London Has Fallen Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! London Has Fallen? More like Mundane and Rotten! Man, I’m all about the half-rhymes recently. Looking back at some old examples we are a far cry from the peak of this mini-game … Paul Fart Mall Crap, that is the best I’m ever going to do. Anyways, what do you get when you cross Michael Bay with the grossest parts of the torture debate surrounding the show 24? This movie. Mike Bannon is a sociopath, y’heard?

Before getting into let’s say a few words about the original Olympus Has Fallen. It doesn’t qualify at the moment (48% on rotten tomatoes), but I rewatched it as prep and … it is the most violent action film I’ve ever seen I think. Really rather gross. Mike Bannon is a sociopathic Jack Bauer wannabe who just tortures everyone (and it totally works, natch, just horseshit). The CGI is middling to bad. And the president might be one of the dumbest fictional presidents in history. I could go on for days at how inadequate this movie is, but that isn’t really here nor there. I just needed to set the stage a bit before we got into it … let’s get into it.

  • The Good – I mean, action. If you like explosions, and dirtbikes, and guns, and helicopter crashes, and headshots from Gerard Butler from 40 feet away on the run, and explosions, and your brain slowly dying as doctors look on perplexed, then this is the movie for you!
  • The Bad – The CGI is terrible. Eckhart is still the dumbest fictional president in the universe. Bannon is still a sociopath. Morgan Freeman is still the only good thing about this movie. The use of London is nothing more than an excuse to blow up well know (but not American) landmarks. The movie is indeed racist, but not in the way I expected. I mean, yeah, the basic Muslim enemy is over the top, but what really shines is the Italian Prime Minister with his mistress at Westminster and the French President intentionally being late (and the terrorists building that into their plans!). I’m sure there were a few more with the Canadian, German, and Japanese heads of state all getting some airtime, but those two were just mind blowing. Almost as good as the jabs they took at Russia early on! I’ll leave it there.
  • The BMT – Hell yes. This movie is so turn-your-brain-off dumb that you could pretty easily psych yourself into watching it edited for cable any day. I want to see Bannon become instant besties with the SAS lieutenant every day! You see, I would include the man’s name, but on IMDb he’s literally called “SAS Lieutenant”!!! This movie can be fun … you just have to be all about torture like early 2000’s Jack Bauer. Then you are golden. Easily a 40 BMeTric though. Easily. Officially amped for the trilogy.

I’ll actually leave it there. The BMT-view with Olympus Has Fallen will be my game this week.

Jamie

Seriously, I can now understand why Eckhart isn’t coming back for the third film. He seems to get stupider and stupider each time around. But let’s get to the root of this thing with the 6W’s.

What?! Mike Bannon, our hero from Olympus Has Fallen, is back on the beat as the President’s number one serial killer. When many of the world’s leaders are lured into a deadly trap in London, he’s the only one who stands in the way of their ultimate goal of killing the President of the United States. London Has Fallen!

Why?! Presumably you are asking, “But, why? Why do the terrorists want to do this to us? Is it our freedom?” Good question. The answer is the same answer to why Mike Bannon does anything in the film: vengeance. The UK government/world coalition took out the main bad guy’s family during a wedding ceremony and he now wants to kill the President on national television to prove a… what’s that? Did I say ‘wedding ceremony’? Uh… yes. The government killed his family while they were celebrating a wedding with several hundred innocent civilians. But don’t worry. Morgan Freeman totally said they had no idea it was a wedding… although the agent who ordered the bombing was disguised as a caterer for the wedding, so…. Just gotta take his word for it. Besides, in the grand scheme of the ethical questions that arise in these films this is small potatoes. Our hero is a sociopath.

How?! For the most part the audience is left in the dark on this one. Just have to trust that it’s the biggest conspiracy ever, involving hundreds of people infiltrating all levels of the UK government and entirely taking over one of the biggest cities in the world. By the end they throw you a little bone and reveal that a dude high up in MI6 was in on the plan. Still, Olympus Has Fallen is already hard to believe and this is 10x bigger and more complicated.

Who?! Gotta give a shoutout to Bryan Larkin, a Scottish actor who plays the head of an SAS elite squad that helps Bannon in the end. Besides looking and sounding like a buff Alan Cumming to the point where both Patrick and I thought to ourselves, “Gee, Alan Cumming is really taking some weird roles,” he also immediately becomes Bannon’s best friend. After knowing each other for about four minutes they are already exchanging one-liners at the end of the film. He hits a 5 on the Planchet scale.

Where?! Easy A+ for this one. Obviously takes place in London. It’s in the title! The only thing to add is that there are at least three scenes that take place in the country of Yemen. If we ever did a worldwide mapl.de.map this is good for that. We can’t use Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. It was too well reviewed.

When?! We actually don’t know. Patrick swears that it has to be when it’s cold cause the President is running in tights at the beginning of the film. But perhaps more experienced DC residents can watch the film and shed some light on the subject. Overall they did a good job of totally obscuring any and all indication of what month or day this took place. F.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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London Has Fallen Preview

This week we must steel ourselves for witnessing gore than no human should be forced to see. No it’s not horror week. But we are watching London Has Fallen for action. This is the film series where Gerard Butler plays a sociopath who tortures everyone he sees and stabs them in the face when he is done with them. The first film was rough stuff and I’ve heard that this one is even crazier. Basically just Olympus Has Fallen, but more racist. Cool. Let’s go!

London Has Fallen (2016) – BMeTric: 32.4

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(I’m not really sure what to make of the vote plot. There seem to be three regimes (theater, limite VOD, full VOD/Blu Ray?) and the entire thing just kind of increases at the same rate. Maybe this is more like an “action” plot compared to last week’s comedy plot? Anyways, the ratings went a tumbling, and we are at 32.4, an extremely respectable score for a movie released this year.)

Leonard Maltin – 0.5 stars –  “Olympus Has Fallen” was a pornographically violent crapfest … [and] we now have “London Has Fallen,” a horrible and wildly unnecessary follow-up that might actually be worse than its predecessor. … [S]erving as proof that Gerard Butler can make movies that are even worse than “Gods of Egypt” (not that this should be encouraged), there is absolutely nothing of value to “London Has Fallen” … Unless you have some insane desire to see what will surely go down as one of the very worst films of 2016, you would be far better served staying at home.

(It was hard to even parse out the best parts of that incredibly destructive review. The last sentence just about nails it. I’m also now very interested in the rogerebert.com review system. The thumbs down is zero stars and they have 0.5 and 1 star ratings! Such a panoply of options. Three major releases (as I would classify it) have gotten zero stars: Nine Lives, Dirty Grandpa, and Alice Through the Looking Glass. Besides the last one we should easily be able to get all zero and 0.5 star movies. Bully for us.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AsOdX7NcJs

(Ugh. Just coming off of Olympus Has Fallen this looks like more of the same. So violent. Jingoistic to the extreme. Unpleasant. I don’t know … I wonder how much I can turn my brain off.)

Directors – Babak Najafi – (Known For: Easy Money II: Hard to Kill; BMT: London Has Fallen; Notes:  An Iranian refugee who settled in Sweden at 11. Studying direction this is his first english language film. Awww, for reals I’m sad about the things I’m going to say about this movie now …)

Writers – Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt (based on characters created by & story by & screenplay) – (Known For: Olympus Has Fallen; BMT: London Has Fallen; The Expendables 3; Notes: Awesome these two have been married for ten years now. She is Icelandic and he is American, they met in screenwriting class. Seem to have made a healthy living on blockbuster action films)

Christian Gudegast (screenplay) – (BMT: London Has Fallen; A Man Apart; Notes: Son of Eric Braeden most well known for his single story arc on Murder She Wrote (fine, maybe only I would only know him from that, he’s in Titanic and is a giant Soap Opera star).)

Chad St. John (screenplay) – (BMT: London Has Fallen; Notes: Wait wait wait … this guy wrote xXx: The Return of Xander Cage!? Have you seen this horrible poster? Have you watched this horrible trailer? I am so pumped to watch and hate this movie … except I bet reviewers will be like “good for what it is” and it’ll get 50% on rotten tomatoes or something. Or, even worse, it’ll *gasp* go unreleased in the UK.)

Actors – Gerard Butler – (Known For: 300; Olympus Has Fallen; How to Train Your Dragon; RocknRolla; How to Train Your Dragon 2; Reign of Fire; Tomorrow Never Dies; Nim’s Island; Coriolanus; Beowulf & Grendel; Mrs Brown; Dear Frankie; Harrison’s Flowers; The Cherry Orchard; BMT: Movie 43 (BMT); Dracula 2001; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; The Bounty Hunter (BMT); Gods of Egypt; Timeline (BMT); Gamer (BMT); Tale of the Mummy; Playing for Keeps (BMT); London Has Fallen; The Ugly Truth; Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2011 for Worst Actor and Worst Screen Couple/Worst Screen Ensemble for The Bounty Hunter; My God, what a legend. And two movies this year because of Gods of Egypt. A BMT legend in the highest regard. And a big movie star too, it is really impressive. Big Celtic fan and part owner of a Caribbean Cricket team.)

Aaron Eckhart – (Known For: Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; Bleed for This; The Dark Knight; Olympus Has Fallen; Erin Brockovich; The Missing; Any Given Sunday; Thank You for Smoking; The Core; The Rum Diary; No Reservations; The Pledge; Rabbit Hole; Nothing Is Private; Possession; Nurse Betty; In the Company of Men; Conversations with Other Women; Your Friends & Neighbors; BMT: The Wicker Man (BMT); I, Frankenstein (BMT); The Black Dahlia; Battle Los Angeles (BMT); Love Happens; London Has Fallen; Suspect Zero; Erased; Paycheck (BMT); Notes: Alright, this might be the best bad movie street cred film ever. Aaron Eckhart is a secret BMT legend as well. He is Mormon, but is open about not being active in the faith.)

Morgan Freeman – (Known For: The Shawshank Redemption; The Dark Knight; The Dark Knight Rises; Se7en; Now You See Me; Batman Begins; Oblivion; Lucy; Unforgiven; The Lego Movie; Olympus Has Fallen; Ted 2; War of the Worlds; Gone Baby Gone; Million Dollar Baby; Wanted; RED; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Lucky Number Slevin; Deep Impact; Glory; Bruce Almighty; Last Vegas; Invictus; The Sum of All Fears; The Bucket List; Amistad; Driving Miss Daisy; Outbreak; BMT: Conan the Barbarian; Evan Almighty; Dreamcatcher (BMT); Chain Reaction; The Bonfire of the Vanities (BMT); Edison; London Has Fallen; The Contract; Hard Rain (BMT); Momentum; Ben-Hur; Transcendence (BMT); Last Knights; Along Came a Spider; High Crimes; Now You See Me 2; Kiss the Girls; Notes: Every single one of these actors has been in at least four other BMT films! Owns and operated a blues bar in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He’s converted his 124-acre ranch into a bee sanctuary. Sounds like an interesting dude.)

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $62,524,260 (Worldwide: $195,725,584)

(An international success, but a moderate domestic dud. Although Olympus has fallen didn’t do much better ($90M on a $70M budget), so a bit confused as to what exactly was expected here … Anyways, internationally did better than the previous film, so maybe could see a sequel. I have no idea why any of the actors would do that to themselves though.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (43/168): London Has Fallen traps a talented cast — and all who dare to see it — in a mid-1990s basic-cable nightmare of a film loaded with xenophobia and threadbare action-thriller clichés.

(Yiiiiiiiiis, I love me some classic 90s xenophobia and threadbare action-thriller cliches. The script is going to be atrocious. I can feel it. Excitement officially rising.)

Poster – London Has Sklogen (C-)

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(I appreciate the work put into this, but it’s one step away from being The Avengers busy. Look at all the unnecessary garbage going on in this one. Scrap it all and just have Gerard in front of the flag. Kudos to the faded font on the title. At least we have that. Like the red focus, but wish it wasn’t washed out by all the shit going on.)

Tagline(s) – Prepare for bloody hell. (B+)

(Well that’s foreboding. Why not just make the tagline ‘Ready to see some murder?’ Gets credit for being short and sweet and the nice British play on words. Nothing to put it over the top though.)

Keyword(s) – funeral; Top Ten by BMeTric: 77.0 xXx²: The Next Level (2005); 75.0 Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994); 74.2 Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959); 73.7 Superhero Movie (2008); 73.4 One Missed Call (2008); 70.6 Ouija (II) (2014); 67.1 The Spirit (2008); 61.9 Jennifer’s Body (2009); 60.1 Stealth (2005); 60.0 Bodyguard (2011);

(Shockingly great list. Indeed, like other recent films the keywords section has many listed (nearly 300), but only a handful even one vote of relevance. Funeral seemed fine though, and hilarious that another terrorists-attack-the-president (xXx2) film is on this list. What a nice eclectic group as well.)

Notes – Olympus Has Fallen (2013) director Antoine Fuqua refused to direct this sequel because he didn’t like the script. (ha! Good choice)

Due to scheduling conflicts, Morgan Freeman and Gerard Butler don’t appear in the same scene together in person. The scene in the hallway at the White House uses body doubles, and doesn’t show faces. (Say what, that is awesome)

The jogging sequence at the start of the film was filmed in Kensington Gardens in central London. (I know where that is. I’ll be on the lookout. Such an awesome settings film)

Morgan Freeman added his voice to the directions mobile app ‘Waze’ to support the release of this movie. (What … I don’t even understand this note)

The rear entrance/exit to PINDAR (The UK equivalent to the US PEOC) is allegedly based on one the platforms at Charing Cross Station. It is assumed that it’s there to necessitate access to a railway or the Underground if the government needs to escape the capital. It is classed as a “Military Citadel.” Others include the conspicuous one at the back of Horse Guards/The Mall, the abandoned one at Dollis Hill, the old Cabinet War Rooms under the Treasury, and what used to be called Q-Whitehall. (Actually a pretty cool note. Notes like this is how an entire alternative IMDb gets set up, like the one for cars or the one for firearms. This would be like the internet movie location database or something, and I would love that).

Dirty Grandpa Recap

Jamie

Trying out something new with my part. I’m gonna try to use the 6W’s (Who, What, Where, When, hoW, and Why) to explain the what and how of the film at hand. With that in mind I’m going to keep my part totally intact rather than throw it to Patrick in the middle. So get prepared for some text.

What?! Zac Efron is roped into driving his foul-mouthed grandpa (Robert De Niro) to Boca the week before his wedding, but gets sidetracked and ends up in Daytona Beach during spring break, much to the dismay of his fiancee.

Why?! The apparent impetus of the film changes throughout because De Niro’s character constantly lies about his intentions. At first it is simply that Robert De Niro needs a ride to his house in Boca… gotta say, not the best film idea. Just driving an old person around (although, that’s basically the plot of Nebraska and Driving Miss Daisy and they were both nominated for Best Picture, so what do I know). Once that lie is revealed Robert De Niro claims he just wants to get laid and took him along as a wingman. Ha! Get it? It’s funny because he’s old and he wants to have sex. Ha! But that also turns out to be a lie. Finally he admits he actually roped Efron into the trip because he was a shitty dad who raised a shitty son (Efron’s dad) and doesn’t want Efron to turn out the same by marrying the wrong girl and being a shitty lawyer. Awwwww… or something.

How? Funny you should ask. If not for a wildly improbable coincidence (they meet an acquaintance of Efron’s on the way to Florida and they immediately fall in love) then the plan wouldn’t have worked out so well for De Niro. If you follow the storyline closely you’ll see that De Niro’s original plan seems to be that he is going to get Efron totally shitfaced at spring break and take compromising photos of him. Then at his rehearsal brunch he would put those photos up and ruin his wedding and get him fired. Apparently Efron is supposed to then be ecstatic and thankful for losing his job and fiancee. The real version of this film is that Efron ends up just hating his grandpa… probably almost as much as I hated this film. Instead he loses his job and fiancee but is OK with it because he realized he’s actually in love with someone else.

Who!? Rather than listing off character in the film (which would be somewhat dry), I’m going to highlight a smaller character in the film that I surprisingly like or really hated. I actually liked Jason Mantzoukas’ turn as Pam. The character is just Rafi from The League and guess what? I like Rafi from The League. If it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t have laughed at all. I think the screenwriters knew this as well since what seems like a super minor character shows up like 8 different times and plays a vital role in the climax of the film.

Where!? Dirty Grandpa really did a doozy on its settings. If you weren’t close watching like I was then you may have become very confused as Efron zipped around the Southeastern seaboard. We started pretty clearly in Atlanta. De Niro needed a ride to Boca so we know we’re going to spend most of the film in Florida. They then immediately make a detour to spring break in Daytona Beach. How do we know? Why an obese gentleman rubs his breasts on Efron’s car while screaming “Daytona Beach!!!” Obviously. Once the shit hits the fan we see Efron drive back to Atlanta, only to find out that his heart belongs in Florida and we drive immediately back (conveniently passing a ‘Welcome to Florida’ sign). Phew. This certainly borders on A territory. Like Justin and Kelly before it Spring Break almost becomes a character in itself in the course of the film. But it’s just not quite vital enough. I’m going to put it at B. Better than C territory, but not important enough to the plot.

When?! This is the funniest question to answer. Whoever was in charge of the continuity in the film dropped the ball a little bit. We are given a beautiful exact date for the film. Reading from a newspaper a character explains that Efron is getting married, “This weekend. Saturday, March 27th.” It is perfection. However, when you ponder for a minute March 27th wasn’t on a Saturday in 2016… the two closest years are 2010 and 2021 because of the leap year. We know it can’t take place in the future because De Niro’s driver’s license is valid, yet expires in 2018. So it’s either a 2010 period piece or they screwed up the day of the week. I would guess the latter. It was probably in the script when it was written in 2010 and they just didn’t change that random date. How could they possibly know that a crazy person would come along and rain on their stupid parade. Anyway, it gets an A- for how specific and weirdly vital the late-March setting is.

Jesus, we really blew this one out. Maybe I need to rethink the rhetorical question method (called RhetorWrecked… boom). Luckily no one reads this anyways so who cares?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Dirty Grandpa?! More like Shitty, Bland, Flawed! (I made a list of half-rhymes, I’m pretty proud of myself). Only one question racing through my mind during this film: Am I Unfinished Business angry or just regular bad-comedy angry? Actually to be more exact the phrasing was “Am I like … unfinished business naaaaaangry?” My brain was just trying to entertain itself at the time … let’s get into it.

  • The Good – Efron can sing well. Jason Mantzoukas as Pam was indeed a delight if you like The League. He just plays Rafi the entire time, so that works fine.
  • The Bad – I have a little sklognalysis below about what was really getting me naaaaaangry during this film. But De Niro’s character might as well have just been a string of curses strung between “heart warming” I’m-old family stuff. His character kind of doesn’t make any sense. Efron is boring and his trajectory is unbelievable. The entire temporal and geographic landscape of the film is also just weird. They’re in Atlanta, then Florida, and they are there for what seems like five days (they were supposed to be gone for one). There are many many things to dislike about the film, but the cardinal sin? I laughed zero times.
  • The BMT – Yes and no. Yes because I would put this with Tammy and Unfinished Business as another example of an anti-comedy where comedy is replaced with anger and cursing. No because it is an unfunny garbage comedy.

And I’ll close with a little Sklognalysis deep dive. There were two cop characters in the film. Their introduction is promising (they are joshing around, but in a “you are dumb, you are in jail, have fun being an idiot in jail” kind of way), but then Pam (Mantzoukas) pops out and they are just like “oh, you were selling crack to children, but we like you Pam, so it’s all cool!” Their characters aggravated me to no end. Why? Because they were absurd, but taken in wildly different directions from moment to moment whenever convenient.

Exhibit A: Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle – The cop parody in this film extends along the Keystone Kops vector of idiocy, and along the Arrested Development vector of humorous brutality (if there is such a thing these days), etc. They are taken along the vector of past comedies and, perhaps, real life experiences to their logical conclusion. Along the vector.

Exhibit B: Superbad – Inverting expectations. McLovin’s expectations are that the police are going to arrest him and be jerks. They instead end up as fun loving and helpful. It works by playing off a common experience in an unexpected way.

Exhibit C: Dirty Grandpa – In this film Pam himself represents the logical conclusion for a drug dealer (or at least a common portrayal, fun loving and harmless). And that’s where the juxtaposition falls apart. The cops are at turns corrupt, but understanding to Pam. They are mean, but not really to Pam, and not really in general. They are inconsistent, but worse yet … they are not consistently along the “cop parody” trajectories you’d expect, but rather switch between the two aforementioned types: fun loving, and brutally idiotic.

Going against type can be refreshing, but here it doesn’t work because they aren’t consistent. It was aggravating and broke me out of the movie. Their ubiquitous presence also throws the balance of the film off in a way as well because it makes Daytona (and eventually the southeast US in general) feel very small. Without them the film would be more dull. But with them it fails at being at the very least self-consistent.

I call it the Along The Vector theory of parody. Without a solid case of reverting expectations, always default to parody in the direction of expectations. When when you choose a vector, stick with it.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Dirty Grandpa Preview

Wow, we really breezed through those two films. I’m ready to dive headfirst into the worst of the worst of 2016. For that reason we’re just watching Nine Lives eight weeks in a row. JK (but we’re definitely watching Nine Lives though. Kevin Spacey is a cat! Come on! How is that even made?). We start with comedy and there was one film whose reviews really made it stand out. Dirty Grandpa starring Zac Efron and Robert De Niro… wait, that’s how Zac Efron spells his name? Weird. Even weirder? My text editor marked it as a misspelling. Meaning that Zac Efron is in its dictionary. Double weird. Let’s go!

Dirty Grandpa (2016) – BMeTric: 27.9

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(Yeah, that VOD bounce though, so sweet, so cold (getting so hot and bothered I’m dropping William Carlos Williams poems on you). And this graph is also nice because you can pretty plainly see a couple of things. First, the about 20% of a movie’s votes from its first year of release will be prior to VOD release (sample size of one naturally). Second, the VOD release occurs about three months after (80 days in this case) and at that point we could have possibly made a pretty good guess at its BMeTric 9 months later (same rating, multiply the votes by five). And third, that the rate of vote decelerates four times slower in the VOD period than in the theatrical period. The movie hasn’t been out long enough to know whether it settles into a long term more constant slope and whether that point in consistent across other movies. But something to look at more closely in the future I think.)

RogerEbert.com – 0 stars (thumbs down) –  The actor Bela Lugosi appeared in some landmark, perhaps even great, films at the beginning of his Hollywood career in the 1930s. They include Browning’s “Dracula” and Ulmer’s “The Black Cat.” Lugosi’s final film was 1959’s “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” frequently cited as the worst film ever made. The cinematic landmarks of De Niro’s career include films such as Coppola’s “The Godfather, Part II” and Scorsese’s “Raging Bull.” He has been featured in a good number of very bad films in the years since. But this? This might just be his own “Plan 9.”

(I had to include that whole paragraph. That is an incredible slam. Most other reviews are similar, all agreeing that this is likely De Niro’s worst film bar none. I fully expect this to be a dull and humorless affair, but these reviews give me some hope that it will shock us in its terribleness. We shall see.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZSzMIFZT7Q

(a …. Dull and humorless affair. Likely with uncomfortable objectification of women, De Niro mugging and cursing into the camera, and Efron’s sweet Baywatch bod. Sigh. Mantzoukas will be a pleasant respite in the middle it looks like. In another universe this movie is like the Hangover and hilarious. Just not in our universe.)

Directors – Dan Mazer – (Known For: I Give It a Year; BMT: Dirty Grandpa; Notes: Producer, director, and writer for the Da Ali G show and other project (Borat and Bruno). Also the writer of this year’s smash hit sequel Bridget Jones’ Baby. It looks like this was his first Hollywood foray. )

Writers – John Phillips (written by) (as John M. Phillips) – (BMT: Dirty Grandpa; Notes: UCB alum this was his first full length screenplay. He also just sold a pilot to NBC with Phil Lord and co-wrote the soon-to-be-released sequel Bad Santa 2. He is described as a “rising star” for a reason I guess.)

Actors – Robert De Niro – (Known For: Joy; Goodfellas; The Godfather: Part II; The Intern; Taxi Driver; American Hustle; Stardust; Once Upon a Time in America; Silver Linings Playbook; Heat; The Deer Hunter; Limitless; Casino; Jackie Brown; The Untouchables; Cape Fear; Machete; The Good Shepherd; Hands of Stone; Raging Bull; Sleepers; A Bronx Tale; Brazil; Last Vegas; Ronin; Backdraft; Angel Heart; Meet the Parents; Awakenings; The Score; The Mission; This Boy’s Life; Mean Streets; Men of Honour; Being Flynn; Cop Land; Stone; Wag the Dog; Midnight Run; Everybody’s Fine; Novecento; Analyze This; The King of Comedy; Falling in Love; New York, New York; The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle; BMT: Godsend; Little Fockers; Showtime; Killing Season; The Carrier; The Big Wedding (BMT); New Year’s Eve (BMT); The Fan; Hide and Seek; Analyze That; Shark Tale; Righteous Kill; Dirty Grandpa; The Bridge of San Luis Rey; Arthur et les Minimoys; 15 Minutes; Red Lights; Meet the Fockers; Heist; The Family; Grudge Match (BMT); Notes:  Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2003 for Worst Screen Couple for Showtime. Is there anything more to say about De Niro? Let’s go with more recent new then. He was replaced on the long awaited American debut of director Olivier Assayas, Idol’s Eye, by Sylvester Stallone which is interesting. And he refused to pose in pictures with Arnold Schwarzenegger apparently after a heated discussion about Donald Trump. Fun times.)

Zac Efron – (Known For: Bad Neighbours 2; Bad Neighbours; 17 Again; Hairspray; We Are Your Friends; The Lorax; High School Musical 3: Senior Year; The Paperboy; Parkland; Liberal Arts; At Any Price; Me and Orson Welles; BMT: New Year’s Eve (BMT); Dirty Grandpa; That Awkward Moment; Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates; The Lucky One; The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud; Notes: Surged to fame with the High School Musical series (which you might be shocked to hear, doesn’t qualify as it is a television movie). He’s going to be in Baywatch, and obviously has seen a lot of recent success in a few comedies.)

Also stars Zoey Deutch and Aubrey Plaza.

Budget/Gross – $11.5 million / Domestic: $35,593,113 (Worldwide: $94,073,028)

(Uh yeah …. That’s solid. Who’s excited for Dirty Grandpa 2? Dirtier Grandpa? Dirty Grandson? Oh shit … Dirty Fockers it’s a cross over this needs to be done. Regardless, a January hit, so I wonder what is next for the franchise. Dirty Grandpa Universe (DGU)? Alright, I’m done.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 11% (13/122): Like a Werther’s Original dropped down a sewer drain, Dirty Grandpa represents the careless fumbling of a classic talent that once brought pleasure to millions.

(Coooooooooold bloooooooooooded. Jesus, that is straight wrecked son. Is Werther’s Original an old person joke? Think on that for a second. There isn’t even much to really figure out with this review, it is simply summed up as “garbage”. But is it boring? Is it unpleasant? Is it just gross? We’ll have to watch to find out!)

Poster – Dirty GrandSklog (D)

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(I was actually tempted to give this an F, but the consistent grey-red coloring scheme saved it. The spacing is bad, symmetry is bad, too much focus on the people, and I don’t like Robert De Niro’s face… it’s mesmerizing how terrible it is. By the way there are like 5 major posters for this film. There are several better ones than this, but I remember this being the main one used in theaters.)

Tagline(s) – Lose your way. Find your manhood. (B)

(And every individual poster had its own unique tagline too. They worked hard on this shit. While the main poster was one of the worst, its tagline was actually one of the better ones. Concise and used the clever combination of ‘lose’ and ‘find.’ Unfortunately, the two phrases don’t connect as much as they would hope so starting to veer towards “sound like a tagline, but is it a tagline” category.)

Keyword(s) – grandfather grandson relationship; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.9 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 75.4 Troll 2 (1990); 70.0 The Master of Disguise (2002); 63.7 Daddy Day Camp (2007); 59.9 Problem Child 2 (1991); 47.4 3 Ninjas Kick Back (1994); 47.1 Little Fockers (2010); 46.6 Caligula (1979); 44.4 The Resident (2011); 44.3 3 Ninja Kids (1992);

(I have a feeling we are going to get a weird list of keywords for recent film. There are 246 keywords for Dirty Grandpa and only six of them have received a vote of relevant (all exactly one vote). The other keywords: compromising photograph, man wearing a g string, gay character, male nudity, homophobia … spectacular. By the way I guess Jamie and I have actually seen 3 Ninjas Kick Back because I think we were 3 Ninjas completionists at the time. Oh and great list.)

Notes – For the film’s theatrical poster, Robert De Niro lifted Zac Efron on his back without any help. Efron confirmed it while promoting the film on Instagram. (De Niro seems like a cool dude)

Aubrey Plaza, who plays a 21-year-old college student, was 31 when the film was released.

The screenplay was featured in the 2011 Blacklist, a list of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year. (Interesting. I listen to that podcast. The movies they read tend to be … not great, and the guy certainly like crass comedies, so this would fit right in. I can just imagine myself grimacing while listening to this script)

Zac Efron performed all of his own nude scenes except for the embarrassing beach sequence. Director John Phillips states on the commentary that it was one of the most expensive scenes to make in the film. Zac wasn’t actually nude at all and wore flesh-colored briefs which were edited out during the post-production process. A stunt penis was also placed over his crotch using CGI for the split-second frames where he is most exposed. Phillips mentioned that when the restricted German trailer was released onto the internet that a community of online fans were trying to grab frames on the actor’s penis. Subsequently, it turns out this is the one nude scene in the film that isn’t actually him. (ha, I do love extremely expensive stunt penises)

Fifty Shades of Black Recap

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of the Black & Blue Bicycle where we watched Blue City and Fifty Shades of Black in one week. The two recaps are separate but go together. Here is a link to the Blue City Recap]

Jamie

This is the second part of an extra juicy post this week. That’s because we watched two films! A black and blue bicycle of Blue City and Fifty Shades of Black. You would think that as a result we would reap more from Fifty Shades, but not the case for me.

While I had some settings, MonoSklogs, and adaptation heavy lifting to do for Blue City, I didn’t really have any of that for Fifty Shades of Black. Being a spoof of another BMT film boded well, but it mostly just took all the scenes from that film and added excessive sex jokes. Like I bet you could almost play both of the films next to each other and they would proceed nearly in tandem (and look astonishingly similar). The other thing is that I generally do not mind Wayans films. Much like Madea, before BMT I didn’t think too much about the Wayans Brothers’ films. Would I have watched A Haunted House or Fifty Shades of Black or White Chicks or Little Man? Probably not. Now I look forward to them. Most comedies we watch are more boring than anything else and the Wayans don’t do boring (similarly Madea is simply not boring and I don’t care what anyone says). This wasn’t the best one though (that’s obviously White Chicks). It’s better than A Haunted House 2, but not better than A Haunted House. So on the A Haunted House metric this ranks A Haunted House 1.7… White Chicks on the other hand is A Haunted House -0.8. Ya’ll keeping up with that? Good. Because the A Haunted House metric is how I’m rating every film from now on. Phew.

The Settings 101 is pretty trash for Fifty Shades of Grey, it was obviously set in Seattle. It kind of had to be. Throw in a Supersonics joke, gratuitous shots of Seattle’s skyline, and a bus with a “Seattle” sign and we got a C or C+. Just C’s on C’s on C’s this week. Nice a brief for the bonus movie this week.

Patrick

We’re still doing this. Watching two movies in a week is haaaard when you have strict post guidelines. ‘Ello everyone! Fifty Shades of Black? More like nope, non-funny garbage movie! Let’s get into it.

  • The Good – I counted two chuckles and one hearty laugh, so about the same as Keeping Up With the Joneses as far as actual humor. The description of being “ashy like ET when he was sick in the river” cracked me up for like 5 minutes, I had to stop the movie. I do like Marlon Wayans, I think he’s a very funny actor with incredible screen presence. The way he can control his body and face to play to the camera is incredible. As a matter of fact the acting was pretty solid for a spoof movie all around.
  • The Bad – If you don’t like wall-to-wall sex jokes this movie isn’t for you. Literally people pretend to have sex on-screen for maybe 20 minutes of the total 90 minute runtime. There are two prosthetic penises (one gigantic and one really small naturally). I deadpanned the last hour of the film as well. None of the jokes really landing after the opening salvo. Irreverent spoof films are hard to pull off and this certainly does not.
  • The BMT – Certainly, 50+ easy. It is going to ultimately be top 5 worst film of the year for me. I would watch it again though. I would watch it while running a giant mind-melting 2000s spoof movie extravaganza (Scary Movies besides the first, Disaster/Epic/Date Movie, Haunted Houses, and this I guess, ten films, oof).

Let’s see … Since A Haunted House and A Haunted House 2 were both BMT let’s go back in time and learn a little BMHisTory. In particular, all those long year ago what did I think of A Haunted House 2? BAM, a little digest of my thoughts:

  • Marlon Waynes is a funny guy who can single handedly keep a movie from devolving into the Friedberg and Seltzer garbage that pervades the genre.
  • Relies way too much on sex and racial jokes.
  • But like the first four scary movies and Haunted House there are some laughs here (as cheap as they are), and I like all the players. I would (I’m serious) welcome a third movie (once again, totally serious).

My wish was Marlon Wayan’s command it seems, except it wasn’t a third Haunted House, it was this. And I’m having weird flashbacks here, this might as well literally be my review of Fifty Shades of Black! Patrick and Patrick from a year ago are so in sync.

Cheerios (for real),

The Sklogs

Blue City Recap

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of the Black & Blue Bicycle where we watched Blue City and Fifty Shades of Black in one week. The two recaps are separate but go together. Here is a link to the Fifty Shades of Black Recap]

Jamie

Prepare for a extra juicy post this week. That’s because we watched two films! A black and blue bicycle of Blue City and Fifty Shades of Black. I doubt anyone has actually heard of Blue City. It only has 755 votes on IMDb and its popularity ranking is so low that it comes in behind the 1986 gymnastics film American Anthem. This Italian Terminator rip-off is ranked higher for God’s sake!

As we all know (“You’re a crazy person,” the crowd chants in unison). Yup, I’m a crazy person. So I obviously read the book that Blue City was based on (that obviously no one has heard of either). It is a boilerplate noir thriller. Our hero returns from war to find his estranged dad murdered. With nothing to lose, he descends into the darkest corners of the city to find his father’s killers and bring them to justice, even if it costs him his life. Blue City! As far as an adaptation goes it was a pretty solid example of how some of the best films get made. Find a book of middling quality but with a solid story, tighten the screws, add some meat, and voila! Did it succeed? Ha! No. Lots of changes, merging of character, change of setting (more on that later), etc. etc. etc. But in most cases the changes were simply to try to clean up the seedy characters you are meant to root for. A general brat pack-ification of the material. As for the film itself I actually wasn’t totally disappointed by it. I’ll let Patrick discuss its finer points, but there were some bonkers MonoSklogs being thrown around and some crazy editing/directorial choices. While somewhat boring, it gave me enough to provide sense of peace with what would have otherwise been an odd choice for BMT considering just how unknown it is.

Taken in tandem is the longest post we’ve had since… well actually probably not that long ago. Still, I’ll try to keep the Settings 101 brief…ish. Blue City had a very interesting setting. The book was purposefully set nowhere. Our hero arrives in “The City” without acknowledgement of which state he is in. There is mention of Chicago being somewhat close and that The City was a big tire and rubber center, so I guess it’s a take on Akron, Ohio. But a fake state capital is explicitly mentioned, so that confirms the N/A setting for the book. The movie on the other hand was working hard for its setting. That production designer has so many “Blue City” signs and decals my head was spinning. However, the true setting was only shown once: on the side of a police car where it said “Florida” above the Blue City Police department shield. While there are a lot of mentions of Miami being nearby, there wasn’t enough to float it above C. Similarly, you can almost get an exact date for the temporal setting from a calendar on the wall and a visit to a graveyard (April 1985), but didn’t play a role and wasn’t exact. C- or maybe a C.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Blue City? More like Real Shitty! We completed the Black and Blue Bicycle, which means you’re going to get two, so let’s try and keep them each shorter. Let’s go!

  • The Good – It is an okay crime story with okay acting from Caruso and an interesting fictional grimy southern setting. I could see someone accidentally watching the film and not realizing it was incredibly reviled upon release.
  • The Bad – Nelson and Sheedy, woof! Sheedy in particular was just atrocious in this film, it kind of threw me. This was also probably an editor’s nightmare, it came across as just kind of cut to pieces and barely 80 minutes, the first time directing was exposed there. The story is also just unpleasant with undesirable characters thrown around with little regard for how they would eventually have to resolve the story.
  • The BMT – Naw, again, just kind of a blah, boring crime film with terrible characters and action that hasn’t aged particularly well. A 10 would be right in line, definitely poor, but never popular enough to make it a hit.

And I’m thinking Sequel for this one. Billy Turner, now a long time Florida politician running for Governor, is assassinated at a campaign stop in his hometown of Blue City. With no suspects and no hope his son Jim Turner returns to try and untangle the threads that tied his father to the dark underbelly of the town that tore his family apart. Was it corruption that felled Billy Turner at his moment of triumph, or is that yet another lie surrounding his tragic death? Blue City: Legacy. I’m hearing through the grapevine that I’m writing the screenplay and John Krasinski is attached to the lead role of Jim Turner.

That’s it, cheerios,

The Sklogs

Fifty Shades of Black Preview

See the preview for Blue City to see an in depth explanation of the Black and Clue Bicycle Transition. This is the second leg and first BONUS of the year (something that was far more typical years back and something that will likely make a comeback real soon …). We are going spoof comedy, and this time we spoof previous BMT film Fifty Shades of Grey! Let’s go!

Fifty Shades of Black (2016) – BMeTric: 59.7

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(The number two movie for the year according to the BMeTric after Zoolander 2. Very impressive graphic and extremely consistent rating. Always relaxes me to see such consistency, love it.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  But I will say this for “Fifty Shades of Black”: It made me laugh more often than I did in “Dirty Grandpa.” That is to say, I laughed more than once. And you really can’t ask for more than that in January.

(Really tough to pull out a quote for this guy. But the gist: This movie is terrible, but there is method to the madness in a way and when you cut through it it does give you a few hearty chuckles, which is better than most terrible comedies. So there’s that. Take that for what you will because the guy who basically liked it still gave it only a half star above the lowest review possible … so yeah.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1pOTTcdRO8

(Some funny stuff in there. Probably all of the funny bits actually. Pretty solid trailer though right? Really good side-by-side with the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer I feel like. That’s impressive. What more could you ask for out of a trailer? Can you tell I’m nervous about how boring and terrible this film is going to be.)

Directors – Michael Tiddes – (BMT: Fifty Shades of Black; A Haunted House; A Haunted House 2; Notes: Looks like he got in with the Wayans after executive producing Dance Flick (which was written by them). His only credits are these three films right in a row, and his next film looks to be one of the first non-spoof comedies for Marlon Wayans (as the star, the last was probably Littleman) in a while called Naked.)

Writers – Marlon Wayans (written by) – (Known For: Scary Movie; BMT: Littleman; Scary Movie 4; Fifty Shades of Black; Scary Movie 2; Dance Flick; A Haunted House; A Haunted House 2; White Chicks; Scary Movie 3; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; Notes: Nominated for the Razzie Award in 2010 for Worst Supporting Actor for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Won for Worst Actor and Screen Couple, Littleman (2006), Nominated for Worst Screenplay, Littleman (2006), Nominated for Worst Actress, Screen Couple and Screenplay: White Chicks (2004). Ahhhh. Well, what is there to say that we didn’t say for White Chicks. The guy is pretty prolific and can turn a profit on a buck. This looked to be a flop, but he has a strong network of comedians around him, enough to challenge (and win seemingly) the Scary Movie franchise for modern spoof movies.)

Rick Alvarez (written by) – (BMT: Fifty Shades of Black; A Haunted House; A Haunted House 2; Notes: Not much about this guy online, but he is also writing Marlon Wayans’ next project Naked. I would assume he is Marlon Wayans writing partner of sorts.)

Actors – Marlon Wayans – (Known For: Requiem for a Dream; Scary Movie; The Heat; The Ladykillers; Above the Rim; I’m Gonna Git You Sucka; BMT: Norbit; Dungeons & Dragons; Littleman; Fifty Shades of Black; Scary Movie 2; Dance Flick; Marmaduke; A Haunted House; A Haunted House 2; White Chicks; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Mo’ Money; The Sixth Man; Senseless; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood; Notes: Again what more is there to say. Here’s to hoping him and Shawn get back together for another White Chicks-esque comedy soon.)

Kali Hawk – (Known For: Bridesmaids; Get Him to the Greek; Celebrity; BMT: Fifty Shades of Black; Couples Retreat; Peeples; The Perfect Match; Answers to Nothing; Notes: I knew her to some extent from the television show New Girl where she played Shelby. A comedian she performed for Last Comic Standing and was cast in the pilot for a reboot of In Living Color which did not go to series (which explains how she became involved with this project I suppose))

Also stars Fred Willard who has been in a multitude of spoof movies over the years.

Budget/Gross – $5 million / Domestic: $11,686,940 (Worldwide: $21,164,799)

(That seems … okay. Not great, but considering its budget okay. But one of the worst for Marlon Wayans ever. It is actually amazing: you can almost predict his success with the spoof movies. Scary Movie: $140 domestic; Scary Movie 2: $70 million domestic; Haunted House: $40 million domestic; Haunted House 2: $17 million domestic; Fifty Shades of Black: $11 million domestic. Basically just halve it each time. Amazing.)

#48 for the Comedy – Spoof genre

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(Right near #50 Dracula Dead and Loving It which was Mel Brooks’ last spoof movie. The spoof genre had a pretty sustained run from 1990 to 2005 and then there is just boom time (with much less money …) for a brief period and now we are kind of back to 1980s levels. That boom is when Friedburg and Seltzer re-entered the spoof game. They wrote the first Scary Movie and then Zucker (who continued the series) and them competed for that brief period until the genre flamed out. A similar thing happened recently with the Wayans who basically killed off the Scary Movie franchise with A Haunted House. The spoof genre is an interesting beast because so many people have fond memories of it, and almost all of those fond memories are from the 80s like Airplane! Perhaps we could see a re-emergence of the idea in a few years now that the three big groups aren’t likely to try and enter the game and suck all of the available funding. We’ll see.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 7% (3/43): Wildly erratic even for a spoof movie, Fifty Shades of Black bears the unfortunate distinction of offering fewer laughs than the unintentionally funny film it’s trying to lampoon.

(Haha, wow. Well, it might be boring, but like A Haunted House and A Haunted House 2 I’m sure it’ll end up being slightly underrated in the end. Critics never give the needed leeway with the inherent hit-or-miss comedy that comes out of what might as well be improv. Kind of like SNL skits turned into movies. They aren’t really good, but they are never as bad as the reviews suggest, you just need to roll with the misses.)

Poster – Fifty Sklogs of Sklog (B+)

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(Woah! Scandalous. It’s actually a really good poster. Look at the symmetry. Look at the bold red background. Which they didn’t put so many characters on it and the font could be a little less boring. But still quite well done. If you look at the notes or are a fan of James Bond you might know that this is also a spoof of the poster for For Your Eyes Only with Roger Moore.)

Tagline(s) – Once you go black, you never go gray. (A)

Way shadier than gray. (C)

(The second one doesn’t really work. Yes it gives a hint of plot and it’s concise. But otherwise not clever in the least. I think the first one is great. Clever, got some cadance, kinda spoofs Fifty Shades of Grey in itself. It’s damn good.)

Keyword(s) – reference to ryan gosling; Top Ten by BMeTric: 59.9 Fifty Shades of Black (2016); 19.6 Maps to the Stars (2014); 14.0 Vaterfreuden (2014); 1.0 Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014);

(Well … that was a crap as I expected it to be. How is that the number one keyword. Ridiculous IMDb, ridiculous)

Notes – The poster of the cast between a woman’s legs is a spoof of the iconic poster for the Roger Moore Bond film For Your Eyes Only (1981). Jane Seymour starred in Roger Moore’s first Bond film Live and Let Die (1973). (Yup)

This is King Bach’s (Andrew Bachelor) second movie. His first being We Are Your Friends (2015). (Ooooof another incredibly poorly received film)

This film also does a parody about the artist, The Weeknd, who has a song in Fifty Shades of Grey. In this movie he goes by Weekday and looks like the artist The Weeknd.

Unlike A Haunted House and its sequel, this film follows very close to the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. (Bullshit. Haunted House was Paranormal Activity and Haunted House 2 followed Sinister as well. All of the Scary Movies follow specific movies as well. Bullshit.)