besides Bale, and you’ve seen better performances by him anyways.

Read about the unlikely science fiction sequel, Amsterdam 2: Half Past Time, in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Amsterdam Quiz

Oh man, so there I was in WWI when I got my face and eye all blown up and junk. Now I’m a cast out doctor treating patients on the sly. Also I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Amsterdam?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) We open with a dead man in a box, Christian Bale, and John David Washington. Who is the dead man / how is he related to the two protagonists?

2) Flashback! They have to explain why Margo Robbie exists. Where did they meet Robbie, and what did she do with all that shrapnel?

3) They meet Michael Myers in Amsterdam. Who does he claim to be, who is he really, and what big conspiracy is he concerned with?

4) This movie is dense. Robert De Niro is in it. He plays a general. What does he have Bale, Washington and Robbie do to prove that they knew him in the war?

5) Ah, finally, the unraveling of the conspiracy. So, what were they trying to do?

Bonus Question: Flashforward and Bale is still running his business and things are looking up. But what’s this? A knock at the door! Who is it?

Answers

Amsterdam Preview

It was a classic Bad Movie Twins dance. Abs? Gleaming. Jorts? Brimming. Legs? Akimbo. Just when Kevin James thought it would end, his hand hovering over his patented “Not Good Buzzer,” the routine would ratchet up a notch. Jamie and Patrick stared daggers at him, their muscles burning at 45 straight minutes of experimental dance the likes of which a national audience had never witnessed. Ratings were spiking as other networks hopped on the broadcast. Over 200 million Americans watched as Kevin James was dragged from the stage screaming that Jamie and Patrick were punks. Punks who needed Punk’ding. The producers scoffed at his antics. They wouldn’t let a personal vendetta stand in the way of them getting the opportunity to declare the once Bad Movie Twins the Very Good Twins. Imagine! America is Very Good will be the top talent show on TV in no time as long as the Very Good Twins were part of the team. “That… that was amazing,” Producer Frank Brow exclaims, “and you can take that to the bank,” he finishes with a flourish. He doesn’t let his disappointment show when it becomes clear that Jamie and Patrick don’t recognize a classic Brow-ism. “Yeah, well we’re good now,” Patrick says shrugging. “Very good,” Jamie chimes in with a wink and The Brow almost faints, dollar signs dancing in his vision. “So this is the button… the Not Good Buzzer. You guys can just press it together if you like. Or we can get a second one.” Jamie and Patrick are confused. “Mr. Brow. This seems like a good gig for some Very Good Twins, but I think we just won the show… so…” Brow is picking up what they’re putting down. “The Prize. Of course. How would you like a trip to …” That’s right! We’re heading off to Amsterdam for David O. Russell’s very big bomb Amsterdam. It’s not a movie I wanted to see… but here we are. Let’s go!

Amsterdam (2022) – BMeTric: 28.5; Notability: 50

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 10.8%; Notability: top 1.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 12.2%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Bubble, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Firestarter, Moonfall, Morbius, Blacklight, Pinocchio, Me Time, Spiderhead, Deep Water, The Invitation, After Ever Happy, Jurassic World: Dominion, Senior Year, Blackout, The 355, White Elephant, Samaritan, Prey for the Devil, and 7 more; Higher Notability: Black Adam, Jurassic World: Dominion, Pinocchio; Lower RT: After Ever Happy, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Me Time, Poker Face, Blacklight, Firestarter, White Elephant, Prey for the Devil, Morbius, The Last Manhunt, Blackout, The Bubble, The Man from Toronto, Senior Year, On the Line, The 355, The Invitation, Pinocchio, Memory, Jurassic World: Dominion, and 2 more; Notes: That notability is off the chain for real though. I need to watch Black Adam at some point, got to hit up those big Notability films.

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars – But despite these sporadic moments of enjoyment, “Amsterdam” is ultimately so convoluted and tedious that it obliterates such glimmers of goodwill. It’s so weighed down by its overlong running time and self-indulgent sense of importance that its core message about the simple need for human decency feels like a cynical afterthought. And whispering the word “Amsterdam” throughout, as several of the characters do, doesn’t even begin to cast the magic spell it seeks to conjure.

(Yeah that is what it feels like. But also, isn’t that kind of David O. Russell’s M.O. at this point? The huge ensemble cast desperately trying to hold an overblown ripped-from-the-headlines plot together? Or should I actually say the magnetic charisma of Christian Bale trying to kill such a plot afloat.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLs2xxM0e78/

(I watched this trailer when it came out. Looked good. Oh wait, I should be more specific. Christian Bale looked good. I was a little disappointed it apparently isn’t. Because I like Christian Bale. Such is life I suppose though.)

DirectorsDavid O. Russell – ( Known For: American Hustle; Silver Linings Playbook; The Fighter; Joy; Three Kings; I Heart Huckabees; Spanking the Monkey; Flirting with Disaster; Accidental Love; BMT: Amsterdam; Notes: Nominated for five Oscars for writing/directing American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook, and The Fighter. He might have defined Bradley Cooper as a serious dramatic actor.)

WritersDavid O. Russell – ( Known For: American Hustle; Silver Linings Playbook; Joy; Three Kings; I Heart Huckabees; Spanking the Monkey; Flirting with Disaster; BMT: Amsterdam; Notes: Born in New York City, he went to Amherst College and got his start with a Documentary short about the Hispanic community of Boston.)

ActorsChristian Bale – ( Known For: The Pale Blue Eye; Thor: Love and Thunder; American Psycho; The Dark Knight; The Prestige; The Dark Knight Rises; Ford v Ferrari; Batman Begins; The Big Short; Little Women; Knight of Cups; 3:10 to Yuma; American Hustle; Out of the Furnace; Equilibrium; Hostiles; The Machinist; Empire of the Sun; The Fighter; Public Enemies; Future BMT: Terminator Salvation; Exodus: Gods and Kings; Newsies; BMT: Amsterdam; Captain Corelli’s Mandolin; Notes: He won an Oscar for The Fighter, but has been nominated four times in total. Welsh, he was a notable child actor (in things like Empire of the Sun) and starred in Newsies which was supposed to be the return of the big Hollywood musical … it was not.)

Margot Robbie – ( Known For: Babylon; Once Upon a Time in Hollywood; The Wolf of Wall Street; The Suicide Squad; About Time; The Big Short; Birds of Prey; Dreamland; Bombshell; I, Tonya; Focus; Mary Queen of Scots; Terminal; Whiskey Tango Foxtrot; Peter Rabbit; Suite Française; Slaughterhouse Rulez; Z for Zachariah; Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway; Goodbye Christopher Robin; Future BMT: Suicide Squad; The Legend of Tarzan; BMT: Amsterdam; Notes: Nominated for two Oscars for I, Tonya and Bombshell. Australian, she obviously started out on Neighbours. They all do.)

John David Washington – ( Known For: Tenet; BlacKkKlansman; Malcolm X; Malcolm & Marie; Beckett; The Old Man & the Gun; Devil in a Blue Dress; Monster; Monsters and Men; Love Beats Rhymes; BMT: Amsterdam; Notes: Wait … wait. He is Denzel Washington’s son. And he was a professional football player, albeit as the running back for the United Football League’s Sacramento Mountain Lions. But still, what the hell.)

Budget/Gross – $80 million / Domestic: $14,947,969 (Worldwide: $31,245,810)

(That is a colossal bomb, but not surprising. Everything that was kind of mid-budget (and not fantastic) bombed this year. Hopefully that will change a tiny bit next year, but we’ll see.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 32% (79/244): Amsterdam has a bunch of big stars and a very busy plot, all of which amounts to painfully less than the sum of its dazzling parts.

(Awwww. This film feels like it was just on the cusp of being kind of okay. But ultimately yeah, whenever Bale isn’t the center of attention the film kind of gets away from itself.)

Reviewer Highlight: Jaw-droppingly terrible, interminably dull… – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

Poster – Amsterdaaaang

(I kind of dig this. Could use some better font, but the colors are interesting and the framing as well. Not the worst. C+)

Tagline(s) – Let the love, murder, and conspiracy begin. (A)

(Helllll yeah. Now that fits what we want. It’s giving a little hint. Short and sweet and rule of three. Even a little clever with the “Let the [blank] begin.” It’s good. You can’t claim otherwise.)

Keyword(s) – year 2022

Top 10: The Batman (2022), The Kashmir Files (2022), Top Gun: Maverick (2022), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), Bullet Train (2022), Uncharted (2022), The Adam Project (2022), The Northman (2022)

Future BMT: 65.8 Jeepers Creepers: Reborn (2022), 64.8 Halloween Ends (2022), 63.9 Firestarter (2022), 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 50.5 Umma (2022), 45.9 The 355 (2022), 44.3 Jurassic World: Dominion (2022), 38.5 Memory (2022), 19.2 Black Adam (2022)

BMT: Moonfall (2022), Morbius (2022), Blacklight (2022), The Invitation (2022), After Ever Happy (2022), Prey for the Devil (2022), The King’s Daughter (2022), Amsterdam (2022), Don’t Worry Darling (2022), Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

Best Options (pearl-harbor): 28.2 Amsterdam (2022)

(Hey there, I like that. Maybe the crown jewel of any cycle this year we left it out here and there (for comedy for example) entirely because we knew that if we could wait to juuuuuuust this week precisely it would come out on HBO Max. Perfecto.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 12) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Robert De Niro is No. 4 billed in Amsterdam and No. 1 billed in Righteous Kill, which also stars Al Pacino (No. 2 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 1 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (4 + 1) + (2 + 1) + (3 + 1) = 12. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Christian Bale stopped talking to Chris Rock on set. He claimed that he was very funny, which made it hard for him to act.

The eye drops the characters use near the film’s end, are likely allusions to the cocaine eye drops that Adolf Hitler reportedly favored enthusiastically.

Of working with Anya Taylor-Joy on this film, David O. Russell said, “Anya is fearless and intuitively vulnerable and confident in a manner that is uniquely her own. She is different and strange in ways that are fascinating both toward darkness and toward light.”

Was a box office failure, losing the studio an estimated $97 million, according to Deadline.

A rumored title of the film was “Canterbury Glass.”

Was originally set to release on November 4, 2022, but was moved up to October 7 to avoid competition with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022).

The cast includes three Oscar winners – Christian Bale, Rami Malek, and Robert De Niro – and two Oscar nominees – Margot Robbie and Michael Shannon.

Mike Myers also played a British military man with a similar look in Inglourious Basterds (2009).

This film was inspired by the Business Plot, a 1933 political conspiracy in which wealthy American businessmen and bankers plotted a military coup d’état to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt and replace him with a fascist veterans’ organization headed by U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler. Butler revealed the plot in a testimony under oath to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Special Committee on Un-American Activities in 1934. The committee concluded that a plot was indeed concocted, but none of the plotters were prosecuted. General Dillenbeck (Robert De Niro) is based on Butler.

Where the Crawdads Sing Recap

Jamie

This could be a perfect BMT film. Sure you can find your Morbiuses and Blacklights and laugh and laugh, but it’s the Here on Earths that set BMT apart. “Why are you watching that?” is what we want to hear. “Oh right, I forgot about that film,” is perfection. We want to turn to someone and say “You wanna see a bad movie?” and for them to get a perfect picture in their head of a human-cyborg dog kung fu buddy cop film we dug up from somewhere only to be presented with Endless Love and be like “WTF mate.” I cherish the time I showed someone Here on Earth and they deadpan asked me half way through “so you think this is funny?” and the answer was yes… and so were they. In that perfect moment they were hilarious. And that’s what Where the Crawdads Sing could be… could have been. If only it were actually bad.

To recap, Kya is a Marsh Girl. Much like the dreaded Lawnmower Man of legend, Kya is shunned by the town nearby as a monster. So when a local man is found having fallen to his death in the marsh all eyes go to the legendary Marsh Girl (who was also rumored to have been bedding that very local man). After she is locked up, her public defender tries to help establish her alibi and we get to learn about the ups and downs of her life in the marsh. We see her alcoholic father and how he drove Kya’s mother away first. Then the rest of her family until it was just her. She tried to go to school but everyone laughed at the Marsh GIrl so she eventually just lived in the marsh with the help of some kind shop owners. Eventually she finds friendship (and then more, awww) with a local boy who teaches her to read. He soon realizes that she knows more about marsh life than even the most expert expert, so when he leaves for college he suggests she write publishers about publishing a book of her nature drawings. She is dismayed by his departure and eventually falls in with the (eventually murdered) local man. He seems kind of full of himself, but she likes him. In the meantime she finds out she needs money to keep her marsh home, so she follows the advice and publishes a book… and then more books. And soon she really is the expert expert on marsh life. The local boy returns and is like “that local man is no good” but she throws rocks at him and is like get out of here, local boy. He turns out right, though, when she finds that her beau is actually engaged. She breaks up with him but he’s like “no Marsh Girl breaks up with me” and assaults her. She escapes and soon thereafter she heads off on a trip during which the local man is killed. That lands us back in the present where she is found innocent because her trip has given her a pretty rock solid alibi and people also realize the Marsh Girl isn’t so bad after all. Jokes on them, because after a long and beautiful life with the local boy he finds a piece of evidence that suggests she really did murder the local man (what a twist!). But he throws it in the marsh because he loved her. He loved that murdering Marsh Girl. THE END.

I liked this film. I was picking up the emotional beats it was putting down. Looked great, well made, solid acting, and effectively pulled at my heartstrings. I can see why fans of the book liked it. I can see why people who didn’t read the book liked it. It fills the void that Nicholas Sparks left and did it better than most of the Sparks films we’ve watched. So why is this a BMT film? I’m not sure. It probably is hurt by just how popular the book is. It is almost inconceivably popular and there might be a bit of a backlash to that. Seems like maybe the book is like… actually really good to boot. So when a mainstream pretty good PG-13 film adaptation is made the book’s shadow looms too large. It comes off as weakening the (already morally dubious) message. Otherwise I’m a little confused. The movie is just fine. Some reviewers called it dull. But that’s like… just your opinion, man. I liked this film.

Hot Take Clam Bake! The local boy (now a local old Marsh Man) shouldn’t have thrown out the evidence of murder so foul at the end. Do you not like money?! Think of the local economy you could have sent rocketing with the revelation that the Marsh Girl actually did get away with murder. Sure, also closure for the local man’s family, but we got podcasts, we got merchandise, we got a Marsh Museum. See where the Marsh Girl planned it all! You thought her nature books sold big before. Get a load of what happens when you hint that she left clues to her OTHER MURDERS in her books. You have deprived the whole town of financial security. Jobs, man. J-O-B-S. Do you hate jobs? Do you hate the economy? Disgusting. You disgust me. Hot Take Temperature: Rocoto.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Where the Crawdads Sing? More like Where the Craw-bads Stink, amirite?! Alright boys and girls, we have to adapt a beloved book into a film. Be very careful about being faithful … wait, not like that! Let’s go!

  • Of all the 2022 films I’ve seen for BMT this is probably objectively the best one. I’ve had it recommended to me by multiple people without them realizing I was already going to watch it because it is a “bad” movie. They seemed genuinely unaware that the film was critically not well received.
  • And honestly, while it is a bit long, and a bit dull, overall it probably is the best bad movie of the year by a long mile. It has an incredibly compelling main character, a fun period aspect to it, a very strong supporting storyline involving the store owners who help care for Kya, a romance that felt not forced and genuine, and a villain whose villainy also felt genuine. Some of the acting is weak, but it’s a grab bag when you are dealing with young actors and a long production I think.
  • Things I would change #1: I would have made it much more of a courtroom drama than it was. The courtroom aspect of the story was touched on so infrequently that it felt forced / rushed / cobbled together. If you tell the story thoroughly through testimony, vignettes of perceptions and descriptions, prosecution then defense, it feels like that growth from Marsh Girl to Kya and the believability of her alibi maybe works better. Full disclosure: I never read the book.
  • Things I would change #2: I would have shown the murder at the end. Weak cop out to merely leave to one’s imagination the strength and cunning it took for Kya to pull it off. Then again, you might have been tempted to fashion a more unambiguous “Kya only defended herself really” story, so it might not have worked showing her in all her cold blooded glory.
  • Things I would change #3: The world seemed half-baked in that I really had no idea where anyone but Kya lived. I had no idea how far the town was, how often people saw her. Did people know her? Where was the beach? What did people actually think of Chase dating her?
  • These are all fairly minor things though. Unfortunately for me it is tough to make fun of this film. But maybe there will be some room for that in Where The Crawdads Kill, the sequel to the film I made for the quiz.
  • Definite Setting as a Character (Where?) for the marshes of North Carolina, this is such a North Carolina film it feels like a bizarro world where Nicholas Sparks is good at writing (zing). Solid Secret Holiday Film (When?) for July 4th playing a major role in the romance underlying the entire movie. And definitely a Worst Twist (How?) for the ultimate reveal that Kya is a stone cold killer. Very much closest to Good.

As mentioned, read about Where the Crawdads Kill in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Where the Crawdads Sing Quiz

Oh man. So I live in the marsh, they call me the Marsh Guy, it isn’t a big deal. But then I fell off this fire tower and smashed my head into a beam. Good thing I have a skull like Rocky Balboa, otherwise I would be dead. But yeah, stage 10 concussion, I can’t remember a thing, the usual. Do you remember what happened in Where the Crawdad Sings?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Kya and her family live in the marsh. They live in the marsh so hard that everyone calls Kya Marsh Girl. What state do they live in?

2) After Kya’s entire family leaves, including her father, what does Kya do for money?

3) Tate is Kya’s first love, and Chase her second (kind of … does she love him?). Anyways, where does she meet them?

4) Later in life Kya makes a good amount of money writing and illustrating books. What kind of books?

5) Oh yeah, this entire thing is a courtroom drama isn’t it? What is Kya’s alibi, and what actually happened?

Bonus Question: At the end of the credits we are teased with a sequel. An older Kya lives in the marsh, but a blast from the past comes a-callin’ and it throws everything for a loop. Who?

Answers

Where the Crawdads Sing Preview

Jamie and Patrick stand backstage at America is Very Good. They stand awkwardly amongst the rest of the contestants. It feels like everyone is staring at them… probably because they are. It’s not every day that multiple EGOT winners show up wanting to compete on America’s third most popular talent show. The creator of the show assumed it was some elaborate joke, probably as part of a reboot of the Punk’d franchise. It took them ages to convince him that he wasn’t being Punk’d and that close personal friend Ashton Kutcher wasn’t hiding anywhere nearby. “Let’s just go out there, blow their socks off, prove to everyone we’re good now, and get out of here,” Jamie says nervously. The invitation seemed perfect when they first found it on the street, but now it’s seeming a little too good to be true. In his nervousness Jamie leans around the curtain to get a glimpse at the crowd. “Oh shit,” he mumbles and Patrick rushes over to take a look himself. “What thuuuu…” Patrick says in disbelief. There sitting at the judges table is none other than Paul Blart himself, Kevin James. What are the chances? Suddenly Kevin James, American icon, looks directly at them and mouths “I got you, Bad Movie Twins.” Jamie and Patrick are shocked and dismayed. Not only are they not going to prove to the world that they are very good, but they are about to be Punk’d on national television by Kevin James. “What are we going to do?” Jamie wails in dismay. Patrick shakes him back to his senses. “You know exactly what we’re going to do,” Patrick says, eyes narrowing, “we’re going to dance… we’re going to dance and we’re going to win and Kevin James can just stick it where the crawdads sing.” That’s right! We are watching smash box office hit Where the Crawdads Sing. Based on one of the hottest selling books of all time, the film clearly has its audience and that audience now includes us. Let’s go!

Where the Crawdads Sing (2022) – BMeTric: 7.5; Notability: 27

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 14.0%; Notability: top 5.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 12.7%; Higher BMeT: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Bubble, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Halloween Ends, Firestarter, Moonfall, Morbius, Blacklight, Pinocchio, Me Time, Spiderhead, Deep Water, The Invitation, After Ever Happy, Jurassic World: Dominion, Senior Year, Blackout, The 355, White Elephant, Samaritan, and 15 more; Higher Notability: Black Adam, Jurassic World: Dominion, Pinocchio, Amsterdam, Morbius, Disenchanted, The School for Good and Evil, The Bubble, Moonfall, Deep Water, The Man from Toronto, Spiderhead, Don’t Worry Darling, The 355; Lower RT: After Ever Happy, Jeepers Creepers: Reborn, Me Time, Poker Face, Blacklight, Firestarter, White Elephant, Morbius, Prey for the Devil, The Last Manhunt, Blackout, The Bubble, The Man from Toronto, Senior Year, On the Line, The 355, The Invitation, Pinocchio, Memory, Jurassic World: Dominion, and 3 more; Notes: This is the one. We always do a “fairly well received by audiences” film and this is the one. Buckle up.

RogerEbert.com – 2.0 stars – The cicadas buzz and the moss drips and the sunset casts a golden shimmer on the water every single evening. But while “Where the Crawdads Sing” is rich in atmosphere, it’s sorely lacking in actual substance or suspense.

(Interesting. The trailer does look beautiful. And I also watched a few makings of docs that came on the DVD and the production seemed really well put together. Kind of sad it didn’t hit with critics at all.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoSHYfCqgK0/

(Pretty good trailer. I’m a sucker for courtroom dramas. I didn’t really know that it was a courtroom drama now that I think about it.)

DirectorsOlivia Newman – ( Known For: First Match; BMT: Where the Crawdads Sing; Notes: Man, directors’ resumes I feel like are getting weird. She directed episodes of Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and FBI. Just weird and wild stuff.)

WritersDelia Owens – ( BMT: Where the Crawdads Sing; Notes: She wrote the book. There is a whole thing about a case in Zambia involving poachers and a murder and her husband and stepson. I’ll leave you to look it up yourself.)

Lucy Alibar – ( Known For: Beasts of the Southern Wild; Troop Zero; BMT: Where the Crawdads Sing; Notes: She was nominated for an Oscar for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Otherwise there isn’t much else about her online.)

ActorsDaisy Edgar-Jones – ( Known For: Fresh; Pond Life; BMT: Where the Crawdads Sing; Notes: She is British, and her father is a television executive. She’s been in a lot of television, mainly Cold Feet, Under the Banner of Heaven, and War of the Worlds.)

Taylor John Smith – ( Known For: The Outpost; Shadow in the Cloud; You Get Me; Insidious: Chapter 3; Martyrs; Some Kind of Beautiful; Almost Friends; Wolves; BMT: Where the Crawdads Sing; Blacklight; Hunter Killer; Notes: American, he’s an up and coming young film actor, although he was in Sharp Objects with Amy Adams.)

Harris Dickinson – ( Known For: Triangle of Sadness; See How They Run; The King’s Man; Beach Rats; The Souvenir: Part II; Matthias & Maxime; Postcards from London; Future BMT: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil; BMT: Where the Crawdads Sing; The Darkest Minds; Notes: Also British. He was in a bunch of films this year, with Triangle of Sadness being the most critically acclaimed.)

Budget/Gross – $24 million / Domestic: $90,230,760 (Worldwide: $140,230,760)

(That is enormous. Yeah, it is a bit weird it was so dumped on by critics because multiple people have recommended it to me as being quite good.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 34% (72/210): Daisy Edgar-Jones gives it her all, but Where the Crawdads Sing is ultimately unable to distill its source material into a tonally coherent drama.

(Hmmmmmmm, that feels like an odd consensus. A tonally coherent drama? I don’t really know what that means.)

Reviewer Highlight: Everything feels both fussy and perfunctory, and not a bit of it real. – Danny Leigh, Financial Times

Poster – Where the Sklogdads Sing

(I’m a bit confused by the poster, but I do like effort and this gets an E for effort. Font could be better, and a more cohesive theme, but overall it’s fine. C.)

Tagline(s) – Secrets are Buried Just Beneath the Surface (B)

(Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, I’m not sure this makes a whole lot of sense. Still, it does what it came to do and in a clever way. So gotta give it its due. I just need to stop reading it or I’ll realize it’s just a bunch of nonsense.)

Keyword(s) – year 2022

Top 10: The Batman (2022), The Kashmir Files (2022), Top Gun: Maverick (2022), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), Bullet Train (2022), Uncharted (2022), The Adam Project (2022), The Northman (2022)

Future BMT: 65.8 Jeepers Creepers: Reborn (2022), 64.8 Halloween Ends (2022), 63.9 Firestarter (2022), 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022), 50.5 Umma (2022), 45.9 The 355 (2022), 44.3 Jurassic World: Dominion (2022), 38.5 Memory (2022), 28.2 Amsterdam (2022), 19.2 Black Adam (2022)

BMT: Moonfall (2022), Morbius (2022), Blacklight (2022), The Invitation (2022), After Ever Happy (2022), Prey for the Devil (2022), The King’s Daughter (2022), Don’t Worry Darling (2022), Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

Best Options (Romance): 52.1 Radhe Shyam (2022)

(Yeah … I don’t see how this isn’t a Romance but whatever. It is a courtroom drama I suppose, but underlying the whole thing is a romance. A bona fide romance.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 22) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: David Strathairn is No. 6 billed in Where the Crawdads Sing and No. 4 billed in Twisted, which also stars Ashley Judd (No. 1 billed) who is in The Identical (No. 2 billed) which also stars Ray Liotta (No. 3 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (No. 2 billed) which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => (6 + 4) + (1 + 2) + (3 + 2) + (3 + 1) = 22. If we were to watch Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, and The Bone Collector we can get the HoE Number down to 17.

Notes – The song that Chase sings to Kya in bed is “Long Black Veil,” a 1959 Lefty Frizzell folk ballad about a man who refuses to give an alibi when charged for a murder he didn’t commit.

Daisy Edgar-Jones (Kya) auditioned with a self-recorded tape she filmed on the set of her series War of the Worlds (2019).

The British Daisy Edgar-Jones had to work closely with dialect coach Francie Brown in order to master the southern American accent for her role as Kya.

Based on the bestselling novel by Delia Owens.

Features the original song “Carolina” written and performed by Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift insisted on writing the song “Carolina” for the film, only after she learned that actress Daisy Edgar-Jones and Reese Witherspoon (as producer) were both involved.

Since the production was ongoing during the pandemic, most of the cast and crew didn’t actually get to ‘see’ each other until the end of the shoot after the masks came off.

The trailer for this film was released on producer Reese Witherspoon’s birthday, March 22.

Delia Owens: The author of the novel is seen in the courtroom sitting on the front row behind Tom when Patti is testifying about Chase’s shell necklace.

The Invitation Recap

Jamie

Dear Reader, you are cordially invited to this spooky scary post where we discuss the sexy (but also scary, don’t forget that part) film The Invitation. It’s not the first time we’ve invited you to a vampire spookfest, but this is definitely for sure in the top ten sexiest of those vampire scarapaloozas we’ve watched. I mean, come on… Twilight? Ever heard of it? Queen of the Damned is sexy, I think. Vampire Academy, Priest, Vampire in Brooklyn, Dracula 2000… once we get to the Underworld franchise we’ll be swimming in sexy, so… top twenty. At least the top twenty sexiest of the vampire films we’ll watch for BMT. So RSVP like your life depends on it… because it just might. Bwahahahaha. 

To recap, Evie is working hard as a caterer trying to make ends meet. She lost her Mom a while back and feels lost. It’s all about fambly, as Vinny D would say. Oh ho, what’s this? She happens to be catering a function for a DNA sequencing company and the swag bag contains a test that will help you connect with unknown fambly? How fortunate for the plot of this film. That’s because she does it and immediately matches up with a snobby rich guy from England who is a little too thrilled to meet her. He invites her to London for a wedding and she accepts, obviously. Upon arriving she meets what appears to be an unbearably rich count (who is also super hot and steamy). Count Steamy is embarrassed by his actions and spends the next half of the movie trying to woo her. He’s quite successful at it. He’s also quite successful at eating the wedding staff cause, you guessed it, he’s a sexy vampire. Just when things are heating up he really throws cold water on the whole affair by revealing that A) he’s a vamp. B) that the wedding she’s attending is actually between him and her. C) being his wife requires the general murder and eating of people. She’s not into that (no matter how steamy he is) and tries to escape. Ultimately Count Steamy is too powerful and she is turned into his bride/a vampire. But with her new super vamp powers she turns the tables on him and burns the whole thing to the ground. Later we see her going full vampire hunter and taking out all the bad vampire-loving richie riches. Sequel anyone? THE END.    

The concept of this film is good. The DNA matching angle is clever (although the setup is strained) and then when things get weird I feel like it hit a stride that I enjoyed. Unfortunately there is a whole 45 minute middle part of the film that seems convinced that it’s the next Twilight or something. Or like the creator wanted to make Get Out (but with vampires) and the studio was like “juuuust a bit more sexy though. Get Out is kind of sexy, right?” and it’s like what? It went on so long that I started to wonder whether I was crazy and the film was actually going to turn out to be Twilight and the vampire was actually good (and sexy). But he wasn’t, so I’m not sure what the purpose of all the sexy stuff really was. I wish it got weird quicker and then stayed weird longer. As it is they had a very fun scene that was quickly followed by the vampire getting totally roasted. Very mixed. Could have been good, but not really bad. 

Hot Take Clam Bake! Do it! Do it, Evie. Did being a vampire seem all that bad? Hear me out. You get a forever fambly. That’s pretty good. In fact, it seems like everything you ever wanted. Not enough? How about immortality? Ever heard of it? If a fambly and immortality isn’t enough let me go right for the pocketbook. And not just yours, either. Sure you’re rich, but think of all those villagers that rely on Count Steamy for their day to day livelihood. Jobs, Evie. J-O-B-S. Do you hate jobs? Do you hate the economy? Just cause you can’t stomach drinking a little blood here and there you want to put everyone in this village out of a job. Disgusting. You disgust me. Hot Take Temperature: Charleston Hot.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The Invitation? More like I Think I’m Busy That Night, amirite? Dracula is back jack! And this time he’s reimagined. Let’s go!

  • The core story here is actually uh … kind of good? I love the idea that this is a modern film that posits that the events of Dracula were inverted. Dracula won, married Lucy, and he now basically runs a cult in England / Romania and is living forever. That’s a cool story. Even the prequel would have been a cool story.
  • The beginning of the film gives me whiffs of Get Out and it was pretty disappointing that the friend, Grace, didn’t show up again as a foil to the overly serious Dracula story.
  • Which I guess is an issue. I can’t decide if the story is better as a serious alternate Dracula story (complete with reveal), or if it is better as a half-tongue-in-cheek story that partially plays off of current social issues and stuff.
  • Ultimately the overly serious tone falls apart a bit because the acting outside of Evie is juuuuuuuust a bit overwrought. Walter in particular looks and acts like a fake person. Like they created him in an AI simulation as the epitome of British poshness. Similarly Oliver feels more like a British trope than an actual British person.
  • The twist, if that is what you can even call it, while interesting, feels weak and undercooked. I wish the horror interludes throughout with the gross looking vampires didn’t exist either. In the end they went all in with horror and, in my opinion, it blew up in their face.
  • Here’s my pitch. Evie and her friend are invited to England for a wedding. They show up and things are going very well, albeit there are every so often weirdo bits that they shrug off as things lost in translation as they are American. Being caterers (i.e. “the help”) they hang with the maids, but they keep on disappearing. That’s weird, but the maids don’t really know what is up, and Evie and Grace are having fun so whatever. Meanwhile there is a straight-from-Jane-Austin romance happening between Evie and Walter which is very sexy. Suddenly in the third act at the big wedding dinner things just go off the rails. Grace is “killed” and Evie wed to Walter and the horror of all of the events are fully revealed. Everything is now very very not-sexy. But at the last second Grace reappears alive as a full blown vampire hunter, and they start taking everyone out. The whole thing is Dracula and the woman who killed herself in the beginning is Lucy from the book. In my version Lucy and Evie and Dracula’s original wife all look identical and that is part of Dracula’s twisted immortality: destined (and cursed) love. The End.
  • But I liked the movie more than I would have expected.
  • Definitely a Setting as a Character (Where?) for jolly ol’ England. And I’ll toss out a Worst Twist (How?) for the ultimate reveal that Walter is, in fact, the actual Dracula from the book. I think this is closest to Good.

Read about the sequel, The Invitation 2: Dracula Reborn in the Quiz. Cheerios,

The Sklogs