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)

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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)

athousandacres_bmet

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)

thousand_acres

(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.)

Survival of the Dead Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Survival of the Dead? More like Dead on Arrival. Heyyyoooooo. What a week. And by what a week I mean I watched five movies for BMT, something I vow to never do again until the Resident Evil BMT Marathon Extravaganza Celebration of the Life and Works of Paul WS Anderson (uh …. REBMTMECotLaWoPWSA). A positive: one of the movies was extraordinary, one was okay, one was meh, and only two were genuinely awful. That’s like batting .400 as far as BMT is concerned, amazing average Romero, even if you are so old you’ve forgotten how to make compelling zombie films. Speaking of which:

  • Romero reminds me of Carpenter in that regard. Prior to The Ward in 2010 Carpenter had a series of poorly received films that lead to his semi-retirement in 2001. Escape from LA (future BMT, guaranteed), Vampires, and Ghosts of Mars (an amazing BMT film). Ghosts of Mars in 2001 literally looks like a film from 1996 and it is painfully clear that Carpenter had just kind of had the horror genre (which seems to evolve rather quickly) pass him by, he was around 53 at the time. Romero was even older, he was around 65 when the second Dead trilogy was being produced after a substantial directing hiatus, and honestly it shows. The fourth film feels like it was made in 1996, the fifth film was a shaky cam horror with Romero hesitantly poking fun at the booming genre, and the sixth is kind of an old school independent project again, like the original film.
  • And that’s why it’s weird. The entire film series is kind of focused around a single message: this slow zombie apocalypse is more about human’s moral failings than the zombies being particularly threatening. And it’s a message that is completely lost in the 00’s (as compared to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s when the first three came out). While smashing us over the head with the morality tale the trilogy just falls flat. Weirdly, the sixth (while being by far the worst movie in the series, so fucking bad), is the only one that feels like Romero. The other two felt like he was emulating other people.
  • But what do I know? I don’t even like zombie movies. These are literally the only ones I’ve ever seen.
  • Since there isn’t much of a BMT:CSI:SVU forensics case to be made (Romero was hired to make a new trilogy, the fourth film made solid money, he made two terrible films that were barely released … not rocket science), I’ll close with this: This was a solid BMT, and highlights what I like about the last 5 years of doing this. I’m not sure I ever see Dawn of the Dead without being made to watch Survival of the Dead. And Dawn of the Dead is fantastic. Maybe the best practical effects I’ve seen in a horror film outside of The Thing. That’s something.

I’ll just close it here. No sequel, prequel, remake because why? There would be no point. Already too many sequels. What would a prequel be about? Life before the zombie apocalypse? And no need to ever remake Dawn of the Dead (again, haven’t watched the existing remakes yet).

Jamie

Alright, well I really liked the first one, looooovvveeeeed (like The Warriors loved. Or The Thing loved) the second one, and thought the third one was kind of silly but still really good. Then the second trilogy was a travesty. The first was too cartoony and weird and then the next two were just blah. Does anyone else see what that mimics? Anyone? That’s the exact progression of the two Star Wars trilogies! The first one is a classic and great for what it is, but the second is the true classic. The third went a bit too far in certain regards but everyone still loves it. Then an the elderly director comes back decades later to make a silly cartoony fourth film and a couple of duds to follow it up. There is my Sklognalysis, thank you. You know what this means, don’t you? This means we are in for a big budget sequel/reboot to the series (like World War Z level) to bring back the fans and get this shit going again. And when that happens I’ll be right there, cause Dawn of the Dead was fucking fantastic.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Survival of the Dead Preview

Alright, moving right along to this week, we are returning to mapl.de.map and our quest for fire (and by fire I mean a completely filled up map). This week is kind of a historic selection. That’s because we are doing one of the hardest states on the entire map. A state that I didn’t even think had a qualified movie for the map when we first started this endeavor. A state that I used to make jokes about in every email and which may or may not be imaginary. That’s right! We are onto Delaware! For those that aren’t in the know about this kind of stuff, me and Patrick were able to find a little film called Survival of the Dead set in Delaware. Hooray! On a worse note it turned out that this film was the sixth (!) in the George A. Romero Dead series. It went from Night of the Living Dead, to Dawn of the Dead, to Day of the Dead, to Land of the Dead, to Diary of the Dead, and finally to Survival of the Dead. So me and Patrick had a bit of homework to do. Boo! Fortunately, the exercise will give us a nice perspective on the movie by the end of it. Let’s go!

Survival of the Dead (2010) – BMeTric: 50.2 (November 13, 2016)

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(Do you know what that is? That is the profile of a movie that almost no one saw in theaters. It is all DVD release, so there aren’t two regimes. Impressive. Also incredibly high BMeTric, very very impressive. That is also one of the largest drops in rating I’ve ever seen. 7.2 to 5.0 doesn’t really make sense. So I guess one die hards initially rated it 10 and it was kind of washed out over time. Commentary generated on November 13, 2016)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Another Romero visit to an America overrun with cannibalistic walking corpses. This time a small paramilitary group hopes to evade the chaos by going to an island off the Delaware Coast, but conflict between two very Irish patriarchs that control the place over how to treat the numerous reanimated corpses means only more chaos. Less nihilistic than others in the series, with strong characterizations and good cinematography, but it’s really just more of the same. Won’t someone give Romero money to do another kind of movie?

(Love the little shout out to Delaware right there. Not sure what he means by “very Irish patriarch”… why “very”? Also, a little presumptuous that Romero is only making these films cause it’s the only kind he can get money for. He probably likes making them. He’s made six of them after all. Perhaps even if you gave him all the money in the world he would still make a zombie movie. Why not?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNg3CEkQtnk

(Oh dear, did we make a mistake? This looks like I made the trailer for the film. Yet it was actually released in a handful of theaters and reviewed by 84 critics on RT. Weird shit. Looks rough.)

Director(s) – George A. Romero – (Known For: Dawn of the Dead; The Crazies; Night of the Living Dead; Land of the Dead; Day of the Dead; Diary of the Dead; Creepshow; Monkey Shines: An Experiment In Fear. BMT: Survival of the Dead. Notes: Wow, this is his only film he directed that got bad reviews. That’s pretty amazing.)

Writer(s) – George A. Romero (written by) – (Known For: Dawn of the Dead; The Crazies; Night of the Living Dead; Land of the Dead; Day of the Dead; Diary of the Dead; Creepshow; Monkey Shines: An Experiment In Fear. BMT: Survival of the Dead; Creepshow 2; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; Notes: He went to Carnegie Mellon and worked on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood for a time, so unsurprisingly many of his films take place in and around Pittsburgh.)

Actors – Alan Van Sprang – (Known For: Land of the Dead; Narc; Diary of the Dead; Steal This Movie; BMT: Survival of the Dead; Immortals; Saw III; Masterminds. Notes: Starring now in the ABC Family show Shadowhunters. The same network that brought us the hit television program The Vineyard? Sign me up!)

Also stars Kenneth Welsh and Kathleen Munroe

Budget/Gross: $4 million / $101,740 ($143,191 Worldwide)

(For some reason I thought this got a wider release than I’m seeing here. Only 20 theaters. Still not the lowest we’ve done. Both Theodore Rex and Devil’s Knot (also on the map!) did not get a theatrical release. Regardless, what are we to do? This is the only bad movie set in Delaware. We can only cross our fingers and hope for a future release to take its place.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 29% (25/84), Critics Consensus: Survival of the Dead offers glimmers of Romero’s savage wit, but not nearly enough to make up for his unusually uninspired directing and a lack of new ideas

(Anyway, look at the number of reviewers. Even has a consensus. We’ll see if this is unusually uninspired after *gulp* watching the whole series this week. Perhaps we’ll conclude that it’s usually uninspired.)

Poster – Survival of the Sklog (B-)

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(Not a poorly made poster, just a boring one. And a bit dark. But the colors are nicely consistent, the poster is symmetrical, and I like the text spacing. Hits a lot of a good marks.)

Tagline(s) – Survival isn’t just for the living. (C)

(Well this is certainly confusing. I’m not sure what this even means in the context of a zombie movie. Are we going to we seeing a movie from the perspective of the zombies? Are they the characters? That would be cool. If that’s not the case then this tagline definitely isn’t cool.)

Keyword(s) – island; Top Ten by BMeTric: 83.3 The Wicker Man (2006); 79.3 House of the Dead (2003); 78.7 Jaws: The Revenge (1987); 76.5 The Fog (2005); 72.2 I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998); 69.0 Shark Night 3D (2011); 67.5 The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996); 66.6 Scooby-Doo (2002); 65.8 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011); 64.0 DOA: Dead or Alive (2006);

(Wow, that is a great list, and we’ve seen almost none of them officially for BMT! Pretty nice. And island is always a convenient excuse to trap people who should know better in a place they want to get the fuck away from stat. See: Jurassic Park. Good stuff.)

Notes – This film marks the first time that a character from a previous Living Dead film returns to star in a sequel, with Alan Van Sprang as Sarge “Nicotine” Crockett having been seen in Diary of the Dead (2007).