Serenity (2019) Recap

Jamie

Baker Dill is a simple charter boat captain on Plymouth Island trying to make a living. When his ex-wife shows up wanting him to kill her new, abusive husband for the sake of their child he has a choice to make… but that’s not the craziest thing about this film. Oh no. Can he stop the abusive husband (and reunite with his son… sorta), before it’s too late? Find out in… Serenity.

How?! Baker Dill, a charter boat captain on Plymouth Island, just wants to make a buck and catch Justice, the giant Tuna that has evaded capture for as long as he can remember. This obsession with the fish is turning business bad, but things only get worse when his ex-wife, Karen, shows up begging him to save her and their son Patrick from her abusive husband Frank. You see, she has convinced Frank to go on a fishing trip with Baker and she wants him to get him drunk and toss him overboard. But Baker is hesitant and tries his darndest to get out of it, even while Frank proves over and over to be worthy of killing. At the same time Baker is getting the weird feeling that he is somehow communicating with his son which is confirmed when a strange man reveals that in fact everything we are watching is occuring in an AI built video game that his genius son has created (what a twist!). As long as the game sticks to the rules of catching fish then Frank can’t die. Overcome by this earth-shattering totally logical revelation, Baker goes on a drinking binge all while the game continually throws roadblock after roadblock in front of him trying to prevent him from killing Frank. Unfortunately for the game Baker isn’t one to be daunted and realizing his role in the plan takes Frank out on the fateful fishing trip and when Justice takes a nibble on the line lets a totally wasted Frank take the reel and gets pulled to the bottom of the ocean. Here, faithful viewers, we are informed that Patrick has killed Frank in real life. He then uses his beautiful mind to rework the game so that he and his dad can spend time together. Hooray! THE END. Big Question: Is Patrick coding the game or is the AI just kinda making it up as it goes along… or is this all nonsense?

Why?! There is a little play on the classic MacGuffin here, as Baker Dill’s whole purpose in life is seemingly to catch an impossibly huge Tuna named Justice. They kinda turn it on its head, though, as they acknowledge that this is simply an arbitrary goal of the game and has no real meaning. In the end the motivation is for Patrick to kill his abusive stepfather, which is played out by the AI McConaughey character letting Justice drag him into the sea. Ya dig?

Who?! Actor Hakeem Kae-Kazim promoted the film a bit and clearly had a role in it, but ended up with a “special thanks” credit. Interesting, as we’ve even seen in other films where actors are cut they usually just go uncredited on IMDb. At least they acknowledged him, I guess, despite that fact that he did not ultimately appear in it.

What?! Now this is what I live for. There are several scenes in the film where people are drinking beer from Phoenix Brewery, as well as some coasters bearing its logo. This is a brewery on Mauritius… so like… how does the film not take place on the real island of Mauritius? Or did the AI machine in Patrick’s computer decide that that beer would also be brewed on Plymouth Island. Riddle me that, Patrick?

Where?! Clearly takes place on the imaginary island of Plymouth. Likely the island is a fake former French colony in the Caribbean (given some connections to Miami) and is perhaps modelled after Montserrat, whose capital, Plymouth, became a ghost town due to a volcanic eruption. In reality this is all made up and the entire film takes place in Miami where Patrick lives and codes on his sweet ‘puter. Uh… I don’t know. I guess it’s an A despite being fake.

When?! Time and space are not really a thing in the film as explained above. It can be whatever time the little boy genius wants it to be. Perhaps even the entire film takes place in the moments before he kills his stepfather. Perchance it all occurs in the beat of a butterfly’s wings. Deep, man. Deep. F.

I can’t believe they actually got huge movie stars to sign onto Serenity. It thinks it’s way smarter than it actually is and does the “nothing in this film is real or matters” so hard that you just kinda have to laugh at it. It’s real weird though, which is a plus I guess. It really went for it and was interesting. Particularly Anne Hathaway… I feel like she must be in on the joke, but she is acting so hard that it’s difficult to tell. For the Bring a Friend, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is astonishing. It’s the lowest budget, lowest quality major horror franchise film I’ve ever seen. The beginning is so horrible that I would have probably turned it off if I wasn’t obligated to watch the entire thing. Strangely it’s revealed near the end that the (new) motivation of the family is their part in a large illuminati type conspiracy cult where the fear the family instills in its victims is part of what gives the group its power… It’s like a mini Cabin in the Woods and if you just read the concept you might even say it’s interesting. But it’s just a cheap, terrible rip-off of the original so you can’t really say that. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I remember watching Serenity in theaters, it was in New York City with my bro- … huh? This is a different Serenity? Like they just reused the same name? Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I didn’t know much about the film going it beyond that it was a huge bomb with big stars. If you watch the trailer before watching the film you should be able to figure out the twist … which maybe suggests it isn’t really a twist? Something to chew on when analyzing things. What are my expectations? I was just hoping it wasn’t boring. I don’t really like noir films to be honest. They kind of stress me out because I end up getting frustrated when I can’t untangle the plot.

The Good – Honestly, I liked this film more than I should have. I think it is because the twist is so very obvious that I no longer got stressed about figuring things out … I had already figured out the important bit. Everything else, indeed, turned out to be rather straightforward. I do wonder whether the director thought the twist was good and so he hid it from critics, and once they realized it was bad they put it into trailers hoping people would just enjoy the ride. Well guess what? I enjoyed the ride. The film’s twist is trash, but the acting and visuals are good. Which at least made it not boring to me.

The Bad – The twist is awful, and it ends up really being the entire film. There is no other point to the film beyond the twist. Sadly I actually find the plot pretty interesting, but then if you didn’t have the twist it would be the worst noir ever made (like … a guy’s ex-wife hires her ex-husband to kill he husband and he does … the end). So you end up being stuck between a bad twist and a bad noir … and they chose the bad twist. I think they made the right choice though, the film would have been unwatchable if the ending was just him getting $10 million and seeing his son again.

The BMT – As a tropical noir I think it’ll be remembered if that niche genre ever crops up again. Otherwise, again it will only be notable for its we-all-live-in-a-game twist which I can definitely see being reused in the future. Those are the only two reasons I can think for ever revisiting the film, I have no intention of recommending it to anyone. Did it meet my expectations? Yes, but because I kind of ignored the twist and enjoyed the very straightforward noir plot for what it was. I doubt very many people would get much out of this film if they even remotely like noir though.

Roast-radamus – I think this has a really really interesting Setting as a Character (Where?) in that the setting is the fictional Plymouth Island and is almost literally a character in the film. I’ll throw in Worst Twist (How?) as well since it is much maligned. I agree that it is dumb … but I still didn’t mind it all that much. It has an ubbelivable MacGuffin (What?) … almost a MacGuffin as a Character in the shape of a large tuna that McConaughey can’t seem to catch. I think it’ll sneak into BMT Live! as well, although I don’t think it’ll win when we vote.

StreetCreditReport.com – This is probably the most well known of the big bombs that came out this year, mainly because it has a bunch of those Big Targets that people like to take aim at (not to say the film doesn’t deserve it, but this is the type of film that if you didn’t want to watch bad movies you could write a hell of a lot about without having seen it given how notable the cast is). But it also has some of that real cred, is it is 12th on the AV Club list. It manages to appear on the Variety list as well. And the Hollywood Reporter! See? People can’t help but hate this film, it is just too tempting!

You Just Got Schooled – I needed a place to put my review of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, so you’re going to get that and the Bring a Friend analysis below. Now, fans of the franchise seem to either hail this as a hilarious send up of the first, or a travesty which besmirches the franchise’s good name. Surprisingly, I lean more towards the former. I am no one to promote horror-comedy, far too many end up being not very good comedies or horror films in the end. This is no different really, it is a terrible horror film. But there is just enough fun over-the-top nonsense to entertain me. I actually think this is one of the best horror film follow-ups to a classic I’ve seen. Rehashing the films never work, this at least gave you a bigger, badder version of what you liked in the first place (which necessitated a level of comedy). A solid B from me, I kind of wish the series had gone a bit more in this direction, at least it had interesting bad guys.

Bring a Friend Analysis – Ah, you might have been wondering why I’ve been reviewing four Texas Chainsaw Massacre films during the recap of Serenity. And here it is, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. You know … that horror classic starring Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger (wait … wow, yeah it does). So we get to see the original McConaughey, and now the risen-from-the-ashes hot-off-the-presses McConaughey … they’re kind of the same, it is amazing how this man ages. The film itself is awful. A remake of the original, but somehow people forgot how to make horror films using no money? Hint: it isn’t just by filling an old house with garbage and having a guy moan with a mask on. There is actually more to it. Like having interesting bad guys, or interesting good guys, or people without robot legs. The film is straight up dog poo in my face, I can’t believe they released it to theaters! F, how dare you make this and besmirch the good name of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. How daaaaaare you.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III Recap

Jamie

Leatherface is back, Jack! With their relationship falling apart, Michelle and Ryan see if a cross-country road trip might patch things up. Unfortunately they are duped and captured by the crazy, chainsaw wielding family of backwater misfits we know and love. Can they take out Leatherface before it’s too late? Find out in… Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.

How?! Michelle and Ryan are going through a rocky time in their relationship. He seems like kind of a snob and she’s not into it. Stopping for gas, they are saved from a creepy gas station attendant by a man named Tex. While they flee the gas station, taking Tex’s advice for directions, it appears that Tex is murdered by the attendant. A series of creepy things start to occur on the backcountry Texas road including, but not limited to, Leatherface attacking their car with a chainsaw and an injured man forcing them to crash into a weekend survivalist’s jeep. The weekend survivalist, Benny, helps them from their car, but doesn’t believe the crazy things that have occured. That is until a crazy hook-handed man drives up offering help, but clearly only offering to chop him up with a chainsaw. Wandering the woods, Michelle and Ryan are periodically chased by Leatherface, eventually resulting in the capture of Ryan. Meanwhile Benny is also chased by Leatherface, but he’s helped by an escaped captive of the family to evade him. Instead he encounters the gas station attendant and throws him into a swamp when it becomes clear he’s just an unhelpful crazy person. Eventually Michelle ends up in the family home where instead of finding help she finds a new crazy family of Leatherface, including Tex (what a twist!). They nail her to a chair for dinner and have her watch them murder Ryan. Then, after giving Leatherface a new chainsaw as a present, they are going to murder Michelle, but Benny shows up and blows half the family away with a machine gun. Running away, they dispatch Tex and take down the gas station attendant and drive away just as we see Leatherface start up his chainsaw. Bum bum bum! THE END. Big Question: I honestly wonder whether the creepy little girl that is part of Leatherface’s family was meant to play a big role going forward. She and Leatherface are the only two that clearly survive.

Why?! To survive, duh. The motivation for the family is pretty consistent for the first three films (and then changes wildly for the fourth one). It’s all just for fun and food as the people they capture are turned into BBQ for family dinner and to sell at their local gas station or in BBQ competitions… for real.

Who?! I’m pretty interested in the idea of a movie monster, particularly one where a stuntman can launch a career off of how they portray an iconic figure. Leatherface is much more like Michael Myers in this way in that there are eight total films and seven different people have portrayed him. Probably the most famous is Gunnar Hanson from the first one, just because he was the first, while Andrew Bryniarski is the only one to play him twice, in the remake and its sequel from 2003 and 2006 (both future BMT films).

What?! Apparently you can buy a replica of the iconic chainsaw from this film. Something to think about for the Xmas season. Additionally, I saw that the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films are mentioned in the context of product placement somewhat frequently. Mostly negatively as they talk about how you will see a soft drink in the background while a girl runs around screaming and covered in blood. Overall minor in the series though.

Where?! Classic example of an A+ setting as every film in the series almost by definition must be placed in rural Texas. They never went crazy and took Leatherface to Manhattan or anything like that I don’t think.

When?! In the first four films it’s almost played like a joke that each one takes place at the time of the release of the film, so large chunks of time separate the massacre events where there was a survivor to tell the story. The first has an exact date. The second takes place during the OU-Texas rivalry football game, so approximate. This one is more like a general time, summer 1990 probably. The fourth then jumps back to being more specific: May 1995. C for the third entry, the worst grade of the bunch.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series seems to struggle for lack of imagination a bit. The first one is really great and ahead of its time and it’s amazing it was made in the early 70’s. The second is super fun and a very good, different sequel that at time cribs from the original, but it is interesting in its own right. This one though, starts to fall backwards as it attempted to reboot the series in a heavy metal, 90’s kind of way. They threw away all the characters from the first two and made a whole new family… without it really making much sense where they came from. It also makes it clear that they were striving for that Freddy/Jason/Michael kind of vibe with Leatherface, with the rest of the family being peripheral… and I think that is just a mistake. The family in its entirety had value, but then they just started throwing out everyone but Leatherface. Anyway, I thought it was a poor film, clearly suffering from the edits that had to be made for rating (to the point where sometimes it was hard to understand what was happening in certain scenes), but got slightly better as the film went on. I’ll save my Next Generation through for the Serenity recap. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If there is one thing in BMT that I well and truly love, it is the opportunity to watch like … five films in a week from a horror franchise. It sounds like a joke, but while the task is difficult, it is very rewarding. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – So here’s the deal: I had watched the original long ago and found it rather disturbing and unpleasant and never ended up watching the second one (which also didn’t qualify). This one seemed to be the goriest of the original series, but I’ve also watched a lot more horror films and have become rather desensitized to gore in particular. So what I actually looked forward to was watching the original two and seeing how I felt about the series as a whole. What were my expectations? I expected to find the second film dumb, and the third to be unnecessarily gross and probably misogynistic (it is the way of horror after all). But sometimes horror surprises me, sometimes the bad ones are just boring (which is honestly a more pleasant option).

The Good – I don’t mind the core idea of the franchise, which is very much the same as The Fast and the Furious: it’s all about Fambly. Leatherface has the mind of a child, but is supremely good at killing (well … you assume he is usually, he had an off day in this film), and thus attracting an insane family of cannibals around him wherever he goes. As a direct sequel to the first film I think they could have made this point a bit clearer, but it comes through well enough to be interesting.

The Bad – Mostly everything else. I think there is a pretty specific mistake the third and fourth film make which is to retain the idea of Leatherface having the mind of a child. As a demented killer controlled by his brothers in the first and second film it is fine, he’s a terrifying side player. But once you remove that part of the equation (assuming the first is always canon) then Leatherface becomes maybe the most boring of all of the slasher villains. He kills, he barely knows why beyond that that is how he gets food, the end. It is boring. Given the tone of the second film, I think there was an opportunity to continue in that more comedy vein, but reverting back to the classic slasher tropes was a huge mistake in the end and doesn’t work at all. I also really really didn’t appreciate that they reused the gas station twist from the original.

The BMT – It’s a franchise. Out of the three main horror franchises we’ve seen (Friday the 13th, Dawn of the Dead, and this), this is by far the worst of the three. It has a decent second film (kind of Halloween II level), but then falls completely apart without building any interesting lore around its killers or protagonists. Ends up being more of a missed opportunity than anything, given it is probably the biggest cannibal horror franchise to date. Did it meet my expectations? Actually yeah. It didn’t go insane with gore (to avoid an X rating), and didn’t seem to revel in the torture of its female protagonist. It gave me just enough to chew on that I walked away not very disappointed in watching the film in the end.

Roast-radamus – You have to throw a bone to the A+ settings, so Setting as a Character (Where?) for Texas (Chainsaw Massacre) seems pretty natural. I’ll also throw out the Worst Twist (How?) for reusing the twist from the first film. Of course Viggo’s in on it, of course so is the gas station attendant, of course, of course. I don’t think it’ll get into any of the superlatives, so that is about it.

StreetCreditReport.com – It is going to be tough to find the third on any lists. It seems like it tends to be overshadowed by the worst of the remakes (which is 3D apparently), and the worst of the originals (the fourth). It ends up mid-table on this list by collider. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure this film ends up qualifying if not for the fact that the original is so beloved. Which actually makes sense, it is the one they tried to make the most like the other franchises (Nightmare in particular), and they kind of just made a meh one with a boring secondary villain (Viggo).

You Just Got Schooled – Since this will be posted first I’ll put by review for the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre here (the second will go with Serenity). As I said up top when I watched the film originally I remember feeling a bit queasy. I was unaccustomed to gore and really didn’t enjoy it. This time? It is one of the best horror films ever made. Probably most notably for creating an impactful horror classic on a shoestring budget, but you can throw most of the movie away just for the final family dinner scene. Suddenly, it goes from the single masked killer, to a family of manipulative cannibals. There is so much to explore … and yet the creators fritter it all away. Sigh. Still, like Halloween, Black Christmas, and The Thing, it is required viewing for anyone wanting to learn about horror. A-. The minus is mainly because the first hour of the film is pretty useless.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Serenity (2019) Quiz

I think my years of living off the grid and drinking massive amounts of run on Plymouth island has given me brain damage because I can’t remember a thing. Do you remember what happened in Serenity (2019)?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In the beginning of the film McConaughey is out fishing with some tourists. When one of the rods gets a nibble McConaughey takes over, much to the chagrin of his paying customers. Why does he take it over?

2) Might as well get this over with: Where is Plymouth Island located?

3) What three ways do we see McConaughey make money during the course of the film?

4) What two gifts does he receive to help him catch the giant tuna Justice?

5) Oh yeah, the plot of the film … McConaughey is asked to kill his ex-wife’s abusive husband. How much would he be paid to complete this task, and why is this person so rich and powerful?

Answers

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III Quiz

Hmmmmm. I remember getting captured by a cannibal family, and then getting a series of light concussions from a nearly-dead old man trying to hit me in the head with a hammer. Do you remember what happened in Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) At a creepy gas station our heroes Michelle and Ryan are accosted by the creepy attendant and saved by the handsome Tex. After witnessing Tex getting shot, Ryan insists they go down a back road. Why?

2) Soon after it becomes dark Michelle and Ryan crash their car into Benny, a gun-loving militia man. What caused them to crash?

3) After getting split up from Michelle and Ryan, Benny meets another woman in the woods. Why is she wandering around the swampy backwater?

4) Michelle and Ryan, unfortunately, are captured by a psychotic cannibal family. Can you name the people in the family?

5) Who survives the whole ordeal, both the good and bad guys we’ve met throughout?

Answers

Serenity (2019) Preview

Jamie and Patrick stop dead in their tracks as they espy Chris Klein and Josh Hartnett by the craft station. “What thuuuuuu…” Patrick says before storming over and knocking their Nespresso’s out of their hands. Chris and Josh are stunned, “what the hell, bro,” Chris says annoyed, “I thought we were friends. You know how much I love my Nespresso.” But Patrick isn’t having any of it and demands to know why they are there. “We’re just here to be your body doubles, man. Chill. The studio was getting a little worried about… well…” he looks away embarrassed. But Patrick presses him on it. “Well,” Josh continues, “it’s because you gained sixty pounds and have been wearing a fedora in every scene.” Patrick is shocked and looks down at his body. It’s not that bad… right? And everyone loves his hats. But even Jamie looks away at that. Patrick storms back to their trailer. “What are we going to do?” he asks Jamie, “we’re losing control of the production. First body double, next they’ll replace us entirely and then our vision will never be realized.” Jamie rubs his hands in glee. Finally, it is happening and they will get full control, just like he wanted from the beginning. A fire lights in his eyes. “We’ll burn it all down,” and they both cackle in glee.

“They did what?!” Banks says upon hearing that Jamie and Patrick had fired the entire cast and crew of the film. Unbelievable. This just went from a debacle to a disaster and all because Patrick was a glutton and Jamie a vengeful maniac. As a last resort he arrives on set to find Patrick smiling peacefully at the quiet serenity of the abandoned set and Jamie tearing it all down with a chainsaw. Perfect. That’s right! We’re watching (another) film that somehow attracted crazy huge stars but ended up bombing at the box office. It’s Serenity starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. Never heard of it? We have and apparently it’s gotta be seen to be believed. This is for Bring a Friend and we’re gonna do something a little different by celebrating the 25th anniversary of a major BMT straight-to-video release. How is this connected to Serenity you ask? Well it also stars our boy Matthew McConaughey 25 years younger. That’s right! We’re watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, the absolute bottom of one of the major horror franchises in film history. This also means we’ll get the third film, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, as a bonus. Perfect. Let’s go!

Serenity (2019) – BMeTric: 51.5; Notability: 14 

SerenityIMDb_BMeT

SerenityIMDb_RV

(That is a really high BMeTric for something that seems to be an independent film gone awry. The more I dive into this preview the more intriguing this movie becomes … I imagine actually having to watch it will reveal that it is in fact merely a boring drama.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.0 stars – “Serenity” is terrible and insane, and will surely end up being one of the worst films of 2019. But it’s also such a wildly ambitious roller coaster ride that it must be experienced, preferably with friends, to laugh together at its cheesy dialogue, over-the-top performances and multiple, major plot twists.

(Huh. That is kind of how I feel about Cats to be honest. So maybe this will end up being more interesting that I would have initially thought.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3zMlsEK8xA/

(Wow, that really spelled out the whole mystery of this thing. I thought the film was just a weirdo paradise noir or something, and people hated the genre mash up. It seems like it is way way more nuts than that.)

Directors – Steven Knight – (Known For: Locke; Hummingbird; BMT: Serenity; Notes: He is one of three original creators of the British television game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? … impressive.)

Writers – Steven Knight (written by) – (Known For: Allied; Locke; Eastern Promises; The Hundred-Foot Journey; Hummingbird; Woman Walks Ahead; Pawn Sacrifice; Amazing Grace; Dirty Pretty Things; Closed Circuit; Future BMT: November Criminals; The Girl in the Spider’s Web; Burnt; BMT: Serenity; Seventh Son; Notes: The Girl in the Spider’s Web is quite interesting because it is the only major bad movie I could find that is set in Sweden. It is also really borderline, it is at like 39.8% on Rotten Tomatoes last I checked.)

Actors – Matthew McConaughey – (Known For: The Wolf of Wall Street; Interstellar; Sing; The Beach Bum; Tropic Thunder; Dazed and Confused; Between Two Ferns: The Movie; White Boy Rick; Dallas Buyers Club; A Time to Kill; The Lincoln Lawyer; Magic Mike; Contact; How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days; Mud; Reign of Fire; Killer Joe; Gold; Amistad; Free State of Jones; Future BMT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; The Wedding Planner; Surfer, Dude; The Dark Tower; Sahara; Paparazzi; My Boyfriend’s Back; Larger Than Life; Angels in the Outfield; The Sea of Trees; Two for the Money; BMT: Serenity; Failure to Launch; Tiptoes; Fool’s Gold; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Notes: He had a resurgence with Dallas Buyers Club and the HBO series True Detective in particular. From Texas, he was a bankable rom-com star for years.)

Anne Hathaway – (Known For: Dark Waters; Interstellar; The Dark Knight Rises; Les Misérables; Ocean’s Eight; Don Jon; Alice in Wonderland; Brokeback Mountain; The Devil Wears Prada; The Princess Diaries; Love & Other Drugs; Get Smart; The Intern; Rio; Rachel Getting Married; Colossal; Ella Enchanted; Rio 2; Becoming Jane; Havoc; Future BMT: The Hustle; The Princess Diaries 2; Passengers; Song One; Alice Through the Looking Glass; Don Peyote; The Other Side of Heaven; BMT: Serenity; Bride Wars; Valentine’s Day; Notes: Not a great year for her as this is our second Hathaway film we’ve seen for the 2019 bad film cycle. Oh wait, *checks notes* … she might have just had her second child. So strike that, a fantastic year for Anne Hathaway.)

Diane Lane – (Known For: Justice League; The Outsiders; Inside Out; Man of Steel; Trumbo; Unfaithful; Chaplin; The Perfect Storm; The Cotton Club; Streets of Fire; Rumble Fish; Hardball; Under the Tuscan Sun; Hollywoodland; Secretariat; Bonjour Anne; A Walk on the Moon; My Dog Skip; Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains; Future BMT: Jack; The Glass House; Must Love Dogs; Nights in Rodanthe; Murder at 1600; Movie Madness; Knight Moves; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Every Secret Thing; Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House; Fierce People; BMT: Serenity; Judge Dredd; Jumper; Untraceable; Wild Bill; Trigger Happy; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 1985 for Streets of Fire, and The Cotton Club; Notes: Really didn’t do any television at all (beyond the miniseries Lonesome Dove, but that is more of a movie) before kind of randomly appearing in the last season of House of Cards.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $8,547,045 (Worldwide: $14,387,413)

(Pretty rough. I’m not sure where they were thinking they were going to make up that budget.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (37/185): A high-concept mystery with a twist, Serenity isn’t what it appears to be at first — unfortunately, it’s also not anywhere near as clever or entertaining as it thinks.

(That is the thing, if the entire point of your film is to be clever, then it probably should be clever. You know? Reviewer Highlight: What an infuriating mess the makers of Serenity have unloaded on an unsuspecting public. It’s still only January, but this batshit bonkers trip through the subconscious has already earned a place among the year’s worst movies. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Poster – Sklog-renity (A-)

serenity

(I actually really dig this. Nice color scheme and overall cool and artistic. I always wish in cases like this they would put that final cherry on top and give us that sweet, sweet Serenity specific font.)

Tagline(s) – On Plymouth Island, No One Ever Dies…Unless You Break the Rules (D)

(Seems a bit specific since I don’t know what Plymouth Island is. And is that actually the plot of the film… an island where no one dies… the trailer made it seem like maybe a few people are going to die. Too long and not clever and I also don’t really know what it means.)

Keyword – fishing boat

Serenity_fishing boat

Top 10: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Angel Has Fallen (2019), Gemini Man (2019), Aquaman (2018), Justice League (2017), Dunkirk (2017), Serenity (2019), Man of Steel (2013), The Meg (2018), X-Men: Apocalypse (2016); 

Future BMT: 55.5 Point Break (2015), 48.3 Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), 41.0 Flipper (1996), 36.3 Gemini Man (2019), 31.0 Pearl Harbor (2001), 24.4 Heaven’s Prisoners (1996), 23.2 Criminal (2016), 22.8 After the Sunset (2004), 12.0 Angel Has Fallen (2019), 9.7 Snow Falling on Cedars (1999); 

BMT: Serenity (2019), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), Sabotage (2014), Godzilla (1998), The Fog (2005), Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997), The Guardian (2006)

(It is kind of tough to find good keywords that are both informative (not too many movies have it), and interesting (enough movies have it). Here … weirdly the BMT ones I think I can specifically remember each of the fishing boats in them, so that’s fun. I might have to rethink the plots as well, a lot of them seem very same-y to me.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Diane Lane is No. 4 billed in Serenity and No. 2 billed in Judge Dredd, which also stars Sylvester Stallone (No. 1 billed) who is in Expendables 3 (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.

Notes – The movie was filmed in Mauritius.

Uma Thurman was originally cast but dropped out and replaced by Diane Lane.

The film strongly references some famous literary works, including Moby-Dick (the protagonist’s Captain Ahab-like obsession), The Old Man and the Sea (the character’s obsession to catch the one fish that got away), The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (the same symbolic bird always following the boat), and Shakespeare’s The Tempest (the “we are such stuff as dreams are made on” quote).

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III Preview

Jamie and Patrick stop dead in their tracks as they espy Chris Klein and Josh Hartnett by the craft station. “What thuuuuuu…” Patrick says before storming over and knocking their Nespresso’s out of their hands. Chris and Josh are stunned, “what the hell, bro,” Chris says annoyed, “I thought we were friends. You know how much I love my Nespresso.” But Patrick isn’t having any of it and demands to know why they are there. “We’re just here to be your body doubles, man. Chill. The studio was getting a little worried about… well…” he looks away embarrassed. But Patrick presses him on it. “Well,” Josh continues, “it’s because you gained sixty pounds and have been wearing a fedora in every scene.” Patrick is shocked and looks down at his body. It’s not that bad… right? And everyone loves his hats. But even Jamie looks away at that. Patrick storms back to their trailer. “What are we going to do?” he asks Jamie, “we’re losing control of the production. First body double, next they’ll replace us entirely and then our vision will never be realized.” Jamie rubs his hands in glee. Finally, it is happening and they will get full control, just like he wanted from the beginning. A fire lights in his eyes. “We’ll burn it all down,” and they both cackle in glee.

“They did what?!” Banks says upon hearing that Jamie and Patrick had fired the entire cast and crew of the film. Unbelievable. This just went from a debacle to a disaster and all because Patrick was a glutton and Jamie a vengeful maniac. As a last resort he arrives on set to find Patrick smiling peacefully at the quiet serenity of the abandoned set and Jamie tearing it all down with a chainsaw. Perfect. That’s right! We’re watching (another) film that somehow attracted crazy huge stars but ended up bombing at the box office. It’s Serenity starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. Never heard of it? We have and apparently it’s gotta be seen to be believed. This is for Bring a Friend and we’re gonna do something a little different by celebrating the 25th anniversary of a major BMT straight-to-video release. How is this connected to Serenity you ask? Well it also stars our boy Matthew McConaughey 25 years younger. That’s right! We’re watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, the absolute bottom of one of the major horror franchises in film history. This also means we’ll get the third film, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, as a bonus. Perfect. Let’s go!

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990) – BMeTric: 50.0; Notability: 27 

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(Wow it is kind of amazing how high that has climbed. Considering how picky horror fans are. I wonder if the gore has anything to do with it. There is a contingent of fans who would like the boldness of really going for over the top gore at the very least.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Mostly a remake of the first film: cannibal clan battles three would-be dinners. Severely damaged by prerelease cuts designed to reduce gore but which only make the film incoherent. Followed by Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.

(This appears to be a big part of the notes. Seems like an odd thing still to pull out for Leonard since, again, he doesn’t seem to like horror films. I always wonder whether he outsources some of these reviews to people more familiar with the genre.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYiwLl6doPE/

(Hooooooooooly shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit … I kind of dig that trailer. The main problem is it kind of goes with the previous entry (which is basically a horror comedy) instead of this one (which the producers had trouble editing in order to avoid an NC-17 rating). It feels like a bait and switch.)

Directors – Jeff Burr – (Known For: Straight Into Darkness; Future BMT: Stepfather II; BMT: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; Notes: Has always been a horror director. Quite interesting to film a horror film in four different decades. Dropped out of USC to become a director.)

Writers – Kim Henkel (characters) – (Known For: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre; Future BMT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Texas Chainsaw 3D; Leatherface; Death Trap; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; BMT: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; Notes: He’s a film professor in Texas, he wrote the original and almost all of his credits are for the characters involved (Leatherface in particular))

Tobe Hooper (characters) – (Known For: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2; Future BMT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; Texas Chainsaw 3D; The Mangler; Leatherface; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; BMT: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; Notes: Was the “director” of Poltergeist … in reality Spielberg probably shadow directed it. Also made the incredibly long and boring television adaptation of Salem’s Lot.)

David J. Schow (written by) – (Known For: The Crow; Future BMT: Critters 3; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning; BMT: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; Notes: Wrote non-fiction and film criticism in magazines up until becoming a screenwriter. This was his first film. He also wrote Critters 4.)

Actors – Kate Hodge – (Known For: Beach Rats; Rapid Fire; Future BMT: Harold; BMT: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; Notes: This was her first film, and she then starred in the television series She-Wolf in London soon after. She’s worked consistently, especially in television, but rarely in starring roles.)

Ken Foree – (Known For: Dawn of the Dead; The Devil’s Rejects; Water for Elephants; Dawn of the Dead; The Wanderers; The Lords of Salem; From Beyond; Knightriders; Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling; The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings; Without You I’m Nothing; Future BMT: The Dentist; Halloween; Filofax; BMT: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; Notes: Appeared as himself in the 2008 novel, “Bad Moon Rising”, by Jonathan Maberry, which featured horror “celebrities” finding themselves facing real-life horrors.)

R.A. Mihailoff – (Known For: Death House; Hatchet II; Dark House; Future BMT: License to Drive; BMT: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; Notes: Plays Leatherface here, which naturally means he’s big and acts in a ton of horror films.)

Budget/Gross – N/A / Domestic: $5,765,562 (Worldwide: $5,765,562)

(The budget is probably in the millions, just because unlike early 80s slashers they built a set. But I would guess this was a very modest success in the end. Films like this so rarely cost more than a few million to make.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 19% (3/16)

(We’re going to need a consensus: Generic slasher with the added bonus of lacking clarity. Reviewer Highlight: For those who saw the first two Massacres, this will seem pretty much deja-boo! – Richard Harrington, Washington Post)

Poster – Pleatherface (C)

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(Hmmmm, I honestly can’t tell if this is good. The coloring and lighting are interesting, but that’s about it. Font is meh and then it seems like they just put a million words on there to fill in space. But it is still promoting the star of the show and so it’s not like it’s a total disaster.)

Tagline(s) – The Most Controversial Horror Film Ever Is Finally Here. (F)

The terror begins the second it starts. (D-)

(Both are too generic to be anything but bad. I bumped the second one because it is slightly better than the first. I don’t even think the first is even true. Basically all of the Chainsaw films had controversy due to the violence depicted and I can’t imagine it was actually more controversial than the first film. It is notable as the last film to be given an X rating before NC-17 was instituted… although it was trimmed back to get an R and not released under X.)

Keyword – masked killer

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Top 10: Gemini Man (2019), Zodiac (2007), Happy Death Day 2U (2019), Happy Death Day (2017), Scream (1996), Halloween (2018), Friday the 13th (2009), Scary Movie (2000), You’re Next (2011), Scream 4 (2011); 

Future BMT: 80.8 Halloween: Resurrection (2002), 69.2 Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000), 63.9 Valentine (2001), 63.0 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), 57.9 House of Wax (2005), 52.2 The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018), 47.4 Scream 3 (2000), 38.8 Club Dread (2004), 36.3 Gemini Man (2019), 34.2 Hell Fest (2018); 

BMT: Friday the 13th (2009), Friday the 13th Part III (1982), Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985), Cobra (1986), Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989), The Gallows (2015), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

(I literally want to see all of those … well, I’m not sure why Gemini Man is on the list to be honest. Masked killer? Because … like does his clone wear a mask or what? And finally and interesting plot. This guy, of course, comes in right between the big 80s slasher kick, and the late 90s resurgence via Scream. A time when literally all of the slasher films completely sucked. You are in good company Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 18) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Viggo Mortensen is No. 5 billed in Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III and No. 3 billed in Daylight, which also stars Amy Brenneman (No. 2 billed) who is in 88 Minutes (No. 4 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 3 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 5 + 3 + 2 + 4 + 3 + 1 = 18. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 16.

Notes – The original script was much more brutal with explicit gore sequences. The producers objected to many of the scenes (one of which had a nude man being split down the middle while hung upside down) and demanded extensive changes to the script to reduce gore and violence. Further cuts had to be made to avoid an X-rating after the film was finished. (Apparently it leaves it incomprehensible)

Director Jeff Burr was fired toward the beginning of production. When nobody else accepted the job, he was rehired. (My God)

Kane Hodder – whose best-known role is that of another horror icon, Jason Voorhees – was the stunt coordinator for this movie. He was also R.A. Mihailoff’s stunt double and played Leatherface in the trailer. (Fun, by far the best Jason)

Film trailer was done even before they even had a director and before the production started.

There was also supposed to be a brutal “unmasking” scene, which would reveal Leatherface as horribly disfigured. That scene was scrapped (despite an obvious buildup during the opening credits) and saved because New Line wanted to use it in the next sequel, which never materialised. It was eventually used in the remake The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003).

Submitted 11 times to the MPAA. On each submission, more and more footage was cut out, some of which was lost forever. (That is actually too bad)

Caroline Williams reprises her role as Stretch from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) in a cameo as a news reporter. Director Jeff Burr said he imagined Stretch becoming a reporter following the trauma she experienced in the second movie in an attempt to hunt down Leatherface.

Among others, one of New Line’s first choices for director was Peter Jackson. (Makes sense, Jackson would have been somewhat known because of Bad Taste.)

This was the final movie to be given an “X” certificate by the MPAA before the rating was replaced with “NC-17”.

Tobe Hooper, director of the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), was originally going to be involved in the film. He had submitted a treatment to New Line execs, but bowed out of the project due to scheduling conflicts concerning his film Spontaneous Combustion (1990).

Leatherface is never referred to as Leatherface he’s always referred to by his family simply as “Junior”.

Originally slated for a November 3rd, 1989 release, the release date was soon pushed to January 12th of the following year. (That is never a good sign)

Originally, Benny and Leatherface both succumbed to their injuries at the end of the movie, but New Line decided to shoot a new ending with editor Michael N. Knue in which both characters survive. Jeff Burr was very surprised when he saw the movie in the cinema for the first time; the new ending was shot without his knowledge.

Replicas Recap

Jamie

Dr. William Foster is a super genius working to try to transfer the consciousness of humans into robots post-death. However, when his family is involved in a car wreck, guess what he does? That’s right, grow clones of them and transfer their concionesses into them. Can the world stop this mad man before it’s too late… wait, he’s the good guy?! Find out in… Replicas.

How?! Dr. William Foster has a big ‘ol brain and is tasked with figuring out how to transfer the consciousness of dead humans into robots. Everything is going wrong, though, and the robots are ripping themselves apart in despair following the transfer (not ideal). In the midst of this frustration, William and his family go off for a holiday boating trip only to crash on the way, killing everyone but William (also not ideal). Looking at the dead bodies of his family he decides to call his friend Ed in order to try to do the impossible: clone his family and transfer their consciousnesses into the new bodies. At this point we all know William is insane and yet the movie goes on. Ed helps him grow the clones, however he doesn’t have enough tanks so he can’t grow a body for his younger daughter (a lot of not ideal things going on). Instead of looking in the mirror and being like “oh wait, this is insane and I should stop,” he instead erases the memory of his daughter from his family’s brains… which just simply does not make sense… and yet the movie continues. Against all odds he figures out the issues with the transfer and is able to bring (most of) his family back, but almost immediately they are like “wait, why have I seemingly been asleep for two weeks and also feel like a clone and kinda remember having another daughter/sister?” At this point William spills the beans to his wife in hopes to figure it all out, but unfortunately the president of the company he works for also shows up and is like “oh BTW, we knew you were doing this and you better give us all the techmology or else you’ll be in trouble because you are a mad scientist monster.” William refuses and goes on the run, only to have his family captured by the company through the deceit of Ed. In the final climax he transfers his own consciousness into a robot that then comes in and totally owns the president because he’s a robot. The film ends with William enjoying his life with his clone family but also being a robot running an evil company… almost as if there would be a sequel where he has to battle his evil replica… but nah. THE END. Big Question: Have we really reached a point where we are expected to root for a character that would previously have been viewed as a monstrous madman?   

Why?! Clearly the motivation for William is to get his family back, while the motivation of the company is to sell immortality to the highest bidder (and not in fact save soldiers from combat fatalities like advertised). However, we never really get a good idea for why William does all the crazy and illogical steps along the way… like why is erasing Zoe from memories the best plan? Seems destined to fail the instant anyone in their lives are like “Yo, where’s Zoe?” and then all the clones would explode (probably). And indeed it does immediately blow up in his face. So I guess we just chalk all the stupid stuff up to his grief and move on.

Who?! Middleditch is arguably a Planchett, but is far too respected and competent to really count. There is an interesting “thanks for your help and support” credit to Andres Rivera, who is a long time caterer/chef (worked on Weekend at Bernies II, so you know he’s in demand). He has on occasion helped with location work on some films and it seems like that would be the case here.

What?! Apple is everywhere in this film, from phones to laptops. It’s always hard to tell whether this is true product placement or just the fact that realistically there would be a number of Apple products around in any situation. The only reason that I think it’s true product placement is that there is significant literature on Apple’s product placement strategy since the mid-90’s and this seems like a perfect example of a film they would target. 

Where?! A settings bonanza here as we are immediately informed that for whatever reason the film is set in Puerto Rico. They even kind of make a big deal that Keanu dragged his family down to Puerto Rico in order to work for the super advanced scientific medical company. B+.

When?! A double settings bonanza on this one as we also get a Secret Holiday Film Alert! Part way through the film a teacher swings by the house and Keanu has to make up some reason why it seems like he probably murdered his family. At the end of the conversation she’s like “oh, happy holidays” and I was like “what?!” Then later the whole fam goes Christmas tree shopping together. This is a holiday film! A-. Oh, and this has to be set in the future… I mean, they grow humans in tanks and barely blink an eye.

Boy, this is a mess. The whole film looks terrible, in particular the robots, and then the plot begs so many questions it’s hard to take it seriously. Keanu is either a monster or insane from the get-go and makes a series of bizarre decisions that left me wondering why we were supposed to believe he was some world-changing super genius, let alone root for him to succeed. By the end you just have to shrug and let it be. It’s likely that it’s the worst thing I watched this year. It was very hard to get through and difficult to understand why it existed and why they decided to release it to theaters rather than just sell it off to streaming. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Replicas? More like Replican’ts, amirite? It felt like I needed a classic for this Keanu classic. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – I really didn’t know much about this film beyond that it started off the year strong with a solid January BMT offering. The preview revealed that the films had a very delayed release (I don’t really know why, maybe to recut it after Keanu had his little comeback with John Wick? Or maybe because of Hurricane Maria.), which is always promising. What were my expectations? My impulse is that this is a Bruce Willis or Nic Cage film that accidentally starred Keanu and accidentally got released to theaters. So it would be boring and nonsensical and leave me wondering what I’m doing with my life.

The Good – Not much. The sci-fi concepts are really out there. A mash up of about ten different things that could be cutting edge in like 100 years. It almost felt like a very old school sci-fi short story in that regard. A story where they couldn’t quite decide how far in the future things should be, and didn’t really have a good grasp on the different scientific concepts they were dealing with. I like Thomas Middleditch in the role, it fit him well.

The Bad – The acting from basically everyone besides Middleditch was pretty bad, even Keanu. The film truly is one gigantic plothole, where you are left wondering about 50 different questions even after they’ve tried to explain things multiple times. They throw you a little life preserver later by suggesting maybe the evil corporation allowed all of this stuff to happen … but more likely the film is just poorly written. The CGI robot looks atrocious, some of the worst CGI we’ve ever seen bar none. And the ending is perplexing while the film also managed to be about 20 minutes too long. It really it one of the worst films you’ll see in 2019 if you want to look at things objectively.

The BMT – I think this will be one of the ones we’ll come back to if we ever start watching those Bruce Willis or Nic Cage straight-to-VOD features that come out every year. Just because we’ll be vaguely reminded of it. Realistically it’ll be in the top 5 worst of 2019 which will be something. I feel it in my bones. Did it meet my expectations? Despite the length, it exceeded them slightly. I think just the way the script managed to say so much, and yet every time it said something it begged two more questions at the same time. It is a bold way to tell a story, and one that does not work at all.

Roast-radamus – An absolutely huge Setting as a Character (Where?) for Puerto Rico. It is incredibly set in Puerto Rico, which is very very exciting. Also a very nice Secret Holiday Film (When?) as the film is set right around Christmas mostly out of nowhere. I’ll throw in a Worst Twist (How?) for the reveal that the corporation knew what Keanu was doing the whole time (lame). And finally I think this will pretty easily make my personal shortlist for BMT Live! As it is probably objectively the worst film I’ve seen released this year. Pretty good chops.

StreetCreditReport.com – Oh snap, we got lists. It amazingly got the number 2 on the AV Club list. I think it probably went a bit under the radar for the rest of the lists to be honest. I’m pretty impressed that it managed to nearly top a pretty big list. And really the delayed release date kind of gave it street cred anyways.

You Just Got Schooled – What more appropriate film to watch alongside Replicas than the film that gave Keanu his comeback, John Wick! I kind of expected to enjoy it, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Usually, these films that just involve a crazy amount of killing turns me off, but the world of assassins created around John Wick is so compelling (and the bad guys so unabashedly bad) that it overcomes this minor issue. I also happened to have watched the original The Raid around the same time, and while it also was mostly enjoyable, it really is the cartoony world that helped me sit back and enjoy it. I’m genuinely excited to watch the other two as well. A+.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs