September Dawn Preview

OK, as we crawl woefully to the end of the travesty that has become mapl.de.map we must finish the true states on a dour note. The final state remaining is fucking Utah. I actually like Utah as a place and my wife, oddly, loves Utah but there just aren’t many good or bad films set there. Odd considering I think it has a lot to offer, especially in the comedy realm. Mormons are weird and stuff, right? So instead of getting a real movie to watch we ended up with a movie called September Dawn. It stars Jon Voight, was nominated for a Razzie for Jon Voight’s performance, was a disaster at the box office, and did I mention it starred Getaway’s Jon Voight? Cause it does. No one has ever heard of this film. But we are watching it. Sigh. Map will be in the next email at out glorious (?) conclusion. Great. This is going to be terrible. Let’s go!


September Dawn (2007) – 13.8 BMeTric (generated on July 1, 2016)

SeptemberDawn_BMeT

SeptemberDawn_RV

(The rating/votes picture is the more interesting of the two. Something happened early on. Either pro/anti-Mormons I think brigaded in some way. Although I would think eventually it kind of returned to where it was supposed to be in the end. Small number of votes though and not even that bad of a rating. Sigh. NOTE: plots and commentary generated on July 1, 2016)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars – Fictionalized Romeo and Juliet-style love story about a Mormon boy and a Christian girl in 1857 Utah set against the backdrop of a controversial, real-life (if little-known) incident in which 120 men, women, and children from her wagon train are ruthlessly murdered. Film places blame for the massacre on Mormon leader Brigham Young (Stamp), although this is vehemently denied by the church. Low-budget (but handsome-looking) drama blends facts with Hollywood speculation to create a fairly compelling tale. Director Cain coscripted; his son Dean has a cameo as Joseph Smith.

(What an odd review. I feel like the first sentence is grammatically incorrect. The blend of tenses if fucking with my head. And the use of “handsome-looking” to describe the film is throwing me for a loop.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2Vtse-6sj8 

(W… T… F… That trailer is crazy. Barely touches on the love story that is, apparently, the main plot. The editing was also super weird. I no longer know how to feel about this.)

Director(s) – Christopher Cain – (Known For: Young Guns; The Stone Boy; The Principal. BMT: Gone Fishin’; Pure Country; September Dawn; The Next Karate Kid; The Amazing Panda Adventure; That Was Then…This Is Now. Notes: Wow, Gone Fishin’. I was just thinking about that film recently for no particular reason. That is a future BMT film if there has ever been one. Stepfather of Dean Cain, a.k.a. Superman.)

Writer(s) – Carole Whang Schutter (written by) – (BMT: September Dawn; Notes: Author of the book and the subsequent screenplay. She is a YA Supernatural author as well as a Christian author.)

Christopher Cain (written by) – (BMT: September Dawn. Notes: Ran a studio called Mooncrescent that is since defunct. Ran out of money while completing a film called PC and the Web which never was released.)

Actors – Jon Voight – (Known For: Coming Home; Mission: Impossible; Heat; Transformers; Ali; Zoolander; Runaway Train; Rosewood; Glory Road; Varsity Blues; U-Turn; The Rainmaker; The Champ; National Treasure; Midnight Cowboy; Enemy of the State; Deliverance. BMT: Lara Croft – Tomb Raider; Pearl Harbor; Getaway; September Dawn; An American Carol; Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2; Pride and Glory; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Most Wanted; Four Christmases; Bratz: The Movie; Anaconda. Notes: Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor, Bratz (2007), National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007), September Dawn (2007), Transformers (2007), Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004), Most Wanted (1997), and U Turn (1997). Nominated for Worst Actor, Anaconda (1997). Nominated for four oscars, winning Best Actor for Coming Home.)

also stars Terence Stamp (who?) and  Lolita Davidovich (what?)

Budget/Gross: $11 million / $1,066,555

(Surprisingly released in over 800 theaters. Currently ranks as the 34th worst opening of all time for a wide release coming in right behind a movie that was called Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour… which is a real film released in 2007 in over 1000 theaters. Must be a Christian film or something. I’ve never heard of it.)

#137 for Summer Dramas – Serious Dramas that Debuted in the Summer

summerdramaAnalysis

(It is kind of stunning that this happens to be at the literal nadir of this genre. Additionally I’m surprised that summer dramas are even a thing anymore! You’d think with tentpoles taking over it would be almost impossible for dramas to even catch on. But looking at the list it is true, the summer drama is back! NOTE: figure and commentary generated on July 1, 2016)

Rotten Tomatoes: 12% (7/54), Critics Consensus: With its jarring editing, dull love story, and silly dialogue, September Dawn turns a horrific historical event into a banal movie.

(Oooo, jarring editing? If the trailer was any indication then this will certainly live up to the billing. I kinda love jarring editing, but hate, hate, hate dull love stories. )

Poster – Sklogtember Dawn (F)

september_dawn

(Oh wow, this poster is horrible. I’ve never seen a more horrible poster. And yet… Jon Voight’s big orange face is strangely mesmerizing. Welp, I know what Patrick is getting for his birthday.)

Tagline(s) – The untold story of an American tragedy. (C+)

(Gives a general idea in a tight package, but pretty bland. Nothing interesting about it at all. Meh.)

Keyword – settler; Top 10 by BMeTric: 26.6 Warrior of the Lost World (1983); 23.7 Lucky Luke (1991); 13.8 September Dawn (2007); 12.9 Pocahontas (1995); 10.4 The New World (2005); 10.1 River Queen (2005); 9.1 Meek’s Cutoff (2010); 8.8 Northfork (2003); 8.3 Far North (2007); 7.3 Old Surehand (1965);

(What .. the fuck is this list? What the fuck is Warrior of the Lost World (starring Donald Pleasance!)? What is Pocahontas doing on this list? How is this keyword the number one keyword for September Dawn and yet barely used on IMDb? So many questions. Zero answers. That’s a BMT promise.)

Notes – Jon Voight was nominated for a Worst Supporting Actor Razzie for his role (along with several other roles).

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Critters 2: The Main Course Recap

 

Patrick

Bonjour tous le monde! Critters 2 more like Shitty Too! That’s right, I’m in grande Paris, and (sadly) I did watch Critters 2 in the bits and pieces of spare time I’ve had while killing it in the city of love. Lucky for you, this means this one will be short (yes, sadly, no BMT:CSI:SVU today). Let’s do it:

  • Let’s start with the first movie. So cheap. The shittiest of all shitty effects. Bad acting up and down (although the kid was actually rather decent). Essentially it is Leprechaun. A director who is either young or passionate about the horror genre getting his shot at making a feature length film. In this one it was actually impressive because this movie was probably made for like a thousand dollars. And the guy ended up being pretty famous (Bill and Ted, The Mighty Ducks, etc.). Anyways, the movie wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen, plus I got a little Billy Zane time (which as you all should know, I’m always happy about).
  • The second one …. was kind of the epitome of why I hate horror-comedy. By taking nothing seriously it takes a movie that already has horrible acting and effects (because of budget), and adds in intentionally bad writing to the mix.
  • That being said: up until the end I didn’t actually mind watching the movie, it had entertaining bits. I do wish they hadn’t recast the sheriff. There were three major characters who returned from the first film, they got two (the aforementioned kid and his friend Charlie). Just cut the sheriff character, right? But that is a minor gripe.
  • A more major gripe: The first ending wasn’t bad. The issue is that there was a second one. Essentially the critters are being hunted by shapeshifting bountyhunters. And it turns out one of them secretly transformed into a critter in order to lead them to their ultimate destruction. I didn’t see it coming at all and I thought it was pretty clever. But then, after destroying them, the critters somehow form a giant critterball and roll around eating people they run over. Besides being dumb, it also managed to replace the kind of nice trick ending with the perfectly predictable one.
  • An impression of me watching the finale of the movie. “Oh Charlie is running away, I bet he’s going to get the spaceship.” “Oh there is a critterball, I bet Charlie is going to destroy it with the spaceship.” “Oh Charlie destroyed the critterball with the spaceship and ‘died’, I bet he ejected at the last minute and is totally alive”. All three easily predicted while only half paying attention to this movie.

I’ll leave it there and will close with this: Was it a good BMT? Nope. Low budget sequel to a low budget horror-comedy … 99 times out of 100 that’s bad news. But I didn’t mind watching the two films. Like Leprechaun there is a kind of cult mystique surrounding the film based on really loving the classic horror genre. I wouldn’t touch the direct-to-video sequels if you paid me though.

Jamie

Alright, so last week was Critters 2. I enjoyed the original Critters quite a bit. It was kind of like a more interesting and better made version of Leprechaun (also on the map for North Dakota) since it was an oddball horror with some comedy elements (albeit with a lot more Billy Zane). Also oddly reminded me a bit of The Thing in the sense that it was set up as a horror film but had some really hardcore SciFi elements to it. Something about the 70s and 80s where horror and SciFi mixed heavily (see: everything that Stephen King wrote). Critters 2? I’d rather not talk about it. Given that the first film was a modest success you would think that the film (at the very least) would look a bit better than the first one. Since the series was now a known quantity you need to step up your game and try to build a Mark Sanchize. Instead, they seemed to go the opposite direction. Now that they had a known quantity, they decided to wring every penny out of it till it was dead and they no longer had to deal with it (franchises are hard, no?). I’m not sure what else to say beyond that. I was surprised by how much worse than the first one it actually was as the film kept going it just kept on getting more and more embarrassing. The culmination was an ending that was so ridiculous and silly that I almost had to turn off the film.

I don’t remember if me and Patrick discussed the Critters-Leprechaun similarity in the past. If not, twins! I disagree about it not being a good BMT. I think this was an OK one. Not nearly the worst BMT we’ve ever had and comes with some interesting bad movie lore. I guarantee it’s better than both What Goes Up and this week’s September Dawn. That is quite the shit sandwich to be caught in. Also, how can you honestly say that you won’t be touching the direct-to-video sequels? This from a man who has watched all of the Leprechaun films.

Anyway, just going to have a quick game this week. Mostly it’s to highlight my least favorite part of Critters 2. It’s called WTF, mate? and it’s something that me and Patrick used to do way, way, way back before we even wrote an email. We used to ask each other what the WTF moment of the film was where you just couldn’t handle how bad the film was anymore. Not every film had one, but Critters 2 certainly did. While I would love to say that the ending was the WTF moment cause it was horrific, I have to go with this diner scene:

which is a travesty in a very Gremlins 2 on Key & Peele kind of way:

I have to admit though, that Critter’s new bald hairdo was indeed quite bitchin’.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Critters 2: The Main Course Preview

OK, well time to move onto this week’s film. This is another replacement film of sorts. While we never officially placed Unaccompanied Minors in Kansas, we certainly watched it with that state in mind (why else would we have stooped so low?). But it turned out that there wasn’t just an unacceptable level of Kansas-ness in the film, it didn’t take place in Kansas at all. It just didn’t. So we had to scramble to get a new one. After a painstaking search we landed on Critters 2: The Main Course. While the first one is generally liked by viewers for its humor, the second one wasn’t as accepted. Hard to tell how poorly it was received, but it did make Ebert’s list of his least favorite films of all time. Felt like that was enough to qualify it for BMT. Not gonna update the map this week. Next week maybe. Let’s go!


Critters 2: The Main Course (1988) – 36.3 BMeTric (July 2, 6016)

Critters2_BMeT

Critters2_RV

(This is honestly kind of a weird trajectory. While you’ll often see a movie’s rating rise substantially with votes this is usually just regression to the mean (it rises because we watch bad movies which are often rated very poorly when they rise come out). But 1.2 points from 4.0 is quite a bit more that you’d expect. Otherwise the only shocking thing is that such a small barely released movie could garner 10,000 votes on IMDb. NOTE: This analysis was written on July 2, 2016)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – The big-mouthed, quill-shooting nasties take on an entire town. Nothing special. Followed by two video sequels.

(Wow. Love the short and sweet. I’ll follow the lead. Nothing special with this comment either.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVyfEgnA678

(That’s not really as bad as it could have been I think. Considering that I kinda liked the original this kind of gets me excited to watch this one. Uh oh.)

Director(s) – Mick Garris – (BMT: Riding the Bullet; Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers; Critters 2: The Main Course. Notes: Also a writer (Hocus Pocus, Fly II, etc.) and obviously best known for directing the TV movie smash hit Fuzzbucket.)

Writer(s) – David Twohy (written by) – (Known For: The Fugitive; Pitch Black; Waterworld; Riddick; G.I. Jane; A Perfect Getaway; The Arrival; Below; Warlock. BMT: The Chronicles of Riddick; Impostor; Terminal Velocity; Critters 2: The Main Course. Notes: Best known as the writer and director of the Riddick series of films. Long been rumored for a third AvP film. Fingers crossed.)

Mick Garris (written by) – (Known For: *batteries not included.  BMT: Hocus Pocus; The Fly II; Riding the Bullet; Critters 2: The Main Course. Notes: Kind of a historical figure in Hollywood and in particular in the SciFi genre. Early on directed a series of making of documentaries of horror and SciFi films including a really good one about the film The Thing which I’ve seen. It’s awesome.)

Actors – Scott Grimes – (Known For: Robin Hood; Critters; Crimson Tide. BMT: Winter’s Tale; Mystery Alaska; Critters 2: The Main Course. Notes: Also a singer. Released several albums but his biggest hit came relatively recently with Sunset Blvd in 2005. Never heard of it.)

Also stars Don Keith Opper and Liane Curtis

Budget/Gross: N/A / $3,813,293

(The first film was a wild success ($13 million gross on a microbudget). This one not so much. Not surprisingly the rest of the sequels were not released to theaters. It actually had the second worst box office for a wide release creature feature of all time. The worst? BMT classic A Sound of Thunder (A Sound of Thundahhhhhhh))

#66 for Creature Feature

creaturefeature_66

(The creature feature is a staple of classic horror, but I think it kind of rose to prominence again after Jurassic Park (in case you were wondering what that gigantic peak around ’93 was). Since then it comes and goes in waves, but will probably rise again with Jurassic World killing it at the box office. King Kong may add to it soon as well. NOTE: Analysis written on July 2, 2016)

#57 for Horror Comedy

horrorcomedy_57

(Personally once of my least favorite sub-genres, because honestly they are rarely either good comedies or good horror films. They make relatively little money it seems, and one would think that they would thrive a bit more on VOD, so I really don’t understand why this genre keeps chugging along (in the past three years none of the theater releases were very impressive). Kind of interesting that Critters 2 kind of came during the 80’s heyday just as the genre was going back into a slumber once again. The 2010’s resurgence is probably 30-year-old directors who grew up on things like Critters 2 making passion projects. NOTE: This analysis was written on July 2, 2016)

Rotten Tomatoes: 33% (3/9), No consensus yet.

(Yeah, so as mentioned at the top there was some question on whether this actually qualified. What put it over the top (besides taking place in Kansas) was Ebert’s hatred of it. He gave it 1 star and said it had “no reason for existence” and all but considered a sign of the end of movies as he knew it. It ended up later on his list of most hated films of all time. So I think that qualifies it.)

Poster – Critters 2: The Main Sklog (C-)

critters_two

(We get it. It’s a sequel. Could there be any more two’s on this poster? Sheesh. And what color am I going to use for this state? Hate you Critters 2. Though I kinda dig the critters illustration.)

Tagline(s) – Get ready for seconds… they’re back! (C-)

The most illegal aliens of all are back — and they’re hungrier than ever. (weird)

(I have lately been trying to only use the poster tagline for this section, but I could resist with that second one. Pretty crazy. Not sure it would fly today. Must have been in the zeitgeist at the time given the 1986 immigration reform act. I hate the first one. Not as bad as it could have been since it’s references the Critters insatiable hunger, but still lazy like most sequel taglines are.)

Keyword – egg; Top ten by BMeTric: 85.9 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 68.0 The Flintstones (1994); 62.6 Eragon (2006); 59.3 Meet Dave (2008); 57.7 Conan the Barbarian (2011); 56.8 Godzilla (I) (1998); 56.6 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 51.0 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (1995); 50.3 The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter (1990); 46.5 Dreamcatcher (2003);

(huh … what a bizarre keyword, and what a amazingly excellent list for such a strange keyword. I saw Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie in theaters. That is all)

What Goes Up Recap

What goes up, must come down. Spinning wheel got to go round. Woooo! Love that song and love this documentary about the making of the Blood Sweat & Tears classic

… what’s that? Did I watch the wrong movie? It’s the one starring Steve Coogan, Hilary Duff, and Josh Peck, right? Yeah… I just assumed all the bullshit in the film was an extended allegory for the literal blood, sweat, and tears that David Clayton-Thomas poured into the making of that song and struggles of leading a contemporary American jazz-rock ensemble. No? Huh. Well then I’m completely flabbergasted cause nothing in the film really meant anything and it was all super weird and unnecessary. It was actually pretty unpleasant to watch. The main character was a doucher whose whole life is a sham and the kids all had upsetting lives. In particular, Olivia Thirlby’s character who had a pretty rough incest/abortion storyline. That’s right, second week in a row with an incest storyline! Last week it was A Thousand Acres, and this week What Goes Up followed it right up… because that’s what everyone’s clamoring for in their film selections: incest.

Alright, well I’m glad they made this film for the sake of my precious, precious map, but also kinda wish we could have just pretended we had never seen Eight Crazy Nights (or as I like to call it, Eight Cray Cray Nights). Like, would any of you have really cared or knew that Patrick and I tricked you? No. But we would have known in our hearts, and much like Coogan in What Goes Up, the lie would have been necessary, but also soul-consuming.

Anywho, gonna keep my MonoSklog section brief this week. Loved, loved, loved Josh Peck’s MonoSklog in What Goes Up. I call it Mi Panegírico, and if you can catch it it is worth it. There is something about how Josh Peck says “But everyone says ‘No… You gotta fucking accept it.'” that really make that scene. Just a really solid job right there. But like usual, Monosklogs are not for the website. Fair use just isn’t our bag you know?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What Go Up … Brings me down! What a depressing, weird, small, weird movie.

  • It was weird. It is hard to even make fun of. There is just so much that goes into it that seems like it is super serious. Probably super personal. But I feel like it is a mess. Just a jumble of symbols and messages and nothing really gets done particularly right.
  • Side stories alongside side stories. There’s a girl who was paralyzed in an accident, we get to see a story about that. There is Hilary Duff’s story of trying to seduce Coogan. Another girl was in love with the teacher who died. Two other girls are weirdos, and get involved in a variety of shenanigans. Josh Peck has a strange story about being fascinated with the principal’s wife and newborn child. The music teacher (who was in love (?) with the teacher who killed himself) is having a meltdown for various reasons. And Coogan has been fabricating stories about the woman he loved for months to deal with her suicide …. None of these storylines are particularly interesting.
  • Probably because Coogan’s character is a bad person whom I do not like.
  • This is unpleasant and it was a bad BMT film. The BMeTric based on IMDB votes and rating nailed it again (11.7/100 (NOTE: As of July 9, 2016) if you recall, where 25 is just about the BMThreshold for Enjoyment). This week we probably have a bit better chance (Critters 2 has a BMeTric of approximately 35/100, not bad).

That’s it. I want to see the Prequel to this movie called The Shed. It is about all these characters, how they get to be in Mr. C’s class, and how they learn acceptance and love. It ends with Coogan rolling into town. Literally no one will watch this film. Netflix, get off the horn, this movie does not and never will need to be made.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

What Goes Up Preview

So now you probably looked at the title of this email and were all like “Crikey! WTF is What Goes Up, mate?” Again, this is a byproduct of mapl.de.map. A symptom of the underlying disease. As we get the last couple states we’re going to get weirder, and weirder, and weirder. What Goes Up is actually our Chain Reaction. By good fortune we happened to be able to find this film connecting to our last Chain Reaction, Cheaper By the Dozen, through Hilary Duff and it happens to take place in the great state of New Hampshire. Now you’re probably all like “Oy! Didn’t we already get NH with Grown Ups 2, mate? That’s not a knife. This is a knife. Put another shrimp on the barbie.” You’d be right, and yet so wrong. Turns out that Grown Ups 2 probably didn’t take place in New Hampshire (shocking, I know). Upon review of the tape, we determined that in all likelihood it actually took place in CT (we are in talks with Netflix to get this confirmed directly with Adam). So we had to call a quick audible and grab a new NH in this final cycle. If we hadn’t I would have been able to look at the map with nothing but shame rather than the sad, misplaced pride that I currently feel when staring longingly at my baby. So beautiful. Let’s go!


What Goes Up (2009) – BMeTric: 11.7 (July 9th, 2016)

WhatGoesUp_BMeT

WhatGoesUp_RV

(A pretty unusual plot for two reasons. First, the archive caught a super early snapshot of the IMDb page so the rating was an absurd 8.0+ which makes the whole ratings plot look ridiculous. In reality the rating didn’t really move much more that one would expect with regression to the mean. But, they you have that kind of weird jump from 5.3 to 5.7 very very late in its life which significantly drops the BMeTric. That is weird. Did it find an audience, is it British viewers rallying to defend Coogan, was it his relatively celebrity increasing at that point in time? Unsure, but it is strange. NOTE: Analysis written on July 9, 2016)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Interesting but odd, sometimes off-putting film, set in 1986, about a cynical N.Y.C. newspaper reporter who goes to New Hampshire to write about a teacher who’s traveling on the NASA space shuttle. Instead he falls in with a group of misfit high school kids who are mourning the death of a teacher who was their champion – and hero. Well acted but it’s uncertain what the point is supposed to be.

(Odd and off-putting? Sounds like the reviews for my Christmas album I’m Dreaming of a Sklog Christmas. The whole plot described here sounds like it could be in bad taste, but we’ll see.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kyyjv-oRu0g

(It’s funny that they used a trailer from 1996 for a film that came out in 2009… just think it’s an interesting choice. The whole tone of the film seems off. Almost like the trailer for Gooby, which makes it look like a family film when it’s clearly a horror film)

Director(s) – Jonathan Glatzer – (BMT: What Goes Up. Notes: This is his only major work in film, but currently a writer for the Netflix series Bloodline.)

Writer(s) – Jonathan Glatzer (written by) – (BMT: What Goes Up. Notes: Worked at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire as a screenwriting fellow.)

Robert Lawson – (BMT: What Goes Up; Notes: Also served as Hilary Duff’s acting coach on the set of What Goes Up. Uh oh.)

Actors – Steve Coogan – (Known For: Hot Fuzz; Philomena; Tropic Thunder; Despicable Me 2; The Other Guys; Night at the Museum; The Trip; Hamlet 2; Ruby Sparks; Our Idiot Brother; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; 24 Hour Party People; Minions; Coffee and Cigarettes; In the Loop; The Trip To Italy; Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief; Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian; Alan Partridge. BMT: Around the World in 80 Days; Marmaduke; What Goes Up. Notes: Nominated for two Oscars for writing and producing Philomena.)

Hilary Duff – (Known For: The Lizzie McGuire Movie; Human Nature. BMT: A Cinderella Story; The Perfect Man; Raise Your Voice; Material Girls; Cheaper by the Dozen; Agent Cody Banks; Cheaper by the Dozen 2; Stay Cool; What Goes Up; War Inc. Notes: Nominated for the Razzie in 2007 for Worst Actress and Worst Screen Couple for Material Girls; Nominated for the Razzie in 2006 for Worst Actress for Cheaper by the Dozen 2, The Perfect Man; Nominated for the Razzie in 2005 for Worst Actress for A Cinderella Story, Raise Your Voice; Wow, three years in a row!)

Also stars Molly Shannon.

Budget/Gross: N/A / N/A

(Yup. I’m unashamed. This movie did not get a release. Not the first, not the last. But just enough in my opinion. We only use it when we need to.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 16% (5/31), Critics Consensus: What Goes Up squanders the charisma of Steve Coogan with a lazy screenplay, contrived plotting, and overall poor production.

(But… but… but… don’t you expect overall poor production when the budget is N/A? Honestly though, this sounds like trash.)

Poster – What Goes Sklog (A+)

what_goes_up

(I love this poster. Just appealing to the eye and nice coloring.)

Tagline(s) – A Different Class of Misfits (C+)

(This is perfect, in the sense that it is indeed a series of words in the shape of a tagline. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to mean though… I guess just that they are misfits and are in school… but nothing else informative. I wonder what makes them so much different than other misfits. Guess I’ll have to watch and find out.)

Keywords – suicide; Top Ten by BMeTric: 79.1 House of the Dead (2003); 78.7 Skyline (2010); 77.0 The Room (2003); 76.8 RoboCop 3 (1993); 76.8 The Legend of Hercules (2014); 76.3 The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009); 74.4 Anaconda (1997); 72.2 The Devil Inside (2012); 71.6 Dragon Wars (2007); 69.8 Ouija (II) (2014);

(First, what a downer. Sorry guys. Second, super competitive category with just about 5000 movies having this keyword on IMDb! Third, yeah some of these don’t sound right … like, was there a suicide in Skyline? It is a super big stretch. I think Anaconda and Legend of Hercules are also probably stretches, where, at the very least, suicide doesn’t play a huge rule. Alas, such is the problems with data-scraping IMDb. NOTE: Analysis written on July 9, 2016)

Notes – The film was in production for many years. Originally Mandy Moore was cast as Lucy, Michelle Williams was cast as Tess and Peter Sarsgaard was cast as Campbell. Later, Steve Coogan was cast as Campbell and Amber Tamblyn was cast as Tess, Kelli Garner was cast as Peggy, Paul Dano was cast as Jim, Alison Pill was cast as Ann and the singer Nellie McKay was cast as Sue . In early 2008 all six dropped out and Amanda Seyfried was given the role of the character Peggy. She was then cast as Sophie in the film Mamma Mia! (2008) and dropped out of What Goes Up (2009) and was replaced by Sarah Lind. Hilary Duff and Olivia Thirlby were then cast in the roles of Lucy and Tess respectively. Josh Peck, Ingrid Nilson and Andrea Brooks were then cast in the roles of Jim, Ann and Sue respectively. (this is amazing. I love this note).

A Thousand Acres Recap

Jamie

It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! Every once in a while we at BMTHQ stumble across a film that, for whatever reason, was underappreciated at the time. This doesn’t mean that the films were good by any means (looking at you Freddy Got Fingered), just that it seems odd that they got such bad reviews. A Thousand Acres is one of those films. Perhaps it was due to the fact that it was based on a beloved (at the time) book or maybe it was because there was a bit of drama in the pre- and postproduction stages of the film. I don’t know. All I know is that this was essentially a straight adaption of a book I loved (read: good story) which some really good acting. Could it have been better? Sure, there is a bit of a tonal problem when the film seems to set out to be a family film (or at least a film about families) and then shift into the realm of incest. But despite that shortcoming the rest of the film seemed perfectly reasonable. At the very least it shouldn’t have ended up at 23% on RT. That seems ridiculous.

Alright, it’s been a little bit since our last MonoSklog so you can thank A Thousand Acres for providing a gem for this week. I call it Mi Hermana [EDITOR’S NOTE: Link to video has been removed for rights reasons] (I don’t think we used that one yet). That is some serious staring-at-each-other-and-crying action. I can’t wait to use that in my regional theater auditions and shush the casting director if he doesn’t let me stare and cry long enough at the end. “It says 40 seconds of staring and crying God damn it and that’s what I’m going to do! Geez! Can’t an artist get a break in this town!”

Before I throw it to Patrick I would like to note that this is not the first film involving incest that we’ve watched for BMT. Not even the first on the map. That would be Georgia Rule, set in the great state of Idaho. And thinking about it, that film also suffered from a significant tonal problem as it vacillated between a family comedy and incest… And with that I’m out.

Patrick

It’s not that bad! It’s not that bad! ‘Ello everyone. A Thousand Acres wasn’t that bad:

  • Actually, I rather enjoyed it. Sure some of the complex ideas from the book seemed to have been slightly lost in translation, but the performances were, dare I say, excellent?
  • I had two (minor) complaints. First, a little boring. It isn’t the most exciting movie you’ll ever watch. Second, Colin Firth’s character probably played a bigger role in the book, but in the movie the character just kind of melts away after the climax of the film. I understand the point of the character, but the movie as written kind of doesn’t need him.

That’s it! That’s the complaints. I’m not sure why it got such a poor reception at the time. I think a few years later and this guy does just fine. Whatever, not my problem, and a poor poor (but necessary addition) to the map (for another example, see this week). Since this is so short let’s get really into some BMT:CSI:SVU, non-Thousand Acres addition.

[NOTE: The following discussion was fleshed out in later posts, and then collected into this Institute post. I’ve removed the plots because, for the most part they are old and non representative of the ultimate analysis, but left as mch of the discussion as possible for archival reasons. Enjoy!]

So in the past few months I’ve become more and more fascinated by IMDB user ratings. The value is enigmatic, but I can’t get over how useful a measure of “popularity” is in assessing potential BMT candidates. The thing is it can’t be used for 2015 films because films gain a ton of their lifetime votes in their first year of release. So, using the way back machine (the internet archive) I’ve been collecting the IMDB vote and rating trajectories from the past. Rough, but kind of fascinating.

But … there is something weird. Baiscally there is an inflection point in 2011, so what is happening? That inflection point is often there regardless of the age of the movie. At first I thought it was a cult-film thing with Grandma’s Boy … but Big Momma’s House isn’t a cult film. Then I thought maybe it was something to do with non-US users, but the proportion of votes coming from outside the US has been steadily rising since the early 2000s, no weird bump in 2011. Then I thought maybe bots. It could be bots, but you’d think since they have to “trick” bots into thinking they are voting by actually recording (but ignoring) their votes that you’d see a larger and larger discrepancy between the calculated rating and real rating, but nope, nothing special in 2011.

I’m now convinced the answer is simple: 2011 marks a point in time in which smartphones became effectively universal, and a point in time in which IMDB upgraded their site, the iOS app was launched, etc. A point in which IMDB went from auseful tool (for people who knew about it), to basically the first resource people access. Looking at Google trends for IMDB you do see this weird bump around 2011. It is subtle, but it is there. It appears to coincide, indeed, with their app going “universal”. So then, if you look at a films which have been pretty stable over time it still seems to get the same bump!

Phew … Cheerios,

The Sklogs

A Thousand Acres Preview

Well we continue our march to mapl.de.map history. This week is girls’ night out and we get to watch a little classic known as A Thousand Acres… what’s that? No one actually knows what that is? Well it’s based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Jane Smiley (which I read, obvs) about a family of farmers in Northern Iowa. The plot loosely follows that of King Lear and the book was excellent. Apparently the movie was not as excellent. We’ll see though. This obviously takes the Iowa spot on the map, which I’m saving to update in the near future. Let’s go!

A Thousand Acres (1997) – BMeTric: 14.2 (November 13, 2016)

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athousandacres_rv

(Pretty classic older movie plot. Votes go up, rating regresses to the mean, BMeTric reaches a plateau. The votes are so low that the BMeTric is generally below average for a bad movie. Expected. Commentary generated on November 13, 2016)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – When a stubborn, single-minded widowed father decides to relinquish ownership of his farm to his three daughters, a family is abruptly torn apart, and long-held secrets come out of the closet. The only thing missing from this melodrama is character motivation, which presumably did exist in Jane Smiley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, a variation on King Lear. A hollow film notable only for the strong performances of the two leading ladies (whose companies jointly produced the film).

(Well, having read the novel I will admit that the character motivations are a bit hazy but mostly because everything is told from a particular point of view. The character who tells the story is naive and a bit too optimistic, so she is generally blind to the underlying motives of several of the major characters… you know, to be totally serious and analytical about this whole thing. Long story short: don’t talk about things you don’t know anything about Leonard.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGH5iZZxFBg

(“A story of family…” wait, wot? This is coming off a bit too ‘gee whiz, guys we can work this out cause we’re FAMILY’ (you know, like Furious 7), when the novel is not that… definitely not that. What a weird trailer.)

Director(s) – Jocelyn Moorhouse – (Known For: How to Make an American Quilt; Proof. BMT: A Thousand Acres; Unconditional Love. Notes: Her imdb picture is of her reading A Thousand Acres. She hasn’t done anything in film since this movie, but is returning to writing and directing this year with the release of The Dressmaker staring Kate Winslet. Wow.)

Writer(s) – Laura Jones (screenplay) – (Known For: Angela’s Ashes; Possession; The Portrait of a Lady; Oscar and Lucinda; An Angel at My Table; Brick Lane; The Well; High Tide. BMT: A Thousand Acres. Notes: Has mostly worked on literary adaptations to mostly great results.)

Actors – Michelle Pfeiffer – (Known For: Scarface; What Lies Beneath; Batman Returns; Hairspray; One Fine Day; Stardust; Wolf; The Age of Innocence; Dangerous Liaisons; Ladyhawke; I Could Never Be Your Woman; White Oleander; The Witches of Eastwick; Love Field; The Fabulous Baker Boys. BMT: I Am Sam; The Family; Dangerous Minds; Dark Shadows; Grease 2; The Story of Us; Up Close & Personal; New Year’s Eve (BMT); A Thousand Acres. Notes: Nominated for three Oscars (Dangerous Liaisons, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and Love Field))

Jessica Lange – (Known For: Big Fish; Cape Fear; Tootsie; Rob Roy; The Gambler; Broken Flowers; All That Jazz; Titus; The Postman Always Rings Twice; King Kong; Frances; Blue Sky; Music Box; Losing Isaiah; Grey Gardens. BMT: The Vow; Hush; Prozac Nation; A Thousand Acres; Everybody’s All-American. Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress Razzie for Hush. Nominated for six Oscars, winning two (Tootsie and Blue Sky).)

Also stars Jason Robards.

Budget/Gross: $23 million/$8 million

(I knew this was a big bomb because it was noted everywhere that Pfeiffer spent five years trying to get it made only to have it bomb at the box office, which predictably bummed her out. Not her worst performance at the box office though, that would be Into the Night.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 22% (11/48), Critics Consensus: A Thousand Acres makes disappointingly sudsy stuff out of the source material, but benefits from solid performances by a strong cast.

(Surprising number of reviews for a film that came out in 1997 to little fanfare. Also fortuitously bad reviews as far as mapl.de.map is concerned. Not the typical film to drop all the way down to 22%, especially when the performances are noted everywhere as being great. I feel like if this came out now it would put up August: Osage County types of numbers.)

Poster – A Thousand Sklogs (B)

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(I like this poster quite a bit. Like the symmetry of the sisters hugging above the stark Iowa farmhouse. Would have rather had Lange and Pfeiffer colorized to match the rest of the poster and would have loved for the poster to be more yellow (like the farm land, this is a bit too dark) but this is still good.)

Keyword(s) – iowa; Top Ten by BMeTric: 38.8 Children of the Corn (1984); 38.7 Unaccompanied Minors (2006); 35.4 Michael (1996); 29.5 I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998); 23.2 Sleeping with the Enemy (1991); 20.2 Fraternity Vacation (1985); 19.1 The Puppet Masters (1994); 17.5 Butter (2011); 16.6 Burlesque (I) (2010); 15.7 Whiteboyz (1999);

(They are missing one: I believe Bucky Larson Born to be a Star began in Iowa and if Burlesque counts then so should that. One of the worst films I’ve ever seen. I’m impressed by how few of these films I’ve seen. Fly over country indeed.)

Tagline(s) – Best friends. Bitter rivals. Sisters. (C)

(Ha, how poorly this goes with the simple random addition of the word “sisters”. “Best friends. Biter rivals.” is a pretty good tagline… this? Not as much.)

Notes – Michelle Pfeiffer, who produced the film, wanted Paul Newman to play patriarch Larry Cook, but he turned down the role.

According to an article in Premiere Magazine 1997, all extras in the film had to sign an agreement promising not to attempt to approach/speak to actresses Michelle Pfeiffer or Jessica Lange. (haha, what?)

Lange battled with producers during the editing phase of the film, during which it through extensive re-editing. When released, Lange stated that the only thing about the film which worked were the performances.

Jocelyn Moorhouse reportedly tried to take her name off the picture after her first cut of the film didn’t sit well with test audiences. (wow, this gets worse and worse. This would have been a super funny Alan Smithee film.)