The Golden Child Preview

This week we pick up in the 1986 cycle where we left off: at the beginning. In choosing a comedy film for the week we basically had two choices: the very straightforward comedy that we know is trash but was a small release no one really remembers exists (Club Paradise starring Robin Williams) OR one of the blockbuster releases of the year starring one of the megastars of the decade, but which isn’t quite a straightforward comedy and isn’t quite as poorly reviewed (The Golden Child starring Eddie Murphy). While we would typically pick the forgotten gem, we figured since we are doing this in commemoration of the year of our birth we should try to hit the major releases that may have defined the year for bad movie watchers. So without further ado we are watching The Golden Child starring Eddie Murphy. Shaping up to be quite the BMT year for Murphy. Already seen him in Harlem Nights and Norbit got elected to the Hall of Fame. Congrats. Let’s go!

The Golden Child (1986) – BMeTric: 29.6

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(That’s what I like to see. Kind of a rare BMeTric profile in that it sits perfectly on an inflection such that the regression to the mean pushes it up and then back down over the past 15 years. And yet all of that said … a fairly straightforward graph.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Top candidate for worst megahit of all time. A “perfect” child (Reate) is kidnapped despite his magical powers; as foretold by an ancient oracle, only Murphy can rescue him. Lewis is more wooden than most ex-models; entire reels go by with nary a chuckle. A box-office smash – but have you ever met anyone who liked it?

(That was rough. I think we’ll see a few BOMBs in this cycle. Leonard seems to really dislike the classically terrible film. Quality semi-colon game by Leonard as usual, but grim prognosis for the movie. Sounds boring. Gulp.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Pd0-Je3XDQ

(Nope. Not jazzed. But that is just a “Eddie Murphy is in this!” trailer. As Leonard said this is right on the tails of Beverly Hills Cop, so they were really going for a similar vibe. The attitude does feel the same, but I can also see that the humor doesn’t seem quite right. It seems like a stretch.)

Directors – Michael Ritchie – (Known For: Downhill Racer; The Bad News Bears; Fletch; The Candidate; The Couch Trip; Prime Cut; The Island; Midnight Sting; Semi-Tough; Smile; The Fantasticks; BMT: Cops and Robbersons; The Golden Child; The Scout; A Simple Wish; Fletch Lives; Wildcats; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1981 for Worst Director for The Island. Huh I’ve never heard of The Island. Known initially for his sports movies, he moved into comedies in the late 80s. Described as “consistently inconsistent” by critics struggling to describe what seems, to me, to be a weirdly varied filmography. He died in 2001.)

Writers – Dennis Feldman (written by) – (Known For: Just One of the Guys; BMT: Species II; Virus; Species; The Golden Child; Notes:  Just One of the Guys! I can’t believe that isn’t BMT. Interestingly both Feldman and Ritchie went to Harvard. Worked as a script doctor before his big break with Just One of the Guys. Virus was his last film, but he’s been involved with the writer’s guild for years.)

Actors – Eddie Murphy – (Known For: Coming to America; Shrek; Shrek 2; Mulan; Beverly Hills Cop; Trading Places; Shrek the Third; Dreamgirls; Tower Heist; Shrek Forever After; The Nutty Professor; Beverly Hills Cop II; Life; Boomerang; 48 Hrs.; Doctor Dolittle; Bowfinger; Dr. Dolittle 2; Imagine That; BMT: Norbit; Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; Pluto Nash; Vampire in Brooklyn; The Haunted Mansion; Meet Dave; Holy Man; I Spy; Beverly Hills Cop III; Showtime; Daddy Day Care; Metro; Another 48 Hrs.; The Golden Child; A Thousand Words; The Distinguished Gentleman; Harlem Nights; Razzie Notes: Won the Razzie Award in 2010 for Worst Actor of the Decade for The Adventures of Pluto Nash, I Spy, Imagine That, Meet Dave, Norbit, and Showtime; Won the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Actor, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress for Norbit; Won the Razzie Award in 1990 for Worst Screenplay for Harlem Nights; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2013 for Worst Actor for A Thousand Words, in 2010 for Imagine That, in 2009 for Meet Dave, and 2003 for The Adventures of Pluto Nash, I Spy, and Showtime; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Screenplay for Norbit; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2009 for Worst Screen Couple for Meet Dave, in 2008 for Norbit, and in 2003 for The Adventures of Pluto Nash, I Spy, and Showtime; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1990 for Worst Director for Harlem Nights Notes: As we said mere months ago for Harlem Nights “Major movie star and stand-up comic. One of the most prominent BMT actors of our age”. Mr. Church came out to lackluster reviews recently, although Murphy was widely lauded for his effective dramatic turn.)

Also stars J.L. Reate – (The titular Golden Child. She was literally only in this movie … filmography complete!) and Charles Dance – (Famous for Game of Thrones now. Has never been in a BMT film and doesn’t seem like he is in any others …. but he was in the Australian movie Patrick! Sadly the remake, not the 1978 classic.)

Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $79,817,937 (N/A)

(As Leonard said this was a huge box office success at the time, the eighth biggest film of the year. But it was considered a disappointment by the studio which was hoping for something more along the lines of the $200+ million take of Beverly Hills Cop)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (5/19): No consensus yet.

(No consensus!? But that just won’t do. I’ll make one: A precursor to Murphy’s turn towards family-friendly fare, The Golden Child is too lightweight and silly. While amusing at times, it isn’t enough to save what is ultimately a bore. Blah, even I think it is boring and I haven’t even seen the movie yet!)

Poster – The Sklog-en Child (A)

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(I … love this poster. Just feels like the 80s. I find it beautiful. And there is no way to mock it! Replacing those letters would be painful. The only critique personally is that it is very Eddie Murphy in your face. But then again, that was the point of the movie.)

Tagline(s) – Eddie Murphy Is The Chosen One (C)

(Blah. And The Chosen One is meaningless outside of the movie’s context. This tagline could just be “Eddie Murphy is in this movie!” and it would be just as effective in my opinion. It is boring, but serviceable. Especially combined with that bomb poster.)

Keyword(s) – child; Top Ten by BMeTric: 75.3 Troll 2 (1990); 71.7 Baby Geniuses (1999); 64.4 Honey I Blew Up the Kid (1992); 62.4 Saving Christmas (2014); 56.1 Poltergeist III (1988); 53.2 A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989); 53.1 Cold Creek Manor (2003); 50.0 Wild Orchid (1989); 49.4 Suburban Commando (1991); 47.8 Halloween 5 (1989);

(What a weird list and weird keyword. Just child … although appropriate for Golden Child I suppose. I am looking forward to Suburban Commando. Do you think we can do a Hulkamania cycle? Maybe if we open to all wrestlers and got a loosey goosey with the rules.)

Notes – Although the Golden Child is referred to as a boy throughout the film, J.L. Reate is actually a girl.

Originally intended as a serious adventure drama with Mel Gibson in the lead role. After Gibson turned the film down and Eddie Murphy replaced him, the script was rewritten as a partial comedy. (You’d think since this so frequently gets mentioned in movie disaster post-mortems that it would be avoided … but maybe it happens so often to great success that the benefits outweigh the pitfalls. Who knows)

On the return flight from Nepal, Eddie Murphy starts to sing with the music on the headphones on the plane. The third line/gibberish he sings is, “Eddie Murphy is a cool man.”

Eddie Murphy turned down a role in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) in order to make this film. (Saaaaaaaaay what. Although I can see it. He would probably help Kirk and Spock get to the aquarium to see the whales to boisterous laughs. Sigh. What could have been.

John Barry was commissioned by Paramount Pictures to compose, produce, and record a complete score. However, Barry was taken off the project after creative differences and reaction to test screenings . Although Michel Colombier completed the score, a few cues by Barry remain in the film, and one, “Wisdom of the Ages”, was released on the original soundtrack LP. As of the present, the entirety of both Barry’s largely unused music and Colombier’s final theatrical version score have been issued on a limited edition 3-CD soundtrack by Capitol/La-La Land Records. (I know what Jamie is getting for Christmas)

In the dream, when Chandler meets Sardo, Fu and “The Fat dude” and Sardo carves the dagger on Chandler’s arm, the set is the same used in the last few seasons of Webster (1983) (Ha!)

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Mechanic: Resurrection Recap

Jamie

This week we watched Mechanic: Resurrection in theaters for BMT: Live! A tradition whereby the bad movie twins attempt to find movies that have even remotely similar US and UK release dates. I’m going to take it upon myself to put this film into context with the original Mechanic and the 2011 remake. I’ll let Patrick do most (but not all) of the talking about Mechanic: Resurrection. The original film starring Charles Bronson was very similar to Get Carter. He is an old school gangster that gets a little caught up with some personal feelings, which puts him on the wrong side of his boss (in this case he takes a shine to his hitman mentor’s son and decides he wants to train him to be his replacement, which doesn’t make his boss very happy). In the end they decide to take him out and he is killed (but not before killing everyone that got in his way). That’s almost exactly Get Carter, but not quite as good. With the 2011 remake they shifted from a subdued thriller to a straight action. As a result, Statham and Ben Foster had to bumble and stumble their way through every job. They botch everything. Of course this is what happens when you want to make a hitman thriller into a straight action. They have to fuck up every job so that their only escape is through massive stunts and violence. It was shit. It’s actually super surprising that it got >50% on RT. I would have pegged it at high 30’s. Almost every change made from the original was a mistake and there was some rididididiculous writing on display (I could write a whole blog post on the medical jargon employed in the film, for it was absurd). So nowhere to go but up, right? Wrong. I feel like it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to say that a film we’ve watched is truly awful. Mechanic: Resurrection is truly awful. It’s like the makers watched last year’s horrendous Hitman: Agent 47 and looked around and said, “Shit… they’ve cracked the code. Perfection,” and browsed through whatever properties they owned so they could create the exact same film for this year. It was nonsense. The funniest thing about all this: the remake actually got the plot right this time! Instead of just having the hitman screw up in order to create action they had him cajoled into doing sloppy and near-impossible mission in order to save a loved one. That actually makes more sense, and yet it was still a pile of trash.

God damn do I love Settings 101. Once again we got a great settings film in Mechanic: Resurrection. It also was one of the more difficult films to assess of our recent fare. On the face of it Mechanic: Resurrection is a classic B settings film. Everywhere you go you are told explicitly through intertitle where exactly you are in the world. So you are never confused as we jump from Brazil to Thailand to Malaysia to Australia to Bulgaria. But as you can see from that list this is essentially a roadtrip film (what Patrick termed the globetrotter film). Do I consider it set in Australia? Thailand? Bulgaria? If we were making a mapl.de.map is this penalized because it doesn’t spend a lot of time in a singular location? After much gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes we came to the conclusion that this would not be a penalty. Here they are clear enough and the locations used well enough that this earns a solid B+ in Settings 101. It’s all about how clear the location is and how much it factors into the plot. For the record I would push for the film to count towards Bulgaria. I feel like it was the most solid location of the five. Australia has an argument as does Thailand, but that would be my vote (I’m sure you all were wondering).

Patrick

‘Ello everyone? Mechanic: Resurrection? I’m going a little NYPost back splash on you: The Mechanic Should Have Stayed Dead! Buuuuurned. It was BMT Live! So far I would say we’ve been remarkably successful with our in theater choices, did the streak continue? Let me put it this way … I have OPINIONS! Let’s hear them.

  • The Good – Who can’t resist a little Statham charm, and a little gratuitous Jessica Alba butt that makes you feel a bit dirty, you know? Considering the overall quality of the film some of the shots they managed to get are impressive. One more word: globetrotting. C’mon, everyone loves some great views.
  • The Bad – Nearly everything. I’ll speak a bit more on the theater experience below, but this is as close as I’ve ever come to walking out of a film. Five minutes in I thought “seriously … what the fuck is this?”. Usually bad movies are skilled people with good intentions when everything goes wrong. This, somehow, came across as watching people bad at their job do it badly. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and say the budget just didn’t match the aspirations. Amateurish is the word to describe the film. Expository would describe the script. Literally, there is a whole thirty minutes with pure monologues which sound like this: “Crain and I grew up as child soldiers trained in the East End. I escaped, and he’s never forgiven me for it.” First, seriously, c’mon, my workmates got a kick out of the mere idea of child soldiers trained in the East End, it is ludicrous. Second, how didn’t this come up in the first movie? This mysterious past didn’t come across in the slightest until literally right now. Alba’s backstory was equally ridiculous and is just deadpanned to the camera for a minute straight. Tommy Lee Jones is a gunrunner with a heart of gold! While mind you, still controlling the entirety of the European and South American arms trades, as if only “the little guy” needs guns in those parts of the world. I could go on for days, and I have. I literally whispered to myself “is this the worst movie I’ve ever seen?” Of course it isn’t, it isn’t even the worst movie I’ve seen in theaters, but while watching it it certainly seemed like the nadir of something.
  • The BMT – I would watch this movie a thousand times over. If there is any good in the world this movie will ultimately break 50 on the BMeTric and enter the pantheon. But I fear it will go the way of Hitman: Agent 47, forgotten and forgiven for all the hurt and pain it had caused. For shame.

As promised a little note on the Theater Sklog-sperience: This was my first venture to the Westfield mall in Shepherd’s Bush and the Vue there is fantastic. Great seat, courteous audience, awful awful (awful) movie. As I walked there I reflected on the fact that Hitman films just … kind of suck. You have a superman of a “good” guy, and the only way the kills are action-y in reality is if the person screws them up. The original Mechanic did a good job combatting both of those pitfalls and yet still was kind of boring (it’s like Get Carter, but I liked Get Carter more). The remake has Ben Foster literally screw everything up twice just so we could get some action. Not a good look. Even walking there I knew I wasn’t going to have a great time.

I’ll leave it there because I’ve written a lot. Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Mechanic: Resurrection Preview

Big week here at BMTHQ. That’s because we are finally doing the third of four In Theaters Now interludes! This week we saw the release of Mechanic: Ressurection. The film is a sequel to 2011’s The Mechanic, which is in turn a remake of the Charles Bronson original. Considering how much we love homework for BMT, we jumped at the chance to catch up on the series (which is presumably now finished). The film had a crazy embargo on reviews, garnering less than 20 even after the weekend during which it premiered in 2300 theaters). Now it’s up in the 30’s, but still that’s remarkable. Consider this: Suicide Squad has 287 tallied reviews. Even the boxing movie Hands of Stone (released in 1/4 as many theaters on the same weekend) has double the reviews! It goes to show how much control a studio really has. If they want reviewers to see a film that can get it seen. If not? It makes its money and disappears. I’m actually pretty excited for this. I’m glad we were able to fit this in live. Let’s go!

Mechanic: Resurrection (2016) – BMeTric: 13.6

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(Huh. That BMeTric is actually pretty high for having literally just come out. Nothing really to see since it is so early in its run, although its vote numbers look … small. I would guess maybe 6 thousand for the theatrical and 12K initially after VOD release? Won’t be a BMeTric barn burner, but if that rating keeps a tumblin’ then it will make like 20-30.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  How bad could it be? Not good, is the answer, learned at an early Thursday evening screening. Despite some of the most picturesque locations money can buy, and some not unimpressive looking movable props (yachts with helipads and such) and so on, “Mechanic: Resurrection” suffers from a storyline and script that strains credulity and insults intelligence even by the low bar set by the majority of contemporary action movies.

(Noice. Terrible scripts are my bag. You telling me we are getting Expendables level picturesque locales? Yes please! Count me in. Purposefully withholding the movie from reviewers is almost always a great sign. This ain’t Star Wars 8, they probably did this because it is straight hot garbage and they want Statham-heads to get out to the theater before they’ve realized their horrible mistake. They didn’t count on the bad movie twins though, I’m going to almost literally run to the theater to see this piece of trash)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-P3f_wDXvs

(That looks like garbage. Having seen the original and remake of the Mechanic it also doesn’t really fall in line with the movie at all. And, spoiler alert, Tommy Lee Jones is barely in this movie so him getting third billing and a strong presence in the trailer is hilarious. The music doesn’t even get me jazzed up, sigh.)

Directors – Dennis Gansel – (Known For: Die Welle; Before the Fall; Wir sind die Nacht; BMT: Mechanic: Resurrection; Notes: German director who also does some commercial work. I’ve heard of a few of his features, specifically Die Welle (The Wave). This could mark his attempt to transition to America, he has at least one smaller American film in pre-production. One of ten directors included in Berlin, I Love You, the counterpart to Paris je t’aime)

Writers – Philip Shelby (screenplay & story) – (BMT: Survivor; Mechanic: Resurrection; Notes: Was primarily a writer from 1988 to 2002, with his most notable work being a Covert-One book written with the ideas of Robert Ludlum, the creator of Jason Bourne, in mind. This is his first writing credit of any kind in nearly 15 years.)

Tony Mosher (screenplay) – (BMT: Mechanic: Resurrection; Notes: There is very little about this guy, although you can find his twitter and other information saying that he is, indeed, a screenwriter in LA. He seems to be tabbed for an upcoming project and a screenplay rewrite, but nothing major I don’t think.)

Lewis John Carlino (based upon the characters created by) – (Known For: The Mechanic; The Mechanic (2011); The Great Santini; Seconds; Resurrection; The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea; The Fox; The Brotherhood; BMT: Mechanic: Resurrection; Notes: Probably best known as the writer-director of the Oscar nominated film The Great Santini. He was himself nominated for an Oscar for Adapted Screenplay for I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1978). A veteran of the stage it would seem that was his preferred medium more recently, although I have to assume his is retired since he is in his eighties.)

Rachel Long and Brian Pittman (screenplay) – (BMT: Mechanic: Resurrection; Stranded; Notes: Young screenwriters who just had their new script The Civilian bought by Millenium in the hopes to turn it into a “franchise … in the vein of The Bourne Identity” which makes sense. This is one of the projects listed for Tony Mosher above as well. The connections to spy movies and Bourne in particular in this writing team is very very interesting to me.)

Actors – Jason Statham – (Known For: The Mechanic; Spy; Fast & Furious 7; Snatch; Furious 6; Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; The Transporter; The Expendables; The Italian Job; The Expendables 2; Transporter 2; The Bank Job; Collateral; Death Race; Homefront; Crank; Hummingbird; Parker; Crank: High Voltage; Safe; Blitz; Gnomeo & Juliet; Cellular; BMT: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (BMT); Ghosts of Mars (BMT); The Pink Panther; Wild Card; The One; The Expendables 3 (BMT); Transporter 3; 13; War; Turn It Up; Killer Elite; Revolver; Mechanic: Resurrection; Notes:  A martial artist and accomplished diver Statham was discovered by Guy Ritchie while sports modelling. He is well known for a somewhat tongue in cheek approach to action bordering on comedy in places. Having a bit of a moment with Furious 7 and Spy.)

Jessica Alba – (Known For: Sin City; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Machete; Stretch; Never Been Kissed; The Killer Inside Me; A.C.O.D.; BMT: The Love Guru (BMT); Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D; Honey; The Ten; Little Fockers; The Eye; Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Good Luck Chuck (BMT); Fantastic Four; Machete Kills (BMT); Valentine’s Day (BMT); Barely Lethal; Into the Blue; Escape from Planet Earth (BMT); Razzie Notes:  Won the Razzie Award in 2011 for Worst Supporting Actress for The Killer Inside Me, Little Fockers, Machete, and Valentine’s Day; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2009 for Worst Actress for The Eye, and The Love Guru; in 2008 for Awake, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and Good Luck Chuck; and in 2006 for Fantastic Four, and Into the Blue; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2008 for Worst Screen Couple for Awake, Good Luck Chuck, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer; Notes: Somewhat of a BMT superstar. She is very involved with charity and occasionally has gotten into some controversy because of it (particularly in animal rights). Not much else to say really, her previous turn in Good Luck Chuck wasn’t a good look for her and I don’t think this movie is going to help much.)

Also stars Tommy Lee Jones – (Who I think we’ve never seen in a BMT film? Shocking)

Budget/Gross – $40 million / N/A (N/A)

(This is almost guaranteed to be a massive box office flop. No way it touches $40 million. But I guess blowing up boats and helicopters costs a bunch? Hopefully I see every penny of that $40 million on screen, that is at least usually fun.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (7/31): No consensus yet.

(I’m going to make a consensus: This movie literally makes you dumber. Bam. I am shocked it has seven good reviews, but I guess when you set the bar at “Does Jason Statham punch someone in the face and have a British accent? Yes? Two and a half out of four! Good for what it is!” I can kind of see how it ends up like that.)

Poster – Sklog-chanic Resurrection (F) 

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(I really hate this poster. This is version one. There is a version two which is in the vein of the second version poster of the 2011 Mechanic which is in turn so inferior to the primary poster that it is laughable. Basically the second poster for the film is better in that it improves on the brown-ish banality of the 2011 poster, but that 2011 primary poster is so good that it makes me angry. In this one … the weird windowed nonsense, the kind of skewness of the entire thing, Statham looks weird in the poster, it tells you nothing about the film (except that there are babes, guns, and old man Tommy Lee Jones). Boo.)

Tagline(s) – Four continents. Three kills… Or the love of his life is dead. (D)

They hired him. They betrayed him. They’ll pay. (B-)

(The first one is like a Statham film, first two acts are great, but it drops the ball in the last third (boom, I don’t know if that is even true, I just thought I was so goddamned clever I had to throw it out there). But seriously, the last bit makes it too long and doesn’t carry over the theme. Four continents, three kills, two lovers, one mechanic, something like that maybe. The second is the same, but much better. The hired him, they betrayed him, they [blank] him, would have worked, although nothing comes to mind at the moment. Adequate though. I can see why they went with the first though, definitely tells you more and gets you jazzed up for the movie. The second is kind of blah in the end.)

Keyword(s) – hitman; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.4 The Avengers (1998); 70.0 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 66.0 Kangaroo Jack (2003); 62.8 Abduction (I) (2011); 60.1 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 58.8 The Crow: City of Angels (1996); 57.9 Tekken (2010); 57.3 Daredevil (2003); 52.8 Jupiter Ascending (2015); 52.7 Alex Cross (2012);

(BTW 132 films have the keyword “hitman” and a BMeTric of 20+! That is incredible. I’m willing to bet we are doing pretty well with those. I’m not sure Tekken is a real movie, but it does often come up on lists like this. I do not anticipate this movie even getting close to this list. Like … 30 tops I think, it is practically out of theaters in the UK already.)

Notes – Borrows heavily from the plot of Killer Elite (2011) wherein Statham’s character must complete 3 elaborate assassinations and make them look like accidents. (Or so this random IMDb user claims)

This will be Dennis Gansel’s first film not to star Max Riemelt in 14 years. (Makes a bit of sense. He seems like a young upcoming German director so I would assume he would work with young upcoming German actors a lot)

Jason Statham and John Cenatiempo both starred in Fast & Furious 7 (2015). (Ha! “Starring” in Furious 7 I guess means going uncredited as “Korpi”. Cenatiempo appears to be a big stunt guy, so that’s cool)

This will be Michelle Yeoh’s second action movie in 2016. The first is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016).

John Cenatiempo has appeared in 2 films with Statham. The first was in Safe (2012) as the guy he stabs with a fork at the bar. (3 films including Furious 7 no? Jesus Christ, get your shit together random IMDb user)

The final line delivered by Tommy Lee Jones’s character in which he say “Bang! You’re dead” to the security cam footage is the same line used in Arthur Bishop’s (played by Charles Bronson) final letter to his apprentice Steve McKenna (played by Jan-Michael Vincent).

Deadly Friend Recap

Jamie

This week we began on the Sklog’s Birthday Bonanza, all movies from 1986, with a movie based on a book, Deadly Friend. As I watched Deadly Friend I couldn’t help but think to myself “Hmmm, I would have thought I’d be having more fun watching this than I am.” After all, this was a film that featured a bright yellow robot as a main character and a death scene involving a zombie throwing a basketball at someone’s head so hard that it literally explodes! But almost everything outside of those two things was pretty meh. But I’ll leave the further analysis of the film to Patrick.

In terms of the adaptation from the book Friend by Diana Henstell, we actually got a bit of a departure going from print to screen. The book was just a classic boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl is killed by father, boy resurrects girl on a stormy, lightning-filled night. Just classic stuff. At its core it’s just an update of the Frankenstein story to a 1980’s love story. The movie kept a lot of the main storyline (the boy’s weird robot best friend is probably the most peculiar), but scrapped a lot of the Frankenstein heavy features, choosing instead to focus on the love story (and eventually the gore). The most prominent change made was to the motivation of the main character bringing his love interest back from the dead. In the book the boy is distraught over her death and in a fit of anger/love/insanity steals her body from the mortuary and attempts to revive her (to horrifying effect). In the film they seemed to shy away from having the main character straight-up rob a grave. Instead he plans on installing a microchip into her brain to revive her from a coma. Finding that he is too late to the hospital and she has already passed away he decided to go forward with the operation and revives her (to horrifying effect). Just a little softening to make an unlikable character… well, still pretty unlikable. Overall, I found the book to be quite the drag (mostly because the main character is a pain in the ass and super weird) and unsurprisingly the movie it inspired isn’t much better. It’s basically the worst combo. At least with a lot of the other films we watched for this cycle I enjoyed either the film or the book (or both). In this case they both were just OK. Phew… finally no more books to read.

This week Settings 101 was an exhilarating adventure. We’ve been on quite the run of films with distinct locations, so it’s nice to have to work for it this week. While watching the film there were several scenes with fairly clear license plates shown to the viewer. Unfortunately, these license plates turned out to be prop plates with “Drive Safely” written at the top rather than the state name (kind of like the “Great State” license plates of The Tuxedo). Unwilling to give up I scoured the rest of the film for any other indication of location. Fortunately the film opens with a scene of the boy moving with his mother to their new home. He is navigating the highways and byways of America and has a map on his lap. That map? A map of Illinois! Now this would hardly be definitive except that there is a line marking their route through the state ending near the city of Peoria. Now does this really mark their route? How are we to know whether this truly means that the film is set in Illinois or if they just grabbed a random prop map for the film? Who cares! Set in Illinois! A definitive D-. Literally the least amount of information that could possibly be provided and still arguably have a set location. I. Love. It.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Deadly Friend? More like Dreadful Fraud, amirite? We watched what I will describe as a very strange movie, and probably for a very strange reason. Let’s just get into it:

  • The Good – Um, honestly nothing? It isn’t really a movie I would say. It is somewhat charming in the technological youth it exhibits in its hopes and dreams of robots at that point in the 80s. But it is a barely movie through and through. Even the practical effects aren’t effective. And acting is okay for what it is I guess. But at that points in time it is a low-budget nonsense movie. I wonder why it has a cult following …
  • The Bad – I’ve already went through it a bit, but the movie is bonkers. It makes little sense in some ways (the main character is either totally insane or a sociopath) and then is only morbidly fascinating in most others. It is boring, and weird, and falls short in almost every way. As Jamie said: it should be more fun, but it isn’t.
  • The BMT – No. Too small and boring. Like Maximum Overdrive it is only BMT in showing how people completely botched horror in the 80’s. Probably the cocaine.

Ah, and why did we watch this movie? Because 1986 is amazing terrible for bad movies. It was between this and Shanghai Surprise as far as we could tell (since we have already seen Cobra) and Shanghai Surprise had to be reserved for Romance … so yeah, getting a bit sparse. This cycle … might be bad.

You know what? I’m going to leave it there. Deadly Friend isn’t very inspiring.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Deadly Friend Preview

And this week we are excited to announce the next cycle, a very special cycle indeed. This October the bad movie twins will be turning thirty (it’s a pretty big deal), and we we thought it would be fun to do movies that are also turning thirty years old. That’s right, the cycle is the Sklog’s Birthday Bonanza, The Films of 1986. And since we are in a transition period between cycles we had to find a movie that is not only based on a book, but also specifically came out in 1986. And that means there is really only one choice (no, seriously, I think there was literally only one decently qualified movie to choose from in this case): Deadly Friend. A Wes Craven picture based on Friend by Diana Henstell, this is considered somewhat of a cult classic, but is also very well known for the meddling of producers during production. It looks … really strange. Getting me kind of excited. Let’s go!

Deadly Friend (1986) – BMeTric: 24.2

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(Ah, very similar to last week’s plots and I think this is a trend for films from the 80s / early 90s. It rises until it reaches a stable rating/votes proportion in the BMeTric, and this again is a very good example of a film regressing to the mean as time goes on. I think movies that existed prior to IMDb going “mainstream” tended to have a much broader range of ratings (perhaps) and so with older movies you see this regression to the mean much more starkly. Always interesting (to me))

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  Inventive teenager, in love with the girl next door, revives her (a la Frankenstein) after she’s killed. More heart, and more actual entertainment, than you’d expect from a Wes Craven horror film … though it’s probably the only movie ever made in which someone is beheaded by a basketball!

(Yeah, this movie sounds bonkers insane. I also don’t believe Leonard actually reviewed this. Maltin is notoriously uneasy about horror films, he’s like me, he finds them spooky scary. Maybe at the time he might have watched it as a job requirement, but I have a feeling this was compiled for the book and represents a review by some staff writer. Two and a half stars for this bullshit horror film. I don’t believe it. All that being said, this movie sounds like a genuinely terrible idea.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQj2GKwKp5w

(Wow! I’m actually shocked at how cheap this looks. This was made after Nightmare on Elm Street, which I think is a surprisingly beautiful film, but this looks like an amateur film in comparison. Another weird thing? Nary a robot to be seen. And I know for a fact that there is a hilarious yellow robot in this.)

Directors – Wes Craven – (Known For: Scream; A Nightmare on Elm Street; Scream 4; Red Eye; Scream 2; The Hills Have Eyes; The Last House on the Left; Swamp Thing; New Nightmare; Paris, je t’aime; Music of the Heart; The Serpent and the Rainbow; BMT: Vampire in Brooklyn; Cursed; My Soul to Take; Scream 3; The Hills Have Eyes Part II; Shocker; Deadly Friend; Deadly Blessing; Notes: Died last year from brain cancer. Was set to direct Superman IV: The Quest for Peace but was dropped after feuding with Christopher Reeve.)

Writers – Diana Henstell (novel) – (BMT: Deadly Friend; Notes: Horror/Thriller writer in the 80s. Apparently worked in publishing for most of her career. That’s all I could find about her.)

Bruce Joel Rubin (screenplay) – (Known For: Ghost; Deep Impact; The Last Mimzy; Jacob’s Ladder; Stuart Little 2; Brainstorm; My Life; BMT: Deadly Friend; Deceived; The Time Traveller’s Wife; Notes: Won an Oscar for Ghost. The story is that he was going to turn down this film on principle as he had higher ambitions, but thought better of it because he really needed the money.)

Actors – Matthew Labyorteaux – (Known For: Mulan; Kaze tachinu; A Woman Under the Influence; Everyone’s Hero; King of the Gypsies; BMT: Bride Wars; Pinocchio; Deadly Friend; Notes: You hear that? That’s us improbably completing this random dude’s BMT filmography with what must be the most bizarre set of movies I’ve ever seen.)

Kristy Swanson – (Known For: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Big Daddy; Pretty in Pink; The Phantom; Hot Shots!; The Program; Higher Learning; BMT: Dude, Where’s My Car?; Mannequin: On the Move; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag; The Chase; Flowers in the Attic; Deadly Friend; Notes: Started dating Alan Thicke when he was 40 and she was 17 (wot?). They were engaged but never married.)

Budget/Gross – $11,000,000 / Domestic: $8,988,731

(Wow, 10 times the budget of Nightmare on Elm, but made a fraction of the box office. Probably didn’t help that it was part of a publicly troubled production process and got terrible reviews once actually released.)

#39 for the Cyborg / Android / Robot genre

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(Look at those waves. This guy came right on the heels of Terminator and Short Circuit and a little before Robocop, so definitely a trend. Now Ex Machina and Chappie are coming at a semi-boom in the same category. The waves may be indicative of how bad robot movies often are (see the keyword below) you make a few with great care and dedication … and then you saturate the market with garbage, then start all over again. Blah.)

#54 for the Sci-Fi – Based on Book genre

scifibook_54

(The second example quickly on the heels of The 5th Wave, this is far less interesting. Maybe this was introduced at a time when book adaptations were waning a bit, but hard to tell. Still, the amount of sci-fi movies based on a book now dwarfs those from the eighties. It is pretty stunning.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 0% (0/7): No consensus yet.

(A rare, but kind of cheap 0% movie since it only has six (often far after the fact) reviews on rotten tomatoes. I’ll make a consensus though: While filled with its fair share of Cravenisms, it is also filled with classic Craven miscues. An interesting premise is squandered as the film instead becomes merely another cliched teenaged revenge fantasy.)

Poster – Deadly Sklog (C-)

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(Personally I like it. I like the style, very classically 70s/80s horror I feel like. I like the idea of it in a way. But … I mean, what does it have to do with anything? What is this movie about? It doesn’t really scream “this is about a killer robot!”. It doesn’t say “this is a teenaged revenge fantasy!”. It is just … surreal. If anything it screams “like Nightmare on Elm Street this is a movie focused on the terror found within dreams”. If I was only given this poster I would say this movie is about a bullied teenage girl who discovers that through incredible psychic power she can control other people’s dreams and terrorizes those who terrorize her in the real world … hey, that sounds like a pretty good movie actually. Kind of a what-if-you-could-be-Freddy-Krueger in real life. Could actually be a fun movie)

Tagline(s) – She can’t live without you. [trailer] (A)

There’s no one alive who’ll play with the girl next door! [poster] (what in the fuck? F.)

(The second one being on the poster is a travesty. How? It is awful. The trailer tagline is a nice, concise play on words. Hints at the connection to Frankenstein. Hits all the right notes.)

Keyword(s) – robot; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.3 Meet the Spartans (2008); 78.4 The Avengers (1998); 76.9 RoboCop 3 (1993); 76.8 Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003); 75.6 Inspector Gadget (1999); 72.3 Jason X (2001); 71.2 The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3-D (2005); 69.8 Pluto Nash (2002); 66.5 Scooby-Doo (2002); 65.1 Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982);

(That is a simply fantastic list of terrible movies. Robots do seem to enter into a lot of ludicrous and hilarious plotlines. If only Lindsay Lohan’s robot leg and arm from I Know Who Killed Me counted! Also this is an amazing set of sequels too. I just can’t get over it!)

Notes – Director Wes Craven’s and screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin’s original vision for the film was a PG-rated supernatural science fiction thriller, with the primary focus being on the macabre love story between Paul and Samantha, as well as a secondary focus on the adults around them and how they are truly monsters inside themselves. Craven filmed this version of the film and Warner Bros. decided to screen it to a test audience mostly consisting of Wes Craven’s fans. The response from fans was negative, criticizing the lack of violence and gore seen in Craven’s previous films.

I would say that this is part of the Michael Eliot trilogy. Eliot was an editor brought in by Warner Bros. to reedit this film, along with Out for Justice and Showdown in Little Tokyo.

BB robot cost over $20,000 to build. Craven used a company called Robotics 21. His eyes were constructed from two 1950 camera lenses, a garage remote control unit, and a radio antenna taken from a Corvette. BB could actually lift 750 pounds in weight.

Bonfire of the Vanities Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Bonfire of the Vanities? More like Bonfire of the Banalities. I had a tough time figuring this movie out, and I’ll tell you why. Let’s go.

  • The Good – For much of the movie it is well acted. I was rather impressed with Hanks, Willis (surprisingly), and especially Melanie Griffith. It is, for decent stretches, at least fascinating. I would say I was more confused as to whether this was supposed to our world or a truly surreal satirical take on our world, and perhaps that is what kept my attention, but there were certainly bits I did like.
  • The Bad – Where to begin … I mean, I know this movie is a satire, but it does come across as genuinely racist. Like it is painting a picture of a world it imagines exists and then takes the unfortunate tack of taking down the strawman caricatures it creates, as if that is meaningful. I kept grasping at things, trying to think how I could make the movie better in some tangible way, but the unfortunate thing is: without reading the book I didn’t know! I knew the movie’s approach couldn’t be the book’s angle because it would have been torn down and cast out of society with vigor. But how it differed I didn’t know. Reading the IMDb notes and realizing they were forced to recast the judge as black (Morgan Freeman) makes oh so much sense. At times I really couldn’t believe what I was watching. I found it shocking. I knew it was supposed to be satire, but it is so weak that occasionally you get lulled into the sense that you are watching a real movie only to be shaken awake by angry and awful people and actions. I found the first half of the film stressful, and the second half unpleasant (if slowly relieving as you realize that things are kind of going to way you’d expect them to go). So there you go. I did not think this is was not that bad, but perhaps that is the mood I was in, willing to take this silly movie a bit too seriously. And yet my feelings seem to mirror the critical reception at the time, so I’m giving myself the benefit of the doubt.
  • BMT – I’ll keep this short. I thought it was boring, but shocking enough to warrant a solid 25 and maybe (maybe) I’d throw it to someone with the tentative recommendation that you are watching a truly strange movie come to life. I do kind of want to read the book about the making of this movie. It must have been simply bonkers.

Let’s see. Sequel/Prequel/Reboot would be fun to try and figure out who would play all of the people in a reboot made this year (plus, hey, it’s not like we are having a serious discussion on race in the United States at the moment …). So in the Tom Hanks role I wanted someone with that boyish charm, who can play someone you kind of want to hate a bit, and as close to 35 as possible (a believable age for the social position Hanks was in in the movie), and I think Andrew Garfield in that role would work really well. You could definitely believe him on Wall Street and then sympathize as his world falls apart around him. Bruce Willis comes across a lot older than he actually is (also 35 at the time), but also the literal alcohol character is tough to pull off I feel like these days, they are either now much older or the perpetual party boy type deal (like Miles Teller in The Spectacular Now). I went a little older and found Danny McBride which I think could work, even has the comedy chops if they wanted to go that direction again. Jeremy Renner or Joel Edgerton could both work as well. Scarlett Johansson in the Griffith role rounds out the important bits. Recast Freeman in his own role and you got a stew cooking.

There isn’t much beyond the three leads to make this movie again if they cared. The rest of the cast you could debate back and forth, but really that is unimportant compared to actually getting the tone right.

Jamie

As we finish our Now A Major Motion Picture cycle heading into our transition week, I can start to think retrospectively about the collection of books that I’ve (largely suffered) through. In most cases the books and the films were either very similar, bordering on straight adaptations (Pinocchio, Phantoms, The Choice, and The 5th Wave) or wildly different (Fair Game, Get Carter, and Random Hearts). The Bonfire of the Vanities stands out because it’s not really in either category. The first half of the film is basically a straight adaptation, with only minor changes to how characters look or behave. Halfway through the film though, it veers wildly off course. Starting from a scene where our main character Sherman McCoy wanders out of a courtroom in which he has been indicted on charges of reckless endangerment, we, as the audience, also wander helplessly from a film that made some sense, to one that makes no sense. I was so confused by the tone change at that point (anchored by what I knew from the book) that I actually assumed for a while that what we were seeing was a dream sequence (spoiler alert: not the case). It seems at this point that the filmmaker decided that he no longer liked the film he was making (probably because all the characters are terrible people) and decided that the movie needed some bucking up. Let’s all of sudden make Peter Fallow a hero (rather than the shitty pulp tabloid man that he is in the book), let’s have Sherman comically brandish a shotgun in a crowded party, and let’s make the climax of the film be the just acquittal of our valiant hero (!!!) Sherman McCoy. In the book this climax was just only in that it took all the shitty, vain people involved in the story and destroyed them all in a blaze of glory. In the film none of the characters are developed enough to convey this (and the ones that are developed have been developed into nicer, softer characters) so that the climax is played straight. Gross.

Funny enough this probably wouldn’t have made a difference to me if I hadn’t read the book. I wondered if I would have thought the film was well-acted and well-written (albeit a bit aimless), and produced in that Hollywood way to make it pleasant enough. I thought that I might have even said It’s Not That Bad.™ With the book, though, it seemed like a disaster. In the end I think Patrick and I agreed though. The fact of the matter is that the book is considerably more shocking in its racism than the film and in that way you can see the satire. It creates caricatures of real NYC dwellers of the time, but magnifies the hidden racism that roils beneath in order to satirize the institutions in the city (police, law, finance, politics). But how the film reigned back the exaggeration and dared to soften the McCoy and Fallow characters destroys the satire and in turn makes it simple offensive. Basically, I was wrong in my assumption that I might not be offended if I didn’t have the book to anchor me. His recap proves that I would have probably been even more offended.

Perhaps it’s a byproduct of all these films being based on books, but we’ve had a nice little run of films with very distinct settings for Settings 101. Once again we have a film that gets an A! In this case The Bonfire of the Vanities is a takedown of the New York City elite. Obviously they couldn’t change the setting or else the entire message would be lost (instead they just lost the message through shitty character development). We get several shots of the New York skyline, a close-up shot of Sherman McCoy’s New York license plate, clear “Manhattan” and “Bronx” highway signs, and a climax that centers around the idea of a white Manhattanite running over an African American youth in The Bronx. Kinda hovers a bit between A- and A as there isn’t really a distinct New York landmark used as a prop. But as the setting itself is vital to the plot and unchangeable, I give it the A. Once again, misses out on the coveted A+ by not having the setting in the title of the film.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Bonfire of the Vanities Preview

On the precipice of finishing the Now A Major Motion Picture cycle, we of course chose the longest book in the world for the Razzie section. That’s right, we’re watching The Bonfire of the Vanities starring Tom Hanks and BMT Legend Bruce Willis. The film was based on the Tom Wolfe classic of the same name, which comes in at a weighty 630 pages (oof). Luckily I started in on the behemoth weeks ago. This has been on my BMT future prospects list since almost the beginning of time, mostly because I couldn’t believe that there was a Hanks-Willis collaboration that bombed so badly. It was nominated for five Razzies (Picture, Screenplay, Director, Actress, and Supporting Actress) and an entire book was written about its troubled production (look at that street cred!). I did not get a chance to read that book… yet. Let’s go!

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) – BMeTric: 39.5

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(Beautiful. Regression to the mean is there, as the votes rise the rating rises as well. But also there is no 2011 inflection point, why? I believe it is because this movie is kind of perfectly “average”. It isn’t popular by any means, but it also isn’t unpopular, probably because of the book it has a built in audience. Make the BMeTric plot interesting as well, where it reaches a pretty strong plateau.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Appallingly heavy-handed “comedy” about a cocky Wall Street wheeler-dealer whose well-insulated life begins to crumble when his wife learns he’s fooling around, and he and his paramour are involved in a hit-and-run accident. With all the power – and nuance – of Tom Wolfe’s novel removed, and all the characters turned into caricatures (racist and otherwise), what’s left is a pointless charade, and a pitiful waste of money and talent.

(Racist caricatures? Pitiful waste of talent? Nearly endless sentence to start what is in reality a fairly banal review for a rare BOMB from Leonard. All point to this being an enigma, a bizarre unfortunate twisting of BMT in general. Uh oh … I feel like my brain is already melting and I’m not even watching this nonsense movie…)

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

(Wow, this is a truly classic trailer. Heavy voiceover and film clips of characters seemingly responding to the voiceover. It’s almost like a short film. That being said, this trailer doesn’t tell me much about what the film is supposed to be about or what the conflict will be. It comes across as, well… a pointless charade.)

Directors – Brian De Palma – (Known For: Scarface; Mission: Impossible; The Untouchables; Carrie; Carlito’s Way; Dressed to Kill; Body Double; The Fury; Casualties of War; Blow Out; Femme Fatale; Snake Eyes; Obsession; BMT: The Black Dahlia; Mission to Mars; Passion; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Wise Guys; Notes: Actually went to Columbia University for Physics, but after graduating decided to pursue filmmaking and enrolled in a theater graduate program. Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2001 for Worst Director for Mission to Mars, 1991 for Bonfire of the Vanities, 1985 for Body Double, 1984 for Scarface, and 1981 for Dressed to Kill.)

Writers – Michael Cristofer (screenplay) – (Known For: The Witches of Eastwick; Casanova; Falling in Love; Mr. Jones; BMT: The Bonfire of the Vanities; Original Sin; Notes: Probably best known for winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Tony for The Shadow Box. Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1991 for Worst Screenplay for The Bonfire of the Vanities)

Tom Wolfe (novel) – (Known For: The Right Stuff; BMT: The Bonfire of the Vanities; Almost Heroes; Notes: Acclaimed novelist. I presume his credit for Almost Heroes is a case of mistaken identity, but it is hard to prove. Not mentioned on his wikipedia page, so I’m leaning towards it being not true. Funniest thing is that it’s mentioned in books and shit… presumably because the author saw the “fact” on imdb.)

Actors – Tom Hanks – (Known For: A Hologram for the King; Forrest Gump; Saving Private Ryan; Bridge of Spies; The Green Mile; Cast Away; Cloud Atlas; Catch Me If You Can; Cars; Toy Story; Captain Phillips; Charlie Wilson’s War; Toy Story 3; You’ve Got Mail; Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close; Road to Perdition; Apollo 13; A League of Their Own; Splash; The Terminal; Saving Mr. Banks; Big; Toy Story 2; Philadelphia; The ‘Burbs; Sleepless in Seattle; That Thing You Do!; Turner & Hooch; The Simpsons Movie; The Money Pit; The Polar Express; The Ladykillers; Bachelor Party; Dragnet; Joe Versus the Volcano; The Great Buck Howard; Nothing in Common; Volunteers; The Man with One Red Shoe; Punchline; BMT: The Bonfire of the Vanities; Larry Crowne; He Knows You’re Alone; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; Notes:  With someone this famous you almost just have to link to some current news. Check out the Instagram selfie posted by wife Rita Wilson, cause why not?)

Bruce Willis – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Sin City; The Fifth Element; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; The Sixth Sense; Looper; Die Hard; Moonrise Kingdom; Alpha Dog; RED 2; RED; Twelve Monkeys; Ocean’s Twelve; Unbreakable; The Expendables; Die Hard 4.0; The Expendables 2; Grindhouse; Die Hard 2; Lucky Number Slevin; The Last Boy Scout; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Planet Terror; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; BMT: Look Who’s Talking Too; The Cold Light of Day; Vice; A Good Day to Die Hard; North; The Prince; Color of Night; Lay the Favorite; Breakfast of Champions; The Whole Ten Yards; Extraction; Cop Out; The Bonfire of the Vanities; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; Hudson Hawk; Perfect Stranger; Fire with Fire; Striking Distance; Precious Cargo; Rock the Kasbah; The Story of Us; Blind Date; Mercury Rising; Marauders; Loaded Weapon 1; Surrogates; The Jackal; Sunset; Last Man Standing; Armageddon; Hostage; Tears of the Sun; Notes:  Again, too famous. Recently got sued for his acting fee on an unfinished film. Kind of incredible story. Paid him $8 million dollars and then shut down cause they couldn’t pay the crew! Won the Razzie Award in 1999 for Worst Actor for Armageddon, Mercury Rising, and The Siege; Won the Razzie Award in 1992 for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk; Nominated for the Razzie Award in 1995 for Worst Actor for Color of Night, and North and in 1992 for Hudson Hawk.)

Also stars Melanie Griffith.

Budget/Gross – $47 million / Domestic: $15,691,192 (N/A)

(Oooooooof what a disaster. No wonder this is so well known in bad movie circles. $47 million seems like a ton for a comedy book adaptation, I wonder what the thought process there was as well.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 16% (8/51): No consensus yet.

(RT must be busy. Fifty-one reviews for a 1990 film is incredible! Must be diving through the newspaper archives. Good for them. My consensus guess would be: Solid acting performances by Willis and Hanks can’t save this satirical dud from going up in flames.)

Poster – Sklogfire of the Vanities (B+)

bonfire_of_the_vanities

(I like that it has a color theme and the classic symmetry. I particularly like the story that it tells with the city seeming to being on fire and consuming the actors above. The “bonfire” if you will. Could have been done in an artsier way, though. Lacks some aesthetic. Interesting thing about this poster though? If you saw this poster in a theater what time period would you think the film takes place? I would certainly not guess the 80’s.)

Tagline(s) – Take one Wall Street tycoon, his Fifth Avenue mistress, a reporter hungry for fame, and make the wrong turn in The Bronx…then sit back and watch the sparks fly. (F)

(That is super old school. Before they mastered the art of the tagline. Horrendously long. Unacceptable.)

Keyword(s) – accident; Top Ten by BMeTric: 80.2 The Love Guru (2008); 63.1 Zoolander 2 (2016); 61.2 Ghost Rider (2007); 59.3 God’s Not Dead (2014); 58.1 Doom (2005); 57.3 Daredevil (2003); 54.8 Hot Pursuit (2015); 54.1 Cool World (1992); 51.1 Sorority Row (2009); 49.5 The Mangler (1995);

(You might ask yourself: what does this keyword even mean? I don’t know. In Zoolander 2 they were in a crazy massive car crash at one point. In Doom a disease or something is released into a Mars facility. In Daredevil he gets sprayed with toxic superhero chemicals. Solid list regardless though. Reminds me that we have to do Cool World at some point.)

Notes – Alan Arkin was replaced by Morgan Freeman when it was decided to change the judge’s ethnicity from Jewish to African-American in order to moderate criticism of the film’s racial politics. (Kind of a funny choice. If you make a film adaptation that is a satirical take on the racial politics of 80’s New York City and you get criticized for the racial politics… then you probably aren’t doing satire right.)

Steve Martin was the original choice to play Sherman McCoy by original director Mike Nichols. Nichols left the project and was replaced by Brian De Palma who also wanted Martin for the role but the producers disagreed and wanted Tom Hanks cast instead. (Martin is an odd choice for the role. Hanks fits the part naturally much better.)

Actresses considered for the role eventually played by Melanie Griffith include Lena Olin, Lolita Davidovich, and Uma Thurman, (who tested for the part and actually came close to getting it.) Brian De Palma preferred Thurman to Melanie Griffith, but Tom Hanks reportedly felt uncomfortable over Thurman’s relative inexperience and persuaded the director against her casting. (Lena Olin better fits the role physically, actually. But Griffith was good.)

Awards – Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Brian De Palma)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Melanie Griffith)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Kim Cattrall)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Brian De Palma)

Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Michael Cristofer)